Massive coral species play a key role in coral reef ecosystems, adding significantly to physical integrity, long term stability and reef biodiversity. This study coupled the assessment of the distribution and abundance of 4 dominant massive coral species, Diploastrea heliopora, Favia speciosa, F matthaii and Porites lutea, with investigations into species-specific photoacclimatory responses within the Wakatobi Marine National Park of southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, to determine the potential of photoacclimation to be a driver of biological success. For this, rapid light curves using pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) chlorophyll a fluorescence techniques were employed with additional manipulations to circumvent differences of light quality and absorption between species and across environmental gradients. P. lutea was examined over a range of depths and sites to determine patterns of photoacclimation, and all 4 species were assessed at a single depth between sites for which long-term data for coral community structure and growth existed. Light availability was more highly constrained with depth than between sites; consequently, photoacclimation patterns for P. lutea appeared greater with depth than across environmental gradients. All 4 species were found to differentially modify the extent of non-photochemical quenching to maintain a constant photochemical operating efficiency (qP). Therefore, our results suggest that these massive corals photoacclimate to ensure a constant light-dependent rate of reduction of the plastoquinone pool across growth environments.
- Chlorophyll a fluorescence
- Massive coral