Molecular phylogenetic evidence for the evolution of specialization in anemonefishes.
ABSTRACT: Anemonefishes (genera: Amphiprion and Premnas; family Pomacentridae) are a group of 28 species of coral reef fishes that are found in obligate symbiosis with large tropical sea anemones. A phylogenetic hypothesis based on morphological analyses of this group suggests that the ancestral anemonefish was a generalist with similar morphology to other pomacentrids, and that it gave rise to other anemonefish species that were more specialized for living with particular species of host anemones. To test this hypothesis we constructed a molecular phylogeny for the anemonefishes by sequencing 1140 base pairs of the cytochrome b gene and 522 base pairs of the 16S rRNA gene for six species of anemonefishes (representatives of all subgenera and species complexes) and two other pomacentrid species. Three methods of phylogenetic analysis all strongly supported the conclusion that anemonefishes are a monophyletic group. The molecular phylogeny differs from the tree based on morphological data in that the two species of specialized anemonefishes (Premnas biaculeatus and Amphiprion ocellaris) were assigned to a basal position within the clade, and the extreme host generalist (Amphiprion clarkii) to a more derived position. Thus, the initial anemonefish ancestors were probably host specialists and subsequent speciation events led to a combination of generalist and specialist groups. Further phylogenetic studies of additional anemonefish species are required to substantiate this hypothesis.
Project description:Anemonefishes (Pomacentridae Amphiprioninae) are a group of 30 valid coral reef fish species with their phylogenetic relationships still under debate. The eight available mitogenomes of anemonefishes were used to reconstruct the molecular phylogenetic tree; six were obtained from this study (Amphiprion clarkii, A. frenatus, A. percula, A. perideraion, A. polymnus and Premnas biaculeatus) and two from GenBank (A. bicinctus and A. ocellaris). The seven Amphiprion species represent all four subgenera and P. biaculeatus is the only species from Premnas. The eight mitogenomes of anemonefishes encoded 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and two main non-coding regions, with the gene arrangement and translation direction basically identical to other typical vertebrate mitogenomes. Among the 13 protein-coding genes, A. ocellaris (AP006017) and A. percula (KJ174497) had the same length in ND5 with 1,866 bp, which were three nucleotides less than the other six anemonefishes. Both structures of ND5, however, could translate to amino acid successfully. Only four mitogenomes had the tandem repeats in D-loop; the tandem repeats were located in downstream after Conserved Sequence Block rather than the upstream and repeated in a simply way. The phylogenetic utility was tested with Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods using all 13 protein-coding genes. The results strongly supported that the subfamily Amphiprioninae was monophyletic and P. biaculeatus should be assigned to the genus Amphiprion. Premnas biaculeatus with the percula complex were revealed to be the ancient anemonefish species. The tree forms of ND1, COIII, ND4, Cytb, Cytb+12S rRNA, Cytb+COI and Cytb+COI+12S rRNA were similar to that 13 protein-coding genes, therefore, we suggested that the suitable single mitochondrial gene for phylogenetic analysis of anemonefishes maybe Cytb. Additional mitogenomes of anemonefishes with a combination of nuclear markers will be useful to substantiate these conclusions in future studies.
Project description:Understanding how bleaching impacts the settlement of symbiotic habitat specialists and whether there is flexibility in settlement choices with regard to habitat quality is essential given our changing climate. We used five anemonefishes (Amphiprion clarkii, Amphiprion latezonatus, Amphiprion ocellaris, Amphiprion percula and Premnas biaculeatus) and three host sea anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor, Heteractis crispa and Heteractis magnifica) in paired-choice flume experiments to determine whether habitat naive juveniles have the olfactory capabilities to distinguish between unbleached and bleached hosts, and how this may affect settlement decisions. All anemonefishes were able to distinguish between bleached and unbleached hosts, and responded only to chemical cues from species-specific host anemones irrespective of health status, indicating a lack of flexibility in host use. While bleached hosts were selected as habitat, this occurred only when unbleached options were unavailable, with the exception of A. latezonatus, which showed strong preferences for H. crispa regardless of health. This study highlights the potential deleterious indirect impacts of declining habitat quality during larval settlement in habitat specialists, which could be important in the field, given that bleaching events are becoming increasingly common.
