Impacts of bleaching on the soft coral Lobophytum compactum. II. Biochemical changes in adults and their eggs
Experimental bleaching reduces the levels of important biochemical parameters in adult tissues and eggs of the soft coral Lobophytum compactum. Protein, lipid, mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and carotenoid concentrations remained lower in bleached adults than in controls for at least 8 months. Reductions in concentrations of all four parameters were greater in eggs than in maternal tissues, potentially jeopardizing egg and larval viability. In particular, reductions in lipids, proteins and carotenoids in tissues of heavily bleached soft corals were amplified approximately twofold in eggs. In comparison, amplification of maternal tissue reductions were not as great for MAAs, suggesting that MAAs are given higher priority in egg provisioning. Our finding that MAA levels are normally three times higher in eggs than in unbleached maternal tissues supports the importance of MAAs for larval survival. Twenty months after experimental bleaching the biochemical composition of both adult tissues and their eggs were indistinguishable from those of control (unbleached) soft corals.
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