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Coral symbionts take to the open ocean

Date:
December 21, 2015
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Symbiodinium is a unicellular alga that plays a major role in coral reefs by forming symbiotic partnerships with invertebrates, providing them with the ability to photosynthesize. For the first time, it has now been discovered in the open ocean, in various oceanic regions far from coral reefs.
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Scanning electron microscope photograph of the ciliate Tiarina with its 100-150 micrometer calcium carbonate (calcareous) shell containing the Symbiodinium cells (not visible here).
Credit: © Mordret S, CNRS/UPMC, EPEP team

Symbiodinium is a unicellular alga that plays a major role in coral reefs by forming symbiotic partnerships with invertebrates, providing them with the ability to photosynthesize. For the first time, it has now been discovered in the open ocean, in various oceanic regions far from coral reefs.

A team from the 'Adaptation et Diversité en Milieu Marin' laboratory (CNRS/UPMC) identified Symbiodinium in several samples collected during the Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2013). According to their study in The ISME Journal this alga lives in symbiosis within a unicellular organism, a ciliate, which measures around a hundred micrometers and makes a calcareous shell.

This partnership is probably based on mutual exchange of food, enabling them to survive in extremely nutrient-poor waters.

The researchers still have to determine whether these new types of Symbiodinium are able to live within coral reefs. If they are, they could play a role in repopulating these threatened ecosystems.


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Materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Solenn Mordret, Sarah Romac, Nicolas Henry, Sébastien Colin, Margaux Carmichael, Cédric Berney, Stéphane Audic, Daniel J Richter, Xavier Pochon, Colomban de Vargas, Johan Decelle. The symbiotic life of Symbiodinium in the open ocean within a new species of calcifying ciliate (Tiarina sp.). The ISME Journal, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.211

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Coral symbionts take to the open ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151221095534.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2015, December 21). Coral symbionts take to the open ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151221095534.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Coral symbionts take to the open ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151221095534.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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