coral species
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2022 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
Leila Chapron ◽  
Verena Schoepf ◽  
Stephen J. Levas ◽  
Matthew D. Aschaffenburg ◽  
Mark E. Warner ◽  

Coral reefs are among the most diverse and complex ecosystems in the world that provide important ecological and economical services. Increases in sea surface temperature linked to global climate change threatens these ecosystems by inducing coral bleaching. However, it is not fully known if natural intra- or inter-annual physiological variability is linked to bleaching resilience or recovery capacity of corals. Here, we monitored the coral physiology of three common Caribbean species (Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides, Orbicella faveolata) at six time points over 2 years by measuring the following traits: calcification, biomass, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, chlorophyll a, algal endosymbiont density, stable carbon isotopes of the host and endosymbiotic algae, and the stable carbon and oxygen isotopes of the skeleton. The overall physiological profile of all three species varied over time and that of P. divaricata was consistently different from the two other coral species. Porites divaricata had higher energy reserves coupled with higher contributions of heterotrophically derived carbon to host tissues than both P. astreoides and O. faveolata. Consistently higher overall energy reserves and heterotrophic contributions to tissues appear to buffer against environmental stress, including bleaching events. Thus, natural physiological variability among coral species appears to be a stronger predictor of coral bleaching resilience than intra- or inter-annual physiological variability within a coral species.

PeerJ ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
pp. e12746
Jih-Terng Wang ◽  
Yi-Ting Wang ◽  
Chaolun Allen Chen ◽  
Pei-Jei Meng ◽  
Kwee Siong Tew ◽  

Global warming threatens reef-building corals with large-scale bleaching events; therefore, it is important to discover potential adaptive capabilities for increasing their temperature resistance before it is too late. This study presents two coral species (Platygyra verweyi and Isopora palifera) surviving on a reef having regular hot water influxes via a nearby nuclear power plant that exhibited completely different bleaching susceptibilities to thermal stress, even though both species shared several so-called “winner” characteristics (e.g., containing Durusdinium trenchii, thick tissue, etc.). During acute heating treatment, algal density did not decline in P. verweyi corals within three days of being directly transferred from 25 to 31 °C; however, the same treatment caused I. palifera to lose < 70% of its algal symbionts within 24 h. The most distinctive feature between the two coral species was an overwhelmingly higher constitutive superoxide dismutase (ca. 10-fold) and catalase (ca. 3-fold) in P. verweyi over I. palifera. Moreover, P. verweyi also contained significantly higher saturated and lower mono-unsaturated fatty acids, especially a long-chain saturated fatty acid (C22:0), than I. palifera, and was consistently associated with the symbiotic bacteria Endozoicomonas, which was not found in I. palifera. However, antibiotic treatment and inoculation tests did not support Endozoicomonas having a direct contribution to thermal resistance. This study highlights that, besides its association with a thermally tolerable algal symbiont, a high level of constitutive antioxidant enzymes in the coral host is crucial for coral survivorship in the more fluctuating and higher temperature environments.

2021 ◽  
Qiumei Quan ◽  
Yong Liu ◽  
Teng Wang ◽  
Chunhou Li

Abstract Based on the key ecological processes of parrotfish in coral reefs, we compiled species presence-absence data across 51 sites in the South China Sea to identify the distribution and composition of parrotfish and explore the relationship between species distribution and environmental factors, and 50 species (the Pacific: 57 species) of parrotfish were record. Nansha islands had the highest abundance with 41 parrotfish species. Nestedness analysis indicated parrotfish community had statistically significant nested patterns in the South China Sea and Nansha islands was the topmost site of nested matrix rank. Scleractinian coral species richness and Log(reef area) both had a significant effect on sites nested matrix rank (P < 0.05), which supports habitat nestedness hypothesis in the South China Sea. Scrapers were the most important functional group composition while the browser had a greater contribution on species nested matrix rank. Linear regression model showed parrotfish species richness increased with increasing longitude, scleractinian coral species richness and reef area. Variations in the parrotfish species richness in longitude was related to distance from the biodiversity hotspot in the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Parrotfish was mainly distributed in the range of 26-29℃, which was almost the same as the optimum temperature for coral growth. Nansha islands should be as biodiversity conservation priority areas, which could provide important reference significance for conservation efforts of parrotfish in degraded coral reefs habitats, especially in the context of increasing natural variability and anthropogenic disturbance.

