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Sample records for coral acropora millepora

  1. Circadian cycles of gene expression in the coral, Acropora millepora.

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    Aisling K Brady

    Full Text Available Circadian rhythms regulate many physiological, behavioral and reproductive processes. These rhythms are often controlled by light, and daily cycles of solar illumination entrain many clock regulated processes. In scleractinian corals a number of different processes and behaviors are associated with specific periods of solar illumination or non-illumination--for example, skeletal deposition, feeding and both brooding and broadcast spawning.We have undertaken an analysis of diurnal expression of the whole transcriptome and more focused studies on a number of candidate circadian genes in the coral Acropora millepora using deep RNA sequencing and quantitative PCR. Many examples of diurnal cycles of RNA abundance were identified, some of which are light responsive and damped quickly under constant darkness, for example, cryptochrome 1 and timeless, but others that continue to cycle in a robust manner when kept in constant darkness, for example, clock, cryptochrome 2, cycle and eyes absent, indicating that their transcription is regulated by an endogenous clock entrained to the light-dark cycle. Many other biological processes that varied between day and night were also identified by a clustering analysis of gene ontology annotations.Corals exhibit diurnal patterns of gene expression that may participate in the regulation of circadian biological processes. Rhythmic cycles of gene expression occur under constant darkness in both populations of coral larvae that lack zooxanthellae and in individual adult tissue containing zooxanthellae, indicating that transcription is under the control of a biological clock. In addition to genes potentially involved in regulating circadian processes, many other pathways were found to display diel cycles of transcription.

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

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

    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

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

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    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

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

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    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

  5. Expression of putative immune response genes during early ontogeny in the coral Acropora millepora.

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    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    Full Text Available Corals, like many other marine invertebrates, lack a mature allorecognition system in early life history stages. Indeed, in early ontogeny, when corals acquire and establish associations with various surface microbiota and dinoflagellate endosymbionts, they do not efficiently distinguish between closely and distantly related individuals from the same population. However, very little is known about the molecular components that underpin allorecognition and immunity responses or how they change through early ontogeny in corals.Patterns in the expression of four putative immune response genes (apextrin, complement C3, and two CELIII type lectin genes were examined in juvenile colonies of Acropora millepora throughout a six-month post-settlement period using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR. Expression of a CELIII type lectin gene peaked in the fourth month for most of the coral juveniles sampled and was significantly higher at this time than at any other sampling time during the six months following settlement. The timing of this increase in expression levels of putative immune response genes may be linked to allorecognition maturation which occurs around this time in A. millepora. Alternatively, the increase may represent a response to immune challenges, such as would be involved in the recognition of symbionts (such as Symbiodinium spp. or bacteria during winnowing processes as symbioses are fine-tuned.Our data, although preliminary, are consistent with the hypothesis that lectins may play an important role in the maturation of allorecognition responses in corals. The co-expression of lectins with apextrin during development of coral juveniles also raises the possibility that these proteins, which are components of innate immunity in other invertebrates, may influence the innate immune systems of corals through a common pathway or system. However, further studies investigating the expression of these genes in alloimmune-challenged corals are

  6. Expression of putative immune response genes during early ontogeny in the coral Acropora millepora.

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    Puill-Stephan, Eneour; Seneca, François O; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2012-01-01

    Corals, like many other marine invertebrates, lack a mature allorecognition system in early life history stages. Indeed, in early ontogeny, when corals acquire and establish associations with various surface microbiota and dinoflagellate endosymbionts, they do not efficiently distinguish between closely and distantly related individuals from the same population. However, very little is known about the molecular components that underpin allorecognition and immunity responses or how they change through early ontogeny in corals. Patterns in the expression of four putative immune response genes (apextrin, complement C3, and two CELIII type lectin genes) were examined in juvenile colonies of Acropora millepora throughout a six-month post-settlement period using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Expression of a CELIII type lectin gene peaked in the fourth month for most of the coral juveniles sampled and was significantly higher at this time than at any other sampling time during the six months following settlement. The timing of this increase in expression levels of putative immune response genes may be linked to allorecognition maturation which occurs around this time in A. millepora. Alternatively, the increase may represent a response to immune challenges, such as would be involved in the recognition of symbionts (such as Symbiodinium spp. or bacteria) during winnowing processes as symbioses are fine-tuned. Our data, although preliminary, are consistent with the hypothesis that lectins may play an important role in the maturation of allorecognition responses in corals. The co-expression of lectins with apextrin during development of coral juveniles also raises the possibility that these proteins, which are components of innate immunity in other invertebrates, may influence the innate immune systems of corals through a common pathway or system. However, further studies investigating the expression of these genes in alloimmune-challenged corals are needed to further

  7. 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.

  8. Induction of larval metamorphosis of the coral Acropora millepora by tetrabromopyrrole isolated from a Pseudoalteromonas bacterium.

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    Jan Tebben

    Full Text Available The induction of larval attachment and metamorphosis of benthic marine invertebrates is widely considered to rely on habitat specific cues. While microbial biofilms on marine hard substrates have received considerable attention as specific signals for a wide and phylogenetically diverse array of marine invertebrates, the presumed chemical settlement signals produced by the bacteria have to date not been characterized. Here we isolated and fully characterized the first chemical signal from bacteria that induced larval metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae (Acropora millepora. The metamorphic cue was identified as tetrabromopyrrole (TBP in four bacterial Pseudoalteromonas strains among a culture library of 225 isolates obtained from the crustose coralline algae Neogoniolithon fosliei and Hydrolithon onkodes. Coral planulae transformed into fully developed polyps within 6 h, but only a small proportion of these polyps attached to the substratum. The biofilm cell density of the four bacterial strains had no influence on the ratio of attached vs. non-attached polyps. Larval bioassays with ethanolic extracts of the bacterial isolates, as well as synthetic TBP resulted in consistent responses of coral planulae to various doses of TBP. The lowest bacterial density of one of the Pseudoalteromonas strains which induced metamorphosis was 7,000 cells mm(-2 in laboratory assays, which is on the order of 0.1-1% of the total numbers of bacteria typically found on such surfaces. These results, in which an actual cue from bacteria has been characterized for the first time, contribute significantly towards understanding the complex process of acroporid coral larval settlement mediated through epibiotic microbial biofilms on crustose coralline algae.

  9. Induction of Larval Metamorphosis of the Coral Acropora millepora by Tetrabromopyrrole Isolated from a Pseudoalteromonas Bacterium

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    Tebben, Jan; Tapiolas, Dianne M.; Motti, Cherie A.; Abrego, David; Negri, Andrew P.; Blackall, Linda L.; Steinberg, Peter D.; Harder, Tilmann

    2011-01-01

    The induction of larval attachment and metamorphosis of benthic marine invertebrates is widely considered to rely on habitat specific cues. While microbial biofilms on marine hard substrates have received considerable attention as specific signals for a wide and phylogenetically diverse array of marine invertebrates, the presumed chemical settlement signals produced by the bacteria have to date not been characterized. Here we isolated and fully characterized the first chemical signal from bacteria that induced larval metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae (Acropora millepora). The metamorphic cue was identified as tetrabromopyrrole (TBP) in four bacterial Pseudoalteromonas strains among a culture library of 225 isolates obtained from the crustose coralline algae Neogoniolithon fosliei and Hydrolithon onkodes. Coral planulae transformed into fully developed polyps within 6 h, but only a small proportion of these polyps attached to the substratum. The biofilm cell density of the four bacterial strains had no influence on the ratio of attached vs. non-attached polyps. Larval bioassays with ethanolic extracts of the bacterial isolates, as well as synthetic TBP resulted in consistent responses of coral planulae to various doses of TBP. The lowest bacterial density of one of the Pseudoalteromonas strains which induced metamorphosis was 7,000 cells mm−2 in laboratory assays, which is on the order of 0.1 –1% of the total numbers of bacteria typically found on such surfaces. These results, in which an actual cue from bacteria has been characterized for the first time, contribute significantly towards understanding the complex process of acroporid coral larval settlement mediated through epibiotic microbial biofilms on crustose coralline algae. PMID:21559509

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

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    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. © 2016 Marine Biological Laboratory.

  11. High natural gene expression variation in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora: potential for acclimative and adaptive plasticity.

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    Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Bellantuono, Anthony J; Ridgway, Tyrone; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio

    2013-04-08

    Ecosystems worldwide are suffering the consequences of anthropogenic impact. The diverse ecosystem of coral reefs, for example, are globally threatened by increases in sea surface temperatures due to global warming. Studies to date have focused on determining genetic diversity, the sequence variability of genes in a species, as a proxy to estimate and predict the potential adaptive response of coral populations to environmental changes linked to climate changes. However, the examination of natural gene expression variation has received less attention. This variation has been implicated as an important factor in evolutionary processes, upon which natural selection can act. We acclimatized coral nubbins from six colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora to a common garden in Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, GBR) for a period of four weeks to remove any site-specific environmental effects on the physiology of the coral nubbins. By using a cDNA microarray platform, we detected a high level of gene expression variation, with 17% (488) of the unigenes differentially expressed across coral nubbins of the six colonies (jsFDR-corrected, p natural variation between reef corals when assessing experimental gene expression differences. The high transcriptional variation detected in this study is interpreted and discussed within the context of adaptive potential and phenotypic plasticity of reef corals. Whether this variation will allow coral reefs to survive to current challenges remains unknown.

  12. Chimerism in wild adult populations of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef.

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    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available Chimeras are organisms containing tissues or cells of two or more genetically distinct individuals, and are known to exist in at least nine phyla of protists, plants, and animals. Although widespread and common in marine invertebrates, the extent of chimerism in wild populations of reef corals is unknown.The extent of chimerism was explored within two populations of a common coral, Acropora millepora, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, by using up to 12 polymorphic DNA microsatellite loci. At least 2% and 5% of Magnetic Island and Pelorus Island populations of A. millepora, respectively, were found to be chimeras (3% overall, based on conservative estimates. A slightly less conservative estimate indicated that 5% of colonies in each population were chimeras. These values are likely to be vast underestimates of the true extent of chimerism, as our sampling protocol was restricted to a maximum of eight branches per colony, while most colonies consist of hundreds of branches. Genotypes within chimeric corals showed high relatedness, indicating that genetic similarity is a prerequisite for long-term acceptance of non-self genotypes within coral colonies.While some brooding corals have been shown to form genetic chimeras in their early life history stages under experimental conditions, this study provides the first genetic evidence of the occurrence of coral chimeras in the wild and of chimerism in a broadcast spawning species. We hypothesize that chimerism is more widespread in corals than previously thought, and suggest that this has important implications for their resilience, potentially enhancing their capacity to compete for space and respond to stressors such as pathogen infection.

  13. Primary Life Stage Boron Isotope and Trace Elements Incorporation in Aposymbiotic Acropora millepora Coral under Ocean Acidification and Warming

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    Henry C. Wu

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Early-life stages of reef-building corals are vital to coral existence and reef maintenance. It is therefore crucial to study juvenile coral response to future climate change pressures. Moreover, corals are known to be reliable recorders of environmental conditions in their skeletal materials. Aposymbiotic Acropora millepora larvae were cultured in different seawater temperature (27 and 29°C and pCO2 (390 and 750 μatm conditions to understand the impacts of “end of century” ocean acidification (OA and ocean warming (OW conditions on skeletal morphology and geochemistry. The experimental conditions impacted primary polyp juvenile coral skeletal morphology and growth resulting in asymmetric translucent appearances with brittle skeleton features. The impact of OA resulted in microstructure differences with decreased precipitation or lengthening of fasciculi and disorganized aragonite crystals that led to more concentrations of centers of calcifications. The coral skeletal δ11B composition measured by laser ablation MC-ICP-MS was significantly affected by pCO2 (p = 0.0024 and water temperature (p = 1.46 × 10−5. Reconstructed pH of the primary polyp skeleton using the δ11B proxy suggests a difference in coral calcification site and seawater pH consistent with previously observed coral pH up-regulation. Similarly, trace element results measured by laser ablation ICP-MS indicate the impact of pCO2. Primary polyp juvenile Sr/Ca ratio indicates a bias in reconstructed sea surface temperature (SST under higher pCO2 conditions. Coral microstructure content changes (center of calcification and fasciculi due to OA possibly contributed to the variability in B/Ca ratios. Our results imply that increasing OA and OW may lead to coral acclimation issues and species-specific inaccuracies of the commonly used Sr/Ca-SST proxy.

  14. Gene Expression Patterns during the Early Stages of Chemically Induced Larval Metamorphosis and Settlement of the Coral Acropora millepora

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    Siboni, Nachshon; Abrego, David; Motti, Cherie A.; Tebben, Jan; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

    The morphogenetic transition of motile coral larvae into sessile primary polyps is triggered and genetically programmed upon exposure to environmental biomaterials, such as crustose coralline algae (CCA) and bacterial biofilms. Although the specific chemical cues that trigger coral larval morphogenesis are poorly understood there is much more information available on the genes that play a role in this early life phase. Putative chemical cues from natural biomaterials yielded defined chemical samples that triggered different morphogenetic outcomes: an extract derived from a CCA-associated Pseudoalteromonas bacterium that induced metamorphosis, characterized by non-attached metamorphosed juveniles; and two fractions of the CCA Hydrolithon onkodes (Heydrich) that induced settlement, characterized by attached metamorphosed juveniles. In an effort to distinguish the genes involved in these two morphogenetic transitions, competent larvae of the coral Acropora millepora were exposed to these predictable cues and the expression profiles of 47 coral genes of interest (GOI) were investigated after only 1 hour of exposure using multiplex RT–qPCR. Thirty-two GOI were differentially expressed, indicating a putative role during the early regulation of morphogenesis. The most striking differences were observed for immunity-related genes, hypothesized to be involved in cell recognition and adhesion, and for fluorescent protein genes. Principal component analysis of gene expression profiles resulted in separation between the different morphogenetic cues and exposure times, and not only identified those genes involved in the early response but also those which influenced downstream biological changes leading to larval metamorphosis or settlement. PMID:24632854

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

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    Pernice, Mathieu; Dunn, Simon R; Miard, Thomas; Dufour, Sylvie; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2011-01-24

    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. 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. 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 corals exposed to sudden environmental changes.

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

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    Mathieu Pernice

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.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.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 corals exposed to sudden environmental changes.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo

    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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo; Mavromatis, Charalampos Harris; Bayer, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.; Ravasi, Timothy

    2011-01-01

    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.

  19. 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...

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

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    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

  1. Coral larvae for restoration and research: a large-scale method for rearing Acropora millepora larvae, inducing settlement, and establishing symbiosis

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    F. Joseph Pollock

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Here we describe an efficient and effective technique for rearing sexually-derived coral propagules from spawning through larval settlement and symbiont uptake with minimal impact on natural coral populations. We sought to maximize larval survival while minimizing expense and daily husbandry maintenance by experimentally determining optimized conditions and protocols for gamete fertilization, larval cultivation, induction of larval settlement by crustose coralline algae, and inoculation of newly settled juveniles with their dinoflagellate symbiont Symbiodinium. Larval rearing densities at or below 0.2 larvae mL−1 were found to maximize larval survival and settlement success in culture tanks while minimizing maintenance effort. Induction of larval settlement via the addition of a ground mixture of diverse crustose coralline algae (CCA is recommended, given the challenging nature of in situ CCA identification and our finding that non settlement-inducing CCA assemblages do not inhibit larval settlement if suitable assemblages are present. Although order of magnitude differences in infectivity were found between common Great Barrier Reef Symbiodinium clades C and D, no significant differences in Symbiodinium uptake were observed between laboratory-cultured and wild-harvested symbionts in each case. The technique presented here for Acropora millepora can be adapted for research and restoration efforts in a wide range of broadcast spawning coral species.

  2. Microsatellite loci isolated from the scleractinian coral, Acropora nobilis.

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    Isomura, Naoko; Hidaka, Michio

    2008-05-01

    We report the isolation and characterization of eight microsatellite loci from the scleractinian coral, Acropora nobilis. The microsatellite loci were obtained using compound SSR primers or an enrichment protocol. All the loci were polymorphic with four to eight alleles per locus and observed heterozygosities ranging from 0.22 to 0.76. Some of the primers developed for the two congeners, Acropora palmata and Acropora millepora were applicable to A. nobilis. These loci are useful for studying the connectivity among A. nobilis populations in Okinawa, southern Japan. © 2007 The Authors.

  3. 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.

