Marine Biology

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Effects of temperature on photosynthesis and respiration in hermatypic corals

  • S. L. Coles
  • P. L. Jokiel


Photosynthesis and respiration rates of the reef corals Pocillopora damicornis (Linn.), Montipora verrucosa (Lamarck), Porites compressa Dana and Fungia scutaria Lamarck were measured under controlled temperatures. Results indicate that coral metabolism is closely adapted to ambient temperature conditions. Tropical corals measured at Enewetak, Marshall Islands, showed greater primary production compared to maintenance requirements at elevated temperatures than did subtropical varieties of the same species in Hawaii. Photosynthesis: respiration (P:R) ratios were significantly and negatively related with temperature between 18° and 31°C for all Hawaiian corals, whereas at Enewetak this ratio generally showed a curvilinear relationship for this temperature range. Extrapolations of P:R regressions on temperatures to a value of 2.0 (estimated as a minimum required for long-term functional autotrophy) coincide for Hawaiian specimens with published upper lethal temperatures. Extrapolation of P:R regressions for Enewetak specimens at temperatures above 25°C suggests lethal temperatures for these corals to be 2 to 5 C° higher than for Hawaiian corals, in good agreement with recent experimental findings. Interspecific differences in P:R temperature regressions for Hawaiian corals correlating with upper lethal temperature tolerances are described.


Respiration Photosynthesis Reef Coral Temperature Regression Interspecific Difference 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. L. Coles
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. L. Jokiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyKaneoheUSA
  2. 2.Enviromental DepartmentHawaiian Electric CompanyHonoluluUSA

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