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Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs
Frade, P.R.; Roll, K.; Bergauer, K.; Herndl, G. (2016). Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs. PLoS One 11(1): e0144702. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144702
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Frade, P.R.
  • Roll, K.
  • Bergauer, K.
  • Herndl, G., more

Abstract
    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associatedwith the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has thereforeremained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibita similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatialgradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminalrestrictionfragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing of the 16SrRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal andbacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species(Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis) over different spatialscales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reefpatches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient waterwere also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples.While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characterized by TRFLPwere shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUsthis percentage was 2-fold higher (78%). About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44%and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively) were shared between the threecoral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA)showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus,sediment or seawater), host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal communitycomposition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucusassociatedarchaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnoverover reefs and in their host-specificity.

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