  4. Using Bacterial Extract along with Differential Gene Expression in Acropora millepora Larvae to Decouple the Processes of Attachment and Metamorphosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siboni, Nachshon; Abrego, David; Seneca, Francois; Motti, Cherie A.; Andreakis, Nikos; Tebben, Jan; Blackall, Linda L.; Harder, Tilmann

    2012-01-01

    Biofilms of the bacterium Pseudoalteromonas induce metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae. The bacterial metabolite tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), isolated from an extract of Pseudoalteromonas sp. associated with the crustose coralline alga (CCA) Neogoniolithon fosliei, induced coral larval metamorphosis (100%) with little or no attachment (0–2%). To better understand the molecular events and mechanisms underpinning the induction of Acropora millepora larval metamorphosis, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration, adhesion and biomineralisation, two novel coral gene expression assays were implemented. These involved the use of reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and employed 47 genes of interest (GOI), selected based on putative roles in the processes of settlement and metamorphosis. Substantial differences in transcriptomic responses of GOI were detected following incubation of A. millepora larvae with a threshold concentration and 10-fold elevated concentration of TBP-containing extracts of Pseudoalteromonas sp. The notable and relatively abrupt changes of the larval body structure during metamorphosis correlated, at the molecular level, with significant differences (pmetamorphosis. The bacterial TBP-containing extract provided a unique opportunity to monitor the regulation of genes exclusively involved in the process of metamorphosis, contrasting previous gene expression studies that utilized cues, such as crustose coralline algae, biofilms or with GLW-amide neuropeptides that stimulate the entire onset of larval metamorphosis and attachment. PMID:22655067

  5. Identification of fast-evolving genes in the scleractinian coral Acropora using comparative EST analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akira Iguchi

    Full Text Available To identify fast-evolving genes in reef-building corals, we performed direct comparative sequence analysis with expressed sequence tag (EST datasets from two acroporid species: Acropora palmata from the Caribbean Sea and A. millepora from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Comparison of 589 independent sequences from 1,421 A. palmata contigs, with 10,247 A. millepora contigs resulted in the identification of 196 putative homologues. Most of the homologous pairs demonstrated high amino acid similarities (over 90%. Comparisons of putative homologues showing low amino acid similarities (under 90% among the Acropora species to the near complete datasets from two other cnidarians (Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis implied that some were non-orthologous. Within 86 homologous pairs, 39 exhibited dN/dS ratios significantly less than 1, suggesting that these genes are under purifying selection associated with functional constraints. Eight independent genes showed dN/dS ratios exceeding 1, while three deviated significantly from 1, suggesting that these genes may play important roles in the adaptive evolution of Acropora. Our results also indicated that CEL-III lectin was under positive selection, consistent with a possible role in immunity or symbiont recognition. Further studies are needed to clarify the possible functions of the genes under positive selection to provide insight into the evolutionary process of corals.

  6. Identification of fast-evolving genes in the scleractinian coral Acropora using comparative EST analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iguchi, Akira; Shinzato, Chuya; Forêt, Sylvain; Miller, David J

    2011-01-01

    To identify fast-evolving genes in reef-building corals, we performed direct comparative sequence analysis with expressed sequence tag (EST) datasets from two acroporid species: Acropora palmata from the Caribbean Sea and A. millepora from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Comparison of 589 independent sequences from 1,421 A. palmata contigs, with 10,247 A. millepora contigs resulted in the identification of 196 putative homologues. Most of the homologous pairs demonstrated high amino acid similarities (over 90%). Comparisons of putative homologues showing low amino acid similarities (under 90%) among the Acropora species to the near complete datasets from two other cnidarians (Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis) implied that some were non-orthologous. Within 86 homologous pairs, 39 exhibited dN/dS ratios significantly less than 1, suggesting that these genes are under purifying selection associated with functional constraints. Eight independent genes showed dN/dS ratios exceeding 1, while three deviated significantly from 1, suggesting that these genes may play important roles in the adaptive evolution of Acropora. Our results also indicated that CEL-III lectin was under positive selection, consistent with a possible role in immunity or symbiont recognition. Further studies are needed to clarify the possible functions of the genes under positive selection to provide insight into the evolutionary process of corals.

  7. 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.

  8. The threatened Atlantic elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata : population dynamics and their policy implications

    OpenAIRE

    Vardi, Tali

    2011-01-01

    Fossil data from multiple locations indicates that Atlantic elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, formed shallow reefs throughout the Caribbean Sea since the Pleistocene. Beginning in the 1980s A. palmata has declined to a small fraction of its formerly vast extent throughout the region. In 2006, elkhorn coral was the first coral, along with its sister species, staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), to be included on the U.S. Endangered Species List. We used size-based matrix mod...

  9. Weak prezygotic isolating mechanisms in threatened Caribbean Acropora corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole D Fogarty

    Full Text Available The Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, recently have undergone drastic declines primarily as a result of disease. Previous molecular studies have demonstrated that these species form a hybrid (A. prolifera that varies in abundance throughout the range of the parental distribution. There is variable unidirectional introgression across loci and sites of A. palmata genes flowing into A. cervicornis. Here we examine the efficacy of prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms within these corals including spawning times and choice and no-choice fertilization crosses. We show that these species have subtly different mean but overlapping spawning times, suggesting that temporal isolation is likely not an effective barrier to hybridization. We found species-specific differences in gametic incompatibilities. Acropora palmata eggs were relatively resistant to hybridization, especially when conspecific sperm are available to outcompete heterospecific sperm. Acropora cervicornis eggs demonstrated no evidence for gametic incompatibility and no evidence of reduced viability after aging four hours. This asymmetry in compatibility matches previous genetic data on unidirectional introgression.

  10. Weak prezygotic isolating mechanisms in threatened Caribbean Acropora corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fogarty, Nicole D; Vollmer, Steven V; Levitan, Don R

    2012-01-01

    The Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, recently have undergone drastic declines primarily as a result of disease. Previous molecular studies have demonstrated that these species form a hybrid (A. prolifera) that varies in abundance throughout the range of the parental distribution. There is variable unidirectional introgression across loci and sites of A. palmata genes flowing into A. cervicornis. Here we examine the efficacy of prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms within these corals including spawning times and choice and no-choice fertilization crosses. We show that these species have subtly different mean but overlapping spawning times, suggesting that temporal isolation is likely not an effective barrier to hybridization. We found species-specific differences in gametic incompatibilities. Acropora palmata eggs were relatively resistant to hybridization, especially when conspecific sperm are available to outcompete heterospecific sperm. Acropora cervicornis eggs demonstrated no evidence for gametic incompatibility and no evidence of reduced viability after aging four hours. This asymmetry in compatibility matches previous genetic data on unidirectional introgression.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwarz, Jodi A; Brokstein, Peter B; Voolstra, Christian; Terry, Astrid Y; Manohar, Chitra F; Miller, David J; Szmant, Alina M; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Mónica

    2008-02-25

    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. 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-scleractinian cnidarians Nematostella vectensis and

  14. Genomic variation among populations of threatened coral: Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, C; Dale, K E; Panlilio, J M; Miller, S V; Lirman, D; Larson, E A; Bartels, E; Crawford, D L; Oleksiak, M F

    2016-04-13

    Acropora cervicornis, a threatened, keystone reef-building coral has undergone severe declines (>90 %) throughout the Caribbean. These declines could reduce genetic variation and thus hamper the species' ability to adapt. Active restoration strategies are a common conservation approach to mitigate species' declines and require genetic data on surviving populations to efficiently respond to declines while maintaining the genetic diversity needed to adapt to changing conditions. To evaluate active restoration strategies for the staghorn coral, the genetic diversity of A. cervicornis within and among populations was assessed in 77 individuals collected from 68 locations along the Florida Reef Tract (FRT) and in the Dominican Republic. Genotyping by Sequencing (GBS) identified 4,764 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Pairwise nucleotide differences (π) within a population are large (~37 %) and similar to π across all individuals. This high level of genetic diversity along the FRT is similar to the diversity within a small, isolated reef. Much of the genetic diversity (>90 %) exists within a population, yet GBS analysis shows significant variation along the FRT, including 300 SNPs with significant FST values and significant divergence relative to distance. There are also significant differences in SNP allele frequencies over small spatial scales, exemplified by the large FST values among corals collected within Miami-Dade county. Large standing diversity was found within each population even after recent declines in abundance, including significant, potentially adaptive divergence over short distances. The data here inform conservation and management actions by uncovering population structure and high levels of diversity maintained within coral collections among sites previously shown to have little genetic divergence. More broadly, this approach demonstrates the power of GBS to resolve differences among individuals and identify subtle genetic structure

  15. Regionally isolated populations of an imperiled Caribbean coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, Iliana B; Miller, Margaret W; Hellberg, Michael E

    2005-04-01

    The movements of larvae between marine populations are difficult to follow directly and have been the subject of much controversy, especially in the Caribbean. The debate centres on the degree to which populations are demographically open, such that depleted populations can be replenished by recruitment from distant healthy populations, or demographically closed and thus in need of local management. Given the depressed state of many tropical reef populations, the understanding of these movements now bears critically on the number, placement, and size of marine reserves. Most genetic analyses assume that dispersal patterns have been stable for thousands of generations, thus they commonly reflect past colonization histories more than ongoing dispersal. Recently developed multilocus genotyping approaches, however, have the demonstrated ability to detect both migration and population isolation over far shorter timescales. Previously, we developed five microsatellite markers and demonstrated them to be both Mendelian and coral-specific. Using these markers and Bayesian analyses, we show here that populations of the imperiled reef-building coral, Acropora palmata, have experienced little or no recent genetic exchange between the western and the eastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is identified as an area of mixing between the two subregions. As a consequence of this regional isolation, populations in the western and eastern Caribbean should have the potential to adapt to local conditions and will require population-specific management strategies.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    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

  1. High-latitude connectivity of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    western Indian Ocean, identified using nuclear intron and mitochondrial ... African Journal of Marine Science ... Results resolved the presence of four putative Acropora clades, genetically disparate according to 3/550 nuclear intron data.

  2. ETIOLOGY OF WHITE POX, A LETHAL DISEASE OF THE CARIBBEAN ELKHORN CORAL, ACROPORA PALMATA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Populations of the shallow-water Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are being decimated by white pox disease, with losses in the Florida Keys typically in excess of 70%. Tissue loss is rapid, averaging 2.5 cm2 day-1. A bacterium isolated from diseased A. palmata was shown...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Portune, Kevin J.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Medina, Mó nica; Szmant, Alina M.

    2010-01-01

    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

  4. Coral growth rates revisited after 31 years: what is causing lower extension rates in Acropora palmata?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bak, R.P.M.; Nieuwland, G.; Meesters, H.W.G.

    2009-01-01

    Linear extension of branches in the same Acropora palmata (Lamarck, 1816) population in Curaçao was measured, employing exactly the same methods, in 1971-1973 and in 2002-2004, and the resulting coral growth rates are compared. Linear growth shows the same pattern over seasons in both periods with

  5. Contrasting patterns of connectivity among endemic and widespread fire coral species ( Millepora spp.) in the tropical Southwestern Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Souza, Júlia N.; Nunes, Flávia L. D.; Zilberberg, Carla; Sanchez, Juan A.; Migotto, Alvaro E.; Hoeksema, Bert W.; Serrano, Xaymara M.; Baker, Andrew C.; Lindner, Alberto

    2017-09-01

    Fire corals are the only branching corals in the South Atlantic and provide an important ecological role as habitat-builders in the region. With three endemic species ( Millepora brazilensis, M. nitida and M. laboreli) and one amphi-Atlantic species ( M. alcicornis), fire coral diversity in the Brazilian Province rivals that of the Caribbean Province. Phylogenetic relationships and patterns of population genetic structure and diversity were investigated in all four fire coral species occurring in the Brazilian Province to understand patterns of speciation and biogeography in the genus. A total of 273 colonies from the four species were collected from 17 locations spanning their geographic ranges. Sequences from the 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) were used to evaluate phylogenetic relationships. Patterns in genetic diversity and connectivity were inferred by measures of molecular diversity, analyses of molecular variance, pairwise differentiation, and by spatial analyses of molecular variance. Morphometrics of the endemic species M. braziliensis and M. nitida were evaluated by discriminant function analysis; macro-morphological characters were not sufficient to distinguish the two species. Genetic analyses showed that, although they are closely related, each species forms a well-supported clade. Furthermore, the endemic species characterized a distinct biogeographic barrier: M. braziliensis is restricted to the north of the São Francisco River, whereas M. nitida occurs only to the south. Millepora laboreli is restricted to a single location and has low genetic diversity. In contrast, the amphi-Atlantic species M. alcicornis shows high genetic connectivity within the Brazilian Province, and within the Caribbean Province (including Bermuda), despite low levels of gene flow between these populations and across the tropical Atlantic. These patterns reflect the importance of the Amazon-Orinoco Plume and the Mid-Atlantic Barrier as biogeographic barriers, and suggest that

  6. Growth form-dependent response to physical disturbance and thermal stress in Acropora corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muko, S.; Arakaki, S.; Nagao, M.; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2013-03-01

    To predict the community structure in response to changing environmental conditions, it is necessary to know the species-specific reaction and relative impact strength of each disturbance. We investigated the coral communities in two sites, an exposed and a protected site, at Iriomote Island, Japan, from 2005 to 2008. During the study period, a cyclone and thermal stress were observed. All Acropora colonies, classified into four morphologies (arborescent, tabular, corymbose, and digitate), were identified and tracked through time to calculate the annual mortality and growth rate. The mortality of all Acropora colonies in the protected site was lower than that in the exposed site during the period without disturbances. Extremely higher mortality due to bleaching was observed in tabular and corymbose Acropora, compared to other growth forms, at the protected sites after thermal stress. In contrast, physical disturbance by a tropical cyclone induced the highest mortality in arborescent and digitate corals at the exposed site. Moreover, arborescent corals exhibited a remarkable decline 1 year after the tropical cyclone at the exposed site. The growth of colonies that survived coral bleaching did not decrease in the following year compared to previous year for all growth forms, but the growth of arborescent and tabular remnant corals at the exposed site declined severely after the tropical cyclone compared to previous year. The delayed mortality and lowered growth rate after the tropical cyclone were probably due to the damage caused by the tropical cyclone. These results indicate that the cyclone had a greater impact on fragile corals than expected. This study provides useful information for the evaluation of Acropora coral response to progressing global warming conditions, which are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity in the near future.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

    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 here suggest that this species accounts for most reported cases of AEFW infestations. We show that local parasitic activity impairs the light-acclimation capacity of the whole host colony. A. acroporae acquires excellent camouflage by harbouring photosynthetically competent, host-derived zooxanthellae and pigments of the green-fluorescent protein family. It shows a preference for Acropora valida but accepts a broad host range. Parasite survival in isolation (5-7 d) potentially allows for an invasion when introduced as non-native species in coral reefs.

  8. Species profiles: Life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida): Reef-building corals. [Acropora cervicornis; Acropora palmata; Montastraea annularis; Montastraea cavernosa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

    Four species of reef-building corals are considered: elkhorn coral, staghorn coral, common star coral, and large star coral. All four species spawn annually in the fall during hurricane season. Juvenile recruitment is low in all four species. Rapid growth rates of species in the genus Acropora (10 to 20 cm/yr) contrast with slower growth rates of species in the genus Montastraea (1.0 to 2.0 cm/yr), but both species of Montastraea are also important in reef development due to their form and great longevity. Shallow-water colonies of Montastraea survive hurricanes; shallow colonies of Acropora do not. Because of their dependence on photosynthesis for all of their carbon acquisition, the Acropora species reviewed here have a more restricted depth distribution (0 to 30 m) than do the Montastraea species considered (0 to 70 m). All four species are subject to intense predation by the snail predator, Coralliophila. Species of Montastraea are susceptible to infection from blue-green algae, which produce ''black band disease;'' species of Acropora are susceptible to a different, as yet unidentified pathogen, that produces ''white-band'' disease. Increased water turbidity and sedimentation cause reduced growth rates and partial or whole mortality in all four species.

  9. The genetics of colony form and function in Caribbean Acropora corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Kaluziak, Stefan T; Vollmer, Steven V

    2014-12-17

    Colonial reef-building corals have evolved a broad spectrum of colony morphologies based on coordinated asexual reproduction of polyps on a secreted calcium carbonate skeleton. Though cnidarians have been shown to possess and use similar developmental genes to bilaterians during larval development and polyp formation, little is known about genetic regulation of colony morphology in hard corals. We used RNA-seq to evaluate transcriptomic differences between functionally distinct regions of the coral (apical branch tips and branch bases) in two species of Caribbean Acropora, the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis, and the elkhorn coral, A. palmata. Transcriptome-wide gene profiles differed significantly between different parts of the coral colony as well as between species. Genes showing differential expression between branch tips and bases were involved in developmental signaling pathways, such as Wnt, Notch, and BMP, as well as pH regulation, ion transport, extracellular matrix production and other processes. Differences both within colonies and between species identify a relatively small number of genes that may contribute to the distinct "staghorn" versus "elkhorn" morphologies of these two sister species. The large number of differentially expressed genes supports a strong division of labor between coral branch tips and branch bases. Genes involved in growth of mature Acropora colonies include the classical signaling pathways associated with development of cnidarian larvae and polyps as well as morphological determination in higher metazoans.

  10. Utilization of mucus from the coral Acropora palmata by the pathogen Serratia marcescens and by environmental and coral commensal bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

    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 Acroporid corals) grew to higher population densities on components of mucus from the host coral. In an in vitro coculture on mucus from Acropora palmata, S. marcescens PDL100 isolates outgrew coral isolates. The white pox pathogen did not differ from other bacteria in growth on mucus from a nonhost coral, Montastraea faveolata. The ability of S. marcescens to cause disease in acroporid corals may be due, at least in part, to the ability of strain PDL100 to build to higher population numbers within the mucus surface layer of its acroporid host. During growth on mucus from A. palmata, similar glycosidase activities were present in coral commensal bacteria, in S. marcescens PDL100, and in environmental and human isolates of S. marcescens. The temporal regulation of these activities during growth on mucus, however, was distinct in the isolates. During early stages of growth on mucus, enzymatic activities in S. marcescens PDL100 were most similar to those in coral commensals. After overnight incubation on mucus, enzymatic activities in a white pox pathogen were most similar to those in pathogenic Serratia strains isolated from human mucosal surfaces.

