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COMPARISON OF ENDOSYMBIOTIC AND FREE-LIVING SYMBIODINIUM (DINOPHYCEAE) DIVERSITY IN A HAWAIIAN REEF ENVIRONMENT1
Article first published online: 5 JAN 2010
© 2009 Phycological Society of America
Journal of Phycology
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 53–65, February 2010
How to Cite
Pochon, X., Stat, M., Takabayashi, M., Chasqui, L., Chauka, L. J., Logan, D. D. K. and Gates, R. D. (2010), COMPARISON OF ENDOSYMBIOTIC AND FREE-LIVING SYMBIODINIUM (DINOPHYCEAE) DIVERSITY IN A HAWAIIAN REEF ENVIRONMENT. Journal of Phycology, 46: 53–65. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2009.00797.x
Received 26 November 2008. Accepted 21 August 2009.
- Issue published online: 20 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 5 JAN 2010
Many scleractinian corals must acquire their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium) anew each generation from environmental pools, and exchange between endosymbiotic and environmental pools of Symbiodinium (reef waters and sediments) has been proposed as a mechanism for optimizing coral physiology in the face of environmental change. Our understanding of the diversity of Symbiodinium spp. in environmental pools is poor by comparison to that engaged in endosymbiosis, which reflects the challenges of visualizing the genus against the backdrop of the complex and diverse micro-eukaryotic communities found free-living in the environment. Here, the molecular diversity of Symbiodinium living in the waters and sediments of a reef near Coconut Island, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, sampled at four hourly intervals over a period of 5 d was characterized using a Symbiodinium-specific hypervariable region of the chloroplast 23S. A comparison of Symbiodinium spp. diversity recovered from environmental samples with the endosymbiotic diversity in coral species that dominate the adjacent reef revealed limited overlap between these communities. These data suggest that the potential for infection, exchange, and/or repopulation of corals with Symbiodinium derived from the environment is limited at this location, a finding that is perhaps consistent with the high proportion of coral species in this geographic region that transmit endosymbionts from generation to generation.