Shifts in Microbial Communities Based Upon Transect Habitat Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/w66345508

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  • Coral reef health has been in severe decline around the globe in the past several decades, in many cases due to direct human impact. Human action, such as overfishing, habitat destruction and nutrient loading, has caused coral coverage to drop to record lows, threatening the future of these critically important biodiversity hotspots. This study investigates the changes in microbial community along reef transects on the South Pacific island of Moorea. Samples were collected at three distinct habitats along reef transects: Fringing Reef, Back Reef, and Cresting Reef. Reef habitats were compared between three regions around the island: North, East and West. Results indicate that there is a significant difference in Bacterial and Archaeal (16S) species between the inner fringing reef habitat and the outer Cresting and Back reef habitats. This difference can consistently be seen across all regions sampled around Moorea. Comparison of the 16S communities based solely on region resulted in no significant difference, suggesting that the primary driver of microbial diversity is location on transect and not region. Based on these results, it appears the Bacterial and Archaeal communities are defined by the reef habitat they belong to and that these communities are not unique to region.
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