Flow-dependent growth in the zooxanthellate soft coral Sinularia flexibilis

M.K. Khalesi, H.H. Beeftink, R.H. Wijffels

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Growth characteristics of colonies of the branching zooxanthellate octocoral Sinularia flexibilis, with potential pharmaceutical importance, were measured over a range of water velocities. The highest mean specific growth rate (¿ d¿ 1) was found at a flow velocity of 11 cm s¿ 1. An optimal range of water turbulence was found at a Reynold's number of ¿ 10,000, with a minimum thickness of boundary layer for rapid mass transfer. There was a similar dependency on water velocity for the contents of zooxanthellae, chlorophyll a, and protein, indicating that photosynthesis also runs at an optimum rate at 11 cm s¿ 1, thus maximizing coral growth. Moreover, the corals showed morphological responses to the changes in water velocity: increase in the number of protruding branches (buds) in proportion to increased flow and then decrease at higher flows, as well as reduced sizes of the colonies at high velocities
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • great-barrier-reef
  • water motion
  • madracis-mirabilis
  • prey capture
  • red-sea
  • scleractinian corals
  • marine sponges
  • fungiid corals
  • morphology
  • patterns


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