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Thermal stress responses of the antipatharian Stichopathes sp. from the mesophotic reef of Mo'orea, French Polynesia
Godefroid, M.; Hedouin, L.; Mercière, A.; Under the Pole Consortium; Dubois, P. (2022). Thermal stress responses of the antipatharian Stichopathes sp. from the mesophotic reef of Mo'orea, French Polynesia. Sci. Total Environ. 820: 153094. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153094
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697; e-ISSN 1879-1026
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Antipatharia [WoRMS]; Stichopathes Brook, 1889 [WoRMS]
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Thermal performance; Eco-physiology; Mesophotic; Antipatharians; Heatstress; Stichopathes sp

Authors  Top 
  • Godefroid, M.
  • Hedouin, L.
  • Mercière, A.
  • Under the Pole Consortium
  • Dubois, P.

Abstract
    Antipatharians, also called black corals, are present in almost all oceans of the world, until extreme depths. In several regions, they aggregate in higher densities to form black coral beds that support diverse animal communities and create biodiversity hotspots. These recently discovered ecosystems are currently threatened by fishing activities and illegal harvesting for commercial purposes. Despite this, studies dedicated to the physiology of antipatharians are scarce and their responses to global change stressors have remained hardly explored since recently. Here, we present the first study on the physiological responses of a mesophotic antipatharian Stichopathes sp. (70–90 m) to thermal stress through a 16-d laboratory exposure (from 26 to 30.5 °C). Oxygen consumption measurements allowed identifying the physiological tipping point of Stichopathes sp. (Topt = 28.3 °C; 2.7 °C above mean ambient condition). Our results follow theoretical predictions as performances start to decrease beyond Topt, with lowered oxygen consumption rates, impairment of the healing capacities, increased probability of tissue necrosis and stress responses activated as a function of temperature (i.e. increase in mucocyte density and total antioxidant capacity). Altogether, our work indicates that Stichopathes sp. lives at suboptimal performances during the coldest months of the year, but also that it is likely to have low acclimatization capacity and a narrow thermal breadth.

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