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Dimethylsulfoniopropionate in corals and its interrelations with bacterial assemblages in coral surface mucus

AuthorsFrade, P.R.; Schwaninger, V.; Glasl, B.; Sintes, Eva; Hill, R. W.; Simó, Rafel ; Herndl, Gerhard J.
Issue Date2016
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
CitationEnvironmental Chemistry 13(2) 252-265 (2016)
AbstractCorals produce copious amounts of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a sulfur compound thought to play a role in structuring coral-associated bacterial communities. We tested the hypothesis that a linkage exists between DMSP availability in coral tissues and the community dynamics of bacteria in coral surface mucus. We determined DMSP concentrations in three coral species (Meandrina meandrites, Porites astreoides and Siderastrea siderea) at two sampling depths (5 and 25 m) and times of day (dawn and noon) at Curaçao, Southern Caribbean. DMSP concentration (4–409 nmol cm–2 coral surface) varied with host species-specific traits such as Symbiodinium cell abundance, but not with depth or time of sampling. Exposure of corals to air caused a doubling of their DMSP concentration. The phylogenetic affiliation of mucus-associated bacteria was examined by clone libraries targeting three main subclades of the bacterial DMSP demethylase gene (dmdA). dmdA gene abundance was determined by quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) against a reference housekeeping gene (recA). Overall, a higher availability of DMSP corresponded to a lower relative abundance of the dmdA gene, but this pattern was not uniform across all host species or bacterial dmdA subclades, suggesting the existence of distinct DMSP microbial niches or varying dmdA DMSP affinities. This is the first study quantifying dmdA gene abundance in corals and linking related changes in the community dynamics of DMSP-degrading bacteria to DMSP availability. Our study suggests that DMSP mediates the regulation of microbes by the coral host and highlights the significance of sulfur compounds for microbial processes in coral reefs
DescriptionSpecial issue on Biological and environmental chemistry of DMS(P) and related compounds.-- 14 pages, 10 figures, 1 table, supplementary material http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EN15023
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EN15023
Identifiersdoi: 10.1071/EN15023
issn: 1448-2517
e-issn: 1449-8979
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