Light-shade adaptation of Stylophora pistillata, a hermatypic coral from the Gulf of Eilat

Paul G. Falkowski, Zvy Dubinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Scopus citations


All reef-forming, or hermatypic, corals harbour photosynthetic endosymbiotic algae called zooxanthellae1-5, which are assumed to be predominantly a single dinoflagellate species, Gymnodinium microadriaticum Freudenthal6. The zooxan-thellae are essential for the well-being of their hosts7-9; nevertheless, little is known about how light affects the symbiotic association, especially regarding the numbers of zooxanthellae, their photosynthetic responses, and their overall productivity10-14. On the reefs of the Gulf of Eilat, Stylophora pistillata is an abundant hermatypic coral15; it is unique in that region in that it can adapt to a wide range of light intensities. In the high light intensities of lagoons or the upper areas of reefs, the corals are markedly lighter in colour than those living under ledges, in grottos, or near the reef floor (∼ 15 m; Fig. 1). We report here on the biochemical and physiological adaptations of S. pistillata to variations in light intensity spanning more than two orders of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-174
Number of pages3
Issue number5794
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

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