A novel reef coral symbiosis

Pantos, O. and Bythell, J. C. (2010) A novel reef coral symbiosis. Coral Reefs, 29 3: 761-770. doi:10.1007/s00338-010-0622-5

Author Pantos, O.
Bythell, J. C.
Title A novel reef coral symbiosis
Journal name Coral Reefs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0722-4028
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00338-010-0622-5
Volume 29
Issue 3
Start page 761
End page 770
Total pages 10
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
060808 Invertebrate Biology
Formatted abstract
Reef building corals form close associations with unicellular microalgae, fungi, bacteria and archaea, some of which are symbiotic and which together form the coral holobiont. Associations with multicellular eukaryotes such as polychaete worms, bivalves and sponges are not generally considered to be symbiotic as the host responds to their presence by forming physical barriers with an active growth edge in the exoskeleton isolating the invader and, at a subcellular level, activating innate immune responses such as melanin deposition. This study describes a novel symbiosis between a newly described hydrozoan (Zanclea margaritae sp. nov.) and the reef building coral Acropora muricata (=A. formosa), with the hydrozoan hydrorhiza ramifying throughout the coral tissues with no evidence of isolation or activation of the immune systems of the host. The hydrorhiza lacks a perisarc, which is typical of symbiotic species of this and related genera, including species that associate with other cnidarians such as octocorals. The symbiosis was observed at all sites investigated from two distant locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and appears to be host species specific, being found only in A. muricata and in none of 30 other species investigated at these sites. Not all colonies of A. muricata host the hydrozoans and both the prevalence within the coral population (mean = 66%) and density of emergent hydrozoan hydranths on the surface of the coral (mean = 4.3 cm−2, but up to 52 cm−2) vary between sites. The form of the symbiosis in terms of the mutualism–parasitism continuum is not known, although the hydrozoan possesses large stenotele nematocysts, which may be important for defence from predators and protozoan pathogens. This finding expands the known A. muricata holobiont and the association must be taken into account in future when determining the corals’ abilities to defend against predators and withstand stress.
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Keyword Coral reef
Hydrozoan endosymbiont
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes From the issue entitled "Theme section: Coral reefs in a changing environment, Guest Editors: C. Wild and C. Maier".

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2011 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 15 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 15 Aug 2010, 00:06:08 EST