Effects of feeding on the physiological performance of the stony coral Pocillopora acuta
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Effects of feeding on the physiological performance of the stony coral Pocillopora acuta
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  • Source:
    Scientific Reports, 10(1)
Filetype[PDF-1.37 MB]

  • Description:
    Reef-building corals rely on both heterotrophy and endosymbiotic dinoflagellate autotrophy to meet their metabolic needs. Those looking to culture these organisms for scientific or industrial purposes must therefore consider both feeding regimes and the light environment. Herein the effects of three photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) levels were assessed in fed and unfed specimens of the model coral Pocillopora acuta that were cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). Half of the corals were fed Artemia sp. brine shrimp in a separate feeding tank to prevent biofouling, and fragments were exposed to PAR levels of 105, 157, or 250 μmol quanta m−2 s−1 over a 12-h period each day. All cultured corals survived the 140-day treatment, and the physiological response variables assessed-buoyant weight, specific growth rate, linear extension, color, and Fv/Fm-were significantly influenced by feeding, and, to a lesser extent, light. Specifically, fed corals grew faster and larger, and presented darker pigmentation; corals fed at the highest light levels grew at the fastest rate (6 cm year−1 or 175 mg g−1 week−1). Given the high physiological performance observed, we advocate the active feeding of brine shrimp in RAS by those looking to cultivate P. acuta, and likely other corals, over long-term timescales.
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