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In semiarid conditions, feed is often scarce and variable with underfeeding being common; these factors can potentially induce fertility reductions in both sexes. Sexually active bucks are able to very efficiently fertilize out-of-season goats, but we do not know whether underfeeding would reduce the ability of bucks to fertilize goats during these periods. Two experiments were conducted to determine (i) testicular size and change of odor intensity of undernourished bucks exposed to long days and (ii) the ability of these bucks to stimulate reproductive activity in seasonally anestrous goats. In experiment 1, bucks (n = 7) were fed 1.5 times the normal maintenance requirements from September to May and formed the well-fed group. Another group of bucks (n = 7) were fed 0.5 times the maintenance requirements and formed the undernourished group. All bucks were subjected to artificially long days from 1 November to 15 January; this period was followed by a natural photoperiod until 30 May. Body weight, scrotal circumference and male odor intensity changes were determined every 2 weeks. In experiment 2, two groups of female goats (n = 26 each) were exposed to well-fed (n = 2) or undernourished bucks (n = 2) on 31 March. Ovulations and pregnancy rates were determined by transrectal ultrasonography. In experiment 1, a treatment by time interaction was detected for BW, scrotal circumference and odor intensity changes (P < 0.001). The BWs of well-fed bucks were greater than those of the undernourished bucks from October to May (P < 0.01), as were the scrotal circumferences from December to March (P < 0.05) and odor intensities from February to May (P < 0.05). In experiment 2, the proportions of females that ovulated at least once (100% v. 96%) or those that were diagnosed as pregnant (85% v. 77%; P > 0.05) did not differ significantly between the goats exposed to well-fed or undernourished bucks. The interval between the introduction of bucks and the onset of estrous behavior was shorter in goats exposed to well-fed bucks compared to the interval for those goats exposed to undernourished bucks (2.5 ± 0.2 v. 9.5 ± 0.6 days; P < 0.05). We conclude that undernourishment reduces the testicular size and odor intensity responses in bucks exposed to long days, but that undernourished bucks are still able to stimulate reproductive activity in seasonally anestrous goats, as is also the case for well-fed bucks.
The effect of month of birth on personality traits was investigated in 595 healthy Japanese. Personality traits were evaluated by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Statistical analyses were conducted in two steps. Firstly, months of the year were divided according to ambient temperature or photoperiod, and TCI scores were compared between month groups by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with age as a covariate. Secondly, multiple regression analysis was performed with TCI scores as dependent variables and ambient temperature and photoperiod at birth month and age as independent variables. Both analyses showed that higher ambient temperature at birth month was related to higher scores of self-directedness and persistence in females. Also, higher ambient temperature at birth month was related to lower body mass index (BMI) in females. These results suggest that month of birth affects self-directedness and persistence in healthy Japanese females, and these effects may be mediated by BMI changes associated with ambient temperature at birth month.
The effect of five photoperiods (0:24, 6:18; 12:12, 18:6, and 24:0 light:dark (L:D)) on the development, reproduction, and survival of the predatory thrips Scolothrips longicornis Priesner fed on the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, was tested under laboratory conditions at 60% RH and 25°C. Development time of almost all immature stages in S. longicornis was the shortest under long day lengths (18:6 and 24:0 L:D). The adult duration of both sexes decreased with increasing light length from 6 to 24 h. The longevity of male and female decreased with increasing light length. Under a 12:12 L:D photoperiod, S. longicornis females had the longest oviposition period and longevity, highest net reproductive rate (R0 = 15.37), intrinsic rate of natural increase (r = 0.141), and finite rate of increase (λ = 1.151). Life table parameters showed a significant difference with various photoperiods. The consequences of the present research demonstrated that a 12:12 L:D photoperiod is the most favorable for the reproduction and development of S. longicornis fed on T. urticae, and that for mas rearing for augmentative biological control programs, would be the ideal photoperiod to maximize production.
