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Photosynthetic response of Persian Gulf acroporid corals to summer versus winter temperature deviations

Abstract : With ongoing climate change, coral susceptibility to thermal stress constitutes a central concern in reefconservation. In the Persian Gulf, coral reefs are confronted with a high seasonal variability in water temperature, and both hot and cold extremes have been associated with episodes of coral bleaching and mortality. Using physiological performance as a measure of coral health, we investigated the thermal susceptibility of the common acroporid, Acropora downingi, near Hengam Island where the temperature oscillates seasonally in the range 20.2-34.2 °C. In a series of two short-term experiments comparing coral response in summer versus winter conditions, we exposed corals during each season (1) to the corresponding seasonal average and extreme temperature levels in a static thermal environment, and (2) to a progressive temperature deviation from the annual mean toward the corresponding extreme seasonal value and beyond in a dynamic thermal environment. We monitored four indictors of coral physiological performance: net photosynthesis (Pn), dark respiration (R), autotrophic capability (Pn/R), and survival. Corals exposed to warming during summer showed a decrease in net photosynthesis and ultimately died, while corals exposed to cooling during winter were not affected in their photosynthetic performance and survival. Coral autotrophic capability Pn/R was lower at the warmer thermal level within eachseason, and during summer compared to winter. Corals exposed to the maximum temperature of summer displayed Pn/R < 1, inferring that photosynthetic performance could not support basal metabolic needs under this environment. Our results suggest that the autotrophic performance of the Persian Gulf A. downingi is sensitive to the extreme temperatures endured in summer, and therefore its populations may be impacted by future increases in water temperature.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 4:40:43 AM
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Jahangir Vajed Samiei, Abolfazl Saleh, Ali Mehdinia, Arash Shirvani, Mohsen Kayal. Photosynthetic response of Persian Gulf acroporid corals to summer versus winter temperature deviations. PeerJ, PeerJ, 2015, 3, pp.e1062. ⟨10.7717/peerj.1062⟩. ⟨ird-03114518⟩



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