Exploring traits of engineered coral entities to be employed in reef restoration

Dor Shefy, Nadav Shashar, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aggregated settlement of coral larvae results in a complex array of compatible (chimerism) and incompatible (rejection) allogenic responses. Each chimeric assemblage is considered as a distinct biological entity, subjected to selection, however, the literature lacks the evolutionary and ecological functions assigned to these units of selection. Here, we examined the effects of creating chimera/rejecting partners in terms of growth and survival under prolonged field conditions. Bi/multichimeras, bi/multi-rejecting entities, and genetically homogenous colonies (GHC) of the coral Stylophora pistillata were monitored under prolonged field conditions in a mid-water floating nursery in the northern Red Sea. Results revealed an increased aerial size and aeroxial ecological volume for rejected and chimeric entities compared to GHCs. At age 18 months, there were no significant differences in these parameters among the entities and traits, and rejecting partners did not differ from GHC. However, survival probabilities were significantly higher for chimeras that further revealed disparate initiation of up-growing branches and high diversity of chimeric phenotypes. These results suggest enhanced fitness for chimerism, augmenting earlier alluded chimeric benefits that trail the increased size at crucial early life-stages. Adding chimerism to the tool-box of reef restoration may enhance coral fitness in mitigating anthropogenic/climate change impacts.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1038
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Active restoration
  • Climate change
  • Coral chimerism
  • Coral transplantation
  • Costs and benefits
  • Ecological engineering
  • Genetic homogenous
  • Growth rates
  • Nursery
  • Survival

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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