Journal article

Heat-evolved microalgal symbionts increase coral bleaching tolerance

P Buerger, C Alvarez-Roa, CW Coppin, SL Pearce, LJ Chakravarti, JG Oakeshott, R Edwards, MJH van Oppen

Science Advances | AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE | Published : 2020

Abstract

Coral reefs worldwide are suffering mass mortalities from marine heat waves. With the aim of enhancing coral bleaching tolerance, we evolved 10 clonal strains of a common coral microalgal endosymbiont at elevated temperatures (31°C) for 4 years in the laboratory. All 10 heat-evolved strains had expanded their thermal tolerance in vitro following laboratory evolution. After reintroduction into coral host larvae, 3 of the 10 heat-evolved endosymbionts also increased the holobionts' bleaching tolerance. Although lower levels of secreted reactive oxygen species (ROS) accompanied thermal tolerance of the heat-evolved algae, reduced ROS secretion alone did not predict thermal tolerance in symbiosi..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship


Funding Acknowledgements

The research was funded by a CSIRO Research Office Postdoctoral Fellowship to P.B., CSIRO Land & Water, the University of Melbourne, Paul G. Allen Philanthropies, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Next-generation sequencing was funded by an Illumina NovaSeq mini-grant, administered through the Ramaciotti Centre, Sydney. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Ramaciotti Centre and Illumina for their support. M.J.H.v.O. acknowledges the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship FL180100036.