Project description:Ocean warming is causing the symbioses between cnidarians and their algal symbionts to breakdown more frequently, resulting in bleaching. For sea anemones, nutritional benefits derived from hosting anemonefishes increase their algal symbiont density. The sea anemone-anemonefish relationship could, therefore, facilitate bleaching recovery. To test this, bleached and unbleached sea anemones, both with and without anemonefish, were monitored in the laboratory. At the start of our experiment, algal symbiont density and colour score were lower in the bleached than unbleached sea anemones, whereas total chlorophyll remained similar. After 106 days, bleached sea anemones with anemonefish had an algal symbiont density and colour score equal to the controls (unbleached sea anemones and without anemonefish), indicating recovery had occurred. Furthermore, total chlorophyll was 66% higher in the bleached sea anemones with anemonefish than the controls. In contrast, recovery did not occur for the bleached sea anemones without anemonefish as they had 78% fewer algal symbionts than the controls, and colour score remained lower. Unbleached sea anemones with anemonefish also showed positive changes in algal symbiont density and total chlorophyll, which increased by 103% and 264%, respectively. Consequently, anemonefishes give their host sea anemones a distinct ecological advantage by enhancing resilience to bleaching, highlighting the benefits of symbioses in a changing climate.
Project description:Increased ocean temperatures are causing mass bleaching of anemones and corals in the tropics worldwide. While such heat-induced loss of algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) directly affects anemones and corals physiologically, this damage may also cascade on to other animal symbionts. Metabolic rate is an integrative physiological trait shown to relate to various aspects of organismal performance, behaviour and locomotor capacity, and also shows plasticity during exposure to acute and chronic stressors. As climate warming is expected to affect the physiology, behaviour and life history of animals, including ectotherms such as fish, we measured if residing in bleached versus unbleached sea anemones (Heteractis magnifica) affected the standard (i.e. baseline) metabolic rate and behaviour (activity) of juvenile orange-fin anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysopterus). Metabolic rate was estimated from rates of oxygen uptake [Formula: see text], and the standard metabolic rate [Formula: see text] of anemonefish from bleached anemones was significantly higher by 8.2% compared with that of fish residing in unbleached anemones, possibly due to increased stress levels. Activity levels did not differ between fish from bleached and unbleached anemones. As [Formula: see text] reflects the minimum cost of living, the increased metabolic demands may contribute to the negative impacts of bleaching on important anemonefish life history and fitness traits observed previously (e.g. reduced spawning frequency and lower fecundity).
Project description:Background:Some of the most widely recognized coral reef fishes are clownfish or anemonefish, members of the family Pomacentridae (subfamily: Amphiprioninae). They are popular aquarium species due to their bright colours, adaptability to captivity, and fascinating behavior. Their breeding biology (sequential hermaphrodites) and symbiotic mutualism with sea anemones have attracted much scientific interest. Moreover, there are some curious geographic-based phenotypes that warrant investigation. Leveraging on the advancement in Nanopore long read technology, we report the first hybrid assembly of the clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) genome utilizing Illumina and Nanopore reads, further demonstrating the substantial impact of modest long read sequencing data sets on improving genome assembly statistics. Results:We generated 43 Gb of short Illumina reads and 9 Gb of long Nanopore reads, representing approximate genome coverage of 54× and 11×, respectively, based on the range of estimated k-mer-predicted genome sizes of between 791 and 967 Mbp. The final assembled genome is contained in 6404 scaffolds with an accumulated length of 880 Mb (96.3% BUSCO-calculated genome completeness). Compared with the Illumina-only assembly, the hybrid approach generated 94% fewer scaffolds with an 18-fold increase in N50 length (401 kb) and increased the genome completeness by an additional 16%. A total of 27 240 high-quality protein-coding genes were predicted from the clown anemonefish, 26 211 (96%) of which were annotated functionally with information from either sequence homology or protein signature searches. Conclusions:We present the first genome of any anemonefish and demonstrate the value of low coverage (?11×) long Nanopore read sequencing in improving both genome assembly contiguity and completeness. The near-complete assembly of the A. ocellaris genome will be an invaluable molecular resource for supporting a range of genetic, genomic, and phylogenetic studies specifically for clownfish and more generally for other related fish species of the family Pomacentridae.
