Prevalent endosymbiont zonation shapes the depth distributions of scleractinian coral species

Bongaerts, Pim, Carmichael, Margaux, Hay, Kyra B., Tonk, Linda, Frade, Pedro R. and High-Guldberg, Ove (2015) Prevalent endosymbiont zonation shapes the depth distributions of scleractinian coral species. Royal Society Open Science, 2 140297: 1-11. doi:10.1098/rsos.140297

Author Bongaerts, Pim
Carmichael, Margaux
Hay, Kyra B.
Tonk, Linda
Frade, Pedro R.
High-Guldberg, Ove
Title Prevalent endosymbiont zonation shapes the depth distributions of scleractinian coral species
Journal name Royal Society Open Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2054-5703
Publication date 2015-02-11
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rsos.140297
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 2
Issue 140297
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Bathymetric distributions of photosynthetic marine invertebrate species are relatively well studied, however the importance of symbiont zonation (i.e. hosting of distinct algal endosymbiont communities over depth) in determining these depth distributions still remains unclear. Here, we assess the prevalence of symbiont zonation in tropical scleractinian corals by genotyping the Symbiodinium of the 25 most common species over a large depth range (down to 60 m) on a Caribbean reef. Symbiont depth zonation was found to be common on a reef-wide scale (11 out of 25 coral species), and a dominant feature in species with the widest depth distributions. With regards to reproductive strategy, symbiont zonation was more common in broadcasting species, which also exhibited a higher level of polymorphism in the symbiont zonation (i.e. number of different Symbiodinium profiles involved). Species with symbiont zonation exhibited significantly broader depth distributions than those without, highlighting the role of symbiont zonation in shaping the vertical distributions of the coral host. Overall, the results demonstrate that coral reefs can consist of highly structured communities over depth when considering both the coral host and their obligate photosymbionts, which probably has strong implications for the extent of connectivity between shallow and mesophotic habitats.
Keyword Coral reef
Depth Distribution
Symbiont zonation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 13 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 05 Feb 2016, 18:32:48 EST by Michelle Hall on behalf of Global Change Institute