Bacteria associated with moon jellyfish during bloom and post-bloom periods in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic)

Kos Kramar, Tinkara Tinta, Lučić, Alenka Malej, Turk

Jellyfish are a prominent component of the plankton community. They frequently form conspicuous blooms which may interfere with different human enterprises. Among the aspects that remain understudied are jellyfish associations with microorganisms having potentially important implications for organic matter cycling. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the bacterial community associated with live moon jellyfish (Aurelia solida, Scyohozoa) in the Adriatic Sea. Using 16S rRNA clone libraries and culture-based methods, we have analyzed the bacterial community composition of different body parts: the exumbrella surface, oral arms, and gastric cavity, and investigated possible differences in medusa-associated bacterial community structure at the time of the jellyfish population peak, and during the senescent phase at the end of bloom. Microbiota associated with moon jellyfish was different from ambient seawater bacterial assemblage and varied between different body parts. Betaproteobacteria (Burkholderia, Cupriavidus and Achromobacter) dominated community in the gastral cavity of medusa, while Alphaproteobacteria (Phaeobacter, Ruegeria) and Gammaproteobacteria (Stenotrophomonas, Alteromonas, Pseudoalteromonas and Vibrio) prevailed on ‘outer’ body parts. Bacterial community structure changed during senescent phase, at the end of the jellyfish bloom, showing an increased abundance of Gammaproteobacteria, exclusively Vibrio. The results of cultured bacterial isolates showed the dominance of Gammaproeteobacteria, especially Vibrio and Pseudoalteromonas in all body parts. Our results suggest that jellyfish associated bacterial community might have an important role for the host, and that anthropogenic pollution in the Gulf of Trieste might affect their community structure.

Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
External organisation(s)
National Institute of Biology, University of Dubrovnik
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
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