Symbiodinium Community Composition in Scleractinian Corals Is Not Affected by Life-Long Exposure to Elevated Carbon DioxideReportar como inadecuado

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Ocean acidification OA is expected to negatively affect coral reefs, however little is known about how OA will change the coral-algal symbiosis on which reefs ultimately depend. This study investigated whether there would be differences in coral Symbiodinium types in response to OA, potentially improving coral performance. We used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis DGGE of the internal transcribed spacer 2 ITS2 region of ribosomal DNA to investigate the dominant types of Symbiodinium associating with six species of scleractinian coral that were exposed to elevated partial pressures of carbon dioxide pCO2 in situ from settlement and throughout their lives. The study was conducted at three naturally occurring volcanic CO2 seeps pCO2 ∼500 to 900 ppm, pHTotal 7.8 – 7.9 and adjacent control areas pCO2 ∼390 ppm, pHTotal ∼8.0 – 8.05 in Papua New Guinea. The Symbiodinium associated with corals living in an extreme seep site pCO2 >1000 ppm were also examined. Ten clade C types and three clade D types dominated the 443 coral samples. Symbiodinium types strongly contrasted between coral species, however, no differences were observed due to CO2 exposure. Within five species, 85 – 95% of samples exhibited the same Symbiodinium type across all sites, with remaining rare types having no patterns attributable to CO2 exposure. The sixth species of coral displayed site specific differences in Symbiodinium types, unrelated to CO2 exposure. Symbiodinium types from the coral inhabiting the extreme CO2 seep site were found commonly throughout the moderate seeps and control areas. Our finding that symbiotic associations did not change in response to CO2 exposure suggest that, within the six coral hosts, none of the investigated 13 clade C and D Symbiodinium types had a selective advantage at high pCO2. Acclimatisation through changing symbiotic association therefore does not seem to be an option for Indo-Pacific corals to deal with future OA.

Autor: Sam H. C. Noonan , Katharina E. Fabricius, Craig Humphrey



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