Onset and establishment of diazotrophs and other bacterial associates in the early life history stages of the coral Acropora millepora

Lema, Kimberley A., Bourne, David G., and Willis, Bette L. (2014) Onset and establishment of diazotrophs and other bacterial associates in the early life history stages of the coral Acropora millepora. Molecular Ecology, 23 (19). pp. 4682-4695.

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Early establishment of coral-microbial symbioses is fundamental to the fitness of corals, but comparatively little is known about the onset and succession of bacterial communities in their early life history stages. In this study, bacterial associates of the coral Acropora millepora were characterized throughout the first year of life, from larvae and 1-week-old juveniles reared in laboratory conditions in the absence of the dinoflagellate endosymbiont Symbiodinium to field-outplanted juveniles with established Symbiodinium symbioses, and sampled at 2weeks and at 3, 6 and 12months. Using an amplicon pyrosequencing approach, the diversity of both nitrogen-fixing bacteria and of bacterial communities overall was assessed through analysis of nifH and 16S rRNA genes, respectively. The consistent presence of sequences affiliated with diazotrophs of the order Rhizobiales (23-58% of retrieved nifH sequences; 2-12% of 16S rRNA sequences), across all samples from larvae to 12-month-old coral juveniles, highlights the likely functional importance of this nitrogen-fixing order to the coral holobiont. Dominance of Roseobacter-affiliated sequences (>55% of retrieved 16S rRNA sequences) in larvae and 1-week-old juveniles, and the consistent presence of sequences related to Oceanospirillales and Altermonadales throughout all early life history stages, signifies their potential importance as coral associates. Increased diversity of bacterial communities once juveniles were transferred to the field, particularly of Cyanobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria, demonstrates horizontal (environmental) uptake of coral-associated bacterial communities. Although overall bacterial communities were dynamic, bacteria with likely important functional roles remain stable throughout early life stages of Acropora millepora.

Item ID: 36188
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: bacterial symbiosis, coral juveniles, coral larvae, diazotrophs, Rhizobiales
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:11
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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