Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Microbiol. 2015 Oct;17(10):3570-80. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12518. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

A nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry study of dinoflagellate functional diversity in reef-building corals.

Author information

Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3), Faculty of Science, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.
UMR7245, Molécules de Communication et Adaptation des Microorganismes, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.
Particle Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany.
Large-Instrument Facility for Advanced Isotope Research, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Division of Microbial Ecology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Center for Advanced Surface Analysis, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Nutritional interactions between corals and symbiotic dinoflagellate algae lie at the heart of the structural foundation of coral reefs. Whilst the genetic diversity of Symbiodinium has attracted particular interest because of its contribution to the sensitivity of corals to environmental changes and bleaching (i.e. disruption of coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis), very little is known about the in hospite metabolic capabilities of different Symbiodinium types. Using a combination of stable isotopic labelling and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS), we investigated the ability of the intact symbiosis between the reef-building coral Isopora palifera, and Symbiodinium C or D types, to assimilate dissolved inorganic carbon (via photosynthesis) and nitrogen (as ammonium). Our results indicate that Symbiodinium types from two clades naturally associated with I. palifera possess different metabolic capabilities. The Symbiodinium C type fixed and passed significantly more carbon and nitrogen to its coral host than the D type. This study provides further insights into the metabolic plasticity among different Symbiodinium types in hospite and strengthens the evidence that the more temperature-tolerant Symbiodinium D type may be less metabolically beneficial for its coral host under non-stressful conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center