Microbiomes of Healthy and Bleached Corals During a 2016 Thermal Bleaching Event in the Andaman Sea of Thailand

Suchana Chavanich, Heru Kusdianto, Chitrasak Kullapanich, Suppakarn Jandang, Doonyapong Wongsawaeng, Jamal Ouazzani, Voranop Viyakarn, Naraporn Somboonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


As seawater temperature rises, repeated thermal bleaching events have negatively affected the reefs of the Andaman Sea for over decades. Studies on the coral-associated microbial diversity of prokaryotes and microbial eukaryotes (microbiome) in healthy and bleached corals are important to better understand the coral holobionts that involved augmented resistance to stresses, and this information remains limited in the Andaman Sea of Thailand. The present study thereby described the microbiomes of healthy (unbleached) and bleached colonies of four prevalent corals, Acropora humilis, Platygyra sp., Pocillopora damicornis, and Porites lutea, along with the surrounding seawater and sediments, that were collected during a 2016 thermal bleaching event, using 16S and 18S rRNA genes next-generation sequencing (NGS). Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes showed isolated community profiles among sample types (corals, sediment, and seawater) [analysis of similarities (ANOSIM): p = 0.038 for prokaryotes, p < 0.001 for microbial eukaryotes] and among coral genera (ANOSIM: p < 0.001 for prokaryotes and microbial eukaryotes). In bleached state corals, we found differences in microbial compositions from the healthy state corals. Prevalent differences shared among bleached coral genera (shared in at least three coral genera) included a loss of reported coral-beneficial microbes, such as Pseudomonadales, Alteromonadales, and Symbiodinium; meanwhile an increase of putative coral-pathogenic Malassezia and Aspergillus. This difference could affect carbon and nitrogen availability for coral growth, reflective of a healthy or bleached state. Our findings in part supported previously microbial dysbiosis knowledge of thermal bleaching coral microbiomes around South East Asia marine geography, and together ongoing efforts are to support the understanding and management of microbial diversity to reduce the negative impacts to corals in massive thermal bleaching events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number763421
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbiomes of Healthy and Bleached Corals During a 2016 Thermal Bleaching Event in the Andaman Sea of Thailand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this