Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 8, pp 1691–1702 | Cite as

Effect of hyposalinity on the photophysiology of Siderastrea radians

  • Kathryn M. Chartrand
  • Michael Joseph DurakoEmail author
  • James E. Blum
Original Paper


Tolerance to hyposalinity of the scleractinian coral S. radians was examined in a mesocosm study. Colonies of S. radians were collected from five basins in Florida Bay, USA, which occur along a northeast-to-southwest salinity gradient. Salinity treatments were based on historical salinity records for these basins. Photophysiology of the endosymbiont Symbiodinium spp. (maximum quantum yield; Fv/Fm) was measured as an indicator of holobiont stress to hyposalinity. Colonies from each basin were assigned four salinity treatments [The Practical Salinity Scale (PSS) was used to determine salinity. Units are not assigned to salinity values because it is a ratio and has no unit as defined by UNESCO (UNESCO Technical papers no. 45, IAPSO Pub. Sci. No. 32, Paris, France, 1985)] (30, 20, 15, and 10) and salinities were reduced 2 per day from ambient (30) to simulate a natural salinity decrease. Colonies treated with salinities of 20 and 15 showed no decrease in Fv/Fm versus controls (i.e. 30), up to 5 days after reaching their target salinity. This indicates a greater ability to withstand reduced salinity for relatively extended periods of time in S. radians compared to other reef species. Within 1 day after salinity of 10 was reached, there was a significant reduction in Fv/Fm, indicating a critical threshold for hyposaline tolerance. At the lowest treatment salinity (10), Fv/Fm for the more estuarine, northeast-basin colonies were significantly higher than the most marine southwest-basin colonies (Twin Key Basin). Our results suggest that historical salinity ranges within basins determine coral population salinity tolerances.


Salinity Treatment Pulse Amplitude Modulate Symbiotic Dinoflagellate Hyposaline Basin Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by a grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Grant No. 56980) supported by a cooperative agreement with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD #4600001348). Additional data was provided by the SERC-FIU Water Quality Monitoring Network which is supported by SFWMD/SERC Cooperative Agreement #C-15397 as well as EPA Agreement #X994621-94-0. All corals were collected under the Everglades National Park research permit No. EVER-2006-SCI-0033. The authors would also like to thank Fay Belshe and Brooke Landry from UNCW and Manuel Merello, Donna Berns, Jennifer Kunzelman, and Dr. Margaret Hall from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for field and logistical support.


