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:Galaxea fascicularis, a stony coral belonging to family Oculinidae, is widely distributed in Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and large areas of the Indo-Pacific oceans. So far there is a lack of gene expression knowledge concerning this massive coral. In the present study, G. fascicularis was subjected to heat stress at 32.0 ± 0.5°C in the lab, we found that the density of symbiotic zooxanthellae decreased significantly; meanwhile apparent bleaching and tissue lysing were observed at 10 h and 18 h after heat stress. The transcriptome responses were investigated in the stony coral G. fascicularis during heat bleaching using RNA-seq. A total of 42,028 coral genes were assembled from over 439 million reads. Gene expressions were compared at 10 and 18 h after heat stress. The significantly upregulated genes found in the Control_10h vs. Heat_10h comparison, presented mainly in GO terms related with DNA integration and unfolded protein response; and for the Control_18h vs. Heat_18h comparison, the GO terms include DNA integration. In addition, comparison between groups of Control_10h vs. Heat_10h and Control_18h vs. Heat_18h revealed that 125 genes were significantly upregulated in common between the two groups, whereas 21 genes were significantly downregulated in common, all these differentially expressed genes were found to be involved in stress response, DNA integration and unfolded protein response. Taken together, our results suggest that high temperature could activate the stress response at the early stage, and subsequently induce the bleaching and lysing through DNA integration and unfolded protein response, which are able to disrupt the balance of coral-zooxanthella symbiosis in the stony coral G. fascicularis.
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.