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Symbioses between salamander embryos and green algae
Symbiosis (2011)
  • Ryan Kerney, Gettysburg College
The symbiosis between Ambystoma maculatum (spotted salamander) embryos and green algae was initially described over 120 years ago. Algae populate the egg capsules that surround individual A. maculatum embryos, giving the intracapsular fluid a characteristic green hue. Early work established this symbiosis to be a mutualism, while subsequent studies sought to identify the material benefits of this association to both symbiont and host. These studies have shown that salamander embryos benefit from increased oxygen concentrations provided by their symbiotic algae. The algae, in turn, may benefit from ammonia excreted by the embryos. All of these early studies considered the associ- ation to be an ectosymbiotic mutualism. However our recent work has shown that algae invade both embryonic salamander cells and tissues during development. The unexpected invasion of algal cells into a salamander host changes our understanding of this symbiosis. This review will summarize the earlier research on this association in the context of these recent findings. It will also emphasize gaps in our understanding of this and other amphibian embryo-algal interactions and suggest various research avenues to address these unanswered questions.
  • Salamanders,
  • Green algae,
  • Symbiosis,
  • Endosymbiosis,
  • Mutualism,
  • Ambystoma
Publication Date
Citation Information
Ryan Kerney. "Symbioses between salamander embryos and green algae" Symbiosis Vol. 54 Iss. 3 (2011)
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