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (14) ◽  
pp. 20266-20271
R. Chandran ◽  
R. Senthil Kumaran ◽  
D.T. Vasavada ◽  
N.N. Joshi ◽  
Osman G. Husen

Reef-building corals are generally confined to tropical waters across the world oceans. But some coral species are able to tolerate even inhospitable environments and suboptimal extremes, and form lower diversity reefs habitats such as the Gulf of Kachchh, located along the northwestern coast of India. Among the reported hard coral species so far from the Gulf of Kachchh, genus Psammocora is represented by only one species, P. digitata. The present study confirmed a new distribution record of Psammocora contigua from Narara Island. Due to the changing hydro-geographic conditions in the Kachchh region, ramose and branching coral species have been believed to be extinct completely, leaving no sign of live colonies. P. contigua, recorded during the present study is the only living species with ramose growth form recorded so far from the Kachchh waters. The present study also holds out hope to record more new coral species records from the region.

Ross Cunning

Some reef-building corals form symbioses with multiple algal partners that differ in ecologically important traits like heat tolerance. Coral bleaching and recovery can drive symbiont community turnover toward more heat-tolerant partners, and this ‘adaptive bleaching’ response can increase future bleaching thresholds by 1–2°C, aiding survival in warming oceans. However, this mechanism of rapid acclimatization only occurs in corals that are compatible with multiple symbionts, and only when the disturbance regime and competitive dynamics among symbionts are sufficient to bring about community turnover. The full scope of coral taxa and ecological scenarios in which symbiont shuffling occurs remains poorly understood, though its prevalence is likely to increase as warming oceans boost the competitive advantage of heat-tolerant symbionts, increase the frequency of bleaching events, and strengthen metacommunity feedbacks. Still, the constraints, limitations, and potential tradeoffs of symbiont shuffling suggest it will not save coral reef ecosystems; however, it may significantly improve the survival trajectories of some, or perhaps many, coral species. Interventions to manipulate coral symbionts and symbiont communities may expand the scope of their adaptive potential, which may boost coral survival until climate change is addressed.

2021 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
Jessica L. Bergman ◽  
William Leggat ◽  
Tracy D. Ainsworth

Coral bleaching events in the marine environment are now occurring globally, and the frequency and severity of these events are increasing. Critically, these events can cause the symbiosis between Symbiodiniaceae and their coral hosts to break down, but how the microbial community within the coral responds to bleaching is still equivocal. We investigated the impact of thermal stress exposure on the meta-organism responses of the generalist scleractinian coral species Pocillopora damicornis. Using mesocosms to recreate warming scenarios previously observed at Heron Island, we show that P. damicornis symbiont densities and photophysiological parameters declined at a similar rate under thermal stress regardless of the length of pre-bleaching thermal stress, defined here as temperatures above the monthly maximum mean (MMM) for Heron Island but below the local bleaching threshold (MMM + 2°C). However, we find that the P. damicornis microbiome remains stable over time regardless of the degree of thermal stress and the accumulation of pre-bleaching thermal stress. Our study therefore suggests that while P. damicornis is physiologically impacted by bleaching temperatures, the microbial community identified through 16S rRNA sequencing remains unchanged at the ASV level throughout bleaching. Understanding the capacity of a generalist species to withstand bleaching events is imperative to characterizing what coral species will exist on coral reefs following disturbances, as it has been suggested that the success of environmental generalist species may simplify community structure and lead to changes in biodiversity following environmental disturbance.

