Investigators of UA, participate study that aimed to characterize the microbiome in the Indo-Pacific region
Researchers from CESAM published a study on the coral reef microbiome in the high-impact journal Nature Communications
Investigadores do CESAM publicam estudo sobre o microbioma de recifes de coral na revista Nature Communications
One of the most recent and fascinating developments in Biology is the perception of the microbiome and its importance in human and animal health and ecosystem functioning. In marine environments, sponges have been considered a model organism to study host-microbiome relationships. Sponges are the most ancient of metazoans and are considered a reservoir of microbial diversity in the world´s oceans. However, until now, it was not clear if and to what extent microorganisms found in sponges are also present in other coral reef biotopes.

The research team of the Laboratory for Molecular Studies of Marine Environments (LEMAM), from CESAM/Dbio, in collaboration with researchers from different institutions in Taiwan, Thailand and the Netherlands, carried out an extensive and ambitious study that aimed to characterize the microbiome from more than 200 coral reef samples from multiple taxa in the Indo-Pacific region. Using high-throughput DNA sequencing and the computer cluster from the University of Aveiro (Argus), for the first time, microbiomes from algae, chitons, stony corals, sea cucumbers, sponge denizens, flatworms, nudibranchs, soft corals, sponges, sea urchins, seawater and sediment were analyzed. The researchers found that a high number of microorganisms are shared between different biotopes, supporting the hypothesis of Baas Becking that “everything is everywhere but the environment selects”. Contrary to what was believed until now, sponges are not the main contributors to total prokaryote diversity in coral reefs. They are only one, albeit an interesting, component of a much larger coral reef metacommunity.

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