Physiological and immunological acclimation in corals differing in life-history traits: a field experiment
Rivera Irizarry, Fabiola
AdvisorSabat, Alberto M.
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Corals can exhibit much variability in life-history strategies. A proposed categorization recognizes competitive, stress-tolerant and weedy species. 'Competitive' corals invest more energy towards growth, 'stress-tolerant' towards maintenance and 'weedy' towards reproduction. While competitive corals are declining due to climate change and anthropogenic stressors, stress-tolerant and weedy are thriving. We performed a reciprocal transplant experiment between a degraded and a more pristine reef, and measured the physiological (Symbiodinium density, chlorophyll a concentration, protein concentration) and immunological (oxidative stress) response of the stresstolerant Pseudodiploria strigosa and Orbicella annularis, and the weedy Porites astreoides. Results indicate that the studied species can rapidly and successfully acclimate to local environmental conditions. Comparisons among species suggest that the physiological and immunological response in P. astreoides, P. strigosa and O. annularis are more influenced by species-specificity than by life-history strategy.