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Title: Coral thermal stress and bleaching enrich and restructure reef microbial communities via altered organic matter exudation
Abstract

Coral bleaching is a well-documented and increasingly widespread phenomenon in reefs across the globe, yet there has been relatively little research on the implications for reef water column microbiology and biogeochemistry. A mesocosm heating experiment and bottle incubation compared how unbleached and bleached corals alter dissolved organic matter (DOM) exudation in response to thermal stress and subsequent effects on microbial growth and community structure in the water column. Thermal stress of healthy corals tripled DOM flux relative to ambient corals. DOM exudates from stressed corals (heated and/or previously bleached) were compositionally distinct from healthy corals and significantly increased growth of bacterioplankton, enriching copiotrophs and putative pathogens. Together these results demonstrate how the impacts of both short-term thermal stress and long-term bleaching may extend into the water column, with altered coral DOM exudation driving microbial feedbacks that influence how coral reefs respond to and recover from mass bleaching events.

 
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Award ID(s):
2224354
NSF-PAR ID:
10490678
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Communications Biology
Volume:
7
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2399-3642
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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