Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome.

Journal article


Röthig, Till, Ochsenkühn, Michael A., Roik, Anna, van der Merwe, Riaan and Voolstra, Christian R. 2016. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome. Molecular Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13567
AuthorsRöthig, Till, Ochsenkühn, Michael A., Roik, Anna, van der Merwe, Riaan and Voolstra, Christian R.
Abstract

Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater run-off and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here, we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high-salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high-salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulphur oxidation and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition.

Keywordsbacterial community profiling; Coral reef
Year2016
JournalMolecular Ecology
PublisherWiley
ISSN09621083
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13567
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/623349
hdl:10545/623349
Publication dates03 Feb 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Jan 2019, 16:44
Accepted27 Jan 2016
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Archived with thanks to Molecular Ecology

ContributorsKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia, Biological and Organometallic Catalysis Laboratories; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia and Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia
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