Microbial surface biofilm responds to the growth-reproduction-senescence cycle of the dominant coral reef macroalgae sargassum spp

Glasl, Bettina, Haskell, Jasmine B., Aires, Tania, Serrão, Ester, Bourne, David G., Webster, Nicole S., and Frade, Pedro R. (2021) Microbial surface biofilm responds to the growth-reproduction-senescence cycle of the dominant coral reef macroalgae sargassum spp. Life, 11 (11). 1199.

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Macroalgae play an intricate role in microbial-mediated coral reef degradation processes due to the release of dissolved nutrients. However, temporal variabilities of macroalgal surface biofilms and their implication on the wider reef system remain poorly characterized. Here, we study the microbial biofilm of the dominant reef macroalgae Sargassum over a period of one year at an inshore Great Barrier Reef site (Magnetic Island, Australia). Monthly sampling of the Sargas-sum biofilm links the temporal taxonomic and putative functional metabolic microbiome changes, examined using 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenomic sequencing, to the pronounced growth-reproduction-senescence cycle of the host. Overall, the macroalgal biofilm was dominated by the heterotrophic phyla Firmicutes (35% ± 5.9% SD) and Bacteroidetes (12% ± 0.6% SD); their relative abundance ratio shifted significantly along the annual growth-reproduction-senescence cycle of Sargassum. For example, Firmicutes were 1.7 to 3.9 times more abundant during host growth and reproduction cycles than Bacteroidetes. Both phyla varied in their carbohydrate degradation capabilities; hence, temporal fluctuations in the carbohydrate availability are potentially linked to the observed shift. Dominant heterotrophic macroalgal biofilm members, such as Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, are implicated in exacerbating or ameliorating the release of dissolved nutrients into the ambient environment, though their contribution to microbial-mediated reef degradation processes remains to be determined.

Item ID: 72892
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2075-1729
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, Coral reefs, Macroalgae microbiome, Metagenome assembled genomes, Microbialization
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 04:08
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