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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 131:213-226 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03289

Microbiome dynamics of two differentially resilient corals

Zoe A. Pratte1,2,*, Laurie L. Richardson1

1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
2Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Coral bleaching and disease are 2 common occurrences that are contributing to global coral cover decline. Understanding the interactions between the coral animal and its microbial associates, and how they may change in the presence of stressors such as warming and acidification, is a crucial component to understanding both susceptibility and resistance to disease and bleaching. The coral Diploria labyrinthiformis has been shown to be more disease resistant than its relative Pseudodiploria strigosa, providing an ideal study system for disease resistance. In this study, we examined the bacterial communities of these 2 coral species on the Florida Reef tract every 6 mo for 18 mo (in situ sampling), and under experimental (laboratory) thermal and pH manipulation. The in situ sampling encompassed wide fluctuations in temperature, including an anomalously warm summer period. The laboratory experiments involved exposure to both increased temperature (31°C) and lowered pH (7.7). The in situ bacterial communities of both coral species were highly similar in the winter, but diverged during summer, with the D. labyrinthiformis bacterial community being more stable than that of P. strigosa. Differences in the bacterial community between the 2 coral species included 29 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that were specific to D. labyrinthiformis in all seasons, while only 2 OTUs were specific to P. strigosa. The comparative stability of the D. labyrinthiformis microbiome, in addition to harboring a more specific microbiome, may be a key component of the relative disease resistance of this coral.


KEY WORDS: Diploria · Pseudodiploria · Microbiota · Climate change · Acidification


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Cite this article as: Pratte ZA, Richardson LL (2018) Microbiome dynamics of two differentially resilient corals. Dis Aquat Org 131:213-226. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03289

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