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Open AccessArticle

The Effect of Thermal Stress on the Bacterial Microbiome of Exaiptasia diaphana

1
Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Swinburne University of Technology, John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia
2
School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne, Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia
3
Australian Institute of Marine Science, 1526 Cape Cleveland Rd, Cape Cleveland, Queensland 4810, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010020
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 17 December 2019 / Accepted: 18 December 2019 / Published: 20 December 2019
Coral bleaching linked to climate change has generated interest in the response of coral’s bacterial microbiome to thermal stress. The sea anemone, Exaiptasia diaphana, is a popular coral model, but the response of its bacteria to thermal stress has been barely explored. To address this, we compared the bacterial communities of Great Barrier Reef (GBR) E. diaphana maintained at 26 °C or exposed to increasing temperature (26–33 °C) over two weeks. Communities were analyzed by metabarcoding of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Bleaching and Symbiodiniaceae health were assessed by Symbiodiniaceae cell density and dark-adapted quantum yield (Fv/Fm), respectively. Significant bleaching and reductions in Fv/Fm occurred in the heat-treated anemones above 29 °C. Overall declines in bacterial alpha diversity in all anemones were also observed. Signs of bacterial change emerged above 31 °C. Some initial outcomes may have been influenced by relocation or starvation, but collectively, the bacterial community and taxa-level data suggested that heat was the primary driver of change above 32 °C. Six bacterial indicator species were identified as potential biomarkers for thermal stress. We conclude that the bacterial microbiome of GBR E. diaphana is generally stable until a thermal threshold is surpassed, after which significant changes occur. View Full-Text
Keywords: Exaiptasia diaphana; Exaiptasia pallida; thermal stress; microbiome; bacteria; coral model Exaiptasia diaphana; Exaiptasia pallida; thermal stress; microbiome; bacteria; coral model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hartman, L.M.; van Oppen, M.J.H.; Blackall, L.L. The Effect of Thermal Stress on the Bacterial Microbiome of Exaiptasia diaphana. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 20.

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