  11. Application of the coral health chart to determine bleaching status of Acropora downingi in a subtropical coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oladi, Mahshid; Shokri, Mohammad Reza; Rajabi-Maham, Hassan

    2017-06-01

    The `Coral Health Chart' has become a popular tool for monitoring coral bleaching worldwide. The scleractinian coral Acropora downingi (Wallace 1999) is highly vulnerable to temperature anomalies in the Persian Gulf. Our study tested the reliability of Coral Health Chart scores for the assessment of bleaching-related changes in the mitotic index (MI) and density of zooxanthellae cells in A. downingi in Qeshm Island, the Persian Gulf. The results revealed that, at least under severe conditions, it can be used as an effective proxy for detecting changes in the density of normal, transparent, or degraded zooxanthellae and MI. However, its ability to discern changes in pigment concentration and total zooxanthellae density should be viewed with some caution in the Gulf region, probably because the high levels of environmental variability in this region result in inherent variations in the characteristics of zooxanthellae among "healthy" looking corals.

  12. Is Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) making a comeback in the Virgin Islands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2000-01-01

    White band disease (WBD) ravaged Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) on many coral reefs in the Caribbean in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, including those around St. John and St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands—USVI (Gladfelter 1982, Rogers 1985). Quantitative data, photographs, and anecdotal observations indicate WBD killed large stands of elkhorn coral in the USVI from about 1976 until sometime in the late 1980’s. Branching Acroporid species, which are most susceptible to WBD, are also the most vulnerable to storm damage (Rogers et al. 1982). Since 1979, eight hurricanes have passed near or over the USVI. Because elkhorn coral contributed most of the living coral and determined the physical structure of many shallow reef zones, its demise dramatically altered many areas. But now, some of the reefs in the Virgin Islands once again have large, actively growing colonies of this important, reef-building species.

  13. Genetic Susceptibility, Colony Size, and Water Temperature Drive White-Pox Disease on the Coral Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Muller, Erinn M.; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, g...

  14. Additive effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature on the branched coral Acropora formosa in Nha Trang, Vietnam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Amid, C.; Olstedt, M.; Gunnarsson, J.S.; Lan, Le H.; Tran Thi Minh, H.; Brink, van den P.J.; Hellström, M.; Tedengren, M.

    2017-01-01

    The combined effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature were studied on the tropical staghorn coral Acropora formosa, in Nha Trang bay, Vietnam. The corals were collected from two different reefs, one close to a polluted fish farm and one in a marine-protected area (MPA). In the

  15. Neogene reef coral assemblages of the Bocas del Toro region, Panama: the rise of Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, J. S.; McNeill, D. F.; Budd, A. F.; Coates, A. G.

    2012-03-01

    Temporal patterns are evaluated in Neogene reef coral assemblages from the Bocas del Toro Basin of Panama in order to understand how reef ecosystems respond to long-term environmental change. Analyses are based on a total of 1,702 zooxanthellate coral specimens collected from six coral-bearing units ranging in age from the earliest Late Miocene to the Early Pleistocene: (1) Valiente Formation (12-11 Ma), (2) Fish Hole Member of the Old Bank Formation (5.8-5.6 Ma), (3) La Gruta Member of the Isla Colon Formation (2.2-1.4 Ma), (4) Ground Creek Member of the Isla Colon Formation (2.2-1.4 Ma), (5) Mimitimbi Member of the Urracá Formation (1.2-0.8 Ma), and (6) Hill Point Member of the Urracá Formation (1.2-0.8 Ma). Over 100 coral species occur in the six units, with faunal assemblages ranging from less than 10% extant taxa (Valiente Formation) to over 85% extant taxa (Ground Creek Member). The collections provide new temporal constraints on the emergence of modern Caribbean reefs, with the La Gruta Member containing the earliest occurrence of large monospecific stands of the dominant Caribbean reef coral Acropora palmata, and the Urracá Formation containing the last fossil occurrences of 15 regionally extinct taxa. Canonical correspondence analysis of 41 Late Miocene to Recent reef coral assemblages from the Caribbean region suggests changes in community structure coincident with effective oceanic closure of the Central American Seaway (~3.5 Ma). These changes, including increased Acropora dominance, may have contributed to a protracted period of elevated extinction debt prior to the major peak in regional coral extinctions (~2-1 Ma).

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, MK; Sunagawa, S; Voolstra, Christian R.; Medina, M

    2010-01-01

    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.

  19. On the occurrence of fishes in relation to corals in Curaçao

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, W.P.

    1974-01-01

    During the period from 10.IV.1969 until 14.IV.1970 an inventory was taken of 9 Millepora-fields and 8 Acropora palmata-fields in shallow water along the southcoast of Curaçao. From these fields all fishes were collected and one specimen of every species of coral. With the aid of a method used in the

  20. 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.

  1. Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Bartels, Erich; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Enochs, Ian C.; Kolodziej, G.; Toth, Lauren T.; Manzello, Derek P.

    2017-09-01

    Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef restoration efforts to date. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for 6 months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from PVC trees in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography, and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on grow-out method, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics and suggest that there is genetically based variability in coral calcification performance.

  2. Fast growth may impair regeneration capacity in the branching coral Acropora muricata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denis, Vianney; Guillaume, Mireille M M; Goutx, Madeleine; de Palmas, Stéphane; Debreuil, Julien; Baker, Andrew C; Boonstra, Roxane K; Bruggemann, J Henrich

    2013-01-01

    Regeneration of artificially induced lesions was monitored in nubbins of the branching coral Acropora muricata at two reef-flat sites representing contrasting environments at Réunion Island (21°07'S, 55°32'E). Growth of these injured nubbins was examined in parallel, and compared to controls. Biochemical compositions of the holobiont and the zooxanthellae density were determined at the onset of the experiment, and the photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm ) of zooxanthellae was monitored during the experiment. Acropora muricata rapidly regenerated small lesions, but regeneration rates significantly differed between sites. At the sheltered site characterized by high temperatures, temperature variations, and irradiance levels, regeneration took 192 days on average. At the exposed site, characterized by steadier temperatures and lower irradiation, nubbins demonstrated fast lesion repair (81 days), slower growth, lower zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a concentration and lipid content than at the former site. A trade-off between growth and regeneration rates was evident here. High growth rates seem to impair regeneration capacity. We show that environmental conditions conducive to high zooxanthellae densities in corals are related to fast skeletal growth but also to reduced lesion regeneration rates. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity may be related to limited availability of energetic and cellular resources, consequences of coral holobionts operating at high levels of photosynthesis and associated growth.

  3. Fast growth may impair regeneration capacity in the branching coral Acropora muricata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vianney Denis

    Full Text Available Regeneration of artificially induced lesions was monitored in nubbins of the branching coral Acropora muricata at two reef-flat sites representing contrasting environments at Réunion Island (21°07'S, 55°32'E. Growth of these injured nubbins was examined in parallel, and compared to controls. Biochemical compositions of the holobiont and the zooxanthellae density were determined at the onset of the experiment, and the photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm of zooxanthellae was monitored during the experiment. Acropora muricata rapidly regenerated small lesions, but regeneration rates significantly differed between sites. At the sheltered site characterized by high temperatures, temperature variations, and irradiance levels, regeneration took 192 days on average. At the exposed site, characterized by steadier temperatures and lower irradiation, nubbins demonstrated fast lesion repair (81 days, slower growth, lower zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a concentration and lipid content than at the former site. A trade-off between growth and regeneration rates was evident here. High growth rates seem to impair regeneration capacity. We show that environmental conditions conducive to high zooxanthellae densities in corals are related to fast skeletal growth but also to reduced lesion regeneration rates. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity may be related to limited availability of energetic and cellular resources, consequences of coral holobionts operating at high levels of photosynthesis and associated growth.

  4. U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R.; Roff, George; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yue-xing; Done, Terence J.; McCook, Laurence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2017-09-01

    Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (shifted baseline.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutherland, Kathryn Patterson; Shaban, Sameera; Joyner, Jessica L; Porter, James W; Lipp, Erin K

    2011-01-01

    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.

  7. 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. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  8. Genetic diversity and connectivity in the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis in Florida.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth M Hemond

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Over the past three decades, populations of the dominant shallow water Caribbean corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have been devastated by white-band disease (WBD, resulting in the listing of both species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A key to conserving these threatened corals is understanding how their populations are genetically interconnected throughout the greater Caribbean. Genetic research has demonstrated that gene flow is regionally restricted across the Caribbean in both species. Yet, despite being an important site of coral reef research, little genetic data has been available for the Florida Acropora, especially for the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis. In this study, we present new mitochondrial DNA sequence data from 52 A. cervicornis individuals from 22 sites spread across the upper and lower Florida Keys, which suggest that Florida's A. cervicornis populations are highly genetically interconnected (F(ST = -0.081. Comparison between Florida and existing mtDNA data from six regional Caribbean populations indicates that Florida possesses high levels of standing genetic diversity (h = 0.824 relative to the rest of the greater Caribbean (h = 0.701+/-0.043. We find that the contemporary level of gene flow across the greater Caribbean, including Florida, is restricted (Phi(CT = 0.117, but evidence from shared haplotypes suggests the Western Caribbean has historically been a source of genetic variation for Florida. Despite the current patchiness of A. cervicornis in Florida, the relatively high genetic diversity and connectivity within Florida suggest that this population may have sufficient genetic variation to be viable and resilient to environmental perturbation and disease. Limited genetic exchange across regional populations of the greater Caribbean, including Florida, indicates that conservation efforts for A. cervicornis should focus on maintaining and managing populations locally rather than

  9. Genetic diversity and connectivity in the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2010-01-11

    Over the past three decades, populations of the dominant shallow water Caribbean corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have been devastated by white-band disease (WBD), resulting in the listing of both species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A key to conserving these threatened corals is understanding how their populations are genetically interconnected throughout the greater Caribbean. Genetic research has demonstrated that gene flow is regionally restricted across the Caribbean in both species. Yet, despite being an important site of coral reef research, little genetic data has been available for the Florida Acropora, especially for the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis. In this study, we present new mitochondrial DNA sequence data from 52 A. cervicornis individuals from 22 sites spread across the upper and lower Florida Keys, which suggest that Florida's A. cervicornis populations are highly genetically interconnected (F(ST) = -0.081). Comparison between Florida and existing mtDNA data from six regional Caribbean populations indicates that Florida possesses high levels of standing genetic diversity (h = 0.824) relative to the rest of the greater Caribbean (h = 0.701+/-0.043). We find that the contemporary level of gene flow across the greater Caribbean, including Florida, is restricted (Phi(CT) = 0.117), but evidence from shared haplotypes suggests the Western Caribbean has historically been a source of genetic variation for Florida. Despite the current patchiness of A. cervicornis in Florida, the relatively high genetic diversity and connectivity within Florida suggest that this population may have sufficient genetic variation to be viable and resilient to environmental perturbation and disease. Limited genetic exchange across regional populations of the greater Caribbean, including Florida, indicates that conservation efforts for A. cervicornis should focus on maintaining and managing populations locally rather than relying on larval

  10. Sr/Ca-Sea surface temperature calibration in the branching Caribbean coral Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallup, Christina D.; Olson, Donna M.; Edwards, R. Lawrence; Gruhn, Leah M.; Winter, Amos; Taylor, Frederick W.

    2006-02-01

    We measured Sr/Ca ratios by thermal ionization mass spectrometry in radial and axial growth of modern Caribbean Acropora palmata corals. Comparison of our results with sea surface temperature (SST) allows radial and axial Sr/Ca-SST calibrations of Sr/Ca (mmol/mol) = 11.30 - 0.07072 × SST (°C) and Sr/Ca (mmol/mol) = 11.32 - 0.06281 x SST (°C), respectively. Application of the calibrations to fossil Acropora palmata from the last glacial maximum in Barbados (Guilderson et al., 1994) imply ~7°C cooler conditions than the present, much larger than the 1-1.5° cooling suggested by modern analog technique foraminifera-based estimates (Trend-Staid and Prell, 2002). If the foraminifera-based estimates are correct, then the excess cooling suggested by the Barbados corals could be explained by a 5% shift in the marine Sr/Ca ratio or an addition of ~20% abiotic secondary aragonite.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    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

  12. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polato, Nicholas R; Vera, J Cristobal; Baums, Iliana B

    2011-01-01

    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. 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. 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 considerable exposure to genotoxic stress over long life

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

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    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

  15. Ocean acidification compromises recruitment success of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Mason, Benjamin; Miller, Margaret; Langdon, Chris

    2010-11-23

    Ocean acidification (OA) refers to the ongoing decline in oceanic pH resulting from the uptake of atmospheric CO(2). Mounting experimental evidence suggests that OA will have negative consequences for a variety of marine organisms. Whereas the effect of OA on the calcification of adult reef corals is increasingly well documented, effects on early life history stages are largely unknown. Coral recruitment, which necessitates successful fertilization, larval settlement, and postsettlement growth and survivorship, is critical to the persistence and resilience of coral reefs. To determine whether OA threatens successful sexual recruitment of reef-building corals, we tested fertilization, settlement, and postsettlement growth of Acropora palmata at pCO(2) levels that represent average ambient conditions during coral spawning (∼400 μatm) and the range of pCO(2) increases that are expected to occur in this century [∼560 μatm (mid-CO(2)) and ∼800 μatm (high-CO(2))]. Fertilization, settlement, and growth were all negatively impacted by increasing pCO(2), and impairment of fertilization was exacerbated at lower sperm concentrations. The cumulative impact of OA on fertilization and settlement success is an estimated 52% and 73% reduction in the number of larval settlers on the reef under pCO(2) conditions projected for the middle and the end of this century, respectively. Additional declines of 39% (mid-CO(2)) and 50% (high-CO(2)) were observed in postsettlement linear extension rates relative to controls. These results suggest that OA has the potential to impact multiple, sequential early life history stages, thereby severely compromising sexual recruitment and the ability of coral reefs to recover from disturbance.

  16. The microbial biosphere of the coral Acropora cervicornis in Northeastern Puerto Rico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Filipa Godoy-Vitorino

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Background Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystems in the marine realm, and they not only contribute a plethora of ecosystem services to other marine organisms, but they also are beneficial to humankind via, for instance, their role as nurseries for commercially important fish species. Corals are considered holobionts (host + symbionts since they are composed not only of coral polyps, but also algae, other microbial eukaryotes and prokaryotes. In recent years, Caribbean reef corals, including the once-common scleractinian coral Acropora cervicornis, have suffered unprecedented mortality due to climate change-related stressors. Unfortunately, our basic knowledge of the molecular ecophysiology of reef corals, particularly with respect to their complex bacterial microbiota, is currently too poor to project how climate change will affect this species. For instance, we do not know how light influences microbial communities of A. cervicornis, arguably the most endangered of all Caribbean coral species. To this end, we characterized the microbiota of A. cervicornis inhabiting water depths with different light regimes. Methods Six A. cervicornis fragments from different individuals were collected at two different depths (three at 1.5 m and three at 11 m from a reef 3.2 km off the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico. We characterized the microbial communities by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene region V4 with the Illumina platform. Results A total of 173,137 good-quality sequences were binned into 803 OTUs with a 97% similarity. We uncovered eight bacterial phyla at both depths with a dominance of 725 Rickettsiales OTUs (Proteobacteria. A fewer number (38 of low dominance OTUs varied by depth and taxa enriched in shallow water corals included Proteobacteria (e.g. Rhodobacteraceae and Serratia and Firmicutes (Streptococcus. Those enriched in deeper water corals featured different Proteobacterial taxa (Campylobacterales and Bradyrhizobium and Firmicutes

  17. Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Bartels, Erich; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Enochs, Ian C.; Kolodziej, Graham; Toth, Lauren; Manzello, Derek P.

    2017-01-01

    Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef restoration efforts to date. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for 6 months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from PVC trees in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography, and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on grow-out method, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics and suggest that there is genetically based variability in coral calcification performance.

  18. 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

    2015-12-18

    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.

  19. The etiology of white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patterson, Kathryn L; Porter, James W; Ritchie, Kim B; Polson, Shawn W; Mueller, Erich; Peters, Esther C; Santavy, Deborah L; Smith, Garriet W

    2002-06-25

    Populations of the shallow-water Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are being decimated by white pox disease, with losses of living cover in the Florida Keys typically in excess of 70%. The rate of tissue loss is rapid, averaging 2.5 cm2 x day(-1), and is greatest during periods of seasonally elevated temperature. In Florida, the spread of white pox fits the contagion model, with nearest neighbors most susceptible to infection. In this report, we identify a common fecal enterobacterium, Serratia marcescens, as the causal agent of white pox. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a bacterial species associated with the human gut has been shown to be a marine invertebrate pathogen.

  20. Density dependence drives habitat production and survivorship of Acropora cervicornis used for restoration on a Caribbean coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark C Ladd

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available AbstractCoral restoration is gaining traction as a viable strategy to help restore degraded reefs. While the nascent field of coral restoration has rapidly progressed in the past decade, significant knowledge gaps remain regarding the drivers of restoration success that may impede our ability to effectively restore coral reef communities. Here, we conducted a field experiment to investigate the influence of coral density on the growth, habitat production, and survival of corals outplanted for restoration. We used nursery-raised colonies of Acropora cervicornis to experimentally establish populations of corals with either 3, 6, 12, or 24 corals within 4m2 plots, generating a gradient of coral densities ranging from 0.75 corals m-2 to 12 corals m-2. After 13 months we found that density had a significant effect on the growth, habitat production, and survivorship of restored corals. We found that coral survivorship increased as colony density decreased. Importantly, the signal of density dependent effects was context dependent. Our data suggest that positive density dependent effects influenced habitat production at densities of 3 corals m-2, but further increases in density resulted in negative density dependent effects with decreasing growth and survivorship of corals. These findings highlight the importance of density dependence for coral restoration planning and demonstrate the need to evaluate the influence of density for other coral species used for restoration. Further work focused on the mechanisms causing density dependence such as increased herbivory, rapid disease transmission, or altered predation rates are important next steps to advance our ability to effectively restore coral reefs.

