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Sample records for building coral acropora

  1. Cold induces acute stress but heat is ultimately more deleterious for the reef-building coral Acropora yongei

    OpenAIRE

    Roth, Melissa S.; Ralf Goericke; Deheyn, Dimitri D.

    2012-01-01

    Climate change driven increases in intensity and frequency of both hot and cold extreme events contribute to coral reef decline by causing widespread coral bleaching and mortality. Here, we show that hot and cold temperature changes cause distinct physiological responses on different time scales in reef-building corals. We exposed the branching coral Acropora yongei in individual aquaria to a ± 5°C temperature change. Compared to heat-treated corals, cold-treated corals initially show greater...

  2. Unexpected complexity of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network

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    Ravasi Timothy

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors. Results Here, we develop and apply a new system-wide approach in order to infer combinatorial transcription factor networks of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. By integrating sequencing-derived transcriptome measurements, a network of physically interacting transcription factors, and phylogenetic network footprinting we were able to infer such a network. Analysis of the network across a phylogenetically broad sample of five species, including human, reveals that despite the apparent simplicity of corals, their transcription factors repertoire and interaction networks seem to be largely conserved. In addition, we were able to identify interactions among transcription factors that appear to be species-specific lending strength to the novel concept of "Taxonomically Restricted Interactions". Conclusions This study provides the first look at transcription factor networks in corals. We identified a transcription factor repertoire encoded by the coral genome and found consistencies of the domain architectures of transcription factors and conserved regulatory subnetworks across eumetazoan species, providing insight into how regulatory networks have evolved.

  3. Spatial Homogeneity of Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus Layer of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora palmata.

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    Dustin W Kemp

    Full Text Available Coral surface mucus layer (SML microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions--uppermost (high irradiance, underside (low irradiance, and the colony base--representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations.

  4. Spatial Homogeneity of Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus Layer of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemp, Dustin W; Rivers, Adam R; Kemp, Keri M; Lipp, Erin K; Porter, James W; Wares, John P

    2015-01-01

    Coral surface mucus layer (SML) microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions--uppermost (high irradiance), underside (low irradiance), and the colony base--representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations. PMID:26659364

  5. Regulation of apoptotic mediators reveals dynamic responses to thermal stress in the reef building coral Acropora millepora.

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    Mathieu Pernice

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Mass coral bleaching is increasing in scale and frequency across the world's coral reefs and is being driven primarily by increased levels of thermal stress arising from global warming. In order to understand the impacts of projected climate change upon corals reefs, it is important to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms that operate during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this respect, increased apoptotic cell death activity is an important cellular process that is associated with the breakdown of the mutualistic symbiosis between the cnidarian host and their dinoflagellate symbionts. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The PRESENT study reports the impacts of different stressors (colchicine and heat stress on three phases of apoptosis: (i the potential initiation by differential expression of Bcl-2 members, (ii the execution of apoptotic events by activation of caspase 3-like proteases and (iii and finally, the cell disposal indicated by DNA fragmentation in the reef building coral Acropora millepora. In corals incubated with colchicine, an increase in caspase 3-like activity and DNA fragmentation was associated with a relative down-regulation of Bcl-2, suggesting that the initiation of apoptosis may be mediated by the suppression of an anti-apoptotic mechanism. In contrast, in the early steps of heat stress, the induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis was related to a relative up-regulation of Bcl-2 consecutively followed by a delayed decrease in apoptosis activity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In the light of these results, we propose a model of heat stress in coral hosts whereby increasing temperatures engage activation of caspase 3-dependent apoptosis in cells designated for termination, but also the onset of a delayed protective response involving overexpression of Bcl-2 in surviving cells. This mitigating response to thermal stress could conceivably be an important regulatory mechanism for cell survival in

  6. Gene expression signatures of energetic acclimatisation in the reef building coral Acropora millepora.

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    Line K Bay

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Understanding the mechanisms by which natural populations cope with environmental stress is paramount to predict their persistence in the face of escalating anthropogenic impacts. Reef-building corals are increasingly exposed to local and global stressors that alter nutritional status causing reduced fitness and mortality, however, these responses can vary considerably across species and populations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We compare the expression of 22 coral host genes in individuals from an inshore and an offshore reef location using quantitative Reverse Transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR over the course of 26 days following translocation into a shaded, filtered seawater environment. Declines in lipid content and PSII activity of the algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium ITS-1 type C2 over the course of the experiment indicated that heterotrophic uptake and photosynthesis were limited, creating nutritional deprivation conditions. Regulation of coral host genes involved in metabolism, CO2 transport and oxidative stress could be detected already after five days, whereas PSII activity took twice as long to respond. Opposing expression trajectories of Tgl, which releases fatty acids from the triacylglycerol storage, and Dgat1, which catalyses the formation of triglycerides, indicate that the decline in lipid content can be attributed, at least in part, by mobilisation of triacylglycerol stores. Corals from the inshore location had initially higher lipid content and showed consistently elevated expression levels of two genes involved in metabolism (aldehyde dehydrogenase and calcification (carbonic anhydrase. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Coral host gene expression adjusts rapidly upon change in nutritional conditions, and therefore can serve as an early signature of imminent coral stress. Consistent gene expression differences between populations indicate that corals acclimatize and/or adapt to local environments. Our results set the stage

  7. Earlier (late Pliocene) first appearance of the Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata: Stratigraphic and evolutionary implications

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    McNeill, Donald F.; Budd, Ann F.; Borne, Pamela F.

    1997-10-01

    An integrated stratigraphic study of reefal deposits on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama (Limon, Costa Rica) has discovered a significantly earlier first appearance of the major reef-building coral Acropora palmata. A. palmata is here reported from the early late Pliocene, constrained in age to within the Gauss chron (ca. 3.6 2.6 Ma). This coral was previously thought to have originated in the earliest Pleistocene and has subsequently been used as a Quaternary marker throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas. An earlier appearance in the southern Caribbean implies a diachronous first appearance datum relative to the northern Caribbean. This older age also places A. palmata well within the transition phase of a Pliocene (4 1 Ma) faunal turnover that was marked by widespread extinction and origination of Caribbean coral species. An early late Pliocene origination is coincident with formation of the Isthmus, climate reorganization, and frequent sea-level changes associated with onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciations. The rapid growth and accumulation rates that characterize A. palmata may therefore be adaptive to these fluctuating environmental conditions, enabling its success during the subsequent Pleistocene glacial cycles.

  8. Coral life history and symbiosis: Functional genomic resources for two reef building Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata

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    Szmant Alina M

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Scleractinian corals are the foundation of reef ecosystems in tropical marine environments. Their great success is due to interactions with endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp., with which they are obligately symbiotic. To develop a foundation for studying coral biology and coral symbiosis, we have constructed a set of cDNA libraries and generated and annotated ESTs from two species of corals, Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata. Results We generated 14,588 (Ap and 3,854 (Mf high quality ESTs from five life history/symbiosis stages (spawned eggs, early-stage planula larvae, late-stage planula larvae either infected with symbionts or uninfected, and adult coral. The ESTs assembled into a set of primarily stage-specific clusters, producing 4,980 (Ap, and 1,732 (Mf unigenes. The egg stage library, relative to the other developmental stages, was enriched in genes functioning in cell division and proliferation, transcription, signal transduction, and regulation of protein function. Fifteen unigenes were identified as candidate symbiosis-related genes as they were expressed in all libraries constructed from the symbiotic stages and were absent from all of the non symbiotic stages. These include several DNA interacting proteins, and one highly expressed unigene (containing 17 cDNAs with no significant protein-coding region. A significant number of unigenes (25 encode potential pattern recognition receptors (lectins, scavenger receptors, and others, as well as genes that may function in signaling pathways involved in innate immune responses (toll-like signaling, NFkB p105, and MAP kinases. Comparison between the A. palmata and an A. millepora EST dataset identified ferritin as a highly expressed gene in both datasets that appears to be undergoing adaptive evolution. Five unigenes appear to be restricted to the Scleractinia, as they had no homology to any sequences in the nr databases nor to the non

  9. Unexpected complexity of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network.

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Taewoo

    2011-04-28

    Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.

  10. Unexpected complexity of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network

    OpenAIRE

    Ravasi Timothy; Voolstra Christian R; Bayer Till; Mavromatis Charalampos; Ryu Taewoo

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Background Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled ...

  11. Microarray analysis reveals transcriptional plasticity in the reef building coral Acropora millepora

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bay, L. K.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Nielsen, H. B.;

    2009-01-01

    ) following translocation to a lower light and turbidity environment. Such metabolic downregulation may indicate nonoxidative stress, hibernation or caloric restriction associated with the changed environmental conditions. Green fluorescent protein-related genes were the most differentially expressed and were...... exclusively downregulated; however, green fluorescent protein levels remained unchanged following translocation. Photophysiological responses of corals from both locations were characterized by a decline when introduced to the common laboratory environment but remained healthy (F-v/F-m > 0.6). Declines.......07% in the interaction (source population-dependent responses to translocation). Functional analyses identified an over-representation of differentially expressed genes associated with metabolism and fluorescence categories (primarily downregulated), and environmental information processing (primarily upregulated...

  12. Sexual reproduction of Acropora reef corals at Moorea, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carroll, A.; Harrison, P.; Adjeroud, M.

    2006-03-01

    Little information is available on reproductive processes among corals in isolated central Pacific reef regions, including French Polynesia. This study examined the timing and mode of sexual reproduction for Acropora reef corals at Moorea. Spawning was observed and/or inferred in 110 Acropora colonies, representing 12 species, following full moon periods in September through November 2002. Gamete release was observed and inferred in four species of Acropora between 9 and 13 nights after the full moon (nAFM) in September 2002. Twelve Acropora spp. spawned gametes between 5 and 10 nAFM in October 2002, with six species spawning 7 nAFM and four species spawning 9 nAFM. In November 2002, spawning of egg and sperm bundles was observed and inferred in 27 colonies of Acropora austera, 6 nAFM. These are the first detailed records of spawning by Acropora corals in French Polynesia.

  13. Growth study of branching coral Acropora formosa between natural reef habitats and in situ coral nurseries

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    Xin, Loke Hai; Hyde, Julian; Cob, Zaidi Che; Adzis, Kee Alfian Abdul

    2013-11-01

    Being a common reef building coral in Malaysian waters, growth of Acropora Formosa in natural reef habitat and coral nursery condition had been studied in aspects of extension growth, survival and proto-branch generation. The study sites took place at two separate islands with different environment conditions. In this study, A. formosa samples of natural reefs at Pangkor Island turbid waters recorded better growth in average extension rate (0.71 ±0.48 cm/month) and higher proto-branch generation rate (up to 52% after 6 months) than Tioman Island samples (0.38 ±0.34 cm/month, highest 17% after 6 months). However, Tioman Island natural reef samples maintained 100% survival throughout the study period. Then, branch fragments or nubbins of A. formosa were transplanted into two coral nursery sites at Tioman Island. Among these two coral nurseries, the Tekek site had better growth in all three aspects than Air Batang site. This was believed due to Tekek nursery had been setup with nubbins for more than 6 months before Air Batang nursery, thus the Tekek samples were conditioned long enough for growing in the coral nursery environment. The results of this study documented the growth of this particular coral species in two islands of Peninsular Malaysia, and demonstrated the potential application of A. Formosa for coral transplant, in situ nursery and active reef restoration.

  14. Toxic coral gobies reduce the feeding rate of a corallivorous butterflyfish on Acropora corals

    OpenAIRE

    Dirnwoeber, M.; Herler, J.

    2012-01-01

    The obligate coral-dwelling gobiid genus Gobiodon inhabits Acropora corals and has developed various physiological, morphological and ethological adaptations towards this life habit. While the advantages of this coral-fish association are well documented for Gobiodon, possible fitness-increasing factors for the host coral are unknown. This study examines the influence of coral-dwelling gobies on the feeding behaviour of obligate corallivorous butterflyfishes. In an aquarium experiment using v...

  15. The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?

    OpenAIRE

    Hume, Benjamin C.C.; D’Angelo, Cecilia; Cunnington, Anna; Smith, Edward G.; Wiedenmann, Jörg

    2014-01-01

    Fatal infestations of land-based Acropora cultures with so-called Acropora-eating flatworms(AEFWs) are a global phenomenon. We evaluate the hypothesis that AEFWs represent a risk to coral reefs by studying the biology and the invasive potential of an AEFW strain from the UK. Molecular analyses identified this strain as Amakusaplana acroporae, a new species described from two US aquaria and one natural location in Australia. Our molecular data together with life history strategies described he...

  16. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals.

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    James P Gilmour

    Full Text Available Coral spawning on the oceanic reef systems of north-western Australia was recently discovered during autumn and spring, but the degree to which species and particularly colonies participated in one or both of these spawnings was unknown. At the largest of the oceanic reef systems, the participation by colonies in the two discrete spawning events was investigated over three years in 13 species of Acropora corals (n = 1,855 colonies. Seven species spawned during both seasons; five only in autumn and one only in spring. The majority of tagged colonies (n = 218 spawned once a year in the same season, but five colonies from three species spawned during spring and autumn during a single year. Reproductive seasonality was not influenced by spatial variation in habitat conditions, or by Symbiodinium partners in the biannual spawner Acropora tenuis. Colonies of A. tenuis spawning during different seasons separated into two distinct yet cryptic groups, in a bayesian clustering analysis based on multiple microsatellite markers. These groups were associated with a major genetic divergence (G"ST = 0.469, despite evidence of mixed ancestry in a small proportion of individuals. Our results confirm that temporal reproductive isolation is a common feature of Acropora populations at Scott Reef and indicate that spawning season is a genetically determined trait in at least A. tenuis. This reproductive isolation may be punctuated occasionally by interbreeding between genetic groups following favourable environmental conditions, when autumn spawners undergo a second annual gametogenic cycle and spawn during spring.

  17. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilmour, James P.; Underwood, Jim N.; Howells, Emily J.; Gates, Emily; Heyward, Andrew J.

    2016-01-01

    Coral spawning on the oceanic reef systems of north-western Australia was recently discovered during autumn and spring, but the degree to which species and particularly colonies participated in one or both of these spawnings was unknown. At the largest of the oceanic reef systems, the participation by colonies in the two discrete spawning events was investigated over three years in 13 species of Acropora corals (n = 1,855 colonies). Seven species spawned during both seasons; five only in autumn and one only in spring. The majority of tagged colonies (n = 218) spawned once a year in the same season, but five colonies from three species spawned during spring and autumn during a single year. Reproductive seasonality was not influenced by spatial variation in habitat conditions, or by Symbiodinium partners in the biannual spawner Acropora tenuis. Colonies of A. tenuis spawning during different seasons separated into two distinct yet cryptic groups, in a bayesian clustering analysis based on multiple microsatellite markers. These groups were associated with a major genetic divergence (G”ST = 0.469), despite evidence of mixed ancestry in a small proportion of individuals. Our results confirm that temporal reproductive isolation is a common feature of Acropora populations at Scott Reef and indicate that spawning season is a genetically determined trait in at least A. tenuis. This reproductive isolation may be punctuated occasionally by interbreeding between genetic groups following favourable environmental conditions, when autumn spawners undergo a second annual gametogenic cycle and spawn during spring. PMID:26963249

  18. Which Environmental Factors Predict Seasonal Variation in the Coral Health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    OpenAIRE

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Feng, Ming; Strickland, Daniel; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration), energy levels (lipid ratio) and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a) and zooxanthellae density) at six stations during typical seasons ...

  19. Telomere shortening in the colonial coral Acropora digitifera during development.

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    Tsuta, Hiroki; Shinzato, Chuya; Satoh, Nori; Hidaka, Michio

    2014-03-01

    To test whether telomere length can be used in estimating the age of colonial corals, we used terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length analysis to compare the telomere lengths of the coral Acropora digitifera at three developmental stages: sperm, planula larvae, and polyps of adult colonies. We also compared the mean TRF lengths between branches at the center and periphery of tabular colonies of A. digitifera. A significant difference was observed in the mean TRF lengths in sperm, planulae, and polyps. The mean TRF length was longest in sperm and shortest in polyps from adult colonies. These results suggest that telomere length decreases during coral development and may be useful for estimating coral age. However, the mean TRF length of branches at the center of a table-form colony tended to be longer than that of peripheral branches, although this difference was not statistically significant. This suggests that both the chronological age of polyps and cell proliferation rate influence telomere length in polyps, and that estimating coral age based on telomere length is not a simple endeavor. PMID:24601774

  20. Transcriptomic responses to heat stress and bleaching in the elkhorn coral Acropora palmata

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, MK

    2010-03-08

    The emergence of genomic tools for reef-building corals and symbiotic anemones comes at a time when alarming losses in coral cover are being observed worldwide. These tools hold great promise in elucidating novel and unforeseen cellular processes underlying the successful mutualism between corals and their dinoflagellate endosymbionts Symbiodinium spp. Since thermal stress triggers a breakdown in the symbiosis (coral bleaching), measuring the transcriptomic response to thermal stress-induced bleaching offers an extraordinary view of cellular processes that are specific to coral–algal symbioses. In the present study, we utilized a cDNA microarray containing 2059 genes of the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral Acropora palmata to identify genes that are differentially expressed upon thermal stress. Fragments from replicate colonies were exposed to elevated temperature for 2 d, and samples were frozen for microarray analysis after 24 and 48 h. Totals of 204 and 104 genes were differentially expressed in samples that were collected 1 and 2 d after thermal stress, respectively. Analysis of the differentially expressed genes indicates a cellular stress response in A. palmata involving (1) growth arrest, (2) chaperone activity, (3) nucleic acid stabilization and repair, and (4) removal of damaged macromolecules. Other differentially expressed processes include sensory perception, metabolite transfer between host and endosymbiont, nitric oxide signaling, and modifications to the actin cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix. The results are compared with those from a previous coral microarray study of thermal stress in Montastraea faveolata, and point to an overall evolutionary conserved bleaching response in scleractinian corals.

  1. Molecular evidence shows low species diversity of coral-associated hydroids in Acropora corals.

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    Silvia Fontana

    Full Text Available A novel symbiosis between scleractinians and hydroids (Zanclea spp. was recently discovered using taxonomic approaches for hydroid species identification. In this study, we address the question whether this is a species-specific symbiosis or a cosmopolitan association between Zanclea and its coral hosts. Three molecular markers, including mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 28S ribosomal genes, and internal transcribed spacer (ITS, were utilized to examine the existence of Zanclea species from 14 Acropora species and 4 other Acroporidae genera including 142 coral samples collected from reefs in Kenting and the Penghu Islands, Taiwan, Togian Island, Indonesia, and Osprey Reef and Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of the 16S and 28S genes showed that Acropora-associated Zanclea was monophyletic, but the genus Zanclea was not. Analysis of the ITS, and 16S and 28S genes showed either identical or extremely low genetic diversity (with mean pairwise distances of 0.009 and 0.006 base substitutions per site for the 16S and 28S genes, respectively among Zanclea spp. collected from diverse Acropora hosts in different geographic locations, suggesting that a cosmopolitan and probably genus-specific association occurs between Zanclea hydroids and their coral hosts.

  2. Highly heterogeneous bacterial communities associated with the South China Sea reef corals Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora.

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    Jie Li

    Full Text Available Coral harbor diverse and specific bacteria play significant roles in coral holobiont function. Bacteria associated with three of the common and phylogenetically divergent reef-building corals in the South China Sea, Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora, were investigated using 454 barcoded-pyrosequencing. Three colonies of each species were sampled, and 16S rRNA gene libraries were constructed individually. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities associated with the three coral species were more diverse than previous estimates based on corals from the Caribbean Sea, Indo-Pacific reefs and the Red Sea. Three candidate phyla, including BRC1, OD1 and SR1, were found for the first time in corals. Bacterial communities were separated into three groups: P. lutea and G. fascicular, A. millepora and seawater. P. lutea and G. fascicular displayed more similar bacterial communities, and bacterial communities associated with A. millepora differed from the other two coral species. The three coral species shared only 22 OTUs, which were distributed in Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and an unclassified bacterial group. The composition of bacterial communities within each colony of each coral species also showed variation. The relatively small common and large specific bacterial communities in these corals implies that bacterial associations may be structured by multiple factors at different scales and that corals may associate with microbes in terms of similar function, rather than identical species.

  3. Toxic coral gobies reduce the feeding rate of a corallivorous butterflyfish on Acropora corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dirnwoeber, M.; Herler, J.

    2013-03-01

    The obligate coral-dwelling gobiid genus Gobiodon inhabits Acropora corals and has developed various physiological, morphological and ethological adaptations towards this life habit. While the advantages of this coral-fish association are well documented for Gobiodon, possible fitness-increasing factors for the host coral are unknown. This study examines the influence of coral-dwelling gobies on the feeding behaviour of obligate corallivorous butterflyfishes. In an aquarium experiment using video observation, the corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus fed significantly less on corals inhabited by two Gobiodon species compared to unoccupied coral colonies of similar size. The more agonistic species G. histrio, which mostly displayed directed movements towards butterflyfishes, decreased butterflyfish bite rate by 62-98 % compared to uninhabited colonies. For Gobiodon sp. 3, which mostly displayed undirected movements in response to visits by C. austriacus, bite rate reduction was 64-68 %. The scale-less skin of Gobiodon spp. is covered by mucus that is toxic and multi-functional by reducing predation as well as affecting parasite attachment. A choice flume experiment suggests that the highly diluted skin mucus of Gobiodon spp. also functions as a corallivore repellent. This study demonstrates that Gobiodon spp. exhibit resource defence against coral-feeding butterflyfishes and also that coral colonies without resident Gobiodon suffer higher predation rates. Although the genus Gobiodon is probably a facultative corallivore, this study shows that by reducing predation on inhabited colonies by other fishes, these obligate coral-dwellers either compensate for their own fitness-decreasing impact on host colonies or live in a mutualistic association with them.

  4. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching

    OpenAIRE

    Tomihiko Higuchi; Sylvain Agostini; Beatriz Estela Casareto; Yoshimi Suzuki; Ikuko Yuyama

    2015-01-01

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached ...

  5. Gametogenesis and fecundity of Acropora tenella (Brook 1892) in a mesophotic coral ecosystem in Okinawa, Japan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prasetia, Rian; Sinniger, Frederic; Harii, Saki

    2016-03-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (below 30-40 m depth) host a large diversity of zooxanthellate coral communities and may play an important role in the ecology and conservation of coral reefs. Investigating the reproductive biology of mesophotic corals is important to understand their life history traits. Despite an increase in research on mesophotic corals in the last decade, their reproductive biology is still poorly understood. Here, gametogenesis and fecundity of the Indo-Pacific mesophotic coral , Acropora tenella, were examined in an upper mesophotic reef (40 m depth) in Okinawa, Japan for the first time. Acropora tenella is a hermaphrodite with a single annual gametogenic cycle, and both oogenesis and spermatogenesis occurring for 11-12 and 5-6 months, respectively. Timing of spawning of this species was similar to other shallow Acropora spp. in the region. However, colonies had longer gametogenic cycles and less synchronous gamete maturation compared to shallow acroporids with spawning extended over consecutive months. Both the polyp fecundity (number of eggs per polyp) and gonad index (defined as the number of eggs per square centimeter) of A. tenella were lower than most acroporids. Our findings contribute to understanding of the life history of corals on mesophotic reefs and suggest that the reproductive biology of upper mesophotic corals is similar to that of shallow-water corals.

  6. Draft genome sequence of Halomonas meridiana R1t3 isolated from the surface microbiota of the Caribbean Elkhorn coral Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Meyer, Julie L.; Dillard, Brian A.; Rodgers, John M.; Kim B Ritchie; Paul, Valerie J.; Teplitski, Max

    2015-01-01

    Members of the gammaproteobacterial genus Halomonas are common in marine environments. Halomonas and other members of the Oceanospirillales have recently been identified as prominent members of the surface microbiota of reef-building corals. Halomonas meridiana strain R1t3 was isolated from the surface mucus layer of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in 2005 from the Florida Keys. This strain was chosen for genome sequencing to provide insight into the role of commensal heterotrophic b...

  7. Selective Impact of Disease on Coral Communities: Outbreak of White Syndrome Causes Significant Total Mortality of Acropora Plate Corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean-Paul A Hobbs

    Full Text Available Coral diseases represent a significant and increasing threat to coral reefs. Among the most destructive diseases is White Syndrome (WS, which is increasing in distribution and prevalence throughout the Indo-Pacific. The aim of this study was to determine taxonomic and spatial patterns in mortality rates of corals following the 2008 outbreak of WS at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. WS mainly affected Acropora plate corals and caused total mortality of 36% of colonies across all surveyed sites and depths. Total mortality varied between sites but was generally much greater in the shallows (0-96% of colonies at 5 m depth compared to deeper waters (0-30% of colonies at 20 m depth. Site-specific mortality rates were a reflection of the proportion of corals affected by WS at each site during the initial outbreak and were predicted by the initial cover of live Acropora plate cover. The WS outbreak had a selective impact on the coral community. Following the outbreak, live Acropora plate coral cover at 5 m depth decreased significantly from 7.0 to 0.8%, while the cover of other coral taxa remained unchanged. Observations five years after the initial outbreak revealed that total Acropora plate cover remained low and confirmed that corals that lost all their tissue due to WS did not recover. These results demonstrate that WS represents a significant and selective form of coral mortality and highlights the serious threat WS poses to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific.

  8. Which environmental factors predict seasonal variation in the coral health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saskia Hinrichs

    Full Text Available The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration, energy levels (lipid ratio and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a and zooxanthellae density at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April, austral winter 2010 (August and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February. These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26-28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host.

  9. Which environmental factors predict seasonal variation in the coral health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L; Feng, Ming; Strickland, Daniel; Waite, Anya M

    2013-01-01

    The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration), energy levels (lipid ratio) and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a) and zooxanthellae density) at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April), austral winter 2010 (August)) and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February). These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling) to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio) for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26-28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density) were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host. PMID:23637770

  10. Genetic Signature of Resistance to White Band Disease in the Caribbean Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia Libro

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to multiple factors including rising sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks. Over the last 30 years, White Band Disease (WBD alone has killed up to 95% of the Caribbean`s dominant shallow-water corals--the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmata. Both corals are now listed on the US Endangered Species Act, and while their recovery has been slow, recent transmission surveys indicate that more than 5% of staghorn corals are disease resistant. Here we compared transcriptome-wide gene expression between resistant and susceptible staghorn corals exposed to WBD using in situ transmission assays. We identified constitutive gene expression differences underlying disease resistance that are independent from the immune response associated with disease exposure. Genes involved in RNA interference-mediated gene silencing, including Argonaute were up-regulated in resistant corals, whereas heat shock proteins (HSPs were down-regulated. Up-regulation of Argonaute proteins indicates that post-transcriptional gene silencing plays a key, but previously unsuspected role in coral immunity and disease resistance. Constitutive expression of HSPs has been linked to thermal resilience in other Acropora corals, suggesting that the down-regulation of HSPs in disease resistant staghorn corals may confer a dual benefit of thermal resilience.

  11. Genetic Signature of Resistance to White Band Disease in the Caribbean Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Libro, Silvia; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to multiple factors including rising sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks. Over the last 30 years, White Band Disease (WBD) alone has killed up to 95% of the Caribbean`s dominant shallow-water corals--the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmata. Both corals are now listed on the US Endangered Species Act, and while their recovery has been slow, recent transmission surveys indicate that more than 5% of staghorn corals are disease resistant. Here we compared transcriptome-wide gene expression between resistant and susceptible staghorn corals exposed to WBD using in situ transmission assays. We identified constitutive gene expression differences underlying disease resistance that are independent from the immune response associated with disease exposure. Genes involved in RNA interference-mediated gene silencing, including Argonaute were up-regulated in resistant corals, whereas heat shock proteins (HSPs) were down-regulated. Up-regulation of Argonaute proteins indicates that post-transcriptional gene silencing plays a key, but previously unsuspected role in coral immunity and disease resistance. Constitutive expression of HSPs has been linked to thermal resilience in other Acropora corals, suggesting that the down-regulation of HSPs in disease resistant staghorn corals may confer a dual benefit of thermal resilience. PMID:26784329

  12. Bacterial communities associated with healthy and Acropora white syndrome-affected corals from American Samoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Bryan; Aeby, Greta S; Work, Thierry M; Bourne, David G

    2012-05-01

    Acropora white syndrome (AWS) is characterized by rapid tissue loss revealing the white underlying skeleton and affects corals worldwide; however, reports of causal agents are conflicting. Samples were collected from healthy and diseased corals and seawater around American Samoa and bacteria associated with AWS characterized using both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods, from coral mucus and tissue slurries, respectively. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone libraries derived from coral tissue were dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria, and Jaccard's distances calculated between the clone libraries showed that those from diseased corals were more similar to each other than to those from healthy corals. 16S rRNA genes from 78 culturable coral mucus isolates also revealed a distinct partitioning of bacterial genera into healthy and diseased corals. Isolates identified as Vibrionaceae were further characterized by multilocus sequence typing, revealing that whilst several Vibrio spp. were found to be associated with AWS lesions, a recently described species, Vibrio owensii, was prevalent amongst cultured Vibrio isolates. Unaffected tissues from corals with AWS had a different microbiota than normal Acropora as found by others. Determining whether a microbial shift occurs prior to disease outbreaks will be a useful avenue of pursuit and could be helpful in detecting prodromal signs of coral disease prior to manifestation of lesions. PMID:22283330

  13. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    P. Ramos-Silva; J. Kaandorp; F. Herbst; L. Plasseraud; G. Alcaraz; C. Stern; M. Corneillat; N. Guichard; C. Durlet; G. Luquet; F. Marin

    2014-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef respon

  14. Chromera velia is endosymbiotic in larvae of the reef corals Acropora digitifera and A. tenuis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cumbo, Vivian R; Baird, Andrew H; Moore, Robert B; Negri, Andrew P; Neilan, Brett A; Salih, Anya; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Wang, Yan; Marquis, Christopher P

    2013-03-01

    Scleractinian corals occur in symbiosis with a range of organisms including the dinoflagellate alga, Symbiodinium, an association that is mutualistic. However, not all symbionts benefit the host. In particular, many organisms within the microbial mucus layer that covers the coral epithelium can cause disease and death. Other organisms in symbiosis with corals include the recently described Chromera velia, a photosynthetic relative of the apicomplexan parasites that shares a common ancestor with Symbiodinium. To explore the nature of the association between C. velia and corals we first isolated C. velia from the coral Montipora digitata and then exposed aposymbiotic Acropora digitifera and A. tenuis larvae to these cultures. Three C. velia cultures were isolated, and symbiosis was established in coral larvae of both these species exposed to all three clones. Histology verified that C. velia was located in the larval endoderm and ectoderm. These results indicate that C. velia has the potential to be endosymbiotic with coral larvae. PMID:23063731

  15. Draft genome sequence of Halomonas meridiana R1t3 isolated from the surface microbiota of the Caribbean Elkhorn coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Julie L; Dillard, Brian A; Rodgers, John M; Ritchie, Kim B; Paul, Valerie J; Teplitski, Max

    2015-01-01

    Members of the gammaproteobacterial genus Halomonas are common in marine environments. Halomonas and other members of the Oceanospirillales have recently been identified as prominent members of the surface microbiota of reef-building corals. Halomonas meridiana strain R1t3 was isolated from the surface mucus layer of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in 2005 from the Florida Keys. This strain was chosen for genome sequencing to provide insight into the role of commensal heterotrophic bacteria in the coral holobiont. The draft genome consists of 290 scaffolds, totaling 3.5 Mbp in length and contains 3397 protein-coding genes. PMID:26451236

  16. Characterization of Geographically Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Coral Mucus Produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp.

    OpenAIRE

    McKew, B.A.; Dumbrell, A.J.; Daud, S. D.; Hepburn, L; Thorpe, E.; Mogensen, L.; Whitby, C.

    2012-01-01

    Acropora and Porites corals are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Bacteria associated with mucus produced by Porites spp. and Acropora spp. from Caribbean (Punta Maroma, Mexico) and Indo-Pacific (Hoga and Sampela, Indonesia) reefs were determined. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities from Caribbean corals were significantly more diverse (H′, 3.18 to 4.25) than their Indonesian counterparts (H′, 2.54 to 3.25). Dominant taxa were Gammap...

  17. A genomic approach to coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis: Studies of Acropora digitifera and Symbiodinium minutum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuya eShinzato

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Far more intimate knowledge of scleractinian coral biology is essential in order to understand how diverse coral-symbiont endosymbioses have been established. In particular, molecular and cellular mechanisms enabling the establishment and maintenance of obligate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates require further clarification. By extension, such understanding may also shed light upon environmental conditions that promote the collapse of this mutualism. Genomic data undergird studies of all symbiotic processes. Here we review recent genomic data derived from the scleractinian coral, Acropora digitifera, and the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium minutum. We discuss Acropora genes involved in calcification, embryonic development, innate immunity, apoptosis, autophagy, UV resistance, fluorescence, photoreceptors, circadian clocks, etc. We also detail gene loss in amino acid metabolism that may explain at least part of the Acropora stress-response. Characteristic features of the Symbiodinium genome are also reviewed, focusing on the expansion of certain gene families, the molecular basis for permanently condensed chromatin, unique spliceosomal splicing, and unusual gene arrangement. Salient features of the Symbiodinium plastid and mitochondrial genomes are also illuminated. Although many questions regarding these interdependent genomes remain, we summarize information necessary for future studies of coral-dinoflagellate endosymbiosis.

  18. Characterization of geographically distinct bacterial communities associated with coral mucus produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKew, B A; Dumbrell, A J; Daud, S D; Hepburn, L; Thorpe, E; Mogensen, L; Whitby, C

    2012-08-01

    Acropora and Porites corals are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Bacteria associated with mucus produced by Porites spp. and Acropora spp. from Caribbean (Punta Maroma, Mexico) and Indo-Pacific (Hoga and Sampela, Indonesia) reefs were determined. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities from Caribbean corals were significantly more diverse (H', 3.18 to 4.25) than their Indonesian counterparts (H', 2.54 to 3.25). Dominant taxa were Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Cyanobacteria, which varied in relative abundance between coral genera and region. Distinct coral host-specific communities were also found; for example, Clostridiales were dominant on Acropora spp. (at Hoga and the Mexican Caribbean) compared to Porites spp. and seawater. Within the Gammproteobacteria, Halomonas spp. dominated sequence libraries from Porites spp. (49%) and Acropora spp. (5.6%) from the Mexican Caribbean, compared to the corresponding Indonesian coral libraries (coral mucus. In addition, the predominance of Clostridiales associated with Acropora spp. provided additional evidence for coral host-specific microorganisms. PMID:22636010

  19. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization

    OpenAIRE

    Paula Ramos-Silva; Jaap Kaandorp; Frédéric Herbst; Laurent Plasseraud; Gérard Alcaraz; Christine Stern; Marion Corneillat; Nathalie Guichard; Christophe Durlet; Gilles Luquet; Frédéric Marin

    2014-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef responses to environmental changes such as temperature rise and ocean acidification (OA). In these contexts, several nucleic acid resources were made available. When combined to a recent proteomic analys...

  20. Gene expression in the scleractinian Acropora microphthalma exposed to high solar irradiance reveals elements of photoprotection and coral bleaching.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Starcevic

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs, which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a 'shared metabolic adaptation' between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca(2+-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral

  1. Changes in spawning time led to the speciation of the broadcast spawning corals Acropora digitifera and the cryptic species Acropora sp. 1 with similar gamete recognition systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohki, Shun; Kowalski, Radoslaw K.; Kitanobo, Seiya; Morita, Masaya

    2015-12-01

    Multi-species spawning is reported in the coral genus Acropora, but hybridization in nature rarely occurs because of the incompatibility of gametes and the timing of spawning. However, the evolutionary relationships between gamete compatibility and spawning time are obscure. Investigations of gamete compatibility in sister species that spawn at different times may provide clues to answering this question. Acropora sp. 1 has been defined as a cryptic species of Acropora digitifera, and they are morphologically similar, but spawn in different months, suggesting that they are either a cryptic species or a different species. We examined the morphology and conducted crossing experiments using cryopreserved sperm. The morphologies (branch length, branch width, and outer diameter of axial corallites) of A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 differed significantly. A phylogenetic tree of partial Pax- C nuclear sequences from A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 shows that they are monophyletic and closely related genetically, based on F ST values and P-distance. These results imply that these two species originated recently from a common ancestor. In addition, cryopreserved sperm from both A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 showed bidirectional inter-crossing (cryopreserved sperm of A. digitifera and eggs of Acropora sp. 1 from Sesoko: 32.1 ± 6.7 %, control-conspecific cryopreserved sperm and eggs: 46.1 ± 10.6 %; cryopreserved sperm of Acropora sp. 1 and eggs of A. digitifera from Oku: 63.3 ± 16.6 %, control: 83.6 ± 6.0 %). The results suggest that the gametes of these two species are compatible and that the pre-zygotic isolation mechanism is relaxed because their gametes do not interact. Overall, these two species should be classified as distinct species, and changes in spawning time are related to speciation in a similar gamete recognition system.

  2. Development and heat stress-induced transcriptomic changes during embryogenesis of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata

    KAUST Repository

    Portune, Kevin J.

    2010-03-01

    Projected elevation of seawater temperatures poses a threat to the reproductive success of Caribbean reef-building corals that have planktonic development during the warmest months of the year. This study examined the transcriptomic changes that occurred during embryonic and larval development of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, at a non-stressful temperature (28 °C) and further assessed the effects of two elevated temperatures (30 °C and 31.5 °C) on these expression patterns. Using cDNA microarrays, we compared expression levels of 2051 genes from early embryos and larvae at multiple developmental stages (including pre-blastula, blastula, gastrula, and planula stages) at each of the three temperatures. At 12 h post-fertilization in 28 °C treatments, genes involved in cell replication/cell division and transcription were up-regulated in A. palmata embryos, followed by a reduction in expression of these genes during later growth stages. From 24.5 to 131 h post-fertilization at 28 °C, A. palmata altered its transcriptome by up-regulating genes involved in protein synthesis and metabolism. Temperatures of 30 °C and 31.5 °C caused major changes to the A. palmata embryonic transcriptomes, particularly in the samples from 24.5 hpf post-fertilization, characterized by down-regulation of numerous genes involved in cell replication/cell division, metabolism, cytoskeleton, and transcription, while heat shock genes were up-regulated compared to 28 °C treatments. These results suggest that increased temperature may cause a breakdown in proper gene expression during development in A. palmata by down-regulation of genes involved in essential cellular processes, which may lead to the abnormal development and reduced survivorship documented in other studies. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Calcification and photosynthesis of the coral acropora cervicornis under calcium limited conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rathfon, Megan; Brewer, Debbie

    1997-01-01

    Differing hypothesis about the function of calcification are based on an interesting dilemma. Is the purpose of calcification mainly a structural and protective one or does calcification serve other functions? Does photosynthesis increase carbonate ion activity and cause calcification or does calcification increase CO2 levels and stimulate photsynthesis? It is proposed that calcification in corals is not dependent upon photosynthesis but upon calcium levels in the water. Under normal ocean conditions, corals convert a certain percentage of energy to photosynthesis and respiration and another percentage to calcification. As corals become nutrient stressed, particularly calcium limited, the ratio of photosynthesis to calcification shifts towards calcification in order to generate protons. The protons generated during calcification may stimulate photosynthesis and aid in the uptake of nutrients and biocarbonates. The results of the calcification experiment show a trend towards increased calcification and decreased photosynthesis when the coral Acropora cervicornis is calcium limited, but the data are inconclusive and further research is needed.

  4. Patterns of fertility in the two Red Sea Corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    AHMED H. OBUID-ALLAH

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Ammar MSA Obuid-Allah AH, Al-Hammady MAM. 2012. Patterns of fertility in the two Red Sea Corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis. Nusantara Bioscience 4: 62-75. Patterns of fertilities (total testes and total eggs for the hermatypic coral Acropora humilis were lower than those in Stylophora pistillata at the four studied sites. Site 3 (El-Hamraween harbor, the site impacted with phosphate, recorded the highest annual mean of testes number and egg number in the two studied species Acropora humilis and S. pistillata. However, site 1, the site impacted with oil pollution and fishing activities, recorded the lowest annual mean of testes number, total testes, egg number and total egg for the two studied species. Thus, phosphorus enrichment seems to be considerably less destructive than oil pollution, and thus may represent an ‘eco-friendly’. Testes were observed full of sperms during winter season in the sectioned polyps of A. humilis, while eggs were detected during autumn and winter. However, the lack of eggs in S. pistillata occurred only during spring season at all the studied sites. In the studied coral species, the ova were developed first before spermeria. The breeding season of coral reefs differs in both different localities and different species extending from December to July in the northern Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba and Southern Red Sea (the present study. While in A. humilis, the breeding season extend from February to June in the Great Barrier Reef, in the Gulf of Aqaba and in Hurghada (the present study. Tough control, public awareness and continuous shore patrolling to the activities of oil pollution and fishing activities at the vicinity of site 1 (Ras El-Behar are urgent. Although existing corals may continue to grow and survive in an area with elevated nutrients levels, it is essential to maintain water quality on coral reefs within ecologically appropriate limits to ensure successful reproduction of coral and provide

  5. Pathology of tissue loss (white syndrome) in Acropora sp. corals from the Central Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2011-01-01

    We performed histological examination of 69 samples of Acropora sp. manifesting different types of tissue loss (Acropora White Syndrome-AWS) from Hawaii, Johnston Atoll and American Samoa between 2002 and 2006. Gross lesions of tissue loss were observed and classified as diffuse acute, diffuse subacute, and focal to multifocal acute to subacute. Corals with acute tissue loss manifested microscopic evidence of necrosis sometimes associated with ciliates, helminths, fungi, algae, sponges, or cyanobacteria whereas those with subacute tissue loss manifested mainly wound repair. Gross lesions of AWS have multiple different changes at the microscopic level some of which involve various microorganisms and metazoa. Elucidating this disease will require, among other things, monitoring lesions over time to determine the pathogenesis of AWS and the potential role of tissue-associated microorganisms in the genesis of tissue loss. Attempts to experimentally induce AWS should include microscopic examination of tissues to ensure that potentially causative microorganisms associated with gross lesion are not overlooked.

  6. Global warming and coral reefs: modelling the effect of temperature on Acropora palmata colony growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2007-08-01

    Data on colony growth of the branching coral Acropora palmata from fringing reefs off Discovery Bay on the north coast of Jamaica have been obtained over the period 2002-2007 using underwater photography and image analysis by both SCUBA and remotely using an ROV incorporating twin lasers. Growth modelling shows that while logarithmic growth is an approximate model for growth, a 3:3 rational polynomial function provides a significantly better fit to growth data for this coral species. Over the period 2002-2007, involving several cycles of sea surface temperature (SST) change, the rate of growth of A. palmata was largely proportional to rate of change of SST, with R(2)=0.935. These results have implications for the influence of global warming and climate change on coral reef ecosystems. PMID:17631417

  7. Human pathogen shown to cause disease in the threatened eklhorn coral Acropora palmata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn Patterson Sutherland

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are in severe decline. Infections by the human pathogen Serratia marcescens have contributed to precipitous losses in the common Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, culminating in its listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. During a 2003 outbreak of this coral disease, called acroporid serratiosis (APS, a unique strain of the pathogen, Serratia marcescens strain PDR60, was identified from diseased A. palmata, human wastewater, the non-host coral Siderastrea siderea and the corallivorous snail Coralliophila abbreviata. In order to examine humans as a source and other marine invertebrates as vectors and/or reservoirs of the APS pathogen, challenge experiments were conducted with A. palmata maintained in closed aquaria to determine infectivity of strain PDR60 from reef and wastewater sources. Strain PDR60 from wastewater and diseased A. palmata caused disease signs in elkhorn coral in as little as four and five days, respectively, demonstrating that wastewater is a definitive source of APS and identifying human strain PDR60 as a coral pathogen through fulfillment of Koch's postulates. A. palmata inoculated with strain PDR60 from C. abbreviata showed limited virulence, with one of three inoculated fragments developing APS signs within 13 days. Strain PDR60 from non-host coral S. siderea showed a delayed pathogenic effect, with disease signs developing within an average of 20 days. These results suggest that C. abbreviata and non-host corals may function as reservoirs or vectors of the APS pathogen. Our results provide the first example of a marine "reverse zoonosis" involving the transmission of a human pathogen (S. marcescens to a marine invertebrate (A. palmata. These findings underscore the interaction between public health practices and environmental health indices such as coral reef survival.

  8. Gene expression patterns of the coral Acropora millepora in response to contact with macroalgae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, T. L.; Rasher, D. B.; Snell, T. W.; Hay, M. E.

    2012-12-01

    Contact with macroalgae often causes coral mortality, but the roles of abrasion versus shading versus allelopathy in these interactions are rarely clear, and effects on gene expression are unknown. Identification of gene expression changes within corals in response to contact with macroalgae can provide insight into the mode of action of allelochemicals, as well as reveal transcriptional strategies of the coral that mitigate damage from this competitive interaction, enabling the coral to survive. Gene expression responses of the coral Acropora millepora after long-term (20 days) direct contact with macroalgae ( Chlorodesmis fastigiata, Dictyota bartayresiana, Galaxaura filamentosa, and Turbinaria conoides) and short-term (1 and 24 h) exposure to C. fastigiata thalli and their hydrophobic extract were assessed. After 20 days of exposure, T. conoides thalli elicited no significant change in visual bleaching or zooxanthellae PSII quantum yield within A. millepora nubbins, but stimulated the greatest alteration in gene expression of all treatments. Chlorodesmis fastigiata, D. bartayresiana, and G. filamentosa caused significant visual bleaching of coral nubbins and reduced the PSII quantum yield of associated zooxanthellae after 20 days, but elicited fewer changes in gene expression relative to T. conoides at day 20. To evaluate initial molecular processes leading to reduction of zooxanthella PSII quantum yield, visual bleaching, and coral death, short-term exposures to C. fastigiata thalli and hydrophobic extracts were conducted; these interactions revealed protein degradation and significant changes in catalytic and metabolic activity within 24 h of contact. These molecular responses are consistent with the hypothesis that allelopathic interactions lead to alteration of signal transduction and an imbalance between reactive oxidant species production and antioxidant capabilities within the coral holobiont. This oxidative imbalance results in rapid protein degradation

  9. Integral Light-Harvesting Complex Expression In Symbiodinium Within The Coral Acropora aspera Under Thermal Stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gierz, Sarah L; Gordon, Benjamin R; Leggat, William

    2016-01-01

    Coral reef success is largely dependent on the symbiosis between coral hosts and dinoflagellate symbionts belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Elevated temperatures can result in the expulsion of Symbiodinium or loss of their photosynthetic pigments and is known as coral bleaching. It has been postulated that the expression of light-harvesting protein complexes (LHCs), which bind chlorophylls (chl) and carotenoids, are important in photobleaching. This study explored the effect a sixteen-day thermal stress (increasing daily from 25-34 °C) on integral LHC (chlorophyll a-chlorophyll c2-peridinin protein complex (acpPC)) gene expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera. Thermal stress leads to a decrease in Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency by day eight, while symbiont density was significantly lower on day sixteen. Over this time period, the gene expression of five Symbiodinium acpPC genes was quantified. Three acpPC genes exhibited up-regulated expression when corals were exposed to temperatures above 31.5 °C (acpPCSym_1:1, day sixteen; acpPCSym_15, day twelve; and (acpPCSym_18), day ten and day sixteen). In contrast, the expression of acpPCSym_5:1 and acpPCSym_10:1 was unchanged throughout the experiment. Interestingly, the three acpPC genes with increased expression cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of light-harvesting complexes. PMID:27117333

  10. Small-scale mapping of indeterminate arborescent acroporid coral ( Acropora cervicornis) patches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, B. K.; Larson, E. A.; Moulding, A. L.; Gilliam, D. S.

    2012-09-01

    Western Atlantic populations of the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis have drastically declined over the past few decades. Hence, interest in its ecology and spatial extent has increased. Acroporid corals with indeterminate arborescent growth like A. cervicornis primarily reproduce asexually by fragmentation, which can lead to extensive monotypic patches. Since fragmentation is a major component in indeterminate acroporid reproduction, these patches may expand or move over time. Periodic perimeter mapping facilitates comparison of patch areas to determine movement or expansion. A repeatable, low-cost method using a differential GPS carried by a snorkeler was employed to map the perimeter of A. cervicornis patches in southeast Florida. Perimeters were mapped over a 3-year period. Patch boundaries were dynamic, expanding in one or more directions. Patch areas increased by up to 7.5 times their original size and moved up to 51 m. Results were corroborated by spatial cluster analyses of in situ live coral cover measurements. Getis-Ord Gi* statistic and Anselin Local Moran's I spatial cluster analyses of live coral cover within an array of in situ monitoring plots indicated that significant high cover clusters moved in the direction of mapped patch perimeter expansion. Expansion was coupled by more than 50 % decreases in total live cover. Information gained herein shows that A. cervicornis patches are spatially and temporally dynamic, having implications to long-term permanent transect monitoring studies and framework development. Results may be applicable to other shallow water indeterminate arborescent acroporid coral species.

  11. Integral Light-Harvesting Complex Expression In Symbiodinium Within The Coral Acropora aspera Under Thermal Stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gierz, Sarah L.; Gordon, Benjamin R.; Leggat, William

    2016-04-01

    Coral reef success is largely dependent on the symbiosis between coral hosts and dinoflagellate symbionts belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Elevated temperatures can result in the expulsion of Symbiodinium or loss of their photosynthetic pigments and is known as coral bleaching. It has been postulated that the expression of light-harvesting protein complexes (LHCs), which bind chlorophylls (chl) and carotenoids, are important in photobleaching. This study explored the effect a sixteen-day thermal stress (increasing daily from 25–34 °C) on integral LHC (chlorophyll a-chlorophyll c2-peridinin protein complex (acpPC)) gene expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera. Thermal stress leads to a decrease in Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency by day eight, while symbiont density was significantly lower on day sixteen. Over this time period, the gene expression of five Symbiodinium acpPC genes was quantified. Three acpPC genes exhibited up-regulated expression when corals were exposed to temperatures above 31.5 °C (acpPCSym_1:1, day sixteen; acpPCSym_15, day twelve; and acpPCSym_18, day ten and day sixteen). In contrast, the expression of acpPCSym_5:1 and acpPCSym_10:1 was unchanged throughout the experiment. Interestingly, the three acpPC genes with increased expression cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of light-harvesting complexes.

  12. Proteomic analysis of bleached and unbleached Acropora palmata, a threatened coral species of the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricaurte, Martha; Schizas, Nikolaos V; Ciborowski, Pawel; Boukli, Nawal M

    2016-06-15

    There has been an increase in the scale and frequency of coral bleaching around the world due mainly to changes in sea temperature. This may occur at large scales, often resulting in significant decline in coral coverage. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the ever-increasing incidence of coral bleaching, we have undertaken a comparative proteomic approach with the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Using a proteomic tandem mass spectrometry approach, we identified 285 and 321 expressed protein signatures in bleached and unbleached A. palmata colonies, respectively, in southwestern Puerto Rico. Overall the expression level of 38 key proteins was significantly different between bleached and unbleached corals. A wide range of proteins was detected and categorized, including transcription factors involved mainly in heat stress/UV responses, immunity, apoptosis, biomineralization, the cytoskeleton, and endo-exophagocytosis. The results suggest that for bleached A. palmata, there was an induced differential protein expression response compared with those colonies that did not bleach under the same environmental conditions. PMID:27105725

  13. Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    V.F. Chamberland; M.J.A. Vermeij; M. Brittsan; M. Carl; M. Schick; S. Snowden; A. Schrier; D. Petersen

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations provide important ecological functions on shallow Caribbean reefs, many of which were lost when a disease reduced their abundance by more than 95% beginning in the mid-1970s. Since then, a lack of significant recovery has prompted rehabilitation initiativ

  14. Gene discovery in the threatened elkhorn coral: 454 sequencing of the Acropora palmata transcriptome.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Cnidarians, including corals and anemones, offer unique insights into metazoan evolution because they harbor genetic similarities with vertebrates beyond that found in model invertebrates and retain genes known only from non-metazoans. Cataloging genes expressed in Acropora palmata, a foundation-species of reefs in the Caribbean and western Atlantic, will advance our understanding of the genetic basis of ecologically important traits in corals and comes at a time when sequencing efforts in other cnidarians allow for multi-species comparisons. RESULTS: A cDNA library from a sample enriched for symbiont free larval tissue was sequenced on the 454 GS-FLX platform. Over 960,000 reads were obtained and assembled into 42,630 contigs. Annotation data was acquired for 57% of the assembled sequences. Analysis of the assembled sequences indicated that 83-100% of all A. palmata transcripts were tagged, and provided a rough estimate of the total number genes expressed in our samples (~18,000-20,000. The coral annotation data contained many of the same molecular components as in the Bilateria, particularly in pathways associated with oxidative stress and DNA damage repair, and provided evidence that homologs of p53, a key player in DNA repair pathways, has experienced selection along the branch separating Cnidaria and Bilateria. Transcriptome wide screens of paralog groups and transition/transversion ratios highlighted genes including: green fluorescent proteins, carbonic anhydrase, and oxidative stress proteins; and functional groups involved in protein and nucleic acid metabolism, and the formation of structural molecules. These results provide a starting point for study of adaptive evolution in corals. CONCLUSIONS: Currently available transcriptome data now make comparative studies of the mechanisms underlying coral's evolutionary success possible. Here we identified candidate genes that enable corals to maintain genomic integrity despite

  15. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula Ramos-Silva

    Full Text Available The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef responses to environmental changes such as temperature rise and ocean acidification (OA. In these contexts, several nucleic acid resources were made available. When combined to a recent proteomic analysis of the coral skeletal organic matrix (SOM, they enabled the identification of several skeletal matrix proteins, making A. millepora into an emerging model for biomineralization studies. Here we describe the skeletal microstructure of A. millepora skeleton, together with a functional and biochemical characterization of its occluded SOM that focuses on the protein and saccharidic moieties. The skeletal matrix proteins show a large range of isoelectric points, compositional patterns and signatures. Besides secreted proteins, there are a significant number of proteins with membrane attachment sites such as transmembrane domains and GPI anchors as well as proteins with integrin binding sites. These features show that the skeletal proteins must have strong adhesion properties in order to function in the calcifying space. Moreover this data suggest a molecular connection between the calcifying epithelium and the skeletal tissue during biocalcification. In terms of sugar moieties, the enrichment of the SOM in arabinose is striking, and the monosaccharide composition exhibits the same signature as that of mucus of acroporid corals. Finally, we observe that the interaction of the acetic acid soluble SOM on the morphology of in vitro grown CaCO3 crystals is very pronounced when compared with the calcifying matrices of some mollusks. In light of these results, we wish to commend Acropora millepora as a model for biocalcification studies in scleractinians, from

  16. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramos-Silva, Paula; Kaandorp, Jaap; Herbst, Frédéric; Plasseraud, Laurent; Alcaraz, Gérard; Stern, Christine; Corneillat, Marion; Guichard, Nathalie; Durlet, Christophe; Luquet, Gilles; Marin, Frédéric

    2014-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef responses to environmental changes such as temperature rise and ocean acidification (OA). In these contexts, several nucleic acid resources were made available. When combined to a recent proteomic analysis of the coral skeletal organic matrix (SOM), they enabled the identification of several skeletal matrix proteins, making A. millepora into an emerging model for biomineralization studies. Here we describe the skeletal microstructure of A. millepora skeleton, together with a functional and biochemical characterization of its occluded SOM that focuses on the protein and saccharidic moieties. The skeletal matrix proteins show a large range of isoelectric points, compositional patterns and signatures. Besides secreted proteins, there are a significant number of proteins with membrane attachment sites such as transmembrane domains and GPI anchors as well as proteins with integrin binding sites. These features show that the skeletal proteins must have strong adhesion properties in order to function in the calcifying space. Moreover this data suggest a molecular connection between the calcifying epithelium and the skeletal tissue during biocalcification. In terms of sugar moieties, the enrichment of the SOM in arabinose is striking, and the monosaccharide composition exhibits the same signature as that of mucus of acroporid corals. Finally, we observe that the interaction of the acetic acid soluble SOM on the morphology of in vitro grown CaCO3 crystals is very pronounced when compared with the calcifying matrices of some mollusks. In light of these results, we wish to commend Acropora millepora as a model for biocalcification studies in scleractinians, from molecular and structural

  17. Cryptobiota associated to dead Acropora palmata (Scleractinia: Acroporidae coral, Isla Grande, Colombian Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia K. Moreno-Forero

    1998-06-01

    Full Text Available Cryptobiota of dead fragments of five branches in live position and five fallen pieces of the coral Acropora palmata each one of approximate 1dm3, covered by filamentous algae were extracted from the north reef crest of Isla Grande (Colombian Caribbean, in April 1991. There were three groups of organisms according to size and position (on and within the coral: 1 mobile epibenthos, mainly microcrustaceans that live among the filamentous algae 2 boring microcryptobiota, located in the layer between the epilithic organisms and the coral skeleton itself and, 3 perforating macrocryptobionts that bore and penetrate the coral skeleton. Polychaetes, sipuncu-lids, mollusks and crustaceans were most abundant in the last group. There were no differences in macrocryptobiont composition between standing dead branches and fallen fragments. There was a large variation in total biomass and type and density of macro-cryptobionts, possibly associated to stochastic factors such as placement and thickness of branches and small scale variations in recruitmentLa criptobiota de diez fragmentos coralinos muertos de Acropora palmata, de 10 dm3 cada uno, cubiertos de algas filamentosas, se colectó en abril de 1991en la cresta arrecifal de Isla Grande (Caribe colombiano. Se halló tres grupos: 1 móviles epibentónicos asociados a las algas filamentosas y conformados principalmente por microcrustáceos; 2 microcriptobiontes perforantes, ubicados en la capa intermedia entre los organismos epilíticos y el esqueleto del coral y 3 macrocriptobiontes que perforan todo el cuerpo del esqueleto coralino (principalmente poliquetos, sipuncúlidos, moluscos y crustáceos. No se encontraron diferencias en la composición de los macrocriptobiontes que habitan los corales en posición de vida y los fragmentos caidos sobre el fondo. Se presentó una amplia variación en biomasa total, tipo y densidad de macrocriptobiontes, posiblemente asociada a factores estocásticos tales como la

  18. Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals

    OpenAIRE

    Melissa S. Roth; Deheyn, Dimitri D.

    2013-01-01

    Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals...

  19. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Agostini, Sylvain; Casareto, Beatriz Estela; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Yuyama, Ikuko

    2015-01-01

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached at 13 °C, but recovered once temperatures were increased. The two other species, A. hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis, which has a more southerly range than A. pruinosa, died rapidly after bleaching at 13 °C. The physiological effects of cold bleaching on the corals included decreased rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification, similar to the physiological effects observed with bleaching due to high temperature stress. Contrasting hot bleaching, no increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed, suggesting that reactive oxygen species play a less important role in bleaching under cold stress. These results confirmed the importance of resilience to cold stress in determining the distribution and northern limits of coral species, as cold events causing coral bleaching and high mortality occur regularly in temperate zones. PMID:26680690

  20. Acropora_CH_po

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — These data represent the critical habitat for elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) as designated by 73 FR 72210, November 26, 2008,...

  1. Population genetic structure between Yap and Palau for the coral Acropora hyacinthus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cros, Annick; Toonen, Robert J; Davies, Sarah W; Karl, Stephen A

    2016-01-01

    Information on connectivity is becoming increasingly in demand as marine protected areas are being designed as an integral part of a network to protect marine resources at the ecosystem level. Larval dispersal and population structure, however, remain very difficult to assess. Here, we tested the predictions of a detailed oceanographic connectivity model of larval dispersal and coral recruitment within Palau and between Palau and Yap, which was developed to support the review of the existing network of marine protected areas in Palau. We used high throughput microsatellite genotyping of the coral Acropora hyacinthus to characterize population genetic structure. Pairwise F' ST values between Palau and Yap (0.10), Palau and Ngulu (0.09) and Yap and Ngulu (0.09) were all significant and similar to pairwise F' ST values of sites within Palau (0.02-0.12) and within Yap (0.02-0.09) highlighting structure at island scale and indicating that recruitment may be even more localized than previously anticipated. A bottleneck test did not reveal any signs of a founder effect between Yap and Palau. Overall, the data supports the idea that recovery of A. hyacinthus in Palau did not come exclusively from a single source but most likely came from a combination of areas, including sites within Palau. In light of these results there seems to be very little connectivity around the barrier reef and management recommendation would be to increase the number or the size of MPAs within Palau. PMID:27602294

  2. Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes

    OpenAIRE

    Valérie F. Chamberland; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Mike Brittsan; Mitch Carl; Mark Schick; Skylar Snowden; Adriaan Schrier; Dirk Petersen

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations provide important ecological functions on shallow Caribbean reefs, many of which were lost when a disease reduced their abundance by more than 95% beginning in the mid-1970s. Since then, a lack of significant recovery has prompted rehabilitation initiatives throughout the Caribbean. Here, we report the first successful outplanting and long-term survival of A. palmata settlers reared from gametes collected in the field. A. palmata larvae were settle...

