Studying chronobiology in reef-building corals is challenging due to the tightly coupled symbiosis with their photosynthetic algae, Symbiodiniaceae. Although symbiosis requires metabolic synchronization and coordination of cellular processes in the holobiont, the cross-talk between the host and symbiont’s clocks is still puzzling. Here, we use the mesophotic coral Euphyllia paradivisa to examine temporal gene expression patterns in symbiotic and aposymbiotic morphs exposed to natural light/dark cycles and constant darkness. Our comparative transcriptomic analyses revealed circadian and circatidal cycles of gene expression with a predominant diel pattern in both coral morphs. We found a substantial number of transcripts consistently rhythmic under both light conditions, including genes likely involved in the cnidarians’ circadian clock, thus indicating that an endogenous clock, which can oscillate independently from the Symbiodiniaceae clock, exists in E. paradivisa. The analysis further manifests the remarkable impacts of symbiosis on transcriptional rhythms and implies that the algae’s presence influences the host’s biorhythm.
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