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Early skeletal colonization of the coral holobiont by the microboring Ulvophyceae Ostreobium sp.
Massé, A. (2018). Early skeletal colonization of the coral holobiont by the microboring Ulvophyceae Ostreobium sp. NPG Scientific Reports 8(1): 11 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
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  • Massé, A.

    Ostreobium sp. (Bryopsidales, Ulvophyceae) is a major microboring alga involved in tropical reef dissolution, with a proposed symbiotic lifestyle in living corals. However, its diversity and colonization dynamics in host’s early life stages remained unknown. Here, we mapped microborer distribution and abundance in skeletons of the branching coral Pocillopora damicornis from the onset of calcification in primary polyps (7 days) to budding juvenile colonies (1 and 3 months) growing on carbonate and non-carbonate substrates pre-colonized by natural biofilms, and compared them to adult colonies (in aquarium settings). Primary polyps were surprisingly already colonized by microboring filaments and their level of invasion depended on the nature of settlement substrate and the extent of its pre-colonization by microborers. Growth of early coral recruits was unaffected even when microborers were in close vicinity to the polyp tissue. In addition to morphotype observations, chloroplast-encoded rbcL gene sequence analyses revealed nine new Ostreobium clades (OTU99%) in Pocillopora coral. Recruits and adults shared one dominant rbcL clade, undetected in larvae, but also present in aquarium seawater, carbonate and non-carbonate settlement substrates, and in corals from reef settings. Our results show a substratum-dependent colonization by Ostreobium clades, and indicate horizontal transmission of Ostreobium-coral associations.

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