Land-Based Microbial Threats to Coral Reefs

Ecology and Environment

MSI PI Michael Sadowsky (Director, BioTechnology Institute) and colleagues have published a new study indicating that bacteria and fungi from land-based sources may be damaging coral reefs. Earlier studies have failed to find the same land-based microbes on other reefs, suggesting that that the microbes are invasive on the reefs. The researchers are planning additional experiments to test the hypothesis.

The study was published by the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology: A Next-Generation Sequencing Approach to Characterize the Impacts of Land-based Sources of Pollution on the Microbiota of Southeast Florida Coral Reefs. The journal’s publisher, the American Society for Microbiology, also published a press release about the study: Land-based microbes may be invading and harming coral reefs.

Professor Sadowsky uses MSI for studies into the use of fecal microbiota transplantation as a cure for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Other authors on the study, lead researcher Assistant Professor Chan Lan Chun (UMD, Natural Resources Research Institute) and student Thomas Kaiser, are also part of Professor Sadowsky’s research group at MSI.