ASSESSING HEAT TOLERANCE OF ADULT CORALS SOURCED FROM ACROSS THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Student: 
Ponchanok Weeriyanun
Room: 
room 2
session: 
Session 1, August 26, 09:00-10:30

Coral Reefs have been adversely affected by heating caused by climate change. Rising seawater temperatures directly impact the performance of photosynthesis in the coral symbiont of the Family Symbiodiniaceae which provides a majority of energy to the coral animal. In this study, we collected adult coral colonies from three populations along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (Esk Reef, Keppel Island, and Davies Reef, in which each reef was typified by a different thermal history. Colonies were fragmented in replicate branches and placed in a replicated design at either ambient (27.5C) or heat (31C) treatments. Effective quantum yield (Fv/Fm), bleaching severity, percentage of necrotic tissue, and survival were compared amongst each populations. Colonies sourced from the Keppel Island demonstrated overall the highest fitness under heat stress (highest Fv/Fm, survival and lowest percent necrosis). Davies and Esk did not differ significantly insurvival or Fv/Fm. These results suggest that coral fitness varies across the Great Barrier Reef, which has important implications for the development of coral reef restoration strategies.