Experimental ecology of the temperate scleractinian coral Astrangia danae I. Partition of respiration, photosynthesis and calcification between host and symbionts

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of the scleractinian coral Astrangia danae were calculated from the changes in total alkalinity, pH, calculated total CO2, and oxygen concentration produced by colonies incubated in glass jars. A correction for changes in ammonia, nitrate and nitrite was taken into account and the method evaluated. The fluxes of oxygen and CO2 were highly correlated (r=0.99). The statistical error of alkalinity determinations was less than 10% of the changes observed in the slowest calcifying samples. Metabolism of polyparium alone was estimated by difference after removal of tissue and reincubation of bare corallum. Zooxanthellae concentration in the polyps was obtained from cell counts made on homogenates of polyp tissue. The calculated photosynthetic rate of the zooxanthellae in vivo was 25 μmol O2 (108 cell)-1 h-1 at a light intensity of 120 μEin m-2 s-1. In corals having 0.5x109 zooxanthellae/dm2 of colony area up to 8% of the total photosynthesis was attributed to the corallum microcosm. Polyp respiration, photosynthesis, and CaCO3 uptake rates were all much higher than rates previously reported from A. danae, apparently because in these experiments the organisms were better fed. This increased photosynthesis in turn enhanced calcification still further. The symbiosis therefore appears to provide a growth advantage even to fed corals, under the conditions of these experiments. © 1980 Springer-Verlag.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Biology