Coral reefs are subject to coral bleaching manifested by the loss of endosymbiotic algae from coral host tissue. Besides algae, corals associate with bacteria. In particular, bacteria residing in the surface mucus layer are thought to mediate coral health, but their role in coral bleaching is unknown. We collected mucus from bleached and healthy Porites lobata colonies in the Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) and the Red Sea (RS) to investigate bacterial microbiome composition using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We found that bacterial community structure was notably similar in bleached and healthy corals, and the most abundant bacterial taxa were identical. However, fine-scale differences in bacterial community composition between the PAG and RS were present and aligned with predicted differences in sulfur- and nitrogen-cycling processes. Based on our data, we argue that bleached corals benefit from the stable composition of mucus bacteria that resemble their healthy coral counterparts and presumably provide a conserved suite of protective functions, but monitoring of post-bleaching survival is needed to further confirm this assumption. Conversely, fine-scale site-specific differences highlight flexibility of the bacterial microbiome that may underlie adjustment to local environmental conditions and contribute to the widespread success of Porites lobata.
DiBattista, Joseph; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Piatek, Marek J.; Wang, Xin; Aranda, Manuel; Berumen, Michael L.(Molecular Ecology Resources, Wiley, 2017-04-06)[Article]
Data from a large-scale restriction site associated DNA (RAD-Seq) study of nine butterflyfish species in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea provided a means to test the utility of a recently published draft genome (Chaetodon austriacus) and assess apparent bias in this method of isolating nuclear loci. We here processed double-digest restriction-site (ddRAD) associated DNA sequencing data to identify single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and their associated function with and without our reference genome to see if it improves the quality of RAD-Seq markers. Our analyses indicate (1) a modest gap between the number of non-annotated versus annotated SNPs across all species, (2) an advantage of using genomic resources for closely related but not distantly related butterflyfish species based on the ability to assign putative gene function to SNPs, and (3) an enrichment of genes among sister butterflyfish taxa related to calcium transmembrane transport and binding. The latter result highlights the potential for this approach to reveal insights into adaptive mechanisms in populations inhabiting challenging coral reef environments such as the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and Arabian Gulf with further study.
Sponges (Porifera) harbor distinct microbial consortia within their mesohyl interior. We herein analysed the hologenomes of Stylissa carteri and Xestospongia testudinaria, which notably differ in their microbiome content.
Our analysis revealed that S. carteri has an expanded repertoire of immunological domains, specifically Scavenger Receptor Cysteine-Rich (SRCR)-like domains, compared to X. testudinaria. On the microbial side, metatranscriptome analyses revealed an overrepresentation of potential symbiosis-related domains in X. testudinaria.
Our findings provide genomic insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying host-symbiont coevolution and may serve as a roadmap for future hologenome analyses.
Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; DiBattista, Joseph; Piatek, Marek J.; Gaither, Michelle R.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L.(Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2015-12-12)[Article]
Understanding the processes that shape patterns of genetic structure across space is a central aim of landscape genetics. However, it remains unclear how geographic features and environmental variables shape gene flow, particularly for marine species in large complex seascapes. Here, we evaluated the genomic composition of the two-band anemonefish Amphiprion bicinctus across its entire geographic range in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as its close relative, Amphiprion omanensis endemic to the southern coast of Oman. Both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea are complex and environmentally heterogeneous marine systems that provide an ideal scenario to address these questions. Our findings confirm the presence of two genetic clusters previously reported for A. bicinctus in the Red Sea. Genetic structure analyses suggest a complex seascape configuration, with evidence of both Isolation by Distance (IBD) and Isolation by Environment (IBE). In addition to IBD and IBE, genetic structure among sites was best explained when two barriers to gene flow were also accounted for. One of these coincides with a strong oligotrophic-eutrophic gradient at around 16-20˚N in the Red Sea. The other agrees with an historical bathymetric barrier at the straight of Bab al Mandab. Finally, these data support the presence of inter-specific hybrids at an intermediate suture zone at Socotra and indicate complex patterns of genomic admixture in the Gulf of Aden with evidence of introgression between species. Our findings highlight the power of recent genomic approaches to resolve subtle patterns of gene flow in marine seascapes.
