[Coral-List] New Paper - Warming makes Symbiodinium selfish

dmbaker dmbaker at hku.hk
Mon Jan 29 19:28:50 EST 2018

Dear Coral-listers,

A new paper out in ISMEJ today shows that two species of Symbiodinium become “selfish” and retain more carbon and nitrogen at the expense of their hosts at sub-bleaching temperatures. While hosts were quite stressed by warming, Symbiodinium were happy and stored much more carbon and nitrogen than they translocated while increasing their own cell division.

The paper is open access at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41396-018-0046-8

This work validates some theories that climate change will push Symbiodinium from mutualist to parasite, and reminds us to include nutrient pollution mitigation in our plans to combat climate change. Unfortunately, a purported clade C “mutualist” also exhibited the same parasitic behavior as an “opportunistic” clade A (S. fitti) suggesting that our desire for a savior symbiont may be unfounded.


David M. Baker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Hong Kong
Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, PRC

dmbaker at hku.hk<mailto:dmbaker at hku.hk>


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