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Inter- and intra-habitat bacterial diversity associated with cold-water corals

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Schöttner,  S.
Microbial Habitat Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Hoffmann,  F.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Wild,  C.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Boetius,  A.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Ramette,  A.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schöttner, S., Hoffmann, F., Wild, C., Rapp, H. T., Boetius, A., & Ramette, A. (2009). Inter- and intra-habitat bacterial diversity associated with cold-water corals. The ISME Journal, 3(6), 756-759.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CC10-7
Abstract
The discovery of large ecosystems of cold-water corals (CWC), stretching along continental margins in depths of hundreds to thousands of meters, has raised many questions regarding their ecology, biodiversity and relevance as deep-sea hard-ground habitat. This study represents the first investigation that explicitly targets bacterial diversity from distinct microbial habitats associated with the cosmopolitan reef-building coral Lophelia pertusa, and also compares natural (fjord) and controlled (aquarium) conditions. Coral skeleton surface, coral mucus, ambient seawater and reef sediments clearly showed habitat-specific differences in community structure and operational taxonomic unit (OTU) number. Especially in the natural environment, bacterial communities associated with coral-generated habitats were significantly more diverse than those present in the surrounding, non-coral habitats, or those in artificial coral living conditions (fjord vs aquarium). These findings strongly indicate characteristic coral–microbe associations and, furthermore, suggest that the variety of coral-generated habitats within reef systems promotes microbial diversity in the deep ocean.