Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 636–645 | Cite as

Bioaccumulation of zinc in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata

  • C. Ferrier-PagèsEmail author
  • F. Houlbrèque
  • E. Wyse
  • C. Richard
  • D. Allemand
  • F. Boisson


The uptake kinetics of zinc (Zn), an essential nutrient for both photosynthesis and calcification, in the tissue of S. pistillata showed that the transport of Zn is composed of a linear component (diffusion) at high concentrations and an active carrier-mediated component at low concentrations. The carrier affinity (K m=28 pmol l−1) was very low, indicating a good adaptation of the corals to low levels of Zn in seawater. Zn accumulation in the skeleton was linear; its level was dependent on the length of the incubation as well as on the external concentration of dissolved Zn. There was also a light-stimulation of Zn uptake, suggesting that zooxanthellae, through photosynthesis, are involved in this process. An enrichment of the incubation medium with 10 nM Zn significantly increased the photosynthetic efficiency of S. pistillata. This result suggests that corals living in oligotrophic waters might be limited in essential metals, such as zinc.

Key words

Corals Zinc Photosynthesis Calcification 



We are grateful to Mr. J.-F. Comanducci for his significant contribution in the set-up and the improvement of the nuclear detection system. We also thank Prof. U. Schreiber for fruitful discussions and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. The Agency is grateful for the support provided to its Marine Environment Laboratory by the Government of the Principality of Monaco.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Ferrier-Pagès
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Houlbrèque
    • 1
  • E. Wyse
    • 2
  • C. Richard
    • 1
  • D. Allemand
    • 1
  • F. Boisson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre Scientifique de MonacoMonacoPrincipality of Monaco
  2. 2.International Atomic Energy AgencyMonacoPrincipality of Monaco

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