Marine Science Faculty Publications

Cytological Examination of Symbiont Loss in a Benthic Foraminifera, Amphistegina gibbosa

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Since September 1991, A. gibbosa populations in the Florida Keys have been afflicted by an unidentified disease. Symptoms include symbiont-loss (ranging from slight mottling to complete bleaching), shell breakage, shell-surface lesions that permit boring and epiphytic microorganisms to invade living specimens, deformed tests, and reproductive dysfunction. Cytological examination of mottled and bleached specimens revealed membrane disintegration, symbiont digestion, lysosomes adjacent to symbionts, enlarged vacuoles in the cytoplasm, few mitochondria or other organelles, and granulation of the cytoplasm. Normal-appearing specimens from damaged populations also have granulated cytoplasm and abnormally abundant lysosomes in the vicinity of symbionts, indicating early stages of the disease.

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Marine Micropaleontology, v. 26, issues 1-4, p. 107-113