Different bacterial community profiles were observed on the soft coral Dendronephthya sp. and an inanimate reference site using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of bacterial community DNA. To correlate the observation with a chemical defense mechanism against bacterial epibiosis, antibacterial effects of coral tissue extracts and waterborne products of coral-associated bacterial isolates (11 morphotypes) were tested against indigenous benthic bacterial isolates (33 morphotypes) obtained in the vicinity of the coral colonies. The coral tissue extracts and waterborne products of coral-associated bacteria inhibited growth and attachment of indigenous bacterial isolates, suggesting an endogenous chemical and an exogenous biological mechanism against bacterial epibiosis in this soft coral.
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