Microbial associations with macrobiota in coastal ecosystems: patterns and implications for nitrogen cycling
Many marine organisms have coevolved symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nitrogen limited environments such as coral reefs. In addition, some of these organisms also harbor microbes that carry out nitrification and denitrification. Prokaryotes involved in nitrogen fixation and other nitrogen transformations are symbionts in a range of eukaryotic hosts in the marine environment including shipworms, diatoms, corals and sponges. Molecular genetic approaches, and other analytical techniques, have provided exciting new insights into symbiont diversity and the relationship between host and symbiont. We review the current state of knowledge of these symbioses and highlight important avenues for future studies.