  3. Lunar Phase Modulates Circadian Gene Expression Cycles in the Broadcast Spawning Coral Acropora millepora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, Aisling K; Willis, Bette L; Harder, Lawrence D; Vize, Peter D

    2016-04-01

    Many broadcast spawning corals in multiple reef regions release their gametes with incredible temporal precision just once per year, using the lunar cycle to set the night of spawning. Moonlight, rather than tides or other lunar-regulated processes, is thought to be the proximate factor responsible for linking the night of spawning to the phase of the Moon. We compared patterns of gene expression among colonies of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora at different phases of the lunar cycle, and when they were maintained under one of three experimentally simulated lunar lighting treatments: i) lunar lighting conditions matching those on the reef, or lunar patterns mimicking either ii) constant full Moon conditions, or iii) constant new Moon conditions. Normal lunar illumination was found to shift both the level and timing of clock gene transcription cycles between new and full moons, with the peak hour of expression for a number of genes occurring earlier in the evening under a new Moon when compared to a full Moon. When the normal lunar cycle is replaced with nighttime patterns equivalent to either a full Moon or a new Moon every evening, the normal monthlong changes in the level of expression are destroyed for most genes. In combination, these results indicate that daily changes in moonlight that occur over the lunar cycle are essential for maintaining normal lunar periodicity of clock gene transcription, and this may play a role in regulating spawn timing. These data also show that low levels of light pollution may have an impact on coral biological clocks. PMID:27132135

  4. Comparative 16S rRNA signatures and multilocus sequence analysis for the genus Salinicola and description of Salinicola acroporae sp. nov., isolated from coral Acropora digitifera.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lepcha, Rinchen T; Poddar, Abhijit; Schumann, Peter; Das, Subrata K

    2015-07-01

    A novel Gram-negative, aerobic, motile marine bacterium, strain S4-41(T), was isolated from mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from the Andaman Sea. Heterotrophic growth was observed in 0-25 % NaCl, at 15-45 °C and pH 4.5-9. In phylogenetic trees, strain S4-41(T) was grouped within the genus Salinicola but formed a separate branch distant from a cluster composed of Salinicola salarius M27(T) and Salinicola socius SMB35(T). DNA-DNA relatedness between strain S4-41(T) and these reference strains were well below 70 %. Q-9 was the sole respiratory quinone. The DNA G+C content was determined to be 63.6 mol%. Based on a polyphasic analysis, strain S4-41(T) is concluded to represent a novel species in the genus Salinicola for which the name Salinicola acroporae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is S4-41(T) (=JCM 30412(T) = LMG 28587(T)). Comparative 16S rRNA analysis of the genera Salinicola, Kushneria, Chromohalobacter and Cobetia revealed the presence of genus specific sequence signatures. Multilocus sequence analysis based on concatenated sequences of rRNAs (16S and 23S) and four protein coding housekeeping genes (atpA, gyrB, secA, rpoD) was found to be unnecessary for phylogenetic studies of the genus Salinicola. PMID:25944083

  5. Demography of the threatened coral Acropora cervicornis: implications for its management and conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercado-Molina, Alex E.; Ruiz-Diaz, Claudia P.; Pérez, María E.; Rodríguez-Barreras, Ruber; Sabat, Alberto M.

    2015-12-01

    Populations of Acropora cervicornis have collapsed throughout the Caribbean. This situation has prompted the initiation of many restoration efforts; yet, there are insufficient demographic data and analyses to effectively guide these initiatives. In this study we assessed the spatiotemporal variability of A. cervicornis vital rates. We also developed a population matrix model to (1) evaluate the risk of population extinction, (2) estimate population growth rates (λ) considering different rates of colony fragmentation and fragment survival, (3) determine the demographic transition(s) that contribute the most to spatiotemporal differences in λs, and (4) analyze the effectiveness of outplanting coral fragments of different sizes. The model was parameterized by following the fate of 300 colonies from 2011 to 2013 at two localities in Puerto Rico. Demographic transitions varied spatiotemporally, with a significant interaction between location and time period on colony fate. Spatiotemporal variations in λ were also observed. During the first year, populations exhibited λs below equilibrium (0.918 and 0.948), followed by a dramatic decline at both sites (0.535 and 0.709) during the second year. The lower λs were caused by a decrease in the probability of stasis of large-sized colonies coupled with lack of sexual recruits and a meager contribution of asexual recruitment. Spatial variations in λs were largely due to differences in the probability of medium-sized colonies advancing to the largest size class. The viability analysis forecasts that the populations will reach quasi-extinction levels of 25 % of the initial population size in ≤16 yrs. Numerical simulations indicate that outplanting fragments ≥250 cm in total linear length (TLL) would result in a higher asymptotic population size than outplanting smaller fragments. We argue, however, that transplanting colonies ≤100 cm TLL will be a better management strategy because they can be produced faster and in

  6. Disease prevalence and snail predation associated with swell-generated damage on the threatened coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bright, Allan J.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Brandt, Marilyn E.; Muller, Erinn; Smith, Tyler B.

    2016-01-01

    Disturbances such as tropical storms cause coral mortality and reduce coral cover as a direct result of physical damage. Storms can be one of the most important disturbances in coral reef ecosystems, and it is crucial to understand their long-term impacts on coral populations. The primary objective of this study was to determine trends in disease prevalence and snail predation on damaged and undamaged colonies of the threatened coral species, Acropora palmata, following an episode of heavy ocean swells in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). At three sites on St. Thomas and St. John, colonies of A. palmata were surveyed monthly over 1 year following a series of large swells in March 2008 that fragmented 30–93% of colonies on monitored reefs. Post-disturbance surveys conducted from April 2008 through March 2009 showed that swell-generated damage to A. palmata caused negative indirect effects that compounded the initial direct effects of physical disturbance. During the 12 months after the swell event, white pox disease prevalence was 41% higher for colonies that sustained damage from the swells than for undamaged colonies (df = 207, p = 0.01) with greatest differences in disease prevalence occurring during warm water months. In addition, the corallivorous snail, Coralliophila abbreviata, was 46% more abundant on damaged corals than undamaged corals during the 12 months after the swell event (df = 207, p = 0.006).

  7. The impact of reduced pH on the microbial community of the coral Acropora eurystoma

    OpenAIRE

    Meron, Dalit; Atias, Elinor; Iasur Kruh, Lilach; Elifantz, Hila; Minz, Dror; Fine, Maoz; Banin, Ehud

    2010-01-01

    Rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are acidifying the world's oceans. Surface seawater pH is 0.1 units lower than pre-industrial values and is predicted to decrease by up to 0.4 units by the end of the century. This change in pH may result in changes in the physiology of ocean organisms, in particular, organisms that build their skeletons/shells from calcium carbonate, such as corals. This physiological change may also affect other members of the coral holobiont, for example,...

  8. Culture independent characterization of bacteria associated with the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from the Gulf of Mannar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nithyanand, Paramasivam; Indhumathi, Thiruvalluvan; Ravi, Arumugam Veera; Pandian, Shunmugiah Karutha

    2011-06-01

    Corals are sessile eukaryotic hosts which provide a unique surface for microbial colonization. Culture independent studies show that the coral mucus and tissue harbour diverse and abundant prokaryotic communities. However, little is known about the diversity of bacteria associated with the corals of Gulf of Mannar. The present study characterised the bacterial diversity associated with the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from the Gulf of Mannar by 16S rRNA gene clone library construction. The bacterial communities of the mucus of A. digitifera were diverse, with representatives within the Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and several unclassified bacteria. The culture independent bacterial population was totally different from our previous culture dependent study of the mucus and tissue of the same coral. 36% of the bacteria in the clone library of A. digitifera were found to be novel after full length sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene wherein several clones were found to be novel at the Genus and species level. The current study further supports the findings that Actinobacteria amount to a certain proportion among bacterial communities associated with corals. PMID:25187139

  9. Transcriptomic differences between day and night in Acropora millepora provide new insights into metabolite exchange and light-enhanced calcification in corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bertucci, A; Forêt, S; Ball, E E; Miller, D J

    2015-09-01

    The evolutionary success of reef-building corals is often attributed to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium, but metabolic interactions between the partners and the molecular bases of light-enhanced calcification (LEC) are not well understood. Here, the metabolic bases of the interaction between the coral Acropora millepora and its dinoflagellate symbiont were investigated by comparing gene expression levels under light and dark conditions at the whole transcriptome level. Among the 497 differentially expressed genes identified, a suite of genes involved in cholesterol transport was found to be upregulated under light conditions, confirming the significance of this compound in the coral symbiosis. Although ion transporters likely to have roles in calcification were not differentially expressed in this study, expression levels of many genes associated with skeletal organic matrix composition and organization were higher in light conditions. This implies that the rate of organic matrix synthesis is one factor limiting calcification at night. Thus, LEC during the day is likely to be a consequence of increases in both matrix synthesis and the supply of precursor molecules as a result of photosynthetic activity. PMID:26198296

  10. Differential expression of three galaxin-related genes during settlement and metamorphosis in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miller David J

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The coral skeleton consists of CaCO3 deposited upon an organic matrix primarily as aragonite. Currently galaxin, from Galaxea fascicularis, is the only soluble protein component of the organic matrix that has been characterized from a coral. Three genes related to galaxin were identified in the coral Acropora millepora. Results One of the Acropora genes (Amgalaxin encodes a clear galaxin ortholog, while the others (Amgalaxin-like 1 and Amgalaxin-like 2 encode larger and more divergent proteins. All three proteins are predicted to be extracellular and share common structural features, most notably the presence of repetitive motifs containing dicysteine residues. In situ hybridization reveals distinct, but partially overlapping, spatial expression of the genes in patterns consistent with distinct roles in calcification. Both of the Amgalaxin-like genes are expressed exclusively in the early stages of calcification, while Amgalaxin continues to be expressed in the adult, consistent with the situation in the coral Galaxea. Conclusion Comparisons with molluscs suggest functional convergence in the two groups; lustrin A/pearlin proteins may be the mollusc counterparts of galaxin, whereas the galaxin-like proteins combine characteristics of two distinct proteins involved in mollusc calcification. Database searches indicate that, although sequences with high similarity to the galaxins are restricted to the Scleractinia, more divergent members of this protein family are present in other cnidarians and some other metazoans. We suggest that ancestral galaxins may have been secondarily recruited to roles in calcification in the Triassic, when the Scleractinia first appeared. Understanding the evolution of the broader galaxin family will require wider sampling and expression analysis in a range of cnidarians and other animals.

  11. Experimental effect of temperature and sedimentation on bleaching of the two Red Sea corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MOHAMMED S.A. AMMAR

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Ammar MSA, Obuid-Allah AH, Al-Hammady MAM. 2013. Experimental effect of temperature and sedimentation on bleaching of the two Red Sea corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis. Nusantara Bioscience 5: 73-83. At 26°C (the control sample, the loss of zooxanthellae by each of the two studied corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis was very low. Cell viability of the two studied corals was similar at 26 and 29°C, but depicted a sharp decline of zooxanthellae lost at 31°C through time. As the temperature increased to 35°C, the loss of zooxanthellae from each host increased both with time and temperature elevation. The coral A. humilis had a higher decrease in its zooxanthellae densities than S. pistillata at the same treatment. Bleaching temperature threshold was 33°C or less for the two species S. pistillata and A. humilis where 51% of their zooxanthellae were lost after 24 h of exposure. In samples exposed to sediment concentration of 0.1 mg/cm2/L, zooxanthellae densities of A. humilis and S. pistillata did not show any decrease after 1 day. However, after 1 days of exposure to 0.5 mg/cm2/L, zooxanthellae densities were significantly different from those of the controls. Increases in sediment concentration to 1 mg/cm2/L caused a decrease in zooxanthellae densities that vary greatly over time. Measurements of zooxanthellae densities of A. humilis and S. pistillata at this stage revealed a highly significant difference between exposed and control sample. At 1 g/cm2/L, the number of zooxanthellae lost from A. humilis was higher than those lost from S. pistillata at same time. It is suggested that, the normal sedimentation rate for A. humilis and S. pistillata to be in an order of 1 mg/cm2/L or less.

  12. Coral Diseases Following Massive Bleaching in 2005 Cause 60 Percent Decline in Coral Cover and Mortality of the Threatened Species, Acropora Palmata, on Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2008-01-01

    Record-high seawater temperatures and calm seas in the summer of 2005 led to the most severe coral bleaching (greater than 90 percent bleached coral cover) ever observed in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (figs. 1 and 2). All but a few coral species bleached, including the threatened species, Acropora palmata. Bleaching was seen from the surface to depths over 20 meters.

  13. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Jessen

    Full Text Available Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.

  14. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jessen, Christian; Villa Lizcano, Javier Felipe; Bayer, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Aranda, Manuel; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15)N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account. PMID:23630625

  15. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    KAUST Repository

    Jessen, Christian

    2013-04-22

    Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15)N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.

  16. Distribution and abundance of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and prevalence of white-band disease at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayor, Philippe A.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Hillis-Starr, Zandy M.

    2006-05-01

    In the 1970s and 1980s elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, declined dramatically throughout the Caribbean primarily due to white-band disease (WBD). In 2005, elkhorn coral was proposed for listing as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. WBD was first documented at Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM). Together with hurricanes WBD reduced live elkhorn coral coverage by probably over 90%. In the past decade some recovery has been observed at BIRNM. This study assessed the distribution and abundance of elkhorn coral and estimated the prevalence of WBD at the monument. Within an area of 795 ha, we estimated 97,232 134,371 (95% confidence limits) elkhorn coral colonies with any dimension of connected live tissue greater than one meter, about 3% of which were infected by WBD. Despite some recovery, the elkhorn coral density remains low and WBD may continue to present a threat to the elkhorn coral population.

  17. Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valérie F. Chamberland

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata populations provide important ecological functions on shallow Caribbean reefs, many of which were lost when a disease reduced their abundance by more than 95% beginning in the mid-1970s. Since then, a lack of significant recovery has prompted rehabilitation initiatives throughout the Caribbean. Here, we report the first successful outplanting and long-term survival of A. palmata settlers reared from gametes collected in the field. A. palmata larvae were settled on clay substrates (substrate units and either outplanted on the reef two weeks after settlement or kept in a land-based nursery. After 2.5 years, the survival rate of A. palmata settlers outplanted two weeks after settlement was 6.8 times higher (3.4% than that of settlers kept in a land-based nursery (0.5%. Furthermore, 32% of the substrate units on the reef still harbored one or more well-developed recruit compared to 3% for substrate units kept in the nursery. In addition to increasing survival, outplanting A. palmata settlers shortly after settlement reduced the costs to produce at least one 2.5-year-old A. palmata individual from $325 to $13 USD. Thus, this study not only highlights the first successful long-term rearing of this critically endangered coral species, but also shows that early outplanting of sexually reared coral settlers can be more cost-effective than the traditional approach of nursery rearing for restoration efforts aimed at rehabilitating coral populations.

  18. Phylogenetic characterization of culturable actinomycetes associated with the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from Gulf of Mannar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nithyanand, Paramasivam; Manju, Sivalingam; Karutha Pandian, Shunmugiah

    2011-01-01

    The marine environment is a virtually untapped source of novel actinomycete diversity and its metabolites. Investigating the diversity of actinomycetes in other marine macroorganisms, like seaweeds and sponges, have resulted in isolation of novel bioactive metabolites. Actinomycetes diversity associated with corals and their produced metabolites have not yet been explored. Hence, in this study we attempted to characterize the culturable actinomycetes population associated with the coral Acropora digitifera. Actinomycetes were isolated from the mucus of the coral wherein the actinomycetes count was much higher when compared with the surrounding seawater and sediment. Actinobacteria-specific 16S rRNA gene primers were used for identifying the isolates at the molecular level in addition to biochemical tests. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis using three restriction enzymes revealed several polymorphic groups within the isolates. Sequencing and blast analysis of the isolates revealed that some isolates had only 96.7% similarity with its nearest match in GenBank indicating that they may be novel isolates at the species level. The isolated actinomycetes exhibited good antibacterial activity against various human pathogens. This study offers for the first time a prelude about the unexplored culturable actinomycetes diversity associated with a scleractinian coral and their bioactive capabilities. PMID:21105906

  19. Bleaching, disease and recovery in the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands: 2003-2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Muller, E.M.

    2012-01-01

    A long-term study of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) showed that diseases, particularly white pox, are limiting the recovery of this threatened species. Colonies of A. palmata in Haulover Bay, within Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, were examined monthly in situ for signs of disease and other stressors from January 2003 through December 2009. During the study, 89.9 % of the colonies (n = 69) exhibited disease, including white pox (87 %), white band (13 %), and unknown (9 %). Monthly disease prevalence ranged from 0 to 57 %, and disease was the most significant cause of complete colony mortality (n = 17). A positive correlation was found between water temperature and disease prevalence, but not incidence. Annual average disease prevalence and incidence remained constant during the study. Colonies generally showed an increase in the estimated amount of total living tissue from growth, but 25 (36.2 %) of the colonies died. Acropora palmata bleached in the USVI for the first time during the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event. Only one of the 23 colonies that bleached appeared to die directly from bleaching. In 2005, corals that bleached had greater disease prevalence than those that did not bleach. Just over half (52 %) of the colonies incurred some physical damage. Monitoring of fragments (broken branches) that were generated by physical damage through June 2007 showed that 46.1 % died and 28.4 % remained alive; the fragments that attached to the substrate survived longer than those that did not. Recent surveys showed an increase in the total number of colonies within the reef area, formed from both asexual and sexual reproduction. Genotype analysis of 48 of the originally monitored corals indicated that 43 grew from sexual recruits supporting the conclusion that both asexual and sexual reproduction are contributing to an increase in colony density at this site.

  20. Host Coenzyme Q Redox State Is an Early Biomarker of Thermal Stress in the Coral Acropora millepora.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrian Lutz

    Full Text Available Bleaching episodes caused by increasing seawater temperatures may induce mass coral mortality and are regarded as one of the biggest threats to coral reef ecosystems worldwide. The current consensus is that this phenomenon results from enhanced production of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS that disrupt the symbiosis between corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium. Here, the responses of two important antioxidant defence components, the host coenzyme Q (CoQ and symbiont plastoquinone (PQ pools, are investigated for the first time in colonies of the scleractinian coral, Acropora millepora, during experimentally-induced bleaching under ecologically relevant conditions. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS was used to quantify the states of these two pools, together with physiological parameters assessing the general state of the symbiosis (including photosystem II photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll concentration and Symbiodinium cell densities. The results show that the responses of the two antioxidant systems occur on different timescales: (i the redox state of the Symbiodinium PQ pool remained stable until twelve days into the experiment, after which there was an abrupt oxidative shift; (ii by contrast, an oxidative shift of approximately 10% had occurred in the host CoQ pool after 6 days of thermal stress, prior to significant changes in any other physiological parameter measured. Host CoQ pool oxidation is thus an early biomarker of thermal stress in corals, and this antioxidant pool is likely to play a key role in quenching thermally-induced ROS in the coral-algal symbiosis. This study adds to a growing body of work that indicates host cellular responses may precede the bleaching process and symbiont dysfunction.

  1. Host Coenzyme Q Redox State Is an Early Biomarker of Thermal Stress in the Coral Acropora millepora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lutz, Adrian; Raina, Jean-Baptiste; Motti, Cherie A; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2015-01-01

    Bleaching episodes caused by increasing seawater temperatures may induce mass coral mortality and are regarded as one of the biggest threats to coral reef ecosystems worldwide. The current consensus is that this phenomenon results from enhanced production of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) that disrupt the symbiosis between corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium. Here, the responses of two important antioxidant defence components, the host coenzyme Q (CoQ) and symbiont plastoquinone (PQ) pools, are investigated for the first time in colonies of the scleractinian coral, Acropora millepora, during experimentally-induced bleaching under ecologically relevant conditions. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to quantify the states of these two pools, together with physiological parameters assessing the general state of the symbiosis (including photosystem II photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll concentration and Symbiodinium cell densities). The results show that the responses of the two antioxidant systems occur on different timescales: (i) the redox state of the Symbiodinium PQ pool remained stable until twelve days into the experiment, after which there was an abrupt oxidative shift; (ii) by contrast, an oxidative shift of approximately 10% had occurred in the host CoQ pool after 6 days of thermal stress, prior to significant changes in any other physiological parameter measured. Host CoQ pool oxidation is thus an early biomarker of thermal stress in corals, and this antioxidant pool is likely to play a key role in quenching thermally-induced ROS in the coral-algal symbiosis. This study adds to a growing body of work that indicates host cellular responses may precede the bleaching process and symbiont dysfunction. PMID:26426118

  2. Demographic history and asynchronous spawning shape genetic differentiation among populations of the hard coral Acropora tenuis in Western Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosser, Natalie L

    2016-05-01

    Genetic subdivision within populations can ultimately lead to the evolution of new species, and in populations of broadcast-spawners a potential facilitator of genetic subdivision is asynchronous reproduction. However, the factors that shape genetic variation in marine systems are complex and ambiguous, and ecological genetic structure may be influenced by the overriding signature of past demographic events. Here, the relative roles of the timing of reproduction and historical geography on the partitioning of genetic variation were examined in seven populations of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora tenuis over 12° of latitude. The analysis of multiple loci (mitochondrial control region, two nuclear introns and six microsatellites) revealed significant genetic division between the most northern reef and all other reefs, suggesting that WA reefs were re-colonized from two different sources after the Pleistocene glaciation. Accompanying this pattern was significant genetic differentiation associated with different breeding seasons (spring and autumn), which was greatest in PaxC, in which there were two divergent lineages (ΦST=0.98). This is the second study to find divergent clades of PaxC associated with spring and autumn spawners, strengthening the suggestion of some selective connection to timing of reproduction in corals. This study reiterates the need to incorporate reproductive timing into population genetic studies of corals because it facilitates genetic differentiation; however, careful analysis of population genetic data is required to separate ecological and evolutionary processes. PMID:26876640

  3. Environmental factors controlling the distribution of symbiodinium harboured by the coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy F Cooper

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The Symbiodinium community associated with scleractinian corals is widely considered to be shaped by seawater temperature, as the coral's upper temperature tolerance is largely contingent on the Symbiodinium types harboured. Few studies have challenged this paradigm as knowledge of other environmental drivers on the distribution of Symbiodinium is limited. Here, we examine the influence of a range of environmental variables on the distribution of Symbiodinium associated with Acropora millepora collected from 47 coral reefs spanning 1,400 km on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The environmental data included Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS satellite data at 1 km spatial resolution from which a number of sea surface temperature (SST and water quality metrics were derived. In addition, the carbonate and mud composition of sediments were incorporated into the analysis along with in situ water quality samples for a subset of locations. Analyses were conducted at three spatio-temporal scales [GBR (regional-scale, Whitsunday Islands (local-scale and Keppel Islands/Trunk Reef (temporal] to examine the effects of scale on the distribution patterns. While SST metrics were important drivers of the distribution of Symbiodinium types at regional and temporal scales, our results demonstrate that spatial variability in water quality correlates significantly with Symbiodinium distribution at local scales. Background levels of Symbiodinium types were greatest at turbid inshore locations of the Whitsunday Islands where SST predictors were not as important. This was not the case at regional scales where combinations of mud and carbonate sediment content coupled with SST anomalies and mean summer SST explained 51.3% of the variation in dominant Symbiodinium communities. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Reef corals may respond to global-scale stressors such as climate change through changes in their

  4. Gene expression patterns of the coral Acropora millepora in response to contact with macroalgae

    OpenAIRE

    Shearer, TL; Rasher, DB; Snell, TW; Hay, ME

    2012-01-01

    Contact with macroalgae often causes coral mortality, but the roles of abrasion versus shading versus allelopathy in these interactions are rarely clear and effects on gene expression are unknown. Identification of gene expression changes within corals in response to contact with macroalgae can provide insight into the mode of action of allelochemicals, as well as reveal transcriptional strategies of the coral that mitigate damage from this competitive interaction, enabling the coral to survi...

  5. A Study of the Pelagic Larval Duration of Acropora humilis, Coral Recruitment and Connectivity in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha

    2011-12-12

    Combined knowledge of the pelagic larval duration of coral species and coral recruitment patterns can provide evidence of inter-reef connectivity and indicate a reef’s ability to recover. We attempted to determine the maximum pelagic larval duration of Acropora humilis. Larvae were reared in a controlled environment unfavorable for settlement. The larvae lived in a pelagic state for a maximum of 29 days, although this is probably an underestimate of actual longevity for this species. Given the information available from the literature with respect to larval dispersal rates, it is not expected that larvae with this longevity will disperse further than 10-20 km from their natal reef, if at all. A long-term recruitment monitoring project was also set up on Abu Shosha Reef, which suffered nearly complete coral loss due to a bleaching event in summer of 2010. In April 2011, 60 settlement plates were placed on the reef. In July, a total of 102 living scleractinian recruits were counted on the plates. While pocilloporids were the most dominant recruits on the reef (57.8%), about 20.6% of living recruits belonged to Acroporidae, a family whose live cover on the reef is extremely low (0.67%). However, the overall mean density of recruits was very low (1.7 living recruits/100cm2) compared to similar studies around the world despite the spawning season having just ended. Fish surveys showed herbivore biomass to be very low compared to other reef systems in the world, but densities were significantly higher than another reef in the Red Sea with about 10 times more live coral cover. Recovery from bleaching for Abu Shosha and similar reefs in the region may be very slow relative to rates observed in other parts of the world if recruitment rates and herbivore communities remain low.

  6. Disappearance of Acropora from the Marquesas (French Polynesia) during the last deglacial period

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabioch, G.; Wallace, C. C.; McCulloch, M. T.; Zibrowius, H.; Laboute, P.; de Forges, B. Richer

    2011-12-01

    The major reef-building coral genus Acropora has never been recorded, living or fossil, from the Marquesas Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, which are characterized by limited modern reef formations. During the "Musorstom 9" cruise in 1997, investigations of marine platforms representing drowned reef systems revealed for the first time the presence of two Acropora species as fossils at seven Marquesas islands. The predominant species was Acropora valida, which was widespread in the archipelago and dated between 7.4 and 48.6 ka, providing evidence of an earlier Pacific distribution pattern broader than previously observed. It is proposed that disappearance of Acropora after 7.4 ka was linked to climatic events probably ENSO events controlling the distribution of corals and coral reefs in the eastern Pacific without excluding alternatively the effects of an increase in sea-level rise.

  7. Acute tissue death (white syndrome) affects the microenvironment of tabular Acropora corals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Sandra Breum; Vestergaard, Maj; Ainsworth, Tracy D.;

    2010-01-01

    White syndrome (WS) is a collective term for coral diseases that cause acute tissue loss, resulting in apparently healthy tissue bordering on exposed skeleton. In this study, the microenvironmental condition and tissue structure of WS-affected tabular acroporid corals were assessed by O2 microele......White syndrome (WS) is a collective term for coral diseases that cause acute tissue loss, resulting in apparently healthy tissue bordering on exposed skeleton. In this study, the microenvironmental condition and tissue structure of WS-affected tabular acroporid corals were assessed by O2...

  8. Growth dynamics of the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: influence of host genotype, symbiont identity, colony size, and environmental setting.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Lirman

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The drastic decline in the abundance of Caribbean acroporid corals (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata has prompted the listing of this genus as threatened as well as the development of a regional propagation and restoration program. Using in situ underwater nurseries, we documented the influence of coral genotype and symbiont identity, colony size, and propagation method on the growth and branching patterns of staghorn corals in Florida and the Dominican Republic. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Individual tracking of> 1700 nursery-grown staghorn fragments and colonies from 37 distinct genotypes (identified using microsatellites in Florida and the Dominican Republic revealed a significant positive relationship between size and growth, but a decreasing rate of productivity with increasing size. Pruning vigor (enhanced growth after fragmentation was documented even in colonies that lost 95% of their coral tissue/skeleton, indicating that high productivity can be maintained within nurseries by sequentially fragmenting corals. A significant effect of coral genotype was documented for corals grown in a common-garden setting, with fast-growing genotypes growing up to an order of magnitude faster than slow-growing genotypes. Algal-symbiont identity established using qPCR techniques showed that clade A (likely Symbiodinium A3 was the dominant symbiont type for all coral genotypes, except for one coral genotype in the DR and two in Florida that were dominated by clade C, with A- and C-dominated genotypes having similar growth rates. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: The threatened Caribbean staghorn coral is capable of extremely fast growth, with annual productivity rates exceeding 5 cm of new coral produced for every cm of existing coral. This species benefits from high fragment survivorship coupled by the pruning vigor experienced by the parent colonies after fragmentation. These life-history characteristics make A. cervicornis a successful candidate

  9. Temperature Dependence of Respiration in Larvae and Adult Colonies of the Corals Acropora tenuis and Pocillopora damicornis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Haryanti

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Although algal symbionts can become a source of reactive oxygen species under stressful conditions, symbiotic planulae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis are highly tolerant to thermal stress compared with non-symbiotic planulae of Acropora tenuis. As a first step to understand how P. damicornis planulae attain high stress tolerance, we compared the respiration rate and temperature dependence between symbiotic planulae of P. damicornis and non-symbiotic planulae of A. tenuis, as well as between larvae and adult branches within each species. Larvae and adult branches of both species had similar temperature dependency of respiration rate, with the temperature coefficient (Q10 values of about 2. Planula larvae of P. damicornis had a significantly lower respiration rate than that of A. tenuis larvae at 25–30 °C, but not at 32 °C, whereas adult branches of P. damicornis had a significantly higher respiration rate than that of A. tenuis branches at all temperatures. Thus, P. damicornis larvae appear to be capable of reducing their respiration rate to a greater extent than A. tenuis larvae, which could partly explain why P. damicornis larvae had high survivorship under thermal stress, although other antioxidant or photoprotective mechanisms should be investigated in the future.

  10. Estimate of calcification responses to thermal and freshening stresses based on culture experiments with symbiotic and aposymbiotic primary polyps of a coral, Acropora digitifera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Inoue, Mayuri; Shinmen, Kotaro; Kawahata, Hodaka; Nakamura, Takashi; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Kato, Aki; Shinzato, Chuya; Iguchi, Akira; Kan, Hironobu; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2012-07-01

    Although coral calcification is directly related to coral health, few studies have examined the responses of coral calcification to environmental stresses, with the exception of ocean acidification. In this study, we experimentally exposed aposymbiotic (lacking symbionts) and symbiotic primary polyps of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera to several seawater temperatures (27, 29, 31, and 33 °C) and salinities (26, 28, 30, 32, and 34) to investigate the effects of thermal and freshening stresses on coral calcification from the standpoint of coral-algal symbiosis. Calcification rates were higher for symbiotic versus aposymbiotic polyps in both sets of experiments, except for those reared at 31 °C and 33 °C. Calcification responses of symbiotic polyps were a non-linear function of temperature, and the threshold temperature affecting skeletal growth and bleaching was between 29 °C and 31 °C. Calcification rates of aposymbiotic polyps were also a non-linear function of temperature, with a maximum polyp weight at 31 °C, suggesting that thermal stress also did some damage to the coral host itself. In contrast, skeletal growth of both aposymbiotic and symbiotic polyps decreased linearly with increased salinity. Observations of the microstructure of polyp samples revealed a clearly cyclic feature of skeletal surfaces that was likely related to organo-mineral deposition of calcium carbonate even under lowered-salinity conditions. However, neither type of polyp reared at 33 °C evidenced this characteristic, suggesting that thermal stress had compromised the normal calcification process, which involves secretion of an organic matrix by the coral host. Our results suggest that the effects of future global warming will include a reduction in coral calcification itself and the collapse of coral-algal symbiosis, at least at the primary polyp stage. The present experiments showed that thermal stress would affect the host's physiological functionality, whereas

  11. Successive shifts in the microbial community of the surface mucus layer and tissues of the coral Acropora muricata under thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Sonny T M; Davy, Simon K; Tang, Sen-Lin; Fan, Tung-Yung; Kench, Paul S

    2015-12-01

    The coral mucus may harbor commensal bacteria that inhibit growth of pathogens. Therefore, there is a need to understand the dynamics of bacterial communities between the coral mucus and tissues. Nubbins of Acropora muricata were subjected to increasing water temperatures of 26°C-33°C, to simultaneously explore the bacterial diversity in coral mucus and tissues by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Photochemical efficiency of symbiotic dinoflagellates within the corals declined above 31°C. Both the mucus and tissues of healthy A. muricata were dominated by γ-Proteobacteria, but under thermal stress there was a shift towards bacteria from the Verrucomicrobiaceae and α-Proteobacteria. Members of Cyanobacteria, Flavobacteria and Sphingobacteria also become more prominent at higher temperatures. The relative abundance of Vibrio spp. in the coral mucus increased at 29°C, but at 31°C, there was a drop in the relative abundance of Vibrio spp. in the mucus, with a reciprocal increase in the tissues. On the other hand, during bleaching, the relative abundance of Endozoicomonas spp. decreased in the tissues with a reciprocal increase in the mucus. This is the first systematic experiment that shows the potential for a bacterial community shift between the coral surface mucus and tissues in a thermally stressed coral. PMID:26564958

  12. The transcriptomic response of the coral Acropora digitifera to a competent Symbiodinium strain: the symbiosome as an arrested early phagosome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohamed, A R; Cumbo, V; Harii, S; Shinzato, C; Chan, C X; Ragan, M A; Bourne, D G; Willis, B L; Ball, E E; Satoh, N; Miller, D J

    2016-07-01

    Despite the ecological significance of the relationship between reef-building corals and intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in its establishment. Indeed, microarray-based analyses point to the conclusion that host gene expression is largely or completely unresponsive during the establishment of symbiosis with a competent strain of Symbiodinium. In this study, the use of Illumina RNA-Seq technology allowed detection of a transient period of differential expression involving a small number of genes (1073 transcripts; corals and symbiotic sea anemones with their endosymbionts. PMID:27094992

  13. Species Specificity of Bacteria Associated to the Brown Seaweeds Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) and Their Potential for Induction of Rapid Coral Bleaching in Acropora muricata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Christophe; Engelen, Aschwin H; Guentas, Linda; Aires, Tânia; Houlbreque, Fanny; Gaubert, Julie; Serrão, Ester A; De Clerck, Olivier; Payri, Claude E

    2016-01-01

    While reef degradation is occurring worldwide, it is not uncommon to see phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominated reefs. Numerous studies have addressed the mechanisms by which macroalgae may outcompete corals and a few recent studies highlighted the putative role of bacteria at the interface between macroalgae and corals. Some studies suggest that macroalgae may act as vectors and/or foster proliferation of microorganisms pathogenic for corals. Using a combination of high throughput sequencing, bacterial culturing, and in situ bioassays we question if the adversity of macroalgal-associated bacteria to corals is mediated by specific bacterial taxa. Using Illumina sequencing, we characterized and compared the bacterial community from two Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) species. The two species presented distinctive bacterial communities. Both species shared approximately half of their OTUs, mainly the most abundant bacteria. Species-specific OTUs belong to Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. In total, 16 culturable bacterial strain were isolated and identified from the Lobophora surface, consisting of 10 genera (from nine families, four classes, and three phyla), some of which are not known as, but are related to pathogens involved in coral diseases, and others are naturally associated to corals. When patches of marine agar with 24 h cultures of each of these bacteria were placed in direct contact with the branches of the scleractinian coral Acropora muricata, they caused severe bleaching after 24 h exposure. Results suggest that regardless of taxonomic affinities, increase in density of these bacteria can be adverse to corals. Nevertheless, the microbial community associated to macroalgal surface may not represent a threat to corals, because the specific bacterial screening and control exerted by the alga preventing specific bacterial proliferation. PMID:27047453

  14. Species specificity of bacteria associated to the brown seaweeds Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae and their potential for induction of rapid coral bleaching in Acropora muricata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christophe William Vieira

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available While reef degradation is occurring worldwide, it is not uncommon to see phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominated reefs. Numerous studies have addressed the mechanisms by which macroalgae may outcompete corals and a few recent studies highlighted the putative role of bacteria at the interface between macroalgae and corals. Some studies suggest that macroalgae may act as vectors and/or foster proliferation of microorganisms pathogenic for corals. Using a combination of high throughput sequencing, bacterial culturing and in situ bioassays we question if the adversity of macroalgal-associated bacteria to corals is mediated by specific bacterial taxa. Using Illumina sequencing, we characterized and compared the bacterial community from two Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae species. The two species presented distinctive bacterial communities. Both species shared approximately half of their OTUs, mainly the most abundant bacteria. Species-specific OTUs belong to Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. In total, 16 culturable bacterial strain were isolated and identified from the Lobophora surface, consisting of 10 genera (from 9 families, 4 classes and 3 phyla, some of which are not known as, but are related to pathogens involved in coral diseases, and others naturally associated to corals. When patches of marine agar with 24 h cultures of each of these bacteria were placed in direct contact with the branches of the scleractinian coral Acropora muricata, they caused severe bleaching after 24 h exposure. Results suggest that regardless of taxonomic affinities, increase in density of any bacteria can be adverse to corals. Nevertheless, the microbial community associated to macroalgal surface may not represent a threat to corals, because the specific bacterial screening and control exerted by the alga preventing specific bacterial proliferation.

  15. Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedrich W Meyer

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8 and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1 availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834 from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world

  16. Developmental Progression in the Coral Acropora digitifera Is Controlled by Differential Expression of Distinct Regulatory Gene Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes-Bermudez, Alejandro; Villar-Briones, Alejandro; Ramirez-Portilla, Catalina; Hidaka, Michio; Mikheyev, Alexander S.

    2016-01-01

    Corals belong to the most basal class of the Phylum Cnidaria, which is considered the sister group of bilaterian animals, and thus have become an emerging model to study the evolution of developmental mechanisms. Although cell renewal, differentiation, and maintenance of pluripotency are cellular events shared by multicellular animals, the cellular basis of these fundamental biological processes are still poorly understood. To understand how changes in gene expression regulate morphogenetic transitions at the base of the eumetazoa, we performed quantitative RNA-seq analysis during Acropora digitifera’s development. We collected embryonic, larval, and adult samples to characterize stage-specific transcription profiles, as well as broad expression patterns. Transcription profiles reconstructed development revealing two main expression clusters. The first cluster grouped blastula and gastrula and the second grouped subsequent developmental time points. Consistently, we observed clear differences in gene expression between early and late developmental transitions, with higher numbers of differentially expressed genes and fold changes around gastrulation. Furthermore, we identified three coexpression clusters that represented discrete gene expression patterns. During early transitions, transcriptional networks seemed to regulate cellular fate and morphogenesis of the larval body. In late transitions, these networks seemed to play important roles preparing planulae for switch in lifestyle and regulation of adult processes. Although developmental progression in A. digitifera is regulated to some extent by differential coexpression of well-defined gene networks, stage-specific transcription profiles appear to be independent entities. While negative regulation of transcription is predominant in early development, cell differentiation was upregulated in larval and adult stages. PMID:26941230

  17. Proteomics links the redox state to calcium signaling during bleaching of the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma on exposure to high solar irradiance and thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weston, Andrew J; Dunlap, Walter C; Beltran, Victor H; Starcevic, Antonio; Hranueli, Daslav; Ward, Malcolm; Long, Paul F

    2015-03-01

    Shipboard experiments were each performed over a 2 day period to examine the proteomic response of the symbiotic coral Acropora microphthalma exposed to acute conditions of high temperature/low light or high light/low temperature stress. During these treatments, corals had noticeably bleached. The photosynthetic performance of residual algal endosymbionts was severely impaired but showed signs of recovery in both treatments by the end of the second day. Changes in the coral proteome were determined daily and, using recently available annotated genome sequences, the individual contributions of the coral host and algal endosymbionts could be extracted from these data. Quantitative changes in proteins relevant to redox state and calcium metabolism are presented. Notably, expression of common antioxidant proteins was not detected from the coral host but present in the algal endosymbiont proteome. Possible roles for elevated carbonic anhydrase in the coral host are considered: to restore intracellular pH diminished by loss of photosynthetic activity, to indirectly limit intracellular calcium influx linked with enhanced calmodulin expression to impede late-stage symbiont exocytosis, or to enhance inorganic carbon transport to improve the photosynthetic performance of algal symbionts that remain in hospite. Protein effectors of calcium-dependent exocytosis were present in both symbiotic partners. No caspase-family proteins associated with host cell apoptosis, with exception of the autophagy chaperone HSP70, were detected, suggesting that algal loss and photosynthetic dysfunction under these experimental conditions were not due to host-mediated phytosymbiont destruction. Instead, bleaching occurred by symbiont exocytosis and loss of light-harvesting pigments of algae that remain in hospite. These proteomic data are, therefore, consistent with our premise that coral endosymbionts can mediate their own retention or departure from the coral host, which may manifest as

  18. Light and temperature effect on δ11B and B/Ca ratios of the zooxanthellate coral Acropora sp.: results from culturing experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Louvat

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available The boron isotopic composition (δ11B of marine carbonates (e.g. corals has been established as a reliable proxy for paleo-pH, with the strong correlation between δ11B of marine calcifiers and seawater pH being now well documented. However, further investigations are needed in order to better quantify other environmental parameters potentially impacting boron isotopic composition and boron concentration into coral aragonite. To achieve this goal the tropical scleractinian coral Acropora sp. was cultured under 3 different temperature (22, 25 and 28 °C and two light conditions (200 and 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1. The δ11B indicates an internal increase in pH from ambient seawater under both light conditions. Changes in light intensities from 200 to 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1 could bias pH reconstructions by about 0.05 units. For both light conditions, a significant impact of temperature on δ11B can be observed between 22 and 25 °C corresponding to enhancements of about 0.02 pH-units, while no further δ11B increase can be observed between 25 and 28 °C. This non-linear temperature effect complicates the determination of a correcting factor. B/Ca ratios decrease with increasing light, confirming the decrease in pH at the site of calcification under enhanced light intensities. When all the other parameters are maintained constant, boron concentrations in Acropora sp. increase with increasing temperature and increasing carbonate ions concentrations. These observations contradict previous studies where B/Ca in corals was found to vary inversely with temperature suggesting that the controlling factors driving boron concentrations have not yet been adequately identified and might be influenced by other seawater variables and species specific responses.

  19. Genetic markers for antioxidant capacity in a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Young K; Lundgren, Petra; Lutz, Adrian; Raina, Jean-Baptiste; Howells, Emily J; Paley, Allison S; Willis, Bette L; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-05-01

    The current lack of understanding of the genetic basis underlying environmental stress tolerance in reef-building corals impairs the development of new management approaches to confronting the global demise of coral reefs. On the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), an approximately 51% decline in coral cover occurred over the period 1985-2012. We conducted a gene-by-environment association analysis across 12° latitude on the GBR, as well as both in situ and laboratory genotype-by-phenotype association analyses. These analyses allowed us to identify alleles at two genetic loci that account for differences in environmental stress tolerance and antioxidant capacity in the common coral Acropora millepora. The effect size for antioxidant capacity was considerable and biologically relevant (32.5 and 14.6% for the two loci). Antioxidant capacity is a critical component of stress tolerance because a multitude of environmental stressors cause increased cellular levels of reactive oxygen species. Our findings provide the first step toward the development of novel coral reef management approaches, such as spatial mapping of stress tolerance for use in marine protected area design, identification of stress-tolerant colonies for assisted migration, and marker-assisted selective breeding to create more tolerant genotypes for restoration of denuded reefs. PMID:27386515

  20. Light and temperature effects on δ11B and B / Ca ratios of the zooxanthellate coral Acropora sp.: results from culturing experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Louvat

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available The boron isotopic composition (δ11B of marine carbonates (e.g. corals is increasingly utilised as a proxy for paleo-pH, with the strong correlation between δ11B of marine calcifiers and seawater pH now well documented. However, the potential roles of other environmental parameters that may also influence both the boron isotopic composition and boron concentration into coral aragonite are poorly known. To overcome this, the tropical scleractinian coral Acropora sp. was cultured under 3 different temperatures (22, 25 and 28 °C and two light conditions (200 and 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1. The δ11B indicates an increase in internal pH that is dependent on the light conditions. Changes in light intensities from 200 to 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1 seem to indicate an apparent decrease in pH at the site of calcification, contrary to what is expected in most models of light-enhanced calcification. Thus, variations in light conditions chosen to mimic average annual variations of the natural environments where Acropora sp. colonies can be found could bias pH reconstructions by about 0.05 units. For both light conditions, a significant impact of temperature on δ11B can be observed between 22 and 25 °C, corresponding to an increase of about 0.02 pH-units, while no further δ11B increase can be observed from 25 to 28 °C. This non-linear temperature effect complicates the determination of a correction factor. B / Ca ratios decrease with increasing light, consistent with the decrease in pH at the site of calcification under enhanced light intensities. When all the other parameters are constant, boron concentrations in Acropora sp. increase with increasing temperatures and increasing carbonate ion concentrations. These observations contradict previous studies where B / Ca in corals was found to vary inversely with temperature, suggesting that the controlling factors driving boron concentrations have not yet been adequately identified and might be

  1. In situ release of mucus and DOC-lipid from the corals Acropora variabilis and Stylophora pistillata in different light regimes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crossland, C. J.

    1987-07-01

    Rates of mucus and DOC-lipid release were determined for colonies of Acropora variabilis and Stylophora pistillata at 5 m depth and for a colony of A. variabilis at 23 m depth. In addition, colonies at 5 m were shaded to simulate ambient irradiance at 6 m, 10 m and 16 m depth to evaluate the effect of light on the rates of release. A. variabilis released more mucus and DOC-lipid at 5 m than at 23 m depth. For both corals, the night rates were about 30% those of the day. A reduction in total integrated irradiance decreased mucus output from the corals. Similarly, DOC-lipid release showed a diurnal pattern and diminished with reduction in daily irradiance. For both coral species, DOC-lipid release rates were greater in the afternoon than in the morning. The night rates were less than 55% those of the day. The DOC-lipid comprised wax esters and a phospholipid fraction. The diurnal variation was due to changes in yield of wax esters which contributed >90% of the carbon released as DOC-lipid. In situ release of mucus and DOC-lipid was infuenced by light effects on phototrophic carbon metabolism. A daily budget for carbon released as mucus and DOC-lipid was estimated for each coral species at 5 m depth.

  2. cDNA microarray-based studies of thermal stress-induced bleaching in the Caribbean corals Montastraea faveolata and Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    DeSalvo, Michael Kenneth

    2010-01-01

    The reef-building coral species of tropical seas worldwide, together with their algal endosymbionts, drive the productivity of coral reef ecosystems by forming the three-dimensional structure of reefs and by functioning as primary producers. The photosynthetic endosymbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium) are key to the role of primary production. This mutualism is under intense investigation because high temperature anomalies in coastal seas trigger a breakdown in the symbiosis known as coral bl...

  3. Major cellular and physiological impacts of ocean acidification on a reef building coral.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paulina Kaniewska

    Full Text Available As atmospheric levels of CO(2 increase, reef-building corals are under greater stress from both increased sea surface temperatures and declining sea water pH. To date, most studies have focused on either coral bleaching due to warming oceans or declining calcification due to decreasing oceanic carbonate ion concentrations. Here, through the use of physiology measurements and cDNA microarrays, we show that changes in pH and ocean chemistry consistent with two scenarios put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC drive major changes in gene expression, respiration, photosynthesis and symbiosis of the coral, Acropora millepora, before affects on biomineralisation are apparent at the phenotype level. Under high CO(2 conditions corals at the phenotype level lost over half their Symbiodinium populations, and had a decrease in both photosynthesis and respiration. Changes in gene expression were consistent with metabolic suppression, an increase in oxidative stress, apoptosis and symbiont loss. Other expression patterns demonstrate upregulation of membrane transporters, as well as the regulation of genes involved in membrane cytoskeletal interactions and cytoskeletal remodeling. These widespread changes in gene expression emphasize the need to expand future studies of ocean acidification to include a wider spectrum of cellular processes, many of which may occur before impacts on calcification.

  4. Expression of hsp70, hsp90 and hsf1 in the reef coral Acropora digitifera under prospective acidified conditions over the next several decades

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masako Nakamura

    2012-02-01

    Ocean acidification is an ongoing threat for marine organisms due to the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Seawater acidification has a serious impact on physiologic processes in marine organisms at all life stages. On the other hand, potential tolerance to external pH changes has been reported in coral larvae. Information about the possible mechanisms underlying such tolerance responses, however, is scarce. In the present study, we examined the effects of acidified seawater on the larvae of Acropora digitifera at the molecular level. We targeted two heat shock proteins, Hsp70 and Hsp90, and a heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1, because of their importance in stress responses and in early life developmental stages. Coral larvae were maintained under the ambient and elevated CO2 conditions that are expected to occur within next 100 years, and then we evaluated the expression of hsps and hsf1 by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR. Expression levels of these molecules significantly differed among target genes, but they did not change significantly between CO2 conditions. These findings indicate that the expression of hsps is not changed due to external pH changes, and suggest that tolerance to acidified seawater in coral larvae may not be related to hsp expression.

  5. Effects of alumina refinery wastewater and signature metal constituents at the upper thermal tolerance of: 2. The early life stages of the coral Acropora tenuis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Research highlights: →Methodology to assess relevant toxicants to sensitive early life histories of coral. → Explored the thermal sensitivity of fertilisation and larval metamorphosis in a coral. → First study to identify IC50s for Al, Ga and V in corals (at summer temperature). → First study to test the effects of an alumina outfall wastewater on coral. → Found additive effects of wastewater and high SST on fertilisation and metamorphosis. - Abstract: The success of early life history transitions of the coral Acropora tenuis were used as endpoints to evaluate thermal stress and the effects of wastewater discharged to a tropical marine environment. The studies assessed the effects of: (i) temperature; (ii) three signature metals of the wastewater, aluminium (Al), vanadium (V) and gallium (Ga); and (iii) the wastewater (at 27 oC and 32 oC) on fertilisation and larval metamorphosis. The median inhibition temperatures for fertilisation and metamorphosis were 32.8 oC and 33.0 oC, respectively. Fertilisation IC50s for Al, V and Ga were 2997, 2884 and 3430 μg L-1, respectively. Metamorphosis IC50s for Al, V and Ga were 1945, 675 and 3566 μg L-1, respectively. The wastewater only affected fertilisation and metamorphosis at moderate concentrations (IC50s = 63% and 67%, v/v, respectively, at 27 oC), posing a low risk to this species in the field. The effects of wastewater and temperature on fertilisation and metamorphosis were additive.

  6. CRCP-Acropora palmata fragment outlpants

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Much progress has been made in the last decade in the propagation of Acropora spp. corals for restoration. Since 2008, much effort in Florida and US Caribbean...

  7. Coral diversity and the severity of disease outbreaks: a cross-regional comparison of Acropora white syndrome in a species-rich region (American Samoa) with a species-poor region (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aeby, G.S.; Bourne, D.G.; Wilson, B.; Work, Thierry M.

    2011-01-01

    The dynamics of the coral disease, Acropora white syndrome (AWS), was directly compared on reefs in the species-poor region of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) and the species-rich region of American Samoa (AS) with results suggesting that biodiversity, which can affect the abundance of susceptible hosts, is important in influencing the impacts of coral disease outbreaks. The diversity-disease hypothesis predicts that decreased host species diversity should result in increased disease severity of specialist pathogens. We found that AWS was more prevalent and had a higher incidence within the NWHI as compared to AS. Individual Acropora colonies affected by AWS showed high mortality in both regions, but case fatality rate and disease severity was higher in the NWHI. The site within the NWHI had a monospecific stand of A. cytherea; a species that is highly susceptible to AWS. Once AWS entered the site, it spread easily amongst the abundant susceptible hosts. The site within AS contained numerous Acropora species, which differed in their apparent susceptibility to infection and disease severity, which in turn reduced disease spread. Manipulative studies showed AWS was transmissible through direct contact in three Acropora species. These results will help managers predict and respond to disease outbreaks.

  8. Utilization of Mucus from the Coral Acropora palmata by the Pathogen Serratia marcescens and by Environmental and Coral Commensal Bacteria▿ †

    OpenAIRE

    Cory J Krediet; Ritchie, Kim B.; Cohen, Matthew; Erin K Lipp; Sutherland, Kathryn Patterson; Teplitski, Max

    2009-01-01

    In recent years, diseases of corals caused by opportunistic pathogens have become widespread. How opportunistic pathogens establish on coral surfaces, interact with native microbiota, and cause disease is not yet clear. This study compared the utilization of coral mucus by coral-associated commensal bacteria (“Photobacterium mandapamensis” and Halomonas meridiana) and by opportunistic Serratia marcescens pathogens. S. marcescens PDL100 (a pathogen associated with white pox disease of Acropori...

  9. Tissue mortality by Caribbean ciliate infection and white band disease in three reef-building coral species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bastidas, Carolina; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    Caribbean ciliate infection (CCI) and white band disease (WBD) are diseases that affect a multitude of coral hosts and are associated with rapid rates of tissue losses, thus contributing to declining coral cover in Caribbean reefs. In this study we compared tissue mortality rates associated to CCI in three species of corals with different growth forms: Orbicella faveolata (massive-boulder), O. annularis (massive-columnar) and Acropora cervicornis (branching). We also compared mortality rates in colonies of A. cervicornis bearing WBD and CCI. The study was conducted at two locations in Los Roques Archipelago National Park between April 2012 and March 2013. In A. cervicornis, the rate of tissue loss was similar between WBD (0.8 ± 1 mm/day, mean ± SD) and CCI (0.7 ± 0.9 mm/day). However, mortality rate by CCI in A. cervicornis was faster than in the massive species O. faveolata (0.5 ± 0.6 mm/day) and O. annularis (0.3 ± 0.3 mm/day). Tissue regeneration was at least fifteen times slower than the mortality rates for both diseases regardless of coral species. This is the first study providing coral tissue mortality and regeneration rates associated to CCI in colonies with massive morphologies, and it highlights the risks of further cover losses of the three most important reef-building species in the Caribbean. PMID:27547525

  10. Taxonomy and life history of the Acropora-eating flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae nov. sp. (Polycladida: Prosthiostomidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rawlinson, K. A.; Gillis, J. A.; Billings, R. E.; Borneman, E. H.

    2011-09-01

    Efforts to culture and conserve acroporid corals in aquaria have led to the discovery of a corallivorous polyclad flatworm (known as AEFW - Acropora-eating flatworm), which, if not removed, can eat entire colonies. Live observations of the AEFW, whole mounts, serial histological sections and comparison of 28S rDNA sequences with other polyclads reveal that this is a new species belonging to the family Prosthiostomidae Lang, 1884 and previously monospecific genus Amakusaplana (Kato 1938). Amakusaplana acroporae is distinguished from Amakusaplana ohshimai by a different arrangement and number of eyes, a large seminal vesicle and dorsoventrally compressed shell gland pouch. Typical of the genus, A. acroporae, lacks a ventral sucker and has a small notch at the midline of the anterior margin. Nematocysts and a Symbiodinium sp. of dinoflagellate from the coral are abundantly distributed in the gut and parenchyma. Individual adults lay multiple egg batches on the coral skeleton, each egg batch has 20-26 egg capsules, and each capsule contains between 3-7 embryos. Embryonic development takes approximately 21 days, during which time characteristics of a pelagic life stage (lobes and ciliary tufts) develop but are lost before hatching. The hatchling is capable of swimming but settles to the benthos quickly, and no zooxanthellae were observed in the animal at this stage. We suggest that intracapsular metamorphosis limits the dispersal potential of hatchlings and promotes recruitment of offspring into the natal habitat. The evolutionary and ecological significance of retaining lobes and ciliary tufts in the embryo are discussed. Camouflage, high fecundity and possible dispersal dimorphisms probably explain how Amakusaplana acroporae can cause Acropora sp. mortality in aquaria where natural predators may be absent.

  11. Juvenile corals can acquire more carbon from high-performance algal symbionts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cantin, N. E.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.; Mieog, J. C.; Negri, A. P.

    2009-01-01

    Algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium play a key role in the nutrition of reef building corals and strongly affect the thermal tolerance and growth rate of the animal host. This study reports that (14)C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora

  12. Changes in bleaching susceptibility among corals subject to ocean warming and recurrent bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Morgan S Pratchett

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems, mostly because of the sensitivities of key habitat-forming corals to increasing temperature. However, susceptibility to bleaching varies greatly among coral genera and there are likely to be major changes in the relative abundance of different corals, even if the wholesale loss of corals does not occur for several decades. Here we document variation in bleaching susceptibility among key genera of reef-building corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, and compare bleaching incidence during mass-bleaching events documented in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2007. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study compared the proportion of colonies that bleached for four major genera of reef-building corals (Acropora, Montipora, Pocillopora and Porites, during each of four well-documented bleaching events from 1991 to 2007. Acropora and Montipora consistently bleached in far greater proportions (up to 98% than Pocillopora and Porites. However, there was an apparent and sustained decline in the proportion of colonies that bleached during successive bleaching events, especially for Acropora and Montipora. In 2007, only 77% of Acropora colonies bleached compared with 98% in 1991. Temporal variation in the proportion of coral colonies bleached may be attributable to differences in environmental conditions among years. Alternately, the sustained declines in bleaching incidence among highly susceptible corals may be indicative of acclimation or adaptation. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Coral genera that are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, and especially Acropora and Montipora, exhibit temporal declines in their susceptibility to thermal anomalies at Moorea, French Polynesia. One possible explanation for these findings is that gradual removal of highly susceptible genotypes (through selective mortality of individuals, populations, and/or species is producing a coral assemblage that is

  13. CRCP-Acropora palmata snail corallivore removal evaluation

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Corallivorous snail feeding scars are a common source of tissue loss for the threatened coral Acropora palmata, accounting for roughly one quarter of tissue loss in...

  14. Among-species variation in the energy budgets of reef-building corals: scaling from coral polyps to communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoogenboom, Mia; Rottier, Cécile; Sikorski, Severine; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2015-12-01

    The symbiosis between corals and dinoflagellates promotes the rapid growth of corals in shallow tropical oceans, and the high overall productivity of coral reefs. The aim of this study was to quantify and understand variation in carbon acquisition and allocation among coral species. We measured multiple physiological traits (including symbiont density, calcification, photosynthesis and tissue composition) for the same coral fragments to facilitate direct comparisons between species (Stylophora pistillata, Pocillopora damicornis, Galaxea fascicularis, Turbinaria reniformis and Acropora sp.). Tissue protein content was highly sensitive to the availability of particulate food, increasing in fed colonies of all species. Despite among-species variation in physiology, and consistent effects of feeding on some traits, overall energy allocation to tissue compared with skeleton growth did not depend on food availability. Extrapolating from our results, estimated whole-assemblage carbon uptake varied >20-fold across different coral assemblages, but this variation was largely driven by differences in the tissue surface area of different colony morphologies, rather than by differences in surface-area-specific physiological rates. Our results caution against drawing conclusions about reef productivity based solely on physiological rates measured per unit tissue surface area. Understanding the causes and consequences of among-species variation in physiological energetics provides insight into the mechanisms that underlie the fluxes of organic matter within reefs, and between reefs and the open ocean. PMID:26486359

  15. Shared Skeletal Support in a Coral-Hydroid Symbiosis

    OpenAIRE

    Olga Pantos; Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

    2011-01-01

    Hydroids form symbiotic relationships with a range of invertebrate hosts. Where they live with colonial invertebrates such as corals or bryozoans the hydroids may benefit from the physical support and protection of their host's hard exoskeleton, but how they interact with them is unknown. Electron microscopy was used to investigate the physical interactions between the colonial hydroid Zanclea margaritae and its reef-building coral host Acropora muricata. The hydroid tissues extend below the ...

  16. Building coral reef resilience through assisted evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Oliver, James K.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2015-01-01

    The genetic enhancement of wild animals and plants for characteristics that benefit human populations has been practiced for thousands of years, resulting in impressive improvements in commercially valuable species. Despite these benefits, genetic manipulations are rarely considered for noncommercial purposes, such as conservation and restoration initiatives. Over the last century, humans have driven global climate change through industrialization and the release of increasing amounts of CO2, resulting in shifts in ocean temperature, ocean chemistry, and sea level, as well as increasing frequency of storms, all of which can profoundly impact marine ecosystems. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems that have suffered massive declines in health and abundance as a result of these and other direct anthropogenic disturbances. There is great concern that the high rates, magnitudes, and complexity of environmental change are overwhelming the intrinsic capacity of corals to adapt and survive. Although it is important to address the root causes of changing climate, it is also prudent to explore the potential to augment the capacity of reef organisms to tolerate stress and to facilitate recovery after disturbances. Here, we review the risks and benefits of the improvement of natural and commercial stocks in noncoral reef systems and advocate a series of experiments to determine the feasibility of developing coral stocks with enhanced stress tolerance through the acceleration of naturally occurring processes, an approach known as (human)-assisted evolution, while at the same time initiating a public dialogue on the risks and benefits of this approach. PMID:25646461

  17. Species Specificity of Bacteria Associated to the Brown Seaweeds Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) and Their Potential for Induction of Rapid Coral Bleaching in Acropora muricata

    OpenAIRE

    Vieira, Christophe; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Guentas, Linda; Aires, Tânia; Houlbreque, Fanny; Gaubert, Julie; Ester A Serrão; De Clerck, Olivier; Payri, Claude E

    2016-01-01

    International audience While reef degradation is occurring worldwide, it is not uncommon to see phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominated reefs. Numerous studies have addressed the mechanisms by which macroalgae may outcompete corals and a few recent studies highlighted the putative role of bacteria at the interface between macroalgae and corals. Some studies suggest that macroalgae may act as vectors and/or foster proliferation of microorganisms pathogenic for corals. Using a combin...

  18. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    OpenAIRE

    Mace G. Barron; Cheryl J. McGill; Lee A. Courtney; Marcovich, Dragoslav T

    2010-01-01

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals continues to be a critical research need due to global declines in coral reef ecosystems and projected declines for the future. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system was coupled to a solar simulator to allow laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef building corals under ecologically relevant conditions of temperature and solar radiation. Combinations of lamps and attenuating filters al...

  19. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals is a critical need for researchers because of global declines in coral reef ecosystems. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system for laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef b...

  20. Acropora Presence/Absence in Surveyed Waters of Florida 1996-2008

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — On May 9, 2006, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) listed staghorn and elkhorn corals (Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata) as...

  1. Changes in growth, vitality, and habitat value of Acropora cervicornis in the US Caribbean

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The project was planned to document the habitat value of Acropora cervicornis, staghorn coral, colonies or stands/thickets as they changed in configuration through...

  2. Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) as designated by 73 FR 72210, November 26, 2008,...

  3. Topography and spatial arrangement of reef-building corals on the fringing reefs of North Jamaica may influence their response to disturbance from bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M J C

    2010-04-01

    Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience helps us understand how reefs react following major environmental disturbances such as hurricanes and bleaching. Here we test factors that might have influenced Jamaican reef resilience to, and subsequent recovery from, the 2005 bleaching event, and which might help inform management policy for reefs in the future: reef rugosity and contact of corals with macroalgae. In addition, we test in the field, on Dairy Bull reef, whether aggregated Porites astreoides colonies exhibit enhanced growth when exposed to superior competition from Acopora palmata, as has been found by experiment with the Indo-Pacific corals Porites lobata and the superior competitor Porites rus [Idjadi, J.A., Karlson, R.H., 2007. Spatial arrangement of competitors influences coexistence of reef-building corals. Ecology 88, 2449-2454]. There were significant linear relationships between rugosity and the increase in smallest size classes for Sidastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, P. astreoides and Agaricia species, and between rugosity and cover of the branching coral Acropora cervicornis. Linear extension rates of A. cervicornis and radial growth rates of P. astreoides were significantly lower (p6) when in contact with macroalgae. Aggregated colonies of P. astreoides in contact with one another, one of which was in contact with the faster growing competitor A. palmata showed significantly greater growth rates than with just two aggregated P. astreoides colonies alone. These findings suggest that three dimensional topography and complexity is important for reef resilience and viability in the face of environmental stressors such as bleaching. Our findings also support the idea that aggregated spatial arrangements of corals can influence the outcome of interspecific competition and promote species coexistence, important in times of reef recovery after disturbance. PMID:19819006

  4. Corals Form Characteristic Associations with Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria

    OpenAIRE

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.; Bourne, David G.

