Environmental factors controlling the distribution of symbiodinium harboured by the coral acropora millepora on the great barrier reef

Cooper, Timothy F., Berkelmans, Ray, Ulstrup, Karin E., Weeks, Scarla, Radford, Ben, Jones, Alison M., Doyle, Jason, Canto, Marites, O'Leary, Rebecca A. and van Oppen, Madeleine J. H. (2011) Environmental factors controlling the distribution of symbiodinium harboured by the coral acropora millepora on the great barrier reef. PLoS One, 6 10 Article # e25536: e25536-1-e25536-12. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025536

Author Cooper, Timothy F.
Berkelmans, Ray
Ulstrup, Karin E.
Weeks, Scarla
Radford, Ben
Jones, Alison M.
Doyle, Jason
Canto, Marites
O'Leary, Rebecca A.
van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.
Title Environmental factors controlling the distribution of symbiodinium harboured by the coral acropora millepora on the great barrier reef
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2011-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0025536
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 10 Article # e25536
Start page e25536-1
End page e25536-12
Total pages 13
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The Symbiodinium community associated with scleractinian corals is widely considered to be shaped by seawater temperature, as the coral's upper temperature tolerance is largely contingent on the Symbiodinium types harboured. Few studies have challenged this paradigm as knowledge of other environmental drivers on the distribution of Symbiodinium is limited. Here, we examine the influence of a range of environmental variables on the distribution of Symbiodinium associated with Acropora millepora collected from 47 coral reefs spanning 1,400 km on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Methodology/Principal Findings: The environmental data included Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data at 1 km spatial resolution from which a number of sea surface temperature (SST) and water quality metrics were derived. In addition, the carbonate and mud composition of sediments were incorporated into the analysis along with in situ water quality samples for a subset of locations. Analyses were conducted at three spatio-temporal scales [GBR (regional-scale), Whitsunday Islands (local-scale) and Keppel Islands/Trunk Reef (temporal)] to examine the effects of scale on the distribution patterns. While SST metrics were important drivers of the distribution of Symbiodinium types at regional and temporal scales, our results demonstrate that spatial variability in water quality correlates significantly with Symbiodinium distribution at local scales. Background levels of Symbiodinium types were greatest at turbid inshore locations of the Whitsunday Islands where SST predictors were not as important. This was not the case at regional scales where combinations of mud and carbonate sediment content coupled with SST anomalies and mean summer SST explained 51.3% of the variation in dominant Symbiodinium communities. Conclusions/Significance: Reef corals may respond to global-scale stressors such as climate change through changes in their resident symbiont communities, however, management of local-scale stressors such as altered water quality is also necessary for maintenance of coral-Symbiodinium associations
Keyword Scleractinian Corals
Symbiont Specificity
Algal Endosymbionts
Redundancy Analysis
Bleaching Event
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 21 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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