Kuba et al. 2023

scientific article | PeerJ | open access

Characterization of macroalgal-associated microbial communities from shallow to mesophotic depths at Manawai, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawai‘i

Kuba GM, Spalding HL, Hill-Spanik KM, Williams TM, Paiano MO, Sherwood AR, Hauk BB, Kosaki RK, Fullerton H


The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawai‘i, is one of the most isolated and protected archipelagos in the world, making it a natural laboratory to examine macroalgal-microbial diversity because of limited direct anthropogenic impacts. We collected the most abundant macroalgae from nine sites ranging from shallow subtidal (1.5 m) to mesophotic (75 m) depths around Manawai (Pearl and Hermes Atoll). We characterized the macroalgal bacterial communities via high-throughput amplicon sequencing and compared the influence of host phylum, species, site, and depth on these relationships at a single atoll. Ochrophyta species had the lowest bacterial diversity compared to Chlorophyta and Rhodophyta. Site and/or depth may influence the microbial community structure associated with Microdictyon setchellianum, indicating a possible disconnect of these microbial communities among habitats. Chondria tumulosa, a cryptogenic species with invasive traits, differed in associated microbiota compared to the native Laurencia galtsoffii, an alga from the same family collected at the same site and depth. While there was overlap of bacterial communities across sites for some algal species, the majority had minimal macroalgal-microbial community connectivity across Manawai. This mesophotic system, therefore, did not appear to be refugia for shallow water coral reefs at microscopic scales. Additional studies are required to identify other significant influences on microbial community variation.

Depth range
1- 75 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
28 x (total of 7134 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'

Community structure
Molecular ecology

Algae (Macro, Turf and Crustose Coralline)
Bacteria and Archaea

USA - Hawaii

In-situ instrumentation
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)

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