Symbiotic Dinoflagellate Functional Diversity Mediates Coral Survival under Ecological Crisis

David J. Suggett, Mark E. Warner, William Leggat
2017 Trends in Ecology & Evolution  
Coral reefs have entered an era of "ecological crisis" as climate change drives catastrophic reef loss worldwide. Coral growth and stress susceptibility are regulated by their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium). Phylogenetic diversity of Symbiodinium frequently corresponds with patterns of coral health and survival, but knowledge of functional diversity is ultimately required to reconcile broader ecological success over space and time. Here we explore functional traits
more » ... ng the complex biology of Symbiodinium that spans free-living alga to coral endosymbiont. In doing so, we propose a mechanistic framework integrating the primary traits of resource acquisition and utilisation as a means to explain Symbiodinium functional diversity, and resolve the role of Symbiodinium in driving the stability of coral reefs under an uncertain future.
doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.07.013 pmid:28843439 fatcat:x7wued6poffpfbaazuemqw4wqy