The Effects of Temperature on Gene Expression in the Indo-Pacific Reef-building Coral Seriatopora hystrix: Insight from Aquarium Studies in Southern Taiwan  

Anderson B. Mayfield1,2 , Yi-Hsuan Chen3 , Chang-Feng Dai3 , Chii-Shiarng Chen1,4,5
1 National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, 2 Houwan Rd., Checheng, Pingtung 944, Taiwan, R.O.C.
2 Living Oceans Foundation, 8181 Professional Place, Suite 215, Landover, MD 20785, United States of America
3 Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, 10617 No.1, Sec. 4 Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 106, Taiwan, R.O.C.
4 Graduate Institute of Marine Biotechnology, National Dong-Hwa University, 2 Houwan Rd., Checheng, Pingtung 944, Taiwan, R.O.C.
5 Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, National Sun Yat-Sen University, 70 Lianhai Rd., Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2014, Vol. 4, No. 50   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0050
Received: 05 Jun., 2014    Accepted: 13 Jul., 2014    Published: 22 Aug., 2014
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Mayfield et al., 2014, The effects of temperature on gene expression in the Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Seriatopora hystrix: insight from aquarium studies in Southern Taiwan, International Journal of Marine Science, Vol.4, No.50 1-22 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0050)


Corals from upwelling reefs of Southern Taiwan have been shown to acclimate to both highly variable and abnormally elevated temperatures. To better understand the genetic basis for Taiwanese reef coral acclimation to such temperature regimes, eight and six genes hypothesized to be thermo-sensitive were targeted in specimens of the common stony coral Seriatopora hystrix and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate (genus Symbiodinium) communities, respectively, from two reefs in Southern Taiwan exposed to two different temperature profiles. Coral specimens from Houbihu, a reef characterized by extensive, spring-tide upwelling, displayed few provocative gene expression changes when exposed for two days to a temperature they rarely encounter in situ, 30℃. In a second experiment, corals from Houbihu and Houwan, the latter being a reef characterized by more stable temperatures, were exposed to either a stable (26℃) or a fluctuating (23-29℃ over a 5-h period) temperature regime for seven days, and it was found that 50% of the genes demonstrated significant changes in expression across treatments, regardless of the site of origin. This suggests that exposure to a variable temperature for seven days may have a more dramatic effect on the sub-cellular behavior of this species than a two-day incubation at a stable, though potentially stress-inducing, temperature.

Acclimation; Acclimatization; Coral reef, Dinoflagellate; Endosymbiosis; Gene expression; Temperature
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