Assessment of the microbial communities associated with white syndrome and brown jelly syndrome in aquarium corals
Bacterial and ciliate assemblages associated with aquarium corals displaying white syndrome (WS) and brown jelly syndrome (BJS) were investigated. Healthy (n = 10) and diseased corals (WS n = 18; BJS n = 3) were analysed for 16S rRNA gene bacterial diversity, total bacterial abundance and vibrio-specific 16S rRNA gene abundance. This was conducted alongside analysis of 18S rRNA gene sequencing targeting ciliates, a group of organisms largely overlooked for their potential as causal agents of coral disease. Despite significant differences between healthy and diseased corals in their 16S rRNA gene bacterial diversity, total bacterial abundance and vibrio-specific rRNA gene abundance, no dominant bacterial ribotypes were found consistently within the diseased samples. In contrast, one ciliate morphotype, named Morph 3 in this study (GenBank Accession Numbers JF831358 for the ciliate isolated from WS and JF831359 for the ciliate isolated from BJS) was observed to burrow into and underneath the coral tissues at the disease lesion in both disease types and contained algal endosymbionts indicative of coral tissue ingestion. This ciliate was observed in larger numbers in BJS compared to WS, giving rise to the characteristic jelly like substance in BJS. Morph 3 varied by only 1 bp over 549 bp from the recently described Morph 1 ciliate (GenBank Accession No. JN626268), which has been shown to be present in field samples of WS and Brown Band Disease (BrB) in the Indo-Pacific. This result indicates a close relationship between these aquarium diseases and those observed in the wild.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).