Michael John Sweet

Michael John Sweet
University of Derby · Aquatic Research Facility

PhD Microbial Ecology of Coral

About

160
Publications
57,450
Reads
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3,140
Citations
Citations since 2017
96 Research Items
2526 Citations
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Introduction
Professor in Molecular Ecology at the University of Derby’s Aquatic Research Facility - based in the centre of the UK. I started my career as an undergraduate in Zoology, at Newcastle University then spent four years of field based research around the world for NGOs and other organisations. My PhD was in microbial ecology of coral reefs, which was followed by a Post Doctorate focusing on White Diseases around the world. I utilise a variety of molecular techniques to address ecological questions
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
University of Derby
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (160)
Article
Selective antibiotic treatment of White Syndrome (WS)-affected corals (Acropora muricata) from Fiji was used to identify 3 potential bacterial pathogens of the disease. Interestingly, the suite of bacterial associates of the disease was different to that recently identified using identical primer sets for WS on the GBR and in the Solomon Islands. I...
Article
West sides of the coral Coelastrea aspera, which had achieved thermo-tolerance after previous experience of high solar irradiance in the field, were rotated through 180o on a reef flat in Phuket, Thailand (7o50´N, 98o25.5´E), in 2000 in a manipulation experiment and secured in this position. In 2010, elevated sea temperatures caused extreme bleachi...
Article
In healthy sponges, microbes have been shown to account for up to 40 % of tissues. The majority of these are thought to originate from survivors evading digestion and immune responses of the sponge and growing and residing in the microenvironments of the mesophyll. Although a large percentage of these microbes are likely commensals, they may also i...
Article
Incidences of coral disease are increasing. Most studies which focus on diseases in these organisms routinely assess variations in bacterial associates. However, other microorganism groups such as viruses, fungi and protozoa are only recently starting to receive attention. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of ciliates associated with cora...
Article
Full-text available
The world’s coral reefs are threatened by the cumulative impacts of global climate change and local stressors. Driven largely by a desire to understand the interactions between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms, and to use this knowledge to eventually improve coral health, interest in coral microbiology and the coral microbiome has increase...
Article
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The vast majority of environmental microbes have not yet been cultured, and most of the knowledge on coral-associated microbes (CAMs) has been generated from amplicon sequencing and metagenomes. However, exploring cultured CAMs is key for a detailed and comprehensive characterization of the roles of these microbes in shaping coral health and, ultim...
Article
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Global biodiversity loss and mass extinction of species are two of the most critical environmental issues the world is currently facing, resulting in the disruption of various ecosystems central to environmental functions and human health. Microbiome-targeted interventions, such as probiotics and microbiome transplants, are emerging as potential op...
Article
Full-text available
Microbes underpin the health of corals which are the building blocks of diverse and productive reef ecosystems. Studying the culturable fraction of coral-associated bacteria has received less attention in recent times than using culture-independent molecular methods.
Preprint
Full-text available
Reef-building corals owe their evolutionary success to their symbiosis with unicellular algae (Symbiodiniaceae). However, increasingly frequent heat waves lead to coral mass-bleaching events and pose a serious threat to the survival of reef ecosystems. Despite significant efforts, a mechanistic understanding of coral-algal symbiosis functioning, wh...
Article
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Aquatic invasive species, such as the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), present a major threat to freshwater ecosystems. However, these species can be challenging to detect in recently invaded habitats. Environmental DNA (eDNA)–based methods are highly sensitive and capable of detecting just a few copies of target DNA from non-invasively...
Article
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Protozoan predators form an essential component of activated sludge communities that is tightly linked to wastewater treatment efficiency. Nonetheless, very little is known how protozoan predation is channelled via bacterial communities to affect ecosystem functioning. Therefore, we experimentally manipulated protozoan predation pressure in activat...
