|Title||Coral reef microorganisms in a changing climate|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Vanwonterghem I, Webster NS|
|Keywords||Biogeoscience, Global Nutrient Cycle, Microbiology, Microbiome|
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, yet they have suffered tremendous losses due to anthropogenic disturbances and are predicted to be one of the most adversely affected habitats under future climate change conditions. Coral reefs can be viewed as microbially driven ecosystems that rely on the efficient capture, retention, and recycling of nutrients in order to thrive in oligotrophic waters. Microorganisms play vital roles in maintaining holobiont health and ecosystem resilience under environmental stress; however, they are also key players in positive feedback loops that intensify coral reef decline, with cascading effects on biogeochemical cycles and marine food webs. There is an urgent need to develop a fundamental understanding of the complex microbial interactions within coral reefs and their role in ecosystem acclimatization, and it is important to include microorganisms in reef conservation in order to secure a future for these unique environments.