Contrasting effects of Symbiodinium identity on coral host transcriptional profiles across latitudes

Molecular Ecology
Sarah J BarfieldMikhail V Matz

Abstract

Reef-building corals can increase their resistance to heat-induced bleaching through adaptation and acclimatization and/or by associating with a more thermo-tolerant strain of algal symbiont (Symbiodinium sp.). Here, we show that these two adaptive pathways interact. We collected Acropora millepora corals from two contrasting thermal environments on the Great Barrier Reef: cooler, mid-latitude Orpheus Island, where all corals hosted a heat-sensitive clade C Symbiodinium, and warmer, low-latitude Wilkie Island, where corals hosted either a clade C or a more thermo-tolerant clade D. Corals were kept in a benign common garden to reveal differences in baseline gene expression, reflecting prior adaptation/long-term acclimatization. Model-based analysis identified gene expression differences between Wilkie and Orpheus corals that were negatively correlated with previously described transcriptome-wide signatures of heat stress, signifying generally elevated thermotolerance of Wilkie corals. Yet, model-free analyses of gene expression revealed that Wilkie corals hosting clade C were distinct from Wilkie corals hosting clade D, whereas Orpheus corals were more variable. Wilkie corals hosting clade C symbionts exhibited unique functional...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Thermotolerance
Biochemical Pathway
Biological Adaptation to Stress
Histone antigen
Coral
Genes
Acclimatization
Transcription, Genetic
Adaptation of Signaling Pathway
Environment

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