A metagenomic-based study of two sites from the Barbadian reef system

2021.

We study the microbiome of sea water collected from two locations of the Barbadian coral reefs. The two sites differ in several environmental and ecological variables including their endogenous benthic community in addition to their proximity to urban development and runoffs from inland watersheds. The composition of the microbial community was estimated using whole genome DNA shotgun sequencing. Although both sites exhibit a similar degree of richness, the less urbanized site (Maycocks reef at Hangman’s Bay) is strongly concentrated with phototrophs. In comparison, the more urbanized location (Bellairs Research Institute) is enriched for copiotrophs, macroalgal symbionts and marine-related disease-bearing organisms from taxa scattered across the tree of life. Overall, our samples and associated measurements of chemical and environmental qualities of the water are in line with previous marine microbiome profiles of warm ocean surface waters. This suggests our approach captures salient information regarding the state of each coral reef site and sets the stage for larger longitudinal studies of coral reef dynamics in Barbados.