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Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals

January 1, 2007

This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in Fv/Fm were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased Fv/Fm in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction-P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area. ?? 2007.