Lophelia pertusa is the world's most common and widespread framework-forming cold-water coral. It forms deep-water coral reefs and carbonate mounds supporting diverse animal communities on the continental shelf and on seamounts. These recently discovered ecosystems have been damaged by deep-sea fishing and are threatened by predicted shallowing of the aragonite saturation horizon. Despite this, very little is known about the ecophysiology of L. pertusa and its likely response to environmental changes. Here we describe the first study of the respiratory physiology of L. pertusa and the effects of altered temperature and oxygen level. This study shows that L. pertusa can maintain respiratory independence over a range Of PO2 illustrated by a high regulation value (R=78%). The critical PO2 value of 9-10 kPa is very similar to the lower values of oxygen concentration recorded in the field. This suggests that oxygen level may be a limiting factor in the distribution of this cold-water coral. L. pertusa survived periods of anoxia (I h), hypoxia (up to 96 h), but high Q(10) values revealed sensitivity to short-term temperature changes (6.5-11 degrees C. For the first time vital data have been gathered on the physiology of this species that is essential to understand distribution and underpin future climate change studies. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
|Published - 19 Oct 2007