MEPS prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12474

Symbiosis process between Acropora larvae and Symbiodinium differ even among closely related Symbiodinium types

Hiroshi Yamashita*, Go Suzuki, Chuya Shinzato, Mitsuru Jimbo, Kazuhiko Koike

*Email: hyamashita@fra.affrc.go.jp

ABSTRACT: The symbiosis between corals and the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium is a fundamental pillar for coral reef ecosystems. Many of the coral species, including Acropora, acquire Symbiodinium from the environment during early ontogeny for symbiosis. Genetically diverse members of Symbiodinium have been identified from the environment, but naturally settled Acropora recruits (i.e., settlers or spats) usually harbor specific members of Symbiodinium. Thus, symbiosis between Acropora and Symbiodinium is not established at haphazard in the wild. Conversely, under laboratory conditions, Acropora larvae can acquire other Symbiodinium varieties. However, it remains unclear whether a stable symbiosis between these Symbiodinium that are never detected in natural Acropora recruits and corals is successfully established. Here, we artificially supplied Acropora tenuis larvae with three closely related Symbiodinium culture strains, namely, type A1 (common within natural Acropora recruits), type A2-relative (never detected within corals), and type A3 (often found within natural Acropora recruits). We then determined the percentage of Symbiodinium-infected larvae and density of infected Symbiodinium cells within the larvae. The percentage of Symbiodinium-infected larvae and infected Symbiodinium cell densities of types A1 and A3 did not decrease even after stopping the Symbiodinium supply. This result indicated that stable symbiosis was successfully established, even in the laboratory. However, the percentage of Symbiodinium-infected larvae and cell density of type A2-relative declined after stopping the Symbiodinium supply. Thus, under laboratory conditions, A. tenuis larvae can acquire even Symbiodinium that is never detected within natural corals; however, stable symbiosis between these Symbiodinium and corals had not been successfully established.