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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4):e61156. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061156. Print 2013.

Impediment to symbiosis establishment between giant clams and Symbiodinium algae due to sterilization of seawater.

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  • 1Ariake Yatsushiro Center, Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute, Nagasaki City, Japan. takeo@affrc.go.jp


To survive the juvenile stage, giant clam juveniles need to establish a symbiotic relationship with the microalgae Symbiodinium occurring in the environment. The percentage of giant clam juveniles succeeding in symbiosis establishment ("symbiosis rate") is often low, which is problematic for seed producers. We investigated how and why symbiosis rates vary, depending on whether giant clam seeds are continuously reared in UV treated or non treated seawater. Results repeatedly demonstrated that symbiosis rates were lower for UV treated seawater than for non treated seawater. Symbiosis rates were also lower for autoclaved seawater and 0.2-┬Ám filtered seawater than for non treated seawater. The decreased symbiosis rates in various sterilized seawater suggest the possibility that some factors helping symbiosis establishment in natural seawater are weakened owing to sterilization. The possible factors include vitality of giant clam seeds, since additional experiments revealed that survival rates of seeds reared alone without Symbiodinium were lower in sterilized seawater than in non treated seawater. In conclusion, UV treatment of seawater was found to lead to decreased symbiosis rates, which is due possibly to some adverse effects common to the various sterilization techniques and relates to the vitality of the giant clam seeds.

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