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Thread: Coral respiration

  1. #1 Coral respiration 
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    Do corals respire by absorbing water? If so, what feature is adapted for this? Do they have pores?

    Thank you


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Coral polyps generally take up molecular oxygen that is dissolved in seawater directly by diffusion through their tissues. That O2 can move from the surrounding environment into the epidermal layers of the polyp or from the internal gastrovascular cavity into the gastrodermal (internal) tissues. Water-pumping cells within the gastrovascular cavity help the diffusion process here. There are no pores as such; instead, they have a single multi-functional opening.

    The water isn't required for respiration as such. It's just that the whole physiology of corals in based upon diffusion - everything (except light) that they need is dissolved or suspended in water.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Actually, light too is "dissolved" in water in a sense. This is why corals are limited in what depth of sea water they can grow in. In deeper and deeper levels of water, less sunlight can actually penetrate to the sea bottom.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  5. #4  
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    Transmitted through water and dissolved in water are two very different concepts. One could say that fish are, in a sense, dissolved in water. But one wouldn't.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    Coral polyps generally take up molecular oxygen that is dissolved in seawater directly by diffusion through their tissues. That O2 can move from the surrounding environment into the epidermal layers of the polyp or from the internal gastrovascular cavity into the gastrodermal (internal) tissues. Water-pumping cells within the gastrovascular cavity help the diffusion process here. There are no pores as such; instead, they have a single multi-functional opening.

    The water isn't required for respiration as such. It's just that the whole physiology of corals in based upon diffusion - everything (except light) that they need is dissolved or suspended in water.
    I know this is very old, so the chances of anyone relying a pretty low but.... i dont suppose you know of a paper or online article that explains coral respiration do you? Im doing a masters thesis on pink sea fans which dont have zooxanthellae, and finding it impossible to find info about coral respiration that doesnt involve the symbiotic algae.

    Also, @free radical...this will probably sound like a sarcastic comment or me trying to be a smartass coz its hard to inflict tone, but i promise its a genuine question.... as light is both wave form and particle form, in some sense it would be 'dissolved' in water as particles, wouldnt it? stuff like this with light has always bugged me...when is it wave and when is it particle, or is it both all the time? if its both then can it be one without the other?

    anyways, off the point! thanks for any help you can offer
    - Ash
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Light in particle form is not the same as matter particles, and it does not 'dissolve' in anything. It frequently changes form, but that is something else. Light is energy and can change to another form of energy such as heat.

    When you talk of coral respiration, do you mean respiration or just gas exchange?
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  8. #7  
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    Thanks for the reply and clarifying my questions about light @skeptic

    As for the corals, i suppose gas exchange is what I need to find out about.

    -Ash
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Gas exchange in corals.
    I do not claim to be an expert here. I would suspect that the oxygen demand in an organism with such low energy requirements is also very low. If that is the case, simple diffusion of oxygen inwards and CO2 outwards should be sufficient.

    The sea fans I am familiar with are usually in deeper and cooler water, which would also lower the energy needs. Some are very slow growing, also reflecting low energy requirements.
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