Photosynthesis by symbiotic sponges enhances their ability to erode calcium carbonate

Michelle Achlatis, Christine H.L. Schönberg, Rene M. van der Zande, Todd C. LaJeunesse, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Sophie Dove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Photosynthesis is an important driver of calcium carbonate deposition on tropical coral reefs largely due to the symbiosis of numerous invertebrates with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the family Symbiodiniaceae. In bioeroding sponges, however, similar symbioses appear to support the decalcification of carbonate substrates. Compared to its role in calcification, the relative importance of photosynthesis to decalcification processes is less known. Here, the daytime and night-time chemical bioerosion rates of the common Indo-Pacific sponge Cliona orientalis were examined under varying levels of photosynthetic activity and/or varying abundances of intracellular dinoflagellates. Photosynthesis was manipulated either by preconditioning the sponges with the photosynthetic inhibitor diuron (DCMU), or by exposing them to short-term heat stress to achieve bleaching (loss of symbionts). DCMU reduced symbiont numbers and diminished their ability to evolve oxygen. Thermal stress caused a significantly greater loss of symbionts, but photosynthesis was less inhibited. In both cases, decreases in photosynthetic activity and symbiont densities led to proportionately lowered daytime chemical bioerosion rates. Moreover, increased rates of night-time bioerosion were linked to greater daytime rates of photosynthesis, rather than to the night-time respiration of the sponge holobiont. Our findings support the conclusion that photosynthetic products (photosynthates) and/or by-products (oxygen) stimulate sponge bioerosion. This work further reveals the importance of symbionts in the ecology of such sponges and in their ability to sustain high bioerosion activity in otherwise nutrient-poor ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume516
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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bioerosion
calcium carbonate
Porifera
sponge
symbiont
photosynthesis
symbionts
symbiosis
dinoflagellate
oxygen
diuron
calcification
thermal stress
photosynthates
bleaching
byproducts
coral reefs
carbonates
coral reef
breathing

Cite this

Achlatis, Michelle ; Schönberg, Christine H.L. ; van der Zande, Rene M. ; LaJeunesse, Todd C. ; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove ; Dove, Sophie. / Photosynthesis by symbiotic sponges enhances their ability to erode calcium carbonate. In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 2019 ; Vol. 516. pp. 140-149.
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Photosynthesis by symbiotic sponges enhances their ability to erode calcium carbonate. / Achlatis, Michelle; Schönberg, Christine H.L.; van der Zande, Rene M.; LaJeunesse, Todd C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie.

In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 516, 01.07.2019, p. 140-149.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Photosynthesis by symbiotic sponges enhances their ability to erode calcium carbonate

AU - Achlatis, Michelle

AU - Schönberg, Christine H.L.

AU - van der Zande, Rene M.

AU - LaJeunesse, Todd C.

AU - Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

AU - Dove, Sophie

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