[Coral-List] How long can corals survive without their symbiotic zooxanthellae?

Joshua Feingold joshua at nova.edu
Sat Jan 8 10:31:27 EST 2005

Hi John,

I did some work on this for my dissertation, and survival is variable 
depending on the species and type of stress. Also, it is important to 
understand that, nearly invariably, bleached corals possess at least some 
zooxanthellae. The population size isn't enough to see pigment in the coral 
with the naked eye, but they are there in the tissues, but at very low levels.

One species I investigated, the fungiid Diaseris distorta, could remain 
alive in the bleached state for over 2 months and then regain pigmentation. 
In contrast, another species, Pocillopora damicornis, was much more 
sensitive with mortality occurring in nearly all colonies after 2-3 weeks 
in the bleached state. Elevated temperature was the stress in both of these 


Joshua Feingold
Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center

At 03:48 PM 1/7/2005 +0000, John P Carlin wrote:
>I would like to know if there has been any published work on how long corals
>can survive without their zooxanthellae following a stress event?
>Thank you
>John Carlin
>Reading University
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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