Dynamics of hydrogen peroxide in a coral reef: Sources and sinks

Yeala Shaked*, Rachel Armoza-Zvuloni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The dynamics of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was studied in the fringing coral reef off the coast of Eilat, Red Sea. Diurnal changes in H2O2 concentrations in the reef lagoon were typical of photochemically produced species. During the daytime H2O2 accumulated in the lagoon at low tide and exceeded open water concentrations by 100-250 nM. Elevated H2O2 decay kinetics (termed hereafter antioxidant activity) were also recorded in the lagoon at low tide. The observed antioxidant activities were high enough to moderate H2O 2 accumulation in the lagoon. In pursuit of the antioxidant source, the ability of corals to release antioxidant activity to their surrounding water was examined in both natural and laboratory settings. Water collected in situ from surfaces of individual corals and next to a coral knoll contained high antioxidant activity. Incubation experiments revealed that many Red Sea corals release antioxidant activity to their external milieu. Besides serving a potential antioxidant source to the reef system, the antioxidant activity detected on coral surfaces enabled corals to lower H2O2 concentrations in their vicinity. The ability of corals to offset exogenous H2O2 was validated in incubations with Stylophora pistillata in the absence of mixing. Conversely, corals subjected to mixing in a beaker were found to release H2O2, implying that corals may act as both a sink and a source for H2O2 in the reef. This newly described ability of corals to change H2O2 dynamics by releasing both H2O2 and antioxidants may bare important implications for coral physiology and interactions with the environment. Key Points H2O2 dynamics in the coral reef is different from those in open seawater The reef lagoon accumulates antioxidants, probably originating from corals Antioxidant activity on coral surfaces enables corals to degrade external H2O2

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1793-1801
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • antioxidants
  • corals
  • dynamics
  • frequency distribution profiles
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • reef lagoon


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