First description of polyp bailout in cold-water octocorals under aquaria maintenance
Cnidarians, characterized by high levels of plasticity, exhibit remarkable mechanisms to withstand or escape unfavourable conditions including reverse development which describes processes of transformation of adult stages into early developmental stages with higher mobility. Polyp bailout is a stress-escape response common among scleractinian species, consisting of massive detachment of live polyps and subsequent death of the mother colony. Here, we describe two cases of polyp bailout in the cold-water octocoral species Acanthogorgia armata and Acanella arbuscula. During maintenance in aquaria, specimens of both species presented coenosarc withdrawal and loss of sclerites, followed by detachment of intact polyps. This is a strong indication of reverse development which can be a very important strategy under stress conditions and has not been reported before in cold-water octocorals.
KeywordsReverse development Deep-sea Stress response Life history traits Cnidaria Alcyonacea
This study was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, under the ATLAS (Grant Agreement No. 678760) and MERCES project (Grant Agreement No. 689518). This output reflects only the author’s view, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The MEDWAVES cruise was supported by the ATLAS project and the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity. Maria Rakka is funded by a DRCT Ph.D. Grand (Reference M3.1.a/F/047/2015.). We are grateful to the members of the Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation, the crew of the manned submersible Lula and Dr. Andreia Braga-Henriques for collection and maintenance of the coral specimens of Acanthogorgia armata. We are also grateful to all the crew of the RV Sarmiento de Gamboa, the Marine Technology Unit (UTM – CSIC), the ROV team from ACSM and all MEDWAVES cruise participants for their support during sampling and maintenance of Acanella arbuscula.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
- Bavestrello G, Puce S, Cerrano C, Castellano L, and Arillo A (2000). Water movement activating fragmentation: a new dispersal strategy for hydractiniid hydroids. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 80:361–362Google Scholar
- Fordyce AJ, Camp EF, Ainsworth TD (2017) Polyp bailout in Pocillopora damicornis following thermal stress [version 2; referees: 2 approved]. F1000Research 6:687Google Scholar
- Gohar HAF (1940) Studies on the Xeniidae of the Red Sea: their ecology, physiology, taxonomy and phylogeny. Publ Mar Biol Stn Al Ghardaqa 3:27–78Google Scholar
- Kruzic P (2007) Polyp expulsion of the coral Cladocora caespitosa (Anthozoa, Scleractinia) in extreme sea temperature conditions. Nat Croat 16:211–214Google Scholar
- Lee CS, Walford J, Goh BPL (2012) The effect of benthic macroalgae on coral settlement. In: Tan K-S (ed) Contributions to marine science: A commemorative, vol celebrating. 10 years of research on St John’s Island. National University of Singapore, Singapore, pp 89–93Google Scholar
- Lesh-Laurie GE, Corriel R (1973) Scyphistoma regeneration from isolated tentacles in Aurelia aurita. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 53: 885–894Google Scholar
- Orejas C, Taviani M, Ambroso S, Andreou V, Bilan M, Bo M, Brooke S, Buhl-Mortensen P, Cordes E, Dominguez-Carrió C, Ferrier-Pagès C, Godinho A, Gori A, Grinyó J, Gutiérrez C, Hennige S, Jiménez C, Larsson A, Lartaud F, Lunden J, Maier C, Maier S, Movilla J, Murray F, Peru E, Purser A, Rakka M, Reynaud S, Roberts JM, Siles P, Strömberg SM, Thomsen L, van Oevelen D, Veiga A, Carreiro-Silva M (in press) Cold-water corals in aquaria: advances and challenges. A focus in the Mediterranean. In Past, present and future: Mediterranean Cold-water corals, series Coral Reefs of the World, SpringerGoogle Scholar