Coral bacterial-core abundance and network complexity as proxies for anthropogenic pollution

Deborah C.A. Leite, Joana F. Salles, Emiliano N. Calderon, Clovis B. Castro, Adalto Bianchini, Joseane A. Marques, Jan Dirk van Elsas, Raquel S. Peixoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Acclimatization via changes in the stable (core) or the variable microbial diversity and/or abundance is an important element in the adaptation of coral species to environmental changes. Here, we explored the spatial-temporal dynamics, diversity and interactions of variable and core bacterial populations associated with the coral Mussismilia hispida and the surrounding water. This survey was performed on five reefs along a transect from the coast (Reef 1) to offshore (Reef 5), representing a gradient of influence of the river mouth, for almost 12 months (4 sampling times), in the dry and rainy seasons. A clear increasing gradient of organic-pollution proxies (nitrogen content and fecal coliforms) was observed from Reef 1 to Reef 5, during both seasons, and was highest at the Buranhém River mouth (Reef 1). Conversely, a clear inverse gradient of the network analysis of the whole bacterial communities also revealed more-complex network relationships at Reef 5. Our data also indicated a higher relative abundance of members of the bacterial core, dominated by Acinetobacter sp., at Reef 5, and higher diversity of site-stable bacterial populations, likely related to the higher abundance of total coliforms and N content (proxies of sewage or organic pollution) at Reef 1, during the rainy season. Thus, the less "polluted" areas may show a more-complex network and a high relative abundance of members of the bacterial core (almost 97% in some cases), resulting in a more-homogeneous and well-established bacteriome among sites/samples, when the influence of the river is stronger (rainy seasons).

Original languageEnglish
Article number833
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Coral
  • Core
  • Mussismilia hispida
  • Pollution
  • Proxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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