Tolerance to long-term exposure of suspended benthic sediments and drill cuttings in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa.Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 May 15; 70(1-2):176-88.MP
The cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa was exposed to suspended particles (<63 μm) for 12 weeks. Skeletal growth was significantly lower under exposure concentrations of ∼25 mg l⁻¹ than ∼5 mg l⁻¹ and there was a trend of lower growth rates when exposed to water-based drill cuttings than to natural benthic sediment. Polyp extension was less in corals exposed to higher material concentrations, which provides a possible explanation for observed skeletal growth differences between particle concentrations. Particle exposure had no significant impact on respiration or proportions of tissue and fatty acids in corals. The volume of additional cleaning mucus released by exposed corals was low and release did not significantly affect coral energy expenditure. Our results indicate that L. pertusa polyps can deal comparatively well with enhanced particle deposition rates and suspended matter concentrations. However, a small pilot experiment indicated that coral larvae might be particularly vulnerable to high particle concentrations.