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The Effect of Zooxanthellae Availability on the Rates of Skeletal Growth in the Red Sea Coral Acropora Hemprichii

Montaser Aly Mahmoud Al-Hammady, Abd-Allah Alian


Zooxanthellae density affects growth rate of Acropora hemprichii at reef flat and 10 m depth, where the correlations were significantly moderate at reef flat (r = 0.461 & P < 0.01) and significantly high at 10 m depth (r = 0.636 & P = 0.424). Non interactive effects were obtained at 20 and 25 m depths, where the correlations were insignificant (r = 0.346 & P < 0.19 and r = 0.103 & P < 0.706, respectively). Either zooxanthellae density, hosted by Acropora hemprichii, or growth rate was decreased with depth increase. Zooxanthellae density at reef flat (1.55± 0.303 x 106 cells/cm2) was twice
higher than at 25 m depth (0.706± 0.253 x 106 cells/cm2). However, growth rate at reef flat was approximately three times higher than at 25 m depth (0.013± 0.0024 mm\day). The maximum growth rate (0.0335 mm\day) and zooxanthellae density (1.32 106 cells/cm2) were recorded during summer season, whereas the minimum growth rate (0.01769 mm\day) and zooxanthellae density (0.931106 cells/cm2) were recorded during autumn.

Keywords: zooxanthellae, growth rates, depths, Acropora hemprichii and Red Sea.

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