[Coral-List] Ideal Temperatures for Coral growth

Daniel Barshis barshis at hawaii.edu
Mon Sep 8 13:16:39 EDT 2014

Hi Rudy et al,
     As the other listers have pointed out there are a lot of variables
that go into determining the "Ideal Temperature" for coral growth. It
depends on the species, the home population location/environment, the type
of Symbiodinium, the water chemistry, the light levels, etc. A few good
references to look at are pasted below. These give a rough summary of the
upper bleaching thresholds of a variety of species and locations.
      Another resource to look at is the NOAA Coral Reef Watch Hotspot tool
(search for "NOAA Coral Reef Watch Hotspot") and click on the "Virtual
Station" tool. That will pull up a temperature graph that shows a
continuous temperature record for the past calendar year (or more) and the
dashed and solid lines show the Max Monthly Mean SST and Bleaching
Threshold respectively. These provide a good approximation of the location
estimates for "Ideal Temperatures" though small scale differences among
species and microhabitats will still come into play.
     The question really is for what purpose do you need this information?
If you're trying to grow corals in a tank then I'd use a few degrees (C)
below the Max Monthly Mean SST for the source location as a rule of thumb
and start there. Higher temperatures generally promote growth until they
start to induce stress. If the interest is for educational purposes then
there's really a lot of contributing factors that determine the "Ideal
Temperature" for an individual coral. Here's a few articles for background
reading (there are many more out there).

Jokiel PL (2004) Temperature stress and coral bleaching. In: Coral Health
and Disease (eds Rosenberg E., Loya Y.), pp. 401- 425. Springer-Verlag,

Jokiel PL, Coles SL (1990) Response of Hawaiian and other Indo-Pacific reef
corals to elevated temperature. Coral Reefs 8:155-162

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2014 17:27:02 -1000
> From: Steve Palumbi <spalumbi at stanford.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Ideal Temperatures for Coral growth,
>         reproduction,   and thermal lethal limits.
> To: Dennis Hubbard <dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu>
> Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>,
>         Rudy Bonn <rudy_bonn at yahoo.com>
> Message-ID: <4E39FFFE-820F-48AB-82E7-A332CABA0ABA at stanford.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=us-ascii
> Likewise, we have found that individual corals can change themselves to
> become more heat tolerant when living in a warmer environment, and that
> some individuals have a higher dose of 'heat resistant' genes that gives
> them an edge as well. Equitorial populations bleach at higher temperatures
> than the same species living further from the equator. Yet there are some
> limits. We have found few corals that are bleach resistant above 35
> degrees. And poor physiological health makes them more bleaching sensitive.
> Steve
> **********************************
> Stephen R. Palumbi
> Harold A Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station
> Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Biology
> Stanford University
> --

  Daniel Barshis, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor
  Department of Biological Sciences
  Old Dominion University
  Mills Godwin Building 302J
  Norfolk, VA 23529
  Office: 757-683-3614
  Lab: 757-683-5755
  Web: www.odu.edu/~dbarshis

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