Diversity of culturable bacteria in the mucus of the Red Sea coral Fungia scutaria


  • Editor: Ralf Conrad

Correspondence: Yael Lampert, Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel. Tel.:+972 3 6357355; fax:+972 3 5352355; e-mail: lampery@mail.biu.ac.il


Coral reefs are the most biodiverse of all marine ecosystems. Bacteria are known to be abundant and active in seawater around corals, inside coral tissues, and within their surface microlayer. Very little is known, however, about the structure, composition and maintenance of these bacterial communities. In the current study we characterize the culturable bacterial community within the mucus of healthy specimens of the Red Sea solitary coral Fungia scutaria. This was achieved using culture-based methods and molecular techniques for the identification of the bacterial isolates. More than 30% of the isolated bacteria were novel species and a new genus. The culturable heterotrophic bacterial community of the mucus of this coral is composed mainly of the bacterial groups Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and of Actinobacteria. This study provides the first evidence of actinomycetes isolated from corals.