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PLoS One. 2017 Feb 3;12(2):e0171051. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171051. eCollection 2017.

Reproductive output of a non-zooxanthellate temperate coral is unaffected by temperature along an extended latitudinal gradient.

Author information

1
Marine Science Group, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, European Union.
2
The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.
3
Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician", University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, European Union.

Abstract

Global environmental change, in marine ecosystems, is associated with concurrent shifts in water temperature, circulation, stratification, and nutrient input, with potentially wide-ranging biological effects. Variations in seawater temperature might alter physiological functioning, reproductive efficiency, and demographic traits of marine organisms, leading to shifts in population size and abundance. Differences in temperature tolerances between organisms can identify individual and ecological characteristics, which make corals able to persist and adapt in a climate change context. Here we investigated the possible effect of temperature on the reproductive output of the solitary non-zooxanthellate temperate coral Leptopsammia pruvoti, along an 8° latitudinal gradient. Samples have been collected in six populations along the gradient and each polyp was examined using histological and cyto-histometric analyses. We coupled our results with previous studies on the growth, demography, and calcification of L. pruvoti along the same temperature gradient, and compared them with those of another sympatric zooxanthellate coral Balanophyllia europaea to understand which trophic strategy makes the coral more tolerant to increasing temperature. The non-zooxanthellate species seemed to be quite tolerant to temperature increases, probably due to the lack of the symbiosis with zooxanthellae. To our knowledge, this is the first field investigation of the relationship between reproductive output and temperature increase of a temperate asymbiotic coral, providing novel insights into the poorly studied non-zooxanthellate scleractinians.

PMID:
28158213
PMCID:
PMC5291506
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0171051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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