Coral-associated bacteria play an increasingly recognized part in coral health. We investigated the effect of local anthropogenic impacts on coral microbial communities on reefs near Jeddah, the largest city on the Saudi Arabian coast of the central Red Sea. We analyzed the bacterial community structure of water and corals (Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hemprichii) at sites that were relatively unimpacted, exposed to sedimentation & local sewage, or in the discharge area of municipal wastewaters. Coral microbial communities were significantly different at impacted sites: in both corals the main symbiotic taxon decreased in abundance. In contrast, opportunistic bacterial families, such as e.g. Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, were more abundant in corals at impacted sites. In conclusion, microbial community response revealed a measurable footprint of anthropogenic impacts to coral ecosystems close to Jeddah, even though the corals appeared visually healthy.
Ziegler, M., Roik, A., Porter, A., Zubier, K., Mudarris, M. S., Ormond, R., & Voolstra, C. R. (2016). Coral microbial community dynamics in response to anthropogenic impacts near a major city in the central Red Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 105(2), 629–640. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.045