MEPS 386:83-96 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08080

Specificity in communities of Symbiodinium in corals from Johnston Atoll

Michael Stat*, Xavier Pochon, Rebecca O. M. Cowie, Ruth D. Gates

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, 46-007 Lilipuna Rd, Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744, USA

ABSTRACT: The diversity of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) in corals at Johnston Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean was assessed using both the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of the nuclear rDNA and chloroplast 23S rDNA. More sequences were recovered from corals using the ITS2 primers than with the chloroplast 23S primers, a finding that reflects both the higher taxonomic resolution and level of intragenomic variation in ITS2 in eukaryotes as compared to chloroplast 23S. Parsimony network analysis, Bray-Curtis coefficient of similarity and 1-way analysis of similarity resolved coral species- and/or genus-specific lineages and/or groupings of Symbiodinium that were generally congruent between the 2 genetic markers. Comparison of coral–Symbiodinium assemblages at Johnston Atoll with those in corals sampled on other reefs in the Pacific reveals differences that include novel host–symbiont unions and a Symbiodinium lineage previously reported to be Caribbean-specific in Acropora from Johnston Atoll.

KEY WORDS: Symbiodinium · Coral · Dinoflagellate · Symbiosis · ITS2 · Chloroplast

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Cite this article as: Stat M, Pochon X, Cowie ROM, Gates RD (2009) Specificity in communities of Symbiodinium in corals from Johnston Atoll. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 386:83-96

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