Temporal variation in the microbiome of Acropora coral species does not reflect seasonality

Epstein, Hannah E., Smith, Hillary A., Cantin, Neal E., Mocellin, Veronique J. L., Torda, Gergely, and van Oppen, Madeleine J. H. (2019) Temporal variation in the microbiome of Acropora coral species does not reflect seasonality. Frontiers In Microbiology, 10. 1775.

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Abstract

The coral microbiome is known to fluctuate in response to environmental variation and has been suggested to vary seasonally. However, most studies to date, particularly studies on bacterial communities, have examined temporal variation over a time frame of less than 1 year, which is insufficient to establish if microbiome variations are indeed seasonal in nature. The present study focused on expanding our understanding of long-term variability in microbial community composition using two common coral species, Acropora hyacinthus, and Acropora spathulata, at two mid-shelf reefs on the Great Barrier Reef. By sampling over a 2-year time period, this study aimed to determine whether temporal variations reflect seasonal cycles. Community composition of both bacteria and Symbiodiniaceae was characterized through 16S rRNA gene and ITS2 rDNA metabarcoding. We observed significant variations in community composition of both bacteria and Symbiodiniaceae among time points for A. hyacinthus and A. spathulata. However, there was no evidence to suggest that temporal variations were cyclical in nature and represented seasonal variation. Clear evidence for differences in the microbial communities found between reefs suggests that reef location and coral species play a larger role than season in driving microbial community composition in corals. In order to identify the basis of temporal patterns in coral microbial community composition, future studies should employ longer time series of sampling at sufficient temporal resolution to identify the environmental correlates of microbiome variation.

Item ID: 60409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1664-302X
Keywords: coral microbiome, temporal variation, season, bacteria, Symbiodiniaceae, GBR, metabarcoding
Copyright Information: © 2019 Epstein, Smith, Cantin, Mocellin, Torda and van Oppen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).
Funders: Paul G. Allen Philanthropies (PGAP), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), AIMS@JCU
Projects and Grants: AIMS@JCU PhD scholarship, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship (FL18000036)
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 07:40
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060599 Microbiology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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