Project description:In this study, the complete mitogenome sequence of Galaxy Coral, <i>Galaxea fascicularis</i> (Cnidaria: Oculinidae), has been sequenced by next-generation sequencing method. The overall base composition of <i>Galaxea fascicularis</i> mitogenome is 24.9% for A, 14.0% for C, 24.3% for G and 36.8% for T and has low GC content of 38.3%. The assembled mitogenome, consisting of 18 751 bp, has unique 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), three transfer RNAs and two ribosomal RNAs genes. The <i>G. fascicularis</i> mitogenome has the common mitogenome gene organization and feature of scleractinian coral. Among 13 PCGs, ND5 gene is interrupted by group I intron (12?022?bp). There are 12 genes embedded in ND5 group I intron (tRNA-Leu, ND1, CYTB, ND2, ND6, ATP6, ND4, 12S rRNA, COX3, COX2, ND4L and ND3). The complete mitogenome provides essential and important DNA molecular data for further phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis for stony coral.
Project description:The success of coral reef ecosystems largely depends on mutualistic symbiosis between scleractinian corals and the dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium spp. However, further investigation is needed to elucidate the flexibility of coral-algae associations in response to environmental changes. In this study, we applied a molecular method (high-throughput internal transcribed spacer 2 region of ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing) to explore diversity and flexibility of Symbiodinium associated with Galaxea fascicularis, an ecologically important scleractinian coral species collected at five locations around Hainan Island, South China Sea. The results revealed a high diversity of Symbiodinium subclades with C2r and D17 being dominant in G. fascicularis. Clade D Symbiodinium occurred most frequently in habitats where the annual average sea surface temperatures are the highest, suggesting that temperature is an important factor in determining Symbiodinium D abundance in G. fascicularis. The distribution of coral-Symbiodinium associations are possibly mediated by trade-off mechanisms which change the relative abundance of Symbiodinium clades/subclades under different environmental conditions. These findings provide further evidence that reef-building corals such as G. fascicularis can shuffle their symbionts to cope with environmental changes, and have implications for our understanding of the ecology of flexible coral-algal symbiosis.
Project description:Ocean acidification imposes many physiological, energetic, structural and ecological challenges to stony corals. While some corals may increase autotrophy under ocean acidification, another potential mechanism to alleviate some of the adverse effects on their physiology is to increase heterotrophy. We compared the feeding rates of Galaxea fascicularis colonies that have lived their entire lives under ocean acidification conditions at natural carbon dioxide (CO2) seeps with colonies living under present-day CO2 conditions. When provided with the same quantity and composition of zooplankton as food, corals acclimatized to high CO2 showed 2.8 to 4.8 times depressed rates of zooplankton feeding. Results were consistent over four experiments, from two expeditions and both in field and chamber measurements. Unless replenished by other sources, reduced zooplankton uptake in G. fascicularis acclimatized to ocean acidification is likely to entail a shortage of vital nutrients, potentially jeopardizing their health and survival in future oceans.
Project description:Population connectivity resulting from larval dispersal is essential for the maintenance or recovery of populations in marine ecosystems, including coral reefs. Studies of species diversity and genetic connectivity within species are essential for the conservation of corals and coral reef ecosystems. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequence types and microsatellite genotypes of the broadcast-spawning coral, Galaxea fascicularis, from four regions in the subtropical Nansei Islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Two types (soft and hard types) of nematocyst morphology are known in G. fascicularis and are significantly correlated with the length of a mitochondrial DNA noncoding sequence (soft type: mt-L; hard type: mt-S type). Using microsatellites, significant genetic differentiation was detected between the mitochondrial DNA sequence types in all regions. We also found a third genetic cluster (mt-L+), and this unexpected type may be a cryptic species of Galaxea. High clonal diversity was detected in both mt-L and mt-S types. Significant genetic differentiation, which was found among regions within a given type (F ST = 0.009-0.024, all Ps ? 0.005 in mt-L; 0.009-0.032, all Ps ? 0.01 in mt-S), may result from the shorter larval development than in other broadcast-spawning corals, such as the genus Acropora. Nevertheless, intraspecific genetic diversity and connectivity have been maintained, and with both sexual and asexual reproduction, this species appears to have a potential for the recovery of populations after disturbance.