Geographic distribution of zooxanthella types in three coral species on the Great Barrier Reef sampled after the 2002 bleaching event
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Reef corals form obligate symbiotic relationships with many genetically divergent taxa of zooxanthellae (dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium) (reviewed in Baker 2003). Based on nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and later confirmed by partial chloroplast large subunit rDNA sequences (Santos et al. 2002), eight distinct phylogenetic clades of zooxanthellae have been distinguished (A-H; LaJeunesse 2001; Rodriguez-Lanetty 2003; Pochon et al. 2004), five of which (A-D, F) are known to form associations with scleractinian corals. This high taxon diversity is accompanied by differences in physiological traits between some zooxanthella types (Kinzie et al. 2001; Bhagooli et al. 2003; Little et al. 2004), with Symbiodinium clade D being the most heat-tolerant type known today (Glynn et al. 2001; Baker et al. 2004; Fabricius et al. 2004; Rowan 2004). Physiological differences among zooxanthella types has led to the expectation that zooxanthella types may affect their hosts’...
KeywordsGreat Barrier Reef Single Stranded Conformation Polymorphism Bleaching Event Coral Host Coral Colony
We thank Ray Berkelmans, Chico Birrell, Stuart Kininmonth, Adam Pharoah, and Mary Wakeford for their help in collecting the coral samples. We thank The Nature Conservancy for their support of this project.
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