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Doors are closing on early development in corals facing climate change
Keshavmurthy, S.; Fontana, S.; Mezaki, T.; del Caño González, L.; Chen, C.A. (2014). Doors are closing on early development in corals facing climate change. NPG Scientific Reports 4(5633): 12 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Keshavmurthy, S.
  • Fontana, S.
  • Mezaki, T.
  • del Caño González, L.
  • Chen, C.A.

    Marine invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to climatic anomalies in early life history stages because of the time spent in the water column. Studies have focused on the effect of seawater temperature on fertilization, development, and larval stages in corals; however, none of them show comparative results along an environmental gradient. In this study, we show that temperatures in the range of 15–33°C have strong effects on fertilization rates and embryonic stages of two coral species, Acropora muricata in the subtropical environment and Acropora hyacinthus in subtropical and temperate environments. Deformations after the first cleavage stages were observed at low (15°C) and high (33°C) temperatures. Development was delayed by 6–7 h in the slightly non-optimal temperature of 20°C. We found significant differences in fertilization rates and responses of embryos from different latitudes, with temperate corals being more sensitive to extremely hot temperatures and vice versa. We hypothesize that the coral development is restricted to a narrow temperature range and deviation outside this window could inhibit a species' continuance and ecological success. Thus, it would have significant negative effects on adult populations and communities, playing a role in future of coral reef survival.

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