The use of coral nubbins in coral reef ecotoxicology testing

Shai Shafir, Jaap Van Rijn, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is an urgent demand to establish reliable ecotoxicological assays for reef corals, there has not been yet an available source material that can supply the high number of colony replicates needed for reliable tests. In past experiments, the major obstacle to obtaining as many fragments as possible had been the damage inflicted to donor colonies by pruning. In this paper, we present the application of coral nubbins, a novel source material for coral ecotoxicology assays. Nubbins from the branching Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata (n>450) were used for evaluating the impacts of water soluble fractions from a crude oil, an oil dispersant and dispersed oil. Coral nubbins (minute coral fragments in the size of one to several polyps) harvested from a single colony are genetically identical to each other, may be obtained in any quantity needed and whenever research activities demand their use. Several dozens of nubbins can be obtained from a single small branch in branching coral species, a procedure that has minimal impact on donor genotypes. Nubbins production is a low cost procedure and requires limited maintenance space. Results of short and long-term acute ecotoxicological tests are revealed and discussed here, indicating the advantageous use of nubbins as ubiquitous coral material for toxicology assays and physiological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalBiomolecular Engineering
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the BARD (no IS 3319-02 R) and by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of the Environment.


  • Coral
  • Dispersant
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Nubbin
  • Oil pollution
  • Stylophora pistillata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Biology


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