MEPS 244:17-26 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps244017

Molecular diversity of symbiotic algae at the latitudinal margins of their distribution: dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium in corals and sea anemones

A. M. Savage1, M. S. Goodson1, S. Visram1, H. Trapido-Rosenthal2, J. Wiedenmann3, A. E. Douglas1,*

1Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York YO10 5YW, United Kingdom
2Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Ferry Reach, Bermuda GE01
3Department of General Zoology and Endocrinology, University of Ulm, Albert Einstein Allee 11, 89069 Ulm, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: To investigate the molecular diversity of symbiotic algae at the latitudinal limits of their distribution, the ribosomal RNA gene sequences (rDNA) of the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium in benthic Cnidaria (corals, sea anemones etc.) on Bermuda (32°N) and in the Mediterranean and NE Atlantic (35 to 53°N) were analysed. The algae in Bermudian Cnidaria were identified as Symbiodinium of Phylotypes A, B and C, as previously described for benthic Cnidaria in the Caribbean (12 to 27°N). The algae in every sample of sea anemones (Anemonia spp. and Cereus pedunculatus) in the NE Atlantic and Mediterranean were a previously undescribed group within Phylotype A, possibly endemic to this high latitude region.


KEY WORDS: Symbiosis · Symbiodinium · Zooxanthellae · Molecular diversity · Marginal populations


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