Research Article

Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 1, pp 25-34

First online:

Predominance of clade D Symbiodinium in shallow-water reef-building corals off Kish and Larak Islands (Persian Gulf, Iran)

  • Pargol Ghavam MostafaviAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Science and Technology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University Email author 
  • , Seyed Mohammad Reza FatemiAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Science and Technology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University
  • , Mohammad Hassan ShahhosseinyAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Shahryar/Shahr-e Ghods Unit, Islamic Azad University
  • , Ove Hoegh-GuldbergAffiliated withCentre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland
  • , William Kok Weng LohAffiliated withCentre for Marine Studies, University of QueenslandMarine Biology Australia

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Scleractinian coral species harbour communities of photosynthetic taxa of the genus Symbiodinium. As many as eight genetic clades (A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H) of Symbiodinium have been discovered using molecular biology. These clades may differ from each other in their physiology, and thus influence the ecological distribution and resilience of their host corals to environmental stresses. Corals of the Persian Gulf are normally subject to extreme environmental conditions including high salinity and seasonal variation in temperature. This study is the first to use molecular techniques to identify the Symbiodinium of the Iranian coral reefs to the level of phylogenetic clades. Samples of eight coral species were collected at two different depths from the eastern part of Kish Island in the northern Persian Gulf, and Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz. Partial 28S nuclear ribosomal (nr) DNA of Symbiodinium (D1/D2 domains) were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR products were analyzed using single stranded conformational polymorphism and phylogenetic analyses of the LSU DNA sequences from a subset of the samples. The results showed that Symbiodinium populations were generally uniform among and within the populations of eight coral species studied, and there are at least two clades of Symbiodinium from Kish and Larak islands. Clade D was detected from eight of the coral species while clade C was found in two of species only (one species hosted two clades simultaneously). The dominance of clade D might be explained by high temperatures or the extreme temperature variation, typical of the Persian Gulf.