Coral biomineralization: From the gene to the environment

In this review we discuss the present knowledge on the biological and environmental control of biomineralization (calcification) in hermatypic corals. We describe first the anatomy of the coral, discussing the soft tissues followed by the hard tissues at both the macro- and micro-scales. We then discuss the tissue-skeletal interface, the extracellular calcifying medium and the processes responsible for skeletal formation. Concerning the biological control of coral calcification, we discuss different models from the literature with respect to the major biomineralization steps and the current state of knowledge on the organic matrix and ion supply for calcification. Finally we discuss the effect of environmental factors such as nutrients, light, temperature and pCO2 on coral calcification as well as the role of coral calcification in the global carbon cycle.

Tambutte S., Holcomb M., Ferrier-Pages C., Reynaud S., Tambutte E., Zoccola D., & Allemand D., in press. Coral biomineralization: From the gene to the environment. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2011.07.026. Article (subscription required).

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