Article
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Streptococcus iniae is an emerging zoonotic pathogen of increasing concern for aquaculture and has caused several epizootics in reef fishes from the Caribbean, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. To study the population structure, introduction pathways and evolution of S. iniae over recurring epizootics on Reunion Island, we developed and validated a...
Article
Full-text available
Streptococcus iniae is an emerging zoonotic pathogen of increasing concern for aquaculture and has caused several epizootics in reef fishes from the Caribbean, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. To study the population structure, introduction pathways and evolution of S. iniae over recurring epizootics on Reunion Island, we developed and validated a...
Article
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Introductions of invasive non-native species (and their subsequent impacts) are rec- ognized as a major threat to native flora and fauna. This is especially true in island eco- systems such as the tropical island of Martinique. In 2018, one such aquatic invasive species, the suckermouth catfish Hypostomus robinii (Loricariidae), was reported for th...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation destroy coral reefs, the ecosystem services they provide, and the livelihoods of close to a billion people who depend on these services. Restoration approaches to increase the resilience of corals are therefore necessary to counter environmental pressures relevant to climate change projecti...
Article
We present the Aquatic Symbiosis Genomics Project, a global collaboration to generate high quality genome sequences for a wide range of eukaryotes and their microbial symbionts. Launched under the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the ASG Project brings together researchers from across the globe who h...
Article
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The Olive Ridley Project (ORP) was set up to protect sea turtles and their habitats. The project was formed in 2013, and it became a registered charity in the UK in 2016. From its inception, ORP took a multidisciplinary approach to achieve its goals. Part of its objectives, and the reason why the charity came to fruition, are related to the issue o...
Article
Full-text available
Beneficial microorganisms for corals (BMCs) ameliorate environmental stress, but whether they can prevent mortality and the underlying host response mechanisms remains elusive. Here, we conducted omics analyses on the coral Mussismilia hispida exposed to bleaching conditions in a long-term mesocosm experiment and inoculated with a selected BMC cons...
Article
Full-text available
Beneficial microorganisms for corals (BMCs) ameliorate environmental stress, but whether they can prevent mortality and the underlying host response mechanisms remains elusive. Here, we conducted omics analyses on the coral Mussismilia hispida exposed to bleaching conditions in a long-term mesocosm experiment and inoculated with a selected BMC cons...
Article
Full-text available
Coral research is being ushered into the genomic era. To fully capitalize on the potential discoveries from this genomic revolution, the rapidly increasing number of high-quality genomes requires effective pairing with rigorous taxonomic characterizations of specimens and the contextualization of their ecological relevance. However, to date there i...
Article
Full-text available
Bacteria associated with coral hosts are diverse and abundant, with recent studies suggesting involvement of these symbionts in host resilience to anthropogenic stress. Despite their putative importance, the work dedicated to culturing coral-associated bacteria has received little attention. Combining published and unpublished data, here we report...
Article
Full-text available
Coral cover on tropical reefs has declined during the last three decades due to the combined effects of climate change, destructive fishing, pollution, and land use change. Drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions combined with effective coastal management and conservation strategies are essential to slow this decline. Innovative approaches,...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical marine ecosystems are biologically diverse and economically invaluable. However, they are severely threatened from impacts associated with climate change coupled with localized and regional stressors, such as pollution and overfishing. Non-native species (sometimes referred to as 'alien' species) are another major threat facing these ecosy...
Article
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The lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean is known as a biodiversity hotspot, hosting many endemic species. However, recent introduction of a highly invasive species, the Australian redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), has led to significant threats to this fragile ecosystem. Here we developed, validated, and optimized a species-specif...
Article
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Coral reefs are suffering unprecedented declines in health state on a global scale. Some have suggested that human assisted evolution or assisted gene flow may now be necessary to effectively restore reefs and pre-condition them for future climate change. An understanding of the key metabolic processes in corals, including under stressed conditions...
