The photoacclimation of endolithic algae (of the genus Ostreobium) inhabiting the skeleton of the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica during a bleaching event was examined. Pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) chlorophyll fluorescence techniques in situ were used to assess the photosynthetic efficiency of endolithic algae in the coral skeleton and the symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) in the coral tissue. Relative photosynthetic electron transport rates (ETRs) of the endolithic algae under bleached areas of the colony were significantly higher than those of endolithic algae from a healthy section of the colony and those of zooxanthellae isolated from the same section. Endolithic algae under healthy parts of the colony demonstrated an ETRmax of 16.5% that of zooxanthellae from tissue in the same section whereas endolithic algae under bleached sections showed ETR max values that were 39% of those found for healthy zooxanthellae. The study demonstrates that endolithic algae undergo photoacclimation with increased irradiance reaching the skeleton. As PAM fluorometry has become a major tool for assessing levels of stress and bleaching in corals, the importance of considering the contribution of the endolithic algae to the overall chlorophyll fluorescence measured is highlighted.
- Oculina patagonica
- Pulse amplitude modulated fluorometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science