Publication details.


Author(s):E. Rubio-Portillo, J. Gago, M. Martínez-García, L. Vezzulli, R. Rosselló-Móra, J. Antón, A. Ramos-Esplá
Title:Vibrio communities in scleractinian corals differ according to health status and geographic location in the Mediterranean Sea
JCR Impact Factor:2.808
Issue No.:2
Abstract:© 2017 The Author(s) The increase in seawater temperature associated with global warming is a significant threat to coral health and is linked to increasing mass mortality events and Vibrio-related coral diseases. In the Mediterranean Sea, the endemic Cladocora caespitosa and the invasive species Oculina patagonica are the main scleractinian corals affected by mass mortalities. In this study, culturable Vibrio spp. assemblages associated with healthy and unhealthy colonies of these two shallow coral species were characterized to assess the presence of Vibrio pathogens in tissue necrosis. Vibrio communities associated with O. patagonica and C. caespitosa showed geographical differences, although these became more homogeneous in unhealthy specimens of both species. Furthermore, the number of recovered Vibrio specimens was more than five times higher in unhealthy than in healthy corals. Within these culturable vibrios, the known pathogens Vibrio mediterranei and Vibrio coralliilyticus were present in unhealthy colonies of both coral species in the two localities, suggesting that they could play a role in the health status of C. caespitosa and thus act as generalist pathogens in Mediterranean corals. Nonetheless, a clonal type of V. coralliilyticus detected in C. caespitosa was not associated with disease signs, suggesting that this species could encompass assemblages with different levels of virulence.

Related staff

  • Ramon Rosselló Móra
  • Juan Francisco Gago Vega
  • Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related research groups

  • Environmental Microbiology