Institute of Information Science Academia Sinica
Topic: TIGP (BIO) –Novel insights on green sulfur bacteria in coral skeletons
Speaker: Dr. Shan-Hua Yang (Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University)
Date: 2019-09-26 (Thu) 14:00 – 16:00
Location: Auditorium 101 at IIS new Building
Host: TIGP- Bioinformatics Program


Recently, microbes raise as major contributors of the high diversity characteristics of the coral holobiont. Their distribution, as well as their functions, remains poorly understood despite considerable belief on the critical role they may play in the coral physiology and response to environmental stressors. Here, using the common Indo-Pacific coral Isopora palifera as a model species, we develop a comprehensive study on microbial communities and function of green sulfur bacteria (GSB) associated to coral skeleton. Our original and multidisciplinary approach combined morphology analysis, metagenomes, and pigment identification. In addition, cultures of anaerobic bacteria isolated from the coral skeleton were attempted for the first time to clarify experimentally the role of these GSB. This characterization includes GSB's abundance, genetic and genomic profiles, organelle structure, as well as their specific metabolic function and activity. We characterized a diverse and dynamic community of endolithic microbes shaped by the availability of light and oxygen. Our results specifically highlight the advantages of living within I. palifera skeletons, and shed light on the role of Prosthecochloris clade as nitrogen fixator. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study characterizing the role of endoliths in coral skeletons from an anaerobic point of view. It proved the ability of specific coral-associated endolithic microorganism to take up nitrogen, and further emphasizes the central, but often overlooked, role of the microbial communities in coral biology.