Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa

Evensen, Nicolas R. and Edmunds, Peter J. (2017) Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220 6: 1097-1105. doi:10.1242/jeb.152488


Author Evensen, Nicolas R.
Edmunds, Peter J.
Title Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa
Formatted title
Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Publication date 2017-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.152488
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 220
Issue 6
Start page 1097
End page 1105
Total pages 9
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Company of Biologists
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In densely populated communities, such as coral reefs, organisms can modify the physical and chemical environment for neighbouring individuals.We tested the hypothesis that colony density (12 colonies each placed ∼0.5 cm apart versus ∼8 cm apart) can modulate the physiological response (measured through rates of calcification, photosynthesis and respiration in the light and dark) of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa to partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2) treatments (∼400 μatm and ∼1200 μatm) by altering the seawater flow regimes experienced by colonies placed in aggregations within a flume at a single flow speed. While light calcification decreased 20% under elevated versus ambient PCO2 for colonies in low-density aggregations, light calcification of high-density aggregations increased 23% at elevated versus ambient PCO2. As a result, densely aggregated corals maintained calcification rates over 24 h that were comparable to those maintained under ambient PCO2, despite a 45% decrease in dark calcification at elevated versus ambient PCO2. Additionally, densely aggregated corals experienced reduced flow speeds and higher seawater retention times between colonies owing to the formation of eddies. These results support recent indications that neighbouring organisms, such as the conspecific coral colonies in the present example, can create smallscale refugia from the negative effects of ocean acidification.
Keyword Coral growth
Facilitation
High PCO2
Hydrodynamics
Species interactions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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