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Biol Bull. 2000 Oct;199(2):126-34.

Biogeography of two species of Symbiodinium (Freudenthal) inhabiting the intertidal sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt).

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California at Santa Barbara, 93106, USA.


We have analyzed the genetic profiles of dinoflagellate populations obtained from the Pacific coast sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt) at collection sites from Washington to California. Genetic differences within the symbiont populations of California anemones have been uncovered by restriction length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) ribosomal RNA genes, and by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS 2). The existence of two Symbiodinium species is substantiated by sequence analysis of the variable regions V1, V2, and V3 of the SSUrDNA, which also establishes their phylogenetic relatedness to other members of the genus Symbiodinium. Anemones from Washington and Oregon harbor a single dinoflagellate species, for which we propose the name S. muscatinei sp. nov. At these northern locations, S. muscatinei either exists alone or co-occurs with the Chlorella-like green algal symbiont. Our results indicate that S. muscatinei co-occurs with a second dinoflagellate, S. californium, in mixed populations in central and southern California. We suggest that the geographic distribution of these dinoflagellates is related to the temperature cline created by latitude.

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