Energy integration between the solitary polyps of the clonal coral lobophyllia corymbosa
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Brickner, I. (2006). Energy integration between the solitary polyps of the clonal coral lobophyllia corymbosa. Journal of Experimental Biology 209 (9), 1690-1695
Clonal integration in the coral Lobophyllia corymbosa was studied from two perspectives: transfer of carbon among clonemates and allorecognition. This coral forms colonies in the early post-metamorphic stages. In later ontogeny, the tissues interconnecting polyps die, transforming the colony into a clone of solitary polyps. These polyps continue to live in close proximity but without tissue continuity. Isolated polyps labeled with radioactive carbon in the light showed oriented transfer of assimilates towards adjacent, injured polyps. No significant transfer of carbon was observed towards intact, isogeneic polyps or allogeneic polyps. Grafting of coral tissues resulted in intra-clonal fusion, but only when polyps were previously sectioned. Allogeneic sectioned grafts were always rejected. Intact polyps were unresponsive towards isogeneic and allogeneic counterparts when grafted. Our results show that isolated Lobophyllia polyps not only recognize their clonemates as such, but also help them when necessary, although no tissue continuity exists between them.