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Evidence for rapid, tide-related shifts in the microbiome of the coral Coelastrea aspera

Sweet, M. J.; Brown, B. E.; Dunne, R. P.; Singleton, I.; Bulling, M.


M. J. Sweet

B. E. Brown

R. P. Dunne

M. Bulling


Shifts in the microbiome of the intertidal coral Coelastrea aspera (formally known as Goniastrea aspera) from Phuket, Thailand were noted over the course of a four day period of spring tides. During this time corals were naturally exposed to high temperatures, intense solar radiation, sub-aerial exposure and tidally-induced water fluxes. Analysis of the 16S microbiome highlighted that the corals harbored both ‘core and/or stable’ communities and those which appeared to be more ‘transient and/or sporadic’. Abundances of the transient or sporadic associates were likely to have been governed by tidally-induced variations in mucus thickness and water fluxes. The core or more stable members may have been key factors in determining coral health, although more research is needed to confirm the exact function they play in this regard. Similar to other studies, strong shifts in the bacterial community were observed, even over the short temporal scale examined here. However, we also show significant differences in the timing of these shifts between the two age-groups of corals studied. More rapid changes (within two days of sub-aerial exposure) occurred within the 4y old colonies, but a slightly delayed response was observed in the 10y old colonies, whereby the microbial associates only changed after 4 days. We hypothesize that these shifts are age related and could be influenced by the observed baseline differences in the microbiome of the 4 and 10 year old corals, bacteria-bacteria interactions, and/or host energetics.


Sweet, M. J., Brown, B. E., Dunne, R. P., Singleton, I., & Bulling, M. (2017). Evidence for rapid, tide-related shifts in the microbiome of the coral Coelastrea aspera. Coral Reefs, 36(3), 815-828.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 15, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 23, 2017
Publication Date 2017-09
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 28, 2017
Journal Coral Reefs
Print ISSN 0722-4028
Electronic ISSN 1432-0975
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 3
Pages 815-828
Keywords Aquatic Science
Public URL


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