Thermal photo-physiological responses of massive heat-resistant coral Porites lutea under fish predated versus non-predated conditions




Abstract. Ricot M, Jeetun S, Joggee S, Kaullysing D, Taleb-Hossenkhan N, Bhagooli R. 2023. Thermal photo-physiological responses of massive heat-resistant coral Porites lutea under fish predated versus non-predated conditions. Indo Pac J Ocean Life 7: 38-47. Fish predation on corals leading to polyp and tissue loss has been identified as a significant stressor to corals and is often associated with reduced growth, reproduction, and even mortality. However, how climate change-driven ocean warming may impact such a biological stressor is yet to be thoroughly understood. This study aimed to assess elevated temperature’s effects on the photo-physiology of fish-predated and non-predated parts of the thermally resistant coral Porites lutea (Quoy & Gaimard, 1833). The objectives were to assess the photo-physiological parameters such as effective quantum yield at photosystem II (FPSII), relative maximum electron transport rate (rETRmax), maximum photo-chemical quenching (NPQmax), photosynthetic efficiency (?), photoinhibition (?) and Ik at fish bite-affected (BA) and non-affected (NA) coral parts at temperatures of 28°C and 32°C under low-light (10 µmol quanta m-2s-1) and moderate-light (110 µmol quanta m-2s-1) conditions for a duration of 48hr. FPSII, rETRmax and NPQmax were not negatively affected by fish predation conditions. Under moderate light, the rETRmax increased in the non-predated condition at 28°C but not at 32°C while the NPQmax exhibited a more pronounced increase at 32°C compared to the 28°C treatment. The absence of significant declines in FPSII and rETRmax accompanied by a significant increase in NPQmax at 32°C is indicative of a lack of photo-inhibition and an active quenching of energy in a non-harmful way at PSII. No significant interactions of temperature and predation condition and light and predation condition were found, indicating that short-term exposure of 2 days to an elevated temperature of 32°C and moderate light intensity of 110 µmol quanta m-2s-1 did not result in any exacerbated negative photo-physiological impacts of fish predation in P. lutea. These findings suggest that both fish-predated and non-predated conditions in P. lutea are equally tolerant to the tested elevated temperature level. Thus, ocean warming events may not differentially impact their photosynthetic activities.



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