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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Microbiomes of deep-sea coral Desmophyllum pertusum (Lophelia pertusa) at Richardson Ridge are dominated by Endozoicomonas.

Photo: Photo courtesy of Erik Cordes, Chief Scientist of the DEEP SEARCH program, BOEM, USGS, NOAA OER. © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Kellogg CA, Pratte ZA

Unexpected diversity of Endozoicomonas in deep-sea corals

The bacterial genus Endozoicomonas has been identified as a dominant associate of tropical and temperate corals, but has been rarely detected in deep-sea corals. However, Kellogg and Pratte found that microbiomes of 2 octocorals, Acanthogorgia aspera and A. spissa, were dominated by Endozoicomonas at depths below 1000 m and at temperatures of 4 °C. Furthermore, distinct and diverse genotypes of Endozoicomonas unexpectedly dominated the microbiome of Desmophyllum pertusum (aka Lophelia pertusa) at 2 locations. Prior studies of D. pertusum in other Atlantic regions found these bacteria to be rare or absent, even when dominant in the neighboring coral Madrepora oculata. The unusual microbiomes at these 2 sites may be linked to the extreme variability experienced by these corals due to interactions with the Gulf Stream.


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