  1. Experimental antibiotic treatment identifies potential pathogens of white band disease in the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweet, M J; Croquer, A; Bythell, J C

    2014-08-07

    Coral diseases have been increasingly reported over the past few decades and are a major contributor to coral decline worldwide. The Caribbean, in particular, has been noted as a hotspot for coral disease, and the aptly named white syndromes have caused the decline of the dominant reef building corals throughout their range. White band disease (WBD) has been implicated in the dramatic loss of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata since the 1970s, resulting in both species being listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list. The causal agent of WBD remains unknown, although recent studies based on challenge experiments with filtrate from infected hosts concluded that the disease is probably caused by bacteria. Here, we report an experiment using four different antibiotic treatments, targeting different members of the disease-associated microbial community. Two antibiotics, ampicillin and paromomycin, arrested the disease completely, and by comparing with community shifts brought about by treatments that did not arrest the disease, we have identified the likely candidate causal agent or agents of WBD. Our interpretation of the experimental treatments is that one or a combination of up to three specific bacterial types, detected consistently in diseased corals but not detectable in healthy corals, are likely causal agents of WBD. In addition, a histophagous ciliate (Philaster lucinda) identical to that found consistently in association with white syndrome in Indo-Pacific acroporas was also consistently detected in all WBD samples and absent in healthy coral. Treatment with metronidazole reduced it to below detection limits, but did not arrest the disease. However, the microscopic disease signs changed, suggesting a secondary role in disease causation for this ciliate. In future studies to identify a causal agent of WBD via tests of Henle-Koch's postulates, it will be vital to experimentally control for populations

  2. Variability of spawning time (lunar day) in Acropora versus merulinid corals: a 7-yr record of in situ coral spawning in Taiwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Che-Hung; Nozawa, Yoko

    2017-12-01

    Despite the global accumulation of coral spawning records over the past three decades, information on inter-annual variation in spawning time is still insufficient, resulting in difficulty in predicting coral spawning time. Here, we present new information on in situ spawning times of scleractinian corals at Lyudao, Taiwan, covering their inter-annual variations over a 7-yr period (2010-2016). Spawning of 42 species from 16 genera in eight families was recorded. The majority were hermaphroditic spawners (38 of 42 species), and their spawning occurred 2-4 h after sunset on 1-11 d after the full moon (AFM), mostly in April and May. There were two distinct patterns in the two dominant taxa, the genus Acropora (14 species) and the family Merulinidae (18 species in eight genera). The annual spawning of Acropora corals mostly occurred on a single night in May with high inter-annual variation of spawning (lunar) days between 1 and 11 d AFM. In contrast, the annual spawning of merulinid corals commonly occurred over 2-3 consecutive nights in two consecutive months, April and May, with the specific range of spawning days around the last quarter moon (between 5 and 8 d AFM). The distinct spawning patterns of these taxa were also documented at Okinawa and Kochi, Japan, where similar long-term monitoring of in situ coral spawning has been conducted. This variability in spawning days implies different regulatory mechanisms of synchronous spawning where Acropora corals might be more sensitive to exogenous environmental factors (hourglass mechanism), compared to merulinid corals, which may rely more on endogenous biological rhythms (oscillator mechanism).

  3. Human sewage identified as likely source of white pox disease of the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutherland, Kathryn Patterson; Porter, James W; Turner, Jeffrey W; Thomas, Brian J; Looney, Erin E; Luna, Trevor P; Meyers, Meredith K; Futch, J Carrie; Lipp, Erin K

    2010-05-01

    Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, has been decimated in recent years, resulting in the listing of this species as threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act. A major contributing factor in the decline of this iconic species is white pox disease. In 2002, we identified the faecal enterobacterium, Serratia marcescens, as an etiological agent for white pox. During outbreaks in 2003 a unique strain of S. marcescens was identified in both human sewage and white pox lesions. This strain (PDR60) was also identified from corallivorious snails (Coralliophila abbreviata), reef water, and two non-acroporid coral species, Siderastrea siderea and Solenastrea bournoni. Identification of PDR60 in sewage, diseased Acropora palmata and other reef invertebrates within a discrete time frame suggests a causal link between white pox and sewage contamination on reefs and supports the conclusion that humans are a likely source of this disease.

  4. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Manzello, Derek; Lirman, Diego

    2017-01-01

    The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  5. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Crawford Drury

    Full Text Available The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  6. Comparative analysis of the genomes of Stylophora pistillata and Acropora digitifera provides evidence for extensive differences between species of corals

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-12-08

    Stony corals form the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Their phylogeny is characterized by a deep evolutionary divergence that separates corals into a robust and complex clade dating back to at least 245 mya. However, the genomic consequences and clade-specific evolution remain unexplored. In this study we have produced the genome of a robust coral, Stylophora pistillata, and compared it to the available genome of a complex coral, Acropora digitifera. We conducted a fine-scale gene-based analysis focusing on ortholog groups. Among the core set of conserved proteins, we found an emphasis on processes related to the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Genes associated with the algal symbiosis were also independently expanded in both species, but both corals diverged on the identity of ortholog groups expanded, and we found uneven expansions in genes associated with innate immunity and stress response. Our analyses demonstrate that coral genomes can be surprisingly disparate. Future analyses incorporating more genomic data should be able to determine whether the patterns elucidated here are not only characteristic of the differences between S. pistillata and A. digitifera but also representative of corals from the robust and complex clade at large.

  7. Comparative analysis of the genomes of Stylophora pistillata and Acropora digitifera provides evidence for extensive differences between species of corals

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.; Li, Yong; Liew, Yi Jin; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Zoccola, Didier; Flot, Jean-Franç ois; Tambutté , Sylvie; Allemand, Denis; Aranda, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    Stony corals form the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Their phylogeny is characterized by a deep evolutionary divergence that separates corals into a robust and complex clade dating back to at least 245 mya. However, the genomic consequences and clade-specific evolution remain unexplored. In this study we have produced the genome of a robust coral, Stylophora pistillata, and compared it to the available genome of a complex coral, Acropora digitifera. We conducted a fine-scale gene-based analysis focusing on ortholog groups. Among the core set of conserved proteins, we found an emphasis on processes related to the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Genes associated with the algal symbiosis were also independently expanded in both species, but both corals diverged on the identity of ortholog groups expanded, and we found uneven expansions in genes associated with innate immunity and stress response. Our analyses demonstrate that coral genomes can be surprisingly disparate. Future analyses incorporating more genomic data should be able to determine whether the patterns elucidated here are not only characteristic of the differences between S. pistillata and A. digitifera but also representative of corals from the robust and complex clade at large.

  8. Abundance and Multilocus Sequence Analysis of Vibrio Bacteria Associated with Diseased Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata) of the Florida Keys.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemp, Keri M; Westrich, Jason R; Alabady, Magdy S; Edwards, Martinique L; Lipp, Erin K

    2018-01-15

    The critically endangered elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) is affected by white pox disease (WPX) throughout the Florida Reef Tract and wider Caribbean. The bacterium Serratia marcescens was previously identified as one etiologic agent of WPX but is no longer consistently detected in contemporary outbreaks. It is now believed that multiple etiologic agents cause WPX; however, to date, no other potential pathogens have been thoroughly investigated. This study examined the association of Vibrio bacteria with WPX occurrence from August 2012 to 2014 at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys, USA. The concentration of cultivable Vibrio was consistently greater in WPX samples than in healthy samples. The abundance of Vibrio bacteria relative to total bacteria was four times higher in samples from WPX lesions than in adjacent apparently healthy regions of diseased corals based on quantitative PCR (qPCR). Multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) was used to assess the diversity of 69 Vibrio isolates collected from diseased and apparently healthy A. palmata colonies and the surrounding seawater. Vibrio species with known pathogenicity to corals were detected in both apparently healthy and diseased samples. While the causative agent(s) of contemporary WPX outbreaks remains elusive, our results suggest that Vibrio spp. may be part of a nonspecific heterotrophic bacterial bloom rather than acting as primary pathogens. This study highlights the need for highly resolved temporal sampling in situ to further elucidate the role of Vibrio during WPX onset and progression. IMPORTANCE Coral diseases are increasing worldwide and are now considered a major contributor to coral reef decline. In particular, the Caribbean has been noted as a coral disease hot spot, owing to the dramatic loss of framework-building acroporid corals due to tissue loss diseases. The pathogenesis of contemporary white pox disease (WPX) outbreaks in Acropora palmata remains poorly understood. This study investigates the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portune, Kevin J; Voolstra, Christian R; Medina, Mónica; Szmant, Alina M

    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 12h 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 131h 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 24.5hpf 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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. 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.

  11. Elevated temperature affects development, survivorship, and settlement of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck 1816).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randall, Carly J; Szmant, Alina M

    2009-12-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures during the late summer have the potential to negatively affect the development and survivorship of the larvae of reef corals that are reproductive during that time of year. Acropora palmata, a major Caribbean hermatype, reproduces annually during August and September. A. palmata populations have severely declined over the past three decades, and recovery will require high recruitment rates. Such recruitment will be limited if larval supply is reduced by elevated temperatures. The effects of elevated temperatures on development, survival, and larval settlement of A. palmata were investigated by culturing newly fertilized eggs at temperatures ranging from 27.5 to 31.5 degrees C. Development was accelerated and the percentage of developmental abnormalities increased at higher temperatures. Embryo mortality peaked during gastrulation, indicating that this complex developmental process is particularly sensitive to elevated temperatures. Larvae cultured at 30 and 31.5 degrees C experienced as much as an 8-fold decrease in survivorship compared to those at 28 degrees C. Additionally, settlement was 62% at 28 degrees C compared to 37% at 31.5 degrees C. These results indicate that embryos and larvae of A. palmata will be negatively affected as sea surface temperatures continue to warm, likely reducing recruitment and the recovery potential of A. palmata on Caribbean reefs.

  12. Genotypic variation influences reproductive success and thermal stress tolerance in the reef building coral, Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, I. B.; Devlin-Durante, M. K.; Polato, N. R.; Xu, D.; Giri, S.; Altman, N. S.; Ruiz, D.; Parkinson, J. E.; Boulay, J. N.

    2013-09-01

    The branching coral Acropora palmata is a foundation species of Caribbean reefs that has been decimated in recent decades by anthropogenic and natural stressors. Declines in population density and genotypic diversity likely reduce successful sexual reproduction in this self-incompatible hermaphrodite and might impede recovery. We investigated variation among genotypes in larval development under thermally stressful conditions. Six two-parent crosses and three four-parent batches were reared under three temperatures and sampled over time. Fertilization rates differed widely with two-parent crosses having lower fertilization rates (5-56 %, mean 22 % ± 22 SD) than batches (from 31 to 87 %, mean 59 % ± 28 SD). Parentage analysis of larvae in batch cultures showed differences in gamete compatibility among parents, coinciding with significant variation in both sperm morphology and egg size. While all larval batches developed more rapidly at increased water temperatures, rate of progression through developmental stages varied among batches, as did swimming speed. Together, these results indicate that loss of genotypic diversity exacerbates already severe limitations in sexual reproductive success of A. palmata. Nevertheless, surviving parental genotypes produce larvae that do vary in their phenotypic response to thermal stress, with implications for adaptation, larval dispersal and population connectivity in the face of warming sea surface temperatures.

  13. Thermal stress exposure, bleaching response, and mortality in the threatened coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, D E; Miller, M W; Bright, A J; Pausch, R E; Valdivia, A

    2017-11-15

    Demographic data for Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and in situ water temperature data from seven upper Florida Keys (USA) reefs revealed three warm thermal stress events between 2010 and 2016. During a mild bleaching event in 2011, up to 59% of colonies bleached, but no mortality resulted. In both 2014 and 2015, severe and unprecedented bleaching was observed with up to 100% of colonies bleached. A. palmata live tissue cover declined by one-third following the 2014-2015 events. Colony mortality of mildly- and non-bleached colonies did not differ but increased significantly with more severe bleaching. Increased bleaching prevalence corresponded to maximum daily average water temperatures above 31.3°C. However, the cumulative days with daily average exceeding 31.0°C provided a better predictor of bleaching response. The bleaching response of surviving colonies in 2015 was not consistent with acclimatization as most individual colonies bleached at least as badly as in 2014. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allan Joseph Bright

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available 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 one year following a series of large swells in March 2008 that fragmented 30 to 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.

  15. 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).

  16. Effects of coal contamination on early life history processes of a reef-building coral, Acropora tenuis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kathryn L E; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Brinkman, Diane L; Burns, Kathryn A; Negri, Andrew P

    2017-01-15

    Successful reproduction and larval dispersal are important for the persistence of marine invertebrate populations, and these early life history processes can be sensitive to marine pollution. Coal is emerging as a contaminant of interest due to the proximity of ports and shipping lanes to coral reefs. To assess the potential hazard of this contaminant, gametes, newly developed embryos, larvae and juveniles of the coral Acropora tenuis were exposed to a range of coal leachate, suspended coal, and coal smothering treatments. Fertilisation was the most sensitive reproductive process tested. Embryo survivorship decreased with increasing suspended coal concentrations and exposure duration, effects on larval settlement varied between treatments, while effects on juvenile survivorship were minimal. Leachate exposures had negligible effects on fertilisation and larval settlement. These results indicate that coral recruitment could be affected by spills that produce plumes of suspended coal particles which interact with gametes and embryos soon after spawning. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  17. Additive effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature on the branched coral Acropora formosa in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amid, C; Olstedt, M; Gunnarsson, J S; Le Lan, H; Tran Thi Minh, H; Van den Brink, P J; Hellström, M; Tedengren, M

    2018-05-01

    The combined effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature were studied on the tropical staghorn coral Acropora formosa, in Nha Trang bay, Vietnam. The corals were collected from two different reefs, one close to a polluted fish farm and one in a marine-protected area (MPA). In the laboratory, branches of the corals were exposed to the herbicide glyphosate at ambient (28 °C) and at 3 °C elevated water temperatures (31 °C). Effects of herbicide and elevated temperature were studied on coral bleaching using photography and digital image analysis (new colorimetric method developed here based on grayscale), chlorophyll a analysis, and symbiotic dinoflagellate (Symbiodinium, referred to as zooxanthellae) counts. All corals from the MPA started to bleach in the laboratory before they were exposed to the treatments, indicating that they were very sensitive, as opposed to the corals collected from the more polluted site, which were more tolerant and showed no bleaching response to temperature increase or herbicide alone. However, the combined exposure to the stressors resulted in significant loss of color, proportional to loss in chlorophyll a and zooxanthellae. The difference in sensitivity of the corals collected from the polluted site versus the MPA site could be explained by different symbiont types: the resilient type C3u and the stress-sensitive types C21 and C23, respectively. The additive effect of elevated temperatures and herbicides adds further weight to the notion that the bleaching of coral reefs is accelerated in the presence of multiple stressors. These results suggest that the corals in Nha Trang bay have adapted to the ongoing pollution to become more tolerant to anthropogenic stressors, and that multiple stressors hamper this resilience. The loss of color and decrease of chlorophyll a suggest that bleaching is related to concentration of chloro-pigments. The colorimetric method could be further fine-tuned and used as a precise, non

  18. Genetic susceptibility, colony size, and water temperature drive white-pox disease on the coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muller, Erinn M; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  20. Genetic susceptibility, colony size, and water temperature drive white-pox disease on the coral Acropora palmata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erinn M Muller

    Full Text Available Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J.; Ritchie, Kim B.; Cohen, Matthew; Lipp, Erin K.; 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 Acroporid corals) grew to higher population densities on components of mucus from the host coral. In an in vitro coculture on mucus from Acropora palmata, S. marcescens PDL100 isolates outgrew coral isolates. The white pox pathogen did not differ from other bacteria in growth on mucus from a nonhost coral, Montastraea faveolata. The ability of S. marcescens to cause disease in acroporid corals may be due, at least in part, to the ability of strain PDL100 to build to higher population numbers within the mucus surface layer of its acroporid host. During growth on mucus from A. palmata, similar glycosidase activities were present in coral commensal bacteria, in S. marcescens PDL100, and in environmental and human isolates of S. marcescens. The temporal regulation of these activities during growth on mucus, however, was distinct in the isolates. During early stages of growth on mucus, enzymatic activities in S. marcescens PDL100 were most similar to those in coral commensals. After overnight incubation on mucus, enzymatic activities in a white pox pathogen were most similar to those in pathogenic Serratia strains isolated from human mucosal surfaces. PMID:19395569

  3. Fragmentation in the branching coral Acropora palmata (Lamarck): growth, survivorship, and reproduction of colonies and fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman

    2000-08-23

    Acropora palmata, a branching coral abundant on shallow reef environments throughout the Caribbean, is susceptible to physical disturbance caused by storms. Accordingly, the survivorship and propagation of this species are tied to its capability to recover after fragmentation. Fragments of A. palmata comprised 40% of ramets within populations that had experienced recent storms. While the survivorship of A. palmata fragments was not directly related to the size of fragments, removal of fragments from areas where they settled was influenced by size. Survivorship of fragments was also affected by type of substratum; the greatest mortality (58% loss within the first month) was observed on sand, whereas fragments placed on top of live colonies of A. palmata fused to the underlying tissue and did not experience any losses. Fragments created by Hurricane Andrew on a Florida reef in August 1992 began developing new growth (proto-branches) 7 months after the storm. The number of proto-branches on fragments was dependent on size, but growth was not affected by the size of fragments. Growth-rates of proto-branches increased exponentially with time (1.7 cm year(-1) for 1993-1994, 2.7 cm year(-1) for 1994-1995, 4.2 cm year(-1) for 1995-1996, and 6.5 cm year(-1) for 1996-1997), taking over 4 years for proto-branches to achieve rates comparable to those of adult colonies on the same reef (6.9 cm year(-1)). In addition to the initial mortality and reduced growth-rates, fragmentation resulted in a loss of reproductive potential. Neither colonies that experienced severe fragmentation nor fragments contained gametes until 4 years after the initial damage. Although A. palmata may survive periodic fragmentation, the long-term effects of this process will depend ultimately on the balance between the benefits and costs of this process.

