Microbial associations with macrobiota in coastal ecosystems : patterns and implications for nitrogen cycling
Moulton, Orissa M.
Beman, J. Michael
Deegan, Linda A.
Lyons, Meaghan K.
Nelson, James A.
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In addition to their important effects on nitrogen (N) cycling via excretion and assimilation (by macrofauna and macroflora, respectively), many macrobiota also host or facilitate microbial taxa responsible for N transformations. Interest in this topic is expanding, especially as it applies to coastal marine systems where N is a limiting nutrient. Our understanding of the diversity of microbes associated with coastal marine macrofauna (invertebrate and vertebrate animals) and macrophytes (seaweeds and marine plants) is improving, and recent studies indicate that the collection of microbes living in direct association with macrobiota (the microbiome) may directly contribute to N cycling. Here, we review the roles that macrobiota play in coastal N cycling, review current knowledge of macrobial–microbial associations in terms of N processing, and suggest implications for coastal ecosystem function as animals are harvested and as foundational habitat is lost or degraded. Given the biodiversity of microbial associates of macrobiota, we advocate for more research into the functional consequences of these associations for the coastal N cycle.
Author Posting. © Ecological Society of America, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of Ecological Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14 (2016): 200-208, doi:10.1002/fee.1262.