Brown Anya L.

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Anya L.

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  • Article
    Local versus site-level effects of algae on coral microbial communities
    (The Royal Society, 2021-09-15) Briggs, Amy A. ; Brown, Anya L. ; Osenberg, Craig W.
    Microbes influence ecological processes, including the dynamics and health of macro-organisms and their interactions with other species. In coral reefs, microbes mediate negative effects of algae on corals when corals are in contact with algae. However, it is unknown whether these effects extend to larger spatial scales, such as at sites with high algal densities. We investigated how local algal contact and site-level macroalgal cover influenced coral microbial communities in a field study at two islands in French Polynesia, Mo'orea and Mangareva. At 5 sites at each island, we sampled prokaryotic microbial communities (microbiomes) associated with corals, macroalgae, turf algae and water, with coral samples taken from individuals that were isolated from or in contact with turf or macroalgae. Algal contact and macroalgal cover had antagonistic effects on coral microbiome alpha and beta diversity. Additionally, coral microbiomes shifted and became more similar to macroalgal microbiomes at sites with high macroalgal cover and with algal contact, although the microbial taxa that changed varied by island. Our results indicate that coral microbiomes can be affected by algae outside of the coral's immediate vicinity, and local- and site-level effects of algae can obscure each other's effects when both scales are not considered.
  • Article
    Reshuffling of the coral microbiome during dormancy
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2022-11-16) Brown, Anya L. ; Sharp, Koty ; Apprill, Amy
    Quiescence, or dormancy, is a response to stressful conditions in which an organism slows or halts physiological functioning. Although most species that undergo dormancy maintain complex microbiomes, there is little known about how dormancy influences and is influenced by the host's microbiome, including in the temperate coral Astrangia poculata. Northern populations of undergo winter quiescence. Here, we characterized wild microbiomes in a high-resolution sampling time series before, during, and after quiescence using 16S rRNA gene sequencing on active (RNA) and present (DNA) microbiomes. We observed a restructuring of the coral microbiome during quiescence that persisted after reemergence. Upon entering quiescence, corals shed copiotrophic microbes, including putative pathogens, suggesting a removal of these taxa as corals cease normal functioning. During and after quiescence, bacteria and archaea associated with nitrification were enriched, suggesting that the quiescent microbiome may replace essential functions through supplying nitrate to corals and/or microbes. Overall, this study demonstrates that key microbial groups related to quiescence in may play a role in the onset or emergence from dormancy and long-term regulation of the microbiome composition. The predictability of dormancy in provides an ideal natural manipulation system to further identify factors that regulate host-microbial associations.Using a high-resolution sampling time series, this study is the first to demonstrate a persistent microbial community shift with quiescence (dormancy) in a marine organism, the temperate coral. Furthermore, during this period of community turnover, there is a shedding of putative pathogens and copiotrophs and an enhancement of the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria () and archaea ("Nitrosopumilus"). Our results suggest that quiescence represents an important period during which the coral microbiome can reset, shedding opportunistic microbes and enriching for the reestablishment of beneficial associates, including those that may contribute nitrate while the coral animal is not actively feeding. We suggest that this work provides foundational understanding of the interplay of microbes and the host's dormancy response in marine organisms.