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  1. Mass bleaching events are predicted to occur annually later this century. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether corals will be able to recover between annual bleaching events. Using a combined tank and field experiment, we simulated annual bleaching by exposing three Caribbean coral species ( Porites divaricata , Porites astreoides and Orbicella faveolata ) to elevated temperatures for 2.5 weeks in 2 consecutive years. The impact of annual bleaching stress on chlorophyll a , energy reserves, calcification, and tissue C and N isotopes was assessed immediately after the second bleaching and after both short- and long-term recovery on the reef (1.5 and 11 months, respectively). While P. divaricata and O. faveolata were able to recover from repeat bleaching within 1 year, P. astreoides experienced cumulative damage that prevented full recovery within this time frame, suggesting that repeat bleaching had diminished its recovery capacity. Specifically, P. astreoides was not able to recover protein and carbohydrate concentrations. As energy reserves promote bleaching resistance, failure to recover from annual bleaching within 1 year will likely result in the future demise of heat-sensitive coral species.
  2. Voolstra, Christian R. (Ed.)
  3. Abstract The physiological response to individual and combined stressors of elevated temperature and p CO 2 were measured over a 24-day period in four Pacific corals and their respective symbionts (Acropora millepora/Symbiodinium C21a, Pocillopora damicornis/Symbiodinium C1c-d-t, Montipora monasteriata/Symbiodinium C15 and Turbinaria reniformis/Symbiodinium trenchii ). Multivariate analyses indicated that elevated temperature played a greater role in altering physiological response, with the greatest degree of change occurring within M. monasteriata and T. reniformis. Algal cellular volume, protein and lipid content all increased for M. monasteriata . Likewise, S. trenchii volume and protein content in T. reniformis also increased with temperature. Despite decreases in maximal photochemical efficiency, few changes in biochemical composition (i.e. lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) or cellular volume occurred at high temperature in the two thermally sensitive symbionts C21a and C1c-d-t . Intracellular carbonic anhydrase transcript abundance increased with temperature in A. millepora but not in P. damicornis , possibly reflecting differences in host mitigated carbon supply during thermal stress. Importantly, our results show that the host and symbiont response to climate change differs considerably across species and that greater physiological plasticity in response to elevated temperature may be an important strategy distinguishing thermally tolerant vs. thermally sensitive species.