High potential for formation and persistence of chimeras following aggregated larval settlement in the broadcast spawning coral, Acropora millepora

Puill-Stephan, E., van Oppen, M.J.H., Pichavant-Rafini, K., and Willis, B.L. (2012) High potential for formation and persistence of chimeras following aggregated larval settlement in the broadcast spawning coral, Acropora millepora. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 279 (1729). pp. 699-708.

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Abstract

In sessile modular marine invertebrates, chimeras can originate from fusions of closely settling larvae or of colonies that come into contact through growth or movement. While it has been shown that juveniles of brooding corals fuse under experimental conditions, chimera formation in broadcast spawning corals, the most abundant group of reef corals, has not been examined. This study explores the capacity of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora to form chimeras under experimental conditions and to persist as chimeras in the field. Under experimental conditions, 1.5-fold more larvae settled in aggregations than solitarily, and analyses of nine microsatellite loci revealed that 50 per cent of juveniles tested harboured different genotypes within the same colony. Significantly, some chimeric colonies persisted for 23 months post-settlement, when the study ended. Genotypes within persisting chimeric colonies all showed a high level of relatedness, whereas rejecting colonies displayed variable levels of relatedness. The nearly threefold greater sizes of chimeras compared with solitary juveniles, from settlement through to at least three months, suggest that chimerism is likely to be an important strategy for maximizing survival of vulnerable early life-history stages of corals, although longer-term studies are required to more fully explore the potential benefits of chimerism.

Item ID: 22179
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: chimera, microsatellites, corals, Acropora millepora
ISSN: 1471-2954
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 15:49
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060308 Life Histories @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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