33 Diversity of Bacteria Associated with the Cold Water Corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata

  • Markus G. WeinbauerEmail author
  • Davide Oregioni
  • Anne Großkurth
  • Marie-Emanuelle Kerros
  • Tilmann Harder
  • Michael DuBow
  • Jean-Pierre Gattuso
  • Cornelia Maier
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 9)


Recent research suggests that corals including cold-water corals harbor a diverse community of bacteria that are not only pathogens but also potential mutualists. Here we review data on bacterial community composition and diversity on the main cold-water corals framework builder species: Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. Sampling strategies such as box core, video grabs and remotely operated vehicle did not reveal strong differences between bacterial community composition as long as samples were used that looked ‘not contaminated’. However, there were strong differences of bacterial diversity between the two coral species. An analysis of bacterial community composition by pyrosequencing of L. pertusa and M. oculata revealed for the Mediterranean Sea the presence of the potential mutualists already found in the Atlantic indicating a species-specific core microbiome. The data also suggest some biogeographical differences between the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic for both coral species, however, this depends on the phylogenetic levels applied. In addition, there was also indication for a shared microbiome between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic. Therefore species-specific bacterial associations seem to exist, whereas the biogeographical variability can be seen as adaptation to specific environmental conditions.


Fingerprints Pyrosequencing Biogeography Microenvironments Core microbiome 



We thank the captain and the crew of the RVs Pelagia and Thethys I’ for their support, as well as the supporting departments at NIOZ for coordination, data management and technical support. This research has been financed by the Dutch NWO/ALW project BIOSYS (no. 835.30.024 and 814.01.005) and the project COMP of the Foundation Prince Albert II (Monaco). This work is also a contribution to the ‘European Project on Ocean Acidification’ (EPOCA) which received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Specific Programme (PP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 211384.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus G. Weinbauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Davide Oregioni
    • 1
  • Anne Großkurth
    • 2
  • Marie-Emanuelle Kerros
    • 1
  • Tilmann Harder
    • 2
  • Michael DuBow
    • 3
  • Jean-Pierre Gattuso
    • 1
    • 4
  • Cornelia Maier
    • 1
  1. 1.Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de VillefrancheVillefranche-sur-MerFrance
  2. 2.Bremen Marine Ecology Centre for Research and EducationUniversity of Bremen and Section Ecological Chemistry, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremenGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC)CEA, CNRS UMR 9198, Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris-SudOrsayFrance
  4. 4.Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, Sciences PoParisFrance

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