  4. Recruitment failure in Florida Keys Acropora palmata, a threatened Caribbean coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, D. E.; Miller, M. W.; Kramer, K. L.

    2008-09-01

    Recovery of Acropora palmata from its currently imperiled status depends on recruitment, a process which is poorly documented in existing Caribbean coral population studies. A. palmata is thought to be well adapted to proliferate through the recruitment of fragments resulting from physical disturbances, such as moderate intensity hurricanes. This study monitored fifteen 150 m2 fixed study plots on the upper Florida Keys fore-reef for asexual and sexual recruitment from 2004 to 2007. Between July and October 2005, 4 hurricanes passed by the Florida Keys, producing wind speeds on the reef tract of 23 to 33 m s-1. Surveys following the hurricanes documented an average loss of 52% estimated live tissue area within the study plots. The percentage of “branching” colonies in the population decreased from 67% to 42% while “remnant” colonies (isolated patches of tissue on standing skeleton) increased from 11% to 27%. Although some detached branches remained as loose fragments, more than 70% of the 380 fragments observed in the study plots were dead or rapidly losing tissue 3 weeks after Hurricane Dennis. Over the course of the study, only 27 fragments became attached to the substrate to form successful asexual recruits. Meanwhile, of the 18 new, small encrusting colonies that were observed in the study, only 2 were not attributable to asexual origin (i.e., remnant tissue from colonies or fragments previously observed) and are therefore possible sexual recruits. In summary, the 2005 hurricane season resulted in substantial loss of A. palmata from the upper Florida Keys fore-reef from a combination of physical removal and subsequent disease-like tissue mortality, and yielded few recruits of either sexual or asexual origin. Furthermore, the asexual and sexual fecundity of the remaining population is compromised for the near future due to the lack of branches (i.e., “asexual fecundity”) and overall loss of live tissue.

  5. Disease dynamics and potential mitigation among restored and wild staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lohr, Kathryn E.; Cameron, Caitlin M.; Williams, Dana E.; Peters, Esther C.

    2014-01-01

    The threatened status (both ecologically and legally) of Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, has prompted rapidly expanding efforts in culture and restocking, although tissue loss diseases continue to affect populations. In this study, disease surveillance and histopathological characterization were used to compare disease dynamics and conditions in both restored and extant wild populations. Disease had devastating effects on both wild and restored populations, but dynamics were highly variable and appeared to be site-specific with no significant differences in disease prevalence between wild versus restored sites. A subset of 20 haphazardly selected colonies at each site observed over a four-month period revealed widely varying disease incidence, although not between restored and wild sites, and a case fatality rate of 8%. A tropical storm was the only discernable environmental trigger associated with a consistent spike in incidence across all sites. Lastly, two field mitigation techniques, (1) excision of apparently healthy branch tips from a diseased colony, and (2) placement of a band of epoxy fully enclosing the diseased margin, gave equivocal results with no significant benefit detected for either treatment compared to controls. Tissue condition of associated samples was fair to very poor; unsuccessful mitigation treatment samples had severe degeneration of mesenterial filament cnidoglandular bands. Polyp mucocytes in all samples were infected with suspect rickettsia-like organisms; however, no bacterial aggregates were found. No histological differences were found between disease lesions with gross signs fitting literature descriptions of white-band disease (WBD) and rapid tissue loss (RTL). Overall, our results do not support differing disease quality, quantity, dynamics, nor health management strategies between restored and wild colonies of A. cervicornis in the Florida Keys. PMID:25210660

  6. 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 Reclassification of Elkhorn Acropora palmata and Staghorn Acropora cervicornis Under the... reclassifications of elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) corals under the ESA until April...

  7. 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 energy...... 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 levels...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Starcevic, Antonio; Dunlap, Walter C; Cullum, John; Shick, J Malcolm; Hranueli, Daslav; Long, Paul F

    2010-11-12

    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. 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. 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 bleaching.

  9. Prevalence of virus-like particles within a staghorn scleractinian coral ( Acropora muricata) from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patten, N. L.; Harrison, P. L.; Mitchell, J. G.

    2008-09-01

    Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine whether Acropora muricata coral colonies from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, harboured virus-like particles (VLPs). VLPs were present in all coral colonies sampled at Heron Island (southern GBR) and in tagged coral colonies sampled in at least two of the three sampling periods at Lizard Island (northern GBR). VLPs were observed within gastrodermal and epidermal tissues, and on rarer occasions, within the mesoglea. These VLPs had similar morphologies to known prokaryotic and eukaryotic viruses in other systems. Icosahedral VLPs were observed most frequently, however, filamentous VLPs (FVLPs) and phage were also noted. There were no clear differences in VLP size, morphology or location within the tissues with respect to sample date, coral health status or site. The most common VLP morphotype exhibited icosahedral symmetry, 120-150 nm in diameter, with an electron-dense core and an electronlucent membrane. Larger VLPs of similar morphology were also common. VLPs occurred as single entities, in groups, or in dense clusters, either as free particles within coral tissues, or within membrane-bound vacuoles. VLPs were commonly observed within the perinuclear region, with mitochondria, golgi apparatus and crescent-shaped particles frequently observed within close proximity. The host(s) of these observed VLPs was not clear; however, the different sizes and morphologies of VLPs observed within A. muricata tissues suggest that viruses are infecting either the coral animal, zooxanthellae, intracellular bacteria and/or other coral-associated microbiota, or that the one host is susceptible to infection from more than one type of virus. These results add to the limited but emerging body of evidence that viruses represent another potentially important component of the coral holobiont.

  10. 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

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available 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.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.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 bleaching.

  11. 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.

  12. Delayed fluorescence as an indicator of the influence of the herbicides Irgarol 1051 and Diuron on hard coral Acropora digitifera.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katsumata, Masakazu; Takeuchi, Ichiro

    2017-11-30

    We examined the effect of two herbicides (Irgarol 1051 and Diuron) on symbiotic dinoflagellates in the hard coral Acropora digitifera using delayed fluorescence (DF), specifically assessing changes in molecular membrane transport, i.e. inflow and outflow rates, and the binding of the herbicides to target proteins in photosystem II. The DF approach is rapid (e.g. measurement time, 60 s) and non-invasive, and can provide data on the extent of a photosynthetic system and the activity of its electron carriers. The DF of A. digitifera is inhibited 2 h after exposure to 1 μg/L of either Irgarol or Diuron. Analysis of DF inhibition over time by a compartment model suggests that Irgarol exposure results in a relatively higher inflow rate and lower outflow rate than does Diuron exposure. This suggests that Irgarol exposure more strongly inhibits photosynthesis and that the coral symbiotic dinoflagellates recover less from inhibition. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. 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.

  14. Growth anomalies on the coral genera Acropora and Porites are strongly associated with host density and human population size across the Indo-Pacific.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Greta S Aeby

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Growth anomalies (GAs are common, tumor-like diseases that can cause significant morbidity and decreased fecundity in the major Indo-Pacific reef-building coral genera, Acropora and Porites. GAs are unusually tractable for testing hypotheses about drivers of coral disease because of their pan-Pacific distributions, relatively high occurrence, and unambiguous ease of identification. We modeled multiple disease-environment associations that may underlie the prevalence of Acropora growth anomalies (AGA (n = 304 surveys and Porites growth anomalies (PGA (n = 602 surveys from across the Indo-Pacific. Nine predictor variables were modeled, including coral host abundance, human population size, and sea surface temperature and ultra-violet radiation anomalies. Prevalence of both AGAs and PGAs were strongly host density-dependent. PGAs additionally showed strong positive associations with human population size. Although this association has been widely posited, this is one of the first broad-scale studies unambiguously linking a coral disease with human population size. These results emphasize that individual coral diseases can show relatively distinct patterns of association with environmental predictors, even in similar diseases (growth anomalies found on different host genera (Acropora vs. Porites. As human densities and environmental degradation increase globally, the prevalence of coral diseases like PGAs could increase accordingly, halted only perhaps by declines in host density below thresholds required for disease establishment.

  15. Growth anomalies on the coral genera Acropora and Porites are strongly associated with host density and human population size across the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aeby, Greta S.; Williams, Gareth J.; Franklin, Erik C.; Haapkyla, Jessica; Harvell, C. Drew; Neale, Stephen; Page, Cathie A.; Raymundo, Laurie; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Willis, Bette L.; Work, Thierry M.; Davy, Simon K.

    2011-01-01

    Growth anomalies (GAs) are common, tumor-like diseases that can cause significant morbidity and decreased fecundity in the major Indo-Pacific reef-building coral genera, Acropora and Porites. GAs are unusually tractable for testing hypotheses about drivers of coral disease because of their pan-Pacific distributions, relatively high occurrence, and unambiguous ease of identification. We modeled multiple disease-environment associations that may underlie the prevalence of Acropora growth anomalies (AGA) (n = 304 surveys) and Porites growth anomalies (PGA) (n = 602 surveys) from across the Indo-Pacific. Nine predictor variables were modeled, including coral host abundance, human population size, and sea surface temperature and ultra-violet radiation anomalies. Prevalence of both AGAs and PGAs were strongly host density-dependent. PGAs additionally showed strong positive associations with human population size. Although this association has been widely posited, this is one of the first broad-scale studies unambiguously linking a coral disease with human population size. These results emphasize that individual coral diseases can show relatively distinct patterns of association with environmental predictors, even in similar diseases (growth anomalies) found on different host genera (Acropora vs. Porites). As human densities and environmental degradation increase globally, the prevalence of coral diseases like PGAs could increase accordingly, halted only perhaps by declines in host density below thresholds required for disease establishment.

  16. Cumulative Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Elevated Temperature Compromise the Early Life History Stages of the Coral Acropora tenuis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humanes, Adriana; Noonan, Sam H C; Willis, Bette L; Fabricius, Katharina E; Negri, Andrew P

    2016-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs are experiencing the combined pressures of excess nutrient availability associated with coastal activities and warming seawater temperatures. Both pressures are known to have detrimental effects on the early life history stages of hard corals, but studies of their combined effects on early demographic stages are lacking. We conducted a series of experiments to test the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (three levels) and elevated seawater temperature (up to five levels) on early life history stages of the inshore coral Acropora tenuis, a common species in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Gamete fertilization, larval survivorship and larval settlement were all significantly reduced as temperature increased, but only fertilization was further affected by simultaneous nutrient enrichment. Combined high temperatures and nutrient enrichment affected fertilization in an additive manner, whereas embryo abnormalities increased synergistically. Higher than normal temperatures (32°C) increased coral juvenile growth rates 1.6-fold, but mortality also increased by 50%. The co-occurrence of nutrient enrichment with high temperatures reduced juvenile mortality to 36%, ameliorating temperature stress (antagonistic interaction). Overall, the types of effect (additive vs synergistic or antagonistic) and their magnitude varied among life stages. Gamete and embryo stages were more affected by temperature stress and, in some cases, also by nutrient enrichment than juveniles. The data suggest that coastal runoff events might exacerbate the impacts of warming temperatures on fertilization if these events co-occur during corals spawning. The cumulative impacts of simultaneous exposure to nutrient enrichment and elevated temperatures over all early life history stages increases the likelihood for failure of larval supply and recruitment for this coral species. Our results suggest that improving the water quality of river discharges into coastal areas might help to

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Cumulative Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Elevated Temperature Compromise the Early Life History Stages of the Coral Acropora tenuis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noonan, Sam H. C.; Willis, Bette L.; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Negri, Andrew P.

    2016-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs are experiencing the combined pressures of excess nutrient availability associated with coastal activities and warming seawater temperatures. Both pressures are known to have detrimental effects on the early life history stages of hard corals, but studies of their combined effects on early demographic stages are lacking. We conducted a series of experiments to test the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (three levels) and elevated seawater temperature (up to five levels) on early life history stages of the inshore coral Acropora tenuis, a common species in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Gamete fertilization, larval survivorship and larval settlement were all significantly reduced as temperature increased, but only fertilization was further affected by simultaneous nutrient enrichment. Combined high temperatures and nutrient enrichment affected fertilization in an additive manner, whereas embryo abnormalities increased synergistically. Higher than normal temperatures (32°C) increased coral juvenile growth rates 1.6-fold, but mortality also increased by 50%. The co-occurrence of nutrient enrichment with high temperatures reduced juvenile mortality to 36%, ameliorating temperature stress (antagonistic interaction). Overall, the types of effect (additive vs synergistic or antagonistic) and their magnitude varied among life stages. Gamete and embryo stages were more affected by temperature stress and, in some cases, also by nutrient enrichment than juveniles. The data suggest that coastal runoff events might exacerbate the impacts of warming temperatures on fertilization if these events co-occur during corals spawning. The cumulative impacts of simultaneous exposure to nutrient enrichment and elevated temperatures over all early life history stages increases the likelihood for failure of larval supply and recruitment for this coral species. Our results suggest that improving the water quality of river discharges into coastal areas might help to

  1. Larval settlement preferences and post-settlement survival of the threatened Caribbean corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-01

    The settlement specificity of two threatened Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, was tested by measuring their rates of larval metamorphosis in response to crustose coralline algae (CCA) and other substrata. In the no-choice experiments, the coral larvae were placed in six treatments: filtered seawater (FSW), a fragment of biofilmed dead skeleton of A. palmata, or a fragment of one of four species of CCA ( Hydrolithon boergesenii, Porolithon pachydermum, Paragoniolithon solubile, and Titanoderma prototypum). Within each CCA treatment, there were three different substrata on which to settle and metamorphose: (1) the CCA surface, (2) the rock under the CCA, or (3) the plastic dish. The 5-day-old larvae of both A. palmata and A. cervicornis had similar rates of total metamorphosis (all substrata combined) in every treatment (excluding FSW) even in the absence of CCA. However, there were differences in larval behavior among the CCA species since the larvae settled and metamorphosed on different substrata in the presence of different CCA species. In the no-choice experiments the larvae of both corals had higher rates of metamorphosis on the top surfaces of H. boergesenii and/or T. prototypum than on P. pachydermum. In the choice experiments, the coral larvae were offered two species of CCA in the same dish. When given a choice, both species of coral larvae had more settlement and metamorphosis on the surface of H. boergesenii or T. prototypum or clean rock than onto the surface of P. solubile. After 6 weeks in the field, transplanted A. palmata recruits had approximately 15% survival on both T. prototypum and H. boergesenii, but A. cervicornis recruits only survived on T. prototypum (13%). Some, but not all, CCA species facilitated the larval settlement and post-settlement survival of these two threatened corals, highlighting the importance of benthic community composition for successful coral recruitment.

  2. 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.

  3. Geographic and habitat partitioning of genetically distinct zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium) in Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulstrup, K E; Van Oppen, M J H

    2003-12-01

    Intra- and intercolony diversity and distribution of zooxanthellae in acroporid corals is largely uncharted. In this study, two molecular methods were applied to determine the distribution of zooxanthellae in the branching corals Acropora tenuis and A. valida at several reef locations in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Sun-exposed and shaded parts of all colonies were examined. Single-stranded conformational polymorphism analysis showed that individual colonies of A. tenuis at two locations harbour two strains of Symbiodinium belonging to clade C (C1 and C2), whereas conspecific colonies at two other reefs harboured a single zooxanthella strain. A. valida was found to simultaneously harbour strains belonging to two distinct phylogenetic clades (C and D) at all locations sampled. A novel method with improved sensitivity (quantitative polymerase chain reaction using Taqman fluorogenic probes) was used to map the relative abundance distribution of the two zooxanthella clades. At two of the five sampling locations both coral species were collected. At these two locations, composition of the zooxanthella communities showed the same pattern in both coral species, i.e. correlation with ambient light in Pioneer Bay and an absence thereof in Nelly Bay. The results show that the distribution of genetically distinct zooxanthellae is correlated with light regime and possibly temperature in some (but not all) colonies of A. tenuis and A. valida and at some reef locations, which we interpret as acclimation to local environmental conditions.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    2012-09-01

    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.

  7. The future of coral reefs in the US Virgin Islands: is Acropora palmata more likely to recover than Montastraea annularis complex?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Muller, Erinn; Spitzack, Tony; Miller, Jeff

    2008-01-01

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Potential Costs of Acclimatization to a Warmer Climate: Growth of a Reef Coral with Heat Tolerant vs. Sensitive Symbiont Types

    OpenAIRE

    Jones, Alison; Berkelmans, Ray

    2010-01-01

    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 Kepp...

  10. The relative abundance of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) among other zwitterions in branching coral at Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swan, Hilton B; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth S M; Jones, Graham B; Eyre, Bradley D

    2017-07-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and eleven other target zwitterions were quantified in the branch tips of six Acropora species and Stylophora pistillata hard coral growing on the reef flat surrounding Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS) was used for sample analysis with isotope dilution MS applied to quantify DMSP. The concentration of DMSP was ten times greater in A. aspera than A. valida, with this difference being maintained throughout the spring, summer and winter seasons. In contrast, glycine betaine was present in significantly higher concentrations in these species during the summer than the winter. Exposure of branch tips of A. aspera to air and hypo-saline seawater for up to 1 h did not alter the concentrations of DMSP present in the coral when compared with control samples. DMSP was the most abundant target zwitterion in the six Acropora species examined, ranging from 44-78% of all target zwitterions in A. millepora and A. aspera, respectively. In contrast, DMSP only accounted for 7% in S. pistillata, with glycine betaine and stachydrine collectively accounting for 88% of all target zwitterions in this species. The abundance of DMSP in the six Acropora species examined points to Acropora coral being an important source for the biogeochemical cycling of sulfur throughout the GBR, since this reef-building branching coral dominates the coral cover of the GBR. Graphical Abstract HILIC-MS extracted ion chromatogram showing zwitterionic metabolites from the branching coral Acropora isopora.

