Tropical Archaea: Diversity associated with the surface microlayer of corals

Marine Ecology Progress Series



Recent 16S rDNA studies have focused on detecting uncultivated bacteria associated with Caribbean reef corals in an effort to address the ecological roles of coral-associated microbes. Reports of Archaea associated with fishes and marine invertebrates raised the question of whether Archaea might also be part of the coral-associated microbial community. DNA analysis of mucus from 3 reef-building species of Caribbean corals, Montastraea annularis complex, Diploria strigosa and D. labyrinthiformis in the US Virgin Islands yielded 34 groups of archaeal 16S ribotypes (defined at the level of 97% similarity). The majority (75%) was most closely matched by BLAST searches to sequences derived from marine water column samples, whereas the remaining ribotypes were most similar to sequences isolated from anoxic environments (15%) and hydrothermal vents (9%). Unlike previous 16S studies of coral-associated Bacteria, the results do not suggest specific associations between particular archaeal sequences and individual coral species. Marine Archaea (Groups I, II and III) in addition to Thermoplasma-like, methanogen, and marine benthic crenarchaeote phylotypes, were detected in the mucus of tropical corals. The finding of sequences from coral-associated Archaea that are closely related to strict and facultative anaerobes, as well as to uncultivated Archaea from other types of anoxic environments, suggests that anaerobic micro-niches may exist in coral mucus layers. Archaea, with their unique biogeochemical capabilities, broaden the scope of possible interactions between corals and their associated microbial communities.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Tropical Archaea: Diversity associated with the surface microlayer of corals
Series title Marine Ecology Progress Series
DOI 10.3354/meps273081
Volume 273
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research Science Publisher
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 81
Last page 88
Country United Kingdom, United States
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