Cold-water coral framework architecture is selectively shaped by bottom current flow

Giovanni Sanna, Janina V. Büscher, André Freiwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The three-dimensional (3D) structure of habitat-forming corals has profound impacts on reef ecosystem processes. Elucidating coral structural responses to the environment is therefore crucial to understand changes in these ecosystems. However, little is known of how environmental factors shape coral structure in deep and dark waters, where cold-water coral (CWC) reefs thrive. Here, we attempt to infer the influence of current flow on CWC framework architecture, using 3D scanning to quantify colony shape traits (volume compactness and surface complexity) in the reef-building CWC Desmophyllum pertusum from adjacent fjord and offshore habitats with contrasting flow regimes. We find substantial architectural variability both between and within habitats. We show that corals are generally more compact in the fjord habitat, reflecting the prevailing higher current speeds, although differences in volume compactness between fjord and offshore corals are more subtle when comparing the fjord with the more exposed side of the offshore setting, probably due to locally intensified currents. Conversely, we observe no clear disparity in coral surface complexity between habitats (despite its positive correlation with volume compactness), suggesting it is not affected by current speed. Unlike volume compactness, surface complexity is similarly variable within a single colony as it is between colonies within the same habitat or between habitats and is therefore perhaps more dependent than volume compactness on microenvironmental conditions. These findings suggest a highly plastic, trait-specific and functionally relevant structural response of CWCs to current flow and underscore the importance of multiple concurrent sources of hydrodynamic forcing on CWC growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-495
Number of pages13
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume42
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), through the MARUM Cluster of Excellence “The Ocean Floor – Earth’s Uncharted Interface” (Project No. 390741603), Research Unit RECORDER Theme 3. Sampling of corals collected during cruise POS455 was enabled by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) project BIOACID II (Grant No. FKZ 03F0655A) and conducted with permission of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, and CITES export and import permits were issued by the Norwegian Environment Agency and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). We are grateful to captains, crews and scientists of RV Johan Hjort, Littorina and Poseidon for collecting the study samples. We would also like to thank Corinna Anderssohn, Karl-Heinz Baumann, Elda Miramontes and Max Wisshak for helping us retrieve the samples, Jürgen Titschack and Lydia Beuck for useful feedback on study design, and Nicol Mahnken for the photograph of Fig. . Finally, we acknowledge the Topic Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which helped us improve the manuscript.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), through the MARUM Cluster of Excellence “The Ocean Floor – Earth’s Uncharted Interface” (Project No. 390741603), Research Unit RECORDER Theme 3. Sampling of corals collected during cruise POS455 was enabled by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) project BIOACID II (Grant No. FKZ 03F0655A) and conducted with permission of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, and CITES export and import permits were issued by the Norwegian Environment Agency and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). We are grateful to captains, crews and scientists of RV Johan Hjort , Littorina and Poseidon for collecting the study samples. We would also like to thank Corinna Anderssohn, Karl-Heinz Baumann, Elda Miramontes and Max Wisshak for helping us retrieve the samples, Jürgen Titschack and Lydia Beuck for useful feedback on study design, and Nicol Mahnken for the photograph of Fig. 3. Finally, we acknowledge the Topic Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which helped us improve the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • 3D scanning
  • Coral morphology
  • Deep-water reef
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Lophelia pertusa
  • Plasticity
  • Shape analysis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Cold-water coral framework architecture is selectively shaped by bottom current flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this