Coral bacterial community structure responds to environmental change in a host-specific manner

Maren Ziegler, Carsten G. B. Grupstra, Marcelle Muniz Barreto, Martin Eaton, Jaafar BaOmar, Khalid Zubier, Abdulmohsin Al-Sofyani, Adnan J. Turki, Rupert Ormond, Christian R. Voolstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

The global decline of coral reefs heightens the need to understand how corals respond to changing environmental conditions. Corals are metaorganisms, so-called holobionts, and restructuring of the associated bacterial community has been suggested as a means of holobiont adaptation. However, the potential for restructuring of bacterial communities across coral species in different environments has not been systematically investigated. Here we show that bacterial community structure responds in a coral host-specific manner upon cross-transplantation between reef sites with differing levels of anthropogenic impact. The coral Acropora hemprichii harbors a highly flexible microbiome that differs between each level of anthropogenic impact to which the corals had been transplanted. In contrast, the microbiome of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa remains remarkably stable. Interestingly, upon cross-transplantation to unaffected sites, we find that microbiomes become indistinguishable from back-transplanted controls, suggesting the ability of microbiomes to recover. It remains unclear whether differences to associate with bacteria flexibly reflects different holobiont adaptation mechanisms to respond to environmental change.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 12 2019

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