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The relation between corals and their algal endosymbionts has been a key to the success of scleractinian (stony) corals as modern reef-builders, but little is known about early stages in the establishment of the symbiosis. Here, we show that initial uptake of zooxanthellae by juvenile corals during natural infection is nonspecific (a potentially adaptive(More)
Like other reef-building corals, members of the genus Acropora form obligate endosymbioses with dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Both Symbiodinium and its hosts are diverse assemblages, and the relationships between host and algal genotypes are unclear. In this study, we determined phylogenetic relationships between(More)
BACKGROUND Reef-building corals live in symbiosis with a diverse range of dinoflagellate algae (genus Symbiodinium) that differentially influence the fitness of the coral holobiont. The comparative role of symbiont type in holobiont fitness in relation to host genotype or the environment, however, is largely unknown. We addressed this knowledge gap by(More)
Unexpectedly low levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b sequence divergence are found between species of the scleractinian coral genus Acropora. Comparison of 964 positions of the cytochrome b gene of two out of the three Caribbean Acropora species with seven of their Pacific congeners shows only 0.3-0.8% sequence difference. Species in these(More)
The ability of coral reefs to survive the projected increases in temperature due to global warming will depend largely on the ability of corals to adapt or acclimatize to increased temperature extremes over the next few decades. Many coral species are highly sensitive to temperature stress and the number of stress (bleaching) episodes has increased in(More)
One characteristic of Indo-Pacific Acropora spp. is extremely high diversity in rDNA sequences at both the species and individual levels. In order to test the hypothesis that pseudogenes may contribute to this diversity, three kinds of analyses were conducted. First, for A. millepora (the species containing the most diverse suite of rDNA types), RT-PCR was(More)
This study examines molecular relationships across a wide range of species in the mass spawning scleractinian coral genus Acropora. Molecular phylogenies were obtained for 28 species using DNA sequence analyses of two independent markers, a nuclear intron and the mtDNA putative control region. Although the compositions of the major clades in the phylogenies(More)
BACKGROUND Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity, yet processes of diversification in these ecosystems are poorly understood. The environmental heterogeneity of coral reef environments could be an important contributor to diversification, however, evidence supporting ecological speciation in corals is sparse. Here, we present data from a widespread coral(More)
Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and marine reserve networks have been advocated as a powerful management tool for maximizing the resilience of coral communities to an increasing variety, number, and severity of disturbances. However, the effective design of reserves must account for the spatial scales of larval dispersal that affect the demography of(More)
Juveniles of a number of corals with horizontal transmission of dinoflagellate endosymbionts naturally acquire and maintain Symbiodinium types that differ from those found in adult populations. However, the duration of this early period of symbiont flexibility and successional changes leading to dominance by the characteristic adult (homologous) type are(More)