Light respiratory processes and gross photosynthesis in two scleractinian corals
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© 2014 Schrameyer et al. The light dependency of respiratory activity of two scleractinian corals was examined using O2 microsensors and CO2 exchange measurements. Light respiration increased strongly but asymptotically with elevated irradiance in both species. Light respiration in Pocillopora damicornis was higher than in Pavona decussata under low irradiance, indicating species-specific differences in light-dependent metabolic processes. Overall, the coral P. decussata exhibited higher CO2 uptake rates than P. damicornis over the experimental irradiance range. P. decussata also harboured twice as many algal symbionts and higher total protein biomass compared to P. damicornis, possibly resulting in self-shading of the symbionts and/or changes in host tissue specific light distribution. Differences in light respiration and CO2 availability could be due to host-specific characteristics that modulate the symbiont microenvironment, its photosynthesis, and hence the overall performance of the coral holobiont.
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