Ecotoxicology (London, England)

The diversity of coral associated bacteria and the environmental factors affect their community variation.

PMID 25833806


Coral associated bacterial community potentially has functions relating to coral health, nutrition and disease. Culture-free, 16S rRNA based techniques were used to compare the bacterial community of coral tissue, mucus and seawater around coral, and to investigate the relationship between the coral-associated bacterial communities and environmental variables. The diversity of coral associated bacterial communities was very high, and their composition different from seawater. Coral tissue and mucus had a coral associated bacterial community with higher abundances of Gammaproteobacteria. However, bacterial community in seawater had a higher abundance of Cyanobacteria. Different populations were also found in mucus and tissue from the same coral fragment, and the abundant bacterial species associated with coral tissue was very different from those found in coral mucus. The microbial diversity and OTUs of coral tissue were much higher than those of coral mucus. Bacterial communities of corals from more human activities site have higher diversity and evenness; and the structure of bacterial communities were significantly different from the corals collected from other sites. The composition of bacterial communities associated with same coral species varied with season's changes, geographic differences, and coastal pollution. Unique bacterial groups found in the coral samples from more human activities location were significant positively correlated to chemical oxygen demand. These coral specific bacteria lead to coral disease or adjust to form new function structure for the adaption of different surrounding needs further research.