Pacific Coral Reef Institute

Tahiti Perles – IPCR grants 2013 final reports

In 2013, 3 researchers came at the Criobe thanks to Tahiti Perles – IPCR grants. Overview of the results obtained during their stay in French Polynesia.

The bacteria organize themselves to coexist / Verena WITT (Bacterial diversity and metabolism in tropical coral reef biofilms and sponges)

Bacteria are known to adapt themselves to their environment, for example, to be resistant to treatment by antibiotics. Verena Witt re-examines this adaptation capacity through a study of bacteria in Moorea’s lagoon. Came one month thanks to a Tahiti Perles – IRCP grant in 2013, Verena presents her first results about bacteria community witch organize themselves when they are transplanted from a pristine site to a impacted site, in order to better resist. Some of them disappear, the others bacteria form a persistent core and specialize themselves to coexist. Here is the final report.


Shared Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) between inshore, offshore and tranplanted biofilm communitites. The Venn diagramm displays the number of OTUs unique to or shared between four major sample groupings. Inshore refers to impacted sites, offshore to control sites. Inshore TR means grown at control site and transplanted to impacted and offshore TR vice versa.

Acropora stays at home and symbionts deal with it/ Sarah Davies (Investigating Host-Symbiont Genetic Structure in Moorean Corals)

Sarah Davies worked on coral host Acropora hyacinthus to learn more about its dispersion capacity in ocean and its relationship with its symbiotic algae.

Her aims were to determine the connectivity patterns and distribution of genetic diversity in Acropora hyacinthus and in its symbionts across two different habitats on French Polynesian reefs. This study has demonstrated that the coral hosts between Moorea, Tetiaroa, and Tahiti are highly connected. However some divergence exists, suggesting that these corals do not disperse the great distances that their con-specifics do elsewhere in the world, such as the Great Barrier Reef (van Oppen et al. 2011). For symbionts, the study showed that all of the corals genotyped maintain symbiosis with the Clade C Symbiodinium. However, within Clade C they found significant differences between islands and between reef types (inner and outer reefs), perhaps suggesting the potential for local adaptation of the symbiont to its environment. To read the full report click here.


French Polynesia island locations where A. hyacinthus were sampled in August 2013. A. Overall map of collections in French Polynesia. B. Inset of Moorea collection sites. C. Inset of Tahiti collection sites. and D. Inset of Tetiaroa collection sites. All collection sites are marked with a yellow pin.

Viruses as reef regulator / Jerome Payet (Ecology and diversity of viruses in the Moorea coral reefs)

Jerome Payet’ study is the first to report the abundance, distribution and ecological impact of viruses in the coral reef waters of Moorea Island. The data of this study revealed distinct short-term spatiotemporal changes in viral abundance and activity and demonstrated that these changes were linked to microbial host abundances and environmental variables. This work demonstrates thus the highly dynamic distribution of viruses and their critical roles in controlling microbial mortality and nutrient cycling in coral reef water ecosystems. Click here to read the publication.


Spatial distribution of heterotrophic bacteria along four regional transects (east, west, south, and north) surrounding Moorea. (A – D)

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