Retention of high thermal tolerance in the invasive foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aqaba

Schmidt, C., Morad, R., Prazeres, M., Barak, H., and Kucera, M. (2016) Retention of high thermal tolerance in the invasive foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aqaba. Marine Biology, 163 (11). 228. pp. 1-13.

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Invasive species allow an investigation of trait retention and adaptations after exposure to new habitats. Recent work on corals from the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) shows that tolerance to high temperature persists thousands of years after invasion, without any apparent adaptive advantage. Here, we test whether thermal tolerance retention also occurs in another symbiont-bearing calcifying organism. To this end, we investigate the thermal tolerance of the benthic foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera from the GoA (29°30.14167 N, 34°55.085E) and compare it to a recent “Lessepsian invader population” from the Eastern Mediterranean (EaM) (32°37.386 N, 34°55.169E). We first established that the studied populations are genetically homogenous but distinct from a population in Australia and that they contain a similar consortium of diatom symbionts, confirming their recent common descent. Thereafter, we exposed specimens from GoA and EaM to elevated temperatures for three weeks and monitored survivorship, growth rates and photophysiology. Both populations exhibited a similar pattern of temperature tolerance. A consistent reduction of photosynthetic dark yields was observed at 34 °C and reduced growth was observed at 32 °C. The apparent tolerance to sustained exposure to high temperature cannot have a direct adaptive importance, as peak summer temperatures in both locations remain <32 °C. Instead, it seems that in the studied foraminifera, tolerance to high temperature is a conservative trait and the EaM population retained this trait since its recent invasion. Such pre-adaptation to higher temperatures confers A. lobifera a clear adaptive advantage in shallow and episodically high temperature environments in the Mediterranean under further warming.

Item ID: 49156
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Funders: BMBF-MOSTcooperation in Marine Sciences, Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Israel (MEW), Paul Brönnimann Foundation
Projects and Grants: BMBF-MOST grant no. 03F0639A, MEW grant no. 212-17-015
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 05:23
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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