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Volume 86, Issue 3 p. 262-277
Reviews

Phosphorus metabolism of reef organisms with algal symbionts

Christine Ferrier-Pagès

Christine Ferrier-Pagès

Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco

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Claire Godinot

Corresponding Author

Claire Godinot

Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco

Corresponding author. Present address: Institut de Radioprotection et de Sureté Nucléaire, IRSN/PRP-ENV/SERIS/LRC, rue Max Pol Fouchet 50100, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin France. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Cecilia D'Angelo

Cecilia D'Angelo

Coral Reef Laboratory, University of Southampton (Waterfront Campus), European Way, SO143ZH Southampton, United Kingdom

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Jörg Wiedenmann

Jörg Wiedenmann

Coral Reef Laboratory, University of Southampton (Waterfront Campus), European Way, SO143ZH Southampton, United Kingdom

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Renaud Grover

Renaud Grover

Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco

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First published: 10 May 2016
Citations: 55
Corresponding Editor: C. S. Thornber.

Abstract

Phosphorus (P), an essential structural and functional component of all living organisms, is considered to be the ultimate limiting nutrient in marine ecosystems. To optimize its acquisition, marine species such as protozoa, sponges, foraminifera, clams, and reef corals, among others, have entered symbiotic relationships with algae, which recycle waste products of the animal host and transform dissolved inorganic nutrients into organic molecules, making them bioavailable to their host. Such associations provide a competitive edge in an environment where ambient nutrient availability is low. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge on the P sources available to reef organisms with algal symbionts, to discuss the means by which P is taken up and stored within the symbiosis, and to assess the effects of eutrophication-induced phosphate enrichment on the algal and host physiology. Finally, we give an overview of knowledge gaps and open questions that should be addressed to better understand the role of phosphorus in reef symbioses functioning.