The microbiome of the octocoral Lobophytum pauciflorum: minor differences between sexes and resilience to short-term stress

Wessels, Wiebke, Sprungala, Susanne, Watson, Sue-Ann, Miller, David J., and Bourne, David G. (2017) The microbiome of the octocoral Lobophytum pauciflorum: minor differences between sexes and resilience to short-term stress. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93 (5). pp. 1-13.

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Bacteria associated with marine invertebrates are thought to have a range of important roles that benefit the host including production of compounds that may exclude pathogenic microorganisms and recycling of essential nutrients. This study characterised the microbiome of a gonochoric octocoral, Lobophytum pauciflorum, and investigated whether either sex or environmental stresses influenced the diversity of the associated microbiome through amplicon profiling of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Sequences affiliated to Spirochaetaceae and Endozoicimonaceae dominated the microbiome of L. pauciflorum, representing 43% and 21% of the community, respectively. Among the dominant class affiliations, no sex-specific differences were detected, though unassigned sequences were at a 2-fold higher relative abundance in samples from female individuals than from males. These potentially novel sequences contributed to observed differences between sexes as detected by a multivariate analysis at the OTU level. Exposing L. pauciflorum fragments to increased temperature (31°C), decreased pH (7.9) or both stressors simultaneously for 12 days did not significantly alter the microbial community, indicating that the soft coral microbiome is relatively resilient to short-term environmental stress.

Item ID: 49619
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1574-6941
Keywords: soft coral microbiome; Lobophytum pausiforum; Spirochaetes domoinated; sex differentiation; ocean acidification
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Wessels, Wiebke (2016) Molecular bases of soft coral reproduction. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: JCU Graduate Research Scheme (GRS), JCU Postgraduate Research Scholarship
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 04:34
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology @ 70%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3199 Other biological sciences > 319902 Global change biology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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