Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Effects of cyanide on corals in relation to cyanide fishing on reefs

Ross J. Jones and Andrew L. Steven

Marine and Freshwater Research 48(6) 517 - 522
Published: 1997


Small fragments of the zooxanthellate corals Pocillopora damicornis and Porites lichen were subjected to a range of cyanide concentrations for various times (i.e. to various cyanide doses). Doses encompassed those likely to be experienced by corals as a result of various cyanide fishing practices. Following the highest doses, corals died; after medium doses, they lost their zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) resulting in a discolouration or ‘bleaching’; and after the lowest doses they lost zooxanthellae but not in sufficient numbers to cause noticeable discolouration. Respiratory rates of P. damicornis were inhibited by 10–90% following exposure to cyanide but recovered to pre-exposure levels within 1–2 h after transfer to clean sea water.

Keywords: bleaching, zooxanthellae.

© CSIRO 1997

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