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1 March 2012 Symbiodinium Clade C Dominates Zooxanthellate Corals (Scleractinia) in the Temperate Region of Japan
Yi-Ting Lien, Hironobu Fukami, Yoh Yamashita
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Endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium have been divided into nine clades (A–I) following genetic classification; some clades are known to have physiological properties that enable the coral hosts to adapt to different environmental conditions. To understand the relationships of coral-alga symbioses, we focused on Symbiodinium diversity in zooxanthellate corals living under the severe environmental conditions of the temperate region (30°–35°N) of Japan. We investigated Symbiodinium clades in 346 colonies belonging to 58 coral species from six locations. We then selected three coral species—Acropora hyacinthus, Acropora japonica, and Cyphastrea chalcidicum—to investigate whether Symbiodinium clades changed during winter or summer over the course of year (May 2009–Apr 2010) in Tanabe Bay, Japan. Three Symbiodinium clades (C, D, and F) were detected in corals in the temperate region. Notably, 56 coral species contained Symbiodinium clade C. Oulastrea crispata predominantly contained clade D, but traces of clade C were also detected in all samples. The temperate-specific species Alveopora japonica contained clades C and F simultaneously. Seasonal change of symbiont clades did not occur in the three coral species during the investigation period where SSTs range on 12.5–29.2°C. However, we found Acropora (2 spp.) and Cyphastrea (1 sp.) contained different subcladal types of clade C. These results reveal that most coral species harbored Symbiodinium clade C stably throughout the year, suggesting that Symbiodinium clade C shows low-temperature tolerance, and that two hypothetical possibilities; genetic differences of subcladal types generating physiological differences or wide physiological flexibility in the clade C.

© 2012 Zoological Society of Japan
Yi-Ting Lien, Hironobu Fukami, and Yoh Yamashita "Symbiodinium Clade C Dominates Zooxanthellate Corals (Scleractinia) in the Temperate Region of Japan," Zoological Science 29(3), 173-180, (1 March 2012).
Received: 22 August 2011; Accepted: 1 November 2011; Published: 1 March 2012
seasonal change
temperate region
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