We have carried out two long-term surveys for coral-associated microbes. Our main goal is to detect the microbial compositional change and to find out the coral-specific prokaryotes. Some results have been reported (AEM and ISME J). Coral-associated microbes are highly dynamic and diverse (Fig 1). There are some groups are highly associated with the corals (unique sequence profile, Fig 2). In addition, we collected most of available datasets of coral-associated microbes isolated from different reefs in the world. The clustering result suggests that the environmental-impact is stronger than species specificity (Fig 3)
Fig 1 The composition of microbial community in Isopora palifera with seasonal change.
Fig 2 The unique sequence profile of I. palifera associated bacteria with seasonal change.
Fig 3 The clustering analysis with coral-associated bacterial community
The part of results have been published on Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Hong et al., 2009) and ISME J (Chen, et al., 2010).
We have enlarged our scope of the survey to detect any correlation between geographic specificity of coral-associated bacteria as well as to find out any long-stay bacterium in corals. One survey is to monitor the change in A. muricata-associated bacteria across Taiwan, Okinawa and Japan along the Kuroshiro Current in a one-year survey. Another survey is to monitor the change in Stylophora pistillata-associated bacteria in North Taiwan, South Taiwan and offshore islet. Three sampling sites represent their special geographic specificity. We wish to examine the correlation between geograph specificity and change in coral-associated bacteria.