Two offshore coral species show greater acclimatization capacity to environmental variation than nearshore counterparts in southern Belize

Coral reefs are enduring decline due to the intensifying impacts of anthropogenic global change. This widespread decline has resulted in increased efforts to identify resilient coral populations and develop novel restoration strategies. Paramount in these efforts is the need to understand how environmental variation and thermal history affect coral physiology and resilience. Here, we assess the acclimatization capacity of Siderastrea siderea and Pseudodiploria strigosa corals via a 17-month reciprocal transplant experiment between nearshore and offshore reefs on the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. These nearshore reefs are more turbid, eutrophic, warm, and thermally variable than offshore reefs. All corals exhibited some evidence of acclimatization after transplantation. Corals transplanted from nearshore to offshore calcified slower than in their native habitat, especially S. siderea corals which exhibited 60% mortality and little to no net growth over the duration of the 17-month study. Corals transplanted from offshore to nearshore calcified faster than in their native habitat with 96% survival. Higher host tissue δ15N in nearshore corals indicated that increased heterotrophic opportunity or nitrogen sources between nearshore and offshore reefs likely promoted elevated calcification rates nearshore and may facilitate adaptation in nearshore populations to such conditions over time. These results demonstrate that offshore populations of S. siderea and P. strigosa possess the acclimatization capacity to survive in warmer and more turbid nearshore conditions, but that local adaptation to native nearshore conditions may hinder the plasticity of nearshore populations, thereby limiting their utility in coral restoration activities outside of their native habitat in the short term.

Baumann J. H., Bove C. B., Carne L., Gutierrez I. & Castillo K. D., in press. Two offshore coral species show greater acclimatization capacity to environmental variation than nearshore counterparts in southern Belize. Coral Reefs. Article.

0 Responses to “Two offshore coral species show greater acclimatization capacity to environmental variation than nearshore counterparts in southern Belize”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply




				
  • Search

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Post Date

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,409,696 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book


%d bloggers like this: