Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Laurie Richardson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John Makemson

Third Advisor's Name

DeEtta Mills


quorum sensing, acyl homoserine lactone, autoinducer-2, coral disease, black band disease, coral microbiology, coral mucus

Date of Defense



The black band disease (BBD) microbial consortium often causes mortality of reef-building corals. Microbial chemical interactions (i.e., quorum sensing (QS) and antimicrobial production) may be involved in the BBD disease process. Culture filtrates (CFs) from over 150 bacterial isolates from BBD and the surface mucopolysaccharide layer (SML) of healthy and diseased corals were screened for acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) and Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) QS signals using bacterial reporter strains. AHLs were detected in all BBD mat samples and nine CFs. More than half of the CFs (~55%) tested positive for AI-2. Approximately 27% of growth challenges conducted among 19 isolates showed significant growth inhibition. These findings demonstrate that QS is actively occurring within the BBD microbial mat and that culturable bacteria from BBD and the coral SML are able to produce QS signals and antimicrobial compounds. This is the first study to identify AHL production in association with active coral disease.





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