    2012-01-01

    The complex symbiotic relationship between corals and their dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is believed to be sustained through close associations with mutualistic bacterial communities, though little is known about coral associations with bacterial groups able to fix nitrogen (diazotrophs). In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with three common coral species (Acropora millepora, Acropora muricata, and Pocillopora damicormis) from t...

  5. Lithifying Microbes Associated to Coral Rubbles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltran, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial communities taking part in calcium carbonate lithification processes are particularly relevant to coral reef formation in as much as this lithification allows the stabilization of secondary reef structure. This second framework promotes long-term permanence of the reef, favoring the establishment of macro-reef builders, including corals. The reef-bacterial crusts formed by microbial communities are composed of magnesium calcite. Although prokaryotes are not proper calcifiers, carbonate precipitation can be induced by their metabolic activity and EPS production. Coral reefs are rapidly declining due to several variables associated to environmental change. Specifically in the Caribbean, stony coral Acropora palmata have suffered damage due to diseases, bleaching and storms. Some reports show that in highly disturbed areas wide ridges of reef rubbles are formed by biological and physical lithification. In this study we explore microbial diversity associated to lithified rubbles left after the great decline of reef-building A. palmata.

  6. A connection between colony biomass and death in Caribbean reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel J Thornhill

    Full Text Available Increased sea-surface temperatures linked to warming climate threaten coral reef ecosystems globally. To better understand how corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp. respond to environmental change, tissue biomass and Symbiodinium density of seven coral species were measured on various reefs approximately every four months for up to thirteen years in the Upper Florida Keys, United States (1994-2007, eleven years in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas (1995-2006, and four years in Puerto Morelos, Mexico (2003-2007. For six out of seven coral species, tissue biomass correlated with Symbiodinium density. Within a particular coral species, tissue biomasses and Symbiodinium densities varied regionally according to the following trends: Mexico≥Florida Keys≥Bahamas. Average tissue biomasses and symbiont cell densities were generally higher in shallow habitats (1-4 m compared to deeper-dwelling conspecifics (12-15 m. Most colonies that were sampled displayed seasonal fluctuations in biomass and endosymbiont density related to annual temperature variations. During the bleaching episodes of 1998 and 2005, five out of seven species that were exposed to unusually high temperatures exhibited significant decreases in symbiotic algae that, in certain cases, preceded further decreases in tissue biomass. Following bleaching, Montastraea spp. colonies with low relative biomass levels died, whereas colonies with higher biomass levels survived. Bleaching- or disease-associated mortality was also observed in Acropora cervicornis colonies; compared to A. palmata, all A. cervicornis colonies experienced low biomass values. Such patterns suggest that Montastraea spp. and possibly other coral species with relatively low biomass experience increased susceptibility to death following bleaching or other stressors than do conspecifics with higher tissue biomass levels.

  7. Metatranscriptome analysis of the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata indicates holobiont response to coral disease

    OpenAIRE

    Daniels, Camille A.; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Lauren K Yum; Michell, Craig T.; Bayer, Till; Arif, Chatchanit; Roder, Cornelia; Weil, Ernesto; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    White Plague Disease (WPD) is implicated in coral reef decline in the Caribbean and is characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue. Studies thus far have focused on assessing microbial communities or the identification of specific pathogens, yet few have addressed holobiont response across metaorganism compartments in coral disease. Here, we report on the first metatranscriptomic assessment of the coral host, algal symbiont, and microbial compartment in order to surv...

  8. Deep-sequencing method for quantifying background abundances of symbiodinium types: exploring the rare symbiodinium biosphere in reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kate M Quigley

    Full Text Available The capacity of reef-building corals to associate with environmentally-appropriate types of endosymbionts from the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium contributes significantly to their success at local scales. Additionally, some corals are able to acclimatize to environmental perturbations by shuffling the relative proportions of different Symbiodinium types hosted. Understanding the dynamics of these symbioses requires a sensitive and quantitative method of Symbiodinium genotyping. Electrophoresis methods, still widely utilized for this purpose, are predominantly qualitative and cannot guarantee detection of a background type below 10% of the total Symbiodinium population. Here, the relative abundances of four Symbiodinium types (A13, C1, C3, and D1 in mixed samples of known composition were quantified using deep sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer of the ribosomal RNA gene (ITS-2 by means of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS using Roche 454. In samples dominated by each of the four Symbiodinium types tested, background levels of the other three types were detected when present at 5%, 1%, and 0.1% levels, and their relative abundances were quantified with high (A13, C1, D1 to variable (C3 accuracy. The potential of this deep sequencing method for resolving fine-scale genetic diversity within a symbiont type was further demonstrated in a natural symbiosis using ITS-1, and uncovered reef-specific differences in the composition of Symbiodinium microadriaticum in two species of acroporid corals (Acropora digitifera and A. hyacinthus from Palau. The ability of deep sequencing of the ITS locus (1 and 2 to detect and quantify low-abundant Symbiodinium types, as well as finer-scale diversity below the type level, will enable more robust quantification of local genetic diversity in Symbiodinium populations. This method will help to elucidate the role that background types have in maximizing coral fitness across diverse environments and in

  9. Coral mucus functions as an energy carrier and particle trap in the reef ecosystem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wild, C.; Huettel, M.; Klueter, A.;

    2004-01-01

    Zooxanthellae, endosymbiotic algae of reef-building corals, substantially contribute to the high gross primary production of coral reefs(1), but corals exude up to half of the carbon assimilated by their zooxanthellae as mucus(2,3). Here we show that released coral mucus efficiently traps organic...... matter from the water column and rapidly carries energy and nutrients to the reef lagoon sediment, which acts as a biocatalytic mineralizing filter. In the Great Barrier Reef, the dominant genus of hard corals, Acropora, exudes up to 4.8 litres of mucus per square metre of reef area per day. Between 56......% and 80% of this mucus dissolves in the reef water, which is filtered through the lagoon sands. Here, coral mucus is degraded at a turnover rate of at least 7% per hour. Detached undissolved mucus traps suspended particles, increasing its initial organic carbon and nitrogen content by three orders of...

  10. Acropora Presence/Absence in Surveyed Waters of Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands 2001-2006

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — On May 9, 2006, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) listed staghorn and elkhorn corals (Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata) as...

  11. Whole transcriptome analysis reveals changes in expression of immune-related genes during and after bleaching in a reef-building coral

    OpenAIRE

    Pinzón, Jorge H.; Kamel, Bishoy; Burge, Colleen A.; Harvell, C. Drew; Medina, Mónica; Weil, Ernesto; Mydlarz, Laura D.

    2015-01-01

    Climate change is negatively affecting the stability of natural ecosystems, especially coral reefs. The dissociation of the symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal symbiont, or coral bleaching, has been linked to increased sea surface temperatures. Coral bleaching has significant impacts on corals, including an increase in disease outbreaks that can permanently change the entire reef ecosystem. Yet, little is known about the impacts of coral bleaching on the coral immune system...

  12. Metatranscriptome analysis of the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata indicates holobiont response to coral disease

    KAUST Repository

    Daniels, Camille Arian

    2015-09-11

    White Plague Disease (WPD) is implicated in coral reef decline in the Caribbean and is characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue. Studies thus far have focused on assessing microbial communities or the identification of specific pathogens, yet few have addressed holobiont response across metaorganism compartments in coral disease. Here, we report on the first metatranscriptomic assessment of the coral host, algal symbiont, and microbial compartment in order to survey holobiont structure and function in healthy and diseased samples from Orbicella faveolata collected at reef sites off Puerto Rico. Our data indicate holobiont-wide as well as compartment-specific responses to WPD. Gene expression changes in the diseased coral host involved proteins playing a role in innate immunity, cytoskeletal integrity, cell adhesion, oxidative stress, chemical defense, and retroelements. In contrast, the algal symbiont showed comparatively few expression changes, but of large magnitude, of genes related to stress, photosynthesis, and metal transport. Concordant with the coral host response, the bacterial compartment showed increased abundance of heat shock proteins, genes related to oxidative stress, DNA repair, and potential retroelement activity. Importantly, analysis of the expressed bacterial gene functions establishes the participation of multiple bacterial families in WPD pathogenesis and also suggests a possible involvement of viruses and/or phages in structuring the bacterial assemblage. In this study, we implement an experimental approach to partition the coral holobiont and resolve compartment- and taxa-specific responses in order to understand metaorganism function in coral disease.

  13. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weynberg, Karen D; Wood-Charlson, Elisha M; Suttle, Curtis A; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals comprise multipartite symbioses where the cnidarian animal is host to an array of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, and the viruses that infect them. These viruses are critical elements of the coral holobiont, serving not only as agents of mortality, but also as potential vectors for lateral gene flow, and as elements encoding a variety of auxiliary metabolic functions. Consequently, understanding the functioning and health of the coral holobiont requires detailed knowledge of the associated viral assemblage and its function. Currently, the most tractable way of uncovering viral diversity and function is through metagenomic approaches, which is inherently difficult in corals because of the complex holobiont community, an extracellular mucus layer that all corals secrete, and the variety of sizes and structures of nucleic acids found in viruses. Here we present the first protocol for isolating, purifying and amplifying viral nucleic acids from corals based on mechanical disruption of cells. This method produces at least 50% higher yields of viral nucleic acids, has very low levels of cellular sequence contamination and captures wider viral diversity than previously used chemical-based extraction methods. We demonstrate that our mechanical-based method profiles a greater diversity of DNA and RNA genomes, including virus groups such as Retro-transcribing and ssRNA viruses, which are absent from metagenomes generated via chemical-based methods. In addition, we briefly present (and make publically available) the first paired DNA and RNA viral metagenomes from the coral Acropora tenuis. PMID:24847321

  14. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen Dawn Weynberg

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Reef-building corals comprise multipartite symbioses where the cnidarian animal is host to an array of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, and the viruses that infect them. These viruses are critical elements of the coral holobiont, serving not only as agents of mortality, but also as potential vectors for lateral gene flow, and as elements encoding a variety of auxiliary metabolic functions. Consequently, understanding the functioning and health of the coral holobiont requires detailed knowledge of the associated viral assemblage and its function. Currently, the most tractable way of uncovering viral diversity and function is through metagenomic approaches, which is inherently difficult in corals because of the complex holobiont community, an extracellular mucus layer that all corals secrete, and the variety of sizes and structures of nucleic acids found in viruses. Here we present the first protocol for isolating, purifying and amplifying viral nucleic acids from corals based on mechanical disruption of cells. This method produces at least 50% higher yields of viral nucleic acids, has very low levels of cellular sequence contamination and captures wider viral diversity than previously used chemical-based extraction methods. We demonstrate that our mechanical-based method profiles a greater diversity of DNA and RNA genomes, including virus groups such as Retro-transcribing and ssRNA viruses, which are absent from metagenomes generated via chemical-based methods. In addition, we briefly present (and make publically available the first paired DNA and RNA viral metagenomes from the coral Acropora tenuis.

  15. Mangrove habitats provide refuge from climate change for reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. K. Yates

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business as usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef, coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove–coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove shaded and exposed (unshaded areas. At least 33 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies was living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeniety, proximity of different habitat types

  16. Mangrove habitats provide refuge from climate change for reef-building corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, K. K.; Rogers, C. S.; Herlan, J. J.; Brooks, G. R.; Smiley, N. A.; Larson, R. A.

    2014-03-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business as usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef, coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. At least 33 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR) from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies was living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeniety, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic

  17. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

    Full Text Available GFP-like fluorescent proteins (FPs are the key color determinants in reef-building corals (class Anthozoa, order Scleractinia and are of considerable interest as potential genetically encoded fluorescent labels. Here we report 40 additional members of the GFP family from corals. There are three major paralogous lineages of coral FPs. One of them is retained in all sampled coral families and is responsible for the non-fluorescent purple-blue color, while each of the other two evolved a full complement of typical coral fluorescent colors (cyan, green, and red and underwent sorting between coral groups. Among the newly cloned proteins are a "chromo-red" color type from Echinopora forskaliana (family Faviidae and pink chromoprotein from Stylophora pistillata (Pocilloporidae, both evolving independently from the rest of coral chromoproteins. There are several cyan FPs that possess a novel kind of excitation spectrum indicating a neutral chromophore ground state, for which the residue E167 is responsible (numeration according to GFP from A. victoria. The chromoprotein from Acropora millepora is an unusual blue instead of purple, which is due to two mutations: S64C and S183T. We applied a novel probabilistic sampling approach to recreate the common ancestor of all coral FPs as well as the more derived common ancestor of three main fluorescent colors of the Faviina suborder. Both proteins were green such as found elsewhere outside class Anthozoa. Interestingly, a substantial fraction of the all-coral ancestral protein had a chromohore apparently locked in a non-fluorescent neutral state, which may reflect the transitional stage that enabled rapid color diversification early in the history of coral FPs. Our results highlight the extent of convergent or parallel evolution of the color diversity in corals, provide the foundation for experimental studies of evolutionary processes that led to color diversification, and enable a comparative analysis of

  18. The Diversity and Biogeography of Western Indian Ocean Reef-Building Corals

    OpenAIRE

    Obura, David

    2012-01-01

    This study assesses the biogeographic classification of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) on the basis of the species diversity and distribution of reef-building corals. Twenty one locations were sampled between 2002 and 2011. Presence/absence of scleractinian corals was noted on SCUBA, with the aid of underwater digital photographs and reference publications for species identification. Sampling effort varied from 7 to 37 samples per location, with 15 to 45 minutes per dive allocated to species ...

  19. The role of skeletal micro-architecture in diagenesis and dating of Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Tomiak, P. J.; Andersen, M. B.; E. J. Hendy; Potter, E. K.; Johnson, K. G.; Penkman, K. E. H.

    2016-01-01

    Past variations in global sea-level reflect continental ice volume, a crucial factor for understanding the Earth's climate system. The Caribbean coral Acropora palmata typically forms dense stands in very shallow water and therefore fossil samples mark past sea-level. Uranium-series methods are commonly used to establish a chronology for fossil coral reefs, but are compromised by post mortem diagenetic changes to coral skeleton. Current screening approaches are unable to identify all altered ...

  20. A nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry study of dinoflagellate functional diversity in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pernice, Mathieu; Dunn, Simon R; Tonk, Linda; Dove, Sophie; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Hoppe, Peter; Schintlmeister, Arno; Wagner, Michael; Meibom, Anders

    2015-10-01

    Nutritional interactions between corals and symbiotic dinoflagellate algae lie at the heart of the structural foundation of coral reefs. Whilst the genetic diversity of Symbiodinium has attracted particular interest because of its contribution to the sensitivity of corals to environmental changes and bleaching (i.e. disruption of coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis), very little is known about the in hospite metabolic capabilities of different Symbiodinium types. Using a combination of stable isotopic labelling and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS), we investigated the ability of the intact symbiosis between the reef-building coral Isopora palifera, and Symbiodinium C or D types, to assimilate dissolved inorganic carbon (via photosynthesis) and nitrogen (as ammonium). Our results indicate that Symbiodinium types from two clades naturally associated with I. palifera possess different metabolic capabilities. The Symbiodinium C type fixed and passed significantly more carbon and nitrogen to its coral host than the D type. This study provides further insights into the metabolic plasticity among different Symbiodinium types in hospite and strengthens the evidence that the more temperature-tolerant Symbiodinium D type may be less metabolically beneficial for its coral host under non-stressful conditions. PMID:24902979

  1. Application of 1H-NMR metabolomic profiling for reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emilia M Sogin

    Full Text Available In light of global reef decline new methods to accurately, cheaply, and quickly evaluate coral metabolic states are needed to assess reef health. Metabolomic profiling can describe the response of individuals to disturbance (i.e., shifts in environmental conditions across biological models and is a powerful approach for characterizing and comparing coral metabolism. For the first time, we assess the utility of a proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR-based metabolomics approach in characterizing coral metabolite profiles by 1 investigating technical, intra-, and inter-sample variation, 2 evaluating the ability to recover targeted metabolite spikes, and 3 assessing the potential for this method to differentiate among coral species. Our results indicate 1H-NMR profiling of Porites compressa corals is highly reproducible and exhibits low levels of variability within and among colonies. The spiking experiments validate the sensitivity of our methods and showcase the capacity of orthogonal partial least squares discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA to distinguish between profiles spiked with varying metabolite concentrations (0 mM, 0.1 mM, and 10 mM. Finally, 1H-NMR metabolomics coupled with OPLS-DA, revealed species-specific patterns in metabolite profiles among four reef-building corals (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lobata, Montipora aequituberculata, and Seriatopora hystrix. Collectively, these data indicate that 1H-NMR metabolomic techniques can profile reef-building coral metabolomes and have the potential to provide an integrated picture of the coral phenotype in response to environmental change.

  2. Application of 1H-NMR Metabolomic Profiling for Reef-Building Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sogin, Emilia M.; Anderson, Paul; Williams, Philip; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Gates, Ruth D.

    2014-01-01

    In light of global reef decline new methods to accurately, cheaply, and quickly evaluate coral metabolic states are needed to assess reef health. Metabolomic profiling can describe the response of individuals to disturbance (i.e., shifts in environmental conditions) across biological models and is a powerful approach for characterizing and comparing coral metabolism. For the first time, we assess the utility of a proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR)-based metabolomics approach in characterizing coral metabolite profiles by 1) investigating technical, intra-, and inter-sample variation, 2) evaluating the ability to recover targeted metabolite spikes, and 3) assessing the potential for this method to differentiate among coral species. Our results indicate 1H-NMR profiling of Porites compressa corals is highly reproducible and exhibits low levels of variability within and among colonies. The spiking experiments validate the sensitivity of our methods and showcase the capacity of orthogonal partial least squares discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) to distinguish between profiles spiked with varying metabolite concentrations (0 mM, 0.1 mM, and 10 mM). Finally, 1H-NMR metabolomics coupled with OPLS-DA, revealed species-specific patterns in metabolite profiles among four reef-building corals (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lobata, Montipora aequituberculata, and Seriatopora hystrix). Collectively, these data indicate that 1H-NMR metabolomic techniques can profile reef-building coral metabolomes and have the potential to provide an integrated picture of the coral phenotype in response to environmental change. PMID:25354140

  3. RNA-Seq of the Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata (Scleractinia-Merulinidae) under bleaching and disease stress expands models of coral innate immunity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, David A; Walz, Marcus E; Weil, Ernesto; Tonellato, Peter; Smith, Matthew C

    2016-01-01

    Climate change-driven coral disease outbreaks have led to widespread declines in coral populations. Early work on coral genomics established that corals have a complex innate immune system, and whole-transcriptome gene expression studies have revealed mechanisms by which the coral immune system responds to stress and disease. The present investigation expands bioinformatic data available to study coral molecular physiology through the assembly and annotation of a reference transcriptome of the Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata. Samples were collected during a warm water thermal anomaly, coral bleaching event and Caribbean yellow band disease outbreak in 2010 in Puerto Rico. Multiplex sequencing of RNA on the Illumina GAIIx platform and de novo transcriptome assembly by Trinity produced 70,745,177 raw short-sequence reads and 32,463 O. faveolata transcripts, respectively. The reference transcriptome was annotated with gene ontologies, mapped to KEGG pathways, and a predicted proteome of 20,488 sequences was generated. Protein families and signaling pathways that are essential in the regulation of innate immunity across Phyla were investigated in-depth. Results were used to develop models of evolutionarily conserved Wnt, Notch, Rig-like receptor, Nod-like receptor, and Dicer signaling. O. faveolata is a coral species that has been studied widely under climate-driven stress and disease, and the present investigation provides new data on the genes that putatively regulate its immune system. PMID:26925311

  4. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success?

    OpenAIRE

    Renema, Willem; Pandolfi, John M.; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Klaus, James S.; Korpanty, Chelsea; Rosen, Brian R.; Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Wallace, Carden C; Webster, Jody M.; Johnson, Kenneth G.

    2016-01-01

    As one of the most prolific and widespread reef builders, the staghorn coral Acropora holds a disproportionately large role in how coral reefs will respond to accelerating anthropogenic change. We show that although Acropora has a diverse history extended over the past 50 million years, it was not a dominant reef builder until the onset of high-amplitude glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuations 1.8 million years ago. High growth rates and propagation by fragmentation have favored staghorn corals...

  5. A novel reef coral symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pantos, O.; Bythell, J. C.

    2010-09-01

    Reef building corals form close associations with unicellular microalgae, fungi, bacteria and archaea, some of which are symbiotic and which together form the coral holobiont. Associations with multicellular eukaryotes such as polychaete worms, bivalves and sponges are not generally considered to be symbiotic as the host responds to their presence by forming physical barriers with an active growth edge in the exoskeleton isolating the invader and, at a subcellular level, activating innate immune responses such as melanin deposition. This study describes a novel symbiosis between a newly described hydrozoan ( Zanclea margaritae sp. nov.) and the reef building coral Acropora muricata (= A. formosa), with the hydrozoan hydrorhiza ramifying throughout the coral tissues with no evidence of isolation or activation of the immune systems of the host. The hydrorhiza lacks a perisarc, which is typical of symbiotic species of this and related genera, including species that associate with other cnidarians such as octocorals. The symbiosis was observed at all sites investigated from two distant locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and appears to be host species specific, being found only in A. muricata and in none of 30 other species investigated at these sites. Not all colonies of A. muricata host the hydrozoans and both the prevalence within the coral population (mean = 66%) and density of emergent hydrozoan hydranths on the surface of the coral (mean = 4.3 cm-2, but up to 52 cm-2) vary between sites. The form of the symbiosis in terms of the mutualism-parasitism continuum is not known, although the hydrozoan possesses large stenotele nematocysts, which may be important for defence from predators and protozoan pathogens. This finding expands the known A. muricata holobiont and the association must be taken into account in future when determining the corals’ abilities to defend against predators and withstand stress.

  6. Transcriptomic variation in a coral reveals pathways of clonal organisation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    K Bay, Line; Nielsen, Henrik Bjørn; Jarmer, Hanne Østergaard;

    2009-01-01

    A microarray study was undertaken to examine the potential for clonal gene expression variation in a branching reef building coral, Acropora millepora. The role of small-scale gradients in light and water flow was examined by comparing gene expression levels between branch elevation (tip and base......) and position (centre and edge) of replicate coral colonies (n=3). Analyses of variance revealed that almost 60% of variation in gene expression was present between colonies and 34 genes were considered differentially expressed between colonies (minimum P=6.5 x 10(-4)). These genes are associated with...... perimeter of corymbose-like branching coral colonies such as A. millepora. Four genes were differentially expressed between the tip and base of branches (P=3.239 x 10(-4)) and were associated with lysosome lipase activity and fluorescence, suggesting that branch tips may encounter higher pathogen loads or...

  7. A coral-on-a-chip microfluidic platform enabling live-imaging microscopy of reef-building corals

    OpenAIRE

    Shapiro, Orr H.; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Gavish, Assaf R.; Stocker, Roman; Vardi, Assaf

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs, and the unique ecosystems they support, are facing severe threats by human activities and climate change. Our understanding of these threats is hampered by the lack of robust approaches for studying the micro-scale interactions between corals and their environment. Here we present an experimental platform, coral-on-a-chip, combining micropropagation and microfluidics to allow direct microscopic study of live coral polyps. The small and transparent coral micropropagates are ideall...

  8. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tse-Lynn Loh

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge predators. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals. An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites, a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs.

  9. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; McMurray, Steven E; Henkel, Timothy P; Vicente, Jan; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2015-01-01

    Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs) with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes) were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge predators. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals. An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites), a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs. PMID:25945305

  10. Mucus Sugar Content Shapes the Bacterial Community Structure in Thermally Stressed Acropora muricata

    OpenAIRE

    Lee, Sonny T. M.; Davy, Simon K.; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S.

    2016-01-01

    It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26 to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed tha...

  11. Whole transcriptome analysis reveals changes in expression of immune-related genes during and after bleaching in a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinzón, Jorge H; Kamel, Bishoy; Burge, Colleen A; Harvell, C Drew; Medina, Mónica; Weil, Ernesto; Mydlarz, Laura D

    2015-04-01

    Climate change is negatively affecting the stability of natural ecosystems, especially coral reefs. The dissociation of the symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal symbiont, or coral bleaching, has been linked to increased sea surface temperatures. Coral bleaching has significant impacts on corals, including an increase in disease outbreaks that can permanently change the entire reef ecosystem. Yet, little is known about the impacts of coral bleaching on the coral immune system. In this study, whole transcriptome analysis of the coral holobiont and each of the associate components (i.e. coral host, algal symbiont and other associated microorganisms) was used to determine changes in gene expression in corals affected by a natural bleaching event as well as during the recovery phase. The main findings include evidence that the coral holobiont and the coral host have different responses to bleaching, and the host immune system appears suppressed even a year after a bleaching event. These results support the hypothesis that coral bleaching changes the expression of innate immune genes of corals, and these effects can last even after recovery of symbiont populations. Research on the role of immunity on coral's resistance to stressors can help make informed predictions on the future of corals and coral reefs. PMID:26064625

  12. Microbial diversity associated with four functional groups of benthic reef algae and the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rodriguez-Brito, Beltran; Janouškovec, Jan; Marhaver, Kristen L; Smith, Jennifer E; Keeling, Patrick; Rohwer, Forest L

    2011-05-01

    The coral reef benthos is primarily colonized by corals and algae, which are often in direct competition with one another for space. Numerous studies have shown that coral-associated Bacteria are different from the surrounding seawater and are at least partially species specific (i.e. the same bacterial species on the same coral species). Here we extend these microbial studies to four of the major ecological functional groups of algae found on coral reefs: upright and encrusting calcifying algae, fleshy algae, and turf algae, and compare the results to the communities found on the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis. It was found using 16S rDNA tag pyrosequencing that the different algal genera harbour characteristic bacterial communities, and these communities were generally more diverse than those found on corals. While the majority of coral-associated Bacteria were related to known heterotrophs, primarily consuming carbon-rich coral mucus, algal-associated communities harboured a high percentage of autotrophs. The majority of algal-associated autotrophic Bacteria were Cyanobacteria and may be important for nitrogen cycling on the algae. There was also a rich diversity of photosynthetic eukaryotes associated with the algae, including protists, diatoms, and other groups of microalgae. Together, these observations support the hypothesis that coral reefs are a vast landscape of distinctive microbial communities and extend the holobiont concept to benthic algae. PMID:21272183

  13. The role of skeletal micro-architecture in diagenesis and dating of Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Tomiak, Peter J.; Andersen, Morten B; Hendy, Erica; Potter, E-K; Johnson, K. G.; Penkman, K.E.H.

    2016-01-01

    Past variations in global sea-level reflect continental ice volume, a crucial factor for understanding the Earth's climate system. The Caribbean coral Acropora palmata typically forms dense stands in very shallow water and therefore fossil samples mark past sea-level. Uranium-series methods are commonly used to establish a chronology for fossil coral reefs, but are compromised by post mortem diagenetic changes to coral skeleton. Current screening approaches are unable to identify all altered ...

  14. Nota sobre la densidad y tasa de depredación de Coralliophila abbreviata y Coralliophila caribaea sobre colonias jóvenes de Acropora palmata en un arrecife deteriorado de Cayo Sombrero, Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela Note on density and predation rate of Coralliophila abbreviata and Coralliophila caribaea on juvenile colonies of Acropora palmata in a deteriorated coral reef of Cayo Sombrero, Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos del Mónaco

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Los arrecifes del Parque Nacional Morrocoy (PNM se encuentran actualmente impactados. Posterior a la mortandad masiva ocurrida en 1996, ha habido indicios de recuperación de Acropora palmata. Este proceso podría ser retrasado por Coralliophila. Se observaron solamente tres colonias de A. palmata en todo un arrecife de Cayo Sombrero. En julio 2005 estas presentaron densidades de Coralliophila abbreviata de 4, 0 y 2 ind/col y de Coralliophila caribaea de 22, 14 y 0 ind/col y, en enero 2006 las densidades fueron: 8, 0 y 4 ind/col de C abbreviata y 22, 14 y 0 ind/col de C caribaea. En las tres colonias se observaron cuatro lesiones (dos de cada depredador. Hubo pérdida de tejido de 66,14 cm a 162,85 cm en las lesiones ocasionadas por C abbreviata, con tasa de depredación de 0,52 cm día-1 en una de ellas, mientras que en otra fue de 37,41 a 72,50 cm con tasa de depredación de 0,19 cm día-1 . Las lesiones generadas por C caribaea no cambiaron. Es probable que el efecto de Coralliophila afecte la recuperación de A. palmata en el PNM, considerando la alta densidad de depredadores y la escasa abundancia de este coral en este parque.The coral reefs of Morrocoy National Park are currently deteriorated. After the massive mortality of 1996, Acropora palmata has shown some signs of recovery, a process that could be hampered by Coralliophila. We observed only three colonies of A. palmata in an entire reef in Cayo Sombrero. In July 2005, these colonies registered Coralliophila abbreviata densities of 4, 0, and 2 ind/col and Coralliophila caribaea densities of 22, 14, and 0 ind/col; in January 2006, said densities were 8, 0, and 4 ind/col (C. abbreviaté and 22, 14, and 0 ind/col (C. caribaea. Four sites of damage (two per predator were observed in the three colonies. In one colony, C abbreviata caused a loss of tissue of 66.14 to 162.85 cm , indicating a predation rate of 0.52 cm² day-1. In the other colony, the damage ranged from 37.41 to 72.50 cm2

  15. Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Riginos, Cynthia; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-07-01

    Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for ten microsatellite loci) to demonstrate highly congruent patterns of connectivity between this common broadcast spawning reef-building coral and its congener Acropora millepora (~950 colonies; 20 reefs, genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci). For both species, there is a genetic divide at around 19°S latitude, most probably reflecting allopatric differentiation during the Pleistocene. GBR reefs north of 19°S are essentially panmictic whereas southern reefs are genetically distinct with higher levels of genetic diversity and population structure, most notably genetic subdivision between inshore and offshore reefs south of 19°S. These broadly congruent patterns of higher genetic diversities found on southern GBR reefs most likely represent the accumulation of alleles via the southward flowing East Australia Current. In addition, signatures of genetic admixture between the Coral Sea and outer-shelf reefs in the northern, central and southern GBR provide evidence of recent gene flow. Our connectivity results are consistent with predictions from recently published larval dispersal models for broadcast spawning corals on the GBR, thereby providing robust connectivity information about the dominant reef-building genus Acropora for coral reef managers. PMID:27085309

  16. Recovery from bleaching is mediated by threshold densities of background thermo-tolerant symbiont types in a reef-building coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bay, Line K.; Doyle, Jason; Logan, Murray; Berkelmans, Ray

    2016-01-01

    Sensitive molecular analyses show that most corals host a complement of Symbiodinium genotypes that includes thermo-tolerant types in low abundance. While tolerant symbiont types are hypothesized to facilitate tolerance to temperature and recovery from bleaching, empirical data on their distribution and relative abundance in corals under ambient and stress conditions are still rare. We quantified visual bleaching and mortality of coral hosts, along with relative abundance of C- and D-type Symbiodinium cells in 82 Acropora millepora colonies from three locations on the Great Barrier Reef transplanted to a central inshore site over a 13 month period. Our analyses reveal dynamic change in symbiont associations within colonies and among populations over time. Coral bleaching and declines in C- but not D-type symbionts were observed in transplanted corals. Survival and recovery of 25% of corals from one population was associated with either initial D-dominance or an increase in D-type symbionts that could be predicted by a minimum pre-stress D : C ratio of 0.003. One-third of corals from this population became D dominated at the bleached stage despite no initial detection of this symbiont type, but failed to recover and died in mid to late summer. These results provide a predictive threshold minimum density of background D-type symbionts in A. millepora, above which survival following extreme thermal stress is increased. PMID:27429786

  17. Recovery from bleaching is mediated by threshold densities of background thermo-tolerant symbiont types in a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bay, Line K; Doyle, Jason; Logan, Murray; Berkelmans, Ray

    2016-06-01

    Sensitive molecular analyses show that most corals host a complement of Symbiodinium genotypes that includes thermo-tolerant types in low abundance. While tolerant symbiont types are hypothesized to facilitate tolerance to temperature and recovery from bleaching, empirical data on their distribution and relative abundance in corals under ambient and stress conditions are still rare. We quantified visual bleaching and mortality of coral hosts, along with relative abundance of C- and D-type Symbiodinium cells in 82 Acropora millepora colonies from three locations on the Great Barrier Reef transplanted to a central inshore site over a 13 month period. Our analyses reveal dynamic change in symbiont associations within colonies and among populations over time. Coral bleaching and declines in C- but not D-type symbionts were observed in transplanted corals. Survival and recovery of 25% of corals from one population was associated with either initial D-dominance or an increase in D-type symbionts that could be predicted by a minimum pre-stress D : C ratio of 0.003. One-third of corals from this population became D dominated at the bleached stage despite no initial detection of this symbiont type, but failed to recover and died in mid to late summer. These results provide a predictive threshold minimum density of background D-type symbionts in A. millepora, above which survival following extreme thermal stress is increased. PMID:27429786

  18. Symbiodinium genotypic and environmental controls on lipids in reef building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy F Cooper

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Lipids in reef building corals can be divided into two classes; non-polar storage lipids, e.g. wax esters and triglycerides, and polar structural lipids, e.g. phospholipids and cholesterol. Differences among algal endosymbiont types are known to have important influences on processes including growth and the photobiology of scleractinian corals yet very little is known about the role of symbiont types on lipid energy reserves. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The ratio of storage lipid and structural lipid fractions of Scott Reef corals were determined by thin layer chromatography. The lipid fraction ratio varied with depth and depended on symbiont type harboured by two corals (Seriatopora hystrix and Pachyseris speciosa. S. hystrix colonies associated with Symbiodinium C1 or C1/C# at deep depths (>23 m had lower lipid fraction ratios (i.e. approximately equal parts of storage and structural lipids than those with Symbiodinium D1 in shallow depths (<23 m, which had higher lipid fraction ratios (i.e. approximately double amounts of storage relative to structural lipid. Further, there was a non-linear relationship between the lipid fraction ratio and depth for S. hystrix with a modal peak at ∼23 m coinciding with the same depth as the shift from clade D to C types. In contrast, the proportional relationship between the lipid fraction ratio and depth for P. speciosa, which exhibited high specificity for Symbiodinium C3 like across the depth gradient, was indicative of greater amounts of storage lipids contained in the deep colonies. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study has demonstrated that Symbiodinium exert significant controls over the quality of coral energy reserves over a large-scale depth gradient. We conclude that the competitive advantages and metabolic costs that arise from flexible associations with divergent symbiont types are offset by energetic trade-offs for the coral host.

  19. A coral-on-a-chip microfluidic platform enabling live-imaging microscopy of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shapiro, Orr H; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Gavish, Assaf R; Stocker, Roman; Vardi, Assaf

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs, and the unique ecosystems they support, are facing severe threats by human activities and climate change. Our understanding of these threats is hampered by the lack of robust approaches for studying the micro-scale interactions between corals and their environment. Here we present an experimental platform, coral-on-a-chip, combining micropropagation and microfluidics to allow direct microscopic study of live coral polyps. The small and transparent coral micropropagates are ideally suited for live-imaging microscopy, while the microfluidic platform facilitates long-term visualization under controlled environmental conditions. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by imaging coral micropropagates at previously unattainable spatio-temporal resolutions, providing new insights into several micro-scale processes including coral calcification, coral-pathogen interaction and the loss of algal symbionts (coral bleaching). Coral-on-a-chip thus provides a powerful method for studying coral physiology in vivo at the micro-scale, opening new vistas in coral biology. PMID:26940983

  20. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals

    OpenAIRE

    Tse-Lynn Loh; Steven E. McMurray; Henkel, Timothy P.; Jan Vicente; Joseph R Pawlik

    2015-01-01

    Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine prot...

  1. Sedimentation and the reproductive biology of the Hawaiian reef-building coral Montipora capitata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padilla-Gamiño, Jacqueline L; Hédouin, Laetitia; Waller, Rhian G; Smith, Derek; Truong, William; Gates, Ruth D

    2014-02-01

    Environmental conditions can influence the physiology of marine organisms and have important implications for their reproductive performance and capacity to supply new recruits. This study examined the seasonal reproductive patterns of the coral Montipora capitata in habitats exposed to different sedimentation regimes. Although M. capitata is a main reef-building coral in the Hawaiian Archipelago, little is known about the gametogenic cycle and reproductive ecology of this important species. Our results indicate that gamete production in M. capitata is a resilient process; no differences in gamete development or fecundity were observed among sites with very different sedimentation regimes. The gametogenic cycle of M. capitata lasts between 10 and 11 months, with spawning occurring over 3-5 months during warmer months (May-September). Oocytes were found throughout the year, but spermatocysts were only found April-August. The largest increases in oocyte size occurred during February to May, the months when solar radiation increased rapidly. The largest variation in oocyte sizes was found during July and August; during this period individual colonies contained mature oocytes for immediate spawning and new oocytes being formed for spawning the next year. The capacity of M. capitata to reproduce in areas with high sedimentation is an interesting finding highlighting the potential of the species for acclimatization, adaptation, or both. Despite this optimistic finding, the management of terrestrial runoff and the restoration of habitat quality for corals remains a top priority to ensure the renewal and maintenance of coral populations. PMID:24648203

  2. Intraspecific variation in physiological condition of reef-building corals associated with differential levels of chronic disturbance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis, subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -121255, p = 0.03 and total lipid content increased (r2 = 14, df = 5,42, p = 0.01, B = 0.9, p = 0.01 with increasing distance from exposed crests. Moreover, zooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -7386077, p = 0.01. Conversely, P. damicornis exhibited very limited intraspecific variation in physiological condition, despite marked differences in levels of partial mortality. This is the first study to relate intraspecific variation in the condition of corals to localized differences in chronic disturbance regimes. The next step is to ascertain whether these differences have further ramifications for susceptibility to periodic acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching.

  3. Estimating the potential for adaptation of corals to climate warming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikolaus B M Császár

    Full Text Available The persistence of tropical coral reefs is threatened by rapidly increasing climate warming, causing a functional breakdown of the obligate symbiosis between corals and their algal photosymbionts (Symbiodinium through a process known as coral bleaching. Yet the potential of the coral-algal symbiosis to genetically adapt in an evolutionary sense to warming oceans is unknown. Using a quantitative genetics approach, we estimated the proportion of the variance in thermal tolerance traits that has a genetic basis (i.e. heritability as a proxy for their adaptive potential in the widespread Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Acropora millepora. We chose two physiologically different populations that associate respectively with one thermo-tolerant (Symbiodinium clade D and one less tolerant symbiont type (Symbiodinium C2. In both symbiont types, pulse amplitude modulated (PAM fluorometry and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC analysis revealed significant heritabilities for traits related to both photosynthesis and photoprotective pigment profile. However, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR assays showed a lack of heritability in both coral host populations for their own expression of fundamental stress genes. Coral colony growth, contributed to by both symbiotic partners, displayed heritability. High heritabilities for functional key traits of algal symbionts, along with their short clonal generation time and high population sizes allow for their rapid thermal adaptation. However, the low overall heritability of coral host traits, along with the corals' long generation time, raise concern about the timely adaptation of the coral-algal symbiosis in the face of continued rapid climate warming.

  4. Discovery of the corallivorous polyclad flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia--the first report from the wild.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kate A Rawlinson

    Full Text Available The role of corallivory is becoming increasingly recognised as an important factor in coral health at a time when coral reefs around the world face a number of other stressors. The polyclad flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, is a voracious predator of Indo-Pacific acroporid corals in captivity, and its inadvertent introduction into aquaria has lead to the death of entire coral colonies. While this flatworm has been a pest to the coral aquaculture community for over a decade, it has only been found in aquaria and has never been described from the wild. Understanding its biology and ecology in its natural environment is crucial for identifying viable biological controls for more successful rearing of Acropora colonies in aquaria, and for our understanding of what biotic interactions are important to coral growth and fitness on reefs. Using morphological, histological and molecular techniques we determine that a polyclad found on Acropora valida from Lizard Island, Australia is A. acroporae. The presence of extracellular Symbiodinium in the gut and parenchyma and spirocysts in the gut indicates that it is a corallivore in the wild. The examination of a size-range of individuals shows maturation of the sexual apparatus and increases in the number of eyes with increased body length. Conservative estimates of abundance show that A. acroporae occurred on 7 of the 10 coral colonies collected, with an average of 2.6±0.65 (mean ±SE animals per colony. This represents the first report of A. acroporae in the wild, and sets the stage for future studies of A. acroporae ecology and life history in its natural habitat.

  5. High reproductive synchrony of Acropora (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2015-01-05

    Coral spawning in the northern Gulf of Aqaba has been reported to be asynchronous, making it almost unique when compared to other regions in the world. Here, we document the reproductive condition of Acropora corals in early June 2014 in Dahab, in the Gulf of Aqaba, 125 km south of previous studies conducted in Eilat, Israel. Seventy-eight percent of Acropora colonies from 14 species had mature eggs, indicating that most colonies will spawn on or around the June full moon, with a very high probability of multi-species synchronous spawning. Given the proximity to Eilat, we predict that a comparable sampling protocol would detect similar levels of reproductive synchrony throughout the Gulf of Aqaba consistent with the hypothesis that high levels of spawning synchrony are a feature of all speciose coral assemblages.

  6. Interspecies and spatial diversity in the symbiotic zooxanthellae density in corals from northern South China Sea and its relationship to coral reef bleaching

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    Coral reef bleaching is usually characterized by expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae, loss of zooxanthellae pigmentation, or both. We collected 128 samples comprising 39 species of 21 genera of reef-building corals from Luhuitou and Xiaodonghai in Sanya of Hainan Island and Daya Bay of Guangdong Province, respectively, and analyzed the symbiotic zooxanthellae population density. The results show that: (1) the symbiotic zooxanthella density varies from 0.67×106 to 8.48×106 cell/cr2, displaying significant interspecies variability, with branch corals usually having relatively less zooxanthellae (ranging from 0.67×106 to 2.47×106 cell/cm2) than massive species (from 1.0×106 to 8.48×106 cell/cm2); (2) corals inhabiting within 4 m water depth have higher levels of symbiotic zooxanthellae than those living at the bottom (~7 m depth) of the reef area; (3) there is no discernable difference in the zooxanthellae density between corals from relatively high latitude Daya Bay (~22°N)and those from relatively Iow latitude Sanya (~18°N) at comparable sea surface temperatures (SST); (4)in partially-bleached corals, the density of zooxanthellae shows the following order: healthy-looking part> semi-bleached part > bleached part. Based on the above results, we suggest that (1) the zooxanthellae density difference between branching and massive coral species is the main cause that branching corals are more vulnerable to bleaching than massive corals. For example, symbiotic zooxanthellae levels are low in branching Acropora and Pocillopora corals and thus these corals are more susceptible to bleaching and mortality; (2) symbiotic zooxanthellae density can also be affected by environmental conditions, such as sediment loads, diving-related turbidity, and aquaculture-related nitrate and phosphate input, and their increase may reduce symbiotic zooxanthellae density in corals.

  7. Reproduction of deep-sea reef-building corals from the southwestern Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pires, D. O.; Silva, J. C.; Bastos, N. D.

    2014-01-01

    The logistics of research on deep-sea organisms imposes restrictions on studies that require repetitive long-term collections. Studies on the reproduction of deep-water corals have commonly been made without appropriate temporal series. This study included Madrepora oculata, Solenosmilia variabilis, Lophelia pertusa, and Enallopsammia rostrata, which are among the primary deep-sea reef building corals off Brazil. Samples were collected during 13 consecutive months by the Campos Basin Deep-Sea Corals Assessment Project (R&D Center of the Brazilian Energy Company, Petrobras) in Campos Basin (CB) off Rio de Janeiro State through a remotely-operated-vehicle at approximately 600 m depth. Of every monthly sampling campaign, an average of four to five colonies of all four species were investigated histologically. Colonies of both sexes were observed, indicating that all four species are gonochoric. For now, this appears to be the predominant reproductive pattern observed in corals in the area, as well as in deep-sea corals in general, where 80% of coral species are gonochoric. Although considered functionally gonochoric, M. oculata and L. pertusa presented a few colonies with different hermaphroditism patterns. E. rostrata and M. oculata presented continuous reproduction. Although fertile year-round, S. variabilis presents a reproductive peak between April and September (Autumn-Spring) in contrast with the seasonal reproduction recorded in the southwestern Pacific. L. pertusa had a seasonal reproductive peak, confirming previous observations of periodic reproduction in this species in the northeastern Atlantic. The possible spawning season of L. pertusa from CB concentrates between May and July (high frequency of mature gametes), while spawning occurs between January and March in the North Atlantic and between September and November in the Gulf of Mexico. Our results suggest that the studied species are broadcast spawners because no embryos or larvae were observed in any

  8. Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohki, S.; Irie, T.; Inoue, M.; Shinmen, K.; Kawahata, H.; Nakamura, T.; Kato, A.; Nojiri, Y.; Suzuki, A.; Sakai, K.; van Woesik, R.

    2013-04-01

    Increasing the acidity of ocean waters will directly threaten calcifying marine organisms such as reef-building scleractinian corals, and the myriad of species that rely on corals for protection and sustenance. Ocean pH has already decreased by around 0.1 pH units since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and is expected to decrease by another 0.2-0.4 pH units by 2100. This study mimicked the pre-industrial, present, and near-future levels of pCO2 using a precise control system (±5% pCO2), to assess the impact of ocean acidification on the calcification of recently-settled primary polyps of Acropora digitifera, both with and without symbionts, and adult fragments with symbionts. The increase in pCO2 of 100 μatm between the pre-industrial period and the present had more effect on the calcification rate of adult A. digitifera than the anticipated future increases of several hundreds of micro-atmospheres of pCO2. The primary polyps with symbionts showed higher calcification rates than primary polyps without symbionts, suggesting that (i) primary polyps housing symbionts are more tolerant to near-future ocean acidification than organisms without symbionts, and (ii) corals acquiring symbionts from the environment (i.e. broadcasting species) will be more vulnerable to ocean acidification than corals that maternally acquire symbionts.

  9. Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Ohki

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Increasing the acidity of ocean waters will directly threaten calcifying marine organisms such as reef-building scleractinian corals, and the myriad of species that rely on corals for protection and sustenance. Ocean pH has already decreased by around 0.1 pH units since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and is expected to decrease by another 0.2–0.4 pH units by 2100. This study mimicked the pre-industrial, present, and near-future levels of pCO2 using a precise control system (±5% pCO2, to assess the impact of ocean acidification on the calcification of recently-settled primary polyps of Acropora digitifera, both with and without symbionts, and adult fragments with symbionts. The increase in pCO2 of 100 μatm between the pre-industrial period and the present had more effect on the calcification rate of adult A. digitifera than the anticipated future increases of several hundreds of micro-atmospheres of pCO2. The primary polyps with symbionts showed higher calcification rates than primary polyps without symbionts, suggesting that (i primary polyps housing symbionts are more tolerant to near-future ocean acidification than organisms without symbionts, and (ii corals acquiring symbionts from the environment (i.e. broadcasting species will be more vulnerable to ocean acidification than corals that maternally acquire symbionts.

  10. Influence of Coral Bleaching on the Fauna of Tutia Reef, Tanzania

    OpenAIRE

    Öhman, M.C.; Lindahl, U.; Schelten, C.K.

    1999-01-01

    In 1998, coral reefs of Tanzania were severely affected by bleaching. The coral mortality that followed caused a concern for coral reef degradation and overall resource depletion. In this study, we investigated coral bleaching effects on the coral reef fauna at Tutia Reef in Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania. Corals from adjacent reef patches of the species Acropora formosa were transplanted into plots, and reef structure and associated fish assemblages were examined before and after the ble...

  11. The diversity and biogeography of Western Indian Ocean reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Obura

    Full Text Available This study assesses the biogeographic classification of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO on the basis of the species diversity and distribution of reef-building corals. Twenty one locations were sampled between 2002 and 2011. Presence/absence of scleractinian corals was noted on SCUBA, with the aid of underwater digital photographs and reference publications for species identification. Sampling effort varied from 7 to 37 samples per location, with 15 to 45 minutes per dive allocated to species observations, depending on the logistics on each trip. Species presence/absence was analyzed using the Bray-Curtis similarity coefficient, followed by cluster analysis and multi-dimensional scaling. Total (asymptotic species number per location was estimated using the Michaelis-Menten equation. Three hundred and sixty nine coral species were named with stable identifications and used for analysis. At the location level, estimated maximum species richness ranged from 297 (Nacala, Mozambique to 174 (Farquhar, Seychelles. Locations in the northern Mozambique Channel had the highest diversity and similarity, forming a core region defined by its unique oceanography of variable meso-scale eddies that confer high connectivity within this region. A distinction between mainland and island fauna was not found; instead, diversity decreased radially from the northern Mozambique Channel. The Chagos archipelago was closely related to the northern Mozambique Channel region, and analysis of hard coral data in the IUCN Red List found Chagos to be more closely related to the WIO than to the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka. Diversity patterns were consistent with primary oceanographic drivers in the WIO, reflecting inflow of the South Equatorial Current, maintenance of high diversity in the northern Mozambique Channel, and export from this central region to the north and south, and to the Seychelles and Mascarene islands.

  12. From parent to gamete: vertical transmission of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae ITS2 sequence assemblages in the reef building coral Montipora capitata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacqueline L Padilla-Gamiño

    Full Text Available Parental effects are ubiquitous in nature and in many organisms play a particularly critical role in the transfer of symbionts across generations; however, their influence and relative importance in the marine environment has rarely been considered. Coral reefs are biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems, whose success is framed by symbiosis between reef-building corals and unicellular dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Many corals produce aposymbiotic larvae that are infected by Symbiodinium from the environment (horizontal transmission, which allows for the acquisition of new endosymbionts (different from their parents each generation. In the remaining species, Symbiodinium are transmitted directly from parent to offspring via eggs (vertical transmission, a mechanism that perpetuates the relationship between some or all of the Symbiodinium diversity found in the parent through multiple generations. Here we examine vertical transmission in the Hawaiian coral Montipora capitata by comparing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in parent colonies and the eggs they produce. Parental effects on sequence assemblages in eggs are explored in the context of the coral genotype, colony morphology, and the environment of parent colonies. Our results indicate that ITS2 sequence assemblages in eggs are generally similar to their parents, and patterns in parental assemblages are different, and reflect environmental conditions, but not colony morphology or coral genotype. We conclude that eggs released by parent colonies during mass spawning events are seeded with different ITS2 sequence assemblages, which encompass phylogenetic variability that may have profound implications for the development, settlement and survival of coral offspring.

  13. Phylogenetic evidence for recent diversification of obligate coral-dwelling gobies compared with their host corals

    OpenAIRE

    Duchene, David; Klanten, Selma O.; Munday, Philip L.; Herler, Jürgen; van Herwerden, Lynne

    2013-01-01

    The rich diversity of coral reef organisms is supported, at least in part, by the diversity of coral reef habitat. Some of the most habitat specialised fishes on coral reefs are obligate coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon that inhabit a range of coral species, mostly of the genus Acropora. However, the role of this specialised pattern of habitat use in the evolution of coral-dwelling gobies is not well understood. Diversification of coral-dwelling gobies may be driven by the diversif...

  14. Artificial reef structures and coral transplantation: fish community responses and effects on coral recruitment in North Sulawesi/Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Ferse, Sebastian

    2008-01-01

    Artificial reefs alone and in combination with coral transplants (branching Acropora and Pocillopora species) were deployed in 100 m2 plots at three locations (Gangga, Meras and Bunaken) in North Sulawesi/Indonesia in order to study the effects on the associated reef fish community and on coral recruitment dynamics. Control plots covered with coral rubble were monitored for comparison. The study was carried out between May 2005 and July 2007. Coral recruitment was studied using limestone sett...

  15. Evidence for Autoinduction and Quorum Sensing in White Band Disease-Causing Microbes on Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Certner, Rebecca H.; Vollmer, Steven V.

    2015-06-01

    Coral reefs have entered a state of global decline party due to an increasing incidence of coral disease. However, the diversity and complexity of coral-associated bacterial communities has made identifying the mechanisms underlying disease transmission and progression extremely difficult. This study explores the effects of coral cell-free culture fluid (CFCF) and autoinducer (a quorum sensing signaling molecule) on coral-associated bacterial growth and on coral tissue loss respectively. All experiments were conducted using the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora cervicornis. Coral-associated microbes were grown on selective media infused with CFCF derived from healthy and white band disease-infected A. cervicornis. Exposure to diseased CFCF increased proliferation of Cytophaga-Flavobacterium spp. while exposure to healthy CFCF inhibited growth of this group. Exposure to either CFCF did not significantly affect Vibrio spp. growth. In order to test whether disease symptoms can be induced in healthy corals, A. cervicornis was exposed to bacterial assemblages supplemented with exogenous, purified autoinducer. Incubation with autoinducer resulted in complete tissue loss in all corals tested in less than one week. These findings indicate that white band disease in A. cervicornis may be caused by opportunistic pathogenesis of resident microbes.

  16. Development of bacterial biofilms on artificial corals in comparison to surface-associated microbes of hard corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael John Sweet

    Full Text Available Numerous studies have demonstrated the differences in bacterial communities associated with corals versus those in their surrounding environment. However, these environmental samples often represent vastly different microbial micro-environments with few studies having looked at the settlement and growth of bacteria on surfaces similar to corals. As a result, it is difficult to determine which bacteria are associated specifically with coral tissue surfaces. In this study, early stages of passive settlement from the water column to artificial coral surfaces (formation of a biofilm were assessed. Changes in bacterial diversity (16S rRNA gene, were studied on artificially created resin nubbins that were modelled from the skeleton of the reef building coral Acropora muricata. These models were dip-coated in sterile agar, mounted in situ on the reef and followed over time to monitor bacterial community succession. The bacterial community forming the biofilms remained significantly different (R = 0.864 p<0.05 from that of the water column and from the surface mucus layer (SML of the coral at all times from 30 min to 96 h. The water column was dominated by members of the α-proteobacteria, the developed community on the biofilms dominated by γ-proteobacteria, whereas that within the SML was composed of a more diverse array of groups. Bacterial communities present within the SML do not appear to arise from passive settlement from the water column, but instead appear to have become established through a selection process. This selection process was shown to be dependent on some aspects of the physico-chemical structure of the settlement surface, since agar-coated slides showed distinct communities to coral-shaped surfaces. However, no significant differences were found between different surface coatings, including plain agar and agar enhanced with coral mucus exudates. Therefore future work should consider physico-chemical surface properties as

  17. Preconditioning in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis and the potential for trans-generational acclimatization in coral larvae under future climate change conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Putnam, Hollie M; Gates, Ruth D

    2015-08-01

    Coral reefs are globally threatened by climate change-related ocean warming and ocean acidification (OA). To date, slow-response mechanisms such as genetic adaptation have been considered the major determinant of coral reef persistence, with little consideration of rapid-response acclimatization mechanisms. These rapid mechanisms such as parental effects that can contribute to trans-generational acclimatization (e.g. epigenetics) have, however, been identified as important contributors to offspring response in other systems. We present the first evidence of parental effects in a cross-generational exposure to temperature and OA in reef-building corals. Here, we exposed adults to high (28.9°C, 805 µatm P(CO2)) or ambient (26.5°C, 417 µatm P(CO2)) temperature and OA treatments during the larval brooding period. Exposure to high treatment negatively affected adult performance, but their larvae exhibited size differences and metabolic acclimation when subsequently re-exposed, unlike larvae from parents exposed to ambient conditions. Understanding the innate capacity corals possess to respond to current and future climatic conditions is essential to reef protection and maintenance. Our results identify that parental effects may have an important role through (1) ameliorating the effects of stress through preconditioning and adaptive plasticity, and/or (2) amplifying the negative parental response through latent effects on future life stages. Whether the consequences of parental effects and the potential for trans-generational acclimatization are beneficial or maladaptive, our work identifies a critical need to expand currently proposed climate change outcomes for corals to further assess rapid response mechanisms that include non-genetic inheritance through parental contributions and classical epigenetic mechanisms. PMID:26246609

  18. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renema, Willem; Pandolfi, John M; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Bosellini, Francesca R; Klaus, James S; Korpanty, Chelsea; Rosen, Brian R; Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Wallace, Carden C; Webster, Jody M; Johnson, Kenneth G

    2016-04-01

    As one of the most prolific and widespread reef builders, the staghorn coral Acropora holds a disproportionately large role in how coral reefs will respond to accelerating anthropogenic change. We show that although Acropora has a diverse history extended over the past 50 million years, it was not a dominant reef builder until the onset of high-amplitude glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuations 1.8 million years ago. High growth rates and propagation by fragmentation have favored staghorn corals since this time. In contrast, staghorn corals are among the most vulnerable corals to anthropogenic stressors, with marked global loss of abundance worldwide. The continued decline in staghorn coral abundance and the mounting challenges from both local stress and climate change will limit the coral reefs' ability to provide ecosystem services. PMID:27152330

  19. Mucus sugar content shapes the bacterial community structure in thermally stressed Acropora muricata

    OpenAIRE

    Lee, Sonny T. M.; Davy, Simon K.; Sen-Lin eTang; Kench, Paul S.

    2016-01-01

    It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26°C to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed t...

  20. Microbial composition of biofilms associated with lithifying rubble of Acropora palmata branches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltrán, Yislem; Cerqueda-García, Daniel; Taş, Neslihan; Thomé, Patricia E; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Falcón, Luisa I

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, but are rapidly declining due to global-warming-mediated changes in the oceans. Particularly for the Caribbean region, Acropora sp. stony corals have lost ∼80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. We analyzed the microbial composition of biofilms that colonize and lithify dead Acropora palmata rubble in the Mexican Caribbean and identified the microbial assemblages that can persist under scenarios of global change, including high temperature and low pH. Lithifying biofilms have a mineral composition that includes aragonite and magnesium calcite (16 mole% MgCO(3)) and calcite, while the mineral phase corresponding to coral skeleton is basically aragonite. Microbial composition of the lithifying biofilms are different in comparison to surrounding biotopes, including a microbial mat, water column, sediments and live A. palmata microbiome. Significant shifts in biofilm composition were detected in samples incubated in mesocosms. The combined effect of low pH and increased temperature showed a strong effect after two-week incubations for biofilm composition. Findings suggest that lithifying biofilms could remain as a secondary structure on reef rubble possibly impacting the functional role of coral reefs. PMID:26705570

  1. Water quality and herbivory interactively drive coral-reef recovery patterns in American Samoa.

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    Peter Houk

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Compared with a wealth of information regarding coral-reef recovery patterns following major disturbances, less insight exists to explain the cause(s of spatial variation in the recovery process. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study quantifies the influence of herbivory and water quality upon coral reef assemblages through space and time in Tutuila, American Samoa, a Pacific high island. Widespread declines in dominant corals (Acropora and Montipora resulted from cyclone Heta at the end of 2003, shortly after the study began. Four sites that initially had similar coral reef assemblages but differential temporal dynamics four years following the disturbance event were classified by standardized measures of 'recovery status', defined by rates of change in ecological measures that are known to be sensitive to localized stressors. Status was best predicted, interactively, by water quality and herbivory. Expanding upon temporal trends, this study examined if similar dependencies existed through space; building multiple regression models to identify linkages between similar status measures and local stressors for 17 localities around Tutuila. The results highlighted consistent, interactive interdependencies for coral reef assemblages residing upon two unique geological reef types. Finally, the predictive regression models produced at the island scale were graphically interpreted with respect to hypothesized site-specific recovery thresholds. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Cumulatively, our study purports that moving away from describing relatively well-known patterns behind recovery, and focusing upon understanding causes, improves our foundation to predict future ecological dynamics, and thus improves coral reef management.

  2. Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP as an Indicator of Bleaching Tolerance in Scleractinian Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham B. Jones

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Thermal tolerance tests on Acropora millepora, a common Indo-Pacific hard coral, have shown that adult corals can acquire increased thermal tolerance by shuffling existing type C to type D Symbiodinium zooxanthellae when subjected to increased seawater temperatures. We report here dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP concentrations in A. millepora and examine links between DMSP concentrations, zooxanthellae clade, and bleaching tolerance. DMSP analysis on native and transplanted corals from three locations in the Great Barrier Reef indicated that the lower thermal tolerance in type C zooxanthellae coincided with variable DMSP concentrations, whilst the more thermal tolerant type D zooxanthellae had more stable areal DMSP concentrations as seawater temperatures increased. Our results suggest this increased thermal tolerance in type D zooxanthellae may reflect the ability of these coral symbionts to conserve their antioxidant DMSP levels to relatively constant concentrations, enabling the coral to overcome the build-up of oxygen free radicals in the cytoplasm of A. millepora. A conceptual diagram illustrates how the antioxidants DMS (P participate in the bleaching process by scavenging oxygen free radicals and form DMSO, thus moderating coral bleaching and increasing thermotolerance.

  3. Assessment of Acropora palmata in the Mesoamerican Reef System.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rosa E Rodríguez-Martínez

    Full Text Available The once-dominant shallow reef-building coral Acropora palmata has suffered drastic geographical declines in the wider Caribbean from a disease epidemic that began in the late 1970s. At present there is a lack of quantitative data to determine whether this species is recovering over large spatial scales. Here, we use quantitative surveys conducted in 107 shallow-water reef sites between 2010 and 2012 to investigate the current distribution and abundance of A. palmata along the Mesoamerican Reef System (MRS. Using historical data we also explored how the distribution and abundance of this species has changed in the northern portion of the MRS between 1985 and 2010-2012. A. palmata was recorded in only a fifth of the surveyed reef sites in 2010-2012. In the majority of these reef sites the presence of A. palmata was patchy and rare. Only one site (Limones reef, in the northernmost portion of the MRS, presented considerably high A. palmata cover (mean: 34.7%, SD: 24.5%. At this site, the size-frequency distribution of A. palmata colonies was skewed towards small colony sizes; 84% of the colonies were healthy, however disease prevalence increased with colony size. A comparison with historical data showed that in the northern portion of the MRS, in 1985, A. palmata occurred in 74% of the 31 surveyed sites and had a mean cover of 7.7% (SD = 9.0, whereas in 2010-2012 this species was recorded in 48% of the sites with a mean cover of 2.9% (SD = 7.5. A. palmata populations along the MRS are failing to recover the distribution and abundance they had prior to the 1980s. Investigating the biological (e.g., population genetics and environmental conditions (e.g., sources of stress of the few standing reefs with relatively high A. palmata cover is crucial for the development of informed restoration models for this species.

