Marine Biology

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 349–358 | Cite as

Calcium uptake and net calcification rates in the octocoral Eunicella papillosa

  • B. Velimirov
  • J. King


This paper presents the results of a preliminary study on the uptake of 45Ca in the mesoskeleton of the gorgonian Eunicella papillosa (Octocorallia). Hourly seawater aliquots over 12 h periods displayed considerable fluctuations of activity with time, reflecting a disappearance and reappearance of tracer during the experiment. Analysis of total coenenchyme mass showed an initial rapid but fluctuating uptake of tracer and a progressive decrease with time. Distinct differences in the calcification rate of specific growth regions of the coral were detected, the rate being higher in branch tips than in lower branch regions. Chase experiments on colonies previously incubated for 24 h revealed that up to 45% of the tracer taken up during labelling were returned to the seawater. A comparison of the tracer content of the coenenchyme and the calcite spicules revealed that up to 70% of the calcium taken up remained in the coral tissue. Quantification of isotopic exchange phenomena with dead corals and isolated spicules emphasized the importance of the live coral tissue as a barrier and regulator of Ca uptake. The results are discussed in the light of the limitations of radioisotope techniques for the determination of calcification rates, and an attempt to compare rates with data in the literature is made.


Calcite Isotopic Exchange Coral Tissue Calcification Rate Live Coral 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Velimirov
    • 1
  • J. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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