Characterization of Beggiatoa in Black Band Disease of Scleractinian CoralsEPA Grant Number: U915620
Title: Characterization of Beggiatoa in Black Band Disease of Scleractinian Corals
Investigators: Viehman, Tiffany S.
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 1999 through August 1, 2001
Project Amount: $56,581
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Microbiology , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences
The overall objective of this research project is to characterize the ecological physiology of the sulfide-oxidizing bacterium, Beggiatoa, in black band disease of scleractinian corals. The specific objective of this research project is to address the contribution of Beggiatoa to the sulfur and carbon cycles that are generated and maintained by the microbial members of the black band disease consortium.
Samples of black band disease are collected from infected coral colonies in the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Black band Beggiatoa spp. are in culture at the laboratory, and pure culture isolations are in progress. Metabolic capabilities—including sulfur and carbon source utilization—of black band Beggiatoa will be studied using microelectrodes sensitive to pH, oxygen, and sulfide. This approach allows the investigation of changes in oxygen and sulfide flux both in vitro (in laboratory gradient cultures) and in situ (underwater) in active black band disease on the coral. The location of Beggiatoa in vertical, sulfide-oxygen gradients of black band disease will be examined with regard to the other members of the microbial consortium. Investigations of Beggiatoa motilities also will be addressed using light manipulations. The 16s rRNA sequences from black band disease Beggiatoa samples will be compared to those of known cultures of Beggiatoa found in both marine and freshwater sulfide-interface environments.