This research communication addresses the hypothesis that in dual-purpose goats, exposure to 1 h of extra-light given from 16 to 17 h after dawn (pulse of light) in winter stimulates milk yield. One group of goats was maintained under natural short photoperiod (natural day; ND (n = 7)). Another group of lactating females was submitted to an artificial long-day photoperiod consisting of 16 h light and 8 h darkness (long days; LD (n = 7)). A third group of females received one single hour of extra-light 16 h after the fixed dawn (pulse of light; PL (n = 6)). Goats from LD and PL yielded 30% more milk than goats from ND. Mean percentages of fat, protein and lactose contents in milk did not differ between the 3 groups at any stage of lactation, but these components in grams/day were higher in goats from PL than in the others two groups within the first 45 d of lactation. In conclusion, dual-purpose lactating goats that started their lactation during natural short days, the daily exposition to a 1-h pulse of light is sufficient to stimulate milk yield compared to females maintained under natural short photoperiod.
The intensive production system for broiler chicken is characterised by the provision of a suitable micro-climatic condition such as temperature, airflow, relative humidity and light for proper bird's management which always, together with appropriate feeding and nutrition, favours the full growth and production potentials of the birds. Lighting, amongst other factors, is a potent and critical micro-climatic component in broiler houses as it influences many behavioural, physiological and metabolic processes in birds. To optimise the intensive system for broiler production, various lighting programmes (regarding light duration and its distribution, light colour/wavelength and light intensity) have been explored. This review compares the effects of different elements of lighting regimen on the growth performance, health, and welfare and carcass characteristics of broilers. Considering this, various degrees of intermittent photo-period (i.e. mixing photo- and scoto- periods within 24 hours) rather than one continuous photoperiod have been proven to significantly improve broilers’ weight gain by 3.4-5.8%, feed to gain ratio up to 7.3%, mobility up to 46.5%, decrease mortality rate ranging between 0.43% and 0.72%, and finally, increase carcass yield. Short wavelength lights and light intensity of ≥5 lux after the initial brooding period are said to stimulate birds’ metabolism and growth thereby, enhancing the production system. In conclusion, the lighting programme, apart from improving broiler productivity, could reduce cost expended on energy in an intensive production system.
Environmental characteristics (for example, temperature, photoperiod) as seasonal cues can affect the offspring sex ratio and reproductive tactics of many hymenopteran insects. Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle is the most critical invasive insect pest of Eucalyptus spp. in the world and displays thelytokous reproduction. In the current study, we studied the effects of temperature and photoperiod on offspring sex ratio and reproductive tactics in L. invasa. Results show that sex ratio (female: male) of L. invasa was under 15, 25 and 35 °C with both L 12: D 12 and L 16: D 8, and cold and thermal acclimation were 74.5:1, 71.0:1, 59.0:0, 17.3:1, 53.0:0, 64.0:0, 47.0:1 and 56.0:0, respectively, which was highly significantly female biased and with no significant difference due to temperature or photoperiod. Offspring virgin females oviposited and induced the bump-shaped galls on plants under the same conditions as described above. Constant temperature, photoperiod and their interaction, and cold and thermal acclimation had no significant effect on the infestation rates of Eucalyptus branches induced by offspring virgin females. Thus, temperature, photoperiod and cold and thermal acclimation did not influence female-biased sex ratio and tactics with thelytokous reproduction of offspring females in L. invasa.
