While there is a significant and growing body of knowledge describing the microbial
communities of marine invertebrates such as sponges, there are very few such studies focused on
octocorals. The octocoral Eunicea fusca
is common on reefs in various regions of the Caribbean and
has been the subject of natural product investigations. As part of an effort to describe the microbial
community associated with octocorals, a culture-independent analysis of the bacterial community of E.
was conducted. Specifically, a 16S rDNA clone library analysis was performed to provide
baseline data. A total of 40 bacteria members from 11 groups were found. In general, Proteobacteria
were the dominant group with a total of 24 species and α-Proteobacteria represented the highest
percentage of bacteria associated with E. fusca
(27.5%). Other prominent groups observed were
Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Planctomycetes, δ-Proteobacteria, Lentisphaerae and
Nitrospirae. This is the first analysis of bacterial populations associated with the gorgonian E. fusca.