Journal article

Highly infectious symbiont dominates initial uptake in coral juveniles

David Abrego, Madeleine JH Van Oppen, Bette L Willis

Molecular Ecology | WILEY | Published : 2009


The majority of reef-building corals acquire their obligate algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) from the environment. However, factors shaping the initial establishment of coral-algal symbioses, including parental effects, local environmental conditions and local availability of symbionts, are not well understood. This study monitored the uptake and maintenance of Symbiodinium in juveniles of two common corals, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora, that were reciprocally explanted between sites where adult colonies host different types of Symbiodinium. We found that coral juveniles were rapidly dominated by type D Symbiodinium, even though this type is not found in adult colonies (including the..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Tony Ailing for providing data on the relative abundance of scleractinian hosts at Magnetic Island. Three anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments which improved this manuscript. Zoe Richards and Katharina Fabricius were very helpful in identification of some of the cnidarian hosts. Rob Gegg helped to get hundreds of settlement tiles and racks ready for this research. Lesa Peplow provided valuable advice on the initial laboratory processing of samples. We also thank Claudia McGrath, the staff at MARFU and Orpheus Island Research Station, and many volunteers for their help during coral spawning field work. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. D. A. received financial support from CONACYT ( Mexico) and Brockmann / State of Jalisco Scholarship Foundation.