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Microb Ecol. 2013 Jan;65(1):50-9. doi: 10.1007/s00248-012-0097-8. Epub 2012 Aug 5.

Bacterial consortium of Millepora dichotoma exhibiting unusual multifocal lesion event in the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea.

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Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer-Sheva, 84105, Israel.


Colonies of the hydrocoral Millepora dichotoma along the Gulf of Eilat are exhibiting unusual tissue lesions in the form of white spots. The emergence and rapid establishment of these multifocal tissue lesions was the first of its kind reported in this region. A characterization of this morphological anomaly revealed bleached tissues with a significant presence of bacteria in the tissue lesion area. To ascertain possible differences in microbial biota between the lesion area and non-affected tissues, we characterized the bacterial diversity in the two areas of these hydrocorals. Both culture-independent (molecular) and culture-dependent assays showed a shift in bacterial community structure between the healthy and affected tissues. Several 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from the affected tissues matched sequences of bacterial clones belonging to Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes members previously associated with various diseases in scleractinian corals.

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