Marine Biology

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 137–144 | Cite as

Effect of daylight variations on the energy budgets of shallow-water corals

  • P. Spencer Davies


Energy budgets were determined for small pieces (nubbins) of the coralsPocillopora damicornis, Montipora verrucosa andPorites lobata living at a water depth of 3 m on the fringing reef of Coconut Island, Kaneohe, Hawaii. The budgets were determined for three different types of day: an “ideal” day with no cloud and an in situ daily integrated irradiance at 3 m of 14.385 E m−2 d−1; a “normal” day with sporadic cloud cover and daily irradiance of 11.915 E m−2 d−1; and an “overcast” day with daily irradiance of 6.128 E m−2 d−1. On the “ideal” day, the energy fixed in photosynthesis was more than that required for respiration and growth of both zooxanthellae and animal components of the association, and there was a predicted loss of between 19.3 and 32.4% of the energy fixed. On a “normal” day, the total photosynthetic energy fixation was lower and the excess was between 12.1 and 27.9% of the energy fixed. On the “overcast” day, however, in bothPocillopora damicornis andPorites lobata energy expenditure exceeded photosynthetic energy fixation and the budget was in deficit. Estimates of rate of mucus secretion on an “overcast” day were derived and, when incorporated into the energy budget, it was predicted that all three species would have a deficit budget, necessitating the catabolism of lipid reserves. From published values for lipid storage in these species it was calculated that the reserves would last from 28 d inPocillopora damicornis to 114 d inM. verrucosa. A model is suggested in which corals draw upon their extensive lipid stores on days of sub-optimal light, replenishing the reserves again when daily light levels are high, and finally excreting the excess energy fixed, as mucus-lipid when the lipid stores are replete.


Lipid Energy Expenditure Respiration Photosynthesis Water Depth 
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 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Spencer Davies
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  2. 2.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyKaneoheUSA

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