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Keywords:

  • Coral mucus, degradation;
  • dissolved organic carbon;
  • inorganic nutrients;
  • phosphate

Abstract

Inorganic nutrient contents of mucus released by Acropora corals and its utilization by heterotrophic bacteria at several different hour intervals in the coral mucus were investigated at a coral reef in Malaysia. The dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) concentration was 135-fold higher than in the ambient seawater, probably due to inorganic P release from the coral gut cavity. We experimentally confirmed that heterotrophic bacteria rapidly (within 8 h) consumed ca. 80% of the initial concentration of DIP derived from coral mucus. High DIP concentration in coral mucus may enhance heterotrophic bacterial production and associated carbon flow in the microbial loop of reef ecosystems.