Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Calcium Transport along the Axial Canal in Acropora

Version 1 : Received: 8 July 2021 / Approved: 13 July 2021 / Online: 13 July 2021 (10:02:33 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Li, Y.; Liao, X.; He, C.; Lu, Z. Calcium Transport along the Axial Canal in Acropora. Diversity 2021, 13, 407. Li, Y.; Liao, X.; He, C.; Lu, Z. Calcium Transport along the Axial Canal in Acropora. Diversity 2021, 13, 407.


In Acropora, the complex canals in a coral colony connect all polyps into a holistic network to collaborate in performing biological processes. There are various types of canals, including calice, axial canals, and other internal canals, with structures that are dynamically altered during different coral growth states due to internal calcium transport. However, few studies have considered the regulation of calcium transport in Acropora. In this study, we investigated the morphological changes of the axial canal in six Acropora muricata samples by high resolution micro-computed tomography, observing the patterns of the axial canal during the processes of new branch formation and truncated branch rebuilding. We visualized the formation of a new branch from a calice and deposition of the iconic hexactin skeletons in the axial canal. Furthermore, the diameter and volume changes of the axial canal in truncated branches during rebuilding processes were calculated, revealing that the volume ratio of calcareous deposits in the axial canal exhibit significant increases within the first three weeks, returning to levels in the initial state in the following week. This work indicates that the axial canal can transport calcium to form hexactin skeletons in a new branch and rebuild the tip of a truncated branch. The calcium transport along canal network regulates various growth processes, including budding, branching, skeleton forming, and self-rebuilding of an Acropora colony. Understanding the changes in canal function under normal and extreme conditions will provide theoretical guidance for restoration and protection of coral reefs.


axial canal; reef-building coral; high resolution micro-computed tomography; Acropora muricata; calcium transport; deposit


Biology and Life Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology

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