Seasonal variation in the photo-physiology of homogeneous and heterogeneous Symbiodinium consortia in two scleractinian corals

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2008, 361 pp. 139 - 150
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Seasonal variation in the composition of the algal endosymbiont community and photophysiology was determined in the corals Pocillopora damicornis, which show high local fidelity to one symbiont type (Symbiodinium C1), and Acropora valida, with a mixed Symbiodinium symbiont community, comprising members of both clades A and C. The relative abundances of Symbiodinium types varied over time. A significant decline in symbiont densities in both coral species during the summer of 2005 coincided with a NOAA 'hotspot' warning for Heron Island. This also coincided with a relative increase in the presence and dominance of clade A in A. valida, particularly in sun-adapted surfaces. The effective quantum yield of Photosystem II (ΦPSII) suggested that sun-adapted surfaces of P. damicornis are more sensitive than shade-adapted surfaces to combined effects of higher temperature and irradiance in summer. Xanthophyll cycling was greater in P. damicornis than A. valida, irrespective of branch position and sampling time; this may be a mechanism by which P. damicornis compensates for its fidelity to Symbiodinium C1. Furthermore, xanthophyll de-epoxidation in P. damicornis symbionts was greater in sun-adapted than shade-adapted surfaces, correlating with non-photochemical quenching (NPQRLC). No variation was found in A. valida, indicating that resident symbiont communities may not have been physiologically compromised, perhaps as a result of changes in the composition of the Symbiodinium community consortia. © Inter-Research 2008.
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