  4. Shared skeletal support in a coral-hydroid symbiosis.

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    Olga Pantos

    Full Text Available Hydroids form symbiotic relationships with a range of invertebrate hosts. Where they live with colonial invertebrates such as corals or bryozoans the hydroids may benefit from the physical support and protection of their host's hard exoskeleton, but how they interact with them is unknown. Electron microscopy was used to investigate the physical interactions between the colonial hydroid Zanclea margaritae and its reef-building coral host Acropora muricata. The hydroid tissues extend below the coral tissue surface sitting in direct contact with the host's skeleton. Although this arrangement provides the hydroid with protective support, it also presents problems of potential interference with the coral's growth processes and exposes the hydroid to overgrowth and smothering. Desmocytes located within the epidermal layer of the hydroid's perisarc-free hydrorhizae fasten it to the coral skeleton. The large apical surface area of the desmocyte and high bifurcation of the distal end within the mesoglea, as well as the clustering of desmocytes suggests that a very strong attachment between the hydroid and the coral skeleton. This is the first study to provide a detailed description of how symbiotic hydroids attach to their host's skeleton, utilising it for physical support. Results suggest that the loss of perisarc, a characteristic commonly associated with symbiosis, allows the hydroid to utilise desmocytes for attachment. The use of these anchoring structures provides a dynamic method of attachment, facilitating detachment from the coral skeleton during extension, thereby avoiding overgrowth and smothering enabling the hydroid to remain within the host colony for prolonged periods of time.

  5. RNA-Seq of the Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata (Scleractinia-Merulinidae) under bleaching and disease stress expands models of coral innate immunity

    OpenAIRE

    Anderson, David A.; Walz, Marcus E.; Weil, Ernesto; Tonellato, Peter; Smith, Matthew C.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change-driven coral disease outbreaks have led to widespread declines in coral populations. Early work on coral genomics established that corals have a complex innate immune system, and whole-transcriptome gene expression studies have revealed mechanisms by which the coral immune system responds to stress and disease. The present investigation expands bioinformatic data available to study coral molecular physiology through the assembly and annotation of a reference transcriptome of th...

  6. Location-specific responses to thermal stress in larvae of the reef-building coral Montastraea faveolata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The potential to adapt to a changing climate depends in part upon the standing genetic variation present in wild populations. In corals, the dispersive larval phase is particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental stress. Larval survival and response to stress during dispersal and settlement will play a key role in the persistence of coral populations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To test the hypothesis that larval transcription profiles reflect location-specific responses to thermal stress, symbiont-free gametes from three to four colonies of the scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata were collected from Florida and Mexico, fertilized, and raised under mean and elevated (up 1 to 2 degrees C above summer mean temperatures. These locations have been shown to exchange larvae frequently enough to prevent significant differentiation of neutral loci. Differences among 1,310 unigenes were simultaneously characterized using custom cDNA microarrays, allowing investigation of gene expression patterns among larvae generated from wild populations under stress. Results show both conserved and location-specific variation in key processes including apoptosis, cell structuring, adhesion and development, energy and protein metabolism, and response to stress, in embryos of a reef-building coral. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results provide first insights into location-specific variation in gene expression in the face of gene flow, and support the hypothesis that coral host genomes may house adaptive potential needed to deal with changing environmental conditions.

  7. Are all eggs created equal? A case study from the Hawaiian reef-building coral Montipora capitata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padilla-Gamiño, Jacqueline L.; Bidigare, Robert R.; Barshis, Daniel J.; Alamaru, Ada; Hédouin, Laetitia; Hernández-Pech, Xavier; Kandel, Frederique; Leon Soon, Sherril; Roth, Melissa S.; Rodrigues, Lisa J.; Grottoli, Andrea G.; Portocarrero, Claudia; Wagenhauser, Stephanie A.; Buttler, Fenina; Gates, Ruth D.

    2013-03-01

    Parental effects have been largely unexplored in marine organisms and may play a significant role in dictating the phenotypic range of traits in coral offspring, influencing their ability to survive environmental challenges. This study explored parental effects and life-stage differences in the Hawaiian reef-building coral Montipora capitata from different environments by examining the biochemical composition of mature coral colonies and their eggs. Our results indicate that there are large biochemical differences between adults and eggs, with the latter containing higher concentration of lipids (mostly wax esters), ubiquitinated proteins (which may indicate high turnover rate of proteins) and antioxidants (e.g., manganese superoxide dismutase). Adults displayed high phenotypic plasticity, with corals from a high-light environment having more wax esters, lighter tissue δ13C signatures and higher Symbiodinium densities than adults from the low-light environment who had higher content of accessory pigments. A green-algal pigment (α-carotene) and powerful antioxidant was present in eggs; it is unclear whether this pigment is acquired from heterotrophic food sources or from endolithic green algae living in the adult coral skeletons. Despite the broad phenotypic plasticity displayed by adults, parental investment in the context of provisioning of energy reserves and antioxidant defense was the same in eggs from the different sites. Such equality in investment maximizes the capacity of all embryos and larvae to cope with challenging conditions associated with floating at the surface and to disperse successfully until an appropriate habitat for settlement is found.

  8. Hsp60 expression profiles in the reef-building coral Seriatopora caliendrum subjected to heat and cold shock regimes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seveso, Davide; Montano, Simone; Strona, Giovanni; Orlandi, Ivan; Galli, Paolo; Vai, Marina

    2016-08-01

    Climate changes have increased the intensity/frequency of extreme thermal events, which represent serious threats to the health of reef-building corals. Since the vulnerability of corals exposed to thermal stresses are related to their ability to regulate Heat shock proteins (Hsps), we have analyzed together the time related expression profiles of the mitochondrial Hsp60 and the associated changes in tissue pigmentation in Seriatopora caliendrum subjected to 48 h of heat and cold treatments characterized by moderate (±2 °C) and severe (±6 °C) shocks. For the first time, an Hsp60 response was observed in a scleractinian coral exposed to cold stresses. Furthermore, the Hsp60 modulations and the changes in the tissue coloration were found to be specific for each treatment. A strong down-regulation at the end of the treatments was observed following both the severe shocks, but only the severe heat stress led to bleaching in concert with the lowest levels of Hsp60, suggesting that a severe heat shock can be more deleterious than an exposure to a severe cold temperature. On the contrary, a moderate cold stress seems to be more harmful than a moderate temperature increase, which could allow coral acclimation. Our results can provide a potential framework for understanding the physiological tolerance of corals under possible future climate changes. PMID:27183199

  9. The Impacts of Ex Situ Transplantation on the Physiology of the Taiwanese Reef-Building Coral Seriatopora hystrix

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anderson B. Mayfield

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We sought to determine whether the Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Seriatopora hystrix performs in a similar manner in the laboratory as it does in situ by measuring Symbiodinium density, chlorophyll a (chl-a concentration, and the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (FV/FM at the time of field sampling (in situ, as well as after three weeks of acclimation and one week of experimentation (ex situ. Symbiodinium density was similar between corals of the two study sites, Houbihu (an upwelling reef and Houwan (a nonupwelling reef, and also remained at similar levels ex situ as in situ. On the other hand, both areal and cell-specific chl-a concentrations approximately doubled ex situ relative to in situ, an increase that may be due to having employed a light regime that differed from that experienced by these corals on the reefs of southern Taiwan from which they were collected. As this change in Symbiodinium chl-a content was documented in corals of both sites, the experiment itself was not biased by this difference. Furthermore, FV/FM increased by only 1% ex situ relative to in situ, indicating that the corals maintained a similar level of photosynthetic performance as displayed in situ even after one month in captivity.

  10. Coral Reef Genomics: Developing tools for functional genomics ofcoral symbiosis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schwarz, Jodi; Brokstein, Peter; Manohar, Chitra; Coffroth, MaryAlice; Szmant, Alina; Medina, Monica

    2005-03-01

    Symbioses between cnidarians and dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are widespread in the marine environment. The importance of this symbiosis to reef-building corals and reef nutrient and carbon cycles is well documented, but little is known about the mechanisms by which the partners establish and regulate the symbiosis. Because the dinoflagellate symbionts live inside the cells of their host coral, the interactions between the partners occur on cellular and molecular levels, as each partner alters the expression of genes and proteins to facilitate the partnership. These interactions can examined using high-throughput techniques that allow thousands of genes to be examined simultaneously. We are developing the groundwork so that we can use DNA microarray profiling to identify genes involved in the Montastraea faveolata and Acropora palmata symbioses. Here we report results from the initial steps in this microarray initiative, that is, the construction of cDNA libraries from 4 of 16 target stages, sequencing of 3450 cDNA clones to generate Expressed Sequenced Tags (ESTs), and annotation of the ESTs to identify candidate genes to include in the microarrays. An understanding of how the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regulated will have implications for atmospheric and ocean sciences, conservation biology, the study and diagnosis of coral bleaching and disease, and comparative studies of animal-protest interactions.

  11. The roles and interactions of symbiont, host and environment in defining coral fitness.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jos C Mieog

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Reef-building corals live in symbiosis with a diverse range of dinoflagellate algae (genus Symbiodinium that differentially influence the fitness of the coral holobiont. The comparative role of symbiont type in holobiont fitness in relation to host genotype or the environment, however, is largely unknown. We addressed this knowledge gap by manipulating host-symbiont combinations and comparing growth, survival and thermal tolerance among the resultant holobionts in different environments. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Offspring of the coral, Acropora millepora, from two thermally contrasting locations, were experimentally infected with one of six Symbiodinium types, which spanned three phylogenetic clades (A, C and D, and then outplanted to the two parental field locations (central and southern inshore Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Growth and survival of juvenile corals were monitored for 31-35 weeks, after which their thermo-tolerance was experimentally assessed. Our results showed that: (1 Symbiodinium type was the most important predictor of holobiont fitness, as measured by growth, survival, and thermo-tolerance; (2 growth and survival, but not heat-tolerance, were also affected by local environmental conditions; and (3 host population had little to no effect on holobiont fitness. Furthermore, coral-algal associations were established with symbiont types belonging to clades A, C and D, but three out of four symbiont types belonging to clade C failed to establish a symbiosis. Associations with clade A had the lowest fitness and were unstable in the field. Lastly, Symbiodinium types C1 and D were found to be relatively thermo-tolerant, with type D conferring the highest tolerance in A. millepora. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results highlight the complex interactions that occur between the coral host, the algal symbiont, and the environment to shape the fitness of the coral holobiont. An improved understanding of the factors

  12. Symbiodinium transcriptomes: genome insights into the dinoflagellate symbionts of reef-building corals.

    KAUST Repository

    Bayer, Till

    2012-04-18

    Dinoflagellates are unicellular algae that are ubiquitously abundant in aquatic environments. Species of the genus Symbiodinium form symbiotic relationships with reef-building corals and other marine invertebrates. Despite their ecologic importance, little is known about the genetics of dinoflagellates in general and Symbiodinium in particular. Here, we used 454 sequencing to generate transcriptome data from two Symbiodinium species from different clades (clade A and clade B). With more than 56,000 assembled sequences per species, these data represent the largest transcriptomic resource for dinoflagellates to date. Our results corroborate previous observations that dinoflagellates possess the complete nucleosome machinery. We found a complete set of core histones as well as several H3 variants and H2A.Z in one species. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis points toward a low number of transcription factors in Symbiodinium spp. that also differ in the distribution of DNA-binding domains relative to other eukaryotes. In particular the cold shock domain was predominant among transcription factors. Additionally, we found a high number of antioxidative genes in comparison to non-symbiotic but evolutionary related organisms. These findings might be of relevance in the context of the role that Symbiodinium spp. play as coral symbionts.Our data represent the most comprehensive dinoflagellate EST data set to date. This study provides a comprehensive resource to further analyze the genetic makeup, metabolic capacities, and gene repertoire of Symbiodinium and dinoflagellates. Overall, our findings indicate that Symbiodinium possesses some unique characteristics, in particular the transcriptional regulation in Symbiodinium may differ from the currently known mechanisms of eukaryotic gene regulation.

  13. Intraspecific diversity among partners drives functional variation in coral symbioses

    OpenAIRE

    John Everett Parkinson; Anastazia T Banaszak; Altman, Naomi S; LaJeunesse, Todd C.; Baums, Iliana B

    2015-01-01

    The capacity of coral-dinoflagellate mutualisms to adapt to a changing climate relies in part on standing variation in host and symbiont populations, but rarely have the interactions between symbiotic partners been considered at the level of individuals. Here, we tested the importance of inter-individual variation with respect to the physiology of coral holobionts. We identified six genetically distinct Acropora palmata coral colonies that all shared the same isoclonal Symbiodinium ‘fitti’ di...

  14. Through bleaching and tsunami : coral reef recovery in the Maldives

    OpenAIRE

    Morri, C.; M. MONTEFALCONE; Lasagna, R.; Gatti, G.; A. Rovere; Parravicini, Valeriano; Baldelli, G.; Colantoni, P.; C.N. BIANCHI

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are degrading worldwide, but little information exists on their previous conditions for most regions of the world. Since 1989, we have been studying the Maldives, collecting data before, during and after the bleaching and mass mortality event of 1998. As early as 1999, many newly settled colonies were recorded. Recruits shifted from a dominance of massive and encrusting corals in the early stages of recolonisation towards a dominance of Acropora and Pocillopora by 2009. Coral cove...

  15. Recent disturbances augment community shifts in coral assemblages in Moorea, French Polynesia

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2010-09-19

    Coral reefs are often subject to disturbances that can cause enduring changes in community structure and abundance of coral reef organisms. In Moorea, French Polynesia, frequent disturbances between 1979 and 2003 caused marked shifts in taxonomic composition of coral assemblages. This study explores recent changes in live cover and taxonomic structure of coral communities on the north coast of Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess whether coral assemblages are recovering (returning to a previous Acropora-dominated state) or continuing to move towards an alternative community structure. Coral cover declined by 29.7% between July 2003 and March 2009, mostly due to loss of Acropora and Montipora spp. Coral mortality varied among habitats, with highest levels of coral loss on the outer reef slope (7-20 m depth). In contrast, there was limited change in coral cover within the lagoon, and coral cover actually increased on the reef crest. Observed changes in coral cover and composition correspond closely with the known feeding preferences and observed spatial patterns of Acanthaster planci L., though observed coral loss also coincided with at least one episode of coral bleaching, as well as persistent populations of the corallivorous starfish Culcita novaeguineae Muller & Troschel. While climate change poses an important and significant threat to the future structure and dynamics coral reef communities, outbreaks of A. planci remain a significant cause of coral loss in Moorea. More importantly, these recent disturbances have followed long-term shifts in the structure of coral assemblages, and the relative abundance of both Pocillopora and Porites continue to increase due to disproportionate losses of Acropora and Montipora. Moreover, Pocillopora and Porites dominate assemblages of juvenile corals, suggesting that there is limited potential for a return to an Acropora-dominated state, last recorded in 1979. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

  16. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis of Large Subunit rDNA of Symbiotic Dinoflagellates from Scleractinian Corals in the Zhubi Coral Reef of the Nansha Islands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2006-01-01

    Zooxanthellae are very important for the coral reef ecosystem. The diversity of coral hosts is high in the South China Sea, but the diversity of zooxanthellae has not yet been investigated. We chose the Zhubi Coral Reef of the Nansha Islands as the region to be surveyed in the present study because it represents a typical tropical coral reef of the South China Sea and we investigated zooxanthellae diversity in 10 host scleractinian coral species using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the large subunit rRNA and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns. Pocillopora verrucosa, Acropora pelifera, Acropora millepora, Fungia fungites, Galaxea fascicularis, and Acropora pruinosa harbor Clade C, Goniastrea aspera harbors Clade D, and Acropora formosa harbors Clades D and C. Therefore, the Clade C is the dominant type in the Zhubi Coral Reef of the NanshaIslands. Furthermore, the results of the present also disprove what has been widely accepted, namely that one coral host harbors only one algal symbiont. The coral-algal symbiosis is flexible, which may be an important mechanism for surviving coral bleaching. Meanwhile, on the basis of the results of the present study, we think that Symbiodinium Clade D may be more tolerant to stress than Symbiodinium Clade C.

  17. Turning up the Heat: Increasing Temperature and Coral Bleaching at the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands

    OpenAIRE

    David A Abdo; Bellchambers, Lynda M.; Scott N Evans

    2012-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Coral reefs face increasing pressures particularly when on the edge of their distributions. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Abrolhos) are the southernmost coral reef system in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reefs in the world. These reefs have a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine fauna and flora and support 184 species of coral, dominated by Acropora species. A significant La Niña event during 2011 produced anomalous conditions of increased temperature al...

  18. Turning up the Heat: Increasing Temperature and Coral Bleaching at the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands

    OpenAIRE

    Abdo, David A.; Bellchambers, Lynda M.; Evans, Scott N.

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral reefs face increasing pressures particularly when on the edge of their distributions. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Abrolhos) are the southernmost coral reef system in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reefs in the world. These reefs have a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine fauna and flora and support 184 species of coral, dominated by Acropora species. A significant La Niña event during 2011 produced anomalous conditions of increased temperature alo...

  19. Molecular identification of symbiotic dinoflagellates (Zooxanthellae) of dominant reef-building corals off Kish Island

    OpenAIRE

    Ghavam Mostafavi, Pargol

    2006-01-01

    Scleractinian coral species harbour communities of photosynthetic taxa of the genus Symbiodinium. As many as eight genetic clades (A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H) of Symbiodinium have been discovered using molecular biology. These clades may differ from each other in their physiology, and thus influence the ecological distribution and resilience of their host corals to environmental stresses. Corals of the Persian Gulf are normally subject to extreme environmental conditions including high s...

  20. Environmental symbiont acquisition may not be the solution to warming seas for reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Alice Coffroth

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs worldwide are in decline. Much of the mortality can be attributed to coral bleaching (loss of the coral's intracellular photosynthetic algal symbiont associated with global warming. How corals will respond to increasing oceanic temperatures has been an area of extensive study and debate. Recovery after a bleaching event is dependent on regaining symbionts, but the source of repopulating symbionts is poorly understood. Possibilities include recovery from the proliferation of endogenous symbionts or recovery by uptake of exogenous stress-tolerant symbionts. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To test one of these possibilities, the ability of corals to acquire exogenous symbionts, bleached colonies of Porites divaricata were exposed to symbiont types not normally found within this coral and symbiont acquisition was monitored. After three weeks exposure to exogenous symbionts, these novel symbionts were detected in some of the recovering corals, providing the first experimental evidence that scleractinian corals are capable of temporarily acquiring symbionts from the water column after bleaching. However, the acquisition was transient, indicating that the new symbioses were unstable. Only those symbiont types present before bleaching were stable upon recovery, demonstrating that recovery was from the resident in situ symbiont populations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that some corals do not have the ability to adjust to climate warming by acquiring and maintaining exogenous, more stress-tolerant symbionts. This has serious ramifications for the success of coral reefs and surrounding ecosystems and suggests that unless actions are taken to reverse it, climate change will lead to decreases in biodiversity and a loss of coral reefs.

  1. Gene flow and genetic diversity of a broadcast-spawning coral in northern peripheral populations.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuichi Nakajima

    Full Text Available Recently, reef-building coral populations have been decreasing worldwide due to various disturbances. Population genetic studies are helpful for estimating the genetic connectivity among populations of marine sessile organisms with metapopulation structures such as corals. Moreover, the relationship between latitude and genetic diversity is informative when evaluating the fragility of populations. In this study, using highly variable markers, we examined the population genetics of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora digitifera at 19 sites in seven regions along the 1,000 km long island chain of Nansei Islands, Japan. This area includes both subtropical and temperate habitats. Thus, the coral populations around the Nansei Islands in Japan are northern peripheral populations that would be subjected to environmental stresses different from those in tropical areas. The existence of high genetic connectivity across this large geographic area was suggested for all sites (F(ST < or = 0.033 although small but significant genetic differentiation was detected among populations in geographically close sites and regions. In addition, A. digitifera appears to be distributed throughout the Nansei Islands without losing genetic diversity. Therefore, A. digitifera populations in the Nansei Islands may be able to recover relatively rapidly even when high disturbances of coral communities occur locally if populations on other reefs are properly maintained.

  2. Projected near-future levels of temperature and pCO2 reduce coral fertilization success.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Albright

    Full Text Available Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2 are projected to contribute to a 1.1-6.4°C rise in global average surface temperatures and a 0.14-0.35 reduction in the average pH of the global surface ocean by 2100. If realized, these changes are expected to have negative consequences for reef-building corals including increased frequency and severity of coral bleaching and reduced rates of calcification and reef accretion. Much less is known regarding the independent and combined effects of temperature and pCO2 on critical early life history processes such as fertilization. Here we show that increases in temperature (+3°C and pCO2 (+400 µatm projected for this century negatively impact fertilization success of a common Indo-Pacific coral species, Acropora tenuis. While maximum fertilization did not differ among treatments, the sperm concentration required to obtain 50% of maximum fertilization increased 6- to 8- fold with the addition of a single factor (temperature or CO2 and nearly 50- fold when both factors interact. Our results indicate that near-future changes in temperature and pCO2 narrow the range of sperm concentrations that are capable of yielding high fertilization success in A. tenuis. Increased sperm limitation, in conjunction with adult population decline, may have severe consequences for coral reproductive success. Impaired sexual reproduction will further challenge corals by inhibiting population recovery and adaptation potential.

  3. Synergistic effects of algal overgrowth and corallivory on Caribbean reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolf, Alexander T; Nugues, Maggy M

    2013-08-01

    Indirect biotic interactions play a crucial role in structuring ecological communities, but many of these interactions have not been explored. Algal competition and corallivory are two major stressors contributing to the decline of coral reefs. Here, we provide the first evidence of algal-induced corallivory and synergistic effects between the two stressors on corals. When corals (Montastraeafaveolata) were placed in contact with algae (Halimeda opuntia) together with corallivorous fireworms (Hermodice carunculata) in aquaria, corals suffered high tissue mortality. This mortality was reduced in the presence of algae only, and no mortality occurred in the presence of fireworms only or when excluding both algae and fireworms. These findings were supported by field observations showing a predominance of fireworms inside algae contacting live corals, and by an in situ experiment demonstrating higher coral mortality in contact with algae left undisturbed than with algae from which all mobile epifauna were periodically removed. Among the main contributing mechanisms, we suggest that algal contact produces decaying coral tissue that attracts the corallivore and enhances its aggregation behavior. Our study demonstrates an indirect effect pathway by which algae can impact corals, which shares similarities with the classic models of apparent competition and habitat facilitation. PMID:24015510

  4. A cross-ocean comparison of responses to settlement cues in reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah W. Davies

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Caribbean coral reefs have deteriorated substantially over the past 30 years, which is broadly attributable to the effects of global climate change. In the same time, Indo-Pacific reefs maintain higher coral cover and typically recover rapidly after disturbances. This difference in reef resilience is largely due to much higher coral recruitment rates in the Pacific. We hypothesized that the lack of Caribbean recruitment might be explained by diminishing quality of settlement cues and/or impaired sensitivity of Caribbean coral larvae to those cues, relative to the Pacific. To evaluate this hypothesis, we assembled a collection of bulk samples of reef encrusting communities, mostly consisting of crustose coralline algae (CCA, from various reefs around the world and tested them as settlement cues for several coral species originating from different ocean provinces. Cue samples were meta-barcoded to evaluate their taxonomic diversity. We observed no systematic differences either in cue potency or in strength of larval responses depending on the ocean province, and no preference of coral larvae towards cues from the same ocean. Instead, we detected significant differences in cue preferences among coral species, even for corals originating from the same reef. We conclude that the region-wide disruption of the settlement process is unlikely to be the major cause of Caribbean reef loss. However, due to their high sensitivity to the effects of climate change, shifts in the composition of CCA-associated communities, combined with pronounced differences in cue preferences among coral species, could substantially influence future coral community structure.

  5. Coral-Bacterial Communities before and after a Coral Mass Spawning Event on Ningaloo Reef

    OpenAIRE

    Janja Ceh; Jean-Baptiste Raina; Soo, Rochelle M; Mike van Keulen; Bourne, David G.

    2012-01-01

    Bacteria associated with three coral species, Acropora tenuis, Pocillopora damicornis and Tubastrea faulkneri, were assessed before and after coral mass spawning on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Two colonies of each species were sampled before and after the mass spawning event and two additional samples were collected for P. damicornis after planulation. A variable 470 bp region of the 16 S rRNA gene was selected for pyrosequencing to provide an understanding of potential variations in ...

  6. A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stolarski, Jarosław; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Wallace, Carden C.; Gothmann, Anne M.; Mazur, Maciej; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Neuser, Rolf D.; Levy, Oren; Shemesh, Aldo; Meibom, Anders

    2016-06-01

    Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry.

  7. A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stolarski, Jarosław; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Wallace, Carden C.; Gothmann, Anne M.; Mazur, Maciej; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Neuser, Rolf D.; Levy, Oren; Shemesh, Aldo; Meibom, Anders

    2016-01-01

    Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry. PMID:27302371

  8. Systematic Analysis of White Pox Disease in Acropora palmata of the Florida Keys and Role of Serratia marcescens

    OpenAIRE

    Jessica L Joyner; Sutherland, Kathryn P.; Kemp, Dustin W.; Berry, Brett; Griffin, Ashton; James W Porter; Amador, Molly H. B.; Noren, Hunter K. G.; Erin K Lipp

    2015-01-01

    White pox disease (WPD) affects the threatened elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Owing in part to the lack of a rapid and simple diagnostic test, there have been few systematic assessments of the prevalence of acroporid serratiosis (caused specifically by Serratia marcescens) versus general WPD signs. Six reefs in the Florida Keys were surveyed between 2011 and 2013 to determine the disease status of A. palmata and the prevalence of S. marcescens. WPD was noted at four of the six reefs, with W...

  9. Mesures conjointes des rapports Sr/Ca et δ 18O effectuées sur Acropora nobilis et Pontes lutea: le paléothermomètre Sr/Ca est-il toujours fiable?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boiseau, Muriel; Cornu, Hélène; Turpin, Laurent; Juillet-Leclerc, Anne

    1997-11-01

    We measured the Sr/Ca and 18O/ 16O ratios in Acropora nobilis and Porites lutea, from the Mayotte lagoon. As the variations of δ 18O seawater are negligible, coral δ 18O aragonite reflects only seasonal temperature variations. While there is a good agreement between the Sr/Ca ratio and δ 18O for Acropora nobilis, it is not the case for Porites lutea. Coral biological and environmental parameters cannot explain the discrepancies between Sr/Ca ratios and isotopic measurements. However, transport mechanisms of Sr 2+ and Ca 2+ and the presence of two mineralogical structures of strontium may affect the Sr/Ca ratio.

  10. Seaweed-coral interactions: variance in seaweed allelopathy, coral susceptibility, and potential effects on coral resilience.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberta M Bonaldo

    Full Text Available Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70-80% lower, macroalgal cover 4-9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5-15 fold more frequent and 23-67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae, and coral cover 51-68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals.

  11. Colony geometry and structural complexity of the endangered species Acropora cervicornis partly explains the structure of their associated fish assemblage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A; Cappelletto, Jose; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    In the past decade, significant efforts have been made to describe fish-habitat associations. However, most studies have oversimplified actual connections between fish assemblages and their habitats by using univariate correlations. The purpose of this study was to identify the features of habitat forming corals that facilitate and influences assemblages of associated species such as fishes. For this we developed three-dimensional models of colonies of Acropora cervicornis to estimate geometry (length and height), structural complexity (i.e., volume, density of branches, etc.) and biological features of the colonies (i.e., live coral tissue, algae). We then correlated these colony characteristics with the associated fish assemblage using multivariate analyses. We found that geometry and complexity were better predictors of the structure of fish community, compared to other variables such as percentage of live coral tissue or algae. Combined, the geometry of each colony explained 40% of the variability of the fish assemblage structure associated with this coral species; 61% of the abundance and 69% of fish richness, respectively. Our study shows that three-dimensional reconstructions of discrete colonies of Acropora cervicornis provides a useful description of the colonial structural complexity and may explain a great deal of the variance in the structure of the associated coral reef fish community. This demonstration of the strongly trait-dependent ecosystem role of this threatened species has important implications for restoration and conservation efforts. PMID:27069801

  12. Spatially distinct and regionally endemic Symbiodinium assemblages in the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemp, Dustin W.; Thornhill, Daniel J.; Rotjan, Randi D.; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Fitt, William K.; Schmidt, Gregory W.

    2015-06-01

    Recently, the Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata was listed as "threatened" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Despite attention to this species' conservation, the extent of geographic variation within O. faveolata warrants further investigation. O. faveolata is unusual in that it can simultaneously harbor multiple genetically distinct and co-dominant species of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Here, we investigate the geographic and within-colony complexity of Symbiodinium- O. faveolata associations from Florida Keys, USA; Exuma Cays, Bahamas; Puerto Morelos, Mexico; and Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. We collected coral samples along intracolony axes, and Symbiodinium within O. faveolata samples was analyzed using the nuclear ITS2 region and chloroplast 23S rDNA genotyping. O. faveolata associated with species of Symbiodinium in clades A (type A3), B (B1 and B17), C (C3, C7, and C7a), and D (D1a/ Symbiodinium trenchii). Within-colony distributions of Symbiodinium species correlated with light availability, cardinal direction, and depth, resulting in distinct zonation patterns of endosymbionts within a host. Symbiodinium species from clades A and B occurred predominantly in the light-exposed tops, while species of clade C generally occurred in the shaded sides of colonies or in deeper-water habitats. Furthermore, geographic comparisons of host-symbiont associations revealed regional differences in Symbiodinium associations. Symbiodinium A3 was detected in Mesoamerican coral colonies, but not in colonies from the Florida Keys or Bahamas. Likewise, Symbiodinium B17 was unique to Mesoamerican O. faveolata, whereas Symbiodinium B1 was found at all localities sampled. However, using cp23S genotyping paired with ITS2 analysis revealed geographically endemic haplotypes among Symbiodinium clades A, B, and C. Since Symbiodinium spatial heterogeneity among this coral species is greater than most corals, a question arises as to whether all

  13. Mucus Sugar Content Shapes the Bacterial Community Structure in Thermally Stressed Acropora muricata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Sonny T M; Davy, Simon K; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S

    2016-01-01

    It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral's mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26 to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed that, at lower temperatures, the main components of mucus were N-acetyl glucosamine and C6 sugars, but these constituted a significantly lower proportion of the mucus in thermally stressed corals. The change in the mucus composition coincided with a shift from a γ-Proteobacteria- to a Verrucomicrobiae- and α-Proteobacteria-dominated community in the coral mucus. Bacteria in the class Cyanobacteria also started to become prominent in the mucus when the coral was thermally stressed. The increase in the relative abundance of the Verrucomicrobiae at higher temperature was strongly associated with a change in the proportion of fucose, glucose, and mannose in the mucus. Increase in the relative abundance of α-Proteobacteria were associated with GalNAc and glucose, while the drop in relative abundance of γ-Proteobacteria at high temperature coincided with changes in fucose and mannose. Cyanobacteria were highly associated with arabinose and xylose. Changes in mucus composition and the bacterial community in the mucus layer occurred at 29°C, which were prior to visual signs of coral bleaching at 31°C. A compositional change in the coral mucus, induced by thermal stress could therefore be a key factor leading to a shift in the associated bacterial community. This, in turn, has the potential to impact the physiological function of the coral holobiont. PMID:27047481

  14. Gender-related differences in the apparent timing of skeletal density bands in the reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carricart-Ganivet, J. P.; Vásquez-Bedoya, L. F.; Cabanillas-Terán, N.; Blanchon, P.

    2013-09-01

    Density banding in skeletons of reef-building corals is a valuable source of proxy environmental data. However, skeletal growth strategy has a significant impact on the apparent timing of density-band formation. Some corals employ a strategy where the tissue occupies previously formed skeleton during as the new band forms, which leads to differences between the actual and apparent band timing. To investigate this effect, we collected cores from female and male colonies of Siderastrea siderea and report tissue thicknesses and density-related growth parameters over a 17-yr interval. Correlating these results with monthly sea surface temperature (SST) shows that maximum skeletal density in the female coincides with low winter SSTs, whereas in the male, it coincides with high summer SSTs. Furthermore, maximum skeletal densities in the female coincide with peak Sr/Ca values, whereas in the male, they coincide with low Sr/Ca values. Both results indicate a 6-month difference in the apparent timing of density-band formation between genders. Examination of skeletal extension rates also show that the male has thicker tissue and extends faster, whereas the female has thinner tissue and a denser skeleton—but both calcify at the same rate. The correlation between extension and calcification, combined with the fact that density banding arises from thickening of the skeleton throughout the depth reached by the tissue layer, implies that S. siderea has the same growth strategy as massive Porites, investing its calcification resources into linear extension. In addition, differences in tissue thicknesses suggest that females offset the greater energy requirements of gamete production by generating less tissue, resulting in differences in the apparent timing of density-band formation. Such gender-related offsets may be common in other corals and require that environmental reconstructions be made from sexed colonies and that, in fossil corals where sex cannot be determined

  15. Tradeoffs to Thermal Acclimation: Energetics and Reproduction of a Reef Coral with Heat Tolerant Symbiodinium Type-D

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The photo-physiological characteristics of thermo-tolerant Symbiodinium types have been postulated to have negative effects on the energetics of the reef corals by reducing fitness. To investigate this, two key and inextricably coupled indicators of fitness, lipids and reproduction, were monitored in colonies of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora over a two-year period that included a natural bleaching event. In the absence of bleaching ITS1-type clade D predominant colonies had 26% lower stored lipids compared to C2 colonies. At spawning time, this correlated with 28% smaller eggs in type-D colonies. This energetic disparity is expected to have reduced larval duration and settlement-competency periods in type-D compared to type-C2 colonies. More importantly, irrespective of the effect of genotype, the fitness of all corals was adversely affected by the stress of the bleaching event which reduced prespawning lipids by 60% and halved the number of eggs compared to the previous year. Our results extend work that has shown that direct temperature stress and symbiont change are likely to work in concert on corals by demonstrating that the lipids and reproduction of the reef building corals on tropical reefs are likely to be impaired by these processes as our climate warms.

  16. Distribution and morphology of growth anomaliesin Acropora from the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, T.M.; Aeby, G.S.; Coles, S.L.

    2008-01-01

    We assessed the distribution and prevalence of growth anomalies (GAs) in Acropora from French Frigate Shoals (Hawaii, USA), Johnston Atoll and Tutuila (American Samoa), developed a nomenclature for gross morphology, characterized GAs at the cellular level and obtained preliminary indices of their spatial patterns and progression within coral colonies. Acropora GAs were found in all 3 regions, but the distribution, variety and prevalence of Acropora GAs was highest in American Samoa. GAs were grouped into 7 gross morphologies (exophytic, bosselated, crateriform, nodular, vermiform, fimbriate or annular). On histology, GAs consisted of hyperplastic basal body wall (calicodermis, mesoglea and gastrodermis apposed to skeleton) with 3 distinct patterns of necrosis. There was no evidence of anaplasia or mitotic figures (common but not necessarily required morphologic indicators of neoplasia). Compared to normal tissues, GAs had significantly fewer polyps, zooxanthellae within the gastrodermis of the coenenchyme, mesenterial filaments and gonads but significantly more necrosis. On 2 colonies with GAs monitored at 2 points over 11 mo, numbers of GAs per colony increased from 0.9 to 3 times the original number seen, and significant clustering of GAs occurred within colonies. The evidence of GAs being true neoplasias (tumors) is mixed, so a cautionary approach is urged in use of morphologic terminology.

  17. UV-absorbing bacteria in coral mucus and their response to simulated temperature elevations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ravindran, J.; Kannapiran, E.; Manikandan, B.; Francis, K.; Arora, Shruti; Karunya, E.; Kumar, Amit; Singh, S. K.; Jose, Jiya

    2013-12-01

    Reef-building corals encompass various strategies to defend against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Coral mucus contains UV-absorbing compounds and has rich prokaryotic diversity associated with it. In this study, we isolated and characterized the UV-absorbing bacteria from the mucus of the corals Porites lutea and Acropora hyacinthus during the pre-summer and summer seasons. A total of 17 UV-absorbing bacteria were isolated and sequenced. The UV-absorbing bacteria showed UV absorption at wavelengths ranging from λ max = 333 nm to λ min = 208 nm. Analysis of the DNA sequences revealed that the majority of the UV-absorbing bacteria belonged to the family Firmicutes and the remaining belonged to the family Proteobacteria (class Gammaproteobacteria). Comparison of the sequences with the curated database yielded four distinct bacterial groups belonging to the genus Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Salinicoccus and Vibrio. The absorption peaks for the UV-absorbing bacteria shifted to the UV-A range (320-400 nm) when they were incubated at higher temperatures. Deciphering the complex relationship between corals and their associated bacteria will help us to understand their adaptive strategies to various stresses.

  18. Corals form characteristic associations with symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2012-05-01

    The complex symbiotic relationship between corals and their dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is believed to be sustained through close associations with mutualistic bacterial communities, though little is known about coral associations with bacterial groups able to fix nitrogen (diazotrophs). In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with three common coral species (Acropora millepora, Acropora muricata, and Pocillopora damicormis) from three midshelf locations of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by profiling the conserved subunit of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase iron protein. Comparisons of diazotrophic community diversity among coral tissue and mucus microenvironments and the surrounding seawater revealed that corals harbor diverse nifH phylotypes that differ between tissue and mucus microhabitats. Coral mucus nifH sequences displayed high heterogeneity, and many bacterial groups overlapped with those found in seawater. Moreover, coral mucus diazotrophs were specific neither to coral species nor to reef location, reflecting the ephemeral nature of coral mucus. In contrast, the dominant diazotrophic bacteria in tissue samples differed among coral species, with differences remaining consistent at all three reefs, indicating that coral-diazotroph associations are species specific. Notably, dominant diazotrophs for all coral species were closely related to the bacterial group rhizobia, which represented 71% of the total sequences retrieved from tissue samples. The species specificity of coral-diazotroph associations further supports the coral holobiont model that bacterial groups associated with corals are conserved. Our results suggest that, as in terrestrial plants, rhizobia have developed a mutualistic relationship with corals and may contribute fixed nitrogen to Symbiodinium. PMID:22344646

  19. A community change in the algal endosymbionts of a scleractinian coral following a natural bleaching event: field evidence of acclimatization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, A M; Berkelmans, R; van Oppen, M J H; Mieog, J C; Sinclair, W

    2008-06-22

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of zooxanthellae they harbour and, when multiple types are present, the relative abundance of types can be experimentally manipulated to increase the thermal limits of individual corals. Although the potential exists for this to translate into substantial thermal acclimatization of coral communities, to date there is no evidence to show that this takes place under natural conditions. In this study, we show field evidence of a dramatic change in the symbiont community of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, after a natural bleaching event in early 2006 in the Keppel Islands (Great Barrier Reef). Before bleaching, 93.5% (n=460) of the randomly sampled and tagged colonies predominantly harboured the thermally sensitive Symbiodinium type C2, while the remainder harboured a tolerant Symbiodinium type belonging to clade D or mixtures of C2 and D. After bleaching, 71% of the surviving tagged colonies that were initially C2 predominant changed to D or C1 predominance. Colonies that were originally C2 predominant suffered high mortality (37%) compared with D-predominant colonies (8%). We estimate that just over 18% of the original A. millepora population survived unchanged leaving 29% of the population C2 and 71% D or C1 predominant six months after the bleaching event. This change in the symbiont community structure, while it persists, is likely to have substantially increased the thermal tolerance of this coral population. Understanding the processes that underpin the temporal changes in symbiont communities is key to assessing the acclimatization potential of reef corals. PMID:18348962

  20. Spectral Reflectance of Palauan Reef-Building Coral with Different Symbionts in Response to Elevated Temperature

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brandon J. Russell

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Spectral reflectance patterns of corals are driven largely by the pigments of photosynthetic symbionts within the host cnidarian. The warm inshore bays and cooler offshore reefs of Palau share a variety of coral species with differing endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus: Symbiodinium, with the thermally tolerant Symbiodinium trenchii (S. trenchii (= type D1a or D1-4 predominating under the elevated temperature regimes inshore, and primarily Clade C types in the cooler reefs offshore. Spectral reflectance of two species of stony coral, Cyphastrea serailia (C. serailia and Pachyseris rugosa (P. rugosa, from both inshore and offshore locations shared multiple features both between sites and to similar global data from other studies. No clear reflectance features were evident which might serve as markers of thermally tolerant S. trenchii symbionts compared to the same species of coral with different symbionts. Reflectance from C. serailia colonies from inshore had a fluorescence peak at approximately 500 nm which was absent from offshore animals. Integrated reflectance across visible wavelengths had an inverse correlation to symbiont cell density and could be used as a relative indicator of the symbiont abundance for each type of coral. As hypothesized, coral colonies from offshore with Clade C symbionts showed a greater response to experimental heating, manifested as decreased symbiont density and increased reflectance or “bleaching” than their inshore counterparts with S. trenchii. Although no unique spectral features were found to distinguish species of symbiont, spectral differences related to the abundance of symbionts could prove useful in field and remote sensing studies.

  1. Metagenomic and ecophysiological analysis of biofilms colonizing coral substrates: "Life after death of coral"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez, A., Sr.; Cerqueda-Garcia, D.; Falcón, L. I.; Iglesias-Prieto, R., Sr.

    2015-12-01

    Coral reefs are the most productive ecosystems on the planet and are the most important carbonated structures of biological origin. However, global warming is affecting the health and functionality of these ecosystems. Specifically, most of the Acropora sp. stony corals have declined their population all over the Mexican Caribbean in more than ~80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. When the coral dies, the skeleton begins to be colonized by algae, sponges, bacteria and others, forming a highly diverse biofilm. We analyzed the metagenomes of the dead A. palmata rubbles from Puerto Morelos, in the Mexican Caribbean. Also, we quantified the elemental composition of biomass and measured nitrogen fixation and emission of greenhouse gases over 24 hrs. This works provides information on how the community is composed and functions after the death of the coral, visualizing a possible picture for a world without coral reefs.

  2. The reproductive season of scleractinian corals in Socotra, Yemen [v1; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/36f

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew H. Baird

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Determining when corals reproduce has clear management and economic implications. Here we document the reproductive condition of corals in the genus Acropora on the island of Socotra in Yemen during February 2014. Twenty percent of colonies (n = 143 contained mature gametes and 28% had immature gametes indicating that spawning will occur in both February and March in 2014, confirming previous anecdotal reports of coral spawning at this time in Socotra. Acropora typically reproduce in synchrony with many other broadcast spawning scleractinian corals, and we therefore predict that many other species are reproductively active at this time of year.

  3. Mucus sugar content shapes the bacterial community structure in thermally stressed Acropora muricata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonny T.M. Lee

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26°C to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed that, at lower temperatures, the main components of mucus were N-acetyl glucosamine and C6 sugars, but these constituted a significantly lower proportion of the mucus in thermally-stressed corals. The change in the mucus composition coincided with a shift from a γ-Proteobacteria- to a Verrucomicrobiae- and α-Proteobacteria-dominated community in the coral mucus. Bacteria in the class Cyanobacteria also started to become prominent in the mucus when the coral was thermally stressed. The increase in the relative abundance of the Verrucomicrobiae at higher temperature was strongly associated with a change in the proportion of fucose, glucose and mannose in the mucus. Increase in the relative abundance of α-Proteobacteria were associated with GalNAc and glucose, while the drop in relative abundance of γ-Proteobacteria at high temperature coincided with changes in fucose and mannose. Cyanobacteria were highly associated with arabinose and xylose. Changes in mucus composition and the bacterial community in the mucus layer occurred at 29°C, which were prior to visual signs of coral bleaching at 31°C. A compositional change in the coral mucus, induced by thermal stress could therefore be a key factor leading to a shift in the associated bacterial community. This, in turn, has the potential to impact the physiological function of the coral holobiont.

  4. Mucus Sugar Content Shapes the Bacterial Community Structure in Thermally Stressed Acropora muricata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Sonny T. M.; Davy, Simon K.; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S.

    2016-01-01

    It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26 to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed that, at lower temperatures, the main components of mucus were N-acetyl glucosamine and C6 sugars, but these constituted a significantly lower proportion of the mucus in thermally stressed corals. The change in the mucus composition coincided with a shift from a γ-Proteobacteria- to a Verrucomicrobiae- and α-Proteobacteria-dominated community in the coral mucus. Bacteria in the class Cyanobacteria also started to become prominent in the mucus when the coral was thermally stressed. The increase in the relative abundance of the Verrucomicrobiae at higher temperature was strongly associated with a change in the proportion of fucose, glucose, and mannose in the mucus. Increase in the relative abundance of α-Proteobacteria were associated with GalNAc and glucose, while the drop in relative abundance of γ-Proteobacteria at high temperature coincided with changes in fucose and mannose. Cyanobacteria were highly associated with arabinose and xylose. Changes in mucus composition and the bacterial community in the mucus layer occurred at 29°C, which were prior to visual signs of coral bleaching at 31°C. A compositional change in the coral mucus, induced by thermal stress could therefore be a key factor leading to a shift in the associated bacterial community. This, in turn, has the potential to impact the physiological function of the coral holobiont. PMID:27047481

  5. Larval settlement preferences of Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata in response to diverse red algae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S. N.; Paul, V. J.; Steneck, R. S.

    2014-03-01

    Settlement specificity can regulate recruitment but remains poorly understood for coral larvae. We studied larvae of the corals, Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata, to determine their rates of settlement and metamorphosis in the presence of ten species of red algae, including eight species of crustose coralline algae, one geniculated coralline and one encrusting peyssonnelid. Twenty to forty percent of larvae of A. palmata settled on coralline surfaces of Hydrolithon boergesenii, Lithoporella atlantica, Neogoniolithon affine, and Titanoderma prototypum, whereas none settled and metamorphosed on Neogoniolithon mamillare. Larvae of M. faveolata had 13-25 % settlement onto the surface of Amphiroa tribulus, H. boergesenii, N. affine, N. munitum, and T. prototypum, but had no settlement on the surface of N. mamillare, Porolithon pachydermum, and a noncoralline crust Peyssonnelia sp. Some of these algal species were common on Belizean reefs, but the species that induced the highest rates of larval settlement and metamorphosis tended to be rare and primarily found in low-light environments. The shallow coral, A. palmata, and the deeper coral, M. faveolata, both had increased larval settlement rates in the presence of only a few species of red algae found at deeper depths suggesting that patterns of coral distribution can only sometimes be related to the distribution of red algae species.

  6. Niche specialization of reef-building corals in the mesophotic zone

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cooper, Timothy F.; Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Dandan, Sana S.;

    2011-01-01

    The photobiology of two reef corals and the distribution of associated symbiont types were investigated over a depth gradient of 0–60 m at Scott Reef, Western Australia. Pachyseris speciosa hosted mainly the same Symbiodinium C type similar to C3 irrespective of sampling depth. By contrast...

  7. Establishment of coral-algal symbiosis requires attraction and selection.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hiroshi Yamashita

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are based on coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis. During the initiation of symbiosis, majority of corals acquire their own zooxanthellae (specifically from the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium from surrounding environments. The mechanisms underlying the initial establishment of symbiosis have attracted much interest, and numerous field and laboratory experiments have been conducted to elucidate this establishment. However, it is still unclear whether the host corals selectively or randomly acquire their symbionts from surrounding environments. To address this issue, we initially compared genetic compositions of Symbiodinium within naturally settled about 2-week-old Acropora coral juveniles (recruits and those in the adjacent seawater as the potential symbiont source. We then performed infection tests using several types of Symbiodinium culture strains and apo-symbiotic (does not have Symbiodinium cells yet Acropora coral larvae. Our field observations indicated apparent preference toward specific Symbiodinium genotypes (A1 and D1-4 within the recruits, despite a rich abundance of other Symbiodinium in the environmental population pool. Laboratory experiments were in accordance with this field observation: Symbiodinium strains of type A1 and D1-4 showed higher infection rates for Acropora larvae than other genotype strains, even when supplied at lower cell densities. Subsequent attraction tests revealed that three Symbiodinium strains were attracted toward Acropora larvae, and within them, only A1 and D1-4 strains were acquired by the larvae. Another three strains did not intrinsically approach to the larvae. These findings suggest the initial establishment of corals-Symbiodinium symbiosis is not random, and the infection mechanism appeared to comprise two steps: initial attraction step and subsequent selective uptake by the coral.

  8. Recurrent Disturbances and the Degradation of Hard Coral Communities in Taiwan

    OpenAIRE

    Kuo, Chao-Yang; Yuen, Yeong Shyan; Meng, Pei-Jie; Ho, Ping-Ho; Wang, Jih-Terng; Liu, Pi-Jen; Chang, Yang-Chi; Dai, Chang-Feng; Fan, Tung-Yung; Lin, Hsing-Juh; Baird, Andrew Hamilton; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2012-01-01

    Recurrent disturbances can have a critical effect on the structure and function of coral reef communities. In this study, long-term changes were examined in the hard coral community at Wanlitung, in southern Taiwan, between 1985 and 2010. In this 26 year interval, the reef has experienced repeated disturbances that include six typhoons and two coral-bleaching events. The frequency of disturbance has meant that species susceptible to disturbance, such as those in the genus Acropora and Montipo...

  9. Skin toxins in coral-associated Gobiodon species (Teleostei: Gobiidae) affect predator preference and prey survival

    OpenAIRE

    Gratzer, Barbara; Millesi, Eva; Walzl, Manfred; Herler, Juergen

    2014-01-01

    Predation risk is high for the many small coral reef fishes, requiring successful sheltering or other predator defence mechanisms. Coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon live in close association with scleractinian corals of the genus Acropora. Earlier studies indicated that the low movement frequency of adult fishes and the development of skin toxins (crinotoxicity) are predation avoidance mechanisms. Although past experiments showed that predators refuse food prepared with goby skin mu...

  10. Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) as an Indicator of Bleaching Tolerance in Scleractinian Corals

    OpenAIRE

    Jones, Graham B.; Stacey King

    2015-01-01

    Thermal tolerance tests on Acropora millepora, a common Indo-Pacific hard coral, have shown that adult corals can acquire increased thermal tolerance by shuffling existing type C to type D Symbiodinium zooxanthellae when subjected to increased seawater temperatures. We report here dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations in A. millepora and examine links between DMSP concentrations, zooxanthellae clade, and bleaching tolerance. DMSP analysis on native and transplanted corals from th...

  11. Simultaneous time resolution of the emission spectra of fluorescent proteins and zooxanthellar chlorophyll in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilmore, Adam M; Larkum, Anthony W D; Salih, Anya; Itoh, Shigeru; Shibata, Yutaka; Bena, Chiaki; Yamasaki, Hideo; Papina, Marina; Van Woesik, Robert

    2003-05-01

    Light is absorbed by photosynthetic algal symbionts (i.e. zooxanthellae) and by chromophoric fluorescent proteins (FP) in reef-building coral tissue. We used a streak-camera spectrograph equipped with a pulsed, blue laser diode (50 ps, 405 nm) to simultaneously resolve the fluorescence spectra and kinetics for both the FP and the zooxanthellae. Shallow water (corals showed rapidly decaying species and reciprocal rises in greener emission components indicating Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between FP populations. The energy transfer modes were around 250 ps, and the main decay modes of the acceptor FP were typically 1900-2800 ps. All zooxanthellae emitted similar spectra and kinetics with peak emission (approximately 683 nm) mainly from photosystem II (PSII) chlorophyll (chl) a. Compared with the FP, the PSII emission exhibited similar rise times but much faster decay times, typically around 640-760 ps. The fluorescence kinetics and excitation versus emission mapping indicated that the FP emission played only a minor role, if any, in chl excitation. We thus suggest the FP could only indirectly act to absorb, screen and scatter light to protect PSII and underlying and surrounding animal tissue from excess visible and UV light. We conclude that our time-resolved spectral analysis and simulation revealed new FP emission components that would not be easily resolved at steady state because of their relatively rapid decays due to efficient FRET. We believe the methods show promise for future studies of coral bleaching and for potentially identifying FP species for use as genetic markers and FRET partners, like the related green FP from Aequorea spp. PMID:12812294

  12. Physiological acclimation to elevated temperature in a reef-building coral from an upwelling environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayfield, A. B.; Fan, T.-Y.; Chen, C.-S.

    2013-12-01

    Recent work has found that pocilloporid corals from regions characterized by unstable temperatures, such as those exposed to periodic upwelling, display a remarkable degree of phenotypic plasticity. In order to understand whether important reef builders from these upwelling reefs remain physiologically uncompromised at temperatures they will experience in the coming decades as a result of global climate change, a long-term elevated temperature experiment was conducted with Pocillopora damicornis specimens collected from Houbihu, a small embayment within Nanwan Bay, southern Taiwan that is characterized by 8-9 °C temperature changes during upwelling events. Upon nine months of exposure to nearly 30 °C, all colony (mortality and surface area), polyp ( Symbiodinium density and chlorophyll a content), tissue (total thickness), and molecular (gene expression and molecular composition)-level parameters were documented at similar levels between experimental corals and controls incubated at 26.5 °C, suggesting that this species can readily acclimate to elevated temperatures that cause significant degrees of stress, or even bleaching and mortality, in conspecifics of other regions of the Indo-Pacific. However, the gastrodermal tissue layer was relatively thicker in corals of the high temperature treatment sampled after nine months, possibly as an adaptive response to shade Symbiodinium from the higher photosynthetically active radiation levels that they were experiencing at that sampling time. Such shading may have prevented high light and high temperature-induced photoinhibition, and consequent bleaching, in these samples.

  13. Effect of temperature on two reef-building corals Pocillopora damicornis and P. verrucosa in the Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abdulmohsin A. Al-Sofyani

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available The effects of temperature on two reef building corals Pocilloporadamicornis and P. verrucosa inhabiting the Obhur Creek, a small embayment on thewestern, Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, was studied from December 2009 toNovember 2010. The overall annual range of seawater temperature in Obhur Creekwas between 24.5°C and 33°C. Zooxanthellae abundance anddiversity showed seasonal variations: the number of zooxanthellae in P. damicornis was slightly higher than in P. verrucosa, and theabundance of zooxanthellae of both species was low in summer and high duringwinter. The respiration rate of P. verrucosa did not vary between summerand winter, suggesting compensatory acclimation. In contrast, the respiratoryrate in P. damicornis was lower in winter than in summer. During thewinter season the metabolic rate was higher in both species owing to theoptimum seawater temperature (30°C. As a result of the abundance ofzooxanthellae and the optimum seawater temperature, the growth rates of theskeletons of the two coral species were higher in winter and lower in summer.In general, the results showed that P. damicornis is more flexible withrespect to temperature than P. damicornis. The difference inzooxanthellae thermal tolerances at 35°C may be due to the algalgenotypes between the two species, resulting in P. damicornis becomingbleached as the rate of metabolism exceeds the rate of photosynthesis withincreasing temperature.

  14. Potential costs of acclimatization to a warmer climate: growth of a reef coral with heat tolerant vs. sensitive symbiont types.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison Jones

    Full Text Available One of the principle ways in which reef building corals are likely to cope with a warmer climate is by changing to more thermally tolerant endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae genotypes. It is highly likely that hosting a more heat-tolerant algal genotype will be accompanied by tradeoffs in the physiology of the coral. To better understand one of these tradeoffs, growth was investigated in the Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Acropora millepora in both the laboratory and the field. In the Keppel Islands in the southern Great Barrier Reef this species naturally harbors nrDNA ITS1 thermally sensitive type C2 or thermally tolerant type D zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium and can change dominant type following bleaching. We show that under controlled conditions, corals with type D symbionts grow 29% slower than those with type C2 symbionts. In the field, type D colonies grew 38% slower than C2 colonies. These results demonstrate the magnitude of trade-offs likely to be experienced by this species as they acclimatize to warmer conditions by changing to more thermally tolerant type D zooxanthellae. Irrespective of symbiont genotype, corals were affected to an even greater degree by the stress of a bleaching event which reduced growth by more than 50% for up to 18 months compared to pre-bleaching rates. The processes of symbiont change and acute thermal stress are likely to act in concert on coral growth as reefs acclimatize to more stressful warmer conditions, further compromising their regeneration capacity following climate change.

  15. Anthropogenic mortality on coral reefs in Caribbean Panama predates coral disease and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cramer, Katie L; Jackson, Jeremy B C; Angioletti, Christopher V; Leonard-Pingel, Jill; Guilderson, Thomas P

    2012-06-01

    Caribbean reef corals have declined precipitously since the 1980s due to regional episodes of bleaching, disease and algal overgrowth, but the extent of earlier degradation due to localised historical disturbances such as land clearing and overfishing remains unresolved. We analysed coral and molluscan fossil assemblages from reefs near Bocas del Toro, Panama to construct a timeline of ecological change from the 19th century-present. We report large changes before 1960 in coastal lagoons coincident with extensive deforestation, and after 1960 on offshore reefs. Striking changes include the demise of previously dominant staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and oyster Dendrostrea frons that lives attached to gorgonians and staghorn corals. Reductions in bivalve size and simplification of gastropod trophic structure further implicate increasing environmental stress on reefs. Our paleoecological data strongly support the hypothesis, from extensive qualitative data, that Caribbean reef degradation predates coral bleaching and disease outbreaks linked to anthropogenic climate change. PMID:22462739

  16. Microbial community analysis of Acropora palamata mucus swabs, water and sediment samples from Hawksnest Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

    OpenAIRE

    May, Lisa A.; Avadanei, Athena R.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Miller, Jeff; Woodley, Cheryl M.

    2010-01-01

    Colonies of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata, listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, have been monitored in Hawksnest Bay, within Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, from 2004 through 2010 by scientists with the US Geological Survey, National Park Service, and the University of the Virgin Islands. The focus has been on documenting the prevalence of disease, including white band, white pox (also called patchy necrosis and white patches), and unidentified ...

  17. Life on the edge: corals in mangroves and climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.

    2012-01-01

    Coral diseases have played a major role in the degradation of coral reefs in the Caribbean, including those in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). In 2005, bleaching affected reefs throughout the Caribbean, and was especially severe on USVI reefs. Some corals began to regain their color as water temperatures cooled, but an outbreak of disease (primarily white plague) led to losses of over 60% of the total live coral cover. Montastraea annularis, the most abundant coral, was disproportionately affected, and decreased in relative abundance. The threatened species Acropora palmata bleached for the first time on record in the USVI but suffered less bleaching and less mortality from disease than M. annularis. Acropora palmata and M. annularis are the two most significant species in the USVI because of their structural role in the architecture of the reefs, the large size of their colonies, and their complex morphology. The future of the USVI reefs depends largely on their fate. Acropora palmata is more likely to recover than M. annularis for many reasons, including its faster growth rate, and its lower vulnerability to bleaching and disease.

  18. Competitive interactions between corals and turf algae depend on coral colony form

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeij, Mark JA

    2016-01-01

    Turf algae are becoming more abundant on coral reefs worldwide, but their effects on other benthic organisms remain poorly described. To describe the general characteristics of competitive interactions between corals and turf algae, we determined the occurrence and outcomes of coral–turf algal interactions among different coral growth forms (branching, upright, massive, encrusting, plating, and solitary) on a shallow reef in Vietnam. In total, the amount of turf algal interaction, i.e., the proportion of the coral boundary directly bordering turf algae, was quantified for 1,276 coral colonies belonging to 27 genera and the putative outcome of each interaction was noted. The amount of turf algal interaction and the outcome of these interactions differed predictably among the six growth forms. Encrusting corals interacted most often with turf algae, but also competed most successfully against turf algae. The opposite was observed for branching corals, which rarely interacted with turf algae and rarely won these competitive interactions. Including all other growth forms, a positive relationship was found between the amount of competitive interactions with neighboring turf algae and the percentage of such interaction won by the coral. This growth form dependent ability to outcompete turf algae was not only observed among coral species, but also among different growth forms in morphologically plastic coral genera (Acropora, Favia, Favites, Montastrea, Montipora, Porites) illustrating the general nature of this relationship. PMID:27190707

  19. Hyperspectral sensing of disease stress in the Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata - perspectives for the field of coral disease monitoring.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A Anderson

    Full Text Available The effectiveness of management plans developed for responding to coral disease outbreaks is limited due to the lack of rapid methods of disease diagnosis. In order to fulfill current management guidelines for responding to coral disease outbreaks, alternative methods that significantly reduce response time must be developed. Hyperspectral sensing has been used by various groups to characterize the spectral signatures unique to asymptomatic and bleached corals. The 2010 combined bleaching and Caribbean yellow band disease outbreak in Puerto Rico provided a unique opportunity to investigate the spectral signatures associated with bleached and Caribbean yellow band-diseased colonies of Orbicella faveolata for the first time. Using derivative and cluster analyses of hyperspectral reflectance data, the present study demonstrates the proof of concept that spectral signatures can be used to differentiate between coral disease states. This method enhanced predominant visual methods of diagnosis by distinguishing between different asymptomatic conditions that are identical in field observations and photographic records. The ability to identify disease-affected tissue before lesions become visible could greatly reduce response times to coral disease outbreaks in monitoring efforts. Finally, spectral signatures associated with the poorly understood Caribbean yellow band disease are presented to guide future research on the role of pigments in the etiology.

  20. Defining the tipping point. A complex cellular life/death balance in corals in response to stress

    OpenAIRE

    Ainsworth T. D.; Wasmund K.; Ukani L.; Seneca F.; Yellowlees D.; Miller D; Leggat W.

    2011-01-01

    Apoptotic cell death has been implicated in coral bleaching but the molecules involved and the mechanisms by which apoptosis is regulated are only now being identified. In contrast the mechanisms underlying apoptosis in higher animals are relatively well understood. To better understand the response of corals to thermal stress, the expression of coral homologs of six key regulators of apoptosis was studied in Acropora aspera under conditions simulating those of a mass bleaching event. Signifi...

  1. The Ecology of ‘Acroporid White Syndrome', a Coral Disease from the Southern Great Barrier Reef

    OpenAIRE

    George Roff; Kvennefors, E. Charlotte E.; Maoz Fine; Juan Ortiz; Davy, Joanne E.; Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

    2011-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral disease have increased worldwide over the last few decades. Despite this, remarkably little is known about the ecology of disease in the Indo-Pacific Region. Here we report the spatiotemporal dynamics of a coral disease termed 'Acroporid white syndrome' observed to affect tabular corals of the genus Acropora on the southern Great Barrier Reef. The syndrome is characterised by rapid tissue loss initiating in the basal margins of colonies, and manifests as a distinct lesion b...

  2. Isotopic composition of skeleton-bound organic nitrogen in reef-building symbiotic corals: A new method and proxy evaluation at Bermuda

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, X. T.; Sigman, D. M.; Cohen, A. L.; Sinclair, D. J.; Sherrell, R. M.; Weigand, M. A.; Erler, D. V.; Ren, H.

