Diel population and functional synchrony of microbial communities on coral reefs

Linda Wegley Kelly, Craig E. Nelson, Andreas F. Haas, Douglas S. Naliboff, Sandi Calhoun, Craig A. Carlson, Robert A. Edwards, Michael D. Fox, Mark Hatay, Maggie D. Johnson, Emily L.A. Kelly, Yan Wei Lim, Saichetana Macherla, Zachary A. Quinlan, Genivaldo Gueiros Z. Silva, Mark J.A. Vermeij, Brian Zgliczynski, Stuart A. Sandin, Jennifer E. Smith, Forest Rohwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


On coral reefs, microorganisms are essential for recycling nutrients to primary producers through the remineralization of benthic-derived organic matter. Diel investigations of reef processes are required to holistically understand the functional roles of microbial players in these ecosystems. Here we report a metagenomic analysis characterizing microbial communities in the water column overlying 16 remote forereef sites over a diel cycle. Our results show that microbial community composition is more dissimilar between day and night samples collected from the same site than between day or night samples collected across geographically distant reefs. Diel community differentiation is largely driven by the flux of Psychrobacter sp., which is two-orders of magnitude more abundant during the day. Nighttime communities are enriched with species of Roseobacter, Halomonas, and Alteromonas encoding a greater variety of pathways for carbohydrate catabolism, further illustrating temporal patterns of energetic provisioning between different marine microbes. Dynamic diel fluctuations of microbial populations could also support the efficient trophic transfer of energy posited in coral reef food webs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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