We are excited to share our most recent article "Depth influences Symbiodiniaceae associations among Montastraea cavernosa corals on the Belize Barrier Reef" which was just published in Frontiers in Microbiology. This work was led by graduate student Ryan Eckert, and was part of his Master's Thesis at FAU Harbor Branch.
Shallow and deep M. cavernosa populations in our Belize study sites harbored different Symbiodiniaceae. Shallow populations had much more variable Symbiodiniaceae compared to deep populations. Notably, this split follows a similar trend to the host population genetic structure, with differences between shallow populations (back reef/ reef crest) and deeper populations (fore reef/ reef wall).
This collaborative project involved multiple student co-authors, including PhD student Lexie Sturm and Link Intern Ashley Reaume. This work was funded by awards from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration to the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT) and a donation from the Banbury Fund in memory of John and Andreija Robertson and a donation from the River Branch Foundation. We are also grateful to our colleagues at the Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program who helped to facilitate this research.
Congratulations and great work Ryan and team!