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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 194540, 15 pages
Research Article

Bacterial Diversity Associated with the Coccolithophorid Algae Emiliania huxleyi and Coccolithus pelagicus f. braarudii

1Microbial & Molecular Biology, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
2School of Life Science, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK

Received 28 August 2014; Accepted 30 January 2015

Academic Editor: Ameur Cherif

Copyright © 2015 David H. Green et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Coccolithophores are unicellular calcifying marine phytoplankton that can form large and conspicuous blooms in the oceans and make significant contributions to oceanic carbon cycling and atmospheric CO2 regulation. Despite their importance, the bacterial diversity associated with these algae has not been explored for ecological or biotechnological reasons. Bacterial membership of Emiliania huxleyi and Coccolithus pelagicus f. braarudii cultures was assessed using cultivation and cultivation-independent methods. The communities were species rich compared to other phytoplankton cultures. Community analysis identified specific taxa which cooccur in all cultures (Marinobacter and Marivita). Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria were found in all cultures. The presence of Acidobacteria, Acidimicrobidae, Schlegelella, and Thermomonas was unprecedented but were potentially explained by calcification associated with coccolith production. One strain of Acidobacteria was cultivated and is closely related to a marine Acidobacteria isolated from a sponge. From this assessment of the bacterial diversity of coccolithophores, a number of biotechnological opportunities are evident, from bioprospecting for novel taxa such as Acidobacteria to helping understand the relationship between obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria occurrence with phytoplankton and to revealing bacterial taxa that have a specific association with algae and may be suitable candidates as a means to improve the efficiency of mass algal cultivation.