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Distinctive wound-healing characteristics in the corals Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora hyacinthus found in two different temperature regimes

Traylor-Knowles, Nikki
Marine biology 2016 v.163 no.11 pp. 231
Acropora, algae, corals, phenotype, pigmentation, predation, predators, sand, temperature profiles, tissue repair, American Samoa
Wound healing is a critical physiological function needed for survival in all marine organisms. However, it is particularly critical in organisms like corals, which cannot escape predators. In this study, I characterized the gross morphology of wound healing in Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora hyacinthus found in two pools with distinct previously documented temperature profiles in Ofu, American Samoa. I observed differences between healing rates of A. hyacinthus versus P. damicornis, but no significant difference in healing rates between A. hyacinthus colonies found in different environmental regimes. Both coral species exhibit very distinct healing phenotypes, where A. hyacinthus develops a pink pigmentation and P. damicornis forms an algal/sand plug. The algal/sand plug appeared in corals found in the highly variable pool more quickly than in the corals from the moderately variable pool. Lastly, P. damicornis appeared to never fully heal during this two-week study, indicating that it is a slower healer despite predation pressure.