Evidence for coral range expansion accompanied by reduced diversity of Symbiodinium genotypes

Carsten G. B. Grupstra, Rafel Coma, Marta Ribes, Karine Posbic Leydet, John Everett Parkinson, Kelly McDonald, Marc Catllà, Christian R. Voolstra, Michael E. Hellberg, Mary Alice Coffroth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Zooxanthellate corals are threatened by climate change but may be able to escape increasing temperatures by colonizing higher latitudes. To determine the effect of host range expansion on symbiont genetic diversity, we examined genetic variation among populations of Symbiodinium psygmophilum associated with Oculina patagonica, a range-expanding coral that acquires its symbionts through horizontal transmission. We optimized five microsatellite primer pairs for S. psygmophilum and tested them on Oculina spp. samples from the western North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. We then used them to compare symbiont genotype diversity between an Iberian core and an expansion front population of O. patagonica. Only one multilocus S. psygmophilum genotype was identified at the expansion front, and it was shared with the core population, which harbored seven multilocus genotypes. This pattern suggests that O. patagonica range expansion is accompanied by reduced symbiont genetic diversity, possibly due to limited dispersal of symbionts or local selection.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-985
Number of pages5
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 15 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Financial support was provided by the Spanish Government Project CGL2013-43106-R, the Marine Biogeochemistry and Global Change Research Group from “Generalitat de Catalunya” (2014SGR1029) (RC and MR) and NSF-OCE–09-26822 (MAC).


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