The responses of corals and other marine calcifying organisms to ocean acidification (OA) are variable and span from no effect to severe responses. Here we investigated the effect of long-term exposure to OA on skeletal parameters of four tropical zooxanthellate corals living at two CO2 vents in Papua New Guinea, namely in Dobu and Upa Upasina. The skeletal porosity of Galaxea fascicularis, Acropora millepora, and Pocillopora damicornis was higher (from 17% to 38%, depending on the species) at the seep site compared to the control only at Upa Upasina. Massive Porites showed no differences at any of the locations. Pocillopora damicornis also showed a ~ 7% decrease of micro-density and an increase of the volume fraction of the larger pores, a decrease of the intraskeletal organic matrix content with an increase of the intraskeletal water content, and no variation in the organic matrix related strain and crystallite size. The fact that the skeletal parameters varied only at one of the two seep sites suggests that other local environmental conditions interact with OA to modify the coral skeletal parameters. This might also contribute to explain the great deal of responses to OA reported for corals and other marine calcifying organisms.
Prada F., Brizi L., Franzellitti S., Mengoli S., Fermani S., Polishchuk I. Baraldi N., Ricci F., Palazzo Q., Caroselli E., Pokroy B., Giorgini L., Dubinsky Z., Paula F., Falini G., Goffredo S. & Fabricius K., in review. Life-long coral skeletal acclimatization at CO2 vents in Papua New Guinea reveals species- and environment-specific effects. Scientific Reports. Article.