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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1421. doi: 10.1038/srep01421.

Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals.

Author information

  • 1Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, USA. melissa.s.roth@gmail.com

Abstract

Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals.

PMID:
23478289
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3594756
Free PMC Article

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