New paper reveals microbiomes of stony and soft deep-sea corals share rare core bacteria

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Dr. Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC Research Microbiologist) will publish a paper in the journal Microbiome based on a meta-analysis of datasets from 7 species of deep-sea corals.

Numerous studies have shown that bacteria form stable associations with host corals and have focused on identifying conserved ‘core microbiomes’ of bacterial associates inferred to be serving key roles in the coral holobiont. Because studies tend to focus on only stony corals (Order Scleractinia) or soft corals (Order Alcyonacea), it was unknown if there were conserved bacteria that were shared by both. A meta-analysis was done of 16S rRNA amplicon data from multiple studies generated via identical methodology to allow direct comparisons of bacterial associates across seven deep-sea corals, including both stony and soft species: Anthothela grandifloraAnthothela sp., Lateothela grandifloraLophelia pertusaParamuricea placomusPrimnoa pacifica, and Primnoa resedaeformis. A majority of the conserved sequences had close matches with previously identified coral-associated bacteria. This means bacterial sequences have been identified that are conserved at the level of Class Anthozoa (i.e., found in both stony and soft corals, shallow and deep). These bacterial associates are therefore hypothesized to play important symbiotic roles and are highlighted for targeted future study.

The full citation for the article is:

Kellogg, C.A. Microbiomes of stony and soft deep-sea corals share rare core bacteria: Microbiome, DOI: 10.1186/s40168-019-0697-3.

Deep-Sea Coral: Lophelia pertusa

Live Lophelia pertusa is white because the calcium carbonate skeleton shows through the nonpigmented coral tissue. Dead coral is soon covered in a brown biofilm. The red-orange squat lobster (Eumunida picta) in the center of the photo is prepared to catch its dinner.

(Credit: USGS DISCOVRE, USGS. )

 

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