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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 444:117-132 (2012)  -  DOI:

Patterns of Symbiodinium distribution in three giant clam species across the biodiverse Bird’s Head region of Indonesia

Timery S. DeBoer1,*, Andrew C. Baker2,3, Mark V. Erdmann4, Ambariyanto5, Paul R. Jones2, Paul H. Barber6

1Biology Department, Boston University, 5 Cummington St., Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
2Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
3Wildlife Conservation Society, Marine Program, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York 10460, USA
4Conservation International, Indonesia Marine Program, Jl. Dr. Muwardi No. 17, Bali, Indonesia
5Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, Diponegoro University, Kampus Tembalang, Semarang, Indonesia
6Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 621 Charles E. Young Dr. South, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA

ABSTRACT: The formation and persistence of modern coral reefs depends largely on organisms that host dinoflagellate algal symbionts of the genus Symbiodinium. There are important ecological and physiological differences among Symbiodinium types, and many host species are able to associate with multiple types, which may facilitate adaptation to local environmental change. Using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequencing of internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS2) ribosomal DNA, we identified 11 Symbiodinium types belonging to clades A, C, and D in 250 host animals from 3 Tridacna species in eastern Indonesia. Individuals with multiple symbiont types were common: 42% of all clams had symbionts from multiple clades and 15% of all clams had multiple types from a single clade. T. crocea associated more often with clade C symbionts and less frequently with clade D symbionts. T. squamosa associated more frequently with clade D and less often with clade C symbionts. T. maxima did not preferentially associate with a particular Symbiodinium clade, but sample sizes were low. We used both satellite sea surface temperature and in situ recordings to characterize the thermal environment in the study area. Clams with clade C and D symbionts were located in areas with higher mean temperatures, while clams with clade A symbionts were in cooler areas. This is consistent with previous research indicating that clade C and D types may be more heat-tolerant than clade A. These results support the hypothesis that giant clams can associate with different symbiont types based on local environmental conditions.

KEY WORDS: Symbiodinium · Tridacna spp. · Thermal tolerance · Climate change · Coral reef · Indonesia

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Cite this article as: DeBoer TS, Baker AC, Erdmann MV, Ambariyanto, Jones PR, Barber PH (2012) Patterns of Symbiodinium distribution in three giant clam species across the biodiverse Bird’s Head region of Indonesia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 444:117-132.

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