Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 3 (2012)

The effect of coral polyp sizes and coral exudates on picoeukaryote dynamics in a controlled environment

Ying-Pin Wang
Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University , Taiwan, Province of China

Kwee Siong Tew
Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University - National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium , Taiwan, Province of China

Jimmy Kuo
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium - Institute of Marine Biotechnology, National Dong Hwa University , Taiwan, Province of China

Fung-Chi Ko
Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University - National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium , Taiwan, Province of China

Pei-Jie Meng
Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University - National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium , Taiwan, Province of China


We examined the ability of scleractinian corals with different polyp sizes to remove picoeukaryotes by predation and the effect of coral exudates on picoeukaryote growth. Experiments were conducted by adding picoeukaryotes to Stylophora pistillata (SP) and Montipora stellata (MS). Within six hours the picoeukaryote concentration in the SP and MS tanks was significantly lower than the control without corals. SP showed higher overall activity than MS, and the particle removal activity of MS decreased in light conditions. Picoeukaryotes exposed to SP exudates grew significantly denser than those exposed to MS exudates or those in water without coral exudates. Dissolved organic carbon concentrations in the SP tanks were also significantly higher. We concluded that the picoeukaryote removal rates were higher in S. pistillata than in M. stellata, and coral exudates can reciprocally enhance picoeukaryote growth.


scleractinian corals; Stylophora pistillata; Montipora stellata; picoeukaryotes; grazing; coral exudates

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