Coral mucus-associated bacterial communities from natural and aquarium environments

Netta Kooperman, Eitan Ben-Dov, Esti Kramarsky-Winter, Zeev Barak, Ariel Kushmaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The microbial biota dwelling in the mucus, on the surface, and in the tissues of many coral species may have an important role in holobiont physiology and health. This microbiota differs with coral species, water depth, and geographic location. Here we compare the surface mucus microbiota of the coral Fungia granulosa from the natural environment with that from individuals maintained in aquaria. Molecular analysis revealed that the microbial community of the mucus microlayer of the coral F. granulosa includes a wide range of bacteria and that these change with environment. Coral mucus from the natural environment contained a significantly higher diversity of microorganisms than did mucus from corals maintained in the closed-system aquaria. A microbial community shift, with the loss of several groups, including actinobacterial and cyanobacterial groups, was observed in corals maintained in aquaria. The most abundant bacterial class in F. granulosa mucus was the Alphaproteobacteria, regardless of whether the corals were from aquaria or freshly collected from their natural environment. A significantly higher percentage of bacteria from the Betaproteobacteria class was evident in aquarium corals (24%) when compared with corals from the natural environment (3%). The differences in mucus-inhabiting microbial communities between corals from captive and natural environments suggest an adaptation of the mucus bacterial communities to the different conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • Coral
  • Fungia granulosa
  • Mucus microbiota
  • Red Sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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