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Sedimentation rapidly induces an immune response and depletes energy stores in a hard coral
Sheridan, C.; Grosjean, P.; Leblud, J.; Palmer, V; Kushmaro, A; Eeckhaut, I. (2014). Sedimentation rapidly induces an immune response and depletes energy stores in a hard coral. Coral Reefs 33(4): 1067-1076. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00338-014-1202-x
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 279021 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Montipora patula Verrill, 1870 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Coral immunity; Sedimentation; Environmental stress; Phenoloxidase;Lipid storage; Melanin

Authors  Top 
  • Palmer, V
  • Kushmaro, A
  • Eeckhaut, I., more

Abstract
    High sedimentation rates have been linked to reduced coral health within multiple systems; however, whether this is a direct result of compromised coral immunity has not been previously investigated. The potential effects of sedimentation on immunity of the hard coral Montipora patula were examined by comparing physiological responses of coral fragments inoculated with sterilized marine sediments and those under control conditions. Sediments were collected from terrestrial runoff-affected reefs in SW Madagascar and applied cyclically for a total of 24 h at a rate observed during precipitation-induced sedimentation events. Coral health was determined 24 h after the onset of the sedimentation stress through measuring metabolic proxies of O2 budget and lipid ratios. Immune response of the melanin synthesis pathway was measured by quantifying phenoloxidase activity and melanin deposits. Sedimentation induced both immune and metabolic responses in M. patula. Both phenoloxidase activity and melanin deposition were significantly higher in the sediment treatment compared to controls, indicating an induced immune response. Sediment-treated corals also showed a tendency towards increased respiration (during the night) and decreased photosynthesis (during the day) and a significant depletion of energy reserves as compared to controls. These data highlight that short-term (24 h) sedimentation, free of live microorganisms, compromises the health of M. patula. The energetically costly immune response, potentially elicited by residual endotoxins and other inflammatory particles associated with the sterile sediments, likely contributes to the energy depletion. Overall, exposure to sedimentation adversely affects coral health and continued exposure may lead to resource depletion and an increased susceptibility to disease.

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