The Deleted in AZoospermia (DAZ) gene family regulates the development, maturation and maintenance of germ cells and spermatogenesis in mammals. The DAZ family consists of two autosomal genes, Boule and Dazl (Daz-like), and the Daz gene on chromosome Y. The aim of this study was to analyze the localization of DAZL and BOULE during testicular ontogeny of the seasonal-breeding Syrian hamster, Mesocricetus auratus. We also evaluated the testicular expression of DAZ family genes under short- or long-photoperiod conditions. In the pre-pubertal and adult testis, DAZL protein was found mainly in spermatogonia. BOULE was found in the spermatogonia from 20 days of age and during the pre-pubertal and adult period it was also detected in spermatocytes and round spermatids. DAZL and BOULE expression in spermatogonia was strictly nuclear only in 20-day-old hamsters. We also detected the novel mRNA and protein expression of BOULE in Leydig cells. In adult hamsters, Dazl expression was increased in regressed testis compared with non-regressed testis and DAZL protein expression was restricted to primary spermatocytes in regressed testis. These results show that DAZL and BOULE are expressed in spermatogonia at early stages in the Syrian hamster, then both proteins translocate to the cytoplasm when meiosis starts. In the adult regressed testis, the absence of DAZL in spermatogonia might be related to the decrease in germ cell number, suggesting that DAZ gene family expression is involved in changes in seminiferous epithelium during photoregression.
Increasing evidence has demonstrated that the environmental conditions experienced by parents can shape offspring phenotypes. Here, we examined the effects of the photoperiod and temperature experienced by parents on the incidence of diapause in their progeny in the cabbage beetle, Colaphellus bowringi, using three experiments. The first experiment examined parental diapause incidence under different photoperiods at 25°C and the incidence of diapause in progeny from both non-diapausing and diapausing parents under the same rearing conditions. The results revealed that the incidence of diapause among progeny was exactly opposite to that of their parents, i.e., higher parental diapause incidence led to lower progeny diapause incidence, showing a negative relationship in diapause incidence between the parental generation and the progeny generation. The incidence of diapause among progeny produced by diapausing parents was higher than that in progeny produced by non-diapausing parents. The second experiment examined parental diapause incidence at different temperatures under LD 12:12 and the incidence of diapause in progeny from both non-diapausing and diapausing parents under the same rearing conditions. Similarly, the incidence of diapause in progeny was also opposite to that of their parents. However, the incidence of diapause in progeny produced by non-diapausing parents was different from that in progeny produced by diapausing parents. In the third experiment, naturally diapausing adults were maintained at a constant temperature of 9, 28°C or the mean daily summer temperature of 27.84°C under continuous darkness for 3 months of dormancy. After dormancy, the progeny of these post-diapause parents were reared under different photoperiods at 25°C. The results showed that the incidence of diapause among progeny was higher when their parents experienced high temperatures than when they experienced low temperatures. All results demonstrate that the photoperiod and temperature experienced by parents may significantly affect the diapause incidence among progeny.
Temporal variations over short and medium time scales play an important role in fish assemblage dynamics, but have been poorly investigated in tropical estuaries. This study evaluates the hypothesis that fishes co-occurring on a tidal mudflat have different patterns of temporal segregation at short- and medium-term scales that optimize resource use and habitat partitioning. A total of 6222 individuals and 66 fish species were caught during different hours covering the entire 24 h cycle, tidal regimes and the wet and dry seasons. Biomass and species richness, and to a lesser extent CPUE and evenness, showed statistically significant interactions across short- and medium-term scales. Biomass was higher during the dry season and its oscillation along tidal cycles revealed distinct patterns over the photoperiod in each season. A similar complex pattern was also observed for species richness, which showed distinct temporal patterns between high and low tides over the photoperiod in each season. Overall, shorter-term variations on fish assemblage attributes were correlated mainly with photoperiod and, to a lesser extent, tidal regime. Medium-term variations in fish abundance and species richness, in contrast, could result from seasonality in recruitment patterns and higher availability of allochthonous food resources during the wet period.
