M.Sc. in Marine Sciences

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México. 2013-2015.

Honor thesis: “Physiological processes associated with intra-colonial light gradients in the coral Orbicella faveolata"

Committee: Roberto Iglesias-Prieto, Susana Enríquez, Eugenio Carpizo, Juan P. Carricart-Ganivet, Xavier Chiappa-Carrara


Orbicella faveolata is a dominant reef-building coral species in the Caribbean. Because their colonies are typically massive, the incident light is not distributed uniformly and contrasting light climates are produced according to colony geometry. In this research, I explored the physiological responses of <em>O. faveolata</em> in colony surfaces with different slope, both in natural and experimental conditions. Results of this research indicate that the inclination angle of coral colony surfaces leads to drastic differences in the local light climate, the photoacclimation and the autotrophic potential of corals. Collectively, these results suggest that the geometry of coral colonies have important consequences on the photosynthetic energy acquisition and energy balance of the whole colony. The great photoacclimation plasticity observed in O. faveolata may be related with the wide vertical distribution range of this species in the Caribbean.