    2015-01-01

    The skeleton-bound organic nitrogen in reef-building symbiotic corals may be a high-resolution archive of ocean nitrogen cycle dynamics and a tool for understanding coral biogeochemistry and physiological processes. However, the existing methods for measuring the isotopic composition of coral skeleton-bound organic nitrogen (hereafter, CS-δ15N) either require too much skeleton material or have low precision, limiting the applications of this relatively new proxy. In addition, the controlling factors on CS-δ15N remain poorly understood: the δ15N of source nitrogen and the internal nitrogen cycle of the coral/zooxanthellae symbiosis may both be important. Here, we describe a new ("persulfate/denitrifier"-based) method for measuring CS-δ15N, requiring only 5 mg of skeleton material and yielding a long-term precision better than 0.2‰ (1σ). Using this new method, we investigate CS-δ15N at Bermuda. Ten modern Diploria labyrinthiformis coral cores/colonies from 4 sampling sites were measured for CS-δ15N. Nitrogen concentrations (nitrate + nitrite, ammonium, and dissolved organic nitrogen) and δ15N of plankton were also measured at these coral sites. Among the 4 sampling sites, CS-δ15N shows an increase with proximity to the island, from ∼3.8‰ to ∼6.8‰ vs. atmospheric N2, with the northern offshore site having a CS-δ15N 1-2‰ higher than the δ15N of thermocline nitrate in the surrounding Sargasso Sea. Two annually resolved CS-δ15N time series suggest that the offshore-inshore CS-δ15N gradient has persisted since at least the 1970s. Plankton δ15N among these 4 sites also has an inshore increase, but of only ∼1‰. Coral physiological change must explain the remaining (∼2‰) inshore increase in CS-δ15N, and previous work points to the coral/zooxanthellae N cycle as a control on host tissue (and thus carbonate skeletal) δ15N. The CS-δ15N gradient is hypothesized to result mainly from varying efficiency in the internal nitrogen recycling of the

  3. The ecotoxicology of vegetable versus mineral based lubricating oils 3. Coral fertilization and adult corals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Biodegradable vegetable-derived lubricants (VDL) might be less toxic to marine organisms than mineral-derived oils (MDL) due to the absence of high molecular weight aromatics, but this remains largely untested. In this laboratory study, adult corals and coral gametes were exposed to various concentrations of a two-stroke VDL-1A and a corresponding MDL to determine which lubricant type was more toxic to each life stage. In the fertilization experiment, gametes from the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma were exposed to water-accommodated fractions (WAF) of VDL-1A and MDL for four hours. The MDL and VDL-1A WAFs inhibited normal fertilization of the corals at 200 μg l-1 total hydrocarbon content (THC) and 150 μg l-1 THC respectively. Disturbance of a stable coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regarded as a valid measure of sub-lethal stress in adult corals. The state of the symbiosis in branchlets of adult colonies of Acropora formosa was monitored using indicators such as dinoflagellate expulsion and dark-adapted photosystem II yields of dinoflagellate (using pulse amplitude modulation fluorescence). An effect on symbiosis was measurable following 48 h exposure to the lubricants at concentrations of 190 μg l-1 and 37 μg l-1 THC for the MDL and VDL-1A respectively. GC/MS revealed that the main constituent of the VDL-1A WAF was the compound coumarin, added by the manufacturer to improve odour. The fragrance containing coumarin was removed from the lubricant formulation and the toxicity towards adult corals re-examined. The coumarin-free VDL-2 exhibited significantly less toxicity towards the adult corals than all of the other oil types tested, with the only measurable effect being a slight but significant drop in photosynthetic efficiency at 280 μg l-1. - Vegetable-derived lubricants were less toxic to adult corals than their mineral counterparts

  4. Comparing the Effects of Symbiotic Algae (Symbiodinium) Clades C1 and D on Early Growth Stages of Acropora tenuis

    OpenAIRE

    Yuyama, Ikuko; Higuchi, Tomihiko

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals switch endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium during their early growth stages and during bleaching events. Clade C Symbiodinium algae are dominant in corals, although other clades — including A and D — have also been commonly detected in juvenile Acroporid corals. Previous studies have been reported that only molecular data of Symbiodinium clade were identified within field corals. In this study, we inoculated aposymbiotic juvenile polyps with cultures of clades C...

  5. Development of Gene Expression Markers of Acute Heat-Light Stress in Reef-Building Corals of the Genus Porites

    OpenAIRE

    Kenkel, Carly D.; Aglyamova, Galina; Alamaru, Ada; Bhagooli, Ranjeet; Capper, Roxana; Cunning, Ross; deVillers, Amanda; Haslun, Joshua A.; Hédouin, Laetitia; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Kuehl, Kristin A.; Mahmoud, Huda; Elizabeth S. McGinty; Montoya-Maya, Phanor H.; Palmer, Caroline V.

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to increased incidence of climate-induced coral bleaching, which will have widespread biodiversity and economic impacts. A simple method to measure the sub-bleaching level of heat-light stress experienced by corals would greatly inform reef management practices by making it possible to assess the distribution of bleaching risks among individual reef sites. Gene expression analysis based on quantitative PCR (qPCR) can be used as a diagnostic tool to dete...

  6. Next-century ocean acidification and warming both reduce calcification rate, but only acidification alters skeletal morphology of reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horvath, Kimmaree M.; Castillo, Karl D.; Armstrong, Pualani; Westfield, Isaac T.; Courtney, Travis; Ries, Justin B.

    2016-01-01

    Atmospheric pCO2 is predicted to rise from 400 to 900 ppm by year 2100, causing seawater temperature to increase by 1–4 °C and pH to decrease by 0.1–0.3. Sixty-day experiments were conducted to investigate the independent and combined impacts of acidification (pCO2 = 424–426, 888–940 ppm-v) and warming (T = 28, 32 °C) on calcification rate and skeletal morphology of the abundant and widespread Caribbean reef-building scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea. Hierarchical linear mixed-effects modelling reveals that coral calcification rate was negatively impacted by both warming and acidification, with their combined effects yielding the most deleterious impact. Negative effects of warming (32 °C/424 ppm-v) and high-temperature acidification (32 °C/940 ppm-v) on calcification rate were apparent across both 30-day intervals of the experiment, while effects of low-temperature acidification (28 °C/888 ppm-v) were not apparent until the second 30-day interval—indicating delayed onset of acidification effects at lower temperatures. Notably, two measures of coral skeletal morphology–corallite height and corallite infilling–were negatively impacted by next-century acidification, but not by next-century warming. Therefore, while next-century ocean acidification and warming will reduce the rate at which corals build their skeletons, next-century acidification will also modify the morphology and, potentially, function of coral skeletons. PMID:27470426

  7. Next-century ocean acidification and warming both reduce calcification rate, but only acidification alters skeletal morphology of reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horvath, Kimmaree M; Castillo, Karl D; Armstrong, Pualani; Westfield, Isaac T; Courtney, Travis; Ries, Justin B

    2016-01-01

    Atmospheric pCO2 is predicted to rise from 400 to 900 ppm by year 2100, causing seawater temperature to increase by 1-4 °C and pH to decrease by 0.1-0.3. Sixty-day experiments were conducted to investigate the independent and combined impacts of acidification (pCO2 = 424-426, 888-940 ppm-v) and warming (T = 28, 32 °C) on calcification rate and skeletal morphology of the abundant and widespread Caribbean reef-building scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea. Hierarchical linear mixed-effects modelling reveals that coral calcification rate was negatively impacted by both warming and acidification, with their combined effects yielding the most deleterious impact. Negative effects of warming (32 °C/424 ppm-v) and high-temperature acidification (32 °C/940 ppm-v) on calcification rate were apparent across both 30-day intervals of the experiment, while effects of low-temperature acidification (28 °C/888 ppm-v) were not apparent until the second 30-day interval-indicating delayed onset of acidification effects at lower temperatures. Notably, two measures of coral skeletal morphology-corallite height and corallite infilling-were negatively impacted by next-century acidification, but not by next-century warming. Therefore, while next-century ocean acidification and warming will reduce the rate at which corals build their skeletons, next-century acidification will also modify the morphology and, potentially, function of coral skeletons. PMID:27470426

  8. Genome-wide SNP analysis explains coral diversity and recovery in the Ryukyu Archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Mungpakdee, Sutada; Arakaki, Nana; Satoh, Noriyuki

    2015-01-01

    Following a global coral bleaching event in 1998, Acropora corals surrounding most of Okinawa island (OI) were devastated, although they are now gradually recovering. In contrast, the Kerama Islands (KIs) only 30 km west of OI, have continuously hosted a great variety of healthy corals. Taking advantage of the decoded Acropora digitifera genome and using genome-wide SNP analyses, we clarified Acropora population structure in the southern Ryukyu Archipelago (sRA). Despite small genetic distances, we identified distinct clusters corresponding to specific island groups, suggesting infrequent long-distance dispersal within the sRA. Although the KIs were believed to supply coral larvae to OI, admixture analyses showed that such dispersal is much more limited than previously realized, indicating independent recovery of OI coral populations and the necessity of local conservation efforts for each region. We detected strong historical migration from the Yaeyama Islands (YIs) to OI, and suggest that the YIs are the original source of OI corals. In addition, migration edges to the KIs suggest that they are a historical sink population in the sRA, resulting in high diversity. This population genomics study provides the highest resolution data to date regarding coral population structure and history. PMID:26656261

  9. Density-associated recruitment mediates coral population dynamics on a coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bramanti, Lorenzo; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Theory suggests that density-associated processes can modulate community resilience following declines in population size. Here, we demonstrate density-associated processes in two scleractinian populations on the outer reef of Moorea, French Polynesia, that are rapidly increasing in size following the effects of two catastrophic disturbances. Between 2006 and 2010, predation by the corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea star reduced coral cover by 93 %; in 2010, the dead coral skeletons were removed by a cyclone, and in 2011 and 2012, high coral recruitment initiated population recovery. Coral recruitment was associated with coral cover, but the relationship differed between two coral genera that are almost exclusively broadcast spawners in Moorea. Acroporids recruited at low densities, and the density of recruits was positively associated with cover of Acropora, whereas pocilloporids recruited at high densities, and densities of their recruits were negatively associated with cover of Pocillopora. Together, our results suggest that associations between adult cover and density of both juveniles and recruits can mediate rapid coral community recovery after large disturbances. The difference between taxa in sign of the relationships between recruit density and coral cover indicate that they reflect contrasting mechanisms with the potential to mediate temporal shifts in taxonomic composition of coral communities.

  10. The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

    OpenAIRE

    Osinga, R.; Schutter, M.; Griffioen, B.; Wijffels, R.H.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Shafit, S.; Henard, S.; Taruffi, M.; Gili, C.; Lavorano, S.

    2011-01-01

    To protect natural coral reefs, it is of utmost importance to understand how the growth of the main reef-building organisms-the zooxanthellate scleractinian corals-is controlled. Understanding coral growth is also relevant for coral aquaculture, which is a rapidly developing business. This review paper provides a comprehensive overview of factors that can influence the growth of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals, with particular emphasis on interactions between these factors. Furthermore, t...

  11. The MicroRNA Repertoire of Symbiodinium, the Dinoflagellate Symbiont of Reef-Building Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian

    2013-07-01

    Animal and plant genomes produce numerous small RNAs (smRNAs) that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally affecting metabolism, development, and epigenetic inheritance. In order to characterize the repertoire of endogenous microRNAs and potential gene targets, we conducted smRNA and mRNA expression profiling over nine experimental treatments of cultures from the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. A1, a photosynthetic symbiont of scleractinian corals. We identified a total of 75 novel smRNAs in Symbiodinum sp. A1 that share stringent key features with functional microRNAs from other model organisms. A subset of 38 smRNAs was predicted independently over all nine treatments and their putative gene targets were identified. We found 3,187 animal-like target sites in the 3’UTRs of 12,858 mRNAs and 53 plantlike target sites in 51,917 genes. Furthermore, we identified the core RNAi protein machinery in Symbiodinium. Integration of smRNA and mRNA expression profiling identified a variety of processes that could be under microRNA control, e.g. regulation of translation, DNA modification, and chromatin silencing. Given that Symbiodinium seems to have a paucity of transcription factors and differentially expressed genes, identification and characterization of its smRNA repertoire establishes the possibility of a range of gene regulatory mechanisms in dinoflagellates acting post-transcriptionally.

  12. Microbial aggregates within tissues infect a diversity of corals throughout the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems where symbioses play a pivotal role. Corals contain cell-associated microbial aggregates (CAMA), yet little is known about how widespread they are among coral species or the nature of the symbiotic relationship. Using histology, we found CAMA within 24 species of corals from 6 genera from Hawaii, American Samoa, Palmyra, Johnston Atoll, Guam, and Australia. Prevalence (%) of infection varied among coral genera: Acropora, Porites, and Pocillopora were commonly infected whereas Montipora were not. Acropora from the Western Pacific were significantly more likely to be infected with CAMA than those from the Central Pacific, whereas the reverse was true for Porites. Compared with apparently healthy colonies, tissues from diseased colonies were significantly more likely to have both surface and basal body walls infected. The close association of CAMA with host cells in numerous species of apparently healthy corals and lack of associated cell pathology reveals an intimate agent-host association. Furthermore, CAMA are Gram negative and in some corals may be related to chlamydia or rickettsia. We propose that CAMA in adult corals are facultative secondary symbionts that could play an important ecological role in some dominant coral genera in the Indo-Pacific. CAMA are important in the life histories of other animals, and more work is needed to understand their role in the distribution, evolution, physiology, and immunology of reef corals.

  13. Coral microbial community dynamics in response to anthropogenic impacts near a major city in the central Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ziegler, Maren; Roik, Anna; Porter, Adam; Zubier, Khalid; Mudarris, Mohammed S; Ormond, Rupert; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-04-30

    Coral-associated bacteria play an increasingly recognized part in coral health. We investigated the effect of local anthropogenic impacts on coral microbial communities on reefs near Jeddah, the largest city on the Saudi Arabian coast of the central Red Sea. We analyzed the bacterial community structure of water and corals (Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hemprichii) at sites that were relatively unimpacted, exposed to sedimentation & local sewage, or in the discharge area of municipal wastewaters. Coral microbial communities were significantly different at impacted sites: in both corals the main symbiotic taxon decreased in abundance. In contrast, opportunistic bacterial families, such as e.g. Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, were more abundant in corals at impacted sites. In conclusion, microbial community response revealed a measurable footprint of anthropogenic impacts to coral ecosystems close to Jeddah, even though the corals appeared visually healthy. PMID:26763316

  14. Coral microbial community dynamics in response to anthropogenic impacts near a major city in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2016-01-04

    Coral-associated bacteria play an increasingly recognized part in coral health. We investigated the effect of local anthropogenic impacts on coral microbial communities on reefs near Jeddah, the largest city on the Saudi Arabian coast of the central Red Sea. We analyzed the bacterial community structure of water and corals (Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hemprichii) at sites that were relatively unimpacted, exposed to sedimentation & local sewage, or in the discharge area of municipal wastewaters. Coral microbial communities were significantly different at impacted sites: in both corals the main symbiotic taxon decreased in abundance. In contrast, opportunistic bacterial families, such as e.g. Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, were more abundant in corals at impacted sites. In conclusion, microbial community response revealed a measurable footprint of anthropogenic impacts to coral ecosystems close to Jeddah, even though the corals appeared visually healthy.

  15. Location-specific responses to thermal stress in larvae of the reef-building coral Montastraea faveolata.

    KAUST Repository

    Polato, Nicholas R

    2010-06-23

    The potential to adapt to a changing climate depends in part upon the standing genetic variation present in wild populations. In corals, the dispersive larval phase is particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental stress. Larval survival and response to stress during dispersal and settlement will play a key role in the persistence of coral populations.

  16. Coral-associated bacterial communities on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceh, Janja; Van Keulen, Mike; Bourne, David G

    2011-01-01

    Coral-associated microbial communities from three coral species (Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora tenuis and Favites abdita) were examined every 3 months (January, March, June, October) over a period of 1 year on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Tissue from corals was collected throughout the year and additional sampling of coral mucus and seawater samples was performed in January. Tissue samples were also obtained in October from P. damicornis coral colonies on Rottnest Island off Perth, 1200 km south of Ningaloo Reef, to provide comparisons between coral-microbial associates in different locations. The community structures of the coral-associated microorganisms were analysed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse microbial profiles among all the coral species sampled. Principal component analysis revealed that samples grouped according to time and not species, indicating that coral-microbial associations may be a result of environmental drivers such as oceanographic characteristics, benthic community structure and temperature. Tissue samples from P. damicornis at Rottnest Island revealed similarities in bacteria to the samples at Ningaloo Reef. This study highlights that coral-associated microbial communities are highly diverse; however, the complex interactions that determine the stability of these associations are not necessarily dependent on coral host specificity. PMID:21044100

  17. Bacterial acquisition in juveniles of several broadcast spawning coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koty H Sharp

    Full Text Available Coral animals harbor diverse microorganisms in their tissues, including archaea, bacteria, viruses, and zooxanthellae. The extent to which coral-bacterial associations are specific and the mechanisms for their maintenance across generations in the environment are unknown. The high diversity of bacteria in adult coral colonies has made it challenging to identify species-specific patterns. Localization of bacteria in gametes and larvae of corals presents an opportunity for determining when bacterial-coral associations are initiated and whether they are dynamic throughout early development. This study focuses on the early onset of bacterial associations in the mass spawning corals Montastraea annularis, M. franksi, M. faveolata, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Diploria strigosa, and A. humilis. The presence of bacteria and timing of bacterial colonization was evaluated in gametes, swimming planulae, and newly settled polyps by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH using general eubacterial probes and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. The coral species investigated in this study do not appear to transmit bacteria via their gametes, and bacteria are not detectable in or on the corals until after settlement and metamorphosis. This study suggests that mass-spawning corals do not acquire, or are not colonized by, detectable numbers of bacteria until after larval settlement and development of the juvenile polyp. This timing lays the groundwork for developing and testing new hypotheses regarding general regulatory mechanisms that control bacterial colonization and infection of corals, and how interactions among bacteria and juvenile polyps influence the structure of bacterial assemblages in corals.

  18. Antibiofilm Activity of Biosurfactant Producing Coral Associated Bacteria Isolated from Gulf of Mannar

    OpenAIRE

    Padmavathi, Alwar Ramanujam; Pandian, Shunmugiah Karutha

    2014-01-01

    Coral Associated Bacteria (CAB) (N = 22) isolated from the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera were screened for biosurfactants using classical screening methods; hemolysis test, lipase production, oil displacement, drop collapse test and emulsifying activity. Six CAB (U7, U9, U10, U13, U14, and U16) were found to produce biosurfactants and were identified by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing as Providencia rettgeri, Psychrobacter sp., Bacillus flexus, Bacillus anthracis, Psychrobacter sp....

  19. Perennial growth of hermatypic corals at Rottnest Island, Western Australia (32°S)

    OpenAIRE

    Ross, Claire L.; Falter, James L.; Verena Schoepf; Malcolm T McCulloch

    2015-01-01

    To assess the viability of high latitude environments as coral refugia, we report measurements of seasonal changes in seawater parameters (temperature, light, and carbonate chemistry) together with calcification rates for two coral species, Acropora yongei and Pocillopora damicornis from the southernmost geographical limit of these species at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island (32°S) in Western Australia. Changes in buoyant weight were normalised to colony surface areas as determined from both X-ray...

  20. Li/Mg systematics in scleractinian corals: Calibration of the thermometer

    OpenAIRE

    Montagna, Paolo; McCulloch, Malcolm; Douville, Eric; López Correa, Matthias; Trotter, Julie; Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; Dissard, Delphine; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Frank, Norbert; Freiwald, André; Goldstein, Steve; Mazzoli, Claudio; Reynaud, Stephanie; Rüggeberg, Andres; Russo, Simone

    2014-01-01

    We show that the Li/Mg systematics of a large suite of aragonitic coral skeletons, representing a wide range of species inhabiting disparate environments, provides a robust proxy for ambient seawater temperature. The corals encompass both zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate species (Acropora sp., Porites sp., Cladocora caespitosa, Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata and Flabellum impensum) collected from shallow, intermediate, and deep-water habitats, as well as specimens cultured in tanks und...

  1. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations.

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2012-09-21

    Coral reefs belong to the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems on our planet. Yet, they are under steady decline worldwide due to rising sea surface temperatures, disease, and pollution. Understanding the molecular impact of these stressors on different coral species is imperative in order to predict how coral populations will respond to this continued disturbance. The use of molecular tools such as microarrays has provided deep insight into the molecular stress response of corals. Here, we have performed comparative genomic hybridizations (CGH) with different coral species to an Acropora palmata microarray platform containing 13,546 cDNA clones in order to identify potentially rapidly evolving genes and to determine the suitability of existing microarray platforms for use in gene expression studies (via heterologous hybridization).

  2. Through bleaching and tsunami: Coral reef recovery in the Maldives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morri, Carla; Montefalcone, Monica; Lasagna, Roberta; Gatti, Giulia; Rovere, Alessio; Parravicini, Valeriano; Baldelli, Giuseppe; Colantoni, Paolo; Bianchi, Carlo Nike

    2015-09-15

    Coral reefs are degrading worldwide, but little information exists on their previous conditions for most regions of the world. Since 1989, we have been studying the Maldives, collecting data before, during and after the bleaching and mass mortality event of 1998. As early as 1999, many newly settled colonies were recorded. Recruits shifted from a dominance of massive and encrusting corals in the early stages of recolonisation towards a dominance of Acropora and Pocillopora by 2009. Coral cover, which dropped to less than 10% after the bleaching, returned to pre-bleaching values of around 50% by 2013. The 2004 tsunami had comparatively little effect. In 2014, the coral community was similar to that existing before the bleaching. According to descriptors and metrics adopted, recovery of Maldivian coral reefs took between 6 and 15years, or may even be considered unachieved, as there are species that had not come back yet. PMID:26228070

  3. Effects of temperature,hypoxia, ammonia and nitrate on the bleaching among three coral species

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHU Baohua; WANG Guangce; HUANG Bo; C. K. Tseng

    2004-01-01

    Coral bleaching, which is defined as the loss of colour in corals due to the loss of their symbiotic algae (commonly called zooxanthellae) or pigments or both, is occurring globally at increasing rates, and its harm becomes more and more serious during these two decades. The significance of these bleaching events to the health of coral reef ecosystems is extreme, as bleached corals exhibited high mortality, reduced fecundity and productivity and increased susceptibility to diseases. This decreased coral fitness is easily to lead to reef degradation and ultimately to the breakdown of the coral reef ecosystems. Recently, the reasons leading to coral bleaching are thought to be as follows: too high or too low temperature, excess ultraviolet exposure, heavy metal pollution, cyanide poison and seasonal cycle. To date there has been little knowledge of whether mariculture can result in coral bleaching and which substance has the worst effect on corals. And no research was conducted on the effect of hypoxia on corals. To address these questions, effects of temperature, hypoxia, ammonia and nitrate on bleaching of three coral species were studied through examination of morphology and the measurement of the number of symbiotic algae of three coral species Acropora nobilis, Palythoa sp.and Alveopora verrilliana. Results showed that increase in temperature and decrease in dissolved oxygen could lead to increasing number of symbiotic algae and more serious bleaching. In addition, the concentration of 0.001 mmol/L ammonia or nitrate could increase significantly the expulsion of the symbiotic algae of the three coral species. Except for Acropora nobilis, the numbers of symbiotic algae of other two corals did not significantly increase with the increasing concentration of ammonia and nitrate. Furthermore, different hosts have different stress susceptibilities on coral bleaching.

  4. Development of gene expression markers of acute heat-light stress in reef-building corals of the genus Porites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carly D Kenkel

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to increased incidence of climate-induced coral bleaching, which will have widespread biodiversity and economic impacts. A simple method to measure the sub-bleaching level of heat-light stress experienced by corals would greatly inform reef management practices by making it possible to assess the distribution of bleaching risks among individual reef sites. Gene expression analysis based on quantitative PCR (qPCR can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine coral condition in situ. We evaluated the expression of 13 candidate genes during heat-light stress in a common Caribbean coral Porites astreoides, and observed strong and consistent changes in gene expression in two independent experiments. Furthermore, we found that the apparent return to baseline expression levels during a recovery phase was rapid, despite visible signs of colony bleaching. We show that the response to acute heat-light stress in P. astreoides can be monitored by measuring the difference in expression of only two genes: Hsp16 and actin. We demonstrate that this assay discriminates between corals sampled from two field sites experiencing different temperatures. We also show that the assay is applicable to an Indo-Pacific congener, P. lobata, and therefore could potentially be used to diagnose acute heat-light stress on coral reefs worldwide.

  5. Viral outbreak in corals associated with an in situ bleaching event: atypical herpes-like viruses and a new megavirus infecting Symbiodinium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrienne M.S. Correa

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies of coral viruses have employed either microscopy or metagenomics, but few have attempted to comprehensively link the presence of a virus-like particle (VLP to a genomic sequence. We conducted transmission electron microscopy imaging and virome analysis in tandem to characterize the most conspicuous viral types found within the dominant Pacific reef-building coral genus Acropora. Collections for this study inadvertently captured what we interpret as a natural outbreak of viral infection driven by aerial exposure of the reef flat coincident with heavy rainfall and concomitant mass bleaching. All experimental corals in this study had high titers of viral particles. Three of the dominant VLPs identified were observed in all tissue layers and budding out from the epidermis, including viruses that were ~70 nm, ~120 nm, and ~150 nm in diameter; these VLPs all contained electron dense cores. These morphological traits are reminiscent of retroviruses, herpesviruses, and nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs, respectively. Some 300-500 nm megavirus-like VLPs also were observed within and associated with dinoflagellate algal endosymbiont (Symbiodinium cells. Abundant sequence similarities to a gammaretrovirus, herpesviruses, and members of the NCLDVs, based on a virome generated from five Acropora aspera colonies, corroborated these morphology-based identifications. Additionally sequence similarities to two diagnostic genes, a MutS and (based on re-annotation of sequences from another study a DNA polymerase B gene, most closely resembled Pyramimonas orientalis virus, demonstrating the association of a cosmopolitan megavirus with Symbiodinium. We also identified several other viral particles in host tissues, along with sequences phylogenetically similar to circoviruses, phages, and filamentous viruses. This study suggests that viral outbreaks may be a common but previously undocumented component of natural bleaching events

  6. Viral Outbreak in Corals Associated with an In Situ Bleaching Event: Atypical Herpes-Like Viruses and a New Megavirus Infecting Symbiodinium.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correa, Adrienne M S; Ainsworth, Tracy D; Rosales, Stephanie M; Thurber, Andrew R; Butler, Christopher R; Vega Thurber, Rebecca L

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies of coral viruses have employed either microscopy or metagenomics, but few have attempted to comprehensively link the presence of a virus-like particle (VLP) to a genomic sequence. We conducted transmission electron microscopy imaging and virome analysis in tandem to characterize the most conspicuous viral types found within the dominant Pacific reef-building coral genus Acropora. Collections for this study inadvertently captured what we interpret as a natural outbreak of viral infection driven by aerial exposure of the reef flat coincident with heavy rainfall and concomitant mass bleaching. All experimental corals in this study had high titers of viral particles. Three of the dominant VLPs identified were observed in all tissue layers and budding out from the epidermis, including viruses that were ∼70, ∼120, and ∼150 nm in diameter; these VLPs all contained electron dense cores. These morphological traits are reminiscent of retroviruses, herpesviruses, and nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs), respectively. Some 300-500 nm megavirus-like VLPs also were observed within and associated with dinoflagellate algal endosymbiont (Symbiodinium) cells. Abundant sequence similarities to a gammaretrovirus, herpesviruses, and members of the NCLDVs, based on a virome generated from five Acropora aspera colonies, corroborated these morphology-based identifications. Additionally sequence similarities to two diagnostic genes, a MutS and (based on re-annotation of sequences from another study) a DNA polymerase B gene, most closely resembled Pyramimonas orientalis virus, demonstrating the association of a cosmopolitan megavirus with Symbiodinium. We also identified several other virus-like particles in host tissues, along with sequences phylogenetically similar to circoviruses, phages, and filamentous viruses. This study suggests that viral outbreaks may be a common but previously undocumented component of natural bleaching events, particularly

  7. The coral triangle initiative: What are we missing? A case study from Aceh

    KAUST Repository

    Rudi, Edi

    2012-10-01

    Abstract The Coral Triangle Initiative is an ambitious attempt to conserve the marine biodiversity hotspot known as the Coral Triangle. However, the reef fauna in many nearby regions remains poorly explored and, consequently, the focus on the Coral Triangle risks overlooking other areas of high conservation significance. One region of potential significance, Aceh, Indonesia, has not been visited by coral taxonomists since the Dutch colonial period. Here we document the species richness of scleractinian corals of Pulau Weh, Aceh. We also compare the species richness of the genus Acropora at 3-5 sites in each of nine regions in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Although dominated by widespread Indo-Pacific species, the coral fauna of Pulau Weh is also the eastern and western boundary for many Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean species, respectively. We identified a total of 133 scleractinian species, of which three have been previously recorded only in the western Indian Ocean and five are presently undescribed. The mean species richness of the Acropora at Pulau Weh is similar to regions within the Coral Triangle. This high species richness plus the high proportion of endemics suggests that the Andaman Sea is of similarly high conservation value to the Coral Triangle. We suggest that an international initiative similar to the Coral Triangle Initiative is required to conserve this region, which includes the territorial waters of six countries. © 2012 Fauna & Flora International.

  8. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; Stat, Michael; Falter, James L.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2015-12-01

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient nearshore temperatures which varied diurnally by 4-5 °C, while treatment corals were exposed to similar diurnal variations and heat stress corresponding to ~20 degree heating days. All corals hosted Symbiodinium clade C independent of treatment or origin. Detailed physiological measurements showed that these corals were nevertheless highly sensitive to daily average temperatures exceeding their maximum monthly mean of ~31 °C by 1 °C for only a few days. Generally, Acropora was much more susceptible to bleaching than Dipsastraea and experienced up to 75% mortality, whereas all Dipsastraea survived. Furthermore, subtidal corals, which originated from a more thermally stable environment compared to intertidal corals, were more susceptible to bleaching. This demonstrates that while highly fluctuating temperatures enhance coral resilience to thermal stress, they do not provide immunity to extreme heat stress events.

  9. Gene expression of corals in response to macroalgal competitors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tonya L Shearer

    Full Text Available As corals decline and macroalgae proliferate on coral reefs, coral-macroalgal competition becomes more frequent and ecologically important. Whether corals are damaged by these interactions depends on susceptibility of the coral and traits of macroalgal competitors. Investigating changes in gene expression of corals and their intracellular symbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, in response to contact with different macroalgae provides insight into the biological processes and cellular pathways affected by competition with macroalgae. We evaluated the gene expression profiles of coral and Symbiodinium genes from two confamilial corals, Acropora millepora and Montipora digitata, after 6 h and 48 h of contact with four common macroalgae that differ in their allelopathic potency to corals. Contacts with macroalgae affected different biological pathways in the more susceptible (A. millepora versus the more resistant (M. digitata coral. Genes of coral hosts and of their associated Symbiodinium also responded in species-specific and time-specific ways to each macroalga. Changes in number and expression intensity of affected genes were greater after 6 h compared to 48 h of contact and were greater following contact with Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Amphiroa crassa than following contact with Galaxaura filamentosa or Turbinaria conoides. We documented a divergence in transcriptional responses between two confamilial corals and their associated Symbiodinium, as well as a diversity of dynamic responses within each coral species with respect to the species of macroalgal competitor and the duration of exposure to that competitor. These responses included early initiation of immune processes by Montipora, which is more resistant to damage after long-term macroalgal contact. Activation of the immune response by corals that better resist algal competition is consistent with the hypothesis that some macroalgal effects on corals may be mediated by microbial pathogens.

  10. Metatranscriptome Sequencing of a Reef-building Coral Elucidates Holobiont Community Gene Functions in Health and Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Timberlake, S.; Helbig, T.; Fernando, S.; Penn, K.; Alm, E.; Thompson, F.; Thompson, J. R.

    2012-12-01

    The coral reefs of the Abrolhos Bank of Brazil play a vital ecological role in the health of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, but accelerating rates of disease, particularly white plague, threaten this ecosystem. Thus, an understanding of white plague disease and diagnostic tests for it are urgently needed. The coral animal is associated with a distinct microbiome, a diverse assemblage of eukaryotes, bacteria, and viruses. That these microbes have a great influence on the health of the coral has been long known, however, most of their functions are still mysterious. While recent studies have contrasted healthy and white-plague-associated communities, the causative agents and mechanisms of the disease remain unknown. We collected fragments of healthy and diseased corals, as well as post-disease skeleton, from 12 colonies of the genus Mussismilia, the major component of the reef structure in the Abrolhos bank, and increasingly, a victim of white-plague disease. Fragments were flash-frozen in situ, and prepped for culture-free high throughput sequencing of gene transcripts with the Illumina II-G. While the membership of the microbial communities associated with coral has been previously described, the a coral holobiont community's gene function has, to date, never been assayed by this powerful approach. We designed a bioinformatics pipeline to analyze the short-read data from this complex sample: identifying the functions of genes expressed in the holobiont, and describing the active community's taxonomic composition. We show that gene functions expressed by the coral's bacterial assemblage are distinct from those of the underlying skeleton, and we highlight differences in the disease samples. We find that gene markers for the dissimilatory sulfate reduction pathway more abundant in the disease state, and we further quantify this difference with qPCR. Finally, we report the abundant expression of highly repetitive transcripts in the diseased coral samples, and highlight

  11. Coral mucus is a hot spot for viral infections

    OpenAIRE

    Nguyen-Kim, Hanh; Bettarel, Yvan; Bouvier, Thierry; Bouvier, Corinne; Doan-Nhu, Hai; Nguyen-Ngoc, Lam; Nguyen-Thanh, Thuy; Tran-Quang, Huy; Brune, Justine

    2015-01-01

    There is increasing suspicion that viral communities play a pivotal role in maintaining coral health, yet their main ecological traits still remain poorly characterized. In this study, we examined the seasonal distribution and reproduction pathways of viruses inhabiting the mucus of the scleractinians Fungia repanda and Acropora formosa collected in Nha Trang Bay (Vietnam) during an 11-month survey. The strong coupling between epibiotic viral and bacterial abundance suggested that phages are ...

  12. Tectonic subsidence provides insight into possible coral reef futures under rapid sea-level rise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saunders, Megan I.; Albert, Simon; Roelfsema, Chris M.; Leon, Javier X.; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Phinn, Stuart R.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-03-01

    Sea-level rise will change environmental conditions on coral reef flats, which comprise extensive habitats in shallow tropical seas and support a wealth of ecosystem services. Rapid relative sea-level rise of 0.6 m over a relatively pristine coral reef in Solomon Islands, caused by a subduction earthquake in April 2007, generated a unique opportunity to examine in situ coral reef response to relative sea-level rise of the magnitude (but not the rate) anticipated by 2100. Extent of live coral was measured from satellite imagery in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. Ecological data were obtained from microatolls and ecological surveys in May 2013. The reef was sampled at 12 locations where dense live hard coral remained absent, remained present or changed from absent to present following subsidence. Ecological data (substratum depth, live coral canopy depth, coral canopy height, substratum suitability, recruitment, diversity and Acropora presence) were measured at each location to identify factors associated with coral response to relative sea-level rise. Vertical and horizontal proliferation of coral occurred following subsidence. Lateral expansion of live coral, accomplished primarily by branching Acropora spp., resulted in lower diversity in regions which changed composition from pavement to dense live coral following subsidence. Of the ecological factors measured, biotic factors were more influential than abiotic factors; species identity was the most important factor in determining which regions of the reef responded to rapid sea-level rise. On relatively pristine reef flats under present climatic conditions, rapid relative sea-level rise generated an opportunity for hard coral to proliferate. However, the species assemblage of the existing reef was important in determining response to sea-level change, by providing previously bare substrate with a source of new coral colonies. Degraded reefs with altered species composition and slower coral growth rates may be less

  13. Coral microbiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kellogg, Christina A.; Rohwer, Forest

    2007-01-01

    In the last 30 years, there has been approximately a 30% loss of corals worldwide, largely due to emerging diseases (Harvell et al., 2002, 2007; Hughes et al., 2003). Coral microbiology is a new field, driven largely by a desire to understand the interactions between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms and to use this knowledge to eventually prevent the spread of coral diseases.

  14. Species-specific responses of corals to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs on Okinawa Island, Japan, over a 15-year period (1995-2009.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuki Hongo

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching, triggered by elevated sea-surface temperatures (SSTs has caused a decline in coral cover and changes in the abundances of corals on reefs worldwide. Coral decline can be exacerbated by the effects of local stressors like turbidity, yet some reefs with a natural history of turbidity can support healthy and resilient coral communities. However, little is known about responses of coral communities to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs as a result of recent (post World War II terrestrial runoff. Analysis of region-scale coral cover and species abundance at 17-20 sites on the turbid reefs of Okinawa Island (total of 79 species, 30 genera, and 13 families from 1995 to 2009 indicates that coral cover decreased drastically, from 24.4% to 7.5% (1.1%/year, subsequent to bleaching events in 1998 and 2001. This dramatic decrease in coral cover corresponded to the demise of Acropora species (e.g., A. digitifera by 2009, when Acropora had mostly disappeared from turbid reefs on Okinawa Island. In contrast, Merulinidae species (e.g., Dipsastraea pallida/speciosa/favus and Porites species (e.g., P. lutea/australiensis, which are characterized by tolerance to thermal stress, survived on turbid reefs of Okinawa Island throughout the period. Our results suggest that high turbidity, influenced by recent terrestrial runoff, could have caused a reduction in resilience of Acropora species to severe thermal stress events, because the corals could not have adapted to a relatively recent decline in water quality. The coral reef ecosystems of Okinawa Island will be severely impoverished if Acropora species fail to recover.

  15. Abundance, composition and growth rate of coral recruits on dead corals following the 2010 bleaching event at Mu Ko Surin, the Andaman Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yucharoen, Mathinee; Yeemin, Thamasak; Casareto, Beatriz E.; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Samsuvan, Watchara; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sutthacheep, Makamas

    2015-06-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures in the summer months of 2010 were associated with widespread coral mortality in Thailand. A large number of corals at Mu Ko Surin died following the bleaching event. Understanding of the recruitment of corals would improve our ability to predict the potential for coral recovery from the impacts of bleaching events, as well as the interpretation of spatio-temporal variability in coral community structure. This study aims to examine the composition, abundance and growth rate of juvenile corals and the potential of reef recovery at Mu Ko Surin in order to help to understand how reefs react to major disturbances. We found that the densities of coral recruits varied among years and study sites. In the year 2011, coral recruitments ranged between 0.18 ± 0.02 to 1.67 ± 0.07 recruits per m2 for 10 study sites. While in 2012, the monitoring revealed a range between 0.96 ± 0.16 and 2.19 ± 0.21 recruits per m2 from 5 study sites. Fungia, Acropora, Porites and Favites were the dominant groups of coral recruits. In terms substrate forms, they were significant differences between sampling years but the preferential dominant substrate forms did not differ. The Acropora recruits at Ko Torinla showed normal distributions of size class during the two periods. Their ranges in 2011 and 2012 were 4-30 and 13-54 mm, respectively. Six species of Acropora recruits, i.e. Acropora intermedia, A. nasuta, A. cerealis, A. subulata, A. muricata and A. latistella were found. They showed diverse growth rates due to the spatial distribution of 2.11 ± 0.59 to 7.47 ± 1.37 cm per year. This study provides useful data in terms of coral recruitment and recovery from degradation and disturbance, especially from temperature changes induced by coral bleaching. The findings suggest that there is the possibility for coral recovery around Mu Ko Surin following the 2010 bleaching event.

  16. Caribbean corals house shared and host-specific microbial symbionts over time and space.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

    The rise of coral diseases has triggered a surge of interest in coral microbial communities. But to fully understand how the coral microbiome may cause or respond to disease, we must first understand structure and variation in the healthy coral microbiome. We used 16S rRNA sequencing to characterize the microbiomes of 100 healthy coral colonies from six Caribbean coral species (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Diploria strigosa, Porites astreoides and P. furcata) across four reefs and three time points over 1 year. We found host species to be the strongest driver of coral microbiome structure across site and time. Analysis of the core microbiome revealed remarkable similarity in the bacterial taxa represented across coral hosts and many bacterial phylotypes shared across all corals sampled. Some of these widespread bacterial taxa have been identified in Pacific corals, indicating that a core coral microbiome may extend across oceans. Core bacterial phylotypes that were unique to each coral were taxonomically diverse, suggesting that different coral hosts provide persistent, divergent niches for bacteria. PMID:27083502

  17. The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castro-Sanguino, Carolina; Lovelock, Catherine; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    The calcareous green alga Halimeda is a key contributor to carbonate sediment production on coral reefs. As herbivores have a direct negative effect on the abundance of Halimeda, protection from herbivory is critical for Halimeda growth. Branching corals such as Acropora are likely to provide refugia for Halimeda from grazers, yet studies are scarce. Here, we investigated the vulnerability of two Halimeda species to herbivory using fish exclusion cages and assessed the contribution of coral structural complexity to seasonal changes in Halimeda biomass and morphometrics. While up to 50 % Halimeda abundance was depleted outside cages due to herbivory and the exclusion of large herbivores resulted in an increase in net growth up to threefold, Halimeda recruitment was positively affected by herbivory, more than two times greater outside cages. However, these responses differed between species and seasons; only one species was affected in winter but not summer. Coral structural complexity facilitated an increase of total algal biomass particularly in summer. At the individual level, thalli growing inside the Acropora canopy were always significantly larger (thallus biomass, volume and height) than those growing in exposed areas. We estimated that the carbonate production of Halimeda was nearly three times greater inside refuges provided by Acropora. Because Halimeda species differ in growth rates and susceptibility to grazing, we predict that the ongoing degradation of the habitat complexity provided by branching corals will alter Halimeda community structure and its contribution to local sediment budgets.

  18. Spatial heterogeneity in active chlorophyll fluorescence and PSII activity of coral tissues

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ralph, P.J.; Gademann, R.; Larkum, A.W.D.;

    2002-01-01

    Chlorophyll-a fluorescence was measured in six species of coral, using pulse-amplitude-modulated fluorometers employing fibre-optic probes with diameters of 8 mm, 1 mm and 140 µm. The 8-mm probe integrated responses over a large area, giving more weight to coenosarc than polyp tissue for Acropora...... down-regulation at higher irradiances. Coenosarc and polyp tissue (both containing zooxanthellae) showed a wide range of responses in the other corals. Down-regulation of photosynthesis in a single polyp of Pocillopora damicornis was followed after exposure to moderate irradiance, with recovery...... occurring over a further 4 h of shade conditions. All the corals (Acropora millepora, A. nobilis, Cyphastrea serailia, Montipora tuberculosa, Pocillopora damicornis and Porites cylindrica) showed evidence of strong down-regulation of photosynthesis under high irradiance, and little evidence of...

  19. First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alvin Chelliah

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies, two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.

  20. Modeled connectivity of Acropora millepora populations from reefs of the Spratly Islands and the greater South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorman, Jeffrey G.; Castruccio, Frederic S.; Curchitser, Enrique N.; Kleypas, Joan A.; Powell, Thomas M.

    2016-03-01

    The Spratly Island archipelago is a remote network of coral reefs and islands in the South China Sea that is a likely source of coral larvae to the greater region, but about which little is known. Using a particle-tracking model driven by oceanographic data from the Coral Triangle region, we simulated both spring and fall spawning events of Acropora millepora, a common coral species, over a 46-yr period (1960-2005). Simulated population biology of A. millepora included the acquisition and loss of competency, settlement over appropriate benthic habitat, and mortality based on experimental data. The simulations aimed to provide insights into the connectivity of reefs within the Spratly Islands, the settlement of larvae on reefs of the greater South China Sea, and the potential dispersal range of reef organisms from the Spratly Islands. Results suggest that (1) the Spratly Islands may be a significant source of A. millepora larvae for the Palawan reefs (Philippines) and some of the most isolated reefs of the South China Sea; and (2) the relatively isolated western Spratly Islands have limited source reefs supplying them with larvae and fewer of their larvae successfully settling on other reefs. Examination of particle dispersal without biology (settlement and mortality) suggests that larval connectivity is possible throughout the South China Sea and into the Coral Triangle region. Strong differences in the spring versus fall larval connectivity and dispersal highlight the need for a greater understanding of spawning dynamics of the region. This study confirms that the Spratly Islands are likely an important source of larvae for the South China Sea and Coral Triangle region.

  1. Dynamic fragility of oceanic coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Jennings, Simon; Polunin, Nicholas V.C.; Bijoux, Jude P.; Robinson, Jan

    2006-01-01

    As one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems known, and one of the first ecosystems to exhibit major climate-warming impacts (coral bleaching), coral reefs have drawn much scientific attention to what may prove to be their Achilles heel, the thermal sensitivity of reef-building corals. Here we show that climate change-driven loss of live coral, and ultimately structural complexity, in the Seychelles results in local extinctions, substantial reductions in species richness, reduced taxo...

  2. Diversity and Evolution of Coral Fluorescent Proteins

    OpenAIRE

    Alieva, Naila O.; Konzen, Karen A.; Field, Steven F.; Meleshkevitch, Ella A.; Hunt, Marguerite E.; Victor Beltran-Ramirez; Miller, David J.; Jörg Wiedenmann; Anya Salih; Matz, Mikhail V

    2008-01-01

    GFP-like fluorescent proteins (FPs) are the key color determinants in reef-building corals (class Anthozoa, order Scleractinia) and are of considerable interest as potential genetically encoded fluorescent labels. Here we report 40 additional members of the GFP family from corals. There are three major paralogous lineages of coral FPs. One of them is retained in all sampled coral families and is responsible for the non-fluorescent purple-blue color, while each of the other two evolved a full ...

  3. Prey selection of corallivorous muricids at Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand) four years after a major coral bleaching event

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Moerland, M.S.; Scott, C.M.; Hoeksema, B.W.

    2016-01-01

    Corallivorous Drupella (Muricidae) snails at Koh Tao are reported to have extended their range of prey species following a major coral bleaching event in 2010. Populations of their preferred Acropora prey had locally diminished in both size and abundance, and the snails had introduced free-living mu

  4. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment

    OpenAIRE

    Verena Schoepf; Michael Stat; Falter, James L.; Malcolm T McCulloch

    2015-01-01

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient near...

  5. Coral thermal tolerance: tuning gene expression to resist thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anthony J Bellantuono

    Full Text Available The acclimatization capacity of corals is a critical consideration in the persistence of coral reefs under stresses imposed by global climate change. The stress history of corals plays a role in subsequent response to heat stress, but the transcriptomic changes associated with these plastic changes have not been previously explored. In order to identify host transcriptomic changes associated with acquired thermal tolerance in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora, corals preconditioned to a sub-lethal temperature of 3°C below bleaching threshold temperature were compared to both non-preconditioned corals and untreated controls using a cDNA microarray platform. After eight days of hyperthermal challenge, conditions under which non-preconditioned corals bleached and preconditioned corals (thermal-tolerant maintained Symbiodinium density, a clear differentiation in the transcriptional profiles was revealed among the condition examined. Among these changes, nine differentially expressed genes separated preconditioned corals from non-preconditioned corals, with 42 genes differentially expressed between control and preconditioned treatments, and 70 genes between non-preconditioned corals and controls. Differentially expressed genes included components of an apoptotic signaling cascade, which suggest the inhibition of apoptosis in preconditioned corals. Additionally, lectins and genes involved in response to oxidative stress were also detected. One dominant pattern was the apparent tuning of gene expression observed between preconditioned and non-preconditioned treatments; that is, differences in expression magnitude were more apparent than differences in the identity of genes differentially expressed. Our work revealed a transcriptomic signature underlying the tolerance associated with coral thermal history, and suggests that understanding the molecular mechanisms behind physiological acclimatization would be critical for the modeling of reefs

  6. Is Acropora palmata recovering? A case study in Los Roques National Park, Venezuela.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Croquer, Aldo; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Zubillaga, Ainhoa L; Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A; Sweet, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Eight years ago (2007), the distribution and status of Acropora palmata was quantified throughout Los Roques archipelago in Venezuela. The aim was to produce a baseline study for this species which combined population genetics with demographic data. The results highlighted that A. palmata had the potential to recover in at least 6 out of 10 sites surveyed. Recovery potential was assumed to be high at sites with a relatively high abundance of the coral, low disease prevalence, high genetic diversity, and high rates of sexual reproduction. However, as noted, Zubillaga et al. (2008) realized recovery was still strongly dependent on local and regional stressors. In 2014 (this study), the status of A. palmata was re-evaluated at Los Roques. We increased the number of sites from 10 in the original baseline study to 106. This allowed us to assess the population status throughout the entirety of the MPA. Furthermore, we also identified local threats that may have hindered population recovery. Here, we show that A. palmata now has a relatively restricted distribution throughout the park, only occurring in 15% of the sites surveyed. Large stands of old dead colonies were common throughout the archipelago; a result which demonstrates that this species has lost almost 50% of its original distribution over the past decades. The majority of corals recorded were large adults (∼2 m height), suggesting that these older colonies might be less susceptible or more resilient to local and global threats. However, 45% of these surviving colonies showed evidence of partial mortality and degradation of living tissues. Interestingly, the greatest increase in partial mortality occurred at sites with the lowest levels of protection ([Formula: see text]; df = 4, p coral cover. We therefore conclude that although local protection could promote recovery, the impacts from global threats such as ocean warming may hamper the recovery of this threatened species. PMID:26839742

  7. 78 FR 12702 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-25

    ... proposed rule in the Federal Register (77 FR 73219) in response to a petition submitted by the Center for... 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814, Attn: 82 coral species. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chelsey Young, NMFS... Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and...

  8. Regulation of bacterial communities through antimicrobial activity by the coral holobiont.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kvennefors, E Charlotte E; Sampayo, Eugenia; Kerr, Caroline; Vieira, Genyess; Roff, George; Barnes, Andrew C

    2012-04-01

    Interactions between corals and associated bacteria and amongst these bacterial groups are likely to play a key role in coral health. However, the complexity of these interactions is poorly understood. We investigated the functional role of specific coral-associated bacteria in maintaining microbial communities on the coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg 1834) and the ability of coral mucus to support or inhibit bacterial growth. Culture-independent techniques were used to assess bacterial community structures whilst bacterial culture was employed to assess intra- and inter-specific antimicrobial activities of bacteria. Members of Pseudoalteromonas and ribotypes closely related to Vibrio coralliilyticus displayed potent antimicrobial activity against a range of other cultured isolates and grew readily on detached coral mucus. Although such bacterial ribotypes would be expected to have a competitive advantage, they were rare or absent on intact and healthy coral colonies growing in situ (analysed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing). The most abundant bacterial ribotypes found on healthy corals were Gammaproteobacteria, previously defined as type A coral associates. Our results indicate that this group of bacteria and specific members of the Alphaproteobacteria described here as 'type B associates' may be important functional groups for coral health. We suggest that bacterial communities on coral are kept in check by a combination of host-derived and microbial interactions and that the type A associates in particular may play a key role in maintaining stability of microbial communities on healthy coral colonies. PMID:21984347

  9. The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toth, Lauren T.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-01-01

    The Florida Keys reef tract (FKRT) is the largest coral-reef ecosystem in the continental United States. The modern FKRT extends for 362 kilometers along the coast of South Florida from Dry Tortugas National Park in the southwest, through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), to Fowey Rocks reef in Biscayne National Park in the northeast. Most reefs along the FKRT are sheltered by the exposed islands of the Florida Keys; however, large channels are located between the islands of the Middle Keys. These openings allow for tidal transport of water from Florida Bay onto reefs in the area. The characteristics of the water masses coming from Florida Bay, which can experience broad swings in temperature, salinity, nutrients, and turbidity over short periods of time, are generally unfavorable or “inimical” to coral growth and reef development.Although reef habitats are ubiquitous throughout most of the Upper and Lower Keys, relatively few modern reefs exist in the Middle Keys most likely because of the impacts of inimical waters from Florida Bay. The reefs that are present in the Middle Keys generally are poorly developed compared with reefs elsewhere in the region. For example, Acropora palmata has been the dominant coral on shallow-water reefs in the Caribbean over the last 1.5 million years until populations of the coral declined throughout the region in recent decades. Although A. palmata was historically abundant in the Florida Keys, it was conspicuously absent from reefs in the Middle Keys. Instead, contemporary reefs in the Middle Keys have been dominated by occasional massive (that is, boulder or head) corals and, more often, small, non-reef-building corals.Holocene reef cores have been collected from many locations along the FKRT; however, despite the potential importance of the history of reefs in the Middle Florida Keys to our understanding of the environmental controls on reef development throughout the FKRT, there are currently no published

  10. Red Sea Acropora hemprichii Bacterial Population Dynamics under Adverse Anthropogenic Conditions

    KAUST Repository

    Lizcano, Javier

    2012-08-01

    Reef-building corals are cornerstones of life in the oceans. Understanding their interactions with microorganisms and their surrounding physicochemical conditions is important to comprehend reef functioning and ultimately protect coral reef ecosystems. Corals associate with a complex and specific array of microorganisms that supposedly affect their physiology and therefore can significantly determine the condition of a coral ecosystem. As environmental conditions may shape bacterial diversity and ecology in the coral symbiosis, ecosystem changes might have unfavorable consequences for the holobiont, to date poorly understood. Here, we were studying microbial community changes in A. hemprichii as a consequence of simulated eutrophication and overfishing over a period of 16 weeks by using in situ caging and slow release fertilizer treatments in an undisturbed Red Sea reef (22.18ºN, 38.57ºW). We used 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing to evaluate the individual and combined effects of overnutrification and fishing pressure, two of the most common local threats to coral reefs. With our data we hope to better understand bacterial population dynamics under anthropogenic influences and its role in coral resilience. Projecting further, this data will be useful to better predict the consequences of human activity on reef ecosystems.

  11. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and the chermotypic corals, without zooxanthellae. Coral reefs are found in waters upto a depth of 50-70 m, well lighted zones having salinity of 32-35% and temperatures of above 20 degrees C. Coral reefs are abound in a variety of fascinating animal life...

  12. 雷州半岛徐闻西岸珊瑚岸礁造礁珊瑚群落结构及其演变%REEF-BUILDING CORAL COMMUNITY AND EVOLUTIONARY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRINGING REEFS ON THE WEST COAST OF XUWEN COUNTY,LEIZHOU PENINSULA

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘苗苗; 沈建伟; 王月; 杨红强

    2011-01-01

    Fringing reefs are well developed on the southwest coast of Xuwen County at the Leizhou Penin-sula, southernmost tip of China mainland. They are the only fringing coral reefs remaining on the coast of the mainland. Living corals in the fringing coral reefs consist of Porites, Favia, Acropora, Favite, Mon-tipora, Platygyra and Pavona , dominated by Acropora-Favia-Porites community. Molluscs and arthro-pods are the main dwelling organisms. According to the coral ecology and reef-flat topographic features, the Dengloujiao fringing reef on the west coast of Xuwen County can be divided into 4 zones from the shore to the sea: 1) the intertidal zone covered by sand and gravel, 2) the subtidal inner reef-flat with coral frag-ment and bioclast deposits, 3) the subtidal outer reef-flat with sparse living corals, and 4) the subtidal reef-flat rim of living corals. Goniopora is the dominant species in subtidal outer reef-flat and reef-flat rim. Relative sea-level changes, sea surface temperature variations and coastal eutrophication influx significantly affect the growth of coral reefs. The fringing coral reefs are primarily formed in the mid-Holocene based on the analysis of reef development and evolution. Recent surveys on the coral reefs indicate that the environ-mental changes caused by climate changes, coastal civil construction and population increase resulted in the changes in dominant coral species in reefal area, and the dynamic changes in the coral community.%雷州半岛徐闻西南海岸发育中国陆地最南端的珊瑚岸礁,这也是目前陆地海岸仅存的珊瑚岸礁.该区域内现生石珊瑚以滨珊瑚、蜂巢珊瑚、鹿角珊瑚、角蜂巢珊瑚、蔷薇珊瑚、扁脑珊瑚、牡丹珊瑚等为优势种,礁栖生物主要以软体动物和节肢动物为主,构成鹿角珊瑚-蜂巢珊瑚-滨珊瑚群落.根据珊瑚生态特征和礁坪发育的地貌特征,可以把徐闻灯楼角岸礁从岸向海分为潮间砂石覆盖带、潮下内礁坪

  13. A Survey into Taxonomic and Physiological Differences of Symbiodinium sp., the Photosynthetic Symbiont of Reef-building Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Gong, Xianzhe

    2012-11-01

    The dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium is a popular research topic in the coral reef molecular biology field. Primarily because these organisms serve as the coral holobiont’s primary source of energy, carrying out photosynthesis, and providing hydrocarbons to the coral host. Previous studies have shown the difficulty of isolating Symbiodinium as well as the inherent problems in trying to quantify the diversity of this genus and to qualify the distinct reactions of different Symbiodinium sp. to changing environmental conditions. The main goals of this study are: (1) to detail the relationship between the genetic classification of the organism and its physiology in regard to photosynthesis with a number of established Symbiodinium cultures; and (2) to isolate Symbiodinium from coral of the central Red Sea. To evaluate the photosynthetic physiology of Symbiodinium, a microsensor was used to measure oxygen concentrations along with a phytoplankton analyzer system that used pulse-amplitude-modulation (Phyto-PAM) to measure fluorescence. In order to identify the particular clade that the isolates belonged to, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) was used to identify Symbiodinium based on their internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region. These techniques helped us to achieve our goals in the following ways: Symbiodinium sp. from a culture collection were classified to the subclade level; species-specific and clade-specific photosynthetic profiles were generated; and a Symbiodinium sp. was isolated from the central Red Sea. This study provided preliminary correlation between the photosynthetic difference and Symbiodinium genetic classification; showed the probable existence of a self-protection system inside the Symbiodinium cells by comparing the difference between the initial oxygen production at the beginning of each light step and the oxygen production after light adaptation; and confirmed the possibility of the isolation of Symbiodinium.

  14. Infection Dynamics Vary between Symbiodinium Types and Cell Surface Treatments during Establishment of Endosymbiosis with Coral Larvae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bette Lynn Willis

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Symbioses between microbes and higher organisms underpin high diversity in many ecosystems, including coral reefs, however mechanisms underlying the early establishment of symbioses remain unclear. Here we examine the roles of Symbiodinium type and cell surface recognition in the establishment of algal endosymbiosis in the reef-building coral, Acropora tenuis. We found 20–70% higher infection success (proportion of larvae infected and five-fold higher Symbiodinium abundance in larvae exposed to ITS-1 type C1 compared to ITS-1 type D in the first 96 h following exposure. The highest abundance of Symbiodinium within larvae occurred when C1-type cells were treated with enzymes that modified the 40–100 kD glycome, including glycoproteins and long chain starch residues. Our finding of declining densities of Symbiodinium C1 through time in the presence of intact cell surface molecules supports a role for cell surface recognition molecules in controlling post-phagocytosis processes, leading to rejection of some Symbiodinium types in early ontogeny. Reductions in the densities of unmodified C1 symbionts after 96 h, in contrast to increases in D symbionts may suggest the early initiation of a winnowing process contributing to the establishment of Symbiodinium D as the dominant type in one-month old juveniles of A. tenuis.

  15. Stable and sporadic symbiotic communities of coral and algal holobionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hester, Eric R; Barott, Katie L; Nulton, Jim; Vermeij, Mark Ja; Rohwer, Forest L

    2016-05-01

    Coral and algal holobionts are assemblages of macroorganisms and microorganisms, including viruses, Bacteria, Archaea, protists and fungi. Despite a decade of research, it remains unclear whether these associations are spatial-temporally stable or species-specific. We hypothesized that conflicting interpretations of the data arise from high noise associated with sporadic microbial symbionts overwhelming signatures of stable holobiont members. To test this hypothesis, the bacterial communities associated with three coral species (Acropora rosaria, Acropora hyacinthus and Porites lutea) and two algal guilds (crustose coralline algae and turf algae) from 131 samples were analyzed using a novel statistical approach termed the Abundance-Ubiquity (AU) test. The AU test determines whether a given bacterial species would be present given additional sampling effort (that is, stable) versus those species that are sporadically associated with a sample. Using the AU test, we show that coral and algal holobionts have a high-diversity group of stable symbionts. Stable symbionts are not exclusive to one species of coral or algae. No single bacterial species was ubiquitously associated with one host, showing that there is not strict heredity of the microbiome. In addition to the stable symbionts, there was a low-diversity community of sporadic symbionts whose abundance varied widely across individual holobionts of the same species. Identification of these two symbiont communities supports the holobiont model and calls into question the hologenome theory of evolution. PMID:26555246

  16. A snapshot of a coral "holobiont": a transcriptome assembly of the scleractinian coral, porites, captures a wide variety of genes from both the host and symbiotic zooxanthellae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuya Shinzato

    Full Text Available Massive scleractinian corals of the genus Porites are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific, and they are more resistant to thermal stress than other stony corals, such as the genus Acropora. Because coral health and survival largely depend on the interaction between a coral host and its symbionts, it is important to understand the molecular interactions of an entire "coral holobiont". We simultaneously sequenced transcriptomes of Porites australiensis and its symbionts using the Illumina Hiseq2000 platform. We obtained 14.3 Gbp of sequencing data and assembled it into 74,997 contigs (average: 1,263 bp, N50 size: 2,037 bp. We successfully distinguished contigs originating from the host (Porites and the symbiont (Symbiodinium by aligning nucleotide sequences with the decoded Acropora digitifera and Symbiodinium minutum genomes. In contrast to previous coral transcriptome studies, at least 35% of the sequences were found to have originated from the symbionts, indicating that it is possible to analyze both host and symbiont transcriptomes simultaneously. Conserved protein domain and KEGG analyses showed that the dataset contains broad gene repertoires of both Porites and Symbiodinium. Effective utilization of sequence reads revealed that the polymorphism rate in P. australiensis is 1.0% and identified the major symbiotic Symbiodinium as Type C15. Analyses of amino acid biosynthetic pathways suggested that this Porites holobiont is probably able to synthesize most of the common amino acids and that Symbiodinium is potentially able to provide essential amino acids to its host. We believe this to be the first molecular evidence of complementarity in amino acid metabolism between coral hosts and their symbionts. We successfully assembled genes originating from both the host coral and the symbiotic Symbiodinium to create a snapshot of the coral holobiont transcriptome. This dataset will facilitate a deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms of

  17. The ecotoxicology of vegetable versus mineral based lubricating oils 3. Coral fertilization and adult corals

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P.; Burns, Kathryn A.; Heyward, Andrew J

    2004-05-01

    Biodegradable vegetable-derived lubricants (VDL) might be less toxic to marine organisms than mineral-derived oils (MDL) due to the absence of high molecular weight aromatics, but this remains largely untested. In this laboratory study, adult corals and coral gametes were exposed to various concentrations of a two-stroke VDL-1A and a corresponding MDL to determine which lubricant type was more toxic to each life stage. In the fertilization experiment, gametes from the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma were exposed to water-accommodated fractions (WAF) of VDL-1A and MDL for four hours. The MDL and VDL-1A WAFs inhibited normal fertilization of the corals at 200 {mu}g l{sup -1} total hydrocarbon content (THC) and 150 {mu}g l{sup -1} THC respectively. Disturbance of a stable coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regarded as a valid measure of sub-lethal stress in adult corals. The state of the symbiosis in branchlets of adult colonies of Acropora formosa was monitored using indicators such as dinoflagellate expulsion and dark-adapted photosystem II yields of dinoflagellate (using pulse amplitude modulation fluorescence). An effect on symbiosis was measurable following 48 h exposure to the lubricants at concentrations of 190 {mu}g l{sup -1} and 37 {mu}g l{sup -1} THC for the MDL and VDL-1A respectively. GC/MS revealed that the main constituent of the VDL-1A WAF was the compound coumarin, added by the manufacturer to improve odour. The fragrance containing coumarin was removed from the lubricant formulation and the toxicity towards adult corals re-examined. The coumarin-free VDL-2 exhibited significantly less toxicity towards the adult corals than all of the other oil types tested, with the only measurable effect being a slight but significant drop in photosynthetic efficiency at 280 {mu}g l{sup -1}. - Vegetable-derived lubricants were less toxic to adult corals than their mineral counterparts.

