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Seasonal changes in bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased Porites coral in southern Taiwan

Lin, Chorng-Horng, Chuang, Chih-Hsiang, Twan, Wen-Hung, Chiou, Shu-Fen, Wong, Tit-Yee, Liu, Jong-Kang, Kao, Chyuan-yao, Kuo, Jimmy
Canadian journal of microbiology 2016 v.62 no.12 pp. 1021-1033
DNA, Scleractinia, bacteria, bacterial communities, coasts, corals, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, gels, genes, health status, nucleotide sequences, ribosomal RNA, seasonal variation, summer, winter, Taiwan
We compared the bacterial communities associated with healthy scleractinian coral Porites sp. with those associated with coral infected with pink spot syndrome harvested during summer and winter from waters off the coast of southern Taiwan. Members of the bacterial community associated with the coral were characterized by means of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of a short region of the 16S rRNA gene and clone library analysis. Of 5 different areas of the 16S rRNA gene, we demonstrated that the V3 hypervariable region is most suited to represent the coral-associated bacterial community. The DNA sequences of 26 distinct bands extracted from DGGE gels and 269 sequences of the 16S rRNA gene from clone libraries were determined. We found that the communities present in diseased coral were more heterogeneous than the bacterial communities of uninfected coral. In addition, bacterial communities associated with coral harvested in the summer were more diverse than those associated with coral collected in winter, regardless of the health status of the coral. Our study suggested that the compositions of coral-associated bacteria communities are complex, and the population of bacteria varies greatly between seasons and in coral of differing health status.