Author(s): Kim B Ritchie, Garriet Smith
Very little information exists on the structure of bacterial communities associated with scleractinian corals. Interest, however, in both community structure and changes in structure has increased due to the realization that bacteria may play a moor role in certain types of bleaching events. We have determined carbon-source utilization ;patterns for heterotrophic bacterial communities associated with the scleractinian corals Montastraea annularis and Acropora cervicornis. Surface samples were taken from both healthy and bleached areas of the corals growing off the coast of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Similar population shifts toward a subgroup corresponding to Vibrio pelagius were observed in both species during bleaching. Another subgroup clustered closest to Vibrio charcharia contained only white band disease isolates. The white band disease community showed a decrease in diversity compared with other communities.