  18. The Role of Maternal Nutrition on Oocyte Size and Quality, with Respect to Early Larval Development in The Coral-Eating Starfish, Acanthaster planci

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Kerr, Alexander M.; Rivera-Posada, Jairo A.

    2016-01-01

    Variation in local environmental conditions can have pronounced effects on the population structure and dynamics of marine organisms. Previous studies on crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, have primarily focused on effects of water quality and nutrient availability on larval growth and survival, while the role of maternal nutrition on reproduction and larval development has been overlooked. To examine the effects of maternal nutrition on oocyte size and early larval development in A. planci, we pre-conditioned females for 60 days on alternative diets of preferred coral prey (Acropora abrotanoides) versus non-preferred coral prey (Porites rus) and compared resulting gametes and progeny to those produced by females that were starved over the same period. Females fed ad libitum with Acropora increased in weight, produced heavier gonads and produced larger oocytes compared to Porites-fed and starved females. Fed starfish (regardless of whether it was Acropora or Porites) produced bigger larvae with larger stomachs and had a higher frequency of normal larvae that reached the late bipinnaria / early brachiolaria stage compared to starved starfish. Females on Acropora diet also produced a higher proportion of larvae that progressed to more advanced stages faster compared to Porites-fed starfish, which progressed faster than starved starfish. These results suggest that maternal provisioning can have important consequences for the quality and quantity of progeny. Because food quality (coral community structure) and quantity (coral abundance) varies widely among reef locations and habitats, local variation in maternal nutrition of A. planci is likely to moderate reproductive success and may explain temporal and spatial fluctuations in abundance of this species. PMID:27327627

  19. The Role of Maternal Nutrition on Oocyte Size and Quality, with Respect to Early Larval Development in The Coral-Eating Starfish, Acanthaster planci.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caballes, Ciemon Frank; Pratchett, Morgan S; Kerr, Alexander M; Rivera-Posada, Jairo A

    2016-01-01

    Variation in local environmental conditions can have pronounced effects on the population structure and dynamics of marine organisms. Previous studies on crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, have primarily focused on effects of water quality and nutrient availability on larval growth and survival, while the role of maternal nutrition on reproduction and larval development has been overlooked. To examine the effects of maternal nutrition on oocyte size and early larval development in A. planci, we pre-conditioned females for 60 days on alternative diets of preferred coral prey (Acropora abrotanoides) versus non-preferred coral prey (Porites rus) and compared resulting gametes and progeny to those produced by females that were starved over the same period. Females fed ad libitum with Acropora increased in weight, produced heavier gonads and produced larger oocytes compared to Porites-fed and starved females. Fed starfish (regardless of whether it was Acropora or Porites) produced bigger larvae with larger stomachs and had a higher frequency of normal larvae that reached the late bipinnaria / early brachiolaria stage compared to starved starfish. Females on Acropora diet also produced a higher proportion of larvae that progressed to more advanced stages faster compared to Porites-fed starfish, which progressed faster than starved starfish. These results suggest that maternal provisioning can have important consequences for the quality and quantity of progeny. Because food quality (coral community structure) and quantity (coral abundance) varies widely among reef locations and habitats, local variation in maternal nutrition of A. planci is likely to moderate reproductive success and may explain temporal and spatial fluctuations in abundance of this species. PMID:27327627

  20. Food availability promotes rapid recovery from thermal stress in a scleractinian coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, S. R.; Lopez-Yglesias, M. A.; Anthony, K. R. N.

    2012-12-01

    Bleaching in corals due to environmental stress represents a loss of energy intake often leading to an increase in mortality risk. Successful coral recovery from severe bleaching events may depend on the rate of replenishment of algal symbiont populations following the period of thermal stress, the supply of an alternative food source, or both. Here, we explore the role of food availability in promoting the survival and recovery of a common coral ( Acropora intermedia) following acute experimentally induced thermal stress. Fed corals were provided with live rotifers daily, to maintain densities of zooplankton in tanks that are typical of coral reefs. After a 6-week acclimation phase, heated corals were subjected to a +4 °C thermal anomaly for a 7-day period (bleaching phase) then temperatures were returned to normal for a further 2 weeks (recovery phase). Results demonstrated that heated corals had higher survival when they were provided with heterotrophic food. Fed corals experienced reduced loss of chlorophyll a, relative to unfed corals. During the recovery phase, both fed and unfed corals recovered within a few days; however, fed corals recovered to pre-bleaching phase levels of chlorophyll a, whereas unfed corals stabilized approximately one-third below this level. Protein levels of fed corals declined markedly during the bleaching phase, but recovered all of their losses by the end of the recovery phase. In contrast, unfed corals had low protein levels that were maintained throughout the experiment. To the extent that these results are representative of corals' responses to thermal anomalies in nature, the findings imply that availability of particulate food matter has the potential to increase corals' capacity to survive thermally induced bleaching and to ameliorate its sub-lethal effects. They also support the hypothesis that different rates of heterotrophy are an important determinant of variation in resilience to thermal stress among reef environments.

  1. The role of skeletal micro-architecture in diagenesis and dating of Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomiak, P. J.; Andersen, M. B.; Hendy, E. J.; Potter, E. K.; Johnson, K. G.; Penkman, K. E. H.

    2016-06-01

    Past variations in global sea-level reflect continental ice volume, a crucial factor for understanding the Earth's climate system. The Caribbean coral Acropora palmata typically forms dense stands in very shallow water and therefore fossil samples mark past sea-level. Uranium-series methods are commonly used to establish a chronology for fossil coral reefs, but are compromised by post mortem diagenetic changes to coral skeleton. Current screening approaches are unable to identify all altered samples, whilst models that attempt to correct for 'open-system' behaviour are not applicable across all diagenetic scenarios. In order to better understand how U-series geochemistry varies spatially with respect to diagenetic textures, we examine these aspects in relation to skeletal micro-structure and intra-crystalline amino acids, comparing an unaltered modern coral with a fossil A. palmata colony containing zones of diagenetic alteration (secondary overgrowth of aragonite, calcite cement and dissolution features). We demonstrate that the process of skeletogenesis in A. palmata causes heterogeneity in porosity, which can account for the observed spatial distribution of diagenetic features; this in turn explains the spatially-systematic trends in U-series geochemistry and consequently, U-series age. We propose a scenario that emphasises the importance of through-flow of meteoric waters, invoking both U-loss and absorption of mobilised U and Th daughter isotopes. We recommend selective sampling of low porosity A. palmata skeleton to obtain the most reliable U-series ages. We demonstrate that intra-crystalline amino acid racemisation (AAR) can be applied as a relative dating tool in Pleistocene A. palmata samples that have suffered heavy dissolution and are therefore unsuitable for U-series analyses. Based on relatively high intra-crystalline concentrations and appropriate racemisation rates, glutamic acid and valine are most suited to dating mid-late Pleistocene A. palmata

  2. Reef fish and coral assemblages at Maptaput, Rayong Province

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Voravit Cheevaporn

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available This study describes the structure of coral and fish assemblages of a group of small islands and pinnacles in the vicinity of Maptaput deep sea port, Rayong Province, Thailand during 2002. The coral and fish assemblages at Saket Island and nearby pinnacle, Hin-Yai, which are located less than 1 km from the deep sea port, had changed. Living coral cover in 2002 was 8% at Hin-Yai and 4% at Saket Island which decreased from 33% and 64%, respectively in the previous report in 1992. Numbers of coral species at Saket Island decreased from 41 species to 13 species. Acropora spp. that previously dominated the area had nearly disappeared. For fishes, a total of 40 species were found in 2002 the numbers decreased to only 6 species at Saket Island and 36 species at Hin-Yai. Fishes that dominated the area are small pomacentrids. After 1997, the conditions of coral and fish assemblages at Saket Island and Hin-Yai had markedly changed, whereas, the conditions found in the nearby area are much better. Sediment load from port construction was the primary cause of the degradation. This should indicate the adverse effect of sedimentation on coral and reef fish assemblages at Maptaput. Coral communities developed on rock pinnacles west of Maptaput deep-sea port are reported and described herein for the first time.

  3. The combined effects of temperature and CO2 lead to altered gene expression in Acropora aspera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ogawa, D.; Bobeszko, T.; Ainsworth, T.; Leggat, W.

    2013-12-01

    This study explored the interactive effects of near-term CO2 increases (40-90 ppm above current ambient) during a simulated bleaching event (34 °C for 5 d) of Acropora aspera by linking physiology to expression patterns of genes involved in carbon metabolism. Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency ( F v / F m ) was significantly depressed by the bleaching event, while elevated pressure of CO2 (pCO2) slightly mitigated the effects of increased temperature on F v / F m during the final 4 d of the recovery period, however, did not affect the loss of symbionts. Elevated pCO2 alone had no effect on F v / F m or symbiont density. Expression of targeted Symbiodinium genes involved in carbon metabolism and heat stress response was not significantly altered by either increased temperature and/or CO2. Of the selected host genes, two carbonic anhydrase isoforms (coCA2 and coCA3) exhibited the largest changes, most notably in crossed bleaching and elevated pCO2 treatments. CA2 was significantly down-regulated on day 14 in all treatments, with the greatest decrease in the crossed treatment (relative expression compared to control = 0.16; p bleaching were evident during this study and demonstrate that increased pCO2 in surface waters will impact corals much sooner than many studies utilising end-of-century pCO2 concentrations would indicate.

  4. Patterns of bacteria-host associations suggest different ecological strategies between two reef building cold-water coral species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meistertzheim, Anne.-Leila; Lartaud, Franck; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie; Kalenitchenko, Dimitri; Bessalam, Manon; Le Bris, Nadine; Galand, Pierre E.

    2016-08-01

    Cold-water corals (CWC) are main ecosystem engineers of the deep sea, and their reefs constitute hot-spots of biodiversity. However, their ecology remains poorly understood, particularly, the nature of the holobiont formed by corals with their associated bacterial communities. Here, we analyzed Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa samples, collected from one location in a Mediterranean canyon in two different seasons (autumn and spring), in order to test for species specificity and temporal stability of the host-bacteria associations. The 16S rRNA sequencing revealed host-specific patterns of bacterial communities associated with L. pertusa and M. oculata, both in terms of community composition and diversity. All analyzed M. oculata polyps exhibited temporally and spatially similar bacterial communities dominated by haplotypes homologous to the known cnidarians-associated genus Endozoicomonas. In contrast, the bacterial communities associated with L. pertusa varied among polyps from the same colony, as well as among distinct colonies and between seasons. While the resilient consortium formed by M. oculata and its bacterial community fit the definition of holobiont, the versatility of the L. pertusa microbiome suggests that this association is more influenced by the environmental conditions or nutritional status. Our results thus highlight distinct host/microbes association strategies for these two closely related Scleractinians sharing the same habitat, suggesting distinct sensitivity to environmental change.

  5. Reproduction Patterns of Scleractinian Corals in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2013-12-01

    Early work on the reproductive seasonality of corals in the Red Sea suggested that corals exhibit temporal reproductive isolation, unlike on the Great Barrier Reef where many species spawn in synchrony. More recent work has however shown high synchrony in the maturity of gametes in Acropora species, suggesting multi-specific spawning is likely to occur in the Red Sea. In this thesis I investigate the patterns of coral reproduction in the central Red Sea. The spawning season in the central Red Sea lasts four months, from April to July and spawning occurs on nights around the full moon. During this period Acropora species show a peak of spawning in April, with some species spawning again in May. The level of synchrony, quantified with a spawning synchrony index, is comparable to other locations where multi-specific spawning has been reported. Observations over two consecutive years show that the synchrony of spawning was lower in spring 2012 than in spring 2011, and thus that spawning patterns are variable from one year to the other. Coral settlement patterns on artificial substrata confirmed a main spawning season in the spring but also supported reproductive data suggesting that some Porites spawn in October-November. Settlement was studied over 2.5 years on a reef, which had suffered recently from high mortality after a local bleaching event. Settlement appeared low but post-bleaching studies from other locations indicated similar abundances and showed that recruits generally did not increase until 5 years after the bleaching event. Abundance of juvenile corals however started to increase significantly three years after the bleaching. Successful recruitment, although low suggests that the coral assemblage on the affected reef will most likely recover as long as it is not affected by another disturbance.

  6. Reef-coral refugia in a rapidly changing ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cacciapaglia, Chris; van Woesik, Robert

    2015-06-01

    This study sought to identify climate-change thermal-stress refugia for reef corals in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. A species distribution modeling approach was used to identify refugia for 12 coral species that differed considerably in their local response to thermal stress. We hypothesized that the local response of coral species to thermal stress might be similarly reflected as a regional response to climate change. We assessed the contemporary geographic range of each species and determined their temperature and irradiance preferences using a k-fold algorithm to randomly select training and evaluation sites. That information was applied to downscaled outputs of global climate models to predict where each species is likely to exist by the year 2100. Our model was run with and without a 1°C capacity to adapt to the rising ocean temperature. The results show a positive exponential relationship between the current area of habitat that coral species occupy and the predicted area of habitat that they will occupy by 2100. There was considerable decoupling between scales of response, however, and with further ocean warming some 'winners' at local scales will likely become 'losers' at regional scales. We predicted that nine of the 12 species examined will lose 24-50% of their current habitat. Most reductions are predicted to occur between the latitudes 5-15°, in both hemispheres. Yet when we modeled a 1°C capacity to adapt, two ubiquitous species, Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora digitifera, were predicted to retain much of their current habitat. By contrast, the thermally tolerant Porites lobata is expected to increase its current distribution by 14%, particularly southward along the east and west coasts of Australia. Five areas were identified as Indian Ocean refugia, and seven areas were identified as Pacific Ocean refugia for reef corals under climate change. All 12 of these reef-coral refugia deserve high-conservation status. PMID:25646684

  7. Allelopathic interactions between the brown algal genus Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) and scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Christophe; Thomas, Olivier P; Culioli, Gérald; Genta-Jouve, Grégory; Houlbreque, Fanny; Gaubert, Julie; De Clerck, Olivier; Payri, Claude E

    2016-01-01

    Allelopathy has been recently suggested as a mechanism by which macroalgae may outcompete corals in damaged reefs. Members of the brown algal genus Lobophora are commonly observed in close contact with scleractinian corals and have been considered responsible for negative effects of macroalgae to scleractinian corals. Recent field assays have suggested the potential role of chemical mediators in this interaction. We performed in situ bioassays testing the allelopathy of crude extracts and isolated compounds of several Lobophora species, naturally associated or not with corals, against four corals in New Caledonia. Our results showed that, regardless of their natural association with corals, organic extracts from species of the genus Lobophora are intrinsically capable of bleaching some coral species upon direct contact. Additionally, three new C21 polyunsaturated alcohols named lobophorenols A-C (1-3) were isolated and identified. Significant allelopathic effects against Acropora muricata were identified for these compounds. In situ observations in New Caledonia, however, indicated that while allelopathic interactions are likely to occur at the macroalgal-coral interface, Lobophora spp. rarely bleached their coral hosts. These findings are important toward our understanding of the importance of allelopathy versus other processes such as herbivory in the interaction between macroalgae and corals in reef ecosystems. PMID:26728003

  8. The ecology of 'Acroporid white syndrome', a coral disease from the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Roff

    Full Text Available Outbreaks of coral disease have increased worldwide over the last few decades. Despite this, remarkably little is known about the ecology of disease in the Indo-Pacific Region. Here we report the spatiotemporal dynamics of a coral disease termed 'Acroporid white syndrome' observed to affect tabular corals of the genus Acropora on the southern Great Barrier Reef. The syndrome is characterised by rapid tissue loss initiating in the basal margins of colonies, and manifests as a distinct lesion boundary between apparently healthy tissue and exposed white skeleton. Surveys of eight sites around Heron Reef in 2004 revealed a mean prevalence of 8.1±0.9%, affecting the three common species (Acropora cytherea, A. hyacinthus, A. clathrata and nine other tabular Acropora spp. While all sizes of colonies were affected, white syndrome disproportionately affected larger colonies of tabular Acroporids (>80 cm. The prevalence of white syndrome was strongly related to the abundance of tabular Acroporids within transects, yet the incidence of the syndrome appears unaffected by proximity to other colonies, suggesting that while white syndrome is density dependant, it does not exhibit a strongly aggregated spatial pattern consistent with previous coral disease outbreaks. Acroporid white syndrome was not transmitted by either direct contact in the field or by mucus in aquaria experiments. Monitoring of affected colonies revealed highly variable rates of tissue loss ranging from 0 to 1146 cm(-2 week(-1, amongst the highest documented for a coral disease. Contrary to previous links between temperature and coral disease, rates of tissue loss in affected colonies increased threefold during the winter months. Given the lack of spatial pattern and non-infectious nature of Acroporid white syndrome, further studies are needed to determine causal factors and longer-term implications of disease outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef.

  9. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont

    OpenAIRE

    Karen Dawn Weynberg; Elisha Marie Wood-Charslon; Curtis eSuttle; Madeleine JH van Oppen

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals comprise multipartite symbioses where the cnidarian animal is host to an array of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, and the viruses that infect them. These viruses are critical elements of the coral holobiont, serving not only as agents of mortality, but also as potential vectors for lateral gene flow, and as elements encoding a variety of auxiliary metabolic functions. Consequently, understanding the functioning and health of the coral holobiont requires detailed kno...

  10. Culture-dependent and culture-independent analyses reveal no prokaryotic community shifts or recovery of Serratia marcescens in Acropora palmata with white pox disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lesser, Michael P; Jarett, Jessica K

    2014-06-01

    Recently, the etiological agent of white pox (WP) disease, also known as acroporid serratiosis, in the endangered coral Acropora palmata is the enteric bacterium Serratia marcescens with the source being localized sewage release onto coastal coral reef communities. Here, we show that both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches could not recover this bacterium from samples of tissue and mucus from A. palmata colonies affected by WP disease in the Bahamas, or seawater collected adjacent to A. palmata colonies. Additionally, a metagenetic 16S rRNA pyrosequencing study shows no significant difference in the bacterial communities of coral tissues with and without WP lesions. As recent studies have shown for other coral diseases, S. marcescens cannot be identified in all cases of WP disease in several geographically separated populations of A. palmata with the same set of signs. As a result, its identification as the etiological agent of WP disease, and cause of a reverse zoonosis, cannot be broadly supported. However, the prevalence of WP disease associated with S. marcescens does appear to be associated with proximity to population centers, and research efforts should be broadened to examine this association, and to identify other causes of this syndrome. PMID:24597458

  11. Satellite SST-Based Coral Disease Outbreak Predictions for the Hawaiian Archipelago

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Predicting wildlife disease risk is essential for effective monitoring and management, especially for geographically expansive ecosystems such as coral reefs in the Hawaiian archipelago. Warming ocean temperature has increased coral disease outbreaks contributing to declines in coral cover worldwide. In this study we investigated seasonal effects of thermal stress on the prevalence of the three most widespread coral diseases in Hawai’i: Montipora white syndrome, Porites growth anomalies and Porites tissue loss syndrome. To predict outbreak likelihood we compared disease prevalence from surveys conducted between 2004 and 2015 from 18 Hawaiian Islands and atolls with biotic (e.g., coral density and abiotic (satellite-derived sea surface temperature metrics variables using boosted regression trees. To date, the only coral disease forecast models available were developed for Acropora white syndrome on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR. Given the complexities of disease etiology, differences in host demography and environmental conditions across reef regions, it is important to refine and adapt such models for different diseases and geographic regions of interest. Similar to the Acropora white syndrome models, anomalously warm conditions were important for predicting Montipora white syndrome, possibly due to a relationship between thermal stress and a compromised host immune system. However, coral density and winter conditions were the most important predictors of all three coral diseases in this study, enabling development of a forecasting system that can predict regions of elevated disease risk up to six months before an expected outbreak. Our research indicates satellite-derived systems for forecasting disease outbreaks can be appropriately adapted from the GBR tools and applied for a variety of diseases in a new region. These models can be used to enhance management capacity to prepare for and respond to emerging coral diseases throughout Hawai

  12. Decadal trends in a coral community and evidence of changed disturbance regime

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakeford, M.; Done, T. J.; Johnson, C. R.

    2008-03-01

    A 23 year data set (1981 2003 inclusive) and the spatially explicit individual-based model “Compete©” were used to investigate the implications of changing disturbance frequency on cover and taxonomic composition of a shallow coral community at Lizard Island, Australia. Near-vertical in situ stereo-photography was used to estimate rates of coral growth, mortality, recruitment and outcomes of pair-wise competitive interactions for 17 physiognomic groups of hard and soft corals. These data were used to parameterise the model, and to quantify impacts of three acute disturbance events that caused significant coral mortality: 1982—a combination of coral bleaching and Crown-of-Thorns starfish; 1990—cyclone waves; and 1996—Crown-of-Thorns starfish. Predicted coral community trajectories were not sensitive to the outcomes of competitive interactions (probably because average coral cover was only 32% and there was strong vertical separation among established corals) or to major changes in recruitment rates. The model trajectory of coral cover matched the observed trajectory accurately until the 1996 disturbance, but only if all coral mortality was confined to the 3 years of acute disturbance. Beyond that date (1997 2003), when the observed community failed to recover, it was necessary to introduce annual chronic background mortality to obtain a good match between modelled and observed coral cover. This qualitative switch in the model may reflect actual loss of resilience in the real community. Simulated over a century, an 8 year disturbance frequency most closely reproduced the mean community composition observed in the field prior to major disturbance events. Shorter intervals between disturbances led to reduced presence of the dominant hard coral groups, and a gradual increase in the slow growing, more resilient soft corals, while longer intervals (up to 16 years) resulted in monopolization by the fastest growing table coral, Acropora hyacinthus.

  13. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2015-11-03

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

  14. Comparing the effects of symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium clades C1 and D on early growth stages of Acropora tenuis.

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    Ikuko Yuyama

    Full Text Available Reef-building corals switch endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium during their early growth stages and during bleaching events. Clade C Symbiodinium algae are dominant in corals, although other clades - including A and D - have also been commonly detected in juvenile Acroporid corals. Previous studies have been reported that only molecular data of Symbiodinium clade were identified within field corals. In this study, we inoculated aposymbiotic juvenile polyps with cultures of clades C1 and D Symbiodinium algae, and investigated the different effect of these two clades of Symbiodinium on juvenile polyps. Our results showed that clade C1 algae did not grow, while clade D algae grew rapidly during the first 2 months after inoculation. Polyps associated with clade C1 algae exhibited bright green fluorescence across the body and tentacles after inoculation. The growth rate of polyp skeletons was lower in polyps associated with clade C1 algae than those associated with clade D algae. On the other hand, antioxidant activity (catalase of corals was not significantly different between corals with clade C1 and clade D algae. Our results suggested that clade D Symbiodinium algae easily form symbiotic relationships with corals and that these algae could contribute to coral growth in early symbiosis stages.

  15. Coral reproduction on the world’s southernmost reef at Lord Howe Island, Australia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Baird, Andrew H.; Cumbo, Vivian R.; Gudge, Sallyann;

    2015-01-01

    Despite a recent expansion in the geographic extent of coral reproductive research, there remain many regions in the Indo-Pacific where knowledge is limited. For example, Lord Howe Island is the southernmost reef system in the world (31° S); however, very little is known of the reproductive biology...... of the coral fauna. Here, aspects of the reproductive biology and the timing of reproduction for 40 of the approximately 65 species that occur on Lord Howe Island are documented. In December 2010, field assessments of the stage of gamete maturity in Acropora spp. colonies suggested that 5 species...

  16. An assessment of Qatar's coral communities in a regional context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A; Smith, Edward G; Warren, Christopher; Dupont, Jennifer

    2016-04-30

    Qatar's once extensive coral communities have undergone considerable change in recent decades. We quantitatively surveyed three coral assemblages in Qatar to assess current status, and compared these against 14 sites in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to evaluate Qatar in a larger biogeographic context. Umm Al-Arshan had the highest species richness of 17 sites examined in the southern Arabian Gulf, as well as the highest coral cover and the only Acropora observed on sites in Qatar. Coral cover and richness were more modest at Fuwayrit and Al-Ashat, reflecting greater impacts from earlier stress events. Two distinct communities were identified across the southern Gulf, with Umm Al-Arshan clustering with high-cover, mixed merulinid/poritid assemblages that were less impacted by earlier bleaching and long-term stress, while Fuwayrit and Al-Ashat grouped with a lower-cover, stress-tolerant community characteristic of more extreme environments in the southern Gulf. We recommend implementation of a nation-wide baseline assessment of coral communities to guide development of an MPA network and long-term coral monitoring program for Qatar. PMID:26410180

  17. Variation in oxygen isotope ratio of dissolved orthophosphate induced by uptake process in natural coral holobionts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrera, Charissa M.; Miyajima, Toshihiro; Watanabe, Atsushi; Umezawa, Yu; Morimoto, Naoko; San Diego-McGlone, Maria Lourdes; Nadaoka, Kazuo

    2016-06-01

    A model incubation experiment using natural zooxanthellate corals was conducted to evaluate the influence of phosphate uptake by coral holobionts on oxygen isotope ratio of dissolved PO4 3- (δ18Op). Live coral samples of Acropora digitifera, Porites cylindrica, and Heliopora coerulea were collected from coral reefs around Ishigaki Island (Okinawa, Japan) and Bolinao (northern Luzon, Philippines) and incubated for 3-5 d after acclimatization under natural light conditions with elevated concentrations of PO4 3-. Phosphate uptake by corals behaved linearly with incubation time, with uptake rate depending on temperature. δ18Op usually increased with time toward the equilibrium value with respect to oxygen isotope exchange with ambient seawater, but sometimes became higher than equilibrium value at the end of incubation. The magnitude of the isotope effect associated with uptake depended on coral species; the greatest effect was in A. digitifera and the smallest in H. coerulea. However, it varied even within samples of a single coral species, which suggests multiple uptake processes with different isotope effects operating simultaneously with varying relative contributions in the coral holobionts used. In natural environments where concentrations of PO4 3- are much lower than those used during incubation, PO4 3- is presumably turned over much faster and the δ18Op easily altered by corals and other major primary producers. This should be taken into consideration when using δ18Op as an indicator of external PO4 3- sources in coastal ecosystems.

  18. Coral reef recovery status in south Andaman Islands after the bleaching event 2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marimuthu, N.; Jerald Wilson, J.; Vinithkumar, N. V.; Kirubagaran, R.

    2013-03-01

    The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the Union Territories of India, located in the eastern part of the Bay of Bengal. In 2010 summer, the increment in sea surface water temperature (up to 34°C) resulted in the bleaching of about 74% to 77% of corals in the South Andaman. During this event, coral species such as Acropora cerealis, A. humilis, Montipora sp., Favia pallida, Diploastrea sp., Goniopora sp. Fungia concinna, Gardineroseries sp., Porites sp., Favites abdita and Lobophyllia robusta were severely affected. This study is to assess the recovery status of the reef ecosystem by estimating the percentage of Live Coral cover, Bleached coral cover, Dead coral with algae, Rubble, Sandy flat, Algal assemblage and other associated organisms. The sedimentation rate (mg cm-2 d-1) and coral coverage (%) were assessed during this study period. The average sedimentation rate was ranged between 0.27 and 0.89 mg cm-2 d-1. The observed post bleaching recovery of coral cover was 21.1% at Port Blair Bay and 13.29% at Havelock Island. The mortality rate of coral cover due to this bleaching was estimated as 2.05% at Port Blair Bay and 9.82% at Havelock Island. Once the sea water temperature resumed back to the normal condition, most of the corals were found recovered.

  19. Coral Reef Recovery Status in South Andaman Islands after the Bleaching Event 2010

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    N. Marimuthu; J. Jerald Wilson; N.V. Vinithkumar; R. Kirubagaran

    2013-01-01

    The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the Union Territories of India,located in the eastern part of the Bay of Bengal.In 2010 summer,the increment in sea surface water temperature (up to 34℃) resulted in the bleaching of about 74% to 77% of corals in the South Andaman.During this event,coral species such as Acropora cerealis,A.humilis,Montipora sp.,Favia pallida,Diploastrea sp.,Goniopora sp.Fungia concinna,Gardineroseries sp.,Porites sp.,Favites abdita and Lobophyllia robusta were severely affected.This study is to assess the recovery status of the reef ecosystem by estimating the percentage of Live Coral cover,Bleached coral cover,Dead coral with algae,Rubble,Sandy fiat,Algal assemblage and other associated organisms.The sedimentation rate (mg cm-2 d-1) and coral coverage (%) were assessed during this study period.The average sedimentation rate was ranged between 0.27 and 0.89mg cm-2 d-1.The observed post bleaching recovery of coral cover was 21.1% at Port Blair Bay and 13.29% at Havelock Island.The mortality rate of coral cover due to this bleaching was estimated as 2.05% at Port Blair Bay and 9.82% at Havelock Island.Once the sea water temperature resumed back to the normal condition,most of the corals were found recovered.

  20. The Presence of Biomarker Enzymes of Selected Scleractinian Corals of Palk Bay, Southeast Coast of India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Anithajothi

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The health and existence of coral reefs are in danger by an increasing range of environmental and anthropogenic impacts. The causes of coral reef decline include worldwide climate change, shoreline development, habitat destruction, pollution, sedimentation and overexploitation. These disasters have contributed to an estimated loss of 27% of the reefs. If the current pressure continues unabated, the estimated loss of coral reef will be about 60% by the year 2030. Therefore, the present study was aimed to analyze the enzymes involved in stress induced by coral pathogen and its resistance. We focused on the enzymes involved in melanin synthesis pathway (phenoloxidase (PO and peroxidases (POD and free radical scavenging enzymes (super oxide dismutase (SOD, catalase (CAT and glutathione peroxidase (Gpx in selected scleractinian corals such as Acropora formosa, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia favus, Favites halicora, Porites sp., and Anacropora forbesi. Overall, PO activity of coral was significantly lower than that of zooxanthellae except for Favia favus. Coral colonies with lower PO and POD activities are prone to disease. Maximum antioxidant defensive enzymes were observed in Favia favus followed by Echinopora lamellose. It is concluded that assay of these enzymes can be used as biomarkers for identifying the susceptibility of corals towards coral bleaching induced by pathogen.

  1. Comparative Effects of Different Disturbances in Coral Reef Habitats in Moorea, French Polynesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mélanie L. Trapon

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Degradation and loss of critical coastal habitats has significant ramifications for marine fisheries, such that knowledge of changes in habitat quality and quantity are fundamental to effective ecosystem management. This study explores changes in the structure of coral reef habitats, specifically changes in coral cover and composition, in Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess the independent and combined effects of different disturbances since 1979. During this period, reefs on the north coast have been subject to coral bleaching, severe tropical storms, as well as outbreaks of Acanthaster. Coral cover varied significantly among years, showing marked declines during some, but not all, disturbances. The greatest rates of coral loss coincided with outbreaks of A. planci. Moreover, successive disturbances have had differential effects among coral genera, leading to strong directional shifts in coral composition. Acropora is declining in abundance and coral assemblages are becoming increasingly dominated by Pocillopora and Porites. Observed changes in the cover and composition of corals are likely to have further significant impacts on the reef fish assemblages. Given that significant disturbances have been mostly associated with outbreaks of A. planci, rather than climate change, effective ecosystem management may reduce and/or delay impending effects of climate change.

  2. Biotic control of skeletal growth by scleractinian corals in aragonite-calcite seas.

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    Tomihiko Higuchi

    Full Text Available Modern scleractinian coral skeletons are commonly composed of aragonite, the orthorhombic form of CaCO3. Under certain conditions, modern corals produce calcite as a secondary precipitate to fill pore space. However, coral construction of primary skeletons from calcite has yet to be demonstrated. We report a calcitic primary skeleton produced by the modern scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. When uncalcified juveniles were incubated from the larval stage in seawater with low mMg/Ca levels, the juveniles constructed calcitic crystals in parts of the primary skeleton such as the septa; the deposits were observable under Raman microscopy. Using scanning electron microscopy, we observed different crystal morphologies of aragonite and calcite in a single juvenile skeleton. Quantitative analysis using X-ray diffraction showed that the majority of the skeleton was composed of aragonite even though we had exposed the juveniles to manipulated seawater before their initial crystal nucleation and growth processes. Our results indicate that the modern scleractinian coral Acropora mainly produces aragonite skeletons in both aragonite and calcite seas, but also has the ability to use calcite for part of its skeletal growth when incubated in calcite seas.

  3. Biotic Control of Skeletal Growth by Scleractinian Corals in Aragonite–Calcite Seas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Fujimura, Hiroyuki; Yuyama, Ikuko; Harii, Saki; Agostini, Sylvain; Oomori, Tamotsu

    2014-01-01

    Modern scleractinian coral skeletons are commonly composed of aragonite, the orthorhombic form of CaCO3. Under certain conditions, modern corals produce calcite as a secondary precipitate to fill pore space. However, coral construction of primary skeletons from calcite has yet to be demonstrated. We report a calcitic primary skeleton produced by the modern scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. When uncalcified juveniles were incubated from the larval stage in seawater with low mMg/Ca levels, the juveniles constructed calcitic crystals in parts of the primary skeleton such as the septa; the deposits were observable under Raman microscopy. Using scanning electron microscopy, we observed different crystal morphologies of aragonite and calcite in a single juvenile skeleton. Quantitative analysis using X-ray diffraction showed that the majority of the skeleton was composed of aragonite even though we had exposed the juveniles to manipulated seawater before their initial crystal nucleation and growth processes. Our results indicate that the modern scleractinian coral Acropora mainly produces aragonite skeletons in both aragonite and calcite seas, but also has the ability to use calcite for part of its skeletal growth when incubated in calcite seas. PMID:24609012

  4. The promiscuous larvae: flexibility in the establishment of symbiosis in corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cumbo, V. R.; Baird, A. H.; van Oppen, M. J. H.

    2013-03-01

    Coral reefs thrive in part because of the symbiotic partnership between corals and Symbiodinium. While this partnership is one of the keys to the success of coral reef ecosystems, surprisingly little is known about many aspects of coral symbiosis, in particular the establishment and development of symbiosis in host species that acquire symbionts anew in each generation. More specifically, the point at which symbiosis is established (i.e., larva vs. juvenile) remains uncertain, as does the source of free-living Symbiodinium in the environment. In addition, the capacity of host and symbiont to form novel combinations is unknown. To explore patterns of initial association between host and symbiont, larvae of two species of Acropora were exposed to sediment collected from three locations on the Great Barrier Reef. A high proportion of larvae established symbiosis shortly after contact with sediments, and Acropora larvae were promiscuous, taking up multiple types of Symbiodinium. The Symbiodinium types acquired from the sediments reflected the symbiont assemblage within a wide range of cnidarian hosts at each of the three sites, suggesting potential regional differences in the free-living Symbiodinium assemblage. Coral larvae clearly have the capacity to take up Symbiodinium prior to settlement, and sediment is a likely source. Promiscuous larvae allow species to associate with Symbiodinium appropriate for potentially novel environments that may be experienced following dispersal.

  5. Growth characteristics of the reef-building coral Porites astreoides under different environmental conditions in the Western Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elizalde-Rendón, E. M.; Horta-Puga, G.; González-Diaz, P.; Carricart-Ganivet, J. P.

    2010-09-01

    Skeletal extension (3.67 ± 0.65 mm year-1), density (1.49 ± 0.16 g cm-3), and calcification rate (0.55 ± 0.12 g cm-2 year-1) were determined using annual growth bands of Porites astreoides skeletons collected in three different reef systems in the Western Atlantic. The corals showed a low-density annual growth band at their apex, and seasonal timing of low and high-density band formation in P. astreoides appears to be similar at the three study sites in the Western Atlantic. The range of values presented here, for the three growth variables, spans the known range of skeletal-growth variability in P. astreoides for the Western Atlantic. The relationships between the growth parameters were similar to those previously described by other authors for massive Porites species from the Indo-Pacific, suggesting that P. astreoides has the same growth strategy, primarily investing calcification resources in extension rate. It is noteworthy that the P. astreoides population growing off the northwest coast of Cuba had similar growth characteristics as populations from the Caribbean region which were different from populations in the Gulf of Mexico, which seem to be isolated and adapted for growth at higher average sea-surface temperatures.

  6. Comparative embryology of eleven species of stony corals (Scleractinia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nami Okubo

    Full Text Available A comprehensive understanding of coral reproduction and development is needed because corals are threatened in many ways by human activity. Major threats include the loss of their photosynthetic symbionts (Symbiodinium caused by rising temperatures (bleaching, reduced ability to calcify caused by ocean acidification, increased storm severity associated with global climate change and an increase in predators caused by runoff from human agricultural activity. In spite of these threats, detailed descriptions of embryonic development are not available for many coral species. The current consensus is that there are two major groups of stony corals, the "complex" and the "robust". In this paper we describe the embryonic development of four "complex" species, Pseudosiderastrea tayamai, Galaxea fascicularis, Montipora hispida, and Pavona Decussata, and seven "robust" species, Oulastrea crispata, Platygyra contorta, Favites abdita, Echinophyllia aspera, Goniastrea favulus, Dipsastraea speciosa (previously Favia speciosa, and Phymastrea valenciennesi (previously Montastrea valenciennesi. Data from both histologically sectioned embryos and whole mounts are presented. One apparent difference between these two major groups is that before gastrulation the cells of the complex corals thus far described (mainly Acropora species spread and flatten to produce the so-called prawn chip, which lacks a blastocoel. Our present broad survey of robust and complex corals reveals that prawn chip formation is not a synapomorphy of complex corals, as Pavona Decussata does not form a prawn chip and has a well-developed blastocoel. Although prawn chip formation cannot be used to separate the two clades, none of the robust corals which we surveyed has such a stage. Many robust coral embryos pass through two periods of invagination, separated by a return to a spherical shape. However, only the second of these periods is associated with endoderm formation. We have therefore

  7. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aranda Manuel

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs belong to the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems on our planet. Yet, they are under steady decline worldwide due to rising sea surface temperatures, disease, and pollution. Understanding the molecular impact of these stressors on different coral species is imperative in order to predict how coral populations will respond to this continued disturbance. The use of molecular tools such as microarrays has provided deep insight into the molecular stress response of corals. Here, we have performed comparative genomic hybridizations (CGH with different coral species to an Acropora palmata microarray platform containing 13,546 cDNA clones in order to identify potentially rapidly evolving genes and to determine the suitability of existing microarray platforms for use in gene expression studies (via heterologous hybridization. Results Our results showed that the current microarray platform for A. palmata is able to provide biological relevant information for a wide variety of coral species covering both the complex clade as well the robust clade. Analysis of the fraction of highly diverged genes showed a significantly higher amount of genes without annotation corroborating previous findings that point towards a higher rate of divergence for taxonomically restricted genes. Among the genes with annotation, we found many mitochondrial genes to be highly diverged in M. faveolata when compared to A. palmata, while the majority of nuclear encoded genes maintained an average divergence rate. Conclusions The use of present microarray platforms for transcriptional analyses in different coral species will greatly enhance the understanding of the molecular basis of stress and health and highlight evolutionary differences between scleractinian coral species. On a genomic basis, we show that cDNA arrays can be used to identify patterns of divergence. Mitochondrion-encoded genes seem to have diverged faster than

  8. The Symbiodinium kawagutii genome illuminates dinoflagellate gene expression and coral symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Senjie; Cheng, Shifeng; Song, Bo; Zhong, Xiao; Lin, Xin; Li, Wujiao; Li, Ling; Zhang, Yaqun; Zhang, Huan; Ji, Zhiliang; Cai, Meichun; Zhuang, Yunyun; Shi, Xinguo; Lin, Lingxiao; Wang, Lu; Wang, Zhaobao; Liu, Xin; Yu, Sheng; Zeng, Peng; Hao, Han; Zou, Quan; Chen, Chengxuan; Li, Yanjun; Wang, Ying; Xu, Chunyan; Meng, Shanshan; Xu, Xun; Wang, Jun; Yang, Huanming; Campbell, David A; Sturm, Nancy R; Dagenais-Bellefeuille, Steve; Morse, David

    2015-11-01

    Dinoflagellates are important components of marine ecosystems and essential coral symbionts, yet little is known about their genomes. We report here on the analysis of a high-quality assembly from the 1180-megabase genome of Symbiodinium kawagutii. We annotated protein-coding genes and identified Symbiodinium-specific gene families. No whole-genome duplication was observed, but instead we found active (retro)transposition and gene family expansion, especially in processes important for successful symbiosis with corals. We also documented genes potentially governing sexual reproduction and cyst formation, novel promoter elements, and a microRNA system potentially regulating gene expression in both symbiont and coral. We found biochemical complementarity between genomes of S. kawagutii and the anthozoan Acropora, indicative of host-symbiont coevolution, providing a resource for studying the molecular basis and evolution of coral symbiosis. PMID:26542574

  9. Members of native coral microbiota inhibit glycosidases and thwart colonization of coral mucus by an opportunistic pathogen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J; Ritchie, Kim B; Alagely, Ali; Teplitski, Max

    2013-05-01

    The outcome of the interactions between native commensal microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens is crucial to the health of the coral holobiont. During the establishment within the coral surface mucus layer, opportunistic pathogens, including a white pox pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100, compete with native bacteria for available nutrients. Both commensals and pathogens employ glycosidases and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase to utilize components of coral mucus. This study tested the hypothesis that specific glycosidases were critical for the growth of S. marcescens on mucus and that their inhibition by native coral microbiota reduces fitness of the pathogen. Consistent with this hypothesis, a S. marcescens transposon mutant with reduced glycosidase and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase activities was unable to compete with the wild type on the mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata, although it was at least as competitive as the wild type on a minimal medium with glycerol and casamino acids. Virulence of the mutant was modestly reduced in the Aiptasia model. A survey revealed that ∼8% of culturable coral commensal bacteria have the ability to inhibit glycosidases in the pathogen. A small molecular weight, ethanol-soluble substance(s) produced by the coral commensal Exiguobacterium sp. was capable of the inhibition of the induction of catabolic enzymes in S. marcescens. This inhibition was in part responsible for the 10-100-fold reduction in the ability of the pathogen to grow on coral mucus. These results provide insight into potential mechanisms of commensal interference with early colonization and infection behaviors in opportunistic pathogens and highlight an important function for the native microbiota in coral health. PMID:23254513

  10. Coral Bleaching

    OpenAIRE

    Brinch, Anna; Hemmingsen, Sofie K. Møhlenfeldt; Rosenquist, Camilla; Tangaa, Stine Rosendal

    2010-01-01

    This review scrutinises the different cellular mechanisms and environmental stressors that lead to bleaching and discuss the numerous effects of these. Coral bleaching is characterized by corals losing their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Different environmental stressors, e.g. elevated sea temperatures, irradiance, changing salinity and increasing atmospheric CO2 induce damage in multiple sites of the photosynthetic apparatus of the zooxanthellae, leading to bleaching. Reactive oxygen species ...

  11. Systematic Analysis of White Pox Disease in Acropora palmata of the Florida Keys and Role of Serratia marcescens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyner, Jessica L; Sutherland, Kathryn P; Kemp, Dustin W; Berry, Brett; Griffin, Ashton; Porter, James W; Amador, Molly H B; Noren, Hunter K G; Lipp, Erin K

    2015-07-01

    White pox disease (WPD) affects the threatened elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Owing in part to the lack of a rapid and simple diagnostic test, there have been few systematic assessments of the prevalence of acroporid serratiosis (caused specifically by Serratia marcescens) versus general WPD signs. Six reefs in the Florida Keys were surveyed between 2011 and 2013 to determine the disease status of A. palmata and the prevalence of S. marcescens. WPD was noted at four of the six reefs, with WPD lesions found on 8 to 40% of the colonies surveyed. S. marcescens was detected in 26.9% (7/26) of the WPD lesions and in mucus from apparently healthy colonies both during and outside of disease events (9%; 18/201). S. marcescens was detected with greater frequency in A. palmata than in the overlying water column, regardless of disease status (P = 0.0177). S. marcescens could not be cultured from A. palmata but was isolated from healthy colonies of other coral species and was identified as pathogenic pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type PDR60. WPD lesions were frequently observed on the reef, but unlike in prior outbreaks, no whole-colony death was observed. Pathogenic S. marcescens was circulating on the reef but did not appear to be the primary pathogen in these recent WPD episodes, suggesting that other pathogens or stressors may contribute to signs of WPD. Results highlight the critical importance of diagnostics in coral disease investigations, especially given that field manifestation of disease may be similar, regardless of the etiological agent. PMID:25911491

  12. Effects of reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations on physiology and fluorescence of hermatypic corals and benthic algae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas F. Haas

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available While shifts from coral to seaweed dominance have become increasingly common on coral reefs and factors triggering these shifts successively identified, the primary mechanisms involved in coral-algae interactions remain unclear. Amongst various potential mechanisms, algal exudates can mediate increases in microbial activity, leading to localized hypoxic conditions which may cause coral mortality in the direct vicinity. Most of the processes likely causing such algal exudate induced coral mortality have been quantified (e.g., labile organic matter release, increased microbial metabolism, decreased dissolved oxygen availability, yet little is known about how reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations affect competitive dynamics between seaweeds and corals. The goals of this study were to investigate the effects of different levels of oxygen including hypoxic conditions on a common hermatypic coral Acropora yongei and the common green alga Bryopsis pennata. Specifically, we examined how photosynthetic oxygen production, dark and daylight adapted quantum yield, intensity and anatomical distribution of the coral innate fluorescence, and visual estimates of health varied with differing background oxygen conditions. Our results showed that the algae were significantly more tolerant to extremely low oxygen concentrations (2–4 mg L−1 than corals. Furthermore corals could tolerate reduced oxygen concentrations, but only until a given threshold determined by a combination of exposure time and concentration. Exceeding this threshold led to rapid loss of coral tissue and mortality. This study concludes that hypoxia may indeed play a significant role, or in some cases may even be the main cause, for coral tissue loss during coral-algae interaction processes.

  13. Raiding the Coral Nurseries?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available A recent shift in the pattern of commercial harvest in the Keppel Island region of the southern inshore Great Barrier Reef raises concern about the depletion of a number of relatively rare restricted range taxa. The shift appears to be driven by demand from the United States (US for corals for domestic aquaria. Data from the annual status reports from the Queensland Coral Fishery were compared with export trade data to the US from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES. Evidence was found of recent increases in the harvest of species from the Mussidae family (Acanthastrea spp. which appears to be largely driven by demand from the US. On present trends, the industry runs the risk of localized depletion of Blastomussa and Scolymia; evidenced by an increase in the harvest of small specimens and the trend of decreasing harvest despite a concurrent increase in demand. Considering their relatively high sediment tolerance compared to other reef-building species, and the current lack of information about their functional role in reef stability, the trend raises concerns about the impact of the harvest on local coral communities. The recent shift in harvest patterns could have impacts on slow-growing species by allowing harvest beyond the rate of population regeneration. In light of these factors, combined with the value of such species to local tourism, a commercial coral fishery based on uncommon but highly sought-after species may not be ecologically sustainable or economically viable in the Keppels.

  14. Comparative research of Symbiodinium diversity associated with two color morphs of reef-building coral Galaxea fascicularis%丛生盔形珊瑚的2种颜色群体共生藻组成比较

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    周国伟; 黄晖; 喻子牛; 尤丰; 李秀保

    2011-01-01

    造礁石珊瑚与共生藻 Symbiodinium spp.的互利共生对维护多样性极为丰富的珊瑚礁生态系统至关重要.在受到诸如水温异常等环境胁迫时,宿主珊瑚会排出体内共生藻而导致珊瑚白化直至死亡.造礁石珊瑚群体丰富的颜色对于珊瑚适应环境有着重要的作用,即使是同种造礁石珊瑚的不同群体,它们在颜色上也会有差异.丛生盔形珊瑚 Galaxea.fascicularis 作为印度-太平洋区系常见种广泛分布于海南三亚珊瑚礁海域,不同群体的颜色相异.对绿色和褐色2种颜色的丛生盔形珊瑚群体共生藻的28S rDNA进行限制性片段长度多态性(polymerase chainreaction-restrictionfragmentlength polymorphism,PCR-RFLP)分析,结果显示,该珊瑚可以与C和D系群共生藻分别或同时共生.此外,丛生盔形珊瑚2种颜色群体的共生藻组成并无显著差异,表明珊瑚群体的颜色差异与共生藻的组成并无直接联系.影响珊瑚表型颜色的因素复杂,包括珊瑚的绿色荧光蛋白(green fluorescent protein,GFP)、珊瑚和共生藻的各种色素等,具体机理需要进一步研究.%The symbiotic association between corals and Symbiodinium is a major contributing factor in the success of coral reef ecosystem with high biodiversity.Under stressful environmental conditions, such as abnormally high water temperatures, this symbiosis can break down and the zooxanthellae are lost in a process known as "bleaching", which can cause the death of corals if stresses are severe or persistent.Reef-building corals have diverse colors even in different colonies within the same species, and the color plays a key role in acclimation of coral to environment.Galaxea fascicularis is a common reef-building coral in the Indo-Pacific area, including the coral reef areas in Sanya, Hainan Island, and displays a variety colors even with different colonies.The authors used PCR-RFLP to investigate whether or not variation in color is associated

  15. Suspended sediments limit coral sperm availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricardo, Gerard F.; Jones, Ross J.; Clode, Peta L.; Humanes, Adriana; Negri, Andrew P.

    2015-01-01

    Suspended sediment from dredging activities and natural resuspension events represent a risk to the reproductive processes of coral, and therefore the ongoing maintenance of reefal populations. To investigate the underlying mechanisms that could reduce the fertilisation success in turbid water, we conducted several experiments exposing gametes of the corals Acropora tenuis and A. millepora to two sediment types. Sperm limitation was identified in the presence of siliciclastic sediment (230 and ~700 mg L−1), with 2–37 fold more sperm required to achieve maximum fertilisation rates, when compared with sediment-free treatments. This effect was more pronounced at sub-optimum sperm concentrations. Considerable (>45%) decreases in sperm concentration at the water’s surface was recorded in the presence of siliciclastic sediment and a >20% decrease for carbonate sediment. Electron microscopy then confirmed sediment entangled sperm and we propose entrapment and sinking is the primary mechanism reducing sperm available to the egg. Longer exposure to suspended sediments and gamete aging further decreased fertilisation success when compared with a shorter exposure. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that high concentrations of suspended sediments effectively remove sperm from the water’s surface during coral spawning events, reducing the window for fertilisation with potential subsequent flow-on effects for recruitment. PMID:26659008

  16. Differential coral bleaching-Contrasting the activity and response of enzymatic antioxidants in symbiotic partners under thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krueger, Thomas; Hawkins, Thomas D; Becker, Susanne; Pontasch, Stefanie; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Leggat, William; Fisher, Paul L; Davy, Simon K

    2015-12-01

    Mass coral bleaching due to thermal stress represents a major threat to the integrity and functioning of coral reefs. Thermal thresholds vary, however, between corals, partly as a result of the specific type of endosymbiotic dinoflagellate (Symbiodinium sp.) they harbour. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in corals under thermal and light stress has been recognised as one mechanism that can lead to cellular damage and the loss of their symbiont population (Oxidative Theory of Coral Bleaching). Here, we compared the response of symbiont and host enzymatic antioxidants in the coral species Acropora millepora and Montipora digitata at 28°C and 33°C. A. millepora at 33°C showed a decrease in photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) and increase in maximum midday excitation pressure on PSII, with subsequent bleaching (declining photosynthetic pigment and symbiont density). M. digitata exhibited no bleaching response and photochemical changes in its symbionts were minor. The symbiont antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, and catalase peroxidase showed no significant upregulation to elevated temperatures in either coral, while only catalase was significantly elevated in both coral hosts at 33°C. Increased host catalase activity in the susceptible coral after 5days at 33°C was independent of antioxidant responses in the symbiont and preceded significant declines in PSII photochemical efficiencies. This finding suggests a potential decoupling of host redox mechanisms from symbiont photophysiology and raises questions about the importance of symbiont-derived ROS in initiating coral bleaching. PMID:26310104

  17. Region-wide temporal and spatial variation in Caribbean reef architecture: is coral cover the whole story?

    OpenAIRE

    Alvarez-Filip, L.; Cote, IM; Gill, JA; Watkinson, AR; Dulvy, NK

    2011-01-01

    The architectural complexity of coral reefs is largely generated by reef-building corals, yet the effects of current regional-scale declines in coral cover on reef complexity are poorly understood. In particular, both the extent to which declines in coral cover lead to declines in complexity and the length of time it takes for reefs to collapse following coral mortality are unknown. Here we assess the extent of temporal and spatial covariation between coral cover and reef architectural comple...

  18. Host-associated coral reef microbes respond to the cumulative pressures of ocean warming and ocean acidification

    OpenAIRE

    Webster, N. S.; Negri, A. P.; Botté, E. S.; P. W. Laffy; F. Flores; S. Noonan; Schmidt, C.; Uthicke, S.

    2016-01-01

    Key calcifying reef taxa are currently threatened by thermal stress associated with elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) and reduced calcification linked to ocean acidification (OA). Here we undertook an 8 week experimental exposure to near-future climate change conditions and explored the microbiome response of the corals Acropora millepora and Seriatopora hystrix, the crustose coralline algae Hydrolithon onkodes, the foraminifera Marginopora vertebralis and Heterostegina depressa and the...

  19. Local extinction of a coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Brandl, S. J.; Jones, G. P.

    2014-12-01

    While global extinctions of marine species are infrequent, local extinctions are becoming common. However, the role of habitat degradation and resource specialisation in explaining local extinction is unknown. On coral reefs, coral bleaching is an increasingly frequent cause of coral mortality that can result in dramatic changes to coral community composition. Coral-associated fishes are often specialised on a limited suite of coral species and are therefore sensitive to these changes. This study documents the local extinction of a corallivorous reef fish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, following a mass bleaching event that altered the species composition of associated coral communities. Local extinction only occurred on reefs that also completely lost a key prey species, Acropora millepora, even though coral cover remained high. In an experimental test, fish continued to select bleached A. millepora over the healthy, but less-preferred prey species that resisted bleaching. These results suggest that behavioural inflexibility may limit the ability of specialists to cope with even subtle changes to resource availability.

  20. Coral reproduction in the world's warmest reefs: southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauman, A. G.; Baird, A. H.; Cavalcante, G. H.

    2011-06-01

    Despite extensive research on coral reproduction from numerous geographic locations, there remains limited knowledge within the Persian Gulf. Given that corals in the Persian Gulf exist in one of the most stressful environments for reef corals, with annual variations in sea surface temperature (SST) of 12°C and maximum summer mean SSTs of 36°C, understanding coral reproductive biology in the Gulf may provide clues as to how corals may cope with global warming. In this study, we examined six locally common coral species on two shallow reef sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in 2008 and 2009 to investigate the patterns of reproduction, in particular the timing and synchrony of spawning. In total, 71% colonies in April 2008 and 63% colonies in April 2009 contained mature oocytes. However, the presence of mature gametes in May indicated that spawning was potentially split between April and May in all species. These results demonstrate that coral reproduction patterns within this region are highly seasonal and that multi-species spawning synchrony is highly probable. Acropora downingi, Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea were all hermaphroditic broadcast spawners with a single annual gametogenic cycle. Furthermore, fecundity and mature oocyte sizes were comparable to those in other regions. We conclude that the reproductive biology of corals in the southern Persian Gulf is similar to other regions, indicating that these species have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions in the southern Persian Gulf.

  1. Status of Coral Reef Communities on Two Carbonate Platforms (Tun Sakaran Marine Park, East Sabah, Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Montagne

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available This study concerns three sites, located on carbonate platforms, east Sabah: Gaya West, Gaya East, and Mantabuan. At each site, the dominant coral shapes and their health were recorded (lagoons and outer slopes. Densities of echinoderms, Tridacna, and nudibranchs were recorded while fish density was estimated. Generally, the coral vitality is low (≤50% living corals. Massive corals dominate all sites, except the Gaya West-outer slope where coral coverage and diversity are the highest. On the Mantabuan-mesh reef, a diverse Acropora assemblage dominates the landscape. On the reef flat of Gaya East, monospecific circa 10 meter coral patches occur. Primary producers are scarce on all sites. Sea urchins, dominated by Diadema, are abundant on the Gaya East-reef flat and the Gaya West-mesh reef. Sea stars and holothurids are the most prevalent in Gaya West-outer slope, although they remain scarce. Crinoids are only abundant in Mantabuan. Stegastes damselfish highly characterizes the sites of Gaya East (reef flat and inner slope and the Mantabuan-mesh reef. On the Mantabuan-outer slope, parrotfish and other fishes are plentiful. No sign of eutrophication has been detected and natural hypersedimentation and/or eventual ancient bleaching events appear to be the direct principal causes of coral death or coral degradation.

  2. Chronic Exposure of Corals to Fine Sediments: Lethal and Sub-Lethal Impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, Florita; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Smith, Luke D.; Cooper, Timothy F.; Abrego, David; Negri, Andrew P.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the sedimentation and turbidity thresholds for corals is critical in assessing the potential impacts of dredging projects in tropical marine systems. In this study, we exposed two species of coral sampled from offshore locations to six levels of total suspended solids (TSS) for 16 weeks in the laboratory, including a 4 week recovery period. Dose-response relationships were developed to quantify the lethal and sub-lethal thresholds of sedimentation and turbidity for the corals. The sediment treatments affected the horizontal foliaceous species (Montipora aequituberculata) more than the upright branching species (Acropora millepora). The lowest sediment treatments that caused full colony mortality were 30 mg l−1 TSS (25 mg cm−2 day−1) for M. aequituberculata and 100 mg l−1 TSS (83 mg cm−2 day−1) for A. millepora after 12 weeks. Coral mortality generally took longer than 4 weeks and was closely related to sediment accumulation on the surface of the corals. While measurements of damage to photosystem II in the symbionts and reductions in lipid content and growth indicated sub-lethal responses in surviving corals, the most reliable predictor of coral mortality in this experiment was long-term sediment accumulation on coral tissue. PMID:22662225

  3. Stepwise Evolution of Coral Biomineralization Revealed with Genome-Wide Proteomics and Transcriptomics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawada, Hitoshi; Satoh, Noriyuki

    2016-01-01

    Despite the importance of stony corals in many research fields related to global issues, such as marine ecology, climate change, paleoclimatogy, and metazoan evolution, very little is known about the evolutionary origin of coral skeleton formation. In order to investigate the evolution of coral biomineralization, we have identified skeletal organic matrix proteins (SOMPs) in the skeletal proteome of the scleractinian coral, Acropora digitifera, for which large genomic and transcriptomic datasets are available. Scrupulous gene annotation was conducted based on comparisons of functional domain structures among metazoans. We found that SOMPs include not only coral-specific proteins, but also protein families that are widely conserved among cnidarians and other metazoans. We also identified several conserved transmembrane proteins in the skeletal proteome. Gene expression analysis revealed that expression of these conserved genes continues throughout development. Therefore, these genes are involved not only skeleton formation, but also in basic cellular functions, such as cell-cell interaction and signaling. On the other hand, genes encoding coral-specific proteins, including extracellular matrix domain-containing proteins, galaxins, and acidic proteins, were prominently expressed in post-settlement stages, indicating their role in skeleton formation. Taken together, the process of coral skeleton formation is hypothesized as: 1) formation of initial extracellular matrix between epithelial cells and substrate, employing pre-existing transmembrane proteins; 2) additional extracellular matrix formation using novel proteins that have emerged by domain shuffling and rapid molecular evolution and; 3) calcification controlled by coral-specific SOMPs. PMID:27253604

  4. Effect of calcium carbonate saturation of seawater on coral calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gattuso, J.-P.; Frankignoulle, M.; Bourge, I.; Romaine, S.; Buddemeier, R.W.

    1998-01-01

    The carbonate chemistry of seawater is usually not considered to be an important factor influencing calcium-carbonate-precipitation by corals because surface seawater is supersaturated with respect to aragonite. Recent reports, however, suggest that it could play a major role in the evolution and biogeography of recent corals. We investigated the calcification rates of five colonies of the zooxanthellate coral Stylophora pistillata in synthetic seawater using the alkalinity anomaly technique. Changes in aragonite saturation from 98% to 585% were obtained by manipulating the calcium concentration. The results show a nonlinear increase in calcification rate as a function of aragonite saturation level. Calcification increases nearly 3-fold when aragonite saturation increases from 98% to 390%, i.e., close to the typical present saturation state of tropical seawater. There is no further increase of calcification at saturation values above this threshold. Preliminary data suggest that another coral species, Acropora sp., displays a similar behaviour. These experimental results suggest: (l) that the rate of calcification does not change significantly within the range of saturation levels corresponding to the last glacial-interglacial cycle, and (2) that it may decrease significantly in the future as a result of the decrease in the saturation level due to anthropogenic release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Experimental studies that control environmental conditions and seawater composition provide unique opportunities to unravel the response of corals to global environmental changes.

