Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Colonies of the soft coralSinularia flexibilis (Quoy & Gaimard) (Coelenterata, Octocorallia) were collected at Lizard Island (14°40′S and 145°28′E) Research Station. Extraction of the corals and quantitative chemical analysis for the three major diterpene components, flexibilide, dihydroflexibilide, and sinulariolide, afforded average ratios of 4∶3∶1 respectively. Colonies, sized on the basis of the sterile stalk circumference, were analyzed for possible correlations between size and chemical composition. The major metabolite, flexibilide, was inversely correlated with colony size, while sinulariolide concentration showed a direct correlation. The concentration of dihydroflexibilide was independent of colony size. Samples were further analyzed with respect to site of collection. Colonies were collected at three distinct reefal sites. One was characterized by large monospecific stands ofParites cylindrica, a second was a sandy bottom site with a mixed community of soft corals and occasional scleractinians, while the third site was a very diverse reef community with many species of scleractinian corals.Sinularia flexibilis was well represented at each site, and the concentration of flexibilide and sinulariolide varied significantly among sites. The concentration of flexibilide was significantly higher at the third, highly competitive site, while the concentration of sinulariolide was highest at thePorites-dominated site. Dihydroflexibilide levels were independent of site. It seems likely that concentrations of flexibilide, a highly cytotoxic molecule involved in interference competition, and sinulariolide, a known algicide probably responsible for colony maintenance, may be influenced by their environments.
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