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Effect of Exogenous Nitrogen Levels on Ultrastructure of Zooxanthellae from the Hermatypic Coral Pocillopora damicornis

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Title: Effect of Exogenous Nitrogen Levels on Ultrastructure of Zooxanthellae from the Hermatypic Coral Pocillopora damicornis
Authors: Berner, Tamar
Izhaki, Ido
Issue Date: Jul 1994
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Berner T, Izhaki I. 1994. Effect of exogenous nitrogen levels on ultrastructure of zooxanthellae from the hermatypic coral Pocillopora damicornis. Pac Sci 48(3): 254-262.
Abstract: Branches of the hermatypic coral Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus)
were exposed for 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks to ammonium concentrations of
< 1 uM (nutrient-stripped), 2 uM (seawater as a control), 20 uM, and 50 uM
(enriched), after which their symbiotic zooxanthellae were examined for
changes in their ultrastructure. No significant differences among treatments
were detected in cell diameter or in relative volume of any of the cellular
organelles of zooxanthellae subjected to the various nitrogen levels. The surface
density of thylakoids was higher in cells from the elevated-nitrogen treatments.
However, there was a significant increase in accumulation of starch grains and
lipid droplets in zooxanthellae in corals maintained in unenriched and nutrient-stripped
seawater, occupying about 15% of the cell volume. Storage of these
N-free compounds showed that under N-limited conditions photosynthate cannot
be used as carbon skeletons in synthesis of amino and nucleic acids, both
required for cell doubling. We believe that our results further demonstrate the
uncoupling of photosynthesis from population growth under C : N ratios deviating
from those needed to support balanced growth.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/2234
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 48, Number 3, 1994



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