Red Sea Atlas of Coral-Associated Bacteria Highlights Common Microbiome Members and Their Distribution across Environmental Gradients—A Systematic Review

by Nathalia Delgadillo, Ines Raimundo, Adam Barno, Eslam Osman, Helena Villela, Morgan F. Bennett-Smith, Christian Voolstra, Francesca Benzoni, Raquel Peixoto
Scientific paper Year: 2022 DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms10122340

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The Red Sea is a suitable model for studying coral reefs under climate change due to its strong environmental gradient that provides a window into future global warming scenarios. For instance, corals in the southern Red Sea thrive at temperatures predicted to occur at the end of the century in other biogeographic regions. Corals in the Red Sea thrive under contrasting thermal and environmental regimes along their latitudinal gradient. Because microbial communities associated with corals contribute to host physiology, we conducted a systematic review of the known diversity of Red Sea coral-associated bacteria, considering geographic location and host species. Our assessment comprises 54 studies of 67 coral host species employing cultivation-dependent and cultivation-independent techniques. Most studies have been conducted in the central and northern Red Sea, while the southern and western regions remain largely unexplored. Our data also show that, despite the high diversity of corals in the Red Sea, the most studied corals were Pocillopora verrucosa, Dipsastraea spp., Pleuractis granulosa, and Stylophora pistillata. Microbial diversity was dominated by bacteria from the class Gammaproteobacteria, while the most frequently occurring bacterial families included Rhodobacteraceae and Vibrionaceae. We also identified bacterial families exclusively associated with each of the studied coral orders: Scleractinia (n = 125), Alcyonacea (n = 7), and Capitata (n = 2). This review encompasses 20 years of research in the Red Sea, providing a baseline compendium for coral-associated bacterial diversity.