Depth related parameters, specifically light, affect different aspects of corals physiology, including fluorescence. Green fluorescence protein (GFP)-like pigments found in many coral species have been suggested to serve a variety of functions, including photo-protection and photo-enhancement. Using fluorescence imaging and molecular analysis, we further investigated the role of these proteins on the physiology of the coral Stylophora pistillata and its algal partners. Fluorescence was found to differ significantly between depths for larvae and adult colonies. Larvae from the shallow reef presented a higher GFP expression and a greater fluorescence intensity compared to the larvae from the mesophotic reef, reflecting the elevated need for photo-protection against high light levels characteristic of the shallow reef, thus supporting the “sunscreen” hypothesis. Additionally, given the lower but still occurring protein expression under non-damaging low light conditions, our results suggest that GFP-like proteins might act to regulate the amount of photosynthetically usable light for the benefit of the symbiotic algae. Moreover, we propose that the differences in GFP expression and green fluorescence between shallow and deep larvae indicate that the GFPs within coral larvae might serve to attract and retain different symbiont clades, increasing the chances of survival when encountering new environments.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the technical staff of the Moris Kahn Marine Research Station for their invaluable help. We thank Alex Chequer, Shai Eindinder, and Stephan Martinez for their assistance with technical diving field work. We thank the technical staff of the Interuniversity Institute of Marine Sciences for the invaluable help with the field study. We thank Opher Bar-Natan for helping with image processing. This study was performed in accordance with regulations and guidelines set by the Israel Nature and National Park Protection Authority. Funding. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 312/15), United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF; Grant # 2016321), the European Research Council (ERC; Grant # 755876), and the ASSEMBLE Plus consortium for an access grant (ref. SR16022018108e1) to the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 312/15), United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF; Grant # 2016321), the European Research Council (ERC; Grant # 755876), and the ASSEMBLE Plus consortium for an access grant (ref. SR16022018108e1) to the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.
© Copyright © 2020 Scucchia, Nativ, Neder, Goodbody-Gringley and Mass.
- horizontal acquisition
- mesophotic reef
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Aquatic Science
- Water Science and Technology
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Ocean Engineering