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Diffusion Limitation and Hyperoxic Enhancement of Oxygen Consumption in Zooxanthellate Sea Anemones, Zoanthids, and Corals

J. Malcolm Shick
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 179, No. 1 (Aug., 1990), pp. 148-158
DOI: 10.2307/1541749
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1541749
Page Count: 11
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Diffusion Limitation and Hyperoxic Enhancement of Oxygen Consumption in Zooxanthellate Sea Anemones, Zoanthids, and Corals
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Abstract

Depending on their size and morphology, anthozoan polyps and colonies may be diffusion-limited in their oxygen consumption, even under well-stirred, air-saturated conditions. This is indicated by an enhancement of oxygen consumption under steady-state hyperoxic conditions that simulate the levels of O2 produced photosynthetically by zooxanthellae in the hosts' tissues. Such hyperoxia in the tissues of zooxanthellate species negates the effect of the diffusive boundary layer, and increases the rate of oxygen consumption; thus, in many cases, the rate of respiration measured under normoxia in the dark may not be representative of the rate during the day when the zooxanthellae are photosynthesizing and when the supply of oxygen for respiration is in the tissues themselves, not from the environment. These results have implications in respirometric methodology and in calculating the rate of gross photosynthesis in energetic studies. The activity of cytochrome c oxidase is higher in aposymbiotic than in zooxanthellate specimens of the sea anemone Aiptasia pulchella, and this may indicate a compensation for the relative hypoxia in the tissues of the former, enhancing the delivery of oxygen to the mitochondria from the environment.

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