Symbiodinium spp. associated with high-latitude scleractinian corals from Jeju Island, South Korea
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- De Palmas, S., Denis, V., Ribas-Deulofeu, L. et al. Coral Reefs (2015) 34: 919. doi:10.1007/s00338-015-1286-y
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Most studies on endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae (genus Symbiodinium) associated with scleractinian corals focus on tropical and sub-tropical reefs. Their diversity in outlying, non-reef coral communities at high latitudes is still not fully documented. In this study, we analyzed the Symbiodinium diversity associated with five scleractinian species collected at eight sites around Jeju Island (South Korea, 33.4°N) between 5 and 15 m depth. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of amplified internal transcribed spacer region 2 distinguished five Symbiodinium types. We observed a high level of specificity between host genera and Symbiodinium spp. despite existing in an environment with large seasonal oscillations in temperature and light. Psammocoraalbopicta and Psammocora profundacella were associated with C1 and Montipora millepora with C17. Alveopora japonica was associated exclusively with an unusual F-type, the only known clade F representative functionally important to a scleractinian coral. Oulastrea crispata was associated with Symbiodinium boreum (type D15), occasionally co-occurring with type C3 (in 4 % of specimens). In addition to increasing the knowledge of Symbiodinium diversity in high-latitude coral communities, this study constitutes an important baseline upon which the effects of projected environmental change in the near future can be assessed. A better understanding of high-latitude coral communities is critical for understanding how a warming planet will affect the tempo and mode of shifts in the composition of temperate marine communities.