Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Community Associated with Coral Mucus from the Gulf of Aqaba

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© 2019 The Author(s) Coral-associated microbial communities contribute to a wide variety of useful roles regarding the their host, and therefore, the arrangement of the general microbiome network can emphatically impact coral wellbeing and survival. Various pollution sources can interfere and disrupt the microbial relationship with corals. Here, we adopted the bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP®) technique to investigate the shift of microbial communities associated with the mucus of the coral Stylophora pistillata collected from five sites (Marine Science Station, Industrial Complex, Oil Terminal, Public Beach, and Phosphate Port) along the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). Our results revealed a high diversity in bacterial populations associated with coral mucus. Proteobacteria were observed to be the dominating phylum among all sampling sites. The identified bacterial taxa belong to the pathogenic bacteria from the genus Vibrio was presented in varying abundances at all sampling sites. Diversity and similarity analysis of microbial communists based on rarefaction curve and UniFrac cluster respectively demonstrated that there are variances in microbial groups associated with coral mucus along sites. The pollution sources among different locations along the Gulf of Aqaba seem to affect the coral-associated holobiont leading to changes in bacterial populations due to increasing human activities.