18O/16O and 13C/12C in an ahermatypic deep-water coral Lophelia pertusa from the North Atlantic

Baruch Spiro, J Murray Roberts, John D Gage, Simon Chenery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The numerous stable isotope studies of scleractinian photosynthetic reef-building corals in tropical seas have demonstrated the complexity of the biological and environmental factors that give rise to their isotopic composition. Scleractinian non-photosynthetic corals of the deep cold water environment might be expected to reflect the more stable physical environment in the deep sea, However, in comparison, little is known about their isotope systematics. The present study concentrates on specimens of Lophelia pertusa from the north-eastern Atlantic, the Norwegian Shelf and Fjord, Aliquots taken from the theca represent time series and show variations in delta(13)C and delta(18)O of up to 4.7 and 2.4 parts per thousand, respectively. The variations seem to be related to morphological features of branching. The tendency of higher values near the tip of the polyps reported previously was detected only in some samples. The delta(18)O of the corals are in all cases more negative than the equilibrium values. There is a strong correlation between delta(13)C and delta(18)O forming linear arrays. The difference between these arrays is more pronounced in delta(13)C, The covariation of delta(13)C and delta(18)O indicates an overruling 'kinetic isotope effect'. This is in line with the behaviour of some trace elements. This isotope effect should he regarded as one manifestation of variations in partition coefficients dictated by a biological control on mineralisation (such as food or reproduction) rather than changes in the relative contribution of metabolic carbon affecting delta(13)C, and changes in temperature affecting delta(18)O. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1336
Number of pages5
JournalRapid communications in mass spectrometry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2000


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