Red Sea coral-associated microbes’ baseline survey

Our main goal is to do a review and standardization of the published literature on the Red Sea (RS) coral-associated microorganisms in this project. This survey is a baseline for our future research projects to understand the distribution, abundance and ecological patterns of the microbial communities associated with different species of hard and soft corals in the RS. This will potentially uncover bacterial patterns in a spatial-temporal context, using new bioinformatics tools/pipelines and updated databases for the meta-analysis. This research will be of great value to the field and guide the selection of potential targets to be tested as coral probiotics.

In this research, we use de novo analysis on the abundance, ecology, and diversity of bacterial associates from several coral species, sampled across a latitudinal gradient in the RS, from data published over the past two decades, considering coral compartment, sampling depth, geographic location, and host species. A preliminary assessment retrieved 47 studies of RS coral-associated microbes, including culture-dependent and independent approaches of 44 species of corals. Integrative de novo analyses of the 16S rRNA gene sequences from these studies will be conducted to standardize the data to investigate the bacterial diversity of these RS holobionts and their prominent members.