  11. Ecological and genetic data indicate recovery of the endangered coral Acropora palmata in Los Roques, Southern Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubillaga, A. L.; Márquez, L. M.; Cróquer, A.; Bastidas, C.

    2008-03-01

    The rapid decline of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata has often been linked with coral reef deterioration in the Caribbean; yet, it remains controversial whether these species are currently recovering or still declining. In this study, the status of ten populations of A. palmata in Los Roques National Park (LRNP), Venezuela is presented. Six of these populations showed signs of recovery. Ten 80 m2 belt-transects were surveyed at each of the ten reef sites. Within belt-transects, each colony was measured (maximum diameter and height) and its status (healthy, diseased or injured) was recorded. Populations in recovery were defined by a dominance of small to medium-sized colonies in densities >1 colony per 10 m2, together with 75% undamaged colonies, a low prevalence of diseases (<10%), and a low density of predators (0.25 snails per colony). Based on allozyme analysis of seven polymorphic loci in four populations ( N = 30), a moderate to high-genetic connectivity among these populations ( F ST = 0.048) was found with a predominance of sexual over asexual reproduction ( N* : N = 1; N go : N = 0.93-1). Both ecological and molecular data support a good prognosis for the recovery of this species in Los Roques.

  12. Ocean acidification does not affect the physiology of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera during a 5-week experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, A.; Kurihara, H.

    2013-03-01

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels, is being absorbed by the oceans and is causing ocean acidification. Ocean acidification involves the decrease of both the pH and the calcium carbonate saturation state. Ocean acidification is predicted to impact the physiology of marine organisms and reduce the calcification rates of corals. In the present study, we measured the rates of calcification, respiration, photosynthesis, and zooxanthellae density of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera under near-natural summertime temperature and sunlight for a 5-week period. We found that these key physiological parameters were not affected by both mid-CO2 (pCO2 = 744 ± 38, pH = 7.97 ± 0.02, Ωarag = 2.6 ± 0.1) and high-CO2 conditions (pCO2 = 2,142 ± 205, pH = 7.56 ± 0.04, Ωarag = 1.1 ± 0.2) throughout the 35 days experimental period. Additionally, there was no significant correlation between calcification rate and seawater aragonite saturation (Ωarag). These results suggest that the impacts of ocean acidification on corals physiology may be more complex than have been previously proposed.

  13. Spawning and fertility of F1 hybrids of the coral genus Acropora in the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isomura, Naoko; Iwao, Kenji; Morita, Masaya; Fukami, Hironobu

    2016-09-01

    The role of hybridization through multi-specific synchronous spawning in the evolution of reef-building corals has been discussed since the 1990s, particularly for the genus Acropora. However, F1 hybrids have been reported as common in only one case in the Caribbean, with no evidence of mechanisms that would allow continuous reproduction of the hybrids. In this study, we report for the first time the fecundity of two F1 hybrid colonies produced experimentally from two Indo-Pacific species, A. intermedia and A. florida. These F1 hybrids spawned at the same time as the parental corals. Backcrossing and F1 hybrid crossing were successful in both directions. Furthermore, more than 90% self-fertilization was achieved in an F1 hybrid, although it was negligible in the parental corals. While it is possible that the F1 hybrid was a chimera, these results suggest that some products of interspecific hybridization may persist as the offspring of self-fertilizing F1 hybrids.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  15. Calicoblastic neoplasms in Acropora palmata, with a review of reports on anomalies of growth and form in corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, E C; Halas, J C; McCarty, H B

    1986-05-01

    Colonies of the elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), possessing raised, whitened, irregularly shaped skeletal protuberances, were discovered at Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks, Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, Key Largo, FL. These lesions exhibited relatively rapid growth and spread along the branches, as polyps were overlaid by coenosteal skeletal material. Histopathological examinations of the soft tissues surrounding and extending into the skeletal masses revealed proliferation of gastrovascular canals and associated calicoblastic epidermis, with loss of normal polyp structures and zooxanthellae. The slightly atypical tumor calicoblasts were cuboidal to columnar, resembling those found in the rapidly growing apical tips. Stable carbon isotope ratios of skeletal samples revealed that the tumor skeleton was isotopically lighter than the skeleton in the normal or apical track regions, indicative of higher tissue metabolic rates and lack of carbon isotope fractionation by zooxanthellae. This condition appears to be a neoplasm of the coral, and it is proposed that it be classified "calicoblastic epithelioma." Several different types of abnormal skeletal deposition, possibly the result of neoplastic processes, have been reported to occur in stony corals and are here reviewed.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Variation in the health and biochemical condition of the coral Acropora tenuis along two water quality gradients on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocker, Melissa M; Francis, David S; Fabricius, Katharina E; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K

    2017-06-30

    This study explores how plasticity in biochemical attributes, used as indicators of health and condition, enables the coral Acropora tenuis to respond to differing water quality regimes in inshore regions of the Great Barrier Reef. Health attributes were monitored along a strong and weak water quality gradient, each with three reefs at increasing distances from a major river source. Attributes differed significantly only along the strong gradient; corals grew fastest, had the least dense skeletons, highest symbiont densities and highest lipid concentrations closest to the river mouth, where water quality was poorest. High nutrient and particulate loads were only detrimental to skeletal density, which decreased as linear extension increased, highlighting a trade-off. Our study underscores the importance of assessing multiple health attributes in coral reef monitoring. For example, autotrophic indices are poor indicators of coral health and condition, but improve when combined with attributes like lipid content and biomass. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chelliah, Alvin; Amar, Halimi Bin; Hyde, Julian; Yewdall, Katie; Steinberg, Peter D; Guest, James R

    2015-01-01

    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., 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. Transplantation experiments with Caribbean Millepora species (Hydrozoa, Coelenterata), including some ecological observations on growth forms

    OpenAIRE

    Weerdt, de, Wallie H.

    1981-01-01

    The historical background of the taxonomic problems in the fire-coral, Millepora, is reviewed. The growth forms of the Caribbean species: Millepora alcicornis Linnaeus, M. complanata Lamarck and M. squarrosa Lamarck are investigated in relation with environmental factors: water movement, current, light and turbidity. Several sites on Curaçao and Bonaire were visited and all forms of Millepora collected. The localities have been divided in biotopes and the relative frequencies of the growth fo...

  1. 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.

  2. 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...... microelectrodes and histological techniques. The high spatial resolution of the microelectrode measurements enabled an evaluation of the extent of physiological changes at, and 2 cm away from, the WS border. Respiration of the coral host was decreased on the skeleton-tissue border but was comparable...... to that of healthy corals only 2 cm away from the border. Histological data, however, showed a decrease in mesogloea thickness on and 2 cm away from the WS border, which correlates with a previously observed allocation of photoassimilates away from the WS border. We suggest that there are colony-wide negative...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Schopmeyer, Stephanie; Galvan, Victor; Drury, Crawford; Baker, Andrew C; Baums, Iliana B

    2014-01-01

    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. 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. 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 nursery species and provide optimism for the potential role that active propagation

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.

    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 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

  6. Diurnal productivity and apparent 14C-calcification in the staghorn coral, Acropora acuminata

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barnes, D.J.; Crossland, C.J.

    1978-01-01

    The rate of 14 C-fixation by Acropora acuminata tissues showed a marked increase after dawn. However, maximum 14 C-fixation was not achieved until early afternoon. The apparent 14 C-incorporation rate into the skeleton of whole branches reached a peak around noon. However, the major period of 14 C-deposition occurred from noon to mid-afternoon. The broad peak of 14 C-incorporation into skeleton of whole branches reflects two rate maxima; a late-morning maximum of zooxanthellae-free terminal calices, probably related to translocation of fixed carbon from basal tissues; and an early afternoon maximum for the zooxanthellae-containing basal areas of branches. (author)

  7. Calcification in the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata: variations in apparent skeletal incorporation of radioisotopes due to different methods of processing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crossland, C.J.; Barnes, D.J.

    1977-01-01

    Pieces of branch from the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata were incubated with 45 CaCl 2 and NaH 14 CO 3 under identical conditions in the light or in the dark. Specimens were then processed in different ways. All specimens were placed in N KOH to digest tissues. Some were placed in KOH immediately after incubation; others were placed in KOH after 2 h washing, or after 2 h extraction with methanol-chloroform-water. Specimens were washed in running fresh water or running seawater; some were killed in liquid N 2 before washing. Radioactivity associated with skeleton and tissues was determined. The method of processing profoundly affected the results. In dark incubations, there was up to a four-fold difference in apparent skeletal incorporation of 45 Ca ++ between average values obtained for the different treatments. For 14 C incorporation, there was a difference of up to 2.5 times. In light incubations, skeletal incorporation of both radioisotopes showed a two-fold difference between high and low average values obtained for the different treatments. (orig.) [de

  8. 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.

  9. Transplantation experiments with Caribbean Millepora species (Hydrozoa, Coelenterata), including some ecological observations on growth forms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weerdt, de Wallie H.

    1981-01-01

    The historical background of the taxonomic problems in the fire-coral, Millepora, is reviewed. The growth forms of the Caribbean species: Millepora alcicornis Linnaeus, M. complanata Lamarck and M. squarrosa Lamarck are investigated in relation with environmental factors: water movement, current,

  10. 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.

  11. Chronic exposure of corals to fine sediments: lethal and sub-lethal impacts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florita Flores

    Full Text Available 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Metabolite profiling of symbiont and host during thermal stress and bleaching in the coral Acropora aspera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hillyer, Katie E.; Dias, Daniel A.; Lutz, Adrian; Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Roessner, Ute; Davy, Simon K.

    2017-03-01

    Rising seawater temperatures pose a significant threat to the persistence of coral reefs. Despite the importance of these systems, major gaps remain in our understanding of how thermal stress and bleaching affect the metabolic networks that underpin holobiont function. We applied gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) metabolomics to detect changes in the intracellular free metabolite pools (polar and semi-polar compounds) of in hospite dinoflagellate symbionts and their coral hosts (and any associated microorganisms) during early- and late-stage thermal bleaching (a reduction of approximately 50 and 70% in symbiont density, respectively). We detected characteristic changes to the metabolite profiles of each symbiotic partner associated with individual cellular responses to thermal, oxidative and osmotic stress, which progressed with the severity of bleaching. Alterations were also indicative of changes to energy-generating and biosynthesis pathways in both partners, with a shift to the increased catabolism of lipid stores. Specifically, in symbiont intracellular metabolite pools, we observed accumulations of multiple free fatty acids, plus the chloroplast-associated antioxidant alpha-tocopherol. In the host, we detected a decline in the abundance of pools of multiple carbohydrates, amino acids and intermediates, in addition to the antioxidant ascorbate. These findings further our understanding of the metabolic changes that occur to symbiont and host (and its associated microorganisms) during thermal bleaching. These findings also provide further insight into the largely undescribed roles of free metabolite pools in cellular homeostasis, signalling and acclimation to thermal stress in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.

  15. 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

  16. 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)

    Negri, Andrew P.; Harford, Andrew J.; Parry, David L.; Dam, Rick A. van

    2011-01-01

    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 IC 50 s 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 o C and 32 o C) on fertilisation and larval metamorphosis. The median inhibition temperatures for fertilisation and metamorphosis were 32.8 o C and 33.0 o C, respectively. Fertilisation IC 50 s for Al, V and Ga were 2997, 2884 and 3430 μg L -1 , respectively. Metamorphosis IC 50 s for Al, V and Ga were 1945, 675 and 3566 μg L -1 , respectively. The wastewater only affected fertilisation and metamorphosis at moderate concentrations (IC 50 s = 63% and 67%, v/v, respectively, at 27 o C), posing a low risk to this species in the field. The effects of wastewater and temperature on fertilisation and metamorphosis were additive.

  17. Bacterial community structure associated with white band disease in the elkhorn coral Acropora palmata determined using culture-independent 16S rRNA techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pantos, Olga; Bythell, John C

    2006-03-23

    Culture-independent molecular (16S ribosomal RNA) techniques showed distinct differences in bacterial communities associated with white band disease (WBD) Type I and healthy elkhorn coral Acropora palmata. Differences were apparent at all levels, with a greater diversity present in tissues of diseased colonies. The bacterial community associated with remote, non-diseased coral was distinct from the apparently healthy tissues of infected corals several cm from the disease lesion. This demonstrates a whole-organism effect from what appears to be a localised disease lesion, an effect that has also been recently demonstrated in white plague-like disease in star coral Montastraea annularis. The pattern of bacterial community structure changes was similar to that recently demonstrated for white plague-like disease and black band disease. Some of the changes are likely to be explained by the colonisation of dead and degrading tissues by a micro-heterotroph community adapted to the decomposition of coral tissues. However, specific ribosomal types that are absent from healthy tissues appear consistently in all samples of each of the diseases. These ribotypes are closely related members of a group of alpha-proteobacteria that cause disease, notably juvenile oyster disease, in other marine organisms. It is clearly important that members of this group are isolated for challenge experiments to determine their role in the diseases.

  18. Corals like it waxed: paraffin-based antifouling technology enhances coral spat survival.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Tebben

    Full Text Available The early post-settlement stage is the most sensitive during the life history of reef building corals. However, few studies have examined the factors that influence coral mortality during this period. Here, the impact of fouling on the survival of newly settled coral spat of Acropora millepora was investigated by manipulating the extent of fouling cover on settlement tiles using non-toxic, wax antifouling coatings. Survival of spat on coated tiles was double that on control tiles. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between percentage cover of fouling and spat survival across all tiles types, suggesting that fouling in direct proximity to settled corals has detrimental effects on early post-settlement survival. While previous studies have shown that increased fouling negatively affects coral larval settlement and health of juvenile and adult corals, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show a direct relationship between fouling and early post-settlement survival for a broadcast spawning scleractinian coral. The negative effects of fouling on this sensitive life history stage may become more pronounced in the future as coastal eutrophication increases. Our results further suggest that targeted seeding of coral spat on artificial surfaces in combination with fouling control could prove useful to improve the efficiency of sexual reproduction-based coral propagation for reef rehabilitation.

  19. Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdul, N. A.; Mortlock, R. A.; Wright, J. D.; Fairbanks, R. G.

    2016-02-01

    The Younger Dryas climate event occurred during the middle of the last deglacial cycle and is marked by an abrupt shift in the North Atlantic polar front almost to its former glacial position, trending east to west. Using high-precision and high-accuracy U-Th-dated Barbados reef crest coral, Acropora palmata, we generate a detailed sea level record from 13.9 to 9000 years before present (kyr B.P.) and reconstruct the ice volume response to the Younger Dryas cooling. From the mid-Allerød (13.9 kyr B.P.) to the end of the Younger Dryas (11.65 kyr B.P.), rates of sea level rise decreased smoothly from 20 mm yr-1 to 4 mm yr-1, culminating in a 400 year "slow stand" before accelerating into meltwater pulse 1B (MWP-1B). The MWP-1B event at Barbados is better constrained as beginning by 11.45 kyr B.P. and ending at 11.1 kyr B.P. during which time sea level rose 14 ± 2 m and rates of sea level rise reached 40 mm yr-1. We propose that MWP-1B is the direct albeit lagged response of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets to the rapid warming marking the end of the Younger Dryas coinciding with rapid warming in the circum-North Atlantic region and the polar front shift from its zonal to meridional position 11.65 kyr B.P. As predicted by glaciological models, the ice sheet response to rapid North Atlantic warming was lagged by 400 years due to the thermal inertia of large ice sheets. The regional circum-North Atlantic Younger Dryas climate event is elevated to a global response through sea level changes, starting with the global slowdown in sea level rise during the Younger Dryas and culminating with MWP-1B. No meltwater pulses are evident at the initiation of the Younger Dryas climate event as is often speculated.

  20. Characterization of a group of MITEs with unusual features from two coral genomes.

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    Shi Wang

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs, which are common in eukaryotic genomes, are small non-coding elements that transpose by utilizing transposases encoded by autonomous transposons. Recent genome-wide analyses and cross-mobilization assays have greatly improved our knowledge on MITE proliferation, however, specific mechanisms for the origin and evolution of MITEs are still unclear. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A group of coral MITEs called CMITE were identified from two corals, Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata. CMITEs conform to many common characteristics of MITEs, but also present several unusual features. The most unusual feature of CMITEs is conservation of the internal region, which is more conserved between MITE families than the TIRs. The origin of this internal region remains unknown, although we found one CMITE family that seems to be derived from a piggyBac-like transposon in A. millepora. CMITEs can form tandem arrays, suggesting an unconventional way for MITEs to increase copy numbers. We also describe a case in which a novel transposable element was created by a CMITE insertion event. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report of identification of MITEs from coral genomes. Proliferation of CMITEs seems to be related to the transposition machinery of piggyBac-like autonomous transposons. The highly conserved internal region of CMITEs suggests a potential role for this region in their successful transposition. However, the origin of these unusual features in CMITEs remains unclear, and thus represents an intriguing topic for future investigations.

