Similarities in biomass and energy reserves among coral colonies from contrasting reef environments

Elise F. Keister, Shelby E. Gantt, Hannah G. Reich, Kira E. Turnham, Timothy G. Bateman, Todd C. LaJeunesse, Mark E. Warner, Dustin W. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coral reefs are declining worldwide, yet some coral populations are better adapted to withstand reductions in pH and the rising frequency of marine heatwaves. The nearshore reef habitats of Palau, Micronesia are a proxy for a future of warmer, more acidic oceans. Coral populations in these habitats can resist, and recover from, episodes of thermal stress better than offshore conspecifics. To explore the physiological basis of this tolerance, we compared tissue biomass (ash-free dry weight cm−2), energy reserves (i.e., protein, total lipid, carbohydrate content), and several important lipid classes in six coral species living in both offshore and nearshore environments. In contrast to expectations, a trend emerged of many nearshore colonies exhibiting lower biomass and energy reserves than colonies from offshore sites, which may be explained by the increased metabolic demand of living in a warmer, acidic, environment. Despite hosting different dinoflagellate symbiont species and having access to contrasting prey abundances, total lipid and lipid class compositions were similar in colonies from each habitat. Ultimately, while the regulation of colony biomass and energy reserves may be influenced by factors, including the identity of the resident symbiont, kind of food consumed, and host genetic attributes, these independent processes converged to a similar homeostatic set point under different environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1355
JournalScientific reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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