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Coral symbiosis study

NanoSIMS,  coral symbiosis study
Isotope labelling analysis of Aiptasia tentacle cross section

Aiptasia represents an excellent model organism to study symbiotic interaction between corals and their associated microbiota. In these symbiotic systems, it is commonly assumed that algae benefit from living within the host because they recycle waste ammonium (NH4) from the host. However, a 15NH4 pulse chase isotope labelling study and analysis of Aiptasia tentacle cross section by NanoSIMS demonstrates that both host and symbiont have the cellular machinery to assimilate ammonium into their biomass. This creates a stable symbiosis which ensures that algae don’t outgrow their host. 

The 15N atom % image was generated on the CAMECA NanoSIMS 50 at The University of Western Australia in association with researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and University of Technology Sydney. Image courtesy of J. Bougoure, University of Western Australia.

Winning image for the month of February 2020