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Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs

Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs
Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs
Corals in the Arabian/Persian Gulf (PAG) survive extreme sea temperatures (summer mean: >34°C), and it is unclear whether these corals have genetically adapted or physiologically acclimated to these conditions. In order to elucidate the processes involved in the thermal tolerance of PAG corals, it is essential to understand the connectivity between reefs within and outside of the PAG. To this end, this study set out to investigate the genetic structure of the coral, Platygyra daedalea, and its symbiotic algae in the PAG and neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Using nuclear markers (the ITS region and an intron of the Pax-C gene), this study demonstrates genetic divergence of P. daedalea on reefs within the thermally extreme PAG compared with those in the neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Isolation by distance of P. daedalea was supported by the ITS dataset but not the Pax-C intron. In addition, the symbiont community within the PAG was dominated by C3 symbionts, while the purportedly thermotolerant clade D was extremely rare and was common only at sites outside of the PAG. Analysis of the psbAncr indicates that the C3 variant hosted by P. daedalea in the PAG belongs to the newly described species, Symbiodinium thermophilum. The structuring of the coral and symbiont populations suggests that both partners of the symbiosis may contribute to the high bleaching thresholds of PAG corals. While limited gene flow has likely played a role in local adaptation within the PAG, it also indicates limited potential for natural export of thermal tolerance traits to reefs elsewhere in the Indian Ocean threatened by climate change.
1932-6203
Smith, Edward G.
fc355d48-9c28-41dc-a191-0c33308be0ed
Hume, Benjamin C. C.
dab8d735-3726-4193-9058-c2c1cfac349d
Delaney, Patrice
af41dc36-ba37-48fe-84ea-c38507ae4447
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
Burt, John A.
9640a507-caa5-4ee3-a8bf-bec34d6a4fb8
Smith, Edward G.
fc355d48-9c28-41dc-a191-0c33308be0ed
Hume, Benjamin C. C.
dab8d735-3726-4193-9058-c2c1cfac349d
Delaney, Patrice
af41dc36-ba37-48fe-84ea-c38507ae4447
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
Burt, John A.
9640a507-caa5-4ee3-a8bf-bec34d6a4fb8

Smith, Edward G., Hume, Benjamin C. C., Delaney, Patrice, Wiedenmann, Jörg and Burt, John A. (2017) Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs. PLoS ONE, 12 (6), [e0180169]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180169).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Corals in the Arabian/Persian Gulf (PAG) survive extreme sea temperatures (summer mean: >34°C), and it is unclear whether these corals have genetically adapted or physiologically acclimated to these conditions. In order to elucidate the processes involved in the thermal tolerance of PAG corals, it is essential to understand the connectivity between reefs within and outside of the PAG. To this end, this study set out to investigate the genetic structure of the coral, Platygyra daedalea, and its symbiotic algae in the PAG and neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Using nuclear markers (the ITS region and an intron of the Pax-C gene), this study demonstrates genetic divergence of P. daedalea on reefs within the thermally extreme PAG compared with those in the neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Isolation by distance of P. daedalea was supported by the ITS dataset but not the Pax-C intron. In addition, the symbiont community within the PAG was dominated by C3 symbionts, while the purportedly thermotolerant clade D was extremely rare and was common only at sites outside of the PAG. Analysis of the psbAncr indicates that the C3 variant hosted by P. daedalea in the PAG belongs to the newly described species, Symbiodinium thermophilum. The structuring of the coral and symbiont populations suggests that both partners of the symbiosis may contribute to the high bleaching thresholds of PAG corals. While limited gene flow has likely played a role in local adaptation within the PAG, it also indicates limited potential for natural export of thermal tolerance traits to reefs elsewhere in the Indian Ocean threatened by climate change.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 June 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 June 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biology & Ecology, Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412020
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412020
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 420cf4b4-6787-40c4-844d-6e36fcb6a5b1
ORCID for Jörg Wiedenmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2128-2943

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Date deposited: 05 Jul 2017 16:31
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:53

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