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Coral-associated bacterial communities on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Posted on 28 July 2011

TitleCoral-associated bacterial communities on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsCeh, J, Van Keulen M, Bourne DG
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Pagination134 - 144
Date Published01/2011
Keywordsbacteria, biodiversity, coral, disease, Ningaloo
AbstractCoral-associated microbial communities from three coral species (Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora tenuis and Favites abdita) were examined every 3 months (January, March, June, October) over a period of 1 year on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Tissue from corals was collected throughout the year and additional sampling of coral mucus and seawater samples was performed in January. Tissue samples were also obtained in October from P. damicornis coral colonies on Rottnest Island off Perth, 1200 km south of Ningaloo Reef, to provide comparisons between coral–microbial associates in different locations. The community structures of the coral-associated microorganisms were analysed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse microbial profiles among all the coral species sampled. Principal component analysis revealed that samples grouped according to time and not species, indicating that coral–microbial associations may be a result of environmental drivers such as oceanographic characteristics, benthic community structure and temperature. Tissue samples from P. damicornis at Rottnest Island revealed similarities in bacteria to the samples at Ningaloo Reef. This study highlights that coral-associated microbial communities are highly diverse; however, the complex interactions that determine the stability of these associations are not necessarily dependent on coral host specificity.
Refereed DesignationRefereed