The mesophotic coral Alveopora allingi from the northern Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea, is affected by year-round partial coral-bleaching events. During these events, the migration of Symbiodiniaceae takes place from the coral-host mesoglea to the developed oocytes in bleached parts of colonies of A. allingi but not in the non-bleached parts. Additionally, these oocytes are abnormal, missing part of the structural material of the peripheral areas, and are also significantly larger in the bleached areas of the colonies. Hence, we suggest a parasitic behavior of the symbionts or a commensalism relationship which enhance symbionts' needs during bleaching periods and may boost the gametogenesis development in these corals. We propose that evolutionarily, this behavior may greatly contribute to the symbiont community survival throughout the bleaching period, and it can also be beneficial for the host's persistence and adaptation to bleaching through the acquisition of a specific symbiont community following the bleaching event.
Israel - Red Sea