Coral reefs are complex ecosystems that provide several ecological, environmental, and economic services. However, climate change has heavily threatened these ecosystems, particularly due to increasing sea surface temperature. Innovative solutions to improve coral tolerance to climate change are therefore urgently needed. Vitamin and trace element supplements can improve the fitness of several animals (e.g., fish and crustaceans) in aquaculture systems, and could represent an alternative treatment to improve coral health and growth in coral nurseries. Here, we tested whether the supplementation of vitamins B6, B12, and zinc could boost coral growth, and health. For this purpose, fragments (n=10) of colonies of five Acropora hemprichii were collected from the central Red Sea were treated with B6, B12, zinc, and a combination of these supplements for 21 days. Coral fragments were collected before and after the experiment. Calcification and oxygen metabolism (respiration, photosynthesis) were measured, while symbiont density, chlorophyll, total protein, and carbohydrate were quantified in the lab. Our data showed that corals’ symbionts density, chlorophyll c2, net productivity, and total protein were significantly increased due to zinc supplementation when compared to control colonies. In addition, the multi-treatment also increased the corals’ total proteins. In contrast, none of the other treatments showed a significant effect on the tested coral’s physiological traits. The results of this study may provide data to support alternative approaches to improve coral growth for restoration efforts.
|Date of Award||Jul 2023|
|Original language||English (US)|
- Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
|Supervisor||Raquel Peixoto (Supervisor)|
- Coral physiology
- Coral supplementation