Chromera velia is endosymbiotic in larvae of the reef corals Acropora digitifera and A. tenuis

Protist. 2013 Mar;164(2):237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2012.08.003. Epub 2012 Oct 12.


Scleractinian corals occur in symbiosis with a range of organisms including the dinoflagellate alga, Symbiodinium, an association that is mutualistic. However, not all symbionts benefit the host. In particular, many organisms within the microbial mucus layer that covers the coral epithelium can cause disease and death. Other organisms in symbiosis with corals include the recently described Chromera velia, a photosynthetic relative of the apicomplexan parasites that shares a common ancestor with Symbiodinium. To explore the nature of the association between C. velia and corals we first isolated C. velia from the coral Montipora digitata and then exposed aposymbiotic Acropora digitifera and A. tenuis larvae to these cultures. Three C. velia cultures were isolated, and symbiosis was established in coral larvae of both these species exposed to all three clones. Histology verified that C. velia was located in the larval endoderm and ectoderm. These results indicate that C. velia has the potential to be endosymbiotic with coral larvae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolata / isolation & purification
  • Alveolata / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anthozoa / parasitology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Larva / parasitology
  • Microscopy
  • Symbiosis*