[Coral-List] New manuscript in Molecular Ecology reveals circadian/circalunar gene expression patterns in Acropora gemmifera

Matt Oldach mt880883 at dal.ca
Thu May 18 13:48:47 EDT 2017

Dear fellow coral-listers,

I would like to draw your attention to a recent publication from our laboratory, titled "Transcriptome dynamics over a lunar month in a broadcast spawning acroporid coral"


"On one night per year, at a specific point in the lunar cycle, one of the most extraordinary reproductive events on the planet unfolds as hundreds of millions of broadcast spawning corals release their trillions of gametes into the waters of the tropical seas. Each species spawns on a specific night within the lunar cycle, typically from full moon to third quarter moon, and in a specific time window after sunset. This accuracy is essential to achieve efficient fertilization in the vastness of the oceans. In this report, we use transcriptome sequencing at noon and midnight across an entire lunar cycle to explore how acroporid corals interpret lunar signals. The data were interrogated by both time-of-day-dependent and time-of-day-independent methods to identify different types of lunar cycles. Time-of-day methods found that genes associated with biological clocks and circadian processes change their diurnal cycles over the course of a synodic lunar cycle. Some genes have large differences between day and night at some lunar phases, but little or no diurnal differences at other phases. Many clock genes display an oscillation pattern indicative of phase shifts linked to the lunar cycle. Time-independent methods found that signal transduction, protein secretion and modification, cell cycle and ion transport change over the lunar timescale and peak at various phases of the moon. Together these data provide unique insights into how the moon impinges on coral transcription cycles and how lunar light may regulate circalunar timing systems and coral biology."


Matthew J. Oldach, B.Sc.(Honors); M.Sc. Biology
Telephone 403-479-5411

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