Do corals select zooxanthellae by alternative discharge?
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Loss of zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate Symbiodinium) from corals will sometimes lead to mass mortality of corals. To detect and quantify Symbiodinium released from corals, we developed a zooxanthellae “trap” and a quantitative PCR (qPCR) system with Symbiodinium clades A–F-specific primer sets. The trap was attached to a branch or the surface of several wild stony corals, and the water samples within the traps, including released Symbiodinium, were subjected to qPCR. All tested corals released clade C Symbiodinium at estimates of ~5,900 cells h−1 cm−2 of coral surface. Although all tested Pocillopora eydouxi harboured both clades C and D, some of these colonies released only clade C or released a lesser amount of clade D than that in the tissues. Our Symbiodinium quantification system revealed that wild hermatypic corals constantly release Symbiodinium to the environment. Our result suggests that some corals may discharge certain clades of Symbiodinium alternatively.
KeywordsMethylene Blue Coral Bleaching qPCR System Symbiodinium Cell Trap Setting
This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid (No. 21310011) for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan to KK. The authors express their sincere thanks to Akiko Yura, Tomo Matsuoka, and Yohei Takaya, Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, for their support during this investigation. Thanks are also given to Dr. Lawrence M. Liao, Hiroshima University, for editing the manuscript.
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