Accession Number:

ADA061716

Title:

A Model System for the Study of Sublethal Pollution Effects on Marine Organisms.

Descriptive Note:

Interim rept.,

Corporate Author:

HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MA DIV OF APPLIED SCIENCES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1978-07-01

Pagination or Media Count:

41.0

Abstract:

In previous reports, we have demonstrated various effects of sublethal concentrations of pollutants on microbial activities. In the present report this work is continued. Here we describe a microbial ecosystem consisting of a coral and its associated bacteria which can be used as a model system to examine interactions among pollutants, corals and bacteria. Many corals use mucus secretions as a buffer between their tissue surfaces and the environment. In the first part of this report, several coral mucins are characterized as mixtures of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids. The proteins and polysaccharides are partly characterized as to their amino acid or sugar composition. Mucus floc material has been implicated as potentially important food source in the coral reef ecosystem. In the second section, we demonstrate the presence of functioning populations of culturable bacteria in the superficial mucus layers of three coral species. The population levels of bacteria on different corals may be related to differences in coral feeding behavior. In the final section, an experimental flowing water system is described in which the Red Sea soft coral Heteroxenia fuscesens is exposed to sublethal concentrations of crude oil. Such exposures result in significant increases in the population levels of bacteria in the coral mucus.

Subject Categories:

  • Microbiology
  • Civil Engineering

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE