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Intergenerational transfer of specific bacteria in corals and possible implications for offspring fitness

Ceh, J., van Keulen, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-6235-5788 and Bourne, D.G. (2013) Intergenerational transfer of specific bacteria in corals and possible implications for offspring fitness. Microbial Ecology, 65 (1). pp. 227-231.

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Diverse and abundant bacterial populations play important functional roles in the multi-partite association of the coral holobiont. The specificity of coral-associated assemblages remains unclear, and little is known about the inheritance of specific bacteria from the parent colony to their offspring. This study investigated if broadcast spawning and brooding corals release specific and potentially beneficial bacteria with their offspring to secure maintenance across generations. Two coral species, Acropora tenuis and Pocillopora damicornis, were maintained in 0.2 μm filtered seawater during the release of their gametes and planulae, respectively. Water samples, excluding gametes and planulae, were subsequently collected, and bacterial diversity was assessed through a pyrosequencing approach amplifying a 470-bp region of the 16S rRNA gene including the variable regions 1–3. Compared to the high bacterial diversity harboured by corals, only a few taxa of bacteria were released by adult corals. Both A. tenuis and P. damicornis released similar bacteria, and the genera Alteromonas and Roseobacter were abundant in large proportions in the seawater of both species after reproduction. This study suggests that adult corals may release bacteria with their offspring to benefit the fitness in early coral life stages.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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