Marine Biology

, 163:228

Retention of high thermal tolerance in the invasive foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aqaba

  • C. Schmidt
  • R. Morard
  • M. Prazeres
  • H. Barak
  • M. Kucera
Invasive Species - Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-016-2998-4

Cite this article as:
Schmidt, C., Morard, R., Prazeres, M. et al. Mar Biol (2016) 163: 228. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2998-4
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Invasive Species

Abstract

Invasive species allow an investigation of trait retention and adaptations after exposure to new habitats. Recent work on corals from the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) shows that tolerance to high temperature persists thousands of years after invasion, without any apparent adaptive advantage. Here, we test whether thermal tolerance retention also occurs in another symbiont-bearing calcifying organism. To this end, we investigate the thermal tolerance of the benthic foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera from the GoA (29°30.14167 N, 34°55.085E) and compare it to a recent “Lessepsian invader population” from the Eastern Mediterranean (EaM) (32°37.386 N, 34°55.169E). We first established that the studied populations are genetically homogenous but distinct from a population in Australia and that they contain a similar consortium of diatom symbionts, confirming their recent common descent. Thereafter, we exposed specimens from GoA and EaM to elevated temperatures for three weeks and monitored survivorship, growth rates and photophysiology. Both populations exhibited a similar pattern of temperature tolerance. A consistent reduction of photosynthetic dark yields was observed at 34 °C and reduced growth was observed at 32 °C. The apparent tolerance to sustained exposure to high temperature cannot have a direct adaptive importance, as peak summer temperatures in both locations remain <32 °C. Instead, it seems that in the studied foraminifera, tolerance to high temperature is a conservative trait and the EaM population retained this trait since its recent invasion. Such pre-adaptation to higher temperatures confers A. lobifera a clear adaptive advantage in shallow and episodically high temperature environments in the Mediterranean under further warming.

Supplementary material

227_2016_2998_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Sequence data on the symbionts extracted from Amphistegina lobifera (XLSX 20 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
BMBF-MOST Grant
  • 03F0639A
  • 03F0639A
Paul Brönnimann Foundation

    Copyright information

    © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

    Authors and Affiliations

    • C. Schmidt
      • 1
    • R. Morard
      • 1
    • M. Prazeres
      • 2
      • 4
    • H. Barak
      • 3
    • M. Kucera
      • 1
    1. 1.MARUM, Center for Marine Environmental SciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
    2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
    3. 3.Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR)National Institute of OceanographyHaifaIsrael
    4. 4.Comparative Genomics CentreJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

    Personalised recommendations