Waterhemp is a weed indigenous to the midwestern United States and is problematic in agronomic crop production. This weed is well suited to inhabit minimally tilled environments and is increasing in prevalence across many agricultural production areas and systems. A common garden experiment was established in Indiana in 2014 and 2015 with waterhemp populations from Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska to compare the growth and development of waterhemp from these regions. Three establishment dates (May, June, and July) were used each year to simulate discontinuous germination. Mean biomass accumulations from the May (1,120 g plant−1) and June (1,069 g plant−1) establishment dates were higher than from the July (266 g plant−1) establishment date. There were no differences in biomass accumulations between the five populations in the May and June establishments, but biomass accumulations ranged from 195 to 338 g plant−1 in the July establishment. Mean seed yields were higher from the May (926,629 seeds plant−1) and June (828,905 seeds plant−1) establishment dates compared with the July (276,258 seeds plant−1) establishment. In the May and June establishments, seed yields ranged from 469,939 seeds plant−1 to 1,285,556 seeds plant−1. The Illinois population flowered the latest of all the populations yet also grew the tallest. The July establishment flowered the most rapidly after establishment, accumulated less biomass, and also had the largest seeds. This study demonstrated differences among waterhemp populations when grown in a common environment and the effect of establishment timing on waterhemp growth and development.
Seasonal reproduction is one of the major biotechnical and economic constraints of sheep production in temperate latitudes. Treatments using extra light followed by melatonin implants have been used satisfactorily in open barns, farms and artificial insemination centres to produce out-of-season sexual activity in rams. The aim of the present study is to explore the possibility of replacing melatonin implants with continuous light (LL), which was recently shown to increase LH secretion similar to melatonin and/or pinealectomy. Four experiments during 4 consecutive years were conducted in ‘Ile-de-France’ rams. In each study, one group was systematically exposed to permanent light after a first photoperiodic treatment of 60 long days (LD-LL) during the winter and compared with various other control groups subjected either to a natural photoperiod or the classical LD-melatonin treatment. As expected, blood nocturnal melatonin secretion was suppressed by LL. In all four experiments, LL treatment produced a highly significant and robust increase in ram testicular volume in the spring compared with the testicular volume of control rams or of that of treated rams at the end of the LD. For the two experiments in which fertility was tested, fertility after hand-mating was significantly higher in LD-LL rams than in control rams (76% v. 64%). Therefore, permanent light after an LD treatment may be an interesting alternative to LD-melatonin treatment to induce out-of-season sexual activity in rams.
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) are medically important species that vector several arboviruses. Globally, populations of both species experience (and are sensitive to) photoperiodic variations. The present study aims to test if photoperiod regimes affect the population performance of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. Since mosquitoes have sex-specific strategies to maximize fitness, we also tested the hypothesis that Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti would exhibit differences in the male and female response (sexually dimorphic response) to various photoperiod treatments. We reared cohorts of first instar larvae to adulthood in three photoperiod treatments: short day (10 h light), control (12 h light) and long day (14 h light). We measured and compared survival to adulthood, population growth, development time of males and females, and wing length across treatments. Although we detected no effects of photoperiod on the population performance of both species, we found evidence of a sexual dimorphic response to photoperiod in Ae. albopictus, but not in Ae. aegypti, with Ae. albopictus females being more sensitive to variations in photoperiod. The observed differences between sexes of Ae. albopictus are consistent with sex-specific developmental constraints. The absence of a sexually dimorphic response to photoperiod in Ae. aegypti can be attributed to different strategies evolved in this species to prepare for unfavourable conditions associated with shorter day length. We discuss the ecological and medical implications of our findings.
In rams, artificial long days followed by continuous light stimulate testosterone secretion during the non-breeding season. The objective of this study was to determine whether artificial long days followed by continuous light could stimulate testosterone secretion in Alpine bucks as well as in those exposed to long days followed by a melatonin treatment. All bucks were kept in shaded open pens. Control males were exposed to natural photoperiod conditions (n=5). Males of the two experimental groups were exposed to 2.5 months of long days from 1 December (n=5 each). On 16 February, one group of males was exposed to 24 h of light per day until 30 June; the other group was exposed to natural variations of photoperiod and received two s.c. melatonin implants. Testicular weight was determined every 2 weeks, and the plasma testosterone concentrations once a week. In the control and the two photoperiodic-treated groups, a treatment×time interaction was detected for testicular weight and plasma testosterone concentrations (P<0.001). In control bucks, testicular weight increased from January and peaked in June, whereas in both photoperiodic-treated groups, this variable increased from January, but peaked in April, when the values were higher than in controls (P<0.05). In the control group, plasma testosterone concentrations remained low from January to June, whereas in both photoperiodic-treated groups, this variable remained low from January to March; thereafter, these levels increased in both photoperiodic-treated groups, and were higher than controls in April and May (P<0.05). We conclude that continuous light after a long-day treatment stimulate testosterone secretion in Alpine male goats during the non-breeding season as well as the long days followed by a melatonin treatment. Therefore, continuous light could replace the implants of melatonin.
