Responses of coral microbiomes to stress

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:52:48 -0700
From: Rebecca Vega Thurber <>
Subject: [Coral-List] New review/meta-analysis on the responses of
coral   microbiomes to stress
To: Coral-List Subscribers <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”UTF-8″

Hi Coral Listers,
We recently had published a review/meta-analysis on how coral bacterial
communities respond to three major stressors: climate change, pollution,
and overfishing. This work synthesized the work of over 45 studies from the
last couple years and across several coral species and locations. We found
strong patterns in the data. If you are interested I have pasted the
abstract of this work below and provided the link to the open access
article.  On behalf of the co-authors, we hope that it will be useful for
coral folk who are interested in the microbiome and how it may affect coral
resilience to local and environmental stressors.  If you have questions
please don’t hesitate to ask. -Becky

*Responses of Coral-Associated Bacterial Communities to Local and Global

– Abstract: The microbial contribution to ecological resilience is still
largely overlooked in coral reef ecology. Coral-associated bacteria serve a
wide variety of functional roles with reference to the coral host, and
thus, the composition of the overall microbiome community can strongly
influence coral health and survival. Here, we synthesize the findings of
recent studies (*n* = 45) that evaluated the impacts of the top three
stressors facing coral reefs (climate change, water pollution and
overfishing) on coral microbiome community structure and diversity.
Contrary to the species losses that are typical of many ecological
communities under stress, here we show that microbial richness tends to be
higher rather than lower for stressed corals (i.e., in ~60% of cases),
regardless of the stressor. Microbial responses to stress were
taxonomically consistent across stressors, with specific taxa typically
increasing in abundance (e.g., *Vibrionales, Flavobacteriales,
Rhodobacterales, Alteromonadales, Rhizobiales, Rhodospirillales*, and
*Desulfovibrionales*) and others declining (e.g., *Oceanosprillales*).
Emerging evidence also suggests that stress may increase the microbial beta
diversity amongst coral colonies, potentially reflecting a reduced ability
of the coral host to regulate its microbiome. Moving forward, studies will
need to discern the implications of stress-induced shifts in microbiome
diversity for the coral hosts and may be able to use microbiome community
structure to identify resilient corals. The evidence we present here
supports the hypothesis that microbial communities play important roles in
ecological resilience, and we encourage a focus on the microbial
contributions to resilience for future research.

Dr. Rebecca Vega Thurber
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Oregon State University
454 Nash Hall
Corvallis OR  97331-3804, U.S.A
541-737-1851 (office) 541-737-0496 (FAX);