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Environ Microbiol Rep. 2017 Jun;9(3):310-315. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12541. Epub 2017 May 9.

Correspondence of coral holobiont metabolome with symbiotic bacteria, archaea and Symbiodinium communities.

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Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Kāne'ohe, HI, USA.
Department of Oceanography and Sea Grant College Program, Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA.
Department of Computer Science, College of Charleston, Charleston, NC, USA.


Microbial symbiotic partners, such as those associated with Scleractinian corals, mediate biochemical transformations that influence host performance and survival. While evidence suggests microbial community composition partly accounts for differences in coral physiology, how these symbionts affect metabolic pathways remains underexplored. We aimed to assess functional implications of variation among coral-associated microbial partners in hospite. To this end, we characterized and compared metabolomic profiles and microbial community composition from nine reef-building coral species. These data demonstrate metabolite profiles and microbial communities are species-specific and are correlated to one another. Using Porites spp. as a case study, we present evidence that the relative abundance of different sub-clades of Symbiodinium and bacterial/archaeal families are linked to positive and negative metabolomic signatures. Our data suggest that while some microbial partners benefit the union, others are more opportunistic with potential detriment to the host. Consequently, coral partner choice likely influences cellular metabolic activities and, therefore, holobiont nutrition.

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