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Physiological response of the symbiotic gorgonian Eunicella singularis to a long-term temperature increase

AuthorsFerrier-Pagès, Christine; Tambutté, Eric; Zamoum, Thamilla; Natacha, Segonds; Merle, Pierre-Laurent; Bensoussan, Nathaniel; Allemand, Denis; Garrabou, Joaquim ; Tambutté, Sylvie
Thermal stress
Climate change
Issue Date28-Aug-2009
PublisherCompany of Biologists
CitationJournal of Experimental Biology 212(18): 3007-3015(2009)
AbstractIncrease in seawater temperature is one of the major effects of global climate change that affects marine organisms, including Cnidaria. Among them, gorgonians from the NW Mediterranean Sea, such as the species Eunicella singularis, have suffered spectacular and extensive damage. We thus investigated in a controlled laboratory experiment the response of E. singularis to a long-term increase in temperature and we took a special interest in its photosynthetic and calcification response to the stress. Two populations collected at 15 and 35 m depths were studied in order to determine whether there was a difference in sensitivity to thermal stress between living depths. Our results show: (a) that calcification and photosynthesis were impacted only when gorgonians were maintained for more than two weeks at 26°C, and (b) that colonies of E. singularis living in shallow waters were less tolerant than those living in deep waters. Because E. singularis is a symbiotic species, we have also discussed the potential role of symbiosis in the thermotolerance response.
Description9 pages, 9 figures, 2 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.031823
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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