Reduced Symbiodiniaceae diversity in Palythoa tuberculosa at a heavily acidified coral reef
Symbiodiniaceae diversity in hosts is known to change with the environment and particularly with temperature and light intensity. However, higher levels of pCO2, as could be expected under future ocean acidification scenarios, have been documented to show little to no effect in influencing the diversity of Symbiodiniaceae in hosts in previous studies. In this study, we examined hypervariable psbAncr sequences to identify the Cladocopium (former Symbiodinium ‘Clade C’) diversity within the zooxanthellate zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa at an acidified reef in southern Japan. Palythoa tuberculosa were collected from a reef at the volcanic island of Iwotorishima in southern Japan; specimens from a high pCO2 site and from a nearby control (normal pCO2) site (Inoue et al. in Nat Clim Change 3:683–687, 2013). We observed a statistically significant reduction in Cladocopium diversity at the high pCO2 site with only one Cladocopium lineage present, compared to at the control site with two lineages present. Our results demonstrate that higher pCO2 can potentially negatively influence the diversity of host Symbiodiniaceae within anthozoan hosts, an important implication in the face of ongoing ocean acidification and climate change.
KeywordsSymbiodiniaceae Cladocopium Zoantharian Acidified Reef Iwotorishima psbAncr
This research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. H. Kayanne, Dr. S. Yamamoto (both U. Tokyo), and Y. Ide (Oceanic Planning Corp.). This work was partially funded by JSPS Kakenhi-Kiban (A 16H01766) to HK, JSPS Kakenhi-Kiban B grant entitled ‘Global evolution of Brachycnemina and their Symbiodinium’ to JDR, and Sasagawa Research Foundation funding to BHW (29-751). Two anonymous reviewers’ comments improved an earlier version of this manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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