[Coral-List] New Publication: Gene expression plasticity as a mechanism of coral adaptation to a variable environment

Carly Kenkel carly.kenkel at gmail.com
Wed Nov 9 19:24:24 EST 2016

Hi Coral-listers -

I'd like to draw your attention to some good news - our recent publication
that reports on a novel genomic mechanism of coral adaptation to a variable
environment. It's currently available open-access, along with the raw data
and R scripts (links below). Feel free to contact myself or my co-author,
Misha Matz (matz at utexas.edu) with questions or comments.

Local adaptation is ubiquitous, but the molecular mechanisms that give rise
to this ecological phenomenon remain largely unknown. A year-long
reciprocal transplant of mustard hill coral (*Porites astreoides*) between
a highly environmentally variable inshore habitat and a more stable
offshore habitat demonstrated that populations exhibit phenotypic
signatures that are consistent with local adaptation. We characterized the
genomic basis of this adaptation in both coral hosts and their
intracellular symbionts (*Symbiodinium* sp.) using genome-wide gene
expression profiling. Populations differed primarily in their capacity for
plasticity: following transplantation to a novel environment,
inshore-origin coral expression profiles became significantly more similar
to the local population's profiles than those in offshore-origin corals.
Furthermore, elevated plasticity of the environmental stress response
expression was correlated with lower susceptibility to a natural summer
bleaching event, suggesting that plasticity is adaptive in the inshore
environment. Our results reveal a novel genomic mechanism of resilience to
a variable environment, demonstrating that corals are capable of a more
diverse molecular response to stress than previously thought.

Publication: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-016-0014

Raw sequence data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject/PRJNA327141

R scripts and input files: http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2bv13



Carly Kenkel
NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No. 3, Townsville MC
Queensland 4810, Australia
C.Kenkel at aims.gov.au
carly.kenkel at gmail.com
office: (+61) 07 4753 4268
mobile: (+61) 04 2968 3148
twitter: @DrCarlsHorn <https://twitter.com/DrCarlsHorn>

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