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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 69:119-127 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao069119

Contribution to the DAO Special 'Current Advances in Coral Reef Disease Research'

Culture and identification of Desulfovibrio spp. from corals infected by black band disease on Dominican and Florida Keys reefs

S. Viehman1,3,*, D. K. Mills1, G. W. Meichel2, L. L. Richardson1

1Department of Biological Sciences and 2Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, University Park, Miami, Florida 33199, USA
3Present address: NOAA, National Ocean Service, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA

ABSTRACT: Black band disease (BBD) of corals is characterized as a pathogenic microbial consortium composed of a wide variety of microorganisms. Together, many of these microorganisms contribute to an active sulfur cycle that produces anoxia and high levels of sulfide adjacent to the coral surface, conditions that are lethal to coral tissue. Sulfate-reducing bacteria, as sulfide producers, are an important component of the sulfur cycle and the black band community. Previous molecular survey studies have shown multiple Desulfovibrio species present in BBD but with limited consistency between bacterial species and infections. In this study we compared 16S rRNA gene sequences of sulfate-reducing bacteria selectively cultured from 6 BBD bands on 4 coral species, Diploria clivosa, D. strigosa, D. labyrinthiformes, and Siderastrea siderea, in the Florida Keys and Dominica. The 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained through direct sequencing of PCR products or by cloning. A BLAST search revealed that 8 out of 10 cultures sequenced were highly homologous to Desulfovibrio sp. strain TBP-1, a strain originally isolated from marine sediment. Although the remaining 2 sequences were less homologous to Desulfovibrio sp. strain TBP-1, they did not match any other sulfate-reducing (or other) species in GenBank.

KEY WORDS: Coral disease · Black band disease · Sulfate-reducing bacteria · Desulfovibrio · Florida Keys · Dominica

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