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Two Coral Species and Their Life History Traits

February 27, 2021

To test the effects of relevant nutrient enrichment on coral growth and filters, we conducted a 5‐week experiment on two Hawaiian coral species with results highlighting how life history traits modify species response to environmental change.

The effects of nutrient pollution on coral reef ecosystems are complex. Numerous experiments have sought to identify the physiological effects of nutrient enrichment on reef‐building corals, but the results have been variable and sensitive to choices of nutrient quantity, chemical composition, and exposure duration.

To test the effects of chronic, ecologically relevant nutrient enrichment on coral growth and photophysiology we conducted a 5‐week continuous dosing experiment on two Hawaiian coral species, Porites compressa and Pocillopora acuta

Our results highlight species‐specific differences in the coral‐algal symbiosis, which influence responses to chronic nutrient enrichment. These findings showcase how symbioses can vary among closely related taxa and underscore the importance of considering how life history traits modify species response to environmental change.


Fox MD, Nelson CE, Oliver TA, Quinlan ZA, Remple K, Glanz J, Smith JE, Putnam HM. 2021. Differential resistance and acclimation of two coral species to chronic nutrient enrichment reflect life history traits. Functional Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13780.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 12/09/2021

Coral Reefs