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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 473:163-177 (2013)  -  DOI:

Host genetics and Symbiodinium D diversity in a stress-tolerant scleractinian coral, Oulastrea crispata, in the West Pacific

Yi-Ting Lien1,7,**, Shashank Keshavmurthy2,**, Yoshikatsu Nakano3, Sakanan Plathong4, Hui Huang5, Chia-Min Hsu2, Hironobu Fukami6, Yoh Yamashita7, Hernyi Justin Hsieh8, Jih-Tern Wang9, Chaolun Allen Chen2,10,

1Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
2Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan
3Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of Ryukyus, Okinawa 905-0227, Japan
4Department of Biology, Prince of Songkla University, Songkla, Thailand
5South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academics of Science, Guangzhou, 510301, PR China
6Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan
7Maizuru Fisheries Research Station, Field Science Education and Research Center, Kyoto University, Kyoto 625-0086, Japan
8Penghu Marine Biology Research Center, Fisheries Research Institute, C.O.A, Makung 880, Penghu, Taiwan
9The Graduate Institute of Biotechnology, TAJEN University, Pingtung 907, Taiwan
10Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP)-Biodiversity, Academia Sinica, Nangang, Taipei 115, Taiwan
**Corresponding author. Email:
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Determination of the genetic diversity and structure of coral populations across their biogeographic range must include the investigation of the coral host and its associated Symbiodinium. We examined the genetic similarity of the stress-tolerant coral Oulastrea crispata and the diversity of Symbiodinium D across part of their geographic distribution, which ranges across 5800 km in the West Pacific from tropical Thailand (~7°N) to the outlying regions of temperate Japan (36°N). FST-statistics and AMOVA of directly sequenced coral ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequences showed a high genetic homogeneity between temperate and subtropical populations, but showed a significant difference between temperate and subtropical populations and their tropical counterparts. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of ITS DNA sequences identified 4 major O. crispata-associated Symbiodinium D types: D8, D8−12, D12−13, and D15; these were found in the regions extending from tropical Thailand towards the high latitude regions of Japan. FST-statistics and AMOVA of Symbiodinium ITS showed significant differences between tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions, with the D8 and D8−12 dominant in the tropical and subtropical regions, the D12−13 endemic in the subtropical northern South China Sea, and D15 restricted to the high-latitudinal outlying coral communities. Consistent variation in environmental factors, such as temperature and light, may have driven the regionalspecific divergence of the Symbiodinium D types, suggesting that habitat-specific Symbiodinium types can assist O. crispata in acclimating to the environmental fluctuations found in the marginal range of coral distribution. 

KEY WORDS: Coral–Symbiodinium · Clade D · Stress tolerance · Genetic subdivision · DGGE · ITS

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Cite this article as: Lien YT, Keshavmurthy S, Nakano Y, Plathong S and others (2013) Host genetics and Symbiodinium D diversity in a stress-tolerant scleractinian coral, Oulastrea crispata, in the West Pacific. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 473:163-177.

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