Microbiome dynamics in the tissue and mucus of acroporid corals differ in relation to host and environmental parameters

Marchioro, Giulia, Glasl, Bettina, Engelen, Aschwin H., Serrao, Ester A., Bourne, David G., Webster, Nicole S., and Frade, Pedro R. (2020) Microbiome dynamics in the tissue and mucus of acroporid corals differ in relation to host and environmental parameters. PeerJ, 8. e9644.

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Corals are associated with diverse microbial assemblages; however, the spatial temporal dynamics of intra-species microbial interactions are poorly understood. The coral-associated microbial community varies substantially between tissue and mucus microhabitats; however, the factors controlling the occurrence, abundance, and distribution of microbial taxa over time have rarely been explored for different coral compartments simultaneously. Here, we test (1) differentiation in microbiome diversity and composition between coral compartments (surface mucus and tissue) of two Acropora hosts (A. tenuis and A. millepora) common along inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as (2) the potential linkage between shifts in individual coral microbiome families and underlying host and environmental parameters. Amplicon based 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing of 136 samples collected over 14 months, revealed significant differences in bacterial richness, diversity and community structure among mucus, tissue and the surrounding seawater. Seawater samples were dominated by members of the Synechococcaceae and Pelagibacteraceae bacterial families. The mucus microbiome of Acropora spp. was dominated by members of Flavobacteriaceae, Synechococcaceae and Rhodobacteraceae and the tissue was dominated by Endozoicimonaceae. Mucus microbiome in both Acropora species was primarily correlated with seawater parameters including levels of chlorophyll a, ammonium, particulate organic carbon and the sum of nitrate and nitrite. In contrast, the correlation of the tissue microbiome to the measured environmental (i.e., seawater parameters) and host health physiological factors differed between host species, suggesting host-specific modulation of the tissue-associated microbiome to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Furthermore, the correlation between individual coral microbiome members and environmental factors provides novel insights into coral microbiome-by-environment dynamics and hence has potential implications for current reef restoration and management efforts (e.g. microbial monitoring and observatory programs).

Item ID: 64244
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Keywords: Microbial ecology, Coral reefs, Coral symbionts, Coral compartments, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: Copyright 2020 Marchioro et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
Funders: National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), Advance Queensland, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), National Environmental Science Program (NESP), Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT)
Projects and Grants: FCT UIDB/04326/2020, FCT FRH/BSAB/150485/2019
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 07:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology @ 100%
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