Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Bacterial Profiling of the Scleractinian Coral Pocillopora damicornis

Abstract

Fahsbender, E.1, Daniels, C.2, Cunning, R.3, Baker, A.3, and M. Breitbart2

1 University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

2 University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, St. Petersburg, Florida

3 University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Miami,

Florida

Scleractinian corals are colonial animals capable of building reef structures, which serve as a habitat for many species, and are vital to maintaining diversity in marine ecosystems. Corals are dependent upon various clades of photosynthetic algae (zooxanthellae) for energy, as well as a diverse bacterial community that produces antibiotics to defend against pathogens. This study applies molecular methods to determine the bacterial community structure of the coral Pocillopora damicornis and examine whether zooxanthellae clade or sampling location influences bacterial community composition. Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) was used to profile P. damicornis samples collected from five reef sites across the Pacific Ocean. ARISA targets the intergenic spacer, a region between 16S and 23S ribosomal genes, that varies in length amongst different bacteria, and can therefore produce a profile of the bacterial community. Preliminary results indicate 37 % average similarity among bacterial community profiles of different coral colonies, and show no clear relationship between bacterial community composition and zooxanthellae clade. Biogeographical comparisons are currently underway to determine if sampling location is a factor in structuring bacterial communities associated with P. damicornis.

Categories

Natural Sciences

Research Type

Research Assistant

Mentor Information

Dr. Mya Breitbart

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Bacterial Profiling of the Scleractinian Coral Pocillopora damicornis

Fahsbender, E.1, Daniels, C.2, Cunning, R.3, Baker, A.3, and M. Breitbart2

1 University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

2 University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, St. Petersburg, Florida

3 University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Miami,

Florida

Scleractinian corals are colonial animals capable of building reef structures, which serve as a habitat for many species, and are vital to maintaining diversity in marine ecosystems. Corals are dependent upon various clades of photosynthetic algae (zooxanthellae) for energy, as well as a diverse bacterial community that produces antibiotics to defend against pathogens. This study applies molecular methods to determine the bacterial community structure of the coral Pocillopora damicornis and examine whether zooxanthellae clade or sampling location influences bacterial community composition. Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) was used to profile P. damicornis samples collected from five reef sites across the Pacific Ocean. ARISA targets the intergenic spacer, a region between 16S and 23S ribosomal genes, that varies in length amongst different bacteria, and can therefore produce a profile of the bacterial community. Preliminary results indicate 37 % average similarity among bacterial community profiles of different coral colonies, and show no clear relationship between bacterial community composition and zooxanthellae clade. Biogeographical comparisons are currently underway to determine if sampling location is a factor in structuring bacterial communities associated with P. damicornis.