Carbon flux in symbiotic zoanthids under climate change and ocean acidification

  • 10/22/2013 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Location: Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020
  • Event Type: Meeting

Erin R. Graham, Department of Biology, Temple University

Many invertebrates in the phylum Cnidaria form endosymbiotic relationships with dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium), which supply their hosts with fixed carbon from photosynthesis. Symbiotic cnidarians form the foundation of diverse benthic ecosystems in tropical and subtropical waters, but rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification affect physiological processes in symbiotic associations, particularly calcification in reef-forming corals. Inhibition of calcification in corals suggests that future climate conditions may favor non-calcifying, soft-bodied cnidarians, yet there is little known about how climate change will affect carbon flux and primary production in non-calcifying symbiotic associations. Moreover, Symbiodinium species or types vary in their mechanisms of carbon acquisition, environmental tolerance, and photosynthetic output, therefore, symbiont type may alter carbon flux in the symbiotic animal (the holobiont).
In this seminar Erin will describe the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on carbon acquisition and fixation in two zoanthid species, and discuss mechanisms that may allow symbiotic cnidarieans to persist in warmer, acidified waters.