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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol.
78, No. 15, 2012; Pages: 5229 - 5237

Characterization of geographically distinct bacterial communities associated with coral mucus produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp

B. A. McKew, A. J. Dumbrell, S. D. Daud, L. Hepburn, E. Thorpe, L. Mogensen and C. Whitby

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Acropora and Porites corals are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Bacteria associated with mucus produced by Porites spp. and Acropora spp. from Caribbean (Punta Maroma, Mexico) and Indo-Pacific (Hoga and Sampela, Indonesia) reefs were determined. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities from Caribbean corals were significantly more diverse (H′, 3.18 to 4.25) than their Indonesian counterparts (H′, 2.54 to 3.25). Dominant taxa were Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Cyanobacteria, which varied in relative abundance between coral genera and region. Distinct coral host-specific communities were also found; for example, Clostridiales were dominant on Acropora spp. (at Hoga and the Mexican Caribbean) compared to Porites spp. and seawater. Within the Gammproteobacteria, Halomonas spp. dominated sequence libraries from Porites spp. (49%) and Acropora spp. (5.6%) from the Mexican Caribbean, compared to the corresponding Indonesian coral libraries (<2%). Interestingly, with the exception of Porites spp. from the Mexican Caribbean, there was also a ubiquity of Psychrobacter spp., which dominated Acropora and Porites libraries from Indonesia and Acropora libraries from the Caribbean. In conclusion, there was a dominance of Halomonas spp. (associated with Acropora and Porites [Mexican Caribbean]), Firmicutes (associated with Acropora [Mexican Caribbean] and with Acropora and Porites [Hoga]), and Cyanobacteria (associated with Acropora and Porites [Hoga] and Porites [Sampela]). This is also the first report describing geographically distinct Psychrobacter spp. associated with coral mucus. In addition, the predominance of Clostridiales associated with Acropora spp. provided additional evidence for coral host-specific microorganisms.

Keywords: Porites spp.; Acropora spp.; Gammaproteobacteria; Alphaproteobacteria; Firmicutes; Cyanobacteria.


 

 

 
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