Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 713–719 | Cite as

Temporal and spatial infection dynamics indicate recognition events in the early hours of a dinoflagellate/coral symbiosis

  • Mauricio Rodriguez-LanettyEmail author
  • Elisha M.  Wood-Charlson
  • Lea L. Hollingsworth
  • Dave A. Krupp
  • Virginia M. Weis
Research Article


The obligate symbiotic relationship between dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium spp. and reef building corals is re-established each host generation. The solitary coral Fungia scutaria Lamarck 1801 harbors a single algal strain, Symbiodinium ITS2 type C1f (homologous strain) during adulthood. Previous studies have shown that distinct algal ITS2 types in clade C correlate with F. scutariaSymbiodinium specificity during the onset of symbiosis in the larval stage. The present study examined the early specificity events in the onset of symbiosis between F. scutaria larvae and Symbiodinium spp., by looking at the temporal and spatial infection dynamics of larvae challenged with different symbiont types. The results show that specificity at the onset of symbiosis was mediated by recognition events during the initial symbiont—host physical contact before phagocytosis, and by subsequent cellular events after the symbionts were incorporated into host cells. Moreover, homologous and heterologous Symbiodinium sp. strains did not exhibit the same pattern of localization within larvae. When larvae were infected with homologous symbionts (C1f), ~70% of the total acquired algae were found in the equatorial area of the larvae, between the oral and aboral ends, 21 h after inoculation. In contrast, no spatial difference in algal localization was observed in larvae infected with heterologous symbionts. This result provides evidence of functional differences among gastrodermal cells, during development of the larvae. The cells in the larval equator function as nutritive phagocytes, and also appear to function as a region of enhanced symbiont acquisition in F. scutaria.


Dinoflagellate Latex Bead Algal Density Coral Larva Algal Symbiont 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Mary Hagedorn, Victoria Ramsey, and Rodolf Pan for their help in the field and for the exhausting work of keeping the coral larvae happy. We would also like to thank the Weis lab members Simon Dunn, Melissa deBoer, Santiago Perez, Wendy Phillips, and Laura Hauck for meaningful discussions and comments on early versions of this manuscript. This research was funded by a National Science Foundation grant (IBN: 0342585) to V. M. W. and by a Hawaii State Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network grant (HS-BRIN; NIH/NCRR grant RR-16467) to D. A. K. This publication was also made possible in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (1S10RR107903-01). The authors wish to acknowledge the Confocal Microscopy Facility of the Center for Genomic Research and Biocomputing and the Environmental and Health Sciences Center at Oregon State University. This is Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology contributuion # 1211.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Elisha M.  Wood-Charlson
    • 1
  • Lea L. Hollingsworth
    • 2
  • Dave A. Krupp
    • 2
  • Virginia M. Weis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural SciencesWindward Community CollegeKane’oheUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Marine StudiesUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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