  1. Anthony KR, Conolly SR, Willis BL (2002) Comparative analysis of energy allocation to tissue and skeletal growth in corals. Limnol Oceanogr 47(5):1417–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Army US Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District (2000) Master Program Management Plan, vol I.
  3. Becker G, Norman J, Moholl-Siebett M (1990) Two sites of heat-induced damage to photosystem II. In: Baltscheffsky M (ed) Current research in photosynthesis, vol IV. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 705–708Google Scholar
  4. Ben-Amotz A (1973) The role of glycerol in the osmotic regulation of the halophilic alga Dunaliella parva. J Phycol 51:875–878Google Scholar
  5. Blank RJ, Trench RK (1985) Speciation and symbiotic dinoflagellates. Science 229:656–658. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carpenter LW, Patterson MR (2007) Water flow influences the distribution of photosynthetic efficiency within colonies of the scleractinian coral Montastrea annularis (Ellis and Solander, 1786); implications for coral bleaching. J Exp Mar Biol 351:10–26. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chartrand KM, Durako MJ (2009) Distribution and photobiology of Siderastrea radians and Thalassia testudinum in Florida Bay, FL USA. Bull Mar Sci 84(2):153–166Google Scholar
  8. Chitlaru E, Pick U (1991) Regulation of glycerol synthesis in response to osmotic changes in Dunaliella. Plant Physiol 96:50–60. doi: CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Coles SL, Jokiel PL (1992) Effects of salinity on corals. In: Connell DW, Hawker DW (eds) Pollution in tropical aquatic systems. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 147–166Google Scholar
  10. Durako MJ, Chartrand KM (2009) Changes in spectral reflectance in response to salinity variation in Siderastrea radians from Florida Bay, Florida USA. In: Proceedings of the 11th international coral reef symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 7–11 July 2008 (in press)Google Scholar
  11. Fitt WK, Brown BE, Warner ME, Dunne RP (2001) Coral bleaching: interpretation of thermal tolerance limits and thermal thresholds in tropical corals. Coral Reefs 20:51–65. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gates RD, Edmunds PJ (1999) The physiological mechanisms of acclimatization in tropical reef corals. Am Zool 39:30–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gates RD, Hoegh-Guldberg O, McFall-Ngai MJ, Bil KY, Muscatine L (1995) Free amino acids exhibit anthozoan host factor activity: they induce the release of photosynthate from freshly isolated symbiotic dinoflagellates in vitro. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92:7430–7434. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gross E, Dilley RA, San Pietro A (1969) Control of electron flow in chloroplasts by cations. Arch Biochem Biophys 134:450–462. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guinotte JM, Buddemeier RW, Kleypas JA (2003) Future coral reef habitat marginality: temporal and spatial effects of climate change in the Pacific basin. Coral Reefs 22:551–558. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hackney JW, Durako MJ (2004) Size-frequency patterns in morphometric characteristics of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum reflect environmental variability. Ecol Indic 4:55–71. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hill R, Schreiber U, Gademann R, Larkum AWD, Kuhl M, Ralph PJ (2004) Spatial heterogeneity of photosynthesis and the effect of temperature induced bleaching conditions in three species of corals. Mar Biol (Berl) 144:633–640. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hill R, Frankart C, Ralph PJ (2005) Impact of bleaching conditions on the components of non-photochemical quenching in the zooxanthellae of a coral. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 22(1):83–92. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoegh-Guldberg O (1999) Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the word’s coral reefs. Mar Freshw Res 50:839–866. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Jones RJ (1999) Photoinhibition and photoprotection in symbiotic dinoflagellates from reef-building corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 183:73–86. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Iglesias-Prieto R, Matta JL, Robins WA, Trench RK (1992) Photosynthetic response to elevated temperature in the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium microadriaticum in culture. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89:10302–10305. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Iglesias-Prieto R, Beltran VH, LaJeunesse TC, Reyes-Bonilla H, Thome PE (2004) Different algal symbionts explain the vertical distribution of dominant reef corals in the Eastern Pacific. Proc R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci 271:1757–1763. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jahnke LS, White AL (2003) Long-term hyposaline and hypersaline stresses produce distinct antioxidant responses in the marine alga Dunaliella tertiolecta. J Plant Physiol 160:1193–1202. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones RJ, Hoegh-Guldberg O (1999) Effects of cyanide on coral photosynthesis: implications for identifying the cause of coral bleaching and for assessing the environmental effects of cyanide fishing. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 177:83–91. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jones RJ, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2001) Diurnal changes in the photochemical efficiency of the symbiotic dinoflagellates (Dinophyceae) of corals: photoprotection, photoinactivation, and the relationship to coral bleaching. Plant Cell Environ 24:89–99. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jones RJ, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Larkum AWD, Schreiber U (1998) Temperature induced bleaching of corals begins with impairment of the CO2 fixation mechanism in zooxanthellae. Plant Cell Environ 21:1219–1230. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jones RJ, Kildea T, Hoegh-Guldberg O (1999) PAM chlorophyll fluorometry: a new in situ technique for stress assessment in scleractinian corals, used to examine the effect of cyanide from cyanide fishing. Mar Pollut Bull 38:864–874. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones RJ, Ward S, Amri AY, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2000) Changes in quantum efficiency of Photosystem II of symbiotic dinoflagellates of corals alter heat stress, and of bleached corals sampled alter the 1998 Great Barrier Ref. mass bleaching event. Mar Freshw Res 51:63–71. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kahn AE, Durako MJ (2005) The effect of salinity and ammonium on seed germination in Ruppia maritima from Florida Bay. Bull Mar Sci 77:453–458Google Scholar
