National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, 2 Hou-Wan Rd., Checheng, Pingtung 944, Taiwan; Institute of Marine Biology, National Dong Hwa University, 2 Hou-Wan Rd., Checheng, Pingtung 944, Taiwan. Electronic address: [Email]
The use of omics technologies to profile an organism's systemic response to environmental changes can improve the effectiveness of biomonitoring. In cell physiology, the dynamic characteristics of membranes can be used to identify lipid profiles that detect environmental threats and assess the health problems associated with them. The efficacy of this approach was demonstrated by profiling glycerophosphocholines (GPCs, a major membrane lipid class) in the coral Seriatopora caliendrum after exposure to Irgarol 1051. A quantitative biomonitoring model for this photosystem II herbicide was developed by correlating variations in coral lipid profile with herbicide exposure levels and degree of photoinhibition. After 4 days of exposure, the predominant changes correlated with photoinhibition were an increase in lyso-GPCs and saturated GPCs and a decrease in phosphatidylcholines with unsaturated C18 chains or a polyunsaturated C22 chain. A time-course experiment showed that most of these lipid changes occurred opposite to the initial response and that the persistent changes can be attributed to photosynthetic shortages and the membrane accommodation of photoinhibition-induced oxidative conditions. These changes can help predict risk factors leading to coral bleaching. In this study, the application of a lipidomic methodology to characterize the adaptation of coral to ambient contamination serves as a basis for advancing environmental monitoring and assessment.