Bednarz, Vanessa N., Naumann, Malik, Cardini, Ulisse, van Hoytema, Nanne, Rix, Laura, Al-Rshaidat, Mamoon M. D. and Wild, Christian (2018) Contrasting seasonal responses in dinitrogen fixation between shallow and deep-water colonies of the model coral Stylophora pistillata in the northern Red Sea. PLOS ONE, 13 (6). e0199022. DOI

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Tropical corals are often associated with dinitrogen (N2)-fixing bacteria (diazotrophs), and seasonal changes in key environmental parameters, such as dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) availability and seawater temperature, are known to affect N2 fixation in coral-microbial holobionts. Despite, then, such potential for seasonal and depth-related changes in N2 fixation in reef corals, such variation has not yet been investigated. Therefore, this study quantified seasonal (winter vs. summer) N2 fixation rates associated with the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata collected from depths of 5, 10 and 20 m in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). Findings revealed that corals from all depths exhibited the highest N2 fixation rates during the oligotrophic summer season, when up to 11% of their photo-metabolic nitrogen demand (CPND) could be met by N2 fixation. While N2 fixation remained seasonally stable for deep corals (20 m), it significantly decreased for the shallow corals (5 and 10 m) during the DIN-enriched winter season, accounting for less than 2% of the corals’ CPND. This contrasting seasonal response in N2 fixation across corals of different depths could be driven by 1) release rates of coral-derived organic matter, 2) the community composition of the associated diazotrophs, and/or 3) nutrient acquisition by the Symbiodinium community.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 1932-6203
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Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 11:14
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 12:42

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