Tolerance to Elevated Temperature and Ocean Acidification of the Larvae of the Solitary Corals Fungia fungites (Linnaues, 1758) and Lithophyllon repanda (Dana, 1846).Zoolog Sci. 2015 Oct; 32(5):447-54.ZS
Increase in atmospheric CO₂is the main driver of global climate change and is projected to elevate sea surface temperature by at least 2°C and to decrease oceanic pH by 0.3 to 0.4 units by the end of the century. These factors seriously threaten coral reef ecosystems worldwide. In Okinawa, solitary corals are an important feature of the coral community structure. While previous studies on the effects of ocean warming (OW), ocean acidification (OA) and its combination on larval survival focused on colonial coral species, the present study assessed the effect of high temperature on larvae from solitary corals. In this study, we examined the influence of OW (control = 28°C; control +3 = 31°C; control + 6 = 34°C) and OA (control, pCO₂= 400 to 500 μatm; medium, pCO₂= 1000 to 1300 μatm; high, pCO₂= 1700 to 2200 μatm) on the larval survival of two solitary corals, Fungia fungites and Lithophyllon repanda for eight days. Results showed that F. fungites was neither affected by OW, OA, nor its combination. Similarly, survival of L. repanda was not affected by OA however it was significantly affected by temperature. Temperature tolerance varies between species; L. repanda (+3°C above ambient) has lower tolerance than F. fungites (+6°C above ambient). This observation suggests that fungiid larvae had higher tolerance to elevated temperature stress relative to other scleractinian corals. With the projected increase in OW and OA in the future, fungiidsmay retain good potential to widely disperse and successfully recruit to natal and other neighbouring reefs.