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Free Content The Effects of Drilling Fluids (Muds) and Turbidity on the Growth and Metabolic State of the Coral Acropora Cervicornis, with Comments On Methods of Normalization for Coral Data

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The effects of a used drilling mud on coral health have been examined by monitoring changes in calcification rate, soluble tissue protein concentration and total ninhydrin positive substance (NPS) concentration in the coral Acropora cervicornis. Exposure to a used drilling mud reduced calcification rate in growing tips by 62%, 83% and 88% at 25 ppm, 50 ppm and 100 ppm (v/v), respectively after a 24-h exposure period. Soluble tissue protein concentration dropped significantly in the growing tip after 24 h exposure to a solution of 25-, 50-,100- and 500-ppm drilling mud. Total NPS dropped significantly at the 100- and 500-ppm concentrations. Extensive zooxanthellae loss was observed after exposure to a solution of 500-ppm drilling mud for 24 h. Equivalent concentrations of kaolin (to produce turbidity) caused no drop in NPS or protein concentration and a much lower drop in calcification rate suggesting that the toxic effects observed for the drilling mud used were not caused by an increase in turbidity alone. The significant drop in protein concentration suggests that the use of protein or other tissue components for normalization in corals may not be justified in some cases and should be viewed with caution.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1983

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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