  5. Coral Mucus Is a Hot Spot for Viral Infections.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nguyen-Kim, Hanh; Bettarel, Yvan; Bouvier, Thierry; Bouvier, Corinne; Doan-Nhu, Hai; Nguyen-Ngoc, Lam; Nguyen-Thanh, Thuy; Tran-Quang, Huy; Brune, Justine

    2015-09-01

    There is increasing suspicion that viral communities play a pivotal role in maintaining coral health, yet their main ecological traits still remain poorly characterized. In this study, we examined the seasonal distribution and reproduction pathways of viruses inhabiting the mucus of the scleractinians Fungia repanda and Acropora formosa collected in Nha Trang Bay (Vietnam) during an 11-month survey. The strong coupling between epibiotic viral and bacterial abundance suggested that phages are dominant among coral-associated viral communities. Mucosal viruses also exhibited significant differences in their main features between the two coral species and were also remarkably contrasted with their planktonic counterparts. For example, their abundance (inferred from epifluorescence counts), lytic production rates (KCN incubations), and the proportion of lysogenic cells (mitomycin C inductions) were, respectively, 2.6-, 9.5-, and 2.2-fold higher in mucus than in the surrounding water. Both lytic and lysogenic indicators were tightly coupled with temperature and salinity, suggesting that the life strategy of viral epibionts is strongly dependent upon environmental circumstances. Finally, our results suggest that coral mucus may represent a highly favorable habitat for viral proliferation, promoting the development of both temperate and virulent phages. Here, we discuss how such an optimized viral arsenal could be crucial for coral viability by presumably forging complex links with both symbiotic and adjacent nonsymbiotic microorganisms. PMID:26092456

  6. Gross and Microscopic Lesions in Corals from Micronesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Hughen, K A

    2016-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates. PMID:25765523

  7. Effect of ocean warming and acidification on the early life stages of subtropical Acropora spicifera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, T.; Gilmour, J. P.; Chua, C. M.; Falter, J. L.; McCulloch, M. T.

    2015-12-01

    This study investigated the impacts of acidified seawater ( pCO2 ~ 900 μatm) and elevated water temperature (+3 °C) on the early life history stages of Acropora spicifera from the subtropical Houtman Abrolhos Islands (28°S) in Western Australia. Settlement rates were unaffected by high temperature (27 °C, ~250 μatm), high pCO2 (24 °C, ~900 μatm), or a combination of both high temperature and high pCO2 treatments (27 °C, ~900 μatm). There were also no significant differences in rates of post-settlement survival after 4 weeks of exposure between any of the treatments, with survival ranging from 60 to 70 % regardless of treatment. Similarly, calcification, as determined by the skeletal weight of recruits, was unaffected by an increase in water temperature under both ambient and high pCO2 conditions. In contrast, high pCO2 significantly reduced early skeletal development, with mean skeletal weight in the high pCO2 and combined treatments reduced by 60 and 48 %, respectively, compared to control weights. Elevated temperature appeared to have a partially mitigative effect on calcification under high pCO2; however, this effect was not significant. Our results show that rates of settlement, post-settlement survival, and calcification in subtropical corals are relatively resilient to increases in temperature. This is in marked contrast to the sensitivity to temperature reported for the majority of tropical larvae and recruits in the literature. The subtropical corals in this study appear able to withstand an increase in temperature of 3 °C above ambient, indicating that they may have a wider thermal tolerance range and may not be adversely affected by initial increases in water temperature from subtropical 24 to 27 °C. However, the reduction in skeletal weight with high pCO2 indicates that early skeletal formation will be highly vulnerable to the changes in ocean pCO2 expected to occur over the twenty-first century, with implications for their longer-term growth

  8. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markey, Kathryn L.; Abdo, Dave A.; Evans, Scott N.; Bosserelle, Cyprien

    2016-01-01

    In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI) coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of ‘heat tolerant’ coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile) compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile). Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011) has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them. PMID:26812259

  9. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markey, Kathryn L; Abdo, Dave A; Evans, Scott N; Bosserelle, Cyprien

    2016-01-01

    In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI) coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of 'heat tolerant' coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile) compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile). Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011) has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them. PMID:26812259

  10. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn L Markey

    Full Text Available In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of 'heat tolerant' coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile. Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011 has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them.

  11. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Irrefutable evidence of coral reef degradation worldwide and increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change have led to a focus on reef resilience and a call to “manage” coral reefs for resilience. Ideally, global action to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be accompanied by local action. Effective management requires reduction of local stressors, identification of the characteristics of resilient reefs, and design of marine protected area networks that include potentially resilient reefs. Future research is needed on how stressors interact, on how climate change will affect corals, fish, and other reef organisms as well as overall biodiversity, and on basic ecological processes such as connectivity. Not all reef species and reefs will respond similarly to local and global stressors. Because reef-building corals and other organisms have some potential to adapt to environmental changes, coral reefs will likely persist in spite of the unprecedented combination of stressors currently affecting them. The biodiversity of coral reefs is the basis for their remarkable beauty and for the benefits they provide to society. The extraordinary complexity of these ecosystems makes it both more difficult to predict their future and more likely they will have a future.

  12. Bleaching and secondary threats on the corals of Palk Bay: A survey and Proactive conservation needs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Kannapiran, E.; Manikandan, B.; ManiMurali, R.; Joseph, A.

    conditions. [Keywords: Bleaching, Coral, Sedimentation, SST, Solar irradiance, Stress, Palk Bay] Introduction Corals are the major reef building organisms maintaining the structure, function and stability of the reef ecosystems1. Despite this, corals... to the environmental stressors. Corals are visible bio indicators alarming the increasing Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) through bleaching in which the endosymbiotic zooxanthellae is expelled. A constant rise in the mean solar radiation and SST results in coral...

  13. Remote coral reefs can sustain high growth potential and may match future sea-level trends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, Chris T; Murphy, Gary N; Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; East, Holly K

    2015-01-01

    Climate-induced disturbances are contributing to rapid, global-scale changes in coral reef ecology. As a consequence, reef carbonate budgets are declining, threatening reef growth potential and thus capacity to track rising sea-levels. Whether disturbed reefs can recover their growth potential and how rapidly, are thus critical research questions. Here we address these questions by measuring the carbonate budgets of 28 reefs across the Chagos Archipelago (Indian Ocean) which, while geographically remote and largely isolated from compounding human impacts, experienced severe (>90%) coral mortality during the 1998 warming event. Coral communities on most reefs recovered rapidly and we show that carbonate budgets in 2015 average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m(-2) yr(-1)). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, the corals most severely impacted in 1998, averaged +8.4 G by 2015, comparable with estimates under pre-human (Holocene) disturbance conditions. These positive budgets are reflected in high reef growth rates (4.2 mm yr(-1)) on Acropora-dominated reefs, demonstrating that carbonate budgets on these remote reefs have recovered rapidly from major climate-driven disturbances. Critically, these reefs retain the capacity to grow at rates exceeding measured regional mid-late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise, and close to IPCC sea-level rise projections through to 2100. PMID:26669758

  14. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna

    2015-12-14

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

  15. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roik, Anna; Roder, Cornelia; Röthig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-06-01

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

  16. Rapid Evolution of Coral Proteins Responsible for Interaction with the Environment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Voolstra, Christian R.; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Matz, Mikhail V.; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Buschiazzo, Emmanuel; DeSalvo, Michael K.; Lindquist, Erika; Szmant, Alina M.; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Monica

    2011-01-31

    Background: Corals worldwide are in decline due to climate change effects (e.g., rising seawater temperatures), pollution, and exploitation. The ability of corals to cope with these stressors in the long run depends on the evolvability of the underlying genetic networks and proteins, which remain largely unknown. A genome-wide scan for positively selected genes between related coral species can help to narrow down the search space considerably. Methodology/Principal Findings: We screened a set of 2,604 putative orthologs from EST-based sequence datasets of the coral species Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata to determine the fraction and identity of proteins that may experience adaptive evolution. 7percent of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineagespecific) genes show a positive selection signature more frequently than genes that are found across many animal phyla. The class of proteins that displayed elevated evolutionary rates was significantly enriched for proteins involved in immunity and defense, reproduction, and sensory perception. We also found elevated rates of evolution in several other functional groups such as management of membrane vesicles, transmembrane transport of ions and organic molecules, cell adhesion, and oxidative stress response. Proteins in these processes might be related to the endosymbiotic relationship corals maintain with dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Conclusion/Relevance: This study provides a birds-eye view of the processes potentially underlying coral adaptation, which will serve as a foundation for future work to elucidate the rates, patterns, and mechanisms of corals? evolutionary response to global climate change.

  17. Seasonal variation in the photo-physiology of homogeneous and heterogeneous Symbiodinium consortia in two scleractinian corals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Hill, R.; Van Oppen, M. J. H.;

    2008-01-01

    Seasonal variation in the composition of the algal endosymbiont community and photo-physiology was determined in the corals Pocillopora damicornis, which show high local fidelity to one symbiont type (Symbiodinium C1), and Acropora valida, with a mixed Symbiodinium symbiont community, comprising...... members of both clades A and C. The relative abundances of Symbiodinium types varied over time. A significant decline in symbiont densities in both coral species during the summer of 2005 coincided with a NOAA ‘hotspot' warning for Heron Island. This also coincided with a relative increase in the presence...

  18. Comparative study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in coral tissues and the ambient sediments from Kenting National Park, Taiwan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Surface sediments and corals (Acropora sp. and Montipora sp.) from the coastline of Kenting were analyzed in 2009 and 2010 for content levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The total PAH concentrations (t-PAH) in corasls (143–1715 ng g−1 dw) were significantly higher than in the ambient sediments (2–59 ng g−1 dw) indicating the bioaccumulation of PAHs in corals. The spatial and seasonal variation in PAH levels suggested that land-loaded contaminants may be the main source of PAHs in the Kenting coral reefs. Based on molecular indices, PAHs were substantially of petroleum origin. The major PAH components were phenanthrene, pyrene and fluorine, but PAH congeners in corals and sediments still have characteristic composition patterns which would be altered by the bio/accumulation mechanisms. Further study is essential to assess and understand the impacts of these chemicals on coral reefs. Highlights: • PAH concentrations in Kenting coral reefs ranked minor in the worldwide comparison. • Isomeric ratios of PAHs suggested an important contribution of petrogenic sources. • PAHs have characteristic composition patterns which would be altered by the bio/accumulation mechanisms. • Higher levels of PAHs were found in coral tissues than in sediments (bioaccumulation). • Coral body burdens of PAHs were significantly correlated to adjacent sediments only at the areas with higher levels of PAHs. -- PAH levels in coral tissues were higher than in adjacent sediments (bioaccumulation)

  19. Effect of Inorganic Nutrient Enrichment and Water Temperature Increment on the Zooxanthellae Density in the Scleractinian Coral Tissues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taihun Kim

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The coral symbiotic algae zooxanthellae is often expelled from the host as the host coral is under physiological stress, causing the coral to turn completely white. Such coral bleaching events are occurring more frequently with the increase in the global warming, ocean acidification and increased level of anthropogenic impacts such as eutrophication. In the present study, we investigated the effects of inorganic nutrients including ammonium, nitrate, phosphate and elevated water temperature on the symbiotic zooxanthellae density in the fragment of branching coral Acropora nobilis. Zooxanthellae density in the host coral decreased 8 hrs after the experiment at a given elevated water temperature (32oC, p < 0.05. In contrast, no clear coral bleaching or decrease in the symbiotic algae density was observed from the branching coral exposed to a normal water temperature of 30oC and high levels of nutrients such as 20 μM of NH4Cl, 20 μM of NaNO3 and, 10 μM KH2PO4. Accordingly, the data indicated high water temperature is one of the stressful factors to cause bleaching in A. nobilis, whereas the high levels of nutrients is not a factor. It is believed that the results obtained in the present study are useful as baseline information in the management of the coral reefs.

  20. Threatened Caribbean coral is able to mitigate the adverse effects of ocean acidification on calcification by increasing feeding rate.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erica K Towle

    Full Text Available Global climate change threatens coral growth and reef ecosystem health via ocean warming and ocean acidification (OA. Whereas the negative impacts of these stressors are increasingly well-documented, studies identifying pathways to resilience are still poorly understood. Heterotrophy has been shown to help corals experiencing decreases in growth due to either thermal or OA stress; however, the mechanism by which it mitigates these decreases remains unclear. This study tested the ability of coral heterotrophy to mitigate reductions in growth due to climate change stress in the critically endangered Caribbean coral Acropora cervicornis via changes in feeding rate and lipid content. Corals were either fed or unfed and exposed to elevated temperature (30°C, enriched pCO2 (800 ppm, or both (30°C/800 ppm as compared to a control (26°C/390 ppm for 8 weeks. Feeding rate and lipid content both increased in corals experiencing OA vs. present-day conditions, and were significantly correlated. Fed corals were able to maintain ambient growth rates at both elevated temperature and elevated CO2, while unfed corals experienced significant decreases in growth with respect to fed conspecifics. Our results show for the first time that a threatened coral species can buffer OA-reduced calcification by increasing feeding rates and lipid content.

  1. Depth-dependent mortality of reef corals following a severe bleaching event: implications for thermal refuges and population recovery [v3; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/2zg

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom C. L. Bridge

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperature is a primary cause of coral reef degradation. However, bleaching patterns often show significant spatial variability, therefore identifying locations where local conditions may provide thermal refuges is a high conservation priority. Coral bleaching mortality often diminishes with increasing depth, but clear depth zonation of coral communities and putative limited overlap in species composition between deep and shallow reef habitats has led to the conclusion that deeper reef habitats will provide limited refuge from bleaching for most species. Here, we show that coral mortality following a severe bleaching event diminished sharply with depth. Bleaching-induced mortality of Acropora was approximately 90% at 0-2m, 60% at 3-4 m, yet at 6-8m there was negligible mortality. Importantly, at least two-thirds of the shallow-water (2-3 m Acropora assemblage had a depth range that straddled the transition from high to low mortality. Cold-water upwelling may have contributed to the lower mortality observed in all but the shallowest depths. Our results demonstrate that, in this instance, depth provided a refuge for individuals from a high proportion of species in this Acropora-dominated assemblage. The persistence of deeper populations may provide a critical source of propagules to assist recovery of adjacent shallow-water reefs.

  2. Depth-dependent mortality of reef corals following a severe bleaching event: implications for thermal refuges and population recovery [v2; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/26m

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom C. L. Bridge

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperature is a primary cause of coral reef degradation. However, bleaching patterns often show significant spatial variability, therefore identifying locations where local conditions may provide thermal refuges is a high conservation priority. Coral bleaching mortality often diminishes with increasing depth, but clear depth zonation of coral communities and putative limited overlap in species composition between deep and shallow reef habitats has led to the conclusion that deeper reef habitats will provide limited refuge from bleaching for most species. Here, we show that coral mortality following a severe bleaching event diminished sharply with depth. Bleaching-induced mortality of Acropora was approximately 90% at 0-2m, 60% at 3-4 m, yet at 6-8m there was negligible mortality. Importantly, at least two-thirds of the shallow-water (2-3 m Acropora assemblage had a depth range that straddled the transition from high to low mortality. Cold-water upwelling may have contributed to the lower mortality observed in all but the shallowest depths. Our results demonstrate that, in this instance, depth provided a refuge for individuals from a high proportion of species in this Acropora-dominated assemblage. The persistence of deeper populations may provide a critical source of propagules to assist recovery of adjacent shallow-water reefs.

  3. Impacts of the 1998 and 2010 mass coral bleaching events on the Western Gulf of Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutthacheep, Makamas; Yucharoen, Mathinee; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Yeemin, Thamasak

    2013-11-01

    A long-term study of coral reef ecology in the Gulf of Thailand provides a good opportunity to examine the temporal variation on the impact of mass coral bleaching at those reef sites. We compared the bleaching and mortality of corals between the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 at a coral community in the Western Gulf of Thailand. The aim was to identify the coral species which were most likely to suffer from (and to be able to tolerate) changes in seawater temperature. Significant differences in the susceptibility of the coral taxa to bleaching events between the years 1998 and 2010 and among coral species were documented. Bleaching was significantly different between the most dominant corals. Diploastrea heliopora was the most resistant coral to bleaching in both years. Some coral species showed more resistance to bleaching in 2010. The coral mortality following the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 varied significantly between the years and the coral taxa. Mortality of some dominant coral taxa was also lower in 2010. Seven coral species, i.e. Astreopora myriophthalma, Pachyseris rugosa, Turbinaria mesenterina, Goniastrea pectinata, Favia pallida, F. maritima, Favites halicora, Platygyra daedalea and Galaxea fascicularis, were tolerant to the coral bleaching events. An ecosystem-based approach to managing coral reefs in the Gulf of Thailand is needed to identify appropriate marine protected area networks and to strengthen marine and coastal resource policies in order to build coral reef resilience.

  4. A Record of Environmental Change in Caribbean Coral Reefs: Sclerochronology and Geochemistry of O. faveolata as a Paleoclimate Proxy at Coral Gardens and Rocky Point, Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeCorte, I. A.; Greer, L.; Wirth, K. R.; Flowers Falls, E.; Lescinsky, H.; Doss, W. C.

    2015-12-01

    Over the last several decades, Acropora cervicornis has seen a massive die-off in the Caribbean. (Aronson and Precht 2001; Gardner et al., 2003; Greer et al., 2009). The potential causes of decline in A. cervicornis in the Caribbean include: extremes in sea surface temperatures (SST), ocean acidification, eutrophication, white-band disease, storm disturbances, and other anthropogenic disturbances. Contrary to the regional decline in A. cervicornis, Coral Gardens on the Belize Barrier Reef has an Acropora sp. population that appears to be thriving. Through a combination of sclerochronology, stable isotope analysis, and in situ sensor data, this work capitilizes on the opportunity to study reef conditions in a site where micro-environmental conditions appear to be favorable for healthy A. cervicornis coral growth. We use cores from two Orbicella faveolata colonies located within Acropora stands, as A. cervicornis does not reveal annual banding. We compare two cores from one O. faveolata colony at Coral Gardens, first cored in 2011 and again in 2014, to one O. faveolata core at near-by Rocky Point, where A. cervicornis is much less abundant. These cores were x-radiographed in order to expose the annual banding and sampled for stable oxygen and carbon isotope analysis (10-15 samples/cm). We show that, although there are no significant differences in the range of the δ18O and δ13C signature between Rocky Point and Coral Gardens, there is a clear difference in the stress histories at these locations as inferred from linear extension rates (LER's) and annual banding patterns. Rocky Point averages a LER of 10.5±1.4 mm/year (n = 29) over a 30 year record and Coral Gardens averages 9.1±1.2 mm/year (n = 70) from ~1953 - 2001, and averages 6.2±1.6 mm/year (n = 36) from coral years 2001-2014 after an inferred stress-banding event. This is in contrast to the observed overall health of A. cervicornis at the two locations. The inferred stress-banding event is currently

  5. detrimentally affects tissue regeneration of Red Sea corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horwitz, Rael; Fine, Maoz

    2014-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is threatening the future of coral reef ecosystems. Mounting experimental evidence suggests that OA negatively impacts fundamental life functions of scleractinian corals, including growth and sexual reproduction. Although regeneration is regarded as a chief life function in scleractinian corals and essential to maintain the colony's integrity, the effect of OA on regeneration processes has not yet been investigated. To evaluate the effects of OA on regeneration, the common Indo-Pacific corals Porites sp., Favia favus, Acropora eurystoma, and Stylophora pistillata were inflicted with lesions (314-350 mm2, depending on species) and incubated in different pCO2: (1) ambient seawater (400 µatm, pH 8.1), (2) intermediate (1,800 µatm, pH 7.6), and (3) high (4,000 µatm, pH 7.3) for extended periods of time (60-120 d). While all coral species after 60 d had significantly higher tissue regeneration in ambient conditions as compared to the intermediate and high treatments, reduction in regeneration rate was more pronounced in the slow-growing massive Porites sp. and F. favus than the relatively fast-growing, branching S. pistillata and A. eurystoma. This coincided with reduced tissue biomass of Porites sp., F. favus, and A. eurystoma in higher pCO2, but not in S. pistillata. Porites sp., F. favus, and S. pistillata also experienced a decrease in Symbiodinium density in higher pCO2, while in A. eurystoma there was no change. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity under elevated pCO2 may be related to resource trade-offs, energy cost of acid/base regulation, and/or decrease in total energy budget. This is the first study to demonstrate that elevated pCO2 could have a compounding influence on coral regeneration following injury, potentially affecting the capacity of reef corals to recover following physical disturbance.

  6. Photosynthetic response of Persian Gulf acroporid corals to summer versus winter temperature deviations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jahangir Vajed Samiei

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available With on-going climate change, coral susceptibility to thermal stress constitutes a central concern in reefconservation. In the Persian Gulf, coral reefs are confronted with a high seasonal variability in water temperature, and both hot and cold extremes have been associated with episodes of coral bleaching and mortality. Using physiological performance as a measure of coral health, we investigated the thermal susceptibility of the common acroporid, Acropora downingi, near Hengam Island where the temperature oscillates seasonally in the range 20.2–34.2 °C. In a series of two short-term experiments comparing coral response in summer versus winter conditions, we exposed corals during each season (1 to the corresponding seasonal average and extreme temperature levels in a static thermal environment, and (2 to a progressive temperature deviation from the annual mean toward the corresponding extreme seasonal value and beyond in a dynamic thermal environment. We monitored four indictors of coral physiological performance: net photosynthesis (Pn, dark respiration (R, autotrophic capability (Pn/R, and survival. Corals exposed to warming during summer showed a decrease in net photosynthesis and ultimately died, while corals exposed to cooling during winter were not affected in their photosynthetic performance and survival. Coral autotrophic capability Pn/R was lower at the warmer thermal level within eachseason, and during summer compared to winter. Corals exposed to the maximum temperature of summer displayed Pn/R < 1, inferring that photosynthetic performance could not support basal metabolic needs under this environment. Our results suggest that the autotrophic performance of the Persian Gulf A. downingi is sensitive to the extreme temperatures endured in summer, and therefore its populations may be impacted by future increases in water temperature.

  7. Harboring oil-degrading bacteria: a potential mechanism of adaptation and survival in corals inhabiting oil-contaminated reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Dahash, Lulwa M; Mahmoud, Huda M

    2013-07-30

    Certain coral reef systems north of the Arabian Gulf are characterized by corals with a unique ability to thrive and flourish despite the presence of crude oil continuously seeping from natural cracks in the seabed. Harboring oil-degrading bacteria as a part of the holobiont has been investigated as a potential mechanism of adaptation and survival for corals in such systems. The use of conventional and molecular techniques verified a predominance of bacteria affiliated with Gammaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes in the mucus and tissues of Acropora clathrata and Porites compressa. These bacteria were capable of degrading a wide range of aliphatic (C9-C28) aromatic hydrocarbons (Phenanthrene, Biphenyl, Naphthalene) and crude oil. In addition, microcosms supplied with coral samples and various concentrations of crude oil shifted their bacterial population toward the more advantageous types of oil degraders as oil concentrations increased. PMID:23014479

  8. Possible natural hybridization of two morphologically distinct species of Acropora (Cnidaria, Scleractinia in the Pacific: fertilization and larval survival rates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naoko Isomura

    Full Text Available Natural hybridization of corals in the Indo-Pacific has been considered rather rare. However, field studies have observed many corals with intermediate interspecific or unusual morphologies. Given that the existence of F1 hybrids with intermediate interspecific morphologies has been proven in the Caribbean, hybrids may also inhabit the Indo-Pacific and occur more frequently than expected. In this study, we focused on two morphologically different species, Acropora florida and A. intermedia, and performed crossing experiments at Akajima Island, Japan. Results showed that these species could hybridize in both directions via eggs and sperm, but that fertilization rates significantly differed according to which species provided eggs. These results are similar to those reported from the Caribbean. Although all embryos developed normally to the planular larval stage, the developmental processes of some hybrid embryos were delayed by approximately 1 h compared with conspecific embryos, suggesting that fertilization occurred 1 h later in interspecific crosses than in intraspecific crosses. More successful hybridization could occur under conditions with low numbers of conspecific colonies. Additionally, a comparison of survival rates between hybrid and intraspecific larvae revealed that intra- and interspecific larvae produced from eggs of A. florida survived for significantly longer than those produced from eggs of A. intermedia. Considering these data, under specific conditions, hybrids can be expected to be produced and survive in nature in the Pacific. Furthermore, we identified one colony with intermediate morphology between A. florida and A. intermedia in the field. This colony was fertilized only by eggs of A. florida, with high fertilization rates, suggesting that this colony would be a hybrid of these two species and might be backcrossed.

  9. Differential Response of Coral Assemblages to Thermal Stress Underscores the Complexity in Predicting Bleaching Susceptibility.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Loke Ming Chou

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera-Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached. The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change.

  10. Differential Response of Coral Assemblages to Thermal Stress Underscores the Complexity in Predicting Bleaching Susceptibility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toh, Kok Ben; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Cabaitan, Patrick; Tun, Karenne; Goh, Eugene; Afiq-Rosli, Lutfi; Taira, Daisuke; Du, Rosa Celia Poquita; Loke, Hai Xin; Khalis, Aizat; Li, Jinghan; Song, Tiancheng

    2016-01-01

    Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera–Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached). The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site) provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change. PMID:27438593

  11. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances. PMID:24959921

  12. Differential Response of Coral Assemblages to Thermal Stress Underscores the Complexity in Predicting Bleaching Susceptibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chou, Loke Ming; Toh, Tai Chong; Toh, Kok Ben; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Cabaitan, Patrick; Tun, Karenne; Goh, Eugene; Afiq-Rosli, Lutfi; Taira, Daisuke; Du, Rosa Celia Poquita; Loke, Hai Xin; Khalis, Aizat; Li, Jinghan; Song, Tiancheng

    2016-01-01

    Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera-Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached). The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site) provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change. PMID:27438593

  13. Metagenomic analysis of the coral holobiont during a natural bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Littman, Raechel; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2011-12-01

    Understanding the effects of elevated seawater temperatures on each member of the coral holobiont (the complex comprised of coral polyps and associated symbiotic microorganisms, including Bacteria, viruses, Fungi, Archaea and endolithic algae) is becoming increasingly important as evidence accumulates that microbial members contribute to overall coral health, particularly during thermal stress. Here we use a metagenomic approach to identify metabolic and taxonomic shifts in microbial communities associated with the hard coral Acropora millepora throughout a natural thermal bleaching event at Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef). A direct comparison of metagenomic data sets from healthy versus bleached corals indicated major shifts in microbial associates during heat stress, including Bacteria, Archaea, viruses, Fungi and micro-algae. Overall, metabolism of the microbial community shifted from autotrophy to heterotrophy, including increases in genes associated with the metabolism of fatty acids, proteins, simple carbohydrates, phosphorus and sulfur. In addition, the proportion of virulence genes was higher in the bleached library, indicating an increase in microorganisms capable of pathogenesis following bleaching. These results demonstrate that thermal stress results in shifts in coral-associated microbial communities that may lead to deteriorating coral health. PMID:23761353

  14. Bleaching, coral mortality and subsequent survivorship on a West Australian fringing reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Depczynski, M.; Gilmour, J. P.; Ridgway, T.; Barnes, H.; Heyward, A. J.; Holmes, T. H.; Moore, J. A. Y.; Radford, B. T.; Thomson, D. P.; Tinkler, P.; Wilson, S. K.

    2013-03-01

    The spring and summer of 2010/11 saw an exceptionally strong La Niña push warm waters from Indonesia down the Western Australian coastline, resulting in a host of extraordinary biological oddities including significant bleaching of Western Australian corals. Here, we report a 79-92 % decline in coral cover for a location in the Ningaloo Marine Park where sustained high water temperatures over an 8-month period left just 1-6 % of corals alive. The severity of bleaching provided an opportunity to investigate the resilience of different taxonomic groups and colony size classes to an acute but protracted episode of thermal stress. While the sub-dominant community of massive growth forms fared reasonably well, the dominant Acropora and Montipora assemblages all died, with the exception of the bleaching.

  15. The shallow water hard corals of Pulau Weh, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew H. Baird

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The corals reefs of Aceh, Indonesia, are one of the few areas of the world where the fauna, in particular the scleractinian corals, haveyet to be described. The area is likely to be of high biogeographical significance due to its position at the northern tip of Sumatra on the boundaryof three major water bodies, the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca. Here, we present the quantitative descriptionof the assemblage structure of the shallow water scleractinian corals of Pulau Weh. Carbonate reefs are rare on the island, the exception beingsome fringing reef development in shallow water in at least two locations. Most colonies are attached to granite boulders which make up theocean floor at most sites on the north and west coast, or rest in the sandy substrates that dominate the ocean floor on the east coast. Coral coverin February 2009 was over 40% at most sites, ranging from 21% ± 3.0 SE to 80% ± 2.4. Coral assemblage structure varied widely around PulauWeh with assemblages from the western and northern sites being dominated by Acropora spp. in particular, species with digitate, encrustingarborescentand tabular morphologies. In contrast, coral assemblages on the west coast were dominated by massive Porites spp. and Heliopora.The Acropora fauna is dominated by species with digitate and encrusting arborescent morphologies, very different from many other regions inIndonesia. This unusual species composition plus the presence of a high proportion of endemics indicates that the region should be a high priorityfor conservation efforts. Further taxonomic studies at depth and further afield are required to fully describe this unique fauna that supportsa small diving industry and a number of fisheries.

  16. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    on the systematic position is presented. The general structure is depicted with illustrations. Physiology part is updated to current knowledge on reproduction, nutrition and excretion of corals. The coral reefs section begins with status of world reefs...

  17. Building

    OpenAIRE

    Seavy, Ryan

    2014-01-01

    Building for concrete is temporary. The building of wood and steel stands against the concrete to give form and then gives way, leaving a trace of its existence behind. Concrete is not a building material. One does not build with concrete. One builds for concrete.

  18. Identificación de sitios prioritarios para la conservación de corales formadores de arrecife en el estado de Oaxaca, México Identification of priority conservation sites for reef building corals in Oaxaca State, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ramón Andrés López Pérez

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Los arrecifes coralinos a nivel mundial presentan una tasa de desaparición acelerada, por lo que es necesario contrarrestar esta tendencia. Con el propósito de identificar áreas prioritarias para conservación de corales en la costa de Oaxaca y, comparar el diseño sugerido por las técnicas empleadas con el diseño del Parque Nacional Huatulco (PNH, se analizó una base de datos basados en la presencia/ausencia de corales, se determinó la diversidad taxonómica, identificación de hotspots, algoritmos de complementariedad y selección al azar. Los resultados demuestran que no existe concordancia entre los métodos empleados. Las mejores técnicas fueron las de complementariedad, seguidos por la identificación de hotspots y la selección de sitios al azar. De los diez primeros sitios considerados prioritarios, sólo dos se encuentran en el PNH. Considerando el número de especies protegidas por el PNH (62.5 %, su diseño es sub-óptimo en tanto que: a no incluye al 100 % de las especies, b excluye poblaciones necesarias para mantener la conectividad entre sistemas arrecifales en el Pacífico americano y c incluye sitios innecesarios de acuerdo al principio de complementariedad. La inclusión de La Entrega e Isla Montosa en el PNH incrementaría a 93% el número de especies protegidas. El estudio, además de sugerir sitios prioritarios de conservación en Oaxaca, pretende estimular la investigación en el diseño de áreas marinas protegidas (AMP en el país con el fin último de diseñar una red de AMP que permita un mejor manejo de los arrecifes en México.Coral reefs worldwide are being destroyed at an alarming rate, therefore it is necessary to overcome the current trend. In order to identify coral-reef conservation areas in the coast of Oaxaca and compare the design suggested by these methods against the one currently proposed by the Parque Nacional Huatulco (PNH. A presence/absence coral-reefs data base was analyzed by taxonomic

  19. Horizontal transmission of Symbiodinium cells between adult and juvenile corals is aided by benthic sediment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nitschke, Matthew R.; Davy, Simon K.; Ward, Selina

    2016-03-01

    Of all reef-building coral species, 80-85 % initially draw their intracellular symbionts (dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium) from the environment. Although Symbiodinium cells are crucial for the growth of corals and the formation of coral reefs, little is known about how corals first encounter free-living Symbiodinium cells. We report how the supply of free-living Symbiodinium cells to the benthos by adult corals can increase the rate of horizontal symbiont acquisition for conspecific recruits. Three species of newly settled aposymbiotic (i.e., symbiont-free) corals were maintained in an open aquarium system containing: sterilized sediment and adult coral fragments combined; adult coral fragments alone; sterilized sediment alone; or seawater at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. In all instances, the combination of an adult coral and sediment resulted in the highest symbiont acquisition rates by juvenile corals (up to five-fold greater than seawater alone). Juvenile corals exposed to individual treatments of adult coral or sediment produced an intermediate acquisition response (symbiont acquisition from unfiltered seawater was comparatively low (<20 % of recruits). Additionally, benthic free-living Symbiodinium cells reached their highest densities in the adult coral + sediment treatment (up to 1.2 × 104 cells mL-1). Our results suggest that corals seed microhabitats with free-living Symbiodinium cells suitable for many coral species during the process of coral recruitment.

  20. The Coral Data Time Series Need To Be Revisited

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juillet-Leclerc, A.

    2004-12-01

    Coral skeleton is formed under organism control and its geochemical properties are strongly influenced by biological effects embedding environmental signal. Geochemists have been puzzled by the diversity of geochemical responses showed by colonies grown in a same area. By revisiting the Weber and Woodhead data series (1972), gathering data from enough colonies developed in similar conditions to provide a statistical isotopic value representative of one site, we demonstrate that for Porites and Acropora, the expected isotopic thermometer is revealed when the "vital effect" is removed. On the other hand, by using Acropora cultured in controlled condition, with changing temperature on a range comprised between 23 and 29°C, the comparison of oxygen and carbon isotopic values revealed the role played by kinetic fractionation. This apparent paradox of two co-existing fractionations is explained by the isotopic analyzes of wild and cultured corals operated at micrometer size scale taking into account of microstructures of the skeleton. Two different crystals appear to be the growth units of the skeleton, each crystal corresponding to a specific deposition mechanism. Thus, the measurement performed with a conventional method is a "bulk" measurement, which depends upon two isotopic fractionations. Some investigations underlined the discrepancy of the meaning of the inter-annual and seasonal isotopic records, which could be illustrated by different isotopic calibrations assessed from seasonal or annual data. It has been also explained by micrometer analyses of Porites aragonite. A smoothing at around 400microns of isotopic measurements as well as Sr/Ca indicates that at seasonal time scale the growth unit is the month. This is in agreement with extensive studies conducted by biologists describing the mechanism governing the formation of Porites skeleton: every month is deposited a framework which is progressively filled in. By combining biologists and geochemists knowledge

  1. Evidence for Autoinduction and Quorum Sensing in White Band Disease-Causing Microbes on Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Certner, Rebecca H.; Steven V Vollmer

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs have entered a state of global decline party due to an increasing incidence of coral disease. However, the diversity and complexity of coral-associated bacterial communities has made identifying the mechanisms underlying disease transmission and progression extremely difficult. This study explores the effects of coral cell-free culture fluid (CFCF) and autoinducer (a quorum sensing signaling molecule) on coral-associated bacterial growth and on coral tissue loss respectively. All ...

  2. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin Mao-Jones

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Reef coral cover is in rapid decline worldwide, in part due to bleaching (expulsion of photosynthetic symbionts and outbreaks of infectious disease. One important factor associated with bleaching and in disease transmission is a shift in the composition of the microbial community in the mucus layer surrounding the coral: the resident microbial community-which is critical to the healthy functioning of the coral holobiont-is replaced by pathogenic microbes, often species of Vibrio. In this paper we develop computational models for microbial community dynamics in the mucus layer in order to understand how the surface microbial community responds to changes in environmental conditions, and under what circumstances it becomes vulnerable to overgrowth by pathogens. Some of our model's assumptions and parameter values are based on Vibrio spp. as a model system for other established and emerging coral pathogens. We find that the pattern of interactions in the surface microbial community facilitates the existence of alternate stable states, one dominated by antibiotic-producing beneficial microbes and the other pathogen-dominated. A shift to pathogen dominance under transient stressful conditions, such as a brief warming spell, may persist long after environmental conditions have returned to normal. This prediction is consistent with experimental findings that antibiotic properties of Acropora palmata mucus did not return to normal long after temperatures had fallen. Long-term loss of antibiotic activity eliminates a critical component in coral defense against disease, giving pathogens an extended opportunity to infect and spread within the host, elevating the risk of coral bleaching, disease, and mortality.

  3. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision mak...

  4. Biogeochemical responses following coral mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: pelagic-benthic coupling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, C.; Jantzen, C.; Struck, U.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Huettel, M.

    2008-03-01

    This study quantified how the pulse of organic matter from the release of coral gametes triggered a chain of pelagic and benthic processes during an annual mass spawning event on the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Particulate organic matter (POM) concentrations in reef waters increased by threefold to 11-fold the day after spawning and resulted in a stimulation of pelagic oxygen consumption rates that lasted for at least 1 week. Water column microbial communities degraded the organic carbon of gametes of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora at a rate of >15% h-1, which is about three times faster than the degradation rate measured for larvae of the brooding coral Stylophora pistillata. Stable isotope signatures of POM in the water column reflected the fast transfer of organic matter from coral gametes into higher levels of the food chain, and the amount of POM reaching the seafloor immediately increased after coral spawning and then tailed-off in the next 2 weeks. Short-lasting phytoplankton blooms developed within a few days after the spawning event, indicating a prompt recycling of nutrients released through the degradation of spawning products. These data show the profound effects of coral mass spawning on the reef community and demonstrate the tight recycling of nutrients in this oligotrophic ecosystem.

  5. Differential responses of the coral host and their algal symbiont to thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William Leggat

    Full Text Available The success of any symbiosis under stress conditions is dependent upon the responses of both partners to that stress. The coral symbiosis is particularly susceptible to small increases of temperature above the long term summer maxima, which leads to the phenomenon known as coral bleaching, where the intracellular dinoflagellate symbionts are expelled. Here we for the first time used quantitative PCR to simultaneously examine the gene expression response of orthologs of the coral Acropora aspera and their dinoflagellate symbiont Symbiodinium. During an experimental bleaching event significant up-regulation of genes involved in stress response (HSP90 and HSP70 and carbon metabolism (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase from the coral host were observed. In contrast in the symbiont, HSP90 expression decreased, while HSP70 levels were increased on only one day, and only the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase expression levels were found to increase. In addition the changes seen in expression patterns of the coral host were much larger, up to 10.5 fold, compared to the symbiont response, which in all cases was less than 2-fold. This targeted study of the expression of key metabolic and stress genes demonstrates that the response of the coral and their symbiont vary significantly, also a response in the host transcriptome was observed prior to what has previously been thought to be the temperatures at which thermal stress events occur.

  6. Monthly sea surface temperature records reconstructed by δ18O of reef-building coral in the east of Hainan Island,South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    何学贤; 刘敦一; 彭子成; 刘卫国

    2002-01-01

    Stable oxygen isotopic compositions of a coral colony of Porites lutea obtained on a core allowed the reconstruction of a 56-a (1943-1998) proxy record of the sea surface temperatures. This coral δ18O data are from the east of Hainan Island water (22°20′N, 110°39′E), South China Sea. The relationship between δ18O in the skeletal aragonite carbonate and the sea surface temperature (SST) is SST = -5.36 δ18OPDB-3.51 (r = 0.73, n = 470), dδ18O/d(SST) = -0.187‰/ ℃; and the thermometer was set at monthly resolution. The 56-a (1943-1998) proxy record of the sea surface temperatures reflected the same change trend in the northern part of South China Sea as the air temperature change trend in China.

  7. Caribbean yellow band disease compromises the activity of catalase and glutathione S-transferase in the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata exposed to anthracene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montilla, Luis Miguel; Ramos, Ruth; García, Elia; Cróquer, Aldo

    2016-05-01

    Healthy and diseased corals are threatened by different anthropogenic sources, such as pollution, a problem expected to become more severe in the near future. Despite the fact that coastal pollution and coral diseases might represent a serious threat to coral reef health, there is a paucity of controlled experiments showing whether the response of diseased and healthy corals to xenobiotics differs. In this study, we exposed healthy and Caribbean yellow band disease (CYBD)-affected Orbicella faveolata colonies to 3 sublethal concentrations of anthracene to test if enzymatic responses to this hydrocarbon were compromised in CYBD-affected tissues. For this, a 2-factorial fully orthogonal design was used in a controlled laboratory bioassay, using tissue condition (2 levels: apparently healthy and diseased) and pollutant concentration (4 levels: experimental control, 10, 30 and 100 ppb concentration) as fixed factors. A permutation-based ANOVA (PERMANOVA) was used to test the effects of condition and concentration on the specific activity of 3 enzymatic biomarkers: catalase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase. We found a significant interaction between the concentration of anthracene and the colony condition for catalase (Pseudo-F = 3.84, df = 3, p < 0.05) and glutathione S-transferase (Pseudo-F = 3.29, df = 3, p < 0.05). Moreover, our results indicated that the enzymatic response to anthracene in CYBD-affected tissues was compromised, as the activity of these enzymes decreased 3- to 4-fold compared to healthy tissues. These results suggest that under a potential scenario of increasing hydrocarbon coastal pollution, colonies of O. faveolata affected with CYBD might become more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of chemical pollution. PMID:27137073

  8. Topography and spatial arrangement of reef-building corals on the fringing reefs of North Jamaica may influence their response to disturbance from bleaching

    OpenAIRE

    Crabbe, M.J.C.

    2010-01-01

    Abstract Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience help us understand how reefs react following major environmental disturbances such as hurricanes and bleaching. Here we test factors that might have influenced Jamaican reef resilience to, and subsequent recovery from, the 2005 bleaching event, and which might help inform management policy for reefs in the future: reef rugosity and contact of corals with macroalgae. In addition,we test in the field, on Dairy Bull r...

  9. Integrating microRNA and mRNA expression profiling in Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals.

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian

    2013-10-12

    Animal and plant genomes produce numerous small RNAs (smRNAs) that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally affecting metabolism, development, and epigenetic inheritance. In order to characterize the repertoire of endogenous smRNAs and potential gene targets in dinoflagellates, we conducted smRNA and mRNA expression profiling over 9 experimental treatments of cultures from Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a photosynthetic symbiont of scleractinian corals.

  10. Skeletal mineralogy of coral recruits under high temperature and pCO2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Foster

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Aragonite, which is the polymorph of CaCO3 precipitated by modern corals during skeletal formation, has a higher solubility than the more stable polymorph calcite. This higher solubility leaves animals that produce aragonitic skeletons more vulnerable to anthropogenic ocean acidification. It is therefore, important to determine whether scleractinian corals have the plasticity to adapt and produce calcite in their skeletons in response to changing environmental conditions. Both high pCO2 and lower Mg / Ca ratios in seawater are thought to have driven changes in the skeletal mineralogy of major marine calcifiers in the past ∼540 myr. Experimentally reduced Mg / Ca ratios in ambient seawater have been shown to induce some calcite precipitation in both adult and newly settled modern corals, however, the impact of high pCO2 on the mineralogy of recruits is unknown. Here we determined the skeletal mineralogy of one-month old Acropora spicifera coral recruits grown under high temperature (+3 °C and pCO2 (∼900 μatm conditions, using X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. We found that newly settled coral recruits produced entirely aragonitic skeletons regardless of the treatment. Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone is unlikely to drive changes in the skeletal mineralogy of young corals. Not having an ability to switch from aragonite to calcite precipitation may leave corals and ultimately coral reef ecosystems more susceptible to predicted ocean acidification. An important area for prospective research would be to investigate the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg / Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  11. Rapid assessment of stony coral richness and condition on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sheila A McKenna

    Full Text Available The benthic habitats of Saba Bank (17 degrees 25'N, 63 degrees 30'W are at risk from maritime traffic, especially oil tankers (e.g., anchoring. To mitigate this risk, information is needed on the biodiversity and location of habitats to develop a zone use plan. A rapid survey to document the biodiversity of macro-algae, sponges, corals and fishes was conducted. Here we report on the richness and condition of stony coral species at 18 select sites, and we test for the effects of bottom type, depth, and distance from platform edge. Species richness was visually assessed by roving scuba diver with voucher specimens of each species collected. Coral tissue was examined for bleaching and diseases. Thirty-three coral species were documented. There were no significant differences in coral composition among bottom types or depth classes (ANOSIM, P>0.05. There was a significant difference between sites (ANOSIM, P<0.05 near and far from the platform edge. The number of coral species observed ranged from zero and one in algal dominated habitats to 23 at a reef habitat on the southern edge of the Bank. Five reef sites had stands of Acropora cervicornis, a critically endangered species on the IUCN redlist. Bleaching was evident at 82% of the sites assessed with 43 colonies bleached. Only three coral colonies were observed to have disease. Combining our findings with that of other studies, a total of 43 species have been documented from Saba Bank. The coral assemblage on the bank is representative and typical of those found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Although our findings will help develop effective protection, more information is needed on Saba Bank to create a comprehensive zone use plan. Nevertheless, immediate action is warranted to protect the diverse coral reef habitats documented here, especially those containing A. cervicornis.

  12. Trehalose is a chemical attractant in the establishment of coral symbiosis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Hagedorn

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have evolved with a crucial symbiosis between photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium and their cnidarian hosts (Scleractinians. Most coral larvae take up Symbiodinium from their environment; however, the earliest steps in this process have been elusive. Here we demonstrate that the disaccharide trehalose may be an important signal from the symbiont to potential larval hosts. Symbiodinium freshly isolated from Fungia scutaria corals constantly released trehalose (but not sucrose, maltose or glucose into seawater, and released glycerol only in the presence of coral tissue. Spawning Fungia adults increased symbiont number in their immediate area by excreting pellets of Symbiodinium, and when these naturally discharged Symbiodinium were cultured, they also released trehalose. In Y-maze experiments, coral larvae demonstrated chemoattractant and feeding behaviors only towards a chamber with trehalose or glycerol. Concomitantly, coral larvae and adult tissue, but not symbionts, had significant trehalase enzymatic activities, suggesting the capacity to utilize trehalose. Trehalase activity was developmentally regulated in F. scutaria larvae, rising as the time for symbiont uptake occurs. Consistent with the enzymatic assays, gene finding demonstrated the presence of a trehalase enzyme in the genome of a related coral, Acropora digitifera, and a likely trehalase in the transcriptome of F. scutaria. Taken together, these data suggest that adult F. scutaria seed the reef with Symbiodinium during spawning and the exuded Symbiodinium release trehalose into the environment, which acts as a chemoattractant for F. scutaria larvae and as an initiator of feeding behavior- the first stages toward establishing the coral-Symbiodinium relationship. Because trehalose is a fixed carbon compound, this cue would accurately demonstrate to the cnidarian larvae the photosynthetic ability of the potential symbiont in the ambient environment. To our

  13. Skeletal mineralogy of coral recruits under high temperature and pCO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, T.; Clode, P. L.

    2016-03-01

    Aragonite, which is the polymorph of CaCO3 precipitated by modern corals during skeletal formation, has a higher solubility than the more stable polymorph calcite. This higher solubility may leave animals that produce aragonitic skeletons more vulnerable to anthropogenic ocean acidification. It is therefore important to determine whether scleractinian corals have the plasticity to adapt and produce calcite in their skeletons in response to changing environmental conditions. Both high pCO2 and lower Mg / Ca ratios in seawater are thought to have driven changes in the skeletal mineralogy of major marine calcifiers in the past ˜ 540 Ma. Experimentally reduced Mg / Ca ratios in ambient seawater have been shown to induce some calcite precipitation in both adult and newly settled modern corals; however, the impact of high pCO2 on the mineralogy of recruits is unknown. Here we determined the skeletal mineralogy of 1-month-old Acropora spicifera coral recruits grown under high temperature (+3 °C) and pCO2 (˜ 900 µatm) conditions, using X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. We found that newly settled coral recruits produced entirely aragonitic skeletons regardless of the treatment. Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone is unlikely to drive changes in the skeletal mineralogy of young corals. Not having an ability to switch from aragonite to calcite precipitation may leave corals and ultimately coral reef ecosystems more susceptible to predicted ocean acidification. An important area for prospective research would be the investigation of the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg / Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  14. What's Behind the Spread of White Syndrome in Great Barrier Reef Corals?

    OpenAIRE

    John F. Bruno; Elizabeth R Selig; Casey, Kenneth S.; Cathie A Page; Willis, Bette L.; C Drew Harvell; Hugh Sweatman; Amy M Melendy

    2007-01-01

    Author Summary Coral reefs have been decimated over the last several decades. The global decline of reef-building corals is of particular concern. Infectious diseases are thought to be key to this mass coral mortality, and many reef ecologists suspect that anomalously high ocean temperatures contribute to the increased incidence and severity of disease outbreaks. This hypothesis is supported by local observations—for example, that some coral diseases become more prevalent in the summertime—bu...

  15. Good neighbours in vigorous currents: contourites and cold-water corals

    OpenAIRE

    Hebbeln, D.; Wienberg, C.; Van Rooij, D.

    2004-01-01

    Being both triggered by intense bottom currents, contourites and cold-water corals often occur side by side along many continental margins in the world. Whereas the interaction between bottom currents and sediments can form large contourite depositional systems, cold-water corals can build-up impressive seabed structures called coral carbonate mounds. The co-occurrence of contourite drift deposits and coral carbonate mounds frequently aligns such prominent seabed structures in a given region....

  16. Bacteria are not the primary cause of bleaching in the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainsworth, T D; Fine, M; Roff, G; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2008-01-01

    Coral bleaching occurs when the endosymbiosis between corals and their symbionts disintegrates during stress. Mass coral bleaching events have increased over the past 20 years and are directly correlated with periods of warm sea temperatures. However, some hypotheses have suggested that reef-building corals bleach due to infection by bacterial pathogens. The 'Bacterial Bleaching' hypothesis is based on laboratory studies of the Mediterranean invading coral, Oculina patagonica, and has further generated conclusions such as the coral probiotic hypothesis and coral hologenome theory of evolution. We aimed to investigate the natural microbial ecology of O. patagonica during the annual bleaching using fluorescence in situ hybridization to map bacterial populations within the coral tissue layers, and found that the coral bleaches on the temperate rocky reefs of the Israeli coastline without the presence of Vibrio shiloi or bacterial penetration of its tissue layers. Bacterial communities were found associated with the endolithic layer of bleached coral regions, and a community dominance shift from an apparent cyanobacterial-dominated endolithic layer to an algal-dominated layer was found in bleached coral samples. While bacterial communities certainly play important roles in coral stasis and health, we suggest environmental stressors, such as those documented with reef-building corals, are the primary triggers leading to bleaching of O. patagonica and suggest that bacterial involvement in patterns of bleaching is that of opportunistic colonization. PMID:18059488

  17. Coral Ecosystem Resilience, Conservation and Management on the Reefs of Jamaica in the Face of Anthropogenic Activities and Climate Change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. James C. Crabbe

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience and integrity help us understand how reef ecosystems react following major anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. The North Jamaican fringing reefs have shown some recent resilience to acute disturbances from hurricanes and bleaching, in addition to the recurring chronic stressors of over-fishing and land development. Factors that can improve coral reef resilience are reviewed, and reef rugosity is shown to correlate with coral cover and growth, particularly for branching Acropora species. The biodiversity index for the Jamaican reefs was lowered after the 2005 mass bleaching event, as were the numbers of coral colonies, but both had recovered by 2009. The importance of coastal zone reef management strategies and the economic value of reefs are discussed, and a protocol is suggested for future management of Jamaican reefs.

  18. Phase transitions of natural corals monitored by ESR spectroscopy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vongsavat, V. [Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Rajathevi, Bangkok 10400 (Thailand); Winotai, P. [Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Rajathevi, Bangkok 10400 (Thailand); Meejoo, S. [Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Rajathevi, Bangkok 10400 (Thailand)]. E-mail: scsmj@mahidol.ac.th

    2006-01-15

    The main purpose of this work is to present a systematic study of structure of marine exoskeletons, Acropora coral and its structural transformation upon heat treatments. The coralline sample was ground and characterized as powder throughout this work. Structural identifications of all samples have been confirmed using X-ray diffraction and IR spectroscopy. It was clearly found that the fresh specimen is made of aragonite, a common phase of the mineral CaCO{sub 3}. Thermal analyses, DSC and TGA were used to monitor structural and thermal decompositions and an irreversible solid-state phase transition from aragonite to calcite of the marine carbonate. Next, the coral powder was annealed at specific temperatures over the range 350-900 deg. C, and the effects of heat treatment on the structure of coralline samples were carefully studied by Rietveld refinement method. In addition, we have examined Mn{sup 2+} paramagnetic ions and free radicals present in the coral and changes of those upon heating by using ESR spectroscopy. The local environments of Mn{sup 2+} ions were verified from the calculated ESR spectra using appropriate spin Hamiltonian parameters, i.e. gyromagnetic tensor g , zero-field splitting D and hyperfine tensor A . This work reported structures and compositions as well as physical, chemical and thermal properties of the coralline material upon heat treatments qualitatively and quantitatively.

  19. Phase transitions of natural corals monitored by ESR spectroscopy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The main purpose of this work is to present a systematic study of structure of marine exoskeletons, Acropora coral and its structural transformation upon heat treatments. The coralline sample was ground and characterized as powder throughout this work. Structural identifications of all samples have been confirmed using X-ray diffraction and IR spectroscopy. It was clearly found that the fresh specimen is made of aragonite, a common phase of the mineral CaCO3. Thermal analyses, DSC and TGA were used to monitor structural and thermal decompositions and an irreversible solid-state phase transition from aragonite to calcite of the marine carbonate. Next, the coral powder was annealed at specific temperatures over the range 350-900 deg. C, and the effects of heat treatment on the structure of coralline samples were carefully studied by Rietveld refinement method. In addition, we have examined Mn2+ paramagnetic ions and free radicals present in the coral and changes of those upon heating by using ESR spectroscopy. The local environments of Mn2+ ions were verified from the calculated ESR spectra using appropriate spin Hamiltonian parameters, i.e. gyromagnetic tensor g , zero-field splitting D and hyperfine tensor A . This work reported structures and compositions as well as physical, chemical and thermal properties of the coralline material upon heat treatments qualitatively and quantitatively

  20. Tropical Archaea: Diversity associated with the surface microlayer of corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, C.A.

    2004-01-01

    Recent 16S rDNA studies have focused on detecting uncultivated bacteria associated with Caribbean reef corals in an effort to address the ecological roles of coral-associated microbes. Reports of Archaea associated with fishes and marine invertebrates raised the question of whether Archaea might also be part of the coral-associated microbial community. DNA analysis of mucus from 3 reef-building species of Caribbean corals, Montastraea annularis complex, Diploria strigosa and D. labyrinthiformis in the US Virgin Islands yielded 34 groups of archaeal 16S ribotypes (defined at the level of 97% similarity). The majority (75%) was most closely matched by BLAST searches to sequences derived from marine water column samples, whereas the remaining ribotypes were most similar to sequences isolated from anoxic environments (15%) and hydrothermal vents (9%). Unlike previous 16S studies of coral-associated Bacteria, the results do not suggest specific associations between particular archaeal sequences and individual coral species. Marine Archaea (Groups I, II and III) in addition to Thermoplasma-like, methanogen, and marine benthic crenarchaeote phylotypes, were detected in the mucus of tropical corals. The finding of sequences from coral-associated Archaea that are closely related to strict and facultative anaerobes, as well as to uncultivated Archaea from other types of anoxic environments, suggests that anaerobic micro-niches may exist in coral mucus layers. Archaea, with their unique biogeochemical capabilities, broaden the scope of possible interactions between corals and their associated microbial communities.

  1. Rapid Smothering of Coral Reef Organisms by Muddy Marine Snow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, K. E.; Wolanski, E.

    2000-01-01

    Estuarine mud, when resuspended in nutrient-rich near-shore water, aggregates to marine snow, and within minutes to hours can exert detrimental or even lethal effects on small coral reef organisms. In a pilot study, estuarine mud was suspended in near-shore and off-shore waters of the Great Barrier Reef to a final concentration of 170 mg l -1. The short-term responses of a coral ( Acropora sp.) and coral-inhabiting barnacles (subfamily Pyrgomatidae), exposed to either near-shore or off-shore water, were microscopically observed and video recorded. In the off-shore water treatment, flocculation was minor, and aggregate sizes were c. 50 μm. The organisms were able to clean themselves from these small settling aggregates at low siltation (mucus only at high siltation (4-5 mg cm -2). In contrast, in near-shore, nutrient-enriched waters, the suspended mud aggregated into large sticky flocs of marine snow (200-2000 μm diameter). The organisms responded to a thin coat of deposited flocs with vigorous cleaning by cirri and tentacle beating. After 5 min struggle, the barnacle stopped moving, calanoid copepods were entangled in the aggregates, and thick layers of mucus were exuded by the coral polyps. Both barnacle and copepods died after coral reefs. Enhanced nutrient concentrations are known to contribute to enhance biologically mediated flocculation. This pilot study suggests that the concentration of suspended mud, and extent of stickiness and flocculation, can synergistically affect reef benthos organisms after short exposure. The enclosed macro video recordings clearly visualize these effects, and help convey the important implications for managers: that inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef cannot be sustainably managed without managing the adjacent land.

  2. Negative indirect effects of neighbors on imperiled scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Lyza; Miller, M. W.

    2014-12-01

    Predation pressure on an individual may be influenced by spatial associations with other organisms. In the case of rare and imperiled species, such indirect interactions may affect the persistence and recovery of local populations. This study examined the effects of coral neighborhood composition on the foraging behavior and impact of the corallivorous gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata. We conducted a manipulative field experiment in which focal colonies of the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora cervicornis had no neighbors, conspecific neighbors, alternative prey ( Orbicella faveolata) neighbors, or non-prey ( Porites asteroides) neighbors. Individually tagged C. abbreviata were then seeded into the study area and allowed to colonize the experimental plots. Initial colonization was significantly affected by the species of neighboring corals and snail abundance after colonization was negatively correlated with focal colony growth. Snails exhibited a strong prey preference for A. cervicornis over O. faveolata and responded numerically to neighborhood quality (i.e., relative preference for neighboring corals). Thus, conspecific neighbors had the greatest predator-mediated negative effect on focal colony performance followed by O. faveolata neighbors. The results suggest that C. abbreviata mediate apparent competition between O. faveolata and A. cervicornis as both species contributed to the local abundance of their shared predator. Additionally, home range estimates for tagged C. abbreviata were calculated, compared among sexes, and found to be significantly greater for males than for females. Overall, this study sheds light on the foraging behavior of an important coral predator and highlights the potential importance of consumer-mediated indirect interactions in the dynamics of severely reduced populations. The results also have direct implications for conservation and population enhancement efforts.

  3. Coral population dynamics across consecutive mass mortality events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Sam

    2015-11-01

    Annual coral mortality events due to increased atmospheric heat may occur regularly from the middle of the century and are considered apocalyptic for coral reefs. In the Arabian/Persian Gulf, this situation has already occurred and population dynamics of four widespread corals (Acropora downingi, Porites harrisoni, Dipsastrea pallida, Cyphastrea micropthalma) were examined across the first-ever occurrence of four back-to-back mass mortality events (2009-2012). Mortality was driven by diseases in 2009, bleaching and subsequent diseases in 2010/2011/2012. 2009 reduced P. harrisoni cover and size, the other events increasingly reduced overall cover (2009: -10%; 2010: -20%; 2011: -20%; 2012: -15%) and affected all examined species. Regeneration was only observed after the first disturbance. P. harrisoni and A. downingi severely declined from 2010 due to bleaching and subsequent white syndromes, while D. pallida and P. daedalea declined from 2011 due to bleaching and black-band disease. C. microphthalma cover was not affected. In all species, most large corals were lost while fission due to partial tissue mortality bolstered small size classes. This general shrinkage led to a decrease of coral cover and a dramatic reduction of fecundity. Transition matrices for disturbed and undisturbed conditions were evaluated as Life Table Response Experiment and showed that C. microphthalma changed the least in size-class dynamics and fecundity, suggesting they were 'winners'. In an ordered 'degradation cascade', impacts decreased from the most common to the least common species, leading to step-wise removal of previously dominant species. A potentially permanent shift from high- to low-coral cover with different coral community and size structure can be expected due to the demographic dynamics resultant from the disturbances. Similarities to degradation of other Caribbean and Pacific reefs are discussed. As comparable environmental conditions and mortality patterns must be

  4. Physiological and ecological performance differs in four coral taxa at a volcanic carbon dioxide seep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strahl, J; Stolz, I; Uthicke, S; Vogel, N; Noonan, S H C; Fabricius, K E

    2015-06-01

    Around volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2) seeps in Papua New Guinea, partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2) approximate those as predicted for the end of this century, and coral communities have low diversity and low structural complexity. To assess the mechanisms for such community shifts in response to ocean acidification, we examined the physiological performance of two hard corals that occur with increased or unaltered abundance at a seep site (mean pHTotal=7.8, pCO2=862 μatm) compared to a control site (mean pHTotal=8.1, pCO2=323 μatm), namely massive Porites spp. and Pocillopora damicornis, and two species with reduced abundance, Acropora millepora and Seriatopora hystrix. Oxygen fluxes, calcification, and skeletal densities were analyzed in corals originating from the seep and control site. Net photosynthesis rates increased considerably in Porites spp. and A. millepora and slightly in P. damicornis at increased pCO2, but remained unaltered in S. hystrix. Dark respiration rates remained constant in all corals investigated from both sites. Rates of light calcification declined in S. hystrix at high pCO2, but were unaffected by pCO2 in the other three coral taxa. Dark and net calcification rates remained unchanged in massive Porites and P. damicornis, but were drastically reduced at high pCO2 in A. millepora and S. hystrix. However, skeletal densities were similar at both seep and control sites in all coral taxa investigated. Our data suggest that the pCO2-tolerant corals were characterized by an increased ability to acclimatize to ocean acidification, e.g. by maintaining net calcification. Thus, robust corals, such as Porites spp. and P. damicornis, are more likely to persist for longer in a future high pCO2 world than those unable to acclimatize. PMID:25727938

  5. Contrasting patterns of coral bleaching susceptibility in 2010 suggest an adaptive response to thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James R Guest

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral bleaching events vary in severity, however, to date, the hierarchy of susceptibility to bleaching among coral taxa has been consistent over a broad geographic range and among bleaching episodes. Here we examine the extent of spatial and temporal variation in thermal tolerance among scleractinian coral taxa and between locations during the 2010 thermally induced, large-scale bleaching event in South East Asia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Surveys to estimate the bleaching and mortality indices of coral genera were carried out at three locations with contrasting thermal and bleaching histories. Despite the magnitude of thermal stress being similar among locations in 2010, there was a remarkable contrast in the patterns of bleaching susceptibility. Comparisons of bleaching susceptibility within coral taxa and among locations revealed no significant differences between locations with similar thermal histories, but significant differences between locations with contrasting thermal histories (Friedman = 34.97; p<0.001. Bleaching was much less severe at locations that bleached during 1998, that had greater historical temperature variability and lower rates of warming. Remarkably, Acropora and Pocillopora, taxa that are typically highly susceptible, although among the most susceptible in Pulau Weh (Sumatra, Indonesia where respectively, 94% and 87% of colonies died, were among the least susceptible in Singapore, where only 5% and 12% of colonies died. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The pattern of susceptibility among coral genera documented here is unprecedented. A parsimonious explanation for these results is that coral populations that bleached during the last major warming event in 1998 have adapted and/or acclimatised to thermal stress. These data also lend support to the hypothesis that corals in regions subject to more variable temperature regimes are more resistant to thermal stress than those in less variable environments.

