Divergent Capacity of Scleractinian and Soft Corals to Assimilate and Transfer Diazotrophically Derived Nitrogen to the Reef Environment

Type Article
Date 2019-08
Language English
Author(s) Pupier Chloe A.1, 2, Bednarz Vanessa N.1, Grover Renaud1, Fine Maoz3, 4, Maguer Jean-Francois5, Ferrier-Pages Christine1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ctr Sci Monaco, Marine Dept, Monaco, Monaco.
2 : Sorbonne Univ, Coll Doctoral, Paris, France.
3 : Bar Ilan Univ, Mina & Everard Goodman Fac Life Sci, Ramat Gan, Israel.
4 : Interuniv Inst Marine Sci Eilat, Elat, Israel.
5 : UBO, Inst Univ Europeen Mer, UMR 6539, CNRS,IRD,IFREMER,Lab Environm Marin LEMAR, Plouzane, France.
Source Frontiers In Microbiology (1664-302X) (Frontiers Media Sa), 2019-08 , Vol. 10 , N. 1860 , P. 7p.
DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01860
WOS© Times Cited 4
Keyword(s) dinitrogen fixation, diazotrophs, scleractinian corals, soft corals, Red Sea

Corals are associated with dinitrogen (N-2)-fixing bacteria that potentially represent an additional nitrogen (N) source for the coral holobiont in oligotrophic reef environments. Nevertheless, the few studies investigating the assimilation of diazotrophically derived nitrogen (DDN) by tropical corals are limited to a single scleractinian species (i.e., Stylophora pistillata). The present study quantified DDN assimilation rates in four scleractinian and three soft coral species from the shallow waters of the oligotrophic Northern Red Sea using the N-15(2) tracer technique. All scleractinian species significantly stimulated N, fixation in the coral-surrounding seawater (and mucus) and assimilated DDN into their tissue. Interestingly, N-2 fixation was not detected in the tissue and surrounding seawater of soft corals, despite the fact that soft corals were able to take up DDN from a culture of free-living diazotrophs. Soft coral mucus likely represents an unfavorable habitat for the colonization and activity of diazotrophs as it contains a low amount of particulate organic matter, with a relatively high N content, compared to the mucus of scleractinian corals. In addition, it is known to present antimicrobial properties. Overall, this study suggests that DDN assimilation into coral tissues depends on the presence of active diazotrophs in the coral's mucus layer and/or surrounding seawater. Since N is often a limiting nutrient for primary productivity in oligotrophic reef waters, the divergent capacity of scleractinian and soft corals to promote N-2 fixation may have implications for N availability and reef biogeochemistry in scleractinian versus soft coral-dominated reefs.

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Pupier Chloe A., Bednarz Vanessa N., Grover Renaud, Fine Maoz, Maguer Jean-Francois, Ferrier-Pages Christine (2019). Divergent Capacity of Scleractinian and Soft Corals to Assimilate and Transfer Diazotrophically Derived Nitrogen to the Reef Environment. Frontiers In Microbiology, 10(1860), 7p. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01860 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00512/62370/