Home > Explore Data & Reports > Ecophysiology of mesophotic reef-building corals in Hawai’i is influenced by symbiont-host associations, photoacclimatization, trophic plasticity, and adaptation

Citation:

Padilla-Gamiño, J.L., M.S. Roth, L.J. Rodrigues, C.J. Bradley, R.R. Bidigare, R.D. Gates, C.M. Smith, and H.L. Spalding. 2019. Ecophysiology of mesophotic reef-building corals in Hawai’i is influenced by symbiont-host associations, photoacclimatization, trophic plasticity, and adaptation. Limnology and Oceanography. doi:10.1002/lno.11164

Data/Report Type:

Sponsored Research

Description

Mesophotic reef corals remain largely unexplored in terms of the genetic adaptations and physiological mechanisms to acquire, allocate, and use energy for survival and reproduction. In the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Leptoseris species complex form the most spatially extensive mesophotic coral ecosystem known and provide habitat for a unique community. To study how the ecophysiology of Leptoseris species relates to symbiont–host specialization and understand the mechanisms responsible for coral energy acquisition in extreme low light environments, we examined Symbiodinium (endosymbiotic dinoflagellate) photobiological characteristics and the lipids and isotopic signatures from Symbiodinium and coral hosts over a depth‐dependent light gradient (55–7 μmol photons m−2 s−1, 60–132 m). Clear performance differences demonstrate different photoadaptation and photoacclimatization across this genus. Our results also show that flexibility in photoacclimatization depends primarily on Symbiodinium type. Colonies harboring Symbiodinium sp. COI‐2 showed significant increases in photosynthetic pigment content with increasing depth, whereas colonies harboring Symbiodinium spp. COI‐1 and COI‐3 showed variability in pigment composition, yield measurements for photosystem II, as well as size and density of Symbiodinium cells. Despite remarkable differences in photosynthetic adaptive strategies, there were no significant differences among lipids of Leptoseris species with depth. Finally, isotopic signatures of both host and Symbiodinium changed with depth, indicating that coral colonies acquired energy from different sources depending on depth. This study highlights the complexity in physiological adaptations within this symbiosis and the different strategies used by closely related mesophotic species to diversify energy acquisition and to successfully establish and compete in extreme light‐limited environments.

Note to readers with disabilities: Some scientific publications linked from this website may not conform to Section 508 accessibility standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing this electronic content, please contact the lead/corresponding author, Primary Contact, or nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov.

Explore Similar Data/Reports
NCCOS-with-tag-to-side-bld

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov

    Sign Up for Our Quarterly Newsletter