Marine benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) have recently been documented as dominant benthic colonizers in tropical coral reefs. To enhance our current knowledge regarding BCM occurrence, influence on corals, and bacterial community structure/composition, a field study was done covering the reefs surrounding Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand). To get more insight into the bacterial community structure and composition of BCMs mats were sampled and analyzed using Next-generation sequencing (NGS) . Community structure analysis of the mats revealed the occurrence of one dominant cyanobacterial genus per mat, with an addition of various less abundant genera. Cyanobacteria of several detected genera are known to produce the cyanotoxin microcystin. Microcystin has shown to negatively influence coral fitness.
Msc. project T.M. (Tamara) Stuij, Utrecht University