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Article

Tracing the Trophic Plasticity of the Coral–Dinoflagellate Symbiosis Using Amino Acid Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Analysis

1
Coral Ecophysiology Team, Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, MC-98000 Monaco, Monaco
2
Morris Kahn Marine Research Station, Department of Marine Biology, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
3
The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, Cape D’Aguilar Road, Shek O, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the work.
Microorganisms 2021, 9(1), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010182
Received: 20 November 2020 / Revised: 4 January 2021 / Accepted: 6 January 2021 / Published: 16 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Microbe Interactions)
The association between corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellates is one of the most well-known nutritional symbioses, but nowadays it is threatened by global changes. Nutritional exchanges are critical to understanding the performance of this symbiosis under stress conditions. Here, compound-specific δ15N and δ13C values of amino acids (δ15NAA and δ13CAA) were assessed in autotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic holobionts as diagnostic tools to follow nutritional interactions between the partners. Contrary to what was expected, heterotrophy was mainly traced through the δ15N of the symbiont’s amino acids (AAs), suggesting that symbionts directly profit from host heterotrophy. The trophic index (TP) ranged from 1.1 to 2.3 from autotrophic to heterotrophic symbionts. In addition, changes in TP across conditions were more significant in the symbionts than in the host. The similar δ13C-AAs signatures of host and symbionts further suggests that symbiont-derived photosynthates are the main source of carbon for AAs synthesis. Symbionts, therefore, appear to be a key component in the AAs biosynthetic pathways, and might, via this obligatory function, play an essential role in the capacity of corals to withstand environmental stress. These novel findings highlight important aspects of the nutritional exchanges in the coral–dinoflagellates symbiosis. In addition, they feature δ15NAA as a useful tool for studies regarding the nutritional exchanges within the coral–symbiodiniaceae symbiosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: coral; dinoflagellate; Symbiodiniacea; compound specific isotope analysis of amino acids; heterotrophy coral; dinoflagellate; Symbiodiniacea; compound specific isotope analysis of amino acids; heterotrophy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ferrier-Pagès, C.; Martinez, S.; Grover, R.; Cybulski, J.; Shemesh, E.; Tchernov, D. Tracing the Trophic Plasticity of the Coral–Dinoflagellate Symbiosis Using Amino Acid Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Analysis. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010182

AMA Style

Ferrier-Pagès C, Martinez S, Grover R, Cybulski J, Shemesh E, Tchernov D. Tracing the Trophic Plasticity of the Coral–Dinoflagellate Symbiosis Using Amino Acid Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Analysis. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(1):182. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010182

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ferrier-Pagès, Christine, Stephane Martinez, Renaud Grover, Jonathan Cybulski, Eli Shemesh, and Dan Tchernov. 2021. "Tracing the Trophic Plasticity of the Coral–Dinoflagellate Symbiosis Using Amino Acid Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Analysis" Microorganisms 9, no. 1: 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9010182

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