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Coral Reefs

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 85–91 | Cite as

Diversity of bacteria associated with the Caribbean coral Montastraea franksi

  •  F. Rohwer
  •  M. Breitbart
  •  J. Jara
  •  F. Azam
  •  N. Knowlton
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Abstract.

In this study we characterized the prokaryotic microbiota associated with the reef-building coral Montastraea franksi in a culture-independent manner by sequencing 16S rDNAs. The majority of the bacteria identified by this method were novel species and belonged to a wide variety of microbial groups, with cyanobacteria and α-proteobacteria being the most abundant. In contrast, the bacteria cultured from the same M. franksi samples were closely related to previously described bacteria and consisted mostly of γ-proteobacteria. These results show that the microbial diversity associated with corals can be greatly underestimated when relying exclusively on culture-based methods. Our analyses also showed that one α-proteobacteria species was present in all M. franksi samples isolated from five reefs separated by up to 10 km. This finding is suggestive of a specific microbe–coral association.

Coral Bacteria Microbes Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) 16S rDNA 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  •  F. Rohwer
    • 1
  •  M. Breitbart
    • 2
  •  J. Jara
    • 3
  •  F. Azam
    • 1
  •  N. Knowlton
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biology Research Division, University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA
  2. 2.School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Panama

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