Changes in the bacterial community associated with black band disease in a Red Sea coral, Favia sp., in relation to disease phases
Date of Issue2015-09-17
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Changes of the black band disease (BBD)-associated microbial consortium on the surface of a Favia sp. coral colony were assessed in relation to the different disease phases. A number of highly active bacterial groups changed in numbers as the BBD disease signs changed. These included Gamma- and Epsilonproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes groups. One cyanobacterium strain, BGP10_4ST (FJ210722), was constantly present in the disease interface and adjacent tissues of the affected corals, regardless of disease phase. The dynamics of the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of this BBD-specific strain provide a marker regarding the disease phase. The disease’s active phase is characterized by a wide dark band progressing along the tissue-skeleton interface and by numerous bacterial OTUs. Cyanobacterial OTUs decreased in numbers as the disease signs waned, perhaps opening a niche for additional microorganisms. Even when black band signs disappeared there was a consistent though low abundance of the BBD-specific cyanobacteria (BGP10_4ST), and the microbial community of the disease-skeleton interface remained surprisingly similar to the original band community. These results provide an indication that the persistence of even low numbers of this BBD-specific cyanobacterium in coral tissues during the non-active (or subclinical) state could facilitate reinitiation of BBD signs during the following summer. This may indicate that this bacterium is major constituent of the disease and that its persistence and ability to infiltrate the coral tissues may act to facilitate the assembly of the other BBD-specific groups of bacteria.
Black band disease
Black band disease
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
© 2015 Inter-Research. This paper was published in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Inter-Research. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/dao02911]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.