Aposymbiotic polyps of Hydra viridis were infected with 17 strains of in vitro cultured Chlorella sp. Larvae of Artemia fed with the chlorellae were used as an infecting vector. Of the 17 strains, seven formed stable symbioses and one formed a transient infection that disappeared within several weeks. Chlorellae of the nine other strains were cleared out of the infected hydra within 2–3 days. There was a distinct correlation between the ability of the chlorellae to form stable symbioses and their ability to adapt and grow in media enriched with 0.5% proteose peptone. Only strains that grew in the latter medium formed symbioses with the hydra. The symbioses formed with the different strains of chlorellae differed from one another. Hydra infected with some strains greened completely while those infected with other strains greened only partially. The degree of infection varied also within each population, and there were differences in the distribution of the various chlorellae along the stalk and inside the digestive cells of the hydra. Growth rates of the infected hydra were all less that those of aposymbiotic hydra or of hydra hosting native zoochlorellae. We conclude that adaptability to a nutrient-rich environment inside the perialgal vacuole of the digestive cell and a sufficient growth rate therein are crucial to the ability of chlorellae to form stable symbioses with H. viridis. In time, co-adaptation of hydra and chlorellae would restore the normal growth rate of the former and bring about regularity to the form and extent of infection by the latter.

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