Lyngbya majuscula is a filamentous marine cyanobacterium that has been reported to be a source of a wide array of natural products. It has been shown to harbor a variety of epibiotic bacteria on its surface. However, the phylogeny of these epibiotic bacteria from the Kenyan Lyngbya majuscula is not well understood. This study aimed at characterizing epibiotic bacteria isolates co-existing with the Kenyan Coastal marine Lyngbya majuscula. Twenty-two (22) isolates of L. majuscula were collected from four sites at including Mida, Kilifi, Shimoni and Wasini along the Kenyan Coast. A total of 88 epibiotic bacteria were characterized using classical Gram staining technique and a representation of 32 isolates were characterized using 16S rDNA sequencing. The 16S rDNA sequences of these isolates were compared to their closest relatives using BLAST and phylogeny determined in MEGA6. A comparison of the distribution of epibiotic bacteria from the four sites, showed differential significance (p=0.03, Kruskal-wallis Rank sum test) among the colours of the isolates as well as among the isolate phenotypes (p=0.0033, Fishers exact test). Epibiotic bacteria co-existing with L. majuscula bacteria showed differential clusters in MEGA6. The characterized cyanobacteria-associated bacteria belong to Bacilli (firmicutes), actinobacteria, ?-proteobacteria, and ?-proteobacteria. These results also suggested that different phenotypes of epibiotic bacteria co-existing with L. majuscula have co-evolved differently potentially offer considerable grounds for further research in bio-prospecting.
Keywords: Lyngbya majuscula, epibiotic bacteria, Phylogeny