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Local adaptation constrains the distribution potential of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium from the Persian/Arabian Gulf

Local adaptation constrains the distribution potential of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium from the Persian/Arabian Gulf
Local adaptation constrains the distribution potential of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium from the Persian/Arabian Gulf
The symbiotic association of corals and unicellular algae of the genus Symbiodinium in the southern Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) display an exceptional heat tolerance, enduring summer peak temperatures of up to 36?°C. As yet, it is not clear whether this resilience is related to the presence of specific symbiont types that are exclusively found in this region. Therefore, we used molecular markers to identify the symbiotic algae of three Porites species along >1000?km of coastline in the PAG and the Gulf of Oman and found that a recently described species, Symbiodinium thermophilum, is integral to coral survival in the southern PAG, the world’s hottest sea. Despite the geographic isolation of the PAG, we discovered that representatives of the S. thermophilum group can also be found in the adjacent Gulf of Oman providing a potential source of thermotolerant symbionts that might facilitate the adaptation of Indian Ocean populations to the higher water temperatures expected for the future. However, corals from the PAG associated with S. thermophilum show strong local adaptation not only to high temperatures but also to the exceptionally high salinity of their habitat. We show that their superior heat tolerance can be lost when these corals are exposed to reduced salinity levels common for oceanic environments elsewhere. Consequently, the salinity prevailing in most reefs outside the PAG might represent a distribution barrier for extreme temperature-tolerant coral/Symbiodinium associations from the PAG.
1751-7362
2551-2560
D'Angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Hume, Benjamin C.C.
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
Burt, John
8afade05-78cf-4a28-a6dd-a003d437267b
Smith, Edward G.
bc4bde94-8c86-46c3-8c1c-9fe8c72fb43e
Achterberg, Eric P.
685ce961-8c45-4503-9f03-50f6561202b9
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
D'Angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Hume, Benjamin C.C.
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
Burt, John
8afade05-78cf-4a28-a6dd-a003d437267b
Smith, Edward G.
bc4bde94-8c86-46c3-8c1c-9fe8c72fb43e
Achterberg, Eric P.
685ce961-8c45-4503-9f03-50f6561202b9
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7

D'Angelo, Cecilia, Hume, Benjamin C.C., Burt, John, Smith, Edward G., Achterberg, Eric P. and Wiedenmann, Jörg (2015) Local adaptation constrains the distribution potential of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium from the Persian/Arabian Gulf. The ISME Journal, 9, 2551-2560. (doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.80).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The symbiotic association of corals and unicellular algae of the genus Symbiodinium in the southern Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) display an exceptional heat tolerance, enduring summer peak temperatures of up to 36?°C. As yet, it is not clear whether this resilience is related to the presence of specific symbiont types that are exclusively found in this region. Therefore, we used molecular markers to identify the symbiotic algae of three Porites species along >1000?km of coastline in the PAG and the Gulf of Oman and found that a recently described species, Symbiodinium thermophilum, is integral to coral survival in the southern PAG, the world’s hottest sea. Despite the geographic isolation of the PAG, we discovered that representatives of the S. thermophilum group can also be found in the adjacent Gulf of Oman providing a potential source of thermotolerant symbionts that might facilitate the adaptation of Indian Ocean populations to the higher water temperatures expected for the future. However, corals from the PAG associated with S. thermophilum show strong local adaptation not only to high temperatures but also to the exceptionally high salinity of their habitat. We show that their superior heat tolerance can be lost when these corals are exposed to reduced salinity levels common for oceanic environments elsewhere. Consequently, the salinity prevailing in most reefs outside the PAG might represent a distribution barrier for extreme temperature-tolerant coral/Symbiodinium associations from the PAG.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 19 May 2015
Published date: 19 May 2015
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377651
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377651
ISSN: 1751-7362
PURE UUID: ca9acbdd-7fa9-4bda-807d-71aeaf7715f3
ORCID for Jörg Wiedenmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2128-2943

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Date deposited: 02 Jun 2015 10:46
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 01:50

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Contributors

Author: Benjamin C.C. Hume
Author: John Burt
Author: Edward G. Smith

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