Diurnal cycles of coral calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state

The sensitivity of corals to ocean acidification depends on the extent to which they can buffer their calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state (Ωcf) from declines in seawater pH. While the seasonal response of the coral calcifying fluid Ωcf to seawater pH has been studied previously, relatively little is known about Ωcf dynamics on shorter (daily) timescales, particularly whether it is sensitive to seawater pH. Here, we use alizarin dye to mark 4 days of skeletal growth in the corals Acropora nasuta and Pocillopora damicornis living in situ on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Exploiting newly developed confocal Raman spectroscopy techniques, we imaged the alizarin stains and quantified Ωcf between them. We report the first observations of diurnal Ωcf cycles, which were found in both species. Our results are consistent with either external control of Ωcf by seawater pH or light, or alternatively that Ωcf follows an endogenous circadian rhythm.

DeCarlo T. M., Ross C. L. & McCulloch M. T., 2019. Diurnal cycles of coral calcifying fluid aragonite saturation state. Marine Biology 166: 28. doi: 10.1007/s00227-019-3468-6. Article (subscription required).

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