The Coral Core Microbiome Identifies Rare Bacterial Taxa as Ubiquitous Endosymbionts

This ISMEJ article describes how despite being one of the simplest metazoans, corals harbor some of the most highly diverse and abundant microbial communities

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Jul 02, 2015
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Despite being one of the simplest metazoans, corals harbor some of the most highly diverse and abundant microbial communities. Differentiating core, symbiotic bacteria from this diverse host-associated consortium is essential for characterizing the functional contributions of bacteria but has not been possible yet. Here we characterize the coral core microbiome and demonstrate clear phylogenetic and functional divisions between the micro-scale, niche habitats within the coral host. In doing so, we discover seven distinct bacterial phylotypes that are universal to the core microbiome of coral species, separated by thousands of kilometres of oceans. The two most abundant phylotypes are co-localized specifically with the corals’ endosymbiotic algae and symbiont-containing host cells. These bacterial symbioses likely facilitate the success of the dinoflagellate endosymbiosis with corals in diverse environmental regimes.

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Go to the profile of Martin Delahunty

Martin Delahunty

Global Director, Nature Partner Journals, Nature Research

Working within Nature Research's Open Research Group, I am Global Director for Nature Partner Journals based in London. I have responsibility across five global office locations to develop Nature Partner Journals, a new series of online-only, open access journals, published in collaboration with world-renowned partners. Launched in April 2014, the portfolio now includes 14 titles including 'npj Biofilms and Microbiomes'. I have a Degree in Natural Sciences specializing in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Business Administration from The Open University. Within the broader medical publications community, I serve as Secretary and Trustee for the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals.

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