Elevated seawater temperature disrupts the microbiome of an ecologically important bioeroding sponge

Ramsby, Blake D., Hoogenboom, Mia O., Whalan, Steve, and Webster, Nicole S. (2018) Elevated seawater temperature disrupts the microbiome of an ecologically important bioeroding sponge. Molecular Ecology, 27 (8). pp. 2124-2137.

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Bioeroding sponges break down calcium carbonate substratum, including coral skeleton, and their capacity for reef erosion is expected to increase in warmer and more acidic oceans. However, elevated temperature can disrupt the functionally important microbial symbionts of some sponge species, often with adverse consequences for host health. Here, we provide the first detailed description of the microbial community of the bioeroding sponge Cliona orientalis and assess how the community responds to seawater temperatures incrementally increasing from 23 degrees C to 32 degrees C. The microbiome, identified using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, was dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, including a single operational taxonomic unit (OTU; Rhodothalassium sp.) that represented 21% of all sequences. The core microbial community (taxa present in >80% of samples) included putative nitrogen fixers and ammonia oxidizers, suggesting that symbiotic nitrogen metabolism may be a key function of the C. orientalis holobiont. The C. orientalis microbiome was generally stable at temperatures up to 27 degrees C; however, a community shift occurred at 29 degrees C, including changes in the relative abundance and turnover of microbial OTUs. Notably, this microbial shift occurred at a lower temperature than the 32 degrees C threshold that induced sponge bleaching, indicating that changes in the microbiome may play a role in the destabilization of the C. orientalis holobiont. C. orientalis failed to regain Symbiodinium or restore its baseline microbial community following bleaching, suggesting that the sponge has limited ability to recover from extreme thermal exposure, at least under aquarium conditions.

Item ID: 53707
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: bleaching, climate change, Cliona orientalis, Rhodothalassium, symbiosis
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Copyright Information: © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Ramsby, Blake Donald (2018) The effects of a changing marine environment on the bioeroding sponge Cliona orientalis. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: AIMS@JCU scholarship, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship #FT120100480
Date Deposited: 23 May 2018 07:33
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 20%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 70%
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