Synthetic estrogens such as ethinylestradiol (EE2) are persistent micropollutants that are not effectively removed from wastewater by conventional treatments. These contaminants are released into waterbodies, where they disrupt endocrine systems of organisms
and cause harmful effects such as feminization, infertility, reproduction problems and genital malformations. The consequences of this pollution for key marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and their associated microbiomes are underexplored. We evaluated
the effects of EE2 concentrations of 100 ng L−1 and 100 µg L−1 on the coral metaorganism Mussismilia harttii. The results indicated no effects on visible bleaching or Fv/Fm ratios
in the corals during a 17-day microcosm experiment. However, next-generation sequencing of 16S rDNA revealed a statistically significant effect of high EE2 concentrations on OTU richness, and shifts in specific microbial groups after treatments with
or without EE2. These groups might be bioindicators of early shifts in the metaorganism composition caused by EE2 contamination.