Coral Reefs

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1019–1028 | Cite as

Allorecognition maturation in the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora

  • E. Puill-Stephan
  • B. L. Willis
  • D. Abrego
  • J.-B. Raina
  • M. J. H. van Oppen
Report

Abstract

Many sessile marine invertebrates discriminate self from non-self with great precision, but maturation of allorecognition generally takes months to develop in juveniles. Here, we compare the development of allorecognition in full-sibling, half-sibling and non-sibling contact reactions between newly settled juveniles of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Absence of a rejection response showed that A. millepora lacks a mature allorecognition system in the first 2 months post-settlement. From thereon, incompatibilities were observed between juveniles, their level of relatedness (i.e. full-, half- and non-sibling status) governing the rate of allorecognition maturation. All contact reactions between non-siblings resulted in rejections by 3 months post-settlement, whereas the expression of allorecognition took at least 5 months between half-siblings and longer than 13 months for some full-siblings. Approximately 74 % of fused full-siblings (n = 19) persisted as chimeras at 11 months, thus maturation of allorecognition in this spawning coral appeared to be slower (>13 months) than in brooding corals (~4 months). We hypothesize that late maturation of allorecognition may contribute to flexibility in Symbiodinium uptake in corals with horizontal transmission, and could allow fusions and chimera formation in early ontogeny, which potentially enable rapid size increase through fusion.

Keywords

Allorecognition Immunity Self–non-self-recognition Acropora millepora Corals 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Andrew Muirhead, Lesa Peplow, Francois Seneca, Yossi Loya and Andrew Negri for their very precious and enthusiastic advice and help in the field and in the laboratory. Funding was provided by an Australian Research Council DP grant to BW and MvO.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Puill-Stephan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • B. L. Willis
    • 2
  • D. Abrego
    • 3
  • J.-B. Raina
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. J. H. van Oppen
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.AIMS@JCU, James Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville MCAustralia
  4. 4.UFR Sciences et TechniquesORPHY, EA 4324, Université Européenne de Bretagne, Université de BrestBrest cédexFrance

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