A ROLE FOR INDUCIBLE DNA METHYLATION IN CORAL INTRA- AND CROSS-GENERATIONAL ACCLIMATIZATION TO FUTURE OCEAN CONDITIONS
As climate change intensifies and the pace of warming and ocean acidification increases, reef-building corals must acclimatize to persist. One mechanism of intra- and cross-generational acclimatization (IGA, CGA) is inducible DNA methylation and its associated phenotypic plasticity. In a series of experiments we have identified 1) CGA of Pocillopora damicornis larval metabolism to high temperature and low pH, 2) beneficial parental effects on juvenile survivorship and growth following adult preconditioning to low pH during brooding, and 3) IGA of adult P. damicornis associated with changes in host DNA methylation induced upon exposure to low pH, together supporting a role for acclimatization through DNA methylation. We then tested the hypothesis that inducible DNA methylation is heritable, associated with changes in gene expression and has performance consequences for P. damicornis adults and offspring after exposure to ambient (~27 °C) and future temperatures (~29 °C). Adults and offspring were collected prior to exposure and after larval release at 1, 2, and 3 months for comparison of DNA methylation and gene expression patterns. Thermal performance curves of larval respiration and survivorship across 5 temperatures (26-34 °C) suggest a shift to higher thermal tolerance in offspring whose parents were exposed to higher temperature. Together with ongoing RNAseq and reduced representation bisulfite sequencing data, these results indicate a strong role for dynamic DNA methylation in rapid CGA with implications for coral performance in a future of climate change.
Putnam, H. M., Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Davidson, J. M., Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA, email@example.com
Ritson-Williams, R., Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gates, R. D., Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA, email@example.com
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