New UF-Led Study Finds Bacterial Similarities Among Diseased Coral Species (UF/IFAS Blogs)

New UF-Led Study Finds Bacterial Similarities Among Diseased Coral Species

In 2014, an unprecedented disease outbreak affecting the soft tissue of many species of stony coral was first detected in Florida. Since then, stony coral tissue loss disease has been identified in nearly half of the 45 coral species on the Florida Reef Tract, the only living barrier reef along the continental United States.

Researchers have set their focus on determining the cause and stopping the spread of this outbreak. This includes a team of scientists from the University of Florida, Smithsonian Marine Station and Oregon State University, whose recent research examined changes in the microbiomes of coral infected with stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD).

“The DNA analysis showed five unique sequences of bacteria that were associated with the disease on three of the four coral species we tested,” said Julie Meyer, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS department of soil and water sciences. “The diseased tissue also had increased abundances of several groups of bacteria which are known to feed on decaying matter.”

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