Electron and ion microprobe analysis of calcium distribution and transport in coral tissues Academic Article uri icon


  • It is shown by x-ray microanalysis that a gradient of total intracellular Ca concentration exists from the outer oral ectoderm to the inner skeletogenic calicoblastic ectoderm in the coral Galaxea fascicularis. This suggests an increase in intracellular Ca stores in relation to calcification. Furthermore, Ca concentration in the fluid-filled space of the extrathecal coelenteron is approximately twice as high as in the surrounding seawater and higher than in the mucus-containing seawater layer on the exterior of the oral ectoderm. This is indicative of active Ca2+ transport across the oral epithelium. Polyps were incubated in artificial seawater in which all (40)Ca was replaced by (44)Ca. Imaging Ca2+ transport across the epithelia by secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) using (44)Ca as a tracer showed that Ca2+ rapidly entered the cells of the oral epithelium and that (44)Ca reached higher concentrations in the mesogloea and extrathecal coelenteron than in the external seawater layer. Very little Ca2+ was exchanged in the mucocytes, cnidocytes or zooxanthellae. These observations again suggest that Ca2+ transport is active and transcellular and also indicate a hitherto unsuspected role in Ca2+ transport for the mesogloea.

publication date

  • July 15, 2007