[Coral-List] Red coral and acidification

Sergio Rossi Heras Sergio.Rossi at uab.cat
Mon Apr 1 12:01:00 EDT 2013

Dear  colleagues,
it is  a pleasure to present our contribution to the effects of Ocean Acidification on corals. We investigated the effect of OA on the precious Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum). We want to underline the long duration of the experiment (314 days), necessary to obtain reliable data on an extremely slow growing species. Mediterranean red coral is one of the most precious marine species and its economic importance make it an interesting case study for the possible economic effect of OA. In this paper we explore the effect of OA not only on the CaCO3 deposition but also on spicule morphology and biochemistry of the species trying to have the most complete possible vision of the stress induced by acidified waters.

Bramanti L., Movilla J., Guron M., Calvo E., Gori A., Dominguez-Carrió C., Grynyó J., Lopez-Sanz A., Martinez-Quintana A., Pelejero C., Ziveri P., Rossi S. 2013. Detrimental effects of Ocean Acidification on the economically important Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum).
Global Change Biology  doi: 10.1111/gcb.12171

The mean predicted decrease of 0.3 to 0.4 pH units in the global surface ocean by the end of the century has prompted urgent research to assess the potential effects of ocean acidification on the marine environment, with strong emphasis on calcifying organisms. Among them, the Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) is expected to be particularly susceptible to acidification effects, due to the elevated solubility of its Mg-calcite skeleton. This, together with the large overexploitation of this species, depicts a bleak future for this organism over the next decades. In this study, we evaluated the effects of low pH on this species from aquaria experiments. Several colonies of C. rubrumwere long-term maintained for 314 days in aquaria at two different pH levels (8.10 and 7.81, pHT). Calcification rate, spicule morphology, major biochemical constituents (protein, carbohydrates and lipids) and fatty acids composition were measured periodically. Exposure to lower pH conditio
ns caused a significant decrease in the skeletal growth rate in comparison to the control treatment. Similarly, the spicule morphology clearly differed between both treatments at the end of the experiment, with aberrant shapes being observed only under the acidified conditions. On the other hand, while total organic matter was significantly higher under low pH conditions, no significant differences were detected between treatments regarding total carbohydrate, lipid, protein and fatty acid composition. However, the lower variability found among samples maintained in acidified conditions relative to controls, suggests a possible effect of pH decrease on the metabolism of the colonies. Our results show, for the first time, evidence of detrimental ocean acidification effects on this valuable and endangered coral species.


Dr. Sergio Rossi
Institut de Ciència I Tecnologia Ambientals ICTA
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona UAB
UAB Campus Cn s/n
Cerdanyola del Vallés 08193
Barcelona SPAIN

Tel 34 (93) 5814219
Fax 34 (93) 5813331




Skype contact        sergio2605

Sergio.Rossi at uab.cat

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