The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Ancestral genetic diversity associated with the rapid spread of stress-tolerant coral symbionts in response to Holocene climate change

Ancestral genetic diversity associated with the rapid spread of stress-tolerant coral symbionts in response to Holocene climate change
Ancestral genetic diversity associated with the rapid spread of stress-tolerant coral symbionts in response to Holocene climate change
Coral communities in the Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) withstand unusually high salinity levels and regular summer temperature maxima of up to ?35 °C that kill conspecifics elsewhere. Due to the recent formation of the PAG and its subsequent shift to a hot climate, these corals have had only <6,000 y to adapt to these extreme conditions and can therefore inform on how coral reefs may respond to global warming. One key to coral survival in the world’s warmest reefs are symbioses with a newly discovered alga, Symbiodinium thermophilum. Currently, it is unknown whether this symbiont originated elsewhere or emerged from unexpectedly fast evolution catalyzed by the extreme environment. Analyzing genetic diversity of symbiotic algae across >5,000 km of the PAG, the Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea coastline, we show that S. thermophilum is a member of a highly diverse, ancient group of symbionts cryptically distributed outside the PAG. We argue that the adjustment to temperature extremes by PAG corals was facilitated by the positive selection of preadapted symbionts. Our findings suggest that maintaining the largest possible pool of potentially stress-tolerant genotypes by protecting existing biodiversity is crucial to promote rapid adaptation to present-day climate change, not only for coral reefs, but for ecosystems in general.
Persian/Arabian Gulf, adaptation, coral, Symbiodinium, climate change
0027-8424
4416-4421
Hume, Benjamin C.C.
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
Voolstra, Christian R.
e9c8ec10-db0a-40a2-805b-2cfadfbd55cd
Arif, Chatchanit
61a480f0-947f-40c1-a97b-fd10e43d1c03
D'angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Burt, John A.
9640a507-caa5-4ee3-a8bf-bec34d6a4fb8
Eyal, Gal
da83d991-4ed9-44de-b90d-272036b54ad0
Loya, Yossi
26f27801-394c-4428-a9dd-1423f3d5b457
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
Hume, Benjamin C.C.
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
Voolstra, Christian R.
e9c8ec10-db0a-40a2-805b-2cfadfbd55cd
Arif, Chatchanit
61a480f0-947f-40c1-a97b-fd10e43d1c03
D'angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Burt, John A.
9640a507-caa5-4ee3-a8bf-bec34d6a4fb8
Eyal, Gal
da83d991-4ed9-44de-b90d-272036b54ad0
Loya, Yossi
26f27801-394c-4428-a9dd-1423f3d5b457
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7

Hume, Benjamin C.C., Voolstra, Christian R., Arif, Chatchanit, D'angelo, Cecilia, Burt, John A., Eyal, Gal, Loya, Yossi and Wiedenmann, Jörg (2016) Ancestral genetic diversity associated with the rapid spread of stress-tolerant coral symbionts in response to Holocene climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (16), 4416-4421. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1601910113).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Coral communities in the Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) withstand unusually high salinity levels and regular summer temperature maxima of up to ?35 °C that kill conspecifics elsewhere. Due to the recent formation of the PAG and its subsequent shift to a hot climate, these corals have had only <6,000 y to adapt to these extreme conditions and can therefore inform on how coral reefs may respond to global warming. One key to coral survival in the world’s warmest reefs are symbioses with a newly discovered alga, Symbiodinium thermophilum. Currently, it is unknown whether this symbiont originated elsewhere or emerged from unexpectedly fast evolution catalyzed by the extreme environment. Analyzing genetic diversity of symbiotic algae across >5,000 km of the PAG, the Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea coastline, we show that S. thermophilum is a member of a highly diverse, ancient group of symbionts cryptically distributed outside the PAG. We argue that the adjustment to temperature extremes by PAG corals was facilitated by the positive selection of preadapted symbionts. Our findings suggest that maintaining the largest possible pool of potentially stress-tolerant genotypes by protecting existing biodiversity is crucial to promote rapid adaptation to present-day climate change, not only for coral reefs, but for ecosystems in general.

Text
PNAS-2016-Hume-1601910113(1).pdf - Version of Record
Download (1MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 3 March 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 April 2016
Published date: 19 April 2016
Keywords: Persian/Arabian Gulf, adaptation, coral, Symbiodinium, climate change
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 391146
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/391146
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: b9f296e7-cb1c-4648-b9b9-d28be9b00ddf
ORCID for Jörg Wiedenmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2128-2943

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Apr 2016 12:25
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:24

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Benjamin C.C. Hume
Author: Christian R. Voolstra
Author: Chatchanit Arif
Author: John A. Burt
Author: Gal Eyal
Author: Yossi Loya

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×