Unexpected mixed-mode transmission and moderate genetic regulation of Symbiodinium communities in a brooding coral

Quigley, Kate M., Warner, Patricia A., Bay, Line K., and Willis, Bette L. (2018) Unexpected mixed-mode transmission and moderate genetic regulation of Symbiodinium communities in a brooding coral. Heredity, 121 (6). pp. 524-536.

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Determining the extent to which Symbiodinium communities in corals are inherited versus environmentally acquired is fundamental to understanding coral resilience and to predicting coral responses to stressors like warming oceans that disrupt this critical endosymbiosis. We examined the fidelity with which Symbiodinium communities in the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix are vertically transmitted and the extent to which communities are genetically regulated, by genotyping the symbiont communities within 60 larvae and their parents (9 maternal and 45 paternal colonies) using high-throughput sequencing of the ITS2 locus. Unexpectedly, Symbiodinium communities associated with brooded larvae were distinct from those within parent colonies, including the presence of types not detected in adults. Bayesian heritability (h2) analysis revealed that 33% of variability in larval Symbiodinium communities was genetically controlled. Results highlight flexibility in the establishment of larval symbiont communities and demonstrate that symbiont transmission is not exclusively vertical in brooding corals. Instead, we show that Symbiodinium transmission in S. hystrix involves a mixed-mode strategy, similar to many terrestrial invertebrate symbioses. Also, variation in the abundances of common Symbiodinium types among adult corals suggests that microhabitat differences influence the structure of in hospite Symbiodinium communities. Partial genetic regulation coupled with flexibility in the environmentally acquired component of Symbiodinium communities implies that corals with vertical transmission, like S. hystrix, may be more resilient to environmental change than previously thought.

Item ID: 56351
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2540
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 08:53
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310508 Genome structure and regulation @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
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