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Title: The Role of Coral-Associated Bacterial Communities in Australian Subtropical White Syndrome of 'Turbinaria mesenterina'
Contributor(s): Godwin, Scott E (author); Bent, Elizabeth (author); Borneman, James (author); Pereg, Lily  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044243Open Access Link
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Abstract: Australian Subtropical White Syndrome (ASWS) is an infectious, temperature dependent disease of the subtropical coral 'Turbinaria mesenterina' involving a hitherto unknown transmissible causative agent. This report describes significant changes in the coral associated bacterial community as the disease progresses from the apparently healthy tissue of ASWS affected coral colonies, to areas of the colony affected by ASWS lesions, to the dead coral skeleton exposed by ASWS. In an effort to better understand the potential roles of bacteria in the formation of disease lesions, the effect of antibacterials on the rate of lesion progression was tested, and both culture based and culture independent techniques were used to investigate the bacterial communities associated with colonies of 'T. mesenterina'. Culture-independent analysis was performed using the Oligonucleotide Fingerprinting of Ribosomal Genes (OFRG) technique, which allowed a library of 8094 cloned bacterial 16S ribosomal genes to be analysed. Interestingly, the bacterial communities associated with both healthy and disease affected corals were very diverse and ASWS associated communities were not characterized by a single dominant organism. Treatment with antibacterials had a significant effect on the rate of progress of disease lesions (p = 0.006), suggesting that bacteria may play direct roles as the causative agents of ASWS. A number of potential aetiological agents of ASWS were identified in both the culture-based and culture-independent studies. In the culture-independent study an Alphaproteobacterium closely related to 'Roseovarius crassostreae', the apparent aetiological agent of juvenile oyster disease, was found to be significantly associated with disease lesions. In the culture-based study 'Vibrio harveyi' was consistently associated with ASWS affected coral colonies and was not isolated from any healthy colonies. The differing results of the culture based and culture-independent studies highlight the importance of using both approaches in the investigation of microbial communities.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PLoS One, 7(9), p. 1-16
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1932-6203
Field of Research (FOR): 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
060504 Microbial Ecology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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