[Coral-List] New paper out in Molecular Ecology on how coral symbionts vary across a disturbance gradient

Rebecca Vega Thurber rvegathurber at gmail.com
Tue Jul 21 23:01:04 UTC 2020

Hello Coral Listers!

On behalf of the authors I'd like to point you all to our new paper in
Molecular Ecology about how coral symbionts vary across a disturbance
gradient. This work was the result of a collaboration between Julia Baum's
lab at University of Victoria, Ruth Gate's lab at University of Hawaii,
Melissa Garren at Cal State Monterey Bay, and my own lab at Oregon State

Paper Summary

In this paper we sampled 7 coral species across a gradient of human
disturbance on Kiritimati Atoll (Christmas Island) in the Central Pacific
and quantified their associated Symbiodiniaceae and bacterial communities
during non-bleaching conditions. We found concordance between
Symbiodiniaceae and bacterial community structure, when all corals were
considered together, and individually for two massive species, Hydnophora
microconos and Porites lobata, implying that symbionts and bacteria respond
similarly to human disturbance in these species. Additionally, chronic
disturbance was associated with changes in beta diversity for both
Symbiodiniaceae and bacteria (Specifically: altered community structure for
both and altered dispersion for Symbiodiniaceae only). Finally, we found
that the dominant Symbiodiniaceae ancestral lineage in a coral colony was
associated with differential abundances of several distinct bacterial taxa.
These results suggest that increased beta diversity of Symbiodiniaceae and
bacterial communities may be a reliable indicator of stress in the coral
microbiome, and that there may be concordant responses to chronic
disturbance between these communities at the whole‐ecosystem scale.

Below is the reference to the paper and the DOI. Should you have any
questions please don't hesitate to email me, Julia Baum, or the lead author
Danielle Claar.
Increased diversity and concordant shifts in community structure of
coral‐associated Symbiodiniaceae and bacteria subjected to chronic human
Danielle C. Claar

Jamie M. McDevitt‐Irwin

Melissa Garren

Rebecca Vega Thurber

Ruth D. Gates

Julia K. Baum
First published: 04 June 2020


On a personal note, this will likely be my last publication with Ruth, and
thus this work is of special significance to me. Ruth, despite all the
challenges we faced, always was positive and determined to make lasting and
impactful change. One thing she emphasized was working together and
supporting one another. I think this paper is a good example of very
different teams coming together to tackle the science and issues around
human activities and their effects on our beloved reefs.  I know she would
be proud of this work.  -Becky
Dr. Rebecca Vega Thurber (she/her)
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)
rvegathurber at gmail.com;Rebecca.Vega-Thurber at oregonstate.edu
<Rebecca.Vega.Thurber at oregonstate.edu>

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