Sweet sorghum is highly coveted to contribute and take up food and energy challenges. A collection of 84 West Africa landraces mostly from Senegal and four control cultivars were screened to identify relevant accessions and trait combination for multi-purpose (sugar/grain/biomass). The implication of photoperiod sensitivity was particularly addressed. A total of 20 traits related to phenology, morphology, grain and sugar production were assessed in two sowing dates (July and August) at CNRA Bambey in Senegal. Late sowing resulted in shortened vegetative phase and a significant decrease in traits related to plant size, stem sugar, biomass and grain productions. Broad-sense heritability was moderate to high for most of the phenology, morphology, grain and sugar-related traits, suggesting their interest for breeding. All the traits related to plant size were positively correlated with plant sugar production except plant height. A cluster analysis identified three groups contrasting in their ability to combine sugar, grain or fodder production based on 18 traits measured for the early sowing. Clusters I and III were suitable for one purpose: grain and sugar, respectively. Cluster II was the most suitable for multi-purpose, showing the best trade-off among grain, sugar and vegetative biomass production. The best accessions for stem sugar yield belonged to durra, caudatum and their intermediate types. The relationship between internode size and sweetness should be further studied, in particular exploring their relationship with internode tissue anatomy. Further studies are also needed to evaluate the role that stay-green can play in sugar yield maintenance under post-flowering drought.
The intensity of pupal diapause in the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) was investigated under both laboratory and natural conditions. By transferring diapausing pupae induced under LD 11:13, LD 12:12 and LD 13:11 at 20, 22 and 25 °C to 25 °C combined with LD 15:9 to terminate diapause the rearing day length of 11 h evoked greater intensity of diapause than did 12 and 13 h at 25 °C; whereas the rearing temperature of 25 °C evoked more intense diapause than did 20 and 22 °C under LD 11:13. By transferring diapausing pupae induced under LD 12:12 at 20 and 22 °C to six temperatures of 18, 20, 22, 25, 28 and 31 °C combined with LD 15:9 to terminate diapause, the duration of diapause was significantly shortened from 146 days at 18 °C to 24 days at 31 °C, showing that high temperatures significantly accelerate diapause development. Furthermore, the duration of diapause was significantly longer at the rearing temperature of 22 °C than that at 20 °C when the diapause-terminating temperatures were 20 and 22 °C. Chilling at 5 °C did not shorten the duration of diapause but lengthened it when chilling period was included. However, chilling plays an important role in synchronizing adult emergence. Rearing temperature of 22 °C also evoked more intense diapause than did 20 °C in most chilling treatments. When the overwintering pupae were transferred at different times from natural temperatures to 25 °C, it was found that the earlier the transfer took place, the earlier the adults emerged when the time spent under natural conditions was included. However, cool temperatures before March showed an enhanced effect on diapause development at 20 °C, suggesting that the high diapause-terminating temperature can offset the effect of chilling on diapause development. The result of diapause termination under natural conditions suggests that the developmental threshold for post-diapause development in H. armigera should be around 17.5 °C.
Tall morningglory is an annual broadleaf vine and a problem weed in many
annual and perennial crops in several countries including the United States.
A better understanding of the germination biology of tall morningglory would
facilitate the development of better control strategies for this weed.
