Microbes have long been implicated in host health and functioning in systems ranging from the human gut to temperate grasslands.
Within marine systems, Corals and Sponges have been the major focus in this research area over the past half century.
Neglecting the fact that the majority of worldwide coastal systems are dominated by marine forest forming macrophytes. It is still unclear as to the functional relationship between algal hosts and their associated microbial communities (microbiomes) and how these relationships will be impacted by growing and sustained climatic change.
Our work focuses on the intertidal forest forming macrophyte, Hormosira banksii and its associated microbiome. Hormosira is the dominant intertidal alga for the majority of NSW’s coastline and is found as far south as Tasmania and in New Zealand and is highly important for intertidal diversity and functioning.
This project aims to untangle the functional relationship between host and microbiome through a series of manipulative and inoculation experiments. In our first series of experiments, we will be inoculating Hormosira with bacterial strains isolated from the field within previous work in our group. We hope that by linking functional changes within the host to specific bacterial groups we will be able to predict host responses to climatic change.
This study is being conducted by PhD Candidate Alex McGrath, University of Sydney, under the supervision of Dr Ziggy Marzinelli, University of Sydney