Geographic and habitat partitioning of genetically distinct zooxanthellea (Symbiodinium) in Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef

Ulstrup, K.E., and Van Oppen, M.J.H. (2003) Geographic and habitat partitioning of genetically distinct zooxanthellea (Symbiodinium) in Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Molecular Ecology, 12 (12). pp. 3477-3484.

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Intra- and intercolony diversity and distribution of zooxanthellae in acroporid corals is largely uncharted. In this study, two molecular methods were applied to determine the distribution of zooxanthellae in the branching corals Acropora tenuis and A. valida at several reef locations in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Sun-exposed and shaded parts of all colonies were examined. Single-stranded conformational polymorphism analysis showed that individual colonies of A. tenuis at two locations harbour two strains of Symbiodinium belonging to clade C (C1 and C2), whereas conspecific colonies at two other reefs harboured a single zooxanthella strain. A. valida was found to simultaneously harbour strains belonging to two distinct phylogenetic clades (C and D) at all locations sampled. A novel method with improved sensitivity (quantitative polymerase chain reaction using Taqman™ fluorogenic probes) was used to map the relative abundance distribution of the two zooxanthella clades. At two of the five sampling locations both coral species were collected. At these two locations, composition of the zooxanthella communities showed the same pattern in both coral species, i.e. correlation with ambient light in Pioneer Bay and an absence thereof in Nelly Bay. The results show that the distribution of genetically distinct zooxanthellae is correlated with light regime and possibly temperature in some (but not all) colonies of A. tenuis and A. valida and at some reef locations, which we interpret as acclimation to local environmental conditions.

Item ID: 6908
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: Acroporidae; geographic variation; Great Barrier Reef; habitat partitioning; Symbiodinium
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010 04:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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