Relative abundance of nitrogen cycling microbes in coral holobionts reflects environmental nitrate availability

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/331606

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Tilstra , A , Roth , F , El-Khaled , Y C , Pogoreutz , C , Raedecker , N , Voolstra , C R & Wild , C 2021 , ' Relative abundance of nitrogen cycling microbes in coral holobionts reflects environmental nitrate availability ' , Royal Society Open Science , vol. 8 , 201835 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201835

Title: Relative abundance of nitrogen cycling microbes in coral holobionts reflects environmental nitrate availability
Author: Tilstra, Arjen; Roth, Florian; El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Raedecker, Nils; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Tvärminne Zoological Station

Date: 2021-06-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Royal Society Open Science
ISSN: 2054-5703
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201835
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/331606
Abstract: Recent research suggests that nitrogen (N) cycling microbes are important for coral holobiont functioning. In particular, coral holobionts may acquire bioavailable N via prokaryotic dinitrogen (N-2) fixation or remove excess N via denitrification activity. However, our understanding of environmental drivers on these processes in hospite remains limited. Employing the strong seasonality of the central Red Sea, this study assessed the effects of environmental parameters on the proportional abundances of N cycling microbes associated with the hard corals Acropora hemprichii and Stylophora pistillata. Specifically, we quantified changes in the relative ratio between nirS and nifH gene copy numbers, as a proxy for seasonal shifts in denitrification and N-2 fixation potential in corals, respectively. In addition, we assessed coral tissue-associated Symbiodiniaceae cell densities and monitored environmental parameters to provide a holobiont and environmental context, respectively. While ratios of nirS to nifH gene copy numbers varied between seasons, they revealed similar seasonal patterns in both coral species, with ratios closely following patterns in environmental nitrate availability. Symbiodiniaceae cell densities aligned with environmental nitrate availability, suggesting that the seasonal shifts in nirS to nifH gene abundance ratios were probably driven by nitrate availability in the coral holobiont. Thereby, our results suggest that N cycling in coral holobionts probably adjusts to environmental conditions by increasing and/or decreasing denitrification and N-2 fixation potential according to environmental nitrate availability. Microbial N cycling may, thus, extenuate the effects of changes in environmental nitrate availability on coral holobionts to support the maintenance of the coral-Symbiodiniaceae symbiosis.
Subject: coral reefs
Scleractinia
seasonality
denitrification
dinitrogen fixation
diazotrophy
NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT
N-2 FIXATION
POPULATION-CONTROL
REEFS
DIVERSITY
ALIGNS
LIGHT
KEY
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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