  6. Novel Genetic Diversity Through Somatic Mutations: Fuel for Adaptation of Reef Corals?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emily J. Howells

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Adaptation of reef corals to climate change is an issue of much debate, and often viewed as too slow a process to be of relevance over decadal time scales. This notion is based on the long sexual generation times typical for some coral species. However, the importance of somatic mutations during asexual reproduction and growth on evolution and adaptation (i.e., cell lineage selection is rarely considered. Here we review the existing literature on cell lineage selection and show that the scope for somatic mutations to arise in the coral animal and associated Symbiodinium is large. For example, we estimate that ~100 million somatic mutations can arise within a branching Acropora coral colony of average size. Similarly, the large population sizes and rapid turn-over times of in hospite Symbiodinium likely result in considerable numbers of somatic mutations. While the fate of new mutations depends on many factors, including ploidy level and force and direction of selection, we argue that they likely play a key role in the evolution of reef corals.

  7. Corals differential susceptibilities to bleaching along the Red Sea Coast, Egypt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MONTASER ALY MAHMOUD AL-HAMMADY

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Ammar MSA, Obuid-Allah AH, Al-Hammady MAM. 2011. Corals differential susceptibilities to bleaching along the Red Sea Coast, Egypt. Nusantara Bioscience 3: 73-81. Coral bleaching was studied at four sites in four widely geographically separated areas. Three of these sites are subjected to different human activities and the fourth one is considered as a control site. Data were collected by using SCUBA diving equipments and the line transects method. A total of 3940 coral colonies, representing 62 species in 21genera and 10 families, were recorded on transects on the reefs of four studied sites.20.11% of all corals were affected by bleaching: 5.4% were moderately affected; 2.7% severely affected and 12.007% were dead. Overall, there were differences in the proportion of colonies affected by bleaching between the studied sites. Ras El-Behar, the site impacted by petroleum oil, has the maximum average proportion of moderately, severely bleached and dead colonies. While, the lowest average proportions of severely bleached colonies and dead colonies were found at Kalawy bay. Surprisingly, coral reef taxa at El-Hamraween harbor showed high resistance to bleaching probably because of having a new different clade of Symbiodinium which can withstand sea water temperature. Species with highest susceptibilities to bleaching in areas of oil pollution, increased sedimentation and heavy load of phosphate are Stylophora pistillata, Acropora granulosa and Montipora meandrina, respectively while species with lowest susceptibilities are Fungia fungites, Alveopora daedalea and Millepora dichotoma, respectively.

  8. Recurrent disturbances and the degradation of hard coral communities in Taiwan.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chao-Yang Kuo

    Full Text Available Recurrent disturbances can have a critical effect on the structure and function of coral reef communities. In this study, long-term changes were examined in the hard coral community at Wanlitung, in southern Taiwan, between 1985 and 2010. In this 26 year interval, the reef has experienced repeated disturbances that include six typhoons and two coral-bleaching events. The frequency of disturbance has meant that species susceptible to disturbance, such as those in the genus Acropora and Montipora have almost disappeared from the reef. Indeed, almost all hard coral species have declined in abundance, with the result that total hard coral cover in 2010 (17.7% was less than half what it was in 1985 (47.5%. In addition, macro-algal cover has increased from 11.3% in 2003 to 28.5% in 2010. The frequency of disturbance combined with possible chronic influence of a growing human population mean that a diverse reef assemblage is unlikely to persist on this reef into the future.

  9. Variation in the size structure of corals is related to environmental extremes in the Persian Gulf.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauman, Andrew G; Pratchett, Morgan S; Baird, Andrew H; Riegl, Bernhard; Heron, Scott F; Feary, David A

    2013-03-01

    The size structure of coral populations is the culmination of key demographic events, including recruitment, mortality and growth, thereby providing important insights to recent ecological dynamics. Importantly, the size structure of corals reflects both intrinsic (inherent life-history characteristics) and extrinsic (enhanced mortality due to chronic or acute disturbances) forcing on local populations, enabling post-hoc assessment of spatial and taxonomic differences in susceptibility to disturbance. This study examined the size structure of four locally abundant corals (Acropora downingi, Favia pallida, Platygyra daedalea, and massive Porites spp.) in two regions of the Persian Gulf: the southern Gulf (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and eastern Gulf (western Musandam). Significant and consistent differences were apparent in mean colony sizes and size-distributions between regions. All corals in the southern Gulf were significantly smaller, and their size structure positively skewed and relatively more leptokurtic (i.e., peaky) compared to corals in the eastern Gulf. Sea surface temperatures, salinity, and the recent frequency of mass bleaching are all higher, in the southern Gulf, suggesting higher mortality rates and/or slower growth in these populations. Differences in size structure between locations were more pronounced than differences between species at each location, suggesting that extreme differences in environmental conditions and disturbance events have a greater influence on population dynamics in the Gulf than inherent differences in their life-history characteristics. PMID:23245870

  10. Microbial dinitrogen fixation in coral holobionts exposed to thermal stress and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardini, Ulisse; van Hoytema, Nanne; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Rix, Laura; Foster, Rachel A; Al-Rshaidat, Mamoon M D; Wild, Christian

    2016-09-01

    Coral holobionts (i.e., coral-algal-prokaryote symbioses) exhibit dissimilar thermal sensitivities that may determine which coral species will adapt to global warming. Nonetheless, studies simultaneously investigating the effects of warming on all holobiont members are lacking. Here we show that exposure to increased temperature affects key physiological traits of all members (herein: animal host, zooxanthellae and diazotrophs) of both Stylophora pistillata and Acropora hemprichii during and after thermal stress. S. pistillata experienced severe loss of zooxanthellae (i.e., bleaching) with no net photosynthesis at the end of the experiment. Conversely, A. hemprichii was more resilient to thermal stress. Exposure to increased temperature (+ 6°C) resulted in a drastic increase in daylight dinitrogen (N2 ) fixation, particularly in A. hemprichii (threefold compared with controls). After the temperature was reduced again to in situ levels, diazotrophs exhibited a reversed diel pattern of activity, with increased N2 fixation rates recorded only in the dark, particularly in bleached S. pistillata (twofold compared to controls). Concurrently, both animal hosts, but particularly bleached S. pistillata, reduced both organic matter release and heterotrophic feeding on picoplankton. Our findings indicate that physiological plasticity by coral-associated diazotrophs may play an important role in determining the response of coral holobionts to ocean warming. PMID:27234003

  11. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program's 2016 Projects that Work Towards Stratefic Goals to Reduce Fishing Impacts on Coral

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to work towards CRCP's strategic goals to reduce fishing impacts on coral reefs Building GIS Long-term Capacity:...

  12. 福建东山造礁石珊瑚资源现状及其保护%Investigating the Status Quo of Hermatypic Corals Resources and Its Protection in Dongshan Water Areas, Fujian Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    姜峰; 陈明茹; 杨圣云

    2011-01-01

    Hermatypic corals are the primary portion of the coral reef ecosystem and of great ecological value. There are plentiful hermatypic corals in Dongshan water areas of Fujian Province.Due to low water temperature in winter, hermatypic corals there seem difficult to build real coral reefs. To protect hermatypic corals near the Dongshan Island, the Dongshan provincial hermatypic corals nature reserve was established in 1997, covering an area of 3630 hm2 with the core area of 1498 hm2. Through two large-scale surveys conducted in 1995-1997 and 2007, it was found that there were 32 species of Anthozoa in the Dongshan water areas, pertaining to 13 families of 3 orders, ten species of which belong to 6 families in Scleratinia. Seven hermatypic coral species of the 10 species are state-level protected animals Ⅱ and listed in CITES Appendices Ⅱ, including Favia speciosa. Cyphastrea serailia, Turbinaria peltata, Acropora pruinosa, Porites lutea. Leptastrea sp. and Goniopora sp. In 2007, it was reported that there were also hermatypic corals in Nanji island water areas in Zhejiang Province. Nanji islands are far from the mainland, showing a special ocean current and environments. The species are unique in originating from a range of climatic zones, e.g., the tropical zone, subtropical zone, and temperate zone. Furthermore, there seems to be a few published studies and reports about the species, quantity, and distribution of hermatypic corals there. We suggest that the Dongshan water areas are the north edge of the hermatypic coral community distribution in subtropical coastal waters of mainland China. In the stereoscopic habitat formed by corals in the Dongshan water areas, 154 associate species were found in coral communities, which show relatively high species diversity. They live in coral reefs in a variety of ways. Both of the two comprehensive investigations were carried out in the extent of the Dongshan provincial hermatypic corals nature reserve, but there were also

  13. Coral reef assessment and monitoring made easy using Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe software in Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. R. M. Tabugo

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef communities are considered as the most diverse marine ecosystems that provide food, shelter and protection to marine organisms. It provides many important benefits to humans but often a subject to impairment through human activities. Cascading human influences and climate change appeared as a reason behind its decline. Thus, coral reef monitoring methods are substantial. This study utilized Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe software, as a means to increase efficiency of coral reef monitoring efforts because it automates, facilitates and speeds the process of random point count analysis and can perform image calibration, planar area and length calculations of benthic features. The method was used to estimate community statistics of benthos based on captured still images for every 1m marked across four 50m transect line (total 200 m at 4.6-5.6m depth. Transect images were assigned with 30 spatial random points for identification. Multiple image frames were combined for each transect length supplying datasheet containing header information, statistical parameters species / substrate type (relative abundance, mean and standard deviation and Shannon-Weaver and Simpson's Index calculation for species diversity. Generated transect datasets were statistically analyzed to give quantitative population estimates over the area of interest. Data from individual frames were combined per transect to allow both inter- and intra- site/transect comparisons. This study reports the current status of coral reefs across Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines and proved the efficiency of CPCe as a tool in reef assessment and monitoring. Results showed that most common genera Porites and Acropora were dominant, with Porites lobata as the most abundant coral species in the area. Moreover, results also showed that there were various diseases present affecting corals leading to increased mortality.

  14. Species-specific trends in the reproductive output of corals across environmental gradients and bleaching histories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Ketchum, Remi N; Bauman, Andrew G; Mustafa, Yasmine; Watkins, Kristina D; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral populations in the Persian Gulf have a reputation for being some of the toughest in the world yet little is known about the energetic constraints of living under temperature and salinity extremes. Energy allocation for sexual reproduction in Gulf corals was evaluated relative to conspecifics living under milder environmental conditions in the Oman Sea. Fecundity was depressed at Gulf sites in two Indo-Pacific merulinid species (Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea) but not in a regionally endemic acroporid (Acropora downingi). Gulf populations of each species experienced high temperature bleaching at the onset of gametogenesis in the study but fecundity was only negatively impacted in P. daedalea and A. downingi. Large population sizes of C. microphthalma and P. daedalea in the Gulf are expected to buffer reductions on colony-level fecundity. However, depleted population sizes of A. downingi at some Gulf sites equate to low reef-wide fecundity and likely impede outcrossing success. PMID:26608503

  15. Turning up the heat: increasing temperature and coral bleaching at the high latitude coral reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A Abdo

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs face increasing pressures particularly when on the edge of their distributions. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Abrolhos are the southernmost coral reef system in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reefs in the world. These reefs have a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine fauna and flora and support 184 species of coral, dominated by Acropora species. A significant La Niña event during 2011 produced anomalous conditions of increased temperature along the whole Western Australian coastline, producing the first-recorded widespread bleaching of corals at the Abrolhos. METHODOLOGY/ PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We examined long term trends in the marine climate at the Abrolhos using historical sea surface temperature data (HadISST data set from 1900-2011. In addition in situ water temperature data for the Abrolhos (from data loggers installed in 2008, across four island groups were used to determine temperature exposure profiles. Coupled with the results of coral cover surveys conducted annually since 2007; we calculated bleaching thresholds for monitoring sites across the four Abrolhos groups. CONCLUSIONS/ SIGNIFICANCE: In situ temperature data revealed maximum daily water temperatures reached 29.54°C in March 2011 which is 4.2°C above mean maximum daily temperatures (2008-2010. The level of bleaching varied across sites with an average of ∼12% of corals bleached. Mortality was high, with a mean ∼50% following the 2011 bleaching event. Prior to 2011, summer temperatures reached a mean (across all monitoring sites of 25.1°C for 2.5 days. However, in 2011 temperatures reached a mean of 28.1°C for 3.3 days. Longer term trends (1900-2011 showed mean annual sea surface temperatures increase by 0.01°C per annum. Long-term temperature data along with short-term peaks in 2011, outline the potential for corals to be exposed to more frequent bleaching risk with consequences for this high latitude coral reef system

  16. Multi-species spawning synchrony within scleractinian coral assemblages in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2014-09-21

    Early work on coral reproduction in the far northern Red Sea suggested that the spawning times of ecologically abundant species did not overlap, unlike on the Great Barrier Reef where many species spawn with high synchrony. In contrast, recent work in the northern and central Red Sea indicates a high degree of synchrony in the reproductive condition of Acropora species: over 90 % of species sampled in April/May contain mature gametes. However, it has yet to be determined when most Acropora release their gametes. In addition, there is a lack of data for other ecologically important scleractinian species such as merulinids and poritids. Here, we document the date and time of spawning for 51 species in the central Red Sea over three consecutive years, and the month of spawning for an additional 17 species inferred from the presence of mature gametes. Spawning occurs on nights around the full moon, the spawning season lasts at least 4 months from April until July, and observations are consistent with the few other records from the Red Sea. The number of Acropora species spawning was highest in April with 13 species spawning two nights before the full moon in 2011, 13 species spawning on the night of the full moon in 2012, and eight species spawning four nights after the full moon in 2013. The total number of species spawning was high in April, May, and June and involved 15–19 species per month in 2012. Only four species spawned in July 2012. Few regions worldwide have been similarly sampled and include the Philippines, Okinawa in Japan, and Palau, where spawning patterns are very similar to those in the central Red Sea and where corals spawn on nights around the full moon over a period of 3–4 months. In particular, in all four locations, Acropora are among the first species to spawn. Our results add to a growing body of evidence indicating that multi-species spawning synchrony is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages.

  17. Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef-building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (>50% cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant.

  18. Colorimetric Detection of Caspase 3 Activity and Reactive Oxygen Derivatives: Potential Early Indicators of Thermal Stress in Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mickael Ros

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available There is an urgent need to develop and implement rapid assessments of coral health to allow effective adaptive management in response to coastal development and global change. There is now increasing evidence that activation of caspase-dependent apoptosis plays a key role during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this study, a “clinical” approach was used to assess coral health by measuring the activity of caspase 3 using a commercial kit. This method was first applied while inducing thermal bleaching in two coral species, Acropora millepora and Pocillopora damicornis. The latter species was then chosen to undergo further studies combining the detection of oxidative stress-related compounds (catalase activity and glutathione concentrations as well as caspase activity during both stress and recovery phases. Zooxanthellae photosystem II (PSII efficiency and cell density were measured in parallel to assess symbiont health. Our results demonstrate that the increased caspase 3 activity in the coral host could be detected before observing any significant decrease in the photochemical efficiency of PSII in the algal symbionts and/or their expulsion from the host. This study highlights the potential of host caspase 3 and reactive oxygen species scavenging activities as early indicators of stress in individual coral colonies.

  19. Shapes and textures for rendering coral

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Max, N.L. (Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)); Wyvill, G. (Otago Univ., Dunedin (New Zealand))

    1990-10-18

    A growth algorithm has been developed to build coral shapes out of a tree of spheres. A volume density defined by the spheres is contoured to give a soft object.'' The resulting contour surfaces are rendered by ray tracing, using a generalized volume texture to produce shading and bump mapped'' normal perturbations. 16 refs., 8 figs.

  20. A community change in the algal endosymbionts of a scleractinian coral following a natural bleaching event : field evidence of acclimatization

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jones, A. M.; Berkelmans, R.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Mieog, J. C.; Sinclair, W.

    2008-01-01

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of zooxanthe

  1. Acropora Spatial Survey Data of the Upper Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2005 - 2007 (NODC Accession 0046934)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data were collected by the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center to document the presence or absence of Acropora spp at shallow reef sites in the Upper...

  2. Gene expression profiles during short-term heat stress; branching vs. massive Scleractinian corals of the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maor-Landaw, Keren; Levy, Oren

    2016-01-01

    It is well-established that there is a hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral genera during heat-stress. However, molecular mechanisms governing these differences are still poorly understood. Here we explored if specific corals possessing different morphologies and different susceptibilities to heat stress may manifest varied gene expression patterns. We examined expression patterns of seven genes in the branching corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora eurystoma and additionally in the massive robust coral, Porites sp. The tested genes are representatives of key cellular processes occurring during heat-stress in Cnidaria: oxidative stress, ER stress, energy metabolism, DNA repair and apoptosis. Varied response to the heat-stress, in terms of visual coral paling, algal maximum quantum yield and host gene expression was evident in the different growth forms. The two branching corals exhibited similar overall responses that differed from that of the massive coral. A. eurystoma that is considered as a susceptible species did not bleach in our experiment, but tissue sloughing was evident at 34 °C. Interestingly, in this species redox regulation genes were up-regulated at the very onset of the thermal challenge. In S. pistillata, bleaching was evident at 34 °C and most of the stress markers were already up-regulated at 32 °C, either remaining highly expressed or decreasing when temperatures reached 34 °C. The massive Porites species displayed severe bleaching at 32 °C but stress marker genes were only significantly elevated at 34 °C. We postulate that by expelling the algal symbionts from Porites tissues, oxidation damages are reduced and stress genes are activated only at a progressed stage. The differential gene expression responses exhibited here can be correlated with the literature well-documented hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral morphologies and genera in Eilat's coral reef. PMID:27069783

  3. Interactive effects of interspecific competition and microhabitat on early post-settlement survival in a coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonin, M. C.; Srinivasan, M.; Almany, G. R.; Jones, G. P.

    2009-03-01

    Microhabitat type and the competition for microhabitats can each influence patterns of abundance and mortality in coral reef fish communities; however, the effect of microhabitat on the intensity and outcome of competition is not well understood. In Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, surveys were used to quantify microhabitat use and selectivity in two live-coral specialist damselfishes (Pomacentridae), Chrysiptera parasema, and Dascyllus melanurus. A patch reef experiment was then conducted to test how intra- and interspecific competition interacts with two types of microhabitat to influence survival of recently settled C. parasema. Surveys demonstrated that C. parasema and D. melanurus recruits utilized similar coral microhabitats; 72% of C. parasema and 85% of D. melanurus used corymbose and bottlebrush growth forms of Acropora. One microhabitat type, Pocillopora sp. coral, was commonly used by D. melanurus but rarely by C. parasema. The patch reef experiment revealed that both microhabitat and interspecific competition influence abundance of recently settled C. parasema. Microhabitat had the strongest influence on survival of C. parasema. In the absence of interspecific competitors, ~85% of C. parasema survived for 5 days after transplantation to high-complexity bottlebrush Acropora reefs when compared to only 25% survival of Pocillopora reefs. In both microhabitats, interspecific competition with D. melanurus, but not intraspecific competition, significantly decreased the survival of C. parasema. Taken together, these results suggest that the observed distribution of C. parasema results from specialized microhabitat requirements and competition for space in those microhabitats. This study demonstrates that interspecific competition and microhabitat type can interact to influence early post-settlement survival in coral reef fishes, though, whether and how these factors influence survival will depend on the behavioural attributes and strength of habitat associations

  4. Impact of light and temperature on the uptake of algal symbionts by coral juveniles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Abrego

    Full Text Available The effects of temperature and light on the breakdown of the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis are well documented but current understanding of their roles during initial uptake and establishment of symbiosis is limited. In this study, we investigate how temperature and light affect the uptake of the algal symbionts, ITS1 types C1 and D, by juveniles of the broadcast-spawning corals Acropora tenuis and A. millepora. Elevated temperatures had a strong negative effect on Symbiodinium uptake in both coral species, with corals at 31 °C showing as little as 8% uptake compared to 87% at 28 °C. Juveniles in high light treatments (390 µmol photons m(-2 s(-1 had lower cell counts across all temperatures, emphasizing the importance of the light environment during the initial uptake phase. The proportions of the two Symbiodinium types taken up, as quantified by a real time PCR assay using clade C- and D-specific primers, were also influenced by temperature, although variation in uptake dynamics between the two coral species indicates a host effect. At 28 °C, A. tenuis juveniles were dominated by C1 Symbiodinium, and while the number of D Symbiodinium cells increased at 31 °C, they never exceeded the number of C1 cells. In contrast, juveniles of A. millepora had approximately equal numbers of C1 and D cells at 28 °C, but were dominated by D at 30 °C and 31 °C. This study highlights the significant role that environmental factors play in the establishment of coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis and provides insights into how potentially competing Symbiodinium types take up residence in coral juveniles.

  5. Perennial growth of hermatypic corals at Rottnest Island, Western Australia (32°S

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire L. Ross

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available To assess the viability of high latitude environments as coral refugia, we report measurements of seasonal changes in seawater parameters (temperature, light, and carbonate chemistry together with calcification rates for two coral species, Acropora yongei and Pocillopora damicornis from the southernmost geographical limit of these species at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island (32°S in Western Australia. Changes in buoyant weight were normalised to colony surface areas as determined from both X-ray computed tomography and geometric estimation. Extension rates for A. yongei averaged 51 ± 4 mm y−1 and were comparable to rates reported for Acroporid coral at other tropical and high latitude locations. Mean rates of calcification for both A. yongei and P. damicornis in winter were comparable to both the preceding and following summers despite a mean seasonal temperature range of ∼6 °C (18.2°–24.3 °C and more than two-fold changes in the intensity of downwelling light. Seasonal calcification rates for A. yongei (1.31–2.02 mg CaCO3 cm−2 d−1 and P. damicornis (0.34–0.90 mg CaCO3 cm−2 d−1 at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island were comparable to rates from similar taxa in more tropical environments; however, they appeared to decline sharply once summer temperatures exceeded 23 °C. A coral bleaching event observed in December 2013 provided further evidence of how coral at Rottnest Island are still vulnerable to the deleterious effects of episodic warming despite its high latitude location. Thus, while corals at Rottnest Island can sustain robust year-round rates of coral growth, even over cool winter temperatures of 18°–19 °C, there may be limits on the extent that such environments can provide refuge against the longer term impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

  6. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries, in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91% and Montipora encrusting (85% and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart. Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21% but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

  7. Perennial growth of hermatypic corals at Rottnest Island, Western Australia (32°S).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Claire L; Falter, James L; Schoepf, Verena; McCulloch, Malcolm T

    2015-01-01

    To assess the viability of high latitude environments as coral refugia, we report measurements of seasonal changes in seawater parameters (temperature, light, and carbonate chemistry) together with calcification rates for two coral species, Acropora yongei and Pocillopora damicornis from the southernmost geographical limit of these species at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island (32°S) in Western Australia. Changes in buoyant weight were normalised to colony surface areas as determined from both X-ray computed tomography and geometric estimation. Extension rates for A. yongei averaged 51 ± 4 mm y(-1) and were comparable to rates reported for Acroporid coral at other tropical and high latitude locations. Mean rates of calcification for both A. yongei and P. damicornis in winter were comparable to both the preceding and following summers despite a mean seasonal temperature range of ∼6 °C (18.2°-24.3 °C) and more than two-fold changes in the intensity of downwelling light. Seasonal calcification rates for A. yongei (1.31-2.02 mg CaCO3 cm(-2) d(-1)) and P. damicornis (0.34-0.90 mg CaCO3 cm(-2) d(-1)) at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island were comparable to rates from similar taxa in more tropical environments; however, they appeared to decline sharply once summer temperatures exceeded 23 °C. A coral bleaching event observed in December 2013 provided further evidence of how coral at Rottnest Island are still vulnerable to the deleterious effects of episodic warming despite its high latitude location. Thus, while corals at Rottnest Island can sustain robust year-round rates of coral growth, even over cool winter temperatures of 18°-19 °C, there may be limits on the extent that such environments can provide refuge against the longer term impacts of anthropogenic climate change. PMID:25755921

  8. Response of Acropora digitifera to ocean acidification: constraints from δ11B, Sr, Mg, and Ba compositions of aragonitic skeletons cultured under variable seawater pH

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Kentaro; Holcomb, Michael; Takahashi, Asami; Kurihara, Haruko; Asami, Ryuji; Shinjo, Ryuichi; Sowa, Kohki; Rankenburg, Kai; Watanabe, Tsuyoshi; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-12-01

    The response of Acropora digitifera to ocean acidification is determined using geochemical proxy measurements of the skeletal composition of A. digitifera cultured under a range of pH levels. We show that the chemical composition (δ11B, Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, and Ba/Ca) of the coral skeletons can provide quantitative constraints on the effects of seawater pH on the pH in the calcification fluid (pHCF) and the mechanisms controlling the incorporation of trace elements into coral aragonite. With the decline of seawater pH, the skeletal δ11B value decreased, while the Sr/Ca ratio showed an increasing trend. The relationship between Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca versus seawater pH was not significant. Inter-colony variation of δ11B was insignificant, although inter-colony variation was observed for Ba/Ca. The decreasing trend of pHCF calculated from δ11B was from ~8.5, 8.4, and 8.3 for seawater pH of ~8.1, 7.8, and 7.4, respectively. Model calculations based on Sr/Ca and pHCF suggest that upregulation of pHCF occurs via exchange of H+ with Ca2+ with kinetic effects (Rayleigh fractionation), reducing Sr/Ca relative to inorganic deposition of aragonite from seawater. We show that it is possible to constrain the overall carbonate chemistry of the calcifying fluid with estimates of the carbonate saturation of the calcifying fluid ( Ω CF) being derived from skeletal Sr/Ca and pHCF (from δ11B). These estimates suggest that the aragonite saturation state of the calcifying fluid Ω CF is elevated by a factor of 5-10 relative to ambient seawater under all treatment conditions.

  9. Photosystem II recovery in the presence and absence of chloroplast protein repair in the symbionts of corals exposed to bleaching conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, R.; Takahashi, S.

    2014-12-01

    Increased seawater temperature causes photoinhibition due to accumulation of photodamaged photosystem II (PSII) in symbiotic algae (genus Symbiodinium) within corals, and it is assumed to be associated with coral bleaching. To avoid photoinhibition, photosynthetic organisms repair the photodamaged PSII through replacing the PSII proteins, primarily the D1 protein, with newly synthesised proteins. However, in experiments using cultured Symbiodinium strains, the PSII repair of Symbiodinium has been suggested not to be related to the synthesis of the D1 protein. In this study, we examined the relationship between the recovery of PSII photochemical efficiency ( F V/ F M) and the content of D1 protein after high-light and high-temperature treatments using the bleaching-sensitive coral species, Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora millepora, and the bleaching-tolerant coral species, Montipora digitata and Pavona decussata. When corals were exposed to strong light (600 µmol photons m-2 s-1) at elevated temperature (32 °C) for 8 h, significant bleaching occurred in bleaching-sensitive coral species although an almost similar extent of reduced PSII function was found across all coral species tested. During a subsequent 15-h recovery under low light (10 µmol photons m-2 s-1) at optimal temperature (22 °C), the reduced F V/ F M recovered close to initial levels in all coral species, but the reduced D1 content recovered only in one coral species ( Pavona decussata). D1 content was therefore not strongly linked to chloroplast protein synthesis-dependent PSII repair. These results demonstrate that the recovery of photodamaged PSII does not always correspond with the recovery of D1 protein content in Symbiodinium within corals, suggesting that photodamaged PSII can be repaired by a unique mechanism in Symbiodinium within corals.

  10. Hurricanes benefit bleached corals

    OpenAIRE

    Manzello, Derek P.; Brandt, Marilyn; Tyler B. Smith; Lirman, Diego; Hendee, James C.; Nemeth, Richard S.

    2007-01-01

    Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate climate change impacts. We provide evidence that hurricane-induced cooling was responsible for the documented differences in the extent an...

  11. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coral reefs are found in oligotrophic waters, which are poor in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and possibly iron. In spite of this, coral reefs exhibit high gross primary productivity rates. They thrive in oligotrophic conditions because of the symbiotic relationship between corals and dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) embedded in the coral tissue. In their mutualistic symbiosis, the zooxanthellae contribute their photosynthetic capability as the basis for the metabolic energy of the whole association, and eventually of a great part of the entire reef ecosystem

  12. Li/Mg systematics in scleractinian corals: Calibration of the thermometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montagna, Paolo; McCulloch, Malcolm; Douville, Eric; López Correa, Matthias; Trotter, Julie; Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; Dissard, Delphine; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Frank, Norbert; Freiwald, André; Goldstein, Steve; Mazzoli, Claudio; Reynaud, Stephanie; Rüggeberg, Andres; Russo, Simone; Taviani, Marco

    2014-05-01

    We show that the Li/Mg systematics of a large suite of aragonitic coral skeletons, representing a wide range of species inhabiting disparate environments, provides a robust proxy for ambient seawater temperature. The corals encompass both zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate species (Acropora sp., Porites sp., Cladocora caespitosa, Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata and Flabellum impensum) collected from shallow, intermediate, and deep-water habitats, as well as specimens cultured in tanks under temperature-controlled conditions. The Li/Mg ratios observed in corals from these diverse tropical, temperate, and deep-water environments are shown to be highly correlated with temperature, giving an exponential temperature relationship of: Li/Mg (mmol/mol) = 5.41 exp (-0.049 * T) (r2 = 0.975, n = 49). Based on the standard error of the Li/Mg versus temperature correlation, we obtain a typical precision of ±0.9 °C for the wide range of species analysed, similar or better than that of other less robust coral temperature proxies such as Sr/Ca ratios.

  13. Bacterial decomposition of coral mucus as evaluated by long-term and quantitative observation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Y.; Ogawa, H.; Miyajima, T.

    2011-06-01

    Coral mucus released from Acropora formosa and Montipora digitata was incubated with bacteria under dark conditions for 1 year to evaluate the quantitative degradability. All the mucus samples showed a similar decomposition pattern: about 80% of total organic carbon (TOC) in the mucus was mineralized within 1 month, while some mucus was slowly decomposed over the 1 year. Regression analysis using an exponential curve considering three degradability pools (labile, semilabile, and refractory) fitted the changes of the TOC concentrations very well ( r 2 > 0.99). Compiling the data on the two coral species, the labile organic C in the coral mucus had mineralization rates of 10-18% d-1 and accounted for 79-87% of the initial TOC in the mucus. Semilabile organic C had mineralization rates of 0.3-1.6% d-1 and accounted for 11-18% of the initial TOC. Refractory organic C accounted for 6% at most. These results suggest that not all coral mucus is rapidly decomposed by bacteria but some mucus remains as semilabile and refractory organic matter for several months.

  14. Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: A sensitivity analysis

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard

    2013-03-07

    Coral reefs distant from human population were sampled in the Red Sea and one-third showed degradation by predator outbreaks (crown-of-thorns-starfish=COTS observed in all regions in all years) or bleaching (1998, 2010). Models were built to assess future trajectories. They assumed variable coral types (slow/fast growing), disturbance frequencies (5,10,20years), mortality (equal or not), and connectivity (un/connected to un/disturbed community). Known disturbances were used to parameterize models. Present and future disturbances were estimated from remote-sensing chlorophyll and temperature data. Simulations and sensitivity analysis suggest community resilience at >20-year disturbance frequency, but degradation at higher frequency. Trajectories move from fast-grower to slow-grower dominance at intermediate disturbance frequency, then again to fast-grower dominance. A similar succession was observed in the field: Acropora to Porites to Stylophora/Pocillopora dominance on shallow reefs, and a transition from large poritids to small faviids on deep reefs. Synthesis and application: Even distant reefs are impacted by global changes. COTS impacts and bleaching were key driver of coral degradation, coral population decline could be reduced if these outbreaks and bleaching susceptibility were managed by maintaining water quality and by other interventions. Just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option. 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.

  15. 在细胞水平上对高温珊瑚白化的初步研究%Preliminary study of coral bleaching at cellular level under thermal stress

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李淑; 余克服; 陈天然; 施祺

    2011-01-01

    Global warming and abnormal high temperature cause coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis collapse and significant loss of zooxanthellae (coral bleaching), and further lead to degradation of coral reef ecosystems. In this study, the authors collected six species of corals from the Luhuitou fringing reef in Sanya, and designed a mesocosm experiment that those corals were cultured under a high temperature stress, for investigating the diversity of tolerance among different coral symbiosis at cellular level. The results are as follows. The diversity of tolerance among different coral species under acute thermal stresses was related to their morphologies: branching corals showed the lowest tolerance in thermal stress, while the foliose and massive corals showed stronger tolerance, which was similar to the result in the field monitoring. Different coral species showed different ways of zooxanthellae loss under thermal stresses: zooxanthellae discharging continuously, like Pocillopora damicornis; zooxanthellae discharging partly and followed by coral tissues containing zooxanthellae separating from skeletons,like Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora brueggemanni; the residual zooxauthellae in coral tissues using mitotic proliferation to replenish their numbers quickly, like Pavona decussate; cell necrosis of zooxanthellae in coral tissues, like Porites lutea. This study confirmed that the role of coral host and zooxanthellae should be considered simultaneously in further studies of coral responses to global warming.%全球变暖背景下的异常高温能够导致珊瑚及其虫黄藻组成的共生体系崩溃,虫黄藻大量损失,出现珊瑚白化,并可能进一步导致珊瑚礁生态系统退化.文章通过对6种造礁石珊瑚的急性高温胁迫实验,分析不同种属的石珊瑚虫黄藻共生体系对高温的耐受性差异,为全球变暖背景下珊瑚群落演替趋势提供理论依据.结果显示:1)在急性高温胁迫下,石珊瑚耐受的差异性与其

  16. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsh, Adam G.; Hoadley, Kenneth D.; Warner, Mark E.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG) motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera) and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis). Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS) are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to environmental stress in

  17. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam G Marsh

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis. Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to

  18. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela Dikou

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbreak while bottom-up controls have increased due to water quality degradation (increase in sediment and nutrient load and climate forcing (seawater warming and acidification leading to algal-dominated alternate benthic states of coral reefs, which are indicative of a trajectory towards ecological extinction. Management to reverse common trajectories of degradation for coral reefs necessitates a shift from optimization in marine resource use and conservation towards building socio-economic resilience into coral reef systems while attending to the most manageable human impacts (fishing and water quality and the global-scale causes (climate change.

  19. Coral reef diseases in the Atlantic-Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Weil, Ernesto

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are the jewels of the tropical oceans. They boast the highest diversity of all marine ecosystems, aid in the development and protection of other important, productive coastal marine communities, and have provided millions of people with food, building materials, protection from storms, recreation and social stability over thousands of years, and more recently, income, active pharmacological compounds and other benefits. These communities have been deteriorating rapidly in recent times. The continuous emergence of coral reef diseases and increase in bleaching events caused in part by high water temperatures among other factors underscore the need for intensive assessments of their ecological status and causes and their impact on coral reefs.

  20. Fluorescent protein-mediated colour polymorphism in reef corals: multicopy genes extend the adaptation/acclimatization potential to variable light environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gittins, John R; D'Angelo, Cecilia; Oswald, Franz; Edwards, Richard J; Wiedenmann, Jörg

    2015-01-01

    The genomic framework that enables corals to adjust to unfavourable conditions is crucial for coral reef survival in a rapidly changing climate. We have explored the striking intraspecific variability in the expression of coral pigments from the green fluorescent protein (GFP) family to elucidate the genomic basis for the plasticity of stress responses among reef corals. We show that multicopy genes can greatly increase the dynamic range over which corals can modulate transcript levels in response to the light environment. Using the red fluorescent protein amilFP597 in the coral Acropora millepora as a model, we demonstrate that its expression increases with light intensity, but both the minimal and maximal gene transcript levels vary markedly among colour morphs. The pigment concentration in the tissue of different morphs is strongly correlated with the number of gene copies with a particular promoter type. These findings indicate that colour polymorphism in reef corals can be caused by the environmentally regulated expression of multicopy genes. High-level expression of amilFP597 is correlated with reduced photodamage of zooxanthellae under acute light stress, supporting a photoprotective function of this pigment. The cluster of light-regulated pigment genes can enable corals to invest either in expensive high-level pigmentation, offering benefits under light stress, or to rely on low tissue pigment concentrations and use the conserved resources for other purposes, which is preferable in less light-exposed environments. The genomic framework described here allows corals to pursue different strategies to succeed in habitats with highly variable light stress levels. In summary, our results suggest that the intraspecific plasticity of reef corals' stress responses is larger than previously thought. PMID:25496144

  1. Corals from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Ocozocoautla Formation, Chiapas, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Filkorn, Harry F.; Javier Avendaño Gil; Marco A. Coutiño José; Francisco J. Vega Vera

    2005-01-01

    The coral species from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) strata of the Ocozocoautla Formation in Chiapas, Mexico, are identified, described and illustrated for the first time. This coral fauna is composed of 12 species, nine of which are colonial, presumably zooxanthellate, reef-building forms. This is the first time that six of these species have been reported from Mexico. The majority (11) of these species are endemic to the Caribbean region and known only from the Late Cretaceous.

  2. The future of evolutionary diversity in reef corals

    OpenAIRE

    Huang, Danwei; Roy, Kaustuv

    2015-01-01

    One-third of the world's reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. Previous studies have shown that such threats are not distributed randomly across the coral tree of life, and future extinctions have the potential to disproportionately reduce the phylogenetic diversity of this group on a global scale. However, the impact of such losses on a regional scale remains poorly known. In this study, we use phylogenetic metrics in ...

  3. High amino acid diversity and positive selection at a putative coral immunity gene (tachylectin-2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hellberg Michael E

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Genes involved in immune functions, including pathogen recognition and the activation of innate defense pathways, are among the most genetically variable known, and the proteins that they encode are often characterized by high rates of amino acid substitutions, a hallmark of positive selection. The high levels of variation characteristic of immunity genes make them useful tools for conservation genetics. To date, highly variable immunity genes have yet to be found in corals, keystone organisms of the world's most diverse marine ecosystem, the coral reef. Here, we examine variation in and selection on a putative innate immunity gene from Oculina, a coral genus previously used as a model for studies of coral disease and bleaching. Results In a survey of 244 Oculina alleles, we find high nonsynonymous variation and a signature of positive selection, consistent with a putative role in immunity. Using computational protein structure prediction, we generate a structural model of the Oculina protein that closely matches the known structure of tachylectin-2 from the Japanese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus, a protein with demonstrated function in microbial recognition and agglutination. We also demonstrate that at least three other genera of anthozoan cnidarians (Acropora, Montastrea and Nematostella possess proteins structurally similar to tachylectin-2. Conclusions Taken together, the evidence of high amino acid diversity, positive selection and structural correspondence to the horseshoe crab tachylectin-2 suggests that this protein is 1 part of Oculina's innate immunity repertoire, and 2 evolving adaptively, possibly under selective pressure from coral-associated microorganisms. Tachylectin-2 may serve as a candidate locus to screen coral populations for their capacity to respond adaptively to future environmental change.

  4. New Method for Counting Bacteria Associated with Coral Mucus ▿ †

    OpenAIRE

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2010-01-01

    The ability to count bacteria associated with reef-building corals in a rapid, reliable, and cost-effective manner has been hindered by the viscous and highly autofluorescent nature of the coral mucus layer (CML) in which they live. We present a new method that disperses bacterial cells by trypsinization prior to 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining and quantification by epifluorescence microscopy. We sampled seawater and coral mucus from Porites lobata from 6 reef sites influenced b...

  5. Bleaching susceptibility and mortality of corals are determined by fine-scale differences in symbiont type

    OpenAIRE

    Sampayo, E.M.; Ridgway, T.; Bongaerts, P.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2008-01-01

    Coral bleaching has been identified as one of the major contributors to coral reef decline, and the occurrence of different symbionts determined by broad genetic groupings (clades A–H) is commonly used to explain thermal responses of reef-building corals. By using Stylophora pistillata as a model, we monitored individual tagged colonies in situ over a two-year period and show that fine level genetic variability within clade C is correlated to differences in bleaching susceptibility. Based on ...

  6. Regional decline of coral cover in the Indo-Pacific: timing, extent, and subregional comparisons.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: A number of factors have recently caused mass coral mortality events in all of the world's tropical oceans. However, little is known about the timing, rate or spatial variability of the loss of reef-building corals, especially in the Indo-Pacific, which contains 75% of the world's coral reefs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPLE FINDINGS: We compiled and analyzed a coral cover database of 6001 quantitative surveys of 2667 Indo-Pacific coral reefs performed between 1968 and 2004. Surveys conducted during 2003 indicated that coral cover averaged only 22.1% (95% CI: 20.7, 23.4 and just 7 of 390 reefs surveyed that year had coral cover >60%. Estimated yearly coral cover loss based on annually pooled survey data was approximately 1% over the last twenty years and 2% between 1997 and 2003 (or 3,168 km(2 per year. The annual loss based on repeated measures regression analysis of a subset of reefs that were monitored for multiple years from 1997 to 2004 was 0.72 % (n = 476 reefs, 95% CI: 0.36, 1.08. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The rate and extent of coral loss in the Indo-Pacific are greater than expected. Coral cover was also surprisingly uniform among subregions and declined decades earlier than previously assumed, even on some of the Pacific's most intensely managed reefs. These results have significant implications for policy makers and resource managers as they search for successful models to reverse coral loss.

  7. Isolation by resistance across a complex coral reef seascape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Luke; Kennington, W Jason; Stat, Michael; Wilkinson, Shaun P; Kool, Johnathan T; Kendrick, Gary A

    2015-08-01

    A detailed understanding of the genetic structure of populations and an accurate interpretation of processes driving contemporary patterns of gene flow are fundamental to successful spatial conservation management. The field of seascape genetics seeks to incorporate environmental variables and processes into analyses of population genetic data to improve our understanding of forces driving genetic divergence in the marine environment. Information about barriers to gene flow (such as ocean currents) is used to define a resistance surface to predict the spatial genetic structure of populations and explain deviations from the widely applied isolation-by-distance model. The majority of seascape approaches to date have been applied to linear coastal systems or at large spatial scales (more than 250 km), with very few applied to complex systems at regional spatial scales (less than 100 km). Here, we apply a seascape genetics approach to a peripheral population of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora spicifera across the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, a high-latitude complex coral reef system off the central coast of Western Australia. We coupled population genetic data from a panel of microsatellite DNA markers with a biophysical dispersal model to test whether oceanographic processes could explain patterns of genetic divergence. We identified significant variation in allele frequencies over distances of less than 10 km, with significant differentiation occurring between adjacent sites but not between the most geographically distant ones. Recruitment probabilities between sites based on simulated larval dispersal were projected into a measure of resistance to connectivity that was significantly correlated with patterns of genetic divergence, demonstrating that patterns of spatial genetic structure are a function of restrictions to gene flow imposed by oceanographic currents. This study advances our understanding of the role of larval dispersal on the fine-scale genetic

  8. Characterization of the gacA-dependent surface and coral mucus colonization by an opportunistic coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J; Carpinone, Emily M; Ritchie, Kim B; Teplitski, Max

    2013-05-01

    Opportunistic pathogens rely on global regulatory systems to assess the environment and to control virulence and metabolism to overcome host defenses and outcompete host-associated microbiota. In Gammaproteobacteria, GacS/GacA is one such regulatory system. GacA orthologs direct the expression of the csr (rsm) small regulatory RNAs, which through their interaction with the RNA-binding protein CsrA (RsmA), control genes with functions in carbon metabolism, motility, biofilm formation, and virulence. The csrB gene was controlled by gacA in Serratia marcescens PDL100. A disruption of the S. marcescens gacA gene resulted in an increased fitness of the mutant on mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata and its high molecular weight fraction, whereas the mutant was as competitive as the wild type on the low molecular weight fraction of the mucus. Swarming motility and biofilm formation were reduced in the gacA mutant. This indicates a critical role for gacA in the efficient utilization of specific components of coral mucus and establishment within the surface mucopolysaccharide layer. While significantly affecting early colonization behaviors (coral mucus utilization, swarming motility, and biofilm formation), gacA was not required for virulence of S. marcescens PDL100 in either a model polyp Aiptasia pallida or in brine shrimp Artemia nauplii. PMID:23278392

  9. The Ecological Zones of the Coral Reef at Dengloujiao Area in Leizhou Peninsula%雷州半岛灯楼角珊瑚礁生态带

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王丽荣; 赵焕庭; 宋朝景

    2001-01-01

    The coral reef in the southwest of Leizhou Penin sula, the only modern one longshore the Continent in China, is reported in this paper. The Dengloujiao area is belonging to the littoral environment along the c ontinent in the north edge of the tropics. The depth of the coral reef in Denglo ujiao is 1~3 m and the width is between 500~1000 m. The major living reef cora ls include 11 genes, such as Porites, Favia and Acropora et al. Obviousl y, the corals in the west coast grow well than in the east. The coral reef in th e area is ecologically zoned into: a. the bare flat in the inner reef flat; b. t he sparsely growing area in outer reef flat; c. the coral flourish area on the u pside of the reef front slope. The resources in the coral reef have been overexp loited and seriously destroyed, so the scientific study, management and protection are needed to sustain them.

  10. 77 FR 73219 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Listing Determinations for 82 Reef...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-07

    ..., western Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico; herein referred to collectively as ``Caribbean''), the Indo... damage from boats and anchors, marine debris, and aquatic invasive species on the distribution and... Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed Reclassification of Acropora palmata and Acropora...

  11. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian, R

    Island harboured 1.9 x 10 super(6) thraustochytrids.g/1 dry weight and fresh mucus from Acropora sp. 12 and 20.ml/1. The number of thraustochytrids in detrital mucus incubated with sterilised lagoon water increased significantly than when incubated...

  12. From cholera to corals: Viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen

    KAUST Repository

    Weynberg, Karen D.

    2015-12-08

    Disease is an increasing threat to reef-building corals. One of the few identified pathogens of coral disease is the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus. In Vibrio cholerae, infection by a bacterial virus (bacteriophage) results in the conversion of non-pathogenic strains to pathogenic strains and this can lead to cholera pandemics. Pathogenicity islands encoded in the V. cholerae genome play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we analyse five whole genome sequences of V. coralliilyticus to examine whether virulence is similarly driven by horizontally acquired elements. We demonstrate that bacteriophage genomes encoding toxin genes with homology to those found in pathogenic V. cholerae are integrated in V. coralliilyticus genomes. Virulence factors located on chromosomal pathogenicity islands also exist in some strains of V. coralliilyticus. The presence of these genetic signatures indicates virulence in V. coralliilyticus is driven by prophages and other horizontally acquired elements. Screening for pathogens of coral disease should target conserved regions in these elements.

  13. Coral Bleaching: Coral 'refugia' amid heating seas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caldeira, Ken

    2013-05-01

    The Earth is getting hotter as carbon dioxide, predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels, continues to accumulate in the atmosphere. It is widely recognized that increasing temperatures pose a threat to coral reefs, but just how large a risk are these reefs facing?

  14. Disease of coral and coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panek, Frank

    2008-01-01

    The Department of the Interior protects sensitive habitats amounting to about 3,600,000 acres of coral reefs and other submerged lands. These reefs are important ecosystems in 13 National Wildlife Refuges, 10 National Parks and in certain territorial waters such as the Wake Atoll.

  15. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, Michael K.

    2010-03-01

    A mutualistic relationship between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) forms the basis for the existence of coral reefs. Genotyping tools for Symbiodinium spp. have added a new level of complexity to studies concerning cnidarian growth, nutrient acquisition, and stress. For example, the response of the coral holobiont to thermal stress is connected to the host-Symbiodinium genotypic combination, as different partnerships can have different bleaching susceptibilities. In this study, we monitored Symbiodinium physiological parameters and profiled the coral host transcriptional responses in acclimated, thermally stressed, and recovered fragments of the coral Montastraea faveolata using a custom cDNA gene expression microarray. Interestingly, gene expression was more similar among samples with the same Symbiodinium content rather than the same experimental condition. In order to discount for host-genotypic effects, we sampled fragments from a single colony of M. faveolata containing different symbiont types, and found that the host transcriptomic states grouped according to Symbiodinium genotype rather than thermal stress. As the first study that links coral host transcriptomic patterns to the clade content of their Symbiodinium community, our results provide a critical step to elucidating the molecular basis of the apparent variability seen among different coral-Symbiodinium partnerships. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  16. The roles and interactions of symbiont, host and environment in defining coral fitness

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J.C.; Olsen, J.L.; Berkelmans, R; Bleuler-Martinez, S.A.; Willis, B.; van Oppen, M.J H

    2009-01-01

    Background: Reef-building corals live in symbiosis with a diverse range of dinoflagellate algae ( genus Symbiodinium) that differentially influence the fitness of the coral holobiont. The comparative role of symbiont type in holobiont fitness in relation to host genotype or the environment, however,

  17. FACTORS AFFECTING SUSCEPTIBILITY OF THE CORAL MONTASTRAEA FAVEOLATE TO BLACK-BAND DISEASE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black-band disease affects many species of tropical reef-building corals, but it is unclear what factors contribute to the disease-susceptibility of individual corals or how the disease is transmitted between colonies. Studies have suggested that the ability of black-band disease...

  18. Diversity and distribution of symbiodinium associated with seven common coral species in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sung-Yin Yang

    Full Text Available The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with scleractinian corals in five atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, spread over 10,000 km(2. Symbiodinium clade diversity in 262 samples of seven common coral species, Acropora muricata, Isopora palifera, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, P. eydouxi, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata were determined using PCR-SSCP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1, PCR-DDGE of ITS2, and phylogenetic analyses. The results indicated that Symbiodinium in clade C were the dominant symbiont group in the seven coral species. Our analysis revealed types of Symbiodinium clade C specific to coral species. Types C1 and C3 (with C3z and C3i variants were dominant in Acroporidae and C1 and C1c were the dominant types in Pocilloporidae. We also found 2 novel ITS2 types in S. hystrix and 1 novel ITS2 type of Symbiodinium in A. muricata. Some colonies of A. muricata and I. palifera were also associated with Symbiodinium A1. These results suggest that corals in the Chagos Archipelago host different assemblages of Symbiodinium types then their conspecifics from other locations in the Indian Ocean; and that future research will show whether these patterns in Symbiodinium genotypes may be due to local adaptation to specific conditions in the Chagos.

  19. Predator Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) Outbreak, Mass Mortality of Corals, and Cascading Effects on Reef Fish and Benthic Communities.

    OpenAIRE

    Mohsen Kayal; Julie Vercelloni; Thierry Lison de Loma; Pauline Bosserelle; Yannick Chancerelle; Sylvie Geoffroy; Céline Stievenart; François Michonneau; Lucie Penin; Serge Planes; Mehdi Adjeroud

    2012-01-01

    International audience Outbreaks of the coral-killing seastar Acanthaster planci are intense disturbances that can decimate coral reefs. These events consist of the emergence of large swarms of the predatory seastar that feed on reef-building corals, often leading to widespread devastation of coral populations. While cyclic occurrences of such outbreaks are reported from many tropical reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, their causes are hotly debated, and the spatio-temporal dynamics of the...

  20. Identification of a primary pathogen involved in white patch syndrome, a newly-reported disease affecting the massive coral Porites lutea in the Western Indian Ocean

    OpenAIRE

    Séré, Mathieu

    2014-01-01

    During the past two decades, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases have caused substantial declines in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. Despite their increased global prevalence and virulence, little is known about coral diseases on Indian Ocean coral reefs. This study aims to fill this gap in knowledge by identifying the main coral diseases and quantify their prevalence at three localities Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte, determining their spatial distribut...

  1. Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O. [University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW (Australia). School of Biological Sciences

    1999-07-01

    Sea temperatures in many tropical regions have increased by almost 1{degree}C over the past 100 years, and are currently increasing at about 1-2{degree}C per century. Mass coral bleaching has occurred in association with episodes of elevated sea temperatures over the past 20 years and involves the loss of the zooxanthellae following chronic photoinhibition. Mass bleaching has resulted in significant losses of live coral in many parts of the world. This paper considers the biochemical, physiological and ecological perspectives of coral bleaching. It also uses the outputs of four runs from three models of global climate change which simulate changes in sea temperature and hence how the frequency and intensity of bleaching events will change over the next 100 years. The results suggest that the thermal tolerances of reef-building corals are likely to be exceeded every year within the next few decades. Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years. Most information suggests that the capacity for acclimation by corals has already been exceeded, and that adaptation will be too slow to avert a decline in the quality of the world's reefs.

  2. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jahson Berhane Alemu I

    Full Text Available Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching.

  3. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Records of past climate and ocean environment derived from stable isotope, trace metal, and other measurements made on corals and sclerosponges. Parameter keywords...

  4. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The data represent predicted habitat suitability for several taxa of deep-sea corals. Predictions were modeled using a statistical machine-learning algorithm called...

  5. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.

    -determined intervals, (l) involvement of end-users and NCOs, (m) prevention of poaching, and (n) crisis management. Options for management of reefs and their resources are several. With extractive uses, they can vary from restrictions on the type of resource exploited... Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is responsible for developing strategies for conservation and management of coral reefs and financially supporting their implementation. Besides the support to regional...

  6. Brucite microbialites in living coral skeletons: Indicators of extreme microenvironments in shallow-marine settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nothdurft, Luke D.; Webb, Gregory E.; Buster, Noreen A.; Holmes, Charles W.; Sorauf, James E.; Kloprogge, J. T.

    2005-03-01

    Brucite [Mg(OH)2] microbialites occur in vacated interseptal spaces of living scleractinian coral colonies (Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites) from subtidal and intertidal settings in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and subtidal Montastraea from the Florida Keys, United States. Brucite encrusts microbial filaments of endobionts (i.e., fungi, green algae, cyanobacteria) growing under organic biofilms; the brucite distribution is patchy both within interseptal spaces and within coralla. Although brucite is undersaturated in seawater, its precipitation was apparently induced in the corals by lowered pCO2 and increased pH within microenvironments protected by microbial biofilms. The occurrence of brucite in shallow-marine settings highlights the importance of microenvironments in the formation and early diagenesis of marine carbonates. Significantly, the brucite precipitates discovered in microenvironments in these corals show that early diagenetic products do not necessarily reflect ambient seawater chemistry. Errors in environmental interpretation may arise where unidentified precipitates occur in microenvironments in skeletal carbonates that are subsequently utilized as geochemical seawater proxies.

  7. Acanthaster planci is a major cause of coral mortality in Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baird, A. H.; Pratchett, M. S.; Hoey, A. S.; Herdiana, Y.; Campbell, S. J.

    2013-09-01

    The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster planci, is recognised as a major cause of coral reef degradation throughout much of the Pacific Ocean. However, the effects of COTS on the high diversity reefs in Indonesia have been largely overlooked. In 2007, high densities of COTS were observed in two regions of Indonesia: Aceh and Halmahera. Densities of COTS ranged from 0 to 52 starfish 2,000 m2 across 24 sites in Aceh and from 0 to 18 starfish 2,000 m2 at 10 sites in Halmahera. Mortality rates of Acropora spp. were very high at affected sites: over 50 % of colonies had been killed at seven of the 16 affected sites. A review of historical sources going back to 1969 suggests that COTS have damaged many reefs throughout Indonesia, including much activity within the Indonesian section of the Coral Triangle. Furthermore, the data suggest that COTS activity has increased rapidly since 2000. Very little of this activity has been reported in the primary literature, and there is a general lack of awareness in Indonesia of COTS as a potential cause of reef degradation. This lack of awareness, combined with limited monitoring efforts, means that damage caused by COTS is often attributed to other causes, such as destructive fishing, bleaching or tsunami. COTS are clearly a major source of coral mortality in Indonesia of which scientists and government need to be more cognizant.

  8. Acanthaster planci is a major cause of coral mortality in Indonesia

    KAUST Repository

    Baird, Andrew Hamilton

    2013-03-21

    The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster planci, is recognised as a major cause of coral reef degradation throughout much of the Pacific Ocean. However, the effects of COTS on the high diversity reefs in Indonesia have been largely overlooked. In 2007, high densities of COTS were observed in two regions of Indonesia: Aceh and Halmahera. Densities of COTS ranged from 0 to 52 starfish 2,000 m2 across 24 sites in Aceh and from 0 to 18 starfish 2,000 m2 at 10 sites in Halmahera. Mortality rates of Acropora spp. were very high at affected sites: over 50 % of colonies had been killed at seven of the 16 affected sites. A review of historical sources going back to 1969 suggests that COTS have damaged many reefs throughout Indonesia, including much activity within the Indonesian section of the Coral Triangle. Furthermore, the data suggest that COTS activity has increased rapidly since 2000. Very little of this activity has been reported in the primary literature, and there is a general lack of awareness in Indonesia of COTS as a potential cause of reef degradation. This lack of awareness, combined with limited monitoring efforts, means that damage caused by COTS is often attributed to other causes, such as destructive fishing, bleaching or tsunami. COTS are clearly a major source of coral mortality in Indonesia of which scientists and government need to be more cognizant. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  9. Unexpectedly complex gradation of coral population structure in the Nansei Islands, Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zayasu, Yuna; Nakajima, Yuichi; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Suzuki, Go; Satoh, Noriyuki; Shinzato, Chuya

    2016-08-01

    To establish effective locations and sizes of potential protected areas for reef ecosystems, detailed information about source and sink relationships between populations is critical, especially in archipelagic regions. Therefore, we assessed population structure and genetic diversity of Acropora tenuis, one of the dominant stony coral species in the Pacific, using 13 microsatellite markers to investigate 298 colonies from 15 locations across the Nansei Islands in southwestern Japan. Genetic diversity was not significant among sampling locations, even in possibly peripheral locations. In addition, our results showed that there are at least two populations of A. tenuis in the study area. The level of genetic differentiation between these populations was relatively low, but significant between many pairs of sampling locations. Directions of gene flow, which were estimated using a coalescence-based approach, suggest that gene flow not only occurs from south to north, but also from north to south in various locations. Consequently, the Yaeyama Islands and the Amami Islands are potential northern and southern sources of corals. On the other hand, the Miyako Islands and west central Okinawa Island are potential sink populations. The Kerama Islands and the vicinity of Taketomi Island are potential contact points of genetic subdivision of coral populations in the Nansei Islands. We found that genetic population structure of A. tenuis in the Nansei Islands is more complex than previously thought. These cryptic populations are very important for preserving genetic diversity and should be maintained. PMID:27551399

  10. Brucite microbialites in living coral skeletons: Indicators of extreme microenvironments in shallow-marine settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nothdurft, L.D.; Webb, G.E.; Buster, N.A.; Holmes, C.W.; Sorauf, J.E.; Kloprogge, J.T.

    2005-01-01

    Brucite [Mg(OH)2] microbialites occur in vacated interseptal spaces of living scleractinian coral colonies (Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites) from subtidal and intertidal settings in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and subtidal Montastraea from the Florida Keys, United States. Brucite encrusts microbial filaments of endobionts (i.e., fungi, green algae, cyanobacteria) growing under organic biofilms; the brucite distribution is patchy both within interseptal spaces and within coralla. Although brucite is undersaturated in seawater, its precipitation was apparently induced in the corals by lowered pCO 2 and increased pH within microenvironments protected by microbial biofilms. The occurrence of brucite in shallow-marine settings highlights the importance of microenvironments in the formation and early diagenesis of marine carbonates. Significantly, the brucite precipitates discovered in microenvironments in these corals show that early diagenetic products do not necessarily reflect ambient seawater chemistry. Errors in environmental interpretation may arise where unidentified precipitates occur in microenvironments in skeletal carbonates that are subsequently utilized as geochemical seawater proxies. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.

  11. Antibiofilm activity of biosurfactant producing coral associated bacteria isolated from gulf of mannar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padmavathi, Alwar Ramanujam; Pandian, Shunmugiah Karutha

    2014-12-01

    Coral Associated Bacteria (CAB) (N = 22) isolated from the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera were screened for biosurfactants using classical screening methods; hemolysis test, lipase production, oil displacement, drop collapse test and emulsifying activity. Six CAB (U7, U9, U10, U13, U14, and U16) were found to produce biosurfactants and were identified by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing as Providencia rettgeri, Psychrobacter sp., Bacillus flexus, Bacillus anthracis, Psychrobacter sp., and Bacillus pumilus respectively. Their cell surface hydrophobicity was determined by Microbial adhesion to hydrocarbon assay and the biosurfactants produced were extracted and characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy. Since the biosurfactants are known for their surface modifying capabilities, antibiofilm activity of positive isolates was evaluated against biofilm forming Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC10145. Stability of the active principle exhibiting antibiofilm activity was tested through various temperature treatments ranging from 60 to 100 °C and Proteinase K treatment. CAB isolates U7 and U9 exhibited stable antibiofilm activity even after exposure to higher temperatures which is promising for the development of novel antifouling agents for diverse industrial applications. Further, this is the first report on biosurfactant production by a coral symbiont. PMID:25320434

  12. The importance of macro- versus microstructure in modulating light levels inside coral colonies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kaniewska, Paulina; Magnusson, Sveinn H.; Anthony, Ken R. N.;

    2011-01-01

    Adjusting the light exposure and capture of their symbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium Freud.) is central to the success of reef-building corals (order Scleractinia) across high spatio-temporal variation in the light environment of coral reefs. We tested the hypothesis that...... irradiances at the level of coral photosymbionts. Key index words: irradiance; morphology; photoacclimation; scale; scleractinian coral; Symbiodinium Abbreviations: a chl a, specific absorption coefficient of chl a; Ddn, diadinoxanthin; Dtn, diatoxanthin; GBR, Great Barrier Reef; GFP, green fluorescent...... optical properties of tissues in some coral species can provide light management at the tissue scale comparable to light modulation by colony architecture in other species. We compared within-tissue scalar irradiance in two coral species from the same light habitat but with contrasting colony growth forms...

  13. The differential effects of increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme events on coral populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabina, Nicholas S; Baskett, Marissa L; Gross, Kevin

    2015-09-01

    Extreme events, which have profound ecological consequences, are changing in both frequency and magnitude with climate change. Because extreme temperatures induce coral bleaching, we can explore the relative impacts of changes in frequency and magnitude of high temperature events on coral reefs. Here, we combined climate projections and a dynamic population model to determine how changing bleaching regimes influence coral persistence. We additionally explored how coral traits and competition with mac