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Stable Symbiodinium Composition in the Sea Fan Gorgonia ventalina during Temperature and Disease Stress

Nathan L. Kirk, Jessica R. Ward and Mary Alice Coffroth
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 209, No. 3 (Dec., 2005), pp. 227-234
DOI: 10.2307/3593112
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3593112
Page Count: 8
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Stable Symbiodinium Composition in the Sea Fan Gorgonia ventalina during Temperature and Disease Stress
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Abstract

Like most Caribbean octocorals, Gorgonia ventalina, the common sea fan, harbors endosymbiotic dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. When stressed, the host can lose these algal symbionts, a phenomenon termed "bleaching." Many cnidarians host multiple types of algal symbionts within the genus Symbiodinium, and certain types of algae may be more tolerant of stress than others. We examined the effects of temperature, temperature-induced bleaching, and infection by Aspergillus sydowii, a fungal pathogen, on Symbiodinium types harbored by the sea fan Gorgonia ventalina in the Florida Keys. Symbiont type, identified on the basis of variation in small subunit nuclear ribosomal genes or large subunit chloroplast ribosomal genes, did not vary with temperature treatment or infection status. Although allelic variation based on one microsatellite locus was found among samples and reef site, it did not consistently correlate with temperature, treatment, or disease status, suggesting that the symbiont-host relationship is stable. An aberrant PCR product was found in samples collected at one site and could be used to differentiate Symbiodinium populations among sites in the Florida Keys.

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