Article
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Global declines in biodiversity highlight the need to effectively monitor density and distribution of threatened species. In recent years, molecular survey methods detecting DNA released by target-species into their environment (eDNA) have been rapidly on the rise. Despite providing new, cost-effective tools for conservation, eDNA-based methods are...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented declines in health on a global scale leading to severe reductions in coral cover. One major cause of this decline is increasing sea surface temperature. However, conspecific colonies separated by even small spatial distances appear to show varying responses to this global stressor. One factor contributing...
Preprint
Full-text available
Coral cover on tropical reefs has declined during the last three decades due to the combined effects of climate change, destructive fishing, pollution, and land use change. Drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions combined with effective coastal management and conservation strategies are essential to slow this decline. Innovative approaches,...
Article
‘One World – One Health’ is a developing concept which aims to explicitly incorporate linkages between the environment and human society into wildlife and human health care. Past work in the field has concentrated on aspects of disease, particularly emerging zoonoses, and focused on terrestrial systems. Here, we argue that marine environments are c...
Article
Full-text available
For millennia, coastal and marine ecosystems have adapted and flourished in the Red Sea’s unique environment. Surrounded by deserts on all sides, the Red Sea is subjected to high dust inputs and receives very little freshwater input, and so harbors a high salinity. Coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves flourish in this environment and provid...
Article
In recent years, eDNA-based assessments have evolved as valuable tools for research and conservation. Most eDNA-based applications rely on comparisons across time or space. However, temporal, and spatial dynamics of eDNA concentrations are shaped by various drivers that can affect the reliability of such comparative approaches. Here, we assessed (i...
Article
The use of Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMCs) has been proposed recently as a tool for the improvement of coral health, with knowledge in this research topic advancing rapidly. BMCs are defined as consortia of microorganisms that contribute to coral health through mechanisms that include ( a) promoting coral nutrition and growth, ( b) miti...
Preprint
Full-text available
34 Bacteria associated with coral hosts are diverse and abundant, with recent studies suggesting 35 involvement of these symbionts in host resilience to anthropogenic stress. Despite the 36 putative importance of bacteria, the work dedicated to culturing coral-associated bacteria 37 has received little attention. Combining published and unpublished...
Article
eDNA-based methods represent non-invasive and cost-effective approaches for species monitoring and their application as a conservation tool has rapidly increased within the last decade. Currently, they are primarily used to determine the presence/absence of invasive, endangered or commercially important species, but they also hold potential to cont...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists have classed the ongoing decline in biodiversity-caused by humans-as a mass extinction. To mitigate the consequences of this extinction, immediate action is of the utmost importance. However, effective ways of promoting pro-nature conservation behaviours to preserve and enhance biodiversity require better understanding and measurement. T...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing temperatures on a global scale and locally deteriorating water quality affect coral distribution and health. Mechanisms that convey environmental robustness are poorly understood and have been attributed to the coral host, algal symbionts, and prokaryotic associates. Flexibility of the host’s (bacterial) microbiome has been suggested to...
Article
Full-text available
Editorial on the Research Topic Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene – Reflecting on 20 Years of Reef Conservation UK
Preprint
‘One World – One Health’ is a developing concept which aims to explicitly incorporate linkages between the environment and human society in order to facilitate optimising aspects of health. Historically, work has concentrated on aspects of disease, in particular on emerging zoonoses, with a focus on terrestrial systems. Here we argue that the marin...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystems are currently changing at unprecedented rates due to anthropogenic influences. Application of appropriate management regimes and mitigation measures requires knowledge of ecological community composition and monitoring of any changes that occur. Environmental DNA‐based monitoring is becoming increasingly common and offers substantial pot...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of broadcast spawning in corals are fundamental to our understanding of early life history characteristics, reproductive biology, restoration etc. Spawning of corals for research is routinely conducted, but this is mostly restricted to sites adjacent to reefs and from broodstock collected from the wild just prior to gamete release. Only rec...
