Macroalgal release of dissolved organic carbon in coral reef and its interaction with the bacteria associated with the coral Porites lutea
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Macroalgae supersede corals in the reefs worldwide, converting the coral-dominant systems into algal-dominant ones. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) released by macroalgae play a prominent role in degrading the coral reefs by stimulating the bacterial growth and metabolism. However, the long-term remineralization of macroalgal DOC and their contribution to the carbon pool are least studied. In this study, we quantified the DOC released by five species of macroalgae that affected live corals through their physical contact and their subsequent remineralization for 100 days by coral mucus bacteria. Also, we analyzed the changes in bacterial community structure after 30 days of exposure to the macroalgal DOC. All the macroalgae released a significant amount of DOC ranging from 2.2 ± 0.17 to 8.1 ± 0.36 µmol C g-1 h-1 (mean ± SD). After 100 days, between 9.2 and 30.9% of the macroalgal DOC remained recalcitrant to bacterial remineralization. There was no apparent change in the dominant bacterial groups exposed to the DOC released by the green macroalgae Caulerpa racemosa and Halimeda sp. In comparison, the Proteobacteria group decreased with a prominent increase in the Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, and Bacteroidetes group in the samples exposed to DOC released by the brown macroalgae Turbinaria ornata, Sargassum tenerrimum, and Padina gymnospora. These inclusive data suggest that the DOC released by different species of macroalgae differed on their lability to microbial mineralization and highlight the comparable patterns in microbial responses to macroalgal exudates across different species.
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