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Molecular and Skeletal Fingerprints of Scleractinian Coral Biomineralization from the Sea Surface to Mesophotic Depths

41 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2019 First Look: Accepted

See all articles by Assaf Malik

Assaf Malik

University of Haifa - Bioinformatics Core Unit; University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Shai Einbinder

University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Stephane Martinez

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department; University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Dan Tchernov

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department; University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Sivan Haviv

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Ricardo Almuly

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Paul Zaslansky

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin - Department for Operative and Preventive Dentistry Centrum für Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde Charité

Iryna Polishchuk

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Russel Berrie Nanotechnology Institute

Boaz Pokroy

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Russel Berrie Nanotechnology Institute

Jarosław Stolarski

Polish Academy of Sciences - Institute of Paleobiology

Tali Mass

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Abstract

Reef-building corals, the major producers of biogenic calcium carbonate, form skeletons in a plethora of morphological forms. Here we studied skeletal modifications of Stylophora pistillata (clade 4) colonies that dramatically adapt to different depths with decreasing light availability. They show notable transitions from spherical morphologies (shallow depths, 5 m deep) to flat and branching ones (at deep 60 m mesophotic depths). Such changes are typically ascribed to the algal photosymbiont physiological feedback with the coral host. We find typical fine-scale skeletal variability (such as extensive vs. weak development of rapid accretion deposits at shallow- and mesophotic depth morphotypes, respectively) that suggest underlying genetic modifications of biomineralization pathways of the coral host. To explain this, we conducted comparative morphology-based analyses, including microscopy, electron microscopy and spectroscopy coupled with a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of S. pistillata samples originated from Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea, Israel), collected along a depth gradient from the sea surface (5 m deep) to mesophotic depths (up to 60m). Additional samples were experimentally transplanted from 5m to 60m and from 60m to 5 m. Interestingly, both morphologically and functionally, transplanted corals partly adapt the typical depth-specific properties. In mesophotic depths, we find that the organic matrix fraction is enriched in the coralla, results corroborated by overrepresentation of biomineralization "tool-kit" structural extracellular genes. These results provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of coral calcification and skeletal adaptation that repeatedly allowed this group to adapt to extreme environments now and in geological past.

Keywords: Bioinfomatics/Phyloinfomatics, Cnidarians, Mesophotic Reef, Biomineralization, morphology plasticity, Electron microscopy, micro CT, high-resolution synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction

Suggested Citation

Malik, Assaf and Einbinder, Shai and Martinez, Stephane and Tchernov, Dan and Haviv, Sivan and Almuly, Ricardo and Zaslansky, Paul and Polishchuk, Iryna and Pokroy, Boaz and Stolarski, Jarosław and Mass, Tali, Molecular and Skeletal Fingerprints of Scleractinian Coral Biomineralization from the Sea Surface to Mesophotic Depths. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3464631

Assaf Malik (Contact Author)

University of Haifa - Bioinformatics Core Unit

Israel

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Israel

Shai Einbinder

University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Israel

Stephane Martinez

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Israel

University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Israel

Dan Tchernov

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Israel

University of Haifa - Morris Kahn Marine Research Station

Israel

Sivan Haviv

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Israel

Ricardo Almuly

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department

Israel

Paul Zaslansky

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin - Department for Operative and Preventive Dentistry Centrum für Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde Charité

Germany

Iryna Polishchuk

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Department of Materials Science and Engineering ( email )

Technion City
Haifa 32000, Haifa 32000
Israel

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Russel Berrie Nanotechnology Institute ( email )

Israel

Boaz Pokroy

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Technion City
Haifa 32000, Haifa 32000
Israel

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - Russel Berrie Nanotechnology Institute

Israel

Jarosław Stolarski

Polish Academy of Sciences - Institute of Paleobiology

Poland

Tali Mass

University of Haifa - Marine Biology Department ( email )

Israel

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