Experiments were conducted under greenhouse and laboratory conditions to
evaluate the effects of various environmental factors, such as temperature,
light, planting depth, pH, osmotic and salt stress, and flooding duration,
on the germination of tall morningglory. The results suggested that the
optimum day/night temperature range for the germination of tall morningglory
was 20/12.5 to 35/25 C and maximum germination (89%) was observed at 30/20
C. Temperature higher and lower than the optimum range significantly reduced
germination. Alternate light and dark did not have any adverse effect on the
germination of tall morningglory seeds. The germination was 10% at an
osmotic stress of −0.3 and −0.4 MPa, and above that, no germination was
observed. Tall morningglory showed some tolerance to salt stress. The
germination was 40% and 12% at salt concentrations of 50 mM and 200 mM,
respectively. Germination was affected by pH levels, and maximum germination
occurred at pH 6, whereas above or below that level, germination was
significantly reduced. Maximum germination of seeds was 83 and 94% when sown
at 0 and 2 cm depth in soil, within a week of sowing; however, germination
was significantly reduced to 76% when placed at a depth of 4 cm or deeper.
Under no flooding treatment, 87% of seed germinated, but flooding delayed
and inhibited the germination of tall morningglory seeds. It is concluded
that several environmental factors affected the germination of tall
morningglory, and this information could help to predict the spread of tall
morningglory in new areas such as Florida.
The ICRISAT genebank, Patancheru, India holds 22,211 pearl millet germplasm accessions from 50 countries, including 19,063 landraces. Among these, 15,904 landraces that were geo-referenced are either thermo-sensitive (52.5%), or photoperiod-sensitive (45.6%), or insensitive to both temperature and photoperiod (2%). Latitude ranges of 10–15°N with 39.6% and 15–20°S with 13.1% of total accessions are the important regions for pearl millet germplasm. A study on climate data of the germplasm collection sites revealed that most accessions from latitudes ranging from 10 to 20° on both sides of the equator were highly sensitive to longer photoperiod (>12.5 h) and/or lower temperature ( < 12°C). Accessions that originated in locations at higher latitudes (>20–35°) on both the hemispheres exhibited low sensitivity to both photoperiod and low temperature, as they were exposed to such climates during their evolution. The accessions that are insensitive to both photoperiod and temperature were few but they originated from locations spread across all latitudes, although the highest numbers were from mid-latitudes (15–20°) in both hemispheres. As germplasm accessions are sensitive to climatic variables such as temperature and photoperiod, recording of location-specific geo-reference data while collecting the germplasm, which can help to elucidate the sensitivity of accessions to temperature and photoperiod, is emphasized. Critical evaluation of photoperiod-sensitive accessions that are late flowering for forage production and the photoperiod-insensitive early-maturing accessions for grain production, multiple cropping and development of parental lines with synchronized flowering for the development of hybrids is suggested.
Environmental variables such as photoperiod, heat, stress, nutrition and other external factors have profound effects on quality and quantity of a dairy cow's milk. The way in which the environment interacts with genotype to impact milk production is unknown; however, evidence from our laboratory suggests that circadian clocks play a role. Daily and seasonal endocrine rhythms are coordinated in mammals by the master circadian clock in the hypothalamus. Peripheral clocks are distributed in every organ and coordinated by signals from the master clock. We and others have shown that there is a circadian clock in the mammary gland. Approximately 7% of the genes expressed during lactation had circadian patterns including core clock and metabolic genes. Amplitude changes occurred in the core mammary clock genes during the transition from pregnancy to lactation and were coordinated with changes in molecular clocks among multiple tissues. In vitro studies using a bovine mammary cell line showed that external stimulation synchronized mammary clocks, and expression of the core clock gene, BMAL1, was induced by lactogens. Female clock/clock mutant mice, which have disrupted circadian rhythms, have impaired mammary development and their offspring failed to thrive suggesting that the dam's milk production was not adequate enough to nourish their young. We envision that, in mammals, during the transition from pregnancy to lactation the master clock is modified by environmental and physiological cues that it receives, including photoperiod length. In turn, the master clock coordinates changes in endocrine milieu that signals peripheral tissues. In dairy cows, it is clear that changes in photoperiod during the dry period and/or during lactation influences milk production. We believe that the photoperiod effect on milk production is mediated, in part by the ‘setting’ of the master clock with light, which modifies peripheral circadian clocks including the mammary core clock and subsequently impacts milk yield and may impact milk composition.
