Abstract


GENOMIC SIGNATURES OF HABITAT ADAPTATION ARE MIRRORED BY PHENOTYPIC DIFFERENCES IN THE CORAL POCILLOPORA DAMICORNIS

The future of coral reefs is uncertain. Increasing environmental pressures are causing stress and decreases in coral fitness, cover and diversity are evident on reefs world-wide. The outlook depends on corals' ability to increase stress tolerance and thrive under novel, and often more extreme, environmental conditions. To provide critical knowledge of the adaptive potential of natural populations we reciprocally transplanted fragments of Pocillopora damicornis between environmentally distinct reef flat and slope habitats (separated by < 100 m) at two sites ca. 1 km apart at Heron Island, GBR. We detected strong genotype by environment interactions in fitness-related traits; skeletal growth was 3.5 times higher and partial mortality was 3.2 times lower in native vs novel habitats. Field and lab experiments found higher stress tolerance in native corals from the more environmentally extreme reef flat habitat, with transplanted slope individuals achieving intermediate tolerance levels after 18 months. Analysis across 23,500 SNPs identified strong genetic differentiation between habitats and a large number of private alleles were associated with habitats but not sites. Our results are consistent with local adaptation of coral populations across very small geographical distances and reveal standing genetic variation for enhanced temperature tolerance in natural populations. Combined, our phenotypic and genomic data support a substantial adaptive potential of this coral species that should be considered in projection models under emission and natural management scenarios

http://www.aims.gov.au

Authors

Bay, L. K., Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, l.bay@aims.gov.au

Bongaerts, P., University of Queensland, Australia, pim@uq.edu.au

van Oppen, M. J., University of Melbourne and Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, madeleine.van@unimelb.edu.au

Details

Oral presentation

Session #:05
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 15:00
Location: 313 B

Presentation is given by student: No