An energy budget for Porites porites (Scleractinia)

An energy budget for Porites porites (Pallas) was determined for specimens from 10 m depth on the Fore Reef of Discovery Bay, Jamaica, between July 1984 and July 1985. Evidence for habitual zooplankton ingestion was not obtained, and P. porites appears to be largely autotrophic. Out of the daily photosynthetically fixed energy, 26% is used for animal respiration and growth, 22% for zooxanthellae respiration and growth, and <1% for colony reproduction as mature planulae; 45% remains unaccounted for. Colony respiration, net photosynthesis, colony skeleton and tissue growth, zooplankton ingestion, reproductive effort and energy content of tissues were measured. Energy loss as continuous mucus secretion was not detected, but may occur by an alternative route via mucus tunics, which occur periodically in situ and in the laboratory. The energy budget suggests that a considerable excess of photosynthetically fixed energy is produced on an ideal sunny day at 10 m depth. This surplus may be required for periodic rather than continuous energy demands, or may be essential to survive "less-than-ideal" days, when net photosynthetic input is reduced.