Journal article

Genomic adaptations to an endolithic lifestyle in the coral-associated alga Ostreobium

Cintia Iha, Katherine E Dougan, Javier A Varela, Viridiana Avila, Christopher J Jackson, Kenny A Bogaert, Yibi Chen, Louise M Judd, Ryan Wick, Kathryn E Holt, Marisa M Pasella, Francesco Ricci, Sonja I Repetti, Monica Medina, Vanessa R Marcelino, Cheong Xin Chan, Heroen Verbruggen



The green alga Ostreobium is an important coral holobiont member, playing key roles in skeletal decalcification and providing photosynthate to bleached corals that have lost their dinoflagellate endosymbionts. Ostreobium lives in the coral's skeleton, a low-light environment with variable pH and O2 availability. We present the Ostreobium nuclear genome and a metatranscriptomic analysis of healthy and bleached corals to improve our understanding of Ostreobium's adaptations to its extreme environment and its roles as a coral holobiont member. The Ostreobium genome has 10,663 predicted protein-coding genes and shows adaptations for life in low and variable light conditions and other stressors i..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by DoE Joint Genome Institute (CSP grant)

Awarded by National Science Foundation

Awarded by CONACyT

Awarded by National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) National Facility systems through the NCI Merit Allocation Scheme

Funding Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by the Australian Research Council (FT110100585 to H.V., DP150100705 to H.V. and C.X.C., DP190102474 to C.X.C., and DP200101613 to H.V. and M.M.), the University of Melbourne (CBRI to H.V. and K.E.H.), the DoE Joint Genome Institute (CSP grant 1622 to M.M. and V.A.), the National Science Foundation (OCE 1442206 and IOS 0644438 to M.M.), Pennsylvania State University (to M.M.), the Canon Foundation (to M.M.), and CONACyT (216837 to V.A.). This work is supported by the computational resources of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) National Facility systems through the NCI Merit Allocation Scheme (project d85) awarded to C.X.C., and through the Nectar Research Cloud. We thank R. Iglesias-Prieto, C.T. Galindo, and M. Weber for assisting with field experiments; and J. Beardall, J.C. Lagarias, and A.H. Knoll for discussions. We thank M. Thang for helping with uploading the raw data to ENA. We thank A. Fordyce for the bleached coral photograph.