Giles, Emily; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Hussey, Nigel E.; Ravasi, Timothy; Berumen, Michael L.(Ecology and Evolution, Wiley, 2015-06-01)[Article]
A main goal of population geneticists is to study patterns of gene flow to gain a better understanding of the population structure in a given organism. To date most efforts have been focused on studying gene flow at either broad scales to identify barriers to gene flow and isolation by distance or at fine spatial scales in order to gain inferences regarding reproduction and local dispersal. Few studies have measured connectivity at multiple spatial scales and have utilized novel tools to test the influence of both environment and geography on shaping gene flow in an organism. Here a seascape genetics approach was used to gain insight regarding geographic and ecological barriers to gene flow of a common reef sponge, Stylissa carteri in the Red Sea. Furthermore, a small-scale (<1 km) analysis was also conducted to infer reproductive potential in this organism. At the broad scale, we found that sponge connectivity is not structured by geography alone, but rather, genetic isolation in the southern Red Sea correlates strongly with environmental heterogeneity. At the scale of a 50-m transect, spatial autocorrelation analyses and estimates of full-siblings revealed that there is no deviation from random mating. However, at slightly larger scales (100–200 m) encompassing multiple transects at a given site, a greater proportion of full-siblings was found within sites versus among sites in a given location suggesting that mating and/or dispersal are constrained to some extent at this spatial scale. This study adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that environmental and ecological variables play a major role in the genetic structure of marine invertebrate populations.
Bracken-Grissom, Heather; Collins, Allen G.; Collins, Timothy; Crandall, Keith; Distel, Daniel; Dunn, Casey; Giribet, Gonzalo; Haddock, Steven; Knowlton, Nancy; Martindale, Mark; Medina, Monica; Messing, Charles; O'Brien, Stephen J.; Paulay, Gustav; Putnam, Nicolas; Ravasi, Timothy; Rouse, Greg W.; Ryan, Joseph F.; Schulze, Anja; Worheide, Gert; Adamska, Maja; Bailly, Xavier; Breinholt, Jesse; Browne, William E.; Diaz, M. Christina; Evans, Nathaniel; Flot, Jean-Francois; Fogarty, Nicole; Johnston, Matthew; Kamel, Bishoy; Kawahara, Akito Y.; Laberge, Tammy; Lavrov, Dennis; Michonneau, Francois; Moroz, Leonid L.; Oakley, Todd; Osborne, Karen; Pomponi, Shirley A.; Rhodes, Adelaide; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio; Santos, Scott R.; Satoh, Nori; Thacker, Robert W.; Van de Peer, Yves; Voolstra, Christian R.; Welch, David Mark; Winston, Judith; Zhou, Xin(Journal of Heredity, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2013-12-11)[Article]
Over 95% of all metazoan (animal) species comprise the invertebrates, but very few genomes from these organisms have been sequenced. We have, therefore, formed a Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA). Our intent is to build a collaborative network of diverse scientists to tackle major challenges (e.g., species selection, sample collection and storage, sequence assembly, annotation, analytical tools) associated with genome/transcriptome sequencing across a large taxonomic spectrum. We aim to promote standards that will facilitate comparative approaches to invertebrate genomics and collaborations across the international scientific community. Candidate study taxa include species from Porifera, Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, Mollusca, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Annelida, Bryozoa, and Platyhelminthes, among others. GIGA will target 7000 noninsect/nonnematode species, with an emphasis on marine taxa because of the unrivaled phyletic diversity in the oceans. Priorities for selecting invertebrates for sequencing will include, but are not restricted to, their phylogenetic placement; relevance to organismal, ecological, and conservation research; and their importance to fisheries and human health. We highlight benefits of sequencing both whole genomes (DNA) and transcriptomes and also suggest policies for genomic-level data access and sharing based on transparency and inclusiveness. The GIGA Web site () has been launched to facilitate this collaborative venture.
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