Coral Reefs

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 537–542 | Cite as

Symbiodinium diversity in the sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor on the east Australian coast

  • S. Pontasch
  • A. Scott
  • R. Hill
  • T. Bridge
  • P. L. Fisher
  • S. K. Davy


The diversity of Symbiodinium spp. in Entacmaea quadricolor was analysed from five locations along ~2,100 km on the east coast of Australia using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region (ITS2) combined with bacterial cloning. DGGE revealed that E. quadricolor predominantly associated with six types of clade C (four of which are novel) and that most anemones harboured multiple types simultaneously. Anemones from southern locations associated with a mixed assemblage of C25 and a variant of C3. This assemblage also dominated the central location, but was absent at the northern location. At central and northern sites, two novel variants of C42(type2) and C1 were found. Anemones hosting C42(type2) also showed a low abundance of variants of C3 and C1, and E1 was found in one sample, as revealed by bacterial cloning. The occurrence of geographically distinct ITS2 types or a consortium of types might reflect a need to optimise physiological performance of the symbiosis at different latitudes.


Zooxanthellae ITS2 Coral reef Cnidarian Symbiosis 



We thank S. Dalton, B. Edgar, M. Harrison, E. Roberts and S. Wilkinson for help with sample collection, X. Pochon for advice on ITS2 folding and the reviewers for their constructive comments. Financial support for this project was provided by grants from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund to SKD (contract number VUW0902) and the Australian Research Council to RH (DP120101360), and the Marine Ecology Research Centre, Southern Cross University.

Supplementary material

338_2013_1118_MOESM1_ESM.eps (6.9 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Rooted phylogenetic tree of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequences identified by DGGE (pp; GenBank Accession Numbers KF134172–KF134175) or bacterial cloning (c; GenBank Accession Numbers KF134176–KF134213) from samples collected from Lord Howe Island (LH, purple), North Solitary Island (NS, blue), Cook Island (C, blue), Heron Island (H, yellow) and Jorgensen Reef (NG, green). One–two digits coding in brackets refers to DGGE band position as outlined in Figure 2, from which sequences were retrieved. ITS2 types in black font are previously published types obtained from Geosymbio (Franklin et al. 2012). ITS2 types C3.25, C25, C25.1, C42(type2).1 and C42(type2).2 were assigned to sequences identified by DGGE, and their variants were assigned to sequences obtained by bacterial cloning. The phylogenetic tree was constructed using the Bayesian method, and Bayesian posterior probabilities are shown if stronger than 0.8. (EPS 7,028 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Pontasch
    • 1
  • A. Scott
    • 2
  • R. Hill
    • 3
  • T. Bridge
    • 4
    • 5
  • P. L. Fisher
    • 1
  • S. K. Davy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.National Marine Science Centre and Marine Ecology Research Centre, School of Environment, Science and EngineeringSouthern Cross UniversityCoffs HarbourAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation and Sydney Institute of Marine Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsvilleAustralia

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