  1. Characterization of a group of MITEs with unusual features from two coral genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shi; Zhang, Lingling; Meyer, Eli; Matz, Mikhail V

    2010-05-18

    Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs), which are common in eukaryotic genomes, are small non-coding elements that transpose by utilizing transposases encoded by autonomous transposons. Recent genome-wide analyses and cross-mobilization assays have greatly improved our knowledge on MITE proliferation, however, specific mechanisms for the origin and evolution of MITEs are still unclear. A group of coral MITEs called CMITE were identified from two corals, Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata. CMITEs conform to many common characteristics of MITEs, but also present several unusual features. The most unusual feature of CMITEs is conservation of the internal region, which is more conserved between MITE families than the TIRs. The origin of this internal region remains unknown, although we found one CMITE family that seems to be derived from a piggyBac-like transposon in A. millepora. CMITEs can form tandem arrays, suggesting an unconventional way for MITEs to increase copy numbers. We also describe a case in which a novel transposable element was created by a CMITE insertion event. To our knowledge, this is the first report of identification of MITEs from coral genomes. Proliferation of CMITEs seems to be related to the transposition machinery of piggyBac-like autonomous transposons. The highly conserved internal region of CMITEs suggests a potential role for this region in their successful transposition. However, the origin of these unusual features in CMITEs remains unclear, and thus represents an intriguing topic for future investigations.

  2. Larval settlement: the role of surface topography for sessile coral reef invertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whalan, Steve; Wahab, Muhammad A Abdul; Sprungala, Susanne; Poole, Andrew J; de Nys, Rocky

    2015-01-01

    For sessile marine invertebrates with complex life cycles, habitat choice is directed by the larval phase. Defining which habitat-linked cues are implicated in sessile invertebrate larval settlement has largely concentrated on chemical cues which are thought to signal optimal habitat. There has been less effort establishing physical settlement cues, including the role of surface microtopography. This laboratory based study tested whether surface microtopography alone (without chemical cues) plays an important contributing role in the settlement of larvae of coral reef sessile invertebrates. We measured settlement to tiles, engineered with surface microtopography (holes) that closely matched the sizes (width) of larvae of a range of corals and sponges, in addition to surfaces with holes that were markedly larger than larvae. Larvae from two species of scleractinian corals (Acropora millepora and Ctenactis crassa) and three species of coral reef sponges (Luffariella variabilis, Carteriospongia foliascens and Ircinia sp.,) were used in experiments. L. variabilis, A. millepora and C. crassa showed markedly higher settlement to surface microtopography that closely matched their larval width. C. foliascens and Ircinia sp., showed no specificity to surface microtopography, settling just as often to microtopography as to flat surfaces. The findings of this study question the sole reliance on chemical based larval settlement cues, previously established for some coral and sponge species, and demonstrate that specific physical cues (surface complexity) can also play an important role in larval settlement of coral reef sessile invertebrates.

  3. Rapid evolution of coral proteins responsible for interaction with the environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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, Mónica

    2011-01-01

    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. 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. 7% of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineage-specific) 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. 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.

  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. Suppression of NF-κB signal pathway by NLRC3-like protein in stony coral Acropora aculeus under heat stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhi; Wu, Yibo; Zhang, Chengkai; Li, Can; Chen, Guangmei; Yu, Xiaopeng; Shi, Xiaowei; Xu, Yanlai; Wang, Lingui; Huang, Bo

    2017-08-01

    Heat stress is the most common factor for coral bleaching, which has increased both in frequency and severity due to global warming. In the present study, the stony coral Acropora aculeus was subjected to acute heat stress and entire transcriptomes were sequenced via the next generation sequencing platform. Four paired-end libraries were constructed and sequenced in two groups, including a control and a heat stress group. A total of 120,319,751 paired-end reads with lengths of 2 × 100 bp were assembled and 55,021 coral-derived genes were obtained. After read mapping and abundance estimation, 9110 differentially expressed genes were obtained in the comparison between the control and heat stress group, including 4465 significantly upregulated and 4645 significantly downregulated genes. Twenty-three GO terms in the Biological Process category were overrepresented for significantly upregulated genes, and divided into six groups according to their relationship. These three groups were related to the NF-κB signal pathway, and the remaining three groups were relevant for pathogen response, immunocyte activation and protein ubiquitination. Forty-three common genes were found in four GO terms, which were directly related to the NF-κB signal pathway. These included 2 NACHT, LRR, PYD domains-containing protein, 5 nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein, 29 NLRC3-like protein, 4 NLRC5-like protein, and 3 uncharacterized protein. For significantly downregulated genes, 27 overrepresented GO terms were found in the Biological Process category, which were relevant to protein ubiquitination and ATP metabolism. Our results indicate that heat stress suppressed the immune response level via the NLRC3-like protein, the fine-tuning of protein turnover activity, and ATP metabolism. This might disrupt the balance of coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis and result in the bleaching of the coral A. aculeus. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Catabolite regulation of enzymatic activities in a white pox pathogen and commensal bacteria during growth on mucus polymers from the coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J; Ritchie, Kim B; Teplitski, Max

    2009-11-16

    Colonization of host mucus surfaces is one of the first steps in the establishment of coral-associated microbial communities. Coral mucus contains a sulfated glycoprotein (in which oligosaccharide decorations are connected to the polypeptide backbone by a mannose residue) and molecules that result from its degradation. Mucus is utilized as a growth substrate by commensal and pathogenic organisms. Two representative coral commensals, Photobacterium mandapamensis and Halomonas meridiana, differed from a white pox pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100 in the pattern with which they utilized mucus polymers of Acropora palmata. Incubation with the mucus polymer increased mannopyranosidase activity in S. marcescens, suggestive of its ability to cleave off oligosaccharide side chains. With the exception of glucosidase and N-acetyl galactosaminidase, glycosidases in S. marcescens were subject to catabolite regulation by galactose, glucose, arabinose, mannose and N-acetyl-glucosamine. In commensal P. mandapamensis, at least 10 glycosidases were modestly induced during incubation on coral mucus. Galactose, arabinose, mannose, but not glucose or N-acetyl-glucosamine had a repressive effect on glycosidases in P. mandapamensis. Incubation with the mucus polymers upregulated 3 enzymatic activities in H. meridiana; glucose and galactose appear to be the preferred carbon source in this bacterium. Although all these bacteria were capable of producing the same glycosidases, the differences in the preferred carbon sources and patterns of enzymatic activities induced during growth on the mucus polymer in the presence of these carbon sources suggest that to establish themselves within the coral mucus surface layer commensals and pathogens rely on different enzymatic activities.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha

    2011-01-01

    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

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

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    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.

  9. Geologic history of Grecian Rocks, Key Largo Coral Reef Marine Sanctuary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, E.A.

    1980-01-01

    Two transects were drilled across the major ecologic zones of the c. 750 by 200 m reef, whose accumulation was controlled by a local Pleistocene topographic feature. The Reef is composed of 5 major ecologic zones: 1) a deep seaward rubble zone, 6-8 m depth; 2) a poorly developed spur and groove zone composed of massive head corals and Millepora (4-6 m water depth); 3) a characteristic high-energy oriented Acropora palmata zone extending from the surface down to 4 m; 4) a distinct broad reef flat composed of in situ A. palmata and coral rubble, followed by 5) a narrow low- energy back-reef zone of unoriented A. palmata, thickets of A. cervicornis, and various massive head corals in water 0-3 m deep. An extensive grass-covered carbonate sand flat 3-4 m deep extends in a landward direction from zone 5. - from Author

  10. Effects of temperature and salinity on survival rate of cultured corals and photosynthetic efficiency of zooxanthellae in coral tissues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuanui, Pataporn; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop; Omori, Makoto; Lin, Chiahsin

    2015-06-01

    This study investigated the effects of temperature and salinity on growth, survival, and photosynthetic efficiency of three coral species, namely, Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora millepora and Platygyra sinensis of different ages (6 and 18 months old). The experimental corals were cultivated via sexual propagation. Colonies were exposed to 5 different temperatures (18, 23, 28, 33, and 38°C) and 5 different salinities (22, 27, 32, 37, and 42 psu). Results showed that temperature significantly affected photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) (p < 0.05) compared to salinity. The maximum quantum yield of corals decreased ranging from 5% to 100% when these corals were exposed to different temperatures and salinities. Temperature also significantly affected coral growth and survival. However, corals exposed to changes in salinity showed higher survivorship than those exposed to changes in temperature. Results in this study also showed that corals of different ages and of different species did not display the same physiological responses to changes in environmental conditions. Thus, the ability of corals to tolerate salinity and temperature stresses depends on several factors.

  11. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

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    Naila O Alieva

    2008-07-01

    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

  12. Genome-wide survey of single-nucleotide polymorphisms reveals fine-scale population structure and signs of selection in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata

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    Meghann K. Devlin-Durante

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The advent of next-generation sequencing tools has made it possible to conduct fine-scale surveys of population differentiation and genome-wide scans for signatures of selection in non-model organisms. Such surveys are of particular importance in sharply declining coral species, since knowledge of population boundaries and signs of local adaptation can inform restoration and conservation efforts. Here, we use genome-wide surveys of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, to reveal fine-scale population structure and infer the major barrier to gene flow that separates the eastern and western Caribbean populations between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The exact location of this break had been subject to discussion because two previous studies based on microsatellite data had come to differing conclusions. We investigate this contradiction by analyzing an extended set of 11 microsatellite markers including the five previously employed and discovered that one of the original microsatellite loci is apparently under selection. Exclusion of this locus reconciles the results from the SNP and the microsatellite datasets. Scans for outlier loci in the SNP data detected 13 candidate loci under positive selection, however there was no correlation between available environmental parameters and genetic distance. Together, these results suggest that reef restoration efforts should use local sources and utilize existing functional variation among geographic regions in ex situ crossing experiments to improve stress resistance of this species.

  13. Genome-wide survey of single-nucleotide polymorphisms reveals fine-scale population structure and signs of selection in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devlin-Durante, Meghann K; Baums, Iliana B

    2017-01-01

    The advent of next-generation sequencing tools has made it possible to conduct fine-scale surveys of population differentiation and genome-wide scans for signatures of selection in non-model organisms. Such surveys are of particular importance in sharply declining coral species, since knowledge of population boundaries and signs of local adaptation can inform restoration and conservation efforts. Here, we use genome-wide surveys of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata , to reveal fine-scale population structure and infer the major barrier to gene flow that separates the eastern and western Caribbean populations between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The exact location of this break had been subject to discussion because two previous studies based on microsatellite data had come to differing conclusions. We investigate this contradiction by analyzing an extended set of 11 microsatellite markers including the five previously employed and discovered that one of the original microsatellite loci is apparently under selection. Exclusion of this locus reconciles the results from the SNP and the microsatellite datasets. Scans for outlier loci in the SNP data detected 13 candidate loci under positive selection, however there was no correlation between available environmental parameters and genetic distance. Together, these results suggest that reef restoration efforts should use local sources and utilize existing functional variation among geographic regions in ex situ crossing experiments to improve stress resistance of this species.

  14. Coral energy reserves and calcification in a high-CO2 world at two temperatures.

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    Verena Schoepf

    Full Text Available Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations threaten coral reefs globally by causing ocean acidification (OA and warming. Yet, the combined effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on coral physiology and resilience remain poorly understood. While coral calcification and energy reserves are important health indicators, no studies to date have measured energy reserve pools (i.e., lipid, protein, and carbohydrate together with calcification under OA conditions under different temperature scenarios. Four coral species, Acropora millepora, Montipora monasteriata, Pocillopora damicornis, Turbinaria reniformis, were reared under a total of six conditions for 3.5 weeks, representing three pCO2 levels (382, 607, 741 µatm, and two temperature regimes (26.5, 29.0 °C within each pCO2 level. After one month under experimental conditions, only A. millepora decreased calcification (-53% in response to seawater pCO2 expected by the end of this century, whereas the other three species maintained calcification rates even when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. Coral energy reserves showed mixed responses to elevated pCO2 and temperature, and were either unaffected or displayed nonlinear responses with both the lowest and highest concentrations often observed at the mid-pCO2 level of 607 µatm. Biweekly feeding may have helped corals maintain calcification rates and energy reserves under these conditions. Temperature often modulated the response of many aspects of coral physiology to OA, and both mitigated and worsened pCO2 effects. This demonstrates for the first time that coral energy reserves are generally not metabolized to sustain calcification under OA, which has important implications for coral health and bleaching resilience in a high-CO2 world. Overall, these findings suggest that some corals could be more resistant to simultaneously warming and acidifying oceans than previously expected.

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

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    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

  16. The demise of a major Acropora palmata bank-barrier reef off the southeast coast of Barbados, West Indies

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacIntyre, I. G.; Glynn, P. W.; Toscano, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    Formerly attributed to human activity, the demise of a bank-barrier reef off southeastern Barbados known as Cobbler’s Reef is now thought to be largely the result of late Holocene, millennial-scale storm damage. Eleven surface samples of the reef crest coral Acropora palmata from nine sites along its 15-km length plot above the western Atlantic sea-level curve from 3,000 to 4,500 cal years ago (calibrated, calendar 14C years). These elevated clusters suggest that the reef complex suffered extensive storm damage during this period. The constant heavy wave action typical of this area and consequent low herbivory maintain conditions favoring algal growth, thereby limiting the reestablishment of post-storm reef framework. Site descriptions and detailed line surveys show a surface now composed mainly of reworked fragments of A. palmata covered with algal turf, macroalgae and crustose coralline algae. The reef contains no live A. palmata and only a few scattered coral colonies consisting primarily of Diploria spp . and Porites astreoides, along with the hydrocoral Millepora complanata. A few in situ framework dates plot at expected depths for normal coral growth below the sea-level curve during and after the period of intense storm activity. The most recent of these in situ samples are 320 and 400 cal years old. Corals of this late period likely succumbed to high turbidity associated with land clearance for sugarcane agriculture in the mid-1600s.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2013-01-01

    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

  18. 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.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Zonation of uplifted pleistocene coral reefs on barbados, west indies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

    The coral species composition of uplifted Pleistocene reefs on Barbados is very similar to Recent West Indian reefs. Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis, and Montastrea annularis are qtuantitatively the most important of the coral species.

  1. Distribution and structure of the southernmost Caribbean coral reefs: golfo de Urabá, Colombia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Díaz

    2000-09-01

    Full Text Available The Gulf of Urabá represents the southernmost portion of the Caribbean Sea. Due to the large amounts of sediment and freshwater discharged by the Atrato river and several minor streams, water conditions in the area are far from being optimal for coral settlement and growth. However, fringing and patch reefs are developed along the rocky shores of the northwest margin of the Gulf. Based on field observations performed at 44 sites (12 of them assessed quantitatively, interpretation of air photography of the area and depth profiles, the distribution, structure and zonation of the reefs are described. Classification analysis of the 12 sample sites yielded four coral assemblages: Diploria strigosa, crustose algae, Siderastrea siderea, Agaricia spp., and mixed massive corals. Other two assemblages, dominated respectively by Millepora complanata and thickets of Acropora palmata were noticed during reconnaissance dives. The distribution of these zones within the reef seems likely to be mainly controlled by wave exposure, bottom topography, sedimentation, and light penetration. Reef development, coral diversity and live coral cover increase along the coast in a SE-NW direction, with an evident maximum near to the cove of Sapzurro, suggesting an overall improvement of conditions for coral growth and settlement in that direction. A total of 33 species of hard corals were recorded during the survey. It is apparent that the live coral cover, particularly of foliose and branching species, has notably declined recently.

  2. Lipid composition of positively buoyant eggs of reef building corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Iakayuki; Kato, Misako; Heyward, Andrew; Ikeda, Yutaka; Iizuka, Tokio; Maruyama, Tadashi

    1993-07-01

    Lipid composition of the eggs of three reef building corals, Acropora millepora, A. tenuis and Montipora digitata, were determined. Sixty to 70% of the egg dry weight was lipid, which consisted of wax esters (69.5 81.8%), triacylglycerols (1.1 8.4%) and polar lipids c/mainly phospholipids (11.9 13.2%). Montipora digitata also contained some polar lipids typical of the thylakoid membrane in chloroplasts, probably due to the presence of symbiotic zooxanthellae in the eggs. The wax esters appeared to be the major contributor to positive buoyancy of the eggs, and specific gravity of wax esters in A. millepora was estimated to be 0.92. Among the fatty acids of the wax esters, 34.9 51.3% was hexadecanoic acid (16:0) while the major fatty acids in polar lipids were octadecenoic acid (18:1), hexadecanoic acid (16:0), eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5) and eicosatetraenoic acid (20:4). The wax ester appears to be the main component of the 4.5 6.0 μm diameter lipid droplets which fill most of the central mass of the coral eggs.

  3. Age and intraspecific diversity of resilient Acropora communities in Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin, Adele; Greer, Lisa; Humston, Robert; Devlin-Durante, Meghann; Cabe, Paul; Lescinsky, Halard; Wirth, Karl; Allen Curran, H.; Baums, Iliana B.

    2017-12-01

    The corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis are important Caribbean reef-builders that have faced significant mortality in recent decades. While many studies have focused on the recent demise of these species, data from areas where Acropora spp. have continued to thrive are limited. Understanding the genetic diversity, recruitment, and temporal continuity of healthy populations of these threatened Acropora spp. and the hybrid they form (" Acropora prolifera") may provide insights into the demographic processes governing them. We studied three reef sites with abundant A. cervicornis, A. palmata, and hybrid Acropora populations offshore of Ambergris Caye, Belize at Coral Gardens, Manatee Channel, and Rocky Point. Samples were collected from all three Acropora taxa. We used microsatellite markers to determine: (1) genotypic diversity; (2) dominant reproductive mode supporting local recruitment; (3) minimum and maximum genet age estimates for all three acroporids; and (4) the history of hybrid colonization at these sites. We found that Acropora populations were highly clonal with local recruitment primarily occurring through asexual fragmentation. We also estimated the ages of 10 Acropora genets using recent methodology based on somatic mutation rates from genetic data. Results indicate minimum ages of 62-409 yr for A. cervicornis, 187-561 yr for A. palmata, and 156-281 yr for the Acropora hybrids at these sites. Our data indicate that existing A. cervicornis, A. palmata, and Acropora hybrid genets persisted during the 1980s Caribbean-wide Acropora spp. collapse, suggesting that these sites have been a refuge for Caribbean Acropora corals. Additionally, our data suggest that formation of extant hybrid Acropora genets pre-dates the widespread collapse of the parent taxa.

