Ephemeral hypoxia reduces oxygen consumption in the Caribbean coral Orbicella faveolata

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Coral Reefs
Oxygen concentrations in coastal waters have declined globally by 10% since the mid-twentieth century, and ocean warming will further reduce the solubility of oxygen in coastal habitats. Some nearshore reefs experience periodic hypoxic conditions due to eutrophication, especially during the wet season. Here, we determined the combined impacts of hypoxia and elevated temperature on the reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata, by exposing corals to normoxic or hypoxic conditions and ambient or elevated temperatures. Oxygen consumption was monitored using closed-system respirometry. Corals within hypoxic conditions consumed 34% less oxygen relative to corals in normoxic conditions. Corals in the elevated temperature normoxic treatment experienced a 10% increase in oxygen consumption relative to the control. Corals exposed to both stressors simultaneously experienced a 62% reduction in oxygen consumption. These results suggest that increased temperature may exacerbate the negative effects of hypoxia on O. faveolata. © 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.
Gravinese, P.M., Douwes, A., Eaton, K.R. et al. (2022). Ephemeral hypoxia reduces oxygen consumption in the Caribbean coral Orbicella faveolata. Coral Reefs 41, 13–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-021-02197-5