2021 ◽  
Timothy G Stephens ◽  
Emma L Strand ◽  
Amin R Mohamed ◽  
Amanda Williams ◽  
Eric N Chiles ◽  

The response of coral reef ecosystems to anthropogenic climate change is driven by a complex interaction between location, stress history, species composition, and genetic background of the reef system. The latter two factors are particularly relevant when considering the different reproductive strategies used by coral species. We studied the stress resistant coral Montipora capitata and the more stress sensitive Pocillopora acuta from Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. High-quality genome assemblies were generated for both species with the M. capitata assembly at chromosome-level resolution and the P. acuta assembly derived from a triploid colony, representing the first non-diploid genome generated from a coral. We report significant differences in the reproductive strategies of these coral species that not only affect the genetic structure of their populations in Kāneʻohe Bay, but also impact algal symbiont composition. Single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis shows that P. acuta comprises at least nine distinct genotypes in the bay with ancestral diploid and derived triploid lineages. In contrast, M. capitata colonies are diploids with nearly all being genotypically distinct. Genotype has a strong effect on gene expression profiles in these species, largely outweighing the effects of environmental stress. Our insights advance understanding of how reproductive strategy and ploidy can vary between different coral species and among local populations, how these factors constrain coral holobiont genetic diversity, and how genotype constrains genome-wide gene expression.

2021 ◽  
Mariana Rocha de Souza ◽  
Carlo Caruso ◽  
Lupita Ruiz-Jones ◽  
Crawford Drury ◽  
Ruth D. Gates ◽  

The survival of reef-building corals is dependent upon a symbiosis between the coral and the community of Symbiodiniaceae. Montipora capitata, one of the main reef building coral species in Hawaiʻi, is known to host a diversity of symbionts, but it remains unclear how they change spatially and whether environmental factors drive those changes. Here, we surveyed the Symbiodiniaceae community in 600 M. capitata colonies from 30 sites across Kāneʻohe Bay and tested for host specificity and environmental gradients driving spatial patterns of algal symbiont distribution. We found that the Symbiodiniaceae community differed markedly across sites, with M. capitata in the most open-ocean (northern) site hosting few or none of the genus Durusdinium, whereas individuals at other sites had a mix of Durusdinium and Cladocopium. Our study shows that the algal symbiont community composition responds to fine-scale differences in environmental gradients; depth and temperature variability were the most significant predictor of Symbiodiniaceae community, although environmental factors measured in the study explained only about 20% of observed variation. Identifying and mapping Symbiodiniaceae community distribution at multiple scales is an important step in advancing our understanding of algal symbiont diversity, distribution and evolution, and the potential responses of corals to future environmental change.

2021 ◽  
Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip ◽  
F. González-Barrios ◽  
Esmeralda Pérez-Cervantes ◽  
Ana Molina-Hernandez ◽  
Nuria Estrada-Saldívar

Abstract Diseases are major drivers of the deterioration of coral reefs, linked to major declines in coral abundance, reef functionality, and reef-related ecosystems services1-3. An outbreak of a new disease is currently rampaging through the populations of the remaining reef-building corals across the Caribbean region. The outbreak was first reported in Florida in 2014 and reached the northern Mesoamerican reef by summer 2018, where it spread across the ~ 450-km reef system only in a few months4. Rapid infection was generalized across all sites and mortality rates ranged from 94% to < 10% among the 21 afflicted coral species. This single event further modified the coral communities across the region by increasing the relative dominance of weedy corals and reducing reef functionality, both in terms of functional diversity and calcium carbonate production. This emergent disease is likely to become the most lethal disturbance ever recorded in the Caribbean, and it will likely result in the onset of a new functional regime where key reef-building and complex branching acroporids (a genus apparently unaffected) will once again become conspicuous structural features in reef systems with yet even lower levels of physical functionality.

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