Article
Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing nets, (ghost nets) represent a major threat to marine vertebrates. However, thorough assessments of their impact on threatened species are largely missing. In the Maldives, olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are frequently caught in ghost nets however the archipelago does not support a significant...
Article
The European weather loach (Misgurnus fossilis) is a cryptic and poorly known fish species of high conservation concern. The species is experiencing dramatic population collapses across its native range to the point of regional extinction. Although eDNA‐based approaches offer clear advantages over conventional field methods for monitoring rare and...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reefs are threatened by climate change on a global scale with thermal stress events and mass coral bleaching being widely reported. The reefs off the east coast of Brazil (and other turbid areas) have, however, historically escaped such thermal stress events, with relatively low levels of background coral mortality (5–10%). This has recently...
Article
There is little documentation available on the impact of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing nets (‘ghost nets’) on turtle populations. Here, we utilise data collected over a 5 year period to assess (1) if a particular net type or characteristic was identifiable as entangling more turtles and (2) if particular fishing practices (i.e. types of nets...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Coral reefs face unprecedented declines in diversity and cover, a development largely attributed to climate change-induced bleaching and subsequent disease outbreaks. Coral-associated microbiomes may strongly influence the fitness of their hosts and alter heat tolerance and disease susceptibility of coral colonies. Here, we describe a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The planet is facing an anthropogenic mass extinction of wildlife, which will have a grave impact on the environment and humans. Widespread human action is needed to minimize the negative impact of humans on biodiversity and support the restoration of wildlife. In order to find effective ways to promote pro-nature conservation behaviours to the gen...
Article
Full-text available
Isogenus nubecula is a critically endangered Plecoptera species. Considered extinct in the UK, I. nubecula was recently rediscovered (in one location of the River Dee, Wales), after 22 years of absence. In a similar way to many other species of Perlodidae, I. nubecula could be utilised as a bio-indicator, for assessing water quality and health stat...
Article
Full-text available
Reef restoration efforts, utilising sexual coral propagation need up-scaling to have ecologically meaningful impact. Post-settlement survival bottlenecks, in part due to competitive benthic algae interactions should be addressed, to improve productivity for these initiatives. Sea urchins are keystone grazers in reef ecosystems, yet feeding behaviou...
Preprint
Full-text available
eDNA-based methods represent non-invasive and cost-effective approaches for species monitoring and their application as a conservation tool has rapidly increased within the last decade. Currently, they are primarily used to determine the presence/absence of invasive, endangered or commercially important species, but they also hold potential to cont...
Preprint
Full-text available
21 Isogenus nubecula is a critically endangered Plecoptera species. Considered extinct in the UK, the 22 species was recently rediscovered in one location of the river Dee in Wales after 22 years of absence. As 23 many species belonging to the Perlodidae, this species can be a bio-indicator, utilised for assessing 24 water quality and health status...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The overall purpose of this brief is to provide policy and management recommendations for addressing and reducing the impacts of plastics on shallow water coral reefs, based on current scientific knowledge. In doing so, the brief will contribute to achieving the related global, national and regional goals and targets, including the Sustainable Deve...
Thesis
Coral-reefs are among the most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems. But, they are in danger as sea surface temperatures continue to rise. Bleaching is one of many anthropogenic stressor that threaten the coralreef microbiome. This study sets out to identify and establish a variety of prokaryotes that are associated with the jellyfish, Ca...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we aim to highlight the characteristics of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and suggest possible directions for future research and study. The majority of NLP studies argue for more rigorous empirical support and standardised regulatory governance, in order to overcome academic biases and general misunderstandings. However, its popu...
Article
Full-text available
Procambarus virginalis, also known as the Marmorkrebs is a highly invasive crayfish species characterized by parthenogenetic reproduction. As conservation management plans rely on the accuracy of the presence and distribution information of invasive species, a reliable method is needed for detecting such species in aquatic systems. We developed and...