  30. Kahn AE, Durako MJ (2006) Thalassia testudinum seedling responses to changes in and nitrogen. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 335:1–12. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kerswell AP, Jones RJ (2003) Effects of hypo-osmosis on the coral Stylophora pistillata: nature and cause of ‘low-salinity bleaching’. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 253:145–154. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. LaJeunnesse TC (2001) Investigating the biodiversity, ecology, and phylogeny of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium using the ITS region: in search of a ‘species’ level marker. J Phycol 37(5):866–880. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lewis JB (1989) Spherical growth in the Caribbean coral Siderastrea radians (Pallas) and its survival in disturbed habitats. Coral Reefs 7:161–167. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Light S, Dineen W (1994) Water control in the Everglades: a historical perspective. In: Ogden SM, Ogden JC (eds) Everglades the ecosystem and its restoration. St Lucie Press, Delray BeachGoogle Scholar
  35. Lirman D (2002) Back from the dead: the resilience of Siderastrea radians to severe stress. Coral Reefs 21:291–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lirman D, Orlando B, Macia S, Manzello D, Kaufman L, Biber P, Jones T (2003) Coral communities of Biscayne Bay, Florida and adjacent offshore areas: diversity, abundance, distribution, and environmental correlates. Aq Conserv Mar Fres Eco 13:121–135. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Loya Y, Saka K, Yamazato K, Nakano Y, Sambali H, van Woesik R (2001) Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers. Ecol Lett 4:122–131. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Manzello D, Lirman D (2003) The photosynthetic resilience of Porites furcata to salinity disturbance. Coral Reefs 22:537–540. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marcus J, Thornhaug A (1981) Pacific versus Atlantic responses of the subtropical hermatypic coral Porites spp. to temperature and salinity effects. In: Proceedings of the 4th international coral reef symposium, Quezon City, vol 2, pp 15–20Google Scholar
  40. Mayfield AB, Gates RD (2007) Osmoregulation in anthozoan-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Comp Biochem Phys Part A 147:1–10. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muscatine L (1990) The role of symbiotic algae in carbon and energy flux in reef corals. In: Dubinsky Z (ed) Ecosystems of the world: coral reefs. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 75–87Google Scholar
  42. Muthiga MA, Szmant AM (1987) The effects of salinity stress on the rates of aerobic and photosynthesis in the hermatypic coral Siderastrea siderea. Biol Bull 173:539–551. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nuttle WK, Fourqurean JW, Cosby BJ, Zieman JC, Robblee MB (2000) The influence of net freshwater supply on salinity in Florida Bay. Water Resour Res 36(7):1805–1822. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Philipp E, Fabricius K (2003) Photophysiological stress in scleractinian corals in response to short-term sedimentation. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 287:57–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ralph PJ, Larkum AWD, Kuhl M (2005) Temporal patterns in effective quantum yield of individual zooxanthellae expelled during bleaching. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 316:17–28. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rinkevich B (1989) The contribution of photosynthetic products to coral reproduction. Mar Biol (Berl) 101(2):259–263. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rodríguez-Román AR, Hernández-Pech X, Thome PE, Enríquez S, Iglesias-Prieto R (2006) Photosynthesis and light utilization in the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata recovering from a bleaching event. Limnol Oceanogr 51(6):2702–2710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rowan R (1998) Diversity and ecology of zooxanthellae on coral reefs. J Phycol 344:7–17Google Scholar
  49. Rudnick D (2006) Report on algae blooms in Eastern Florida Bay and Southern Biscayne Bay. South Florida Water Management District, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  50. Sampayo EM, Franceschinis L, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S (2007) Niche partitioning of closely related symbiotic dinoflagellates. Mol Ecol 16:3721–3733. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Saxby T, Dennison WC, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2003) Photosynthetic responses of the coral Montipora digitata to cold temperature stress. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 248:85–97. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schick HM (1991) Functional biology of sea anemones. Chapman and Hall, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schomer NS, Drew RD (1982) An ecological characterization of the lower Everglades, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Off Biol Serv FWS OBS-82(58)Google Scholar
  54. Smith NP (2002) Florida bay circulation studies. Recent Res Dev Geophys 4:93–104Google Scholar
  55. Trench RK (1979) The cell biology of plant animal symbioses. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 30:485–531. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Trench RK (1993) Microalgal-invertebrate symbiosis: a review. Endo Cell Res 9:135–175Google Scholar
  57. UNESCO (1985) The international system of units (SI) in oceanography. UNESCO technical papers no. 45, IAPSO Pub. Sci. No. 32, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  58. van Oppen MJH, Mahiny AJ, Done TJ (2005) Geographic distribution of zooxanthellae types in three coral species on the Great Barrier Reef sampled after the 2002 bleaching event. Coral Reefs 24:482–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Veron JEN (2000) Corals of the world. Australian Institute of Marine Science, TownsvilleGoogle Scholar
  60. Warner ME, Fitt WK, Schmidt GW (1996) The effects of elevated temperature on the photosynthetic efficiency of zooxanthellae in hospite from four different species of reef coral: a novel approach. Plant Cell Environ 19:291–299. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Warner ME, Fitt WK, Schmidt GW (1999) Damage to photosystem II in symbiotic dinoflagellates: a determinant of coral bleaching. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:8007–8012. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Warner ME, Chilcoat GC, McFarland FK, Fitt WK (2002) Seasonal fluctuations in the photosynthetic capacity of photosystem II in symbiotic dinoflagellates in the Caribbean reef-building coral Montastrea. Mar Biol (Berl) 141:31–38. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Xia J, Li Y, Zou D (2004) Effects of salinity stress on PSII in Ulva lactuca as probed by chlorophyll fluorescence measurements. Aquat Bot 80:129–137. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yancey PH, Clark ME, Hand SC, Bowlus RD, Somero CN (1982) Living with water stress: evolution of osmolyte systems. Science 217:1214–1222. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn M. Chartrand
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael Joseph Durako
    • 1
    Email author
  • James E. Blum
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology and Marine Biology, Center for Marine ScienceThe University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsThe University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Primary Industries and FisheriesNorthern Fisheries CentreCairnsAustralia

Personalised recommendations