Project description:Vision plays a major role in the life of most teleosts, and is assumingly well adapted to each species ecology and behaviour. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we scrutinised several aspects of the visual system and ecology of the Great Barrier Reef anemonefish, Amphiprion akindynos, including its orange with white patterning, retinal anatomy and molecular biology, its symbiosis with anemones and sequential hermaphroditism. Amphiprion akindynos possesses spectrally distinct visual pigments and opsins: one rod opsin, RH1 (498?nm), and five cone opsins, SWS1 (370?nm), SWS2B (408?nm), RH2B (498?nm), RH2A (520?nm), and LWS (554?nm). Cones were arranged in a regular mosaic with each single cone surrounded by four double cones. Double cones mainly expressed RH2B (53%) in one member and RH2A (46%) in the other, matching the prevailing light. Single cones expressed SWS1 (89%), which may serve to detect zooplankton, conspecifics and the host anemone. Moreover, a segregated small fraction of single cones coexpressed SWS1 with SWS2B (11%). This novel visual specialisation falls within the region of highest acuity and is suggested to increase the chromatic contrast of Amphiprion akindynos colour patterns, which might improve detection of conspecifics.
Project description:The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) can often lead to environmental differences between MPAs and fishing zones. To determine the effects on marine dispersal of environmental dissimilarity between an MPA and fishing zone, we examined the abundance and recruitment patterns of two anemonefishes (Amphiprion frenatus and A. perideraion) that inhabit sea anemones in different management zones (i.e., an MPA and two fishing zones) by performing a field survey and a genetic parentage analysis. We found lower levels of abundance per anemone in the MPA compared to the fishing zones for both species (n = 1,525 anemones, p = .032). The parentage analysis also showed that lower numbers of fishes were recruited from the fishing zones and outside of the study area into each anemone in the MPA than into each anemone in the fishing zones (n = 1,525 anemones, p < .017). However, the number of self-recruit production per female did not differ between the MPA and fishing zones (n = 384 females, p = .516). Because the ocean currents around the study site were unlikely to cause a lower settlement intensity of larvae in the MPA, the ocean circulation was not considered crucial to the observed abundance and recruitment patterns. Instead, stronger top-down control and/or a lower density of host anemones in the MPA were potential factors for such patterns. Our results highlight the importance of dissimilarity in a marine environment as a factor that affects connectivity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Rising sea temperatures are causing significant destruction to coral reef ecosystems due to coral mortality from thermally-induced bleaching (loss of symbiotic algae and/or their photosynthetic pigments). Although bleaching has been intensively studied in corals, little is known about the causes and consequences of bleaching in other tropical symbiotic organisms. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study used underwater visual surveys to investigate bleaching in the 10 species of anemones that host anemonefishes. Bleaching was confirmed in seven anemone species (with anecdotal reports of bleaching in the other three species) at 10 of 19 survey locations spanning the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, indicating that anemone bleaching is taxonomically and geographically widespread. In total, bleaching was observed in 490 of the 13,896 surveyed anemones (3.5%); however, this percentage was much higher (19-100%) during five major bleaching events that were associated with periods of elevated water temperatures and coral bleaching. There was considerable spatial variation in anemone bleaching during most of these events, suggesting that certain sites and deeper waters might act as refuges. Susceptibility to bleaching varied between species, and in some species, bleaching caused reductions in size and abundance. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Anemones are long-lived with low natural mortality, which makes them particularly vulnerable to predicted increases in severity and frequency of bleaching events. Population viability will be severely compromised if anemones and their symbionts cannot acclimate or adapt to rising sea temperatures. Anemone bleaching also has negative effects to other species, particularly those that have an obligate relationship with anemones. These effects include reductions in abundance and reproductive output of anemonefishes. Therefore, the future of these iconic and commercially valuable coral reef fishes is inextricably linked to the ability of host anemones to cope with rising sea temperatures associated with climate change.
Project description:Anemonefish, are a group of about 30 species of damselfish (Pomacentridae) that have long aroused the interest of coral reef fish ecologists. Combining a series of original biological traits and practical features in their breeding that are described in this paper, anemonefish are now emerging as an experimental system of interest for developmental biology, ecology and evolutionary sciences. They are small sized and relatively easy to breed in specific husbandries, unlike the large-sized marine fish used for aquaculture. Because they live in highly structured social groups in sea anemones, anemonefish allow addressing a series of relevant scientific questions such as the social control of growth and sex change, the mechanisms controlling symbiosis, the establishment and variation of complex color patterns, and the regulation of aging. Combined with the use of behavioral experiments, that can be performed in the lab or directly in the wild, as well as functional genetics and genomics, anemonefish provide an attractive experimental system for Eco-Evo-Devo.