The effects of photoperiod and temperature on the induction and termination of facultative pupal diapause in Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) were investigated under laboratory conditions. Exposing H. armigera larvae to both constant and fluctuating temperature regimes with a mean of 25°C and 20°C resulted in a type-III photoperiodic response curve of a short-long day insect. The long-day critical daylengths for diapause induction were ten hours and 12 hours at the constant temperatures of 25°C and 20°C, respectively. Higher incidences of diapause and higher values both for the longer and the shorter critical photoperiods for diapause induction were observed at fluctuating regimes compared with the corresponding constant ones. At alternating temperatures, the incidence of diapause ranged from 4.2% to 33.3% and was determined by the temperature amplitude of the thermoperiod and by the interaction of cryophase or thermophase with the photoperiod. Helicoverpa armigera larvae seem to respond to photoperiodic stimuli at temperatures >15°C and <30°C; all insects entered diapause at a constant temperature of 15°C, whereas none did so at a constant temperature of 30°C under all the photoperiodic regimes examined. Although chilling was not a prerequisite for diapause termination, exposure of diapausing pupae to chilling conditions significantly accelerated diapause development and the time of adult emergence. Therefore, temperature may be the primary factor controlling the termination of diapause in H. armigera.
Light is one of the most important abiotic factors influencing the (skeletal) growth of scleractinian corals. Light stimulates coral growth by the process of light-enhanced calcification, which is mediated by zooxanthellar photosynthesis. However, the quantity of light that is available for daily coral growth is not only determined by light intensity (i.e. irradiance), but also by photoperiod (i.e. the light duration time). Understanding and optimizing conditions for coral growth is essential for sustainable coral aquaculture. Therefore, in this study, the question was explored whether more light (i.e. more photons), presented either as irradiance or as light duration, would result in more growth. A series of nine genetically identical coral colonies of Galaxea fascicularis L. were cultured for a period of 18 weeks at different light duration times (8 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:16 hours dark, 12 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:12 hours dark, 16 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:8 hours dark, 24 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:0 hours dark) and different irradiance levels (8 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:16 hours dark, 8 hours 225 μE m−2 s−1:16 hours dark and 8 hours 300 μE m−2 s−1:16 hours dark). Growth was determined every two weeks by measuring buoyant weight. Temperature, salinity and feeding levels were kept constant during the experiment. To detect possible acclimation of the corals to an increased light duration, rates of net photosynthesis and dark respiration were measured, hereby comparing coral colonies grown under an 8:16 hours light (150 μE m−2 s−1):dark cycle with corals grown under a 16:8 hours light (150 μE m−2 s−1):dark cycle. No increase in growth was detected with either increasing photoperiod or irradiance. Continuous lighting (24 hours 150 μE m−2 s−1:0 hours dark) resulted in immediate bleaching and the corals died after 14 weeks. Hourly photosynthetic rates were significantly reduced in the 16 hour light treatment compared to the 8 hour light treatment. As a result, daily net photosynthetic rates were not significantly different, which may explain the observed specific growth rates. Acclimation to photoperiod duration appeared neither to be mediated by changes in chlorophyll-a concentration nor zooxanthellae density. Based on the results of this study, we can conclude that the enhancing effect of light on coral growth is not only a matter of photons. Obviously, the availability of light was not limiting growth in these experiments and was probably in excess (i.e. stressful amounts). Other factors are discussed that play a role in determining growth rates and might explain our results.