Microbial Ecology

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 205–213 | Cite as

Microbial Community Compositional Shifts in Bleached Colonies of the Brazilian Reef-Building Coral Siderastrea stellata

  • Monica M. Lins-de-BarrosEmail author
  • Alexander M. Cardoso
  • Cynthia B. Silveira
  • Joyce L. Lima
  • Maysa M. Clementino
  • Orlando B. Martins
  • Rodolpho M. Albano
  • Ricardo P. Vieira
Host Microbe Interactions


The association of metazoan, protist, and microbial communities with Scleractinian corals forms the basis of the coral holobiont. Coral bleaching events have been occurring around the world, introducing changes in the delicate balance of the holobiont symbiotic interactions. In this study, Archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotic phototrophic plastids of bleached colonies of the Brazilian coral Siderastrea stellata were analyzed for the first time, using 16S rRNA gene libraries. Prokaryotic communities were slightly more diverse in healthy than in bleached corals. However, the eukaryotic phototrophic plastids community was more diverse in bleached corals. Archaea phylogenetic analyses revealed a high percentage of Crenarchaeota sequences, mainly related to Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Cenarchaeum symbiosum. Dramatic changes in bacterial community composition were observed in this bleaching episode. The dominant bacterial group was Alphaproteobacteria followed by Gammaproteobacteria in bleached and Betaproteobacteria in healthy samples. Plastid operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from both coral samples were mainly related to red algae chloroplasts (Florideophycea), but we also observed some OTUs related to green algae chloroplasts (Chlorophyta). There seems to be a strong relationship between the Bacillariophyta phylum and our bleached coral samples as clones related to members of the diatom genera Amphora and Nitzschia were detected. The present study reveals information from a poorly investigated coral species and improves the knowledge of coral microbial community shifts that could occur during bleaching episodes.


Microbial Community Archaea Archaeal Community Bleached Coral Healthy Coral 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge Genome Sequencing facilities core Johanna Döbereiner IBqM/UFRJ. We are grateful to Aline S. Turque, Vivian Monteiro, and Denise N. Oliveira for library construction and sequencing. Special thanks to Leonardo H. Pinto for technical assistance. We also would like to thank the magazine referees which highly improved the quality of the information present within this manuscript.

Supplementary material

248_2012_95_MOESM1_ESM.doc (58 kb)
Table S1 Clone library richness, abundance, and diversity parameters (DOC 57 kb)
248_2012_95_MOESM2_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Table S2 Results of the LIBSHUFF analysis (DOC 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica M. Lins-de-Barros
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander M. Cardoso
    • 2
  • Cynthia B. Silveira
    • 4
  • Joyce L. Lima
    • 1
  • Maysa M. Clementino
    • 5
  • Orlando B. Martins
    • 1
  • Rodolpho M. Albano
    • 3
  • Ricardo P. Vieira
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Bioquímica MédicaUniversidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), CCSRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Diretoria de ProgramaInstituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia (INMETRO)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de BioquímicaUniversidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.Instituto Nacional de Controle da Qualidade em Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil

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