  4. Impacts of turbidity on corals: The relative importance of light limitation and suspended sediments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bessell-Browne, Pia; Negri, Andrew P.; Fisher, Rebecca; Clode, Peta L.; Duckworth, Alan; Jones, Ross

    2017-01-01

    As part of an investigation of the effects of water quality from dredging/natural resuspension on reefs, the effects of suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) (0, 30, 100 mg L −1 ) and light (~ 0, 1.1, 8.6 mol photons m −2 d −1 ) were examined alone and in combination, on the corals Acropora millepora, Montipora capricornis and Porites spp. over an extended (28 d) period. No effects were observed at any sediment concentrations when applied alone. All corals in the lowest light treatments lost chlorophyll a and discoloured (bleached) after a week. Coral mortality only occurred in the two lowest light treatments and was higher when simultaneously exposed to elevated SSCs. Compared to water quality data collected during large dredging programs and natural resuspension events (and in the absence of sediment deposition as a cause-effect pathway) these data suggest the light reduction associated with turbidity poses a proportionally greater risk than effects of elevated SSCs alone. - Highlights: • Exposure of corals to low light conditions results in reduced quantum yields followed by bleaching of tissue. • Suspended sediment concentrations, without a reduction in light, have no impact on coral health. • An interaction between elevated suspended sediment concentrations and reduced light result in partial mortality of corals. • Management of dredging should minimise exposure of corals to low light to avoid unnecessary stress and impacts upon health.

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. Molluscan assemblages on coral reefs and associated hard substrata in the northern Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuschin, M.; Hohenegger, J.; Steininger, F.

    2001-09-01

    Information on spatial variability and distribution patterns of organisms in coral reef environments is necessary to evaluate the increasing anthropogenic disturbance of marine environments (Richmond 1993; Wilkinson 1993; Dayton 1994). Therefore different types of subtidal, reef-associated hard substrata (reef flats, reef slopes, coral carpets, coral patches, rock grounds), each with different coral associations, were investigated to determine the distribution pattern of molluscs and their life habits (feeding strategies and substrate relations). The molluscs were strongly dominated by taxa with distinct relations to corals, and five assemblages were differentiated. The Dendropoma maxima assemblage on reef flats is a discrete entity, strongly dominated by this encrusting and suspension-feeding gastropod. All other assemblages are arranged along a substrate gradient of changing coral associations and potential molluscan habitats. The Coralliophila neritoidea- Barbatia foliata assemblage depends on the presence of Porites and shows a dominance of gastropods feeding on corals and of bivalves associated with living corals. The Chamoidea- Cerithium spp. assemblage on rock grounds is strongly dominated by encrusting bivalves. The Drupella cornus-Pteriidae assemblage occurs on Millepora- Acropora reef slopes and is strongly dominated by bivalves associated with living corals. The Barbatia setigera- Ctenoides annulata assemblage includes a broad variety of taxa, molluscan life habits and bottom types, but occurs mainly on faviid carpets and is transitional among the other three assemblages. A predicted degradation of coral coverage to rock bottoms due to increasing eutrophication and physical damage in the study area (Riegl and Piller 2000) will result in a loss of coral-associated molluscs in favor of bivalve crevice dwellers in dead coral heads and of encrusters on dead hard substrata.

  8. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species, but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (2: 621-634. Epub 2010 June 02.

  9. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Díaz, Patricia; González-Sansón, Gaspar; Alvarez Fernández, Sergio; Perera Pérez, Orlando

    2010-06-01

    The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species), but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities.

  10. Rapid evolution of coral proteins responsible for interaction with the environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian R Voolstra

    Full Text Available 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.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. 7% of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineage-specific 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.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.

  11. Identification of scleractinian coral recruits using fluorescent censusing and DNA barcoding techniques.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chia-Min Hsu

    Full Text Available The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC] could be useful for increasing the resolution of coral spat identification in ecological studies. One hundred and fifty settlement plates were emplaced at nine sites on the fringing reefs of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan between April 2011 and September 2012. A total of 248 living coral spats and juveniles (with basal areas ranging from 0.21 to 134.57 mm(2 were detected on the plates with the aid of fluorescent light and collected for molecular analyses. Using the COI DNA barcoding technique, 90.3% (224/248 of coral spats were successfully identified into six genera, including Acropora, Isopora, Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Pavona. PaxC further separated I. cuneata and I. palifera of Isopora from Acropora, and ORF successfully identified the species of Pocillopora (except P. meandrina and P. eydouxi. Moreover, other cnidarian species such as actinarians, zoanthids, and Millepora species were visually found using fluorescence and identified by COI DNA barcoding. This combination of existing approaches greatly improved the taxonomic resolution of early coral life stages, which to date has been mainly limited to the family level based on skeletal identification. Overall, this study suggests important improvements for the identification of coral recruits in ecological studies.

  12. Identification of scleractinian coral recruits using fluorescent censusing and DNA barcoding techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hsu, Chia-Min; de Palmas, Stéphane; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Denis, Vianney; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-01-01

    The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC]) could be useful for increasing the resolution of coral spat identification in ecological studies. One hundred and fifty settlement plates were emplaced at nine sites on the fringing reefs of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan between April 2011 and September 2012. A total of 248 living coral spats and juveniles (with basal areas ranging from 0.21 to 134.57 mm(2)) were detected on the plates with the aid of fluorescent light and collected for molecular analyses. Using the COI DNA barcoding technique, 90.3% (224/248) of coral spats were successfully identified into six genera, including Acropora, Isopora, Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Pavona. PaxC further separated I. cuneata and I. palifera of Isopora from Acropora, and ORF successfully identified the species of Pocillopora (except P. meandrina and P. eydouxi). Moreover, other cnidarian species such as actinarians, zoanthids, and Millepora species were visually found using fluorescence and identified by COI DNA barcoding. This combination of existing approaches greatly improved the taxonomic resolution of early coral life stages, which to date has been mainly limited to the family level based on skeletal identification. Overall, this study suggests important improvements for the identification of coral recruits in ecological studies.

  13. 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.

  14. Comment on "Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reefal crest coral Acropora palmata" by N. A. Abdul et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bard, Edouard; Hamelin, Bruno; Deschamps, Pierre; Camoin, Gilbert

    2016-12-01

    Based on new U-Th ages of corals drilled offshore Barbados, Abdul et al. (2016) have confirmed the existence of the abrupt stratigraphic feature called meltwater pulse 1B (MWP-1B), which they interpret as being due to a very large and global sea level step change dated at about 11.3 kyr before present (approximately 15 m and equivalent to twice the amount of water stored in the present Greenland ice sheet). This contrasts with the Tahiti record, in which MWP-1B is essentially absent or very small, as Carlson and Clark (2012) and Lambeck et al. (2014) also conclude in their recent reviews of deglacial sea levels at the global scale. However, the evidence provided by Abdul et al. and their main conclusions are not convincing as they are affected by the following three main problems, which may explain the apparent discrepancies: Problem #1/Barbados is located in a subduction zone, which was also active throughout the Late Glacial period. Furthermore, the Barbados cores studied by Abdul et al. were drilled on both sides of the extension of a tectonic feature identified at the southern tip of Barbados (South Point) as underlined by several studies of the Barbados stratigraphy. Problem #2/Fossil samples of Acropora palmata may not be reliable sea level markers during rapid and large sea level rises. Indeed, the asexual reproduction strategy of this species may not be optimal to keep up when the water depth is increasing very rapidly. This may in part explain why the living depth of A. palmata at Barbados was significantly greater than 5 m during some periods of the last deglaciation, notably between 14.5 and 14 kyr B.P. and possibly between 14 and 11.5 kyr B.P. Problem #3/The slow glacio-isostatic adjustment and the rapid responses due to gravitational changes of ice and water masses complicate the interpretation of individual relative sea level (RSL) records at specific locations. Therefore, the Barbados and Tahiti record cannot be compared directly in terms of absolute

  15. Coral physiology and microbiome dynamics under combined warming and ocean acidification.

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    Andréa G Grottoli

    Full Text Available Rising seawater temperature and ocean acidification threaten the survival of coral reefs. The relationship between coral physiology and its microbiome may reveal why some corals are more resilient to these global change conditions. Here, we conducted the first experiment to simultaneously investigate changes in the coral microbiome and coral physiology in response to the dual stress of elevated seawater temperature and ocean acidification expected by the end of this century. Two species of corals, Acropora millepora containing the thermally sensitive endosymbiont C21a and Turbinaria reniformis containing the thermally tolerant endosymbiont Symbiodinium trenchi, were exposed to control (26.5°C and pCO2 of 364 μatm and treatment (29.0°C and pCO2 of 750 μatm conditions for 24 days, after which we measured the microbial community composition. These microbial findings were interpreted within the context of previously published physiological measurements from the exact same corals in this study (calcification, organic carbon flux, ratio of photosynthesis to respiration, photosystem II maximal efficiency, total lipids, soluble animal protein, soluble animal carbohydrates, soluble algal protein, soluble algal carbohydrate, biomass, endosymbiotic algal density, and chlorophyll a. Overall, dually stressed A. millepora had reduced microbial diversity, experienced large changes in microbial community composition, and experienced dramatic physiological declines in calcification, photosystem II maximal efficiency, and algal carbohydrates. In contrast, the dually stressed coral T. reniformis experienced a stable and more diverse microbiome community with minimal physiological decline, coupled with very high total energy reserves and particulate organic carbon release rates. Thus, the microbiome changed and microbial diversity decreased in the physiologically sensitive coral with the thermally sensitive endosymbiotic algae but not in the physiologically

  16. Coral physiology and microbiome dynamics under combined warming and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, Andréa G; Dalcin Martins, Paula; Wilkins, Michael J; Johnston, Michael D; Warner, Mark E; Cai, Wei-Jun; Melman, Todd F; Hoadley, Kenneth D; Pettay, D Tye; Levas, Stephen; Schoepf, Verena

    2018-01-01

    Rising seawater temperature and ocean acidification threaten the survival of coral reefs. The relationship between coral physiology and its microbiome may reveal why some corals are more resilient to these global change conditions. Here, we conducted the first experiment to simultaneously investigate changes in the coral microbiome and coral physiology in response to the dual stress of elevated seawater temperature and ocean acidification expected by the end of this century. Two species of corals, Acropora millepora containing the thermally sensitive endosymbiont C21a and Turbinaria reniformis containing the thermally tolerant endosymbiont Symbiodinium trenchi, were exposed to control (26.5°C and pCO2 of 364 μatm) and treatment (29.0°C and pCO2 of 750 μatm) conditions for 24 days, after which we measured the microbial community composition. These microbial findings were interpreted within the context of previously published physiological measurements from the exact same corals in this study (calcification, organic carbon flux, ratio of photosynthesis to respiration, photosystem II maximal efficiency, total lipids, soluble animal protein, soluble animal carbohydrates, soluble algal protein, soluble algal carbohydrate, biomass, endosymbiotic algal density, and chlorophyll a). Overall, dually stressed A. millepora had reduced microbial diversity, experienced large changes in microbial community composition, and experienced dramatic physiological declines in calcification, photosystem II maximal efficiency, and algal carbohydrates. In contrast, the dually stressed coral T. reniformis experienced a stable and more diverse microbiome community with minimal physiological decline, coupled with very high total energy reserves and particulate organic carbon release rates. Thus, the microbiome changed and microbial diversity decreased in the physiologically sensitive coral with the thermally sensitive endosymbiotic algae but not in the physiologically tolerant coral with

  17. Colorimetric Detection of Caspase 3 Activity and Reactive Oxygen Derivatives: Potential Early Indicators of Thermal Stress in Corals

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

    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 14C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora harbouring Symbiodinium C1 compared with juveniles from common parentage harbouring Symbiodinium D in a laboratory experiment. Rapid light curves performed on the same corals revealed that the relative electron transport rate of photosystem II (rETRMAX) was 87% greater in Symbiodinium C1 than in Symbiodinium D in hospite. The greater relative electron transport through photosystem II of Symbiodinium C1 is positively correlated with increased carbon delivery to the host under the applied experimental conditions ( r 2 = 0.91). This may translate into a competitive advantage for juveniles harbouring Symbiodinium C1 under certain field conditions, since rapid early growth typically limits mortality. Both symbiont types exhibited severe reductions in 14C incorporation during a 10-h exposure to the electron transport blocking herbicide diuron (DCMU), confirming the link between electron transport through PSII and photosynthate incorporation within the host tissue. These findings advance the current understanding of symbiotic relationships between corals and their symbionts, providing evidence that enhanced growth rates of juvenile corals may result from greater translocation of photosynthates from Symbiodinium C1.

  19. The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a 'nugget of hope' for coral reefs in an era of climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2006-09-22

    The ability of coral reefs to survive the projected increases in temperature due to global warming will depend largely on the ability of corals to adapt or acclimatize to increased temperature extremes over the next few decades. Many coral species are highly sensitive to temperature stress and the number of stress (bleaching) episodes has increased in recent decades. We investigated the acclimatization potential of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, through transplantation and experimental manipulation. We show that adult corals, at least in some circumstances, are capable of acquiring increased thermal tolerance and that the increased tolerance is a direct result of a change in the symbiont type dominating their tissues from Symbiodinium type C to D. Our data suggest that the change in symbiont type in our experiment was due to a shuffling of existing types already present in coral tissues, not through exogenous uptake from the environment. The level of increased tolerance gained by the corals changing their dominant symbiont type to D (the most thermally resistant type known) is around 1-1.5 degrees C. This is the first study to show that thermal acclimatization is causally related to symbiont type and provides new insight into the ecological advantage of corals harbouring mixed algal populations. While this increase is of huge ecological significance for many coral species, in the absence of other mechanisms of thermal acclimatization/adaptation, it may not be sufficient to survive climate change under predicted sea surface temperature scenarios over the next 100 years. However, it may be enough to 'buy time' while greenhouse reduction measures are put in place.

  20. The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a ‘nugget of hope’ for coral reefs in an era of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J.H

    2006-01-01

    The ability of coral reefs to survive the projected increases in temperature due to global warming will depend largely on the ability of corals to adapt or acclimatize to increased temperature extremes over the next few decades. Many coral species are highly sensitive to temperature stress and the number of stress (bleaching) episodes has increased in recent decades. We investigated the acclimatization potential of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, through transplantation and experimental manipulation. We show that adult corals, at least in some circumstances, are capable of acquiring increased thermal tolerance and that the increased tolerance is a direct result of a change in the symbiont type dominating their tissues from Symbiodinium type C to D. Our data suggest that the change in symbiont type in our experiment was due to a shuffling of existing types already present in coral tissues, not through exogenous uptake from the environment. The level of increased tolerance gained by the corals changing their dominant symbiont type to D (the most thermally resistant type known) is around 1–1.5 °C. This is the first study to show that thermal acclimatization is causally related to symbiont type and provides new insight into the ecological advantage of corals harbouring mixed algal populations. While this increase is of huge ecological significance for many coral species, in the absence of other mechanisms of thermal acclimatization/adaptation, it may not be sufficient to survive climate change under predicted sea surface temperature scenarios over the next 100 years. However, it may be enough to ‘buy time’ while greenhouse reduction measures are put in place. PMID:16928632

  1. Re-introduction and supplementation of species of Acropora and Pocillopora into the lagoons of Lakshadweep Islands, India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Venkatesh, M.; Koya, S.I.; Wafar, M.V.M.

    The genera Acropora and Pocillopora are represented by a large number of species in most coral reefs They are more sensitive to environmental changes and anthropogenic effects and hence are more at risk than other coral species For example...

  2. Patterns of gene expression in a scleractinian coral undergoing natural bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seneca, Francois O; Forêt, Sylvain; Ball, Eldon E; Smith-Keune, Carolyn; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2010-10-01

    Coral bleaching is a major threat to coral reefs worldwide and is predicted to intensify with increasing global temperature. This study represents the first investigation of gene expression in an Indo-Pacific coral species undergoing natural bleaching which involved the loss of algal symbionts. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction experiments were conducted to select and evaluate coral internal control genes (ICGs), and to investigate selected coral genes of interest (GOIs) for changes in gene expression in nine colonies of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora undergoing bleaching at Magnetic Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Among the six ICGs tested, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the ribosomal protein genes S7 and L9 exhibited the most constant expression levels between samples from healthy-looking colonies and samples from the same colonies when severely bleached a year later. These ICGs were therefore utilised for normalisation of expression data for seven selected GOIs. Of the seven GOIs, homologues of catalase, C-type lectin and chromoprotein genes were significantly up-regulated as a result of bleaching by factors of 1.81, 1.46 and 1.61 (linear mixed models analysis of variance, P coral bleaching response genes. In contrast, three genes, including one putative ICG, showed highly variable levels of expression between coral colonies. Potential variation in microhabitat, gene function unrelated to the stress response and individualised stress responses may influence such differences between colonies and need to be better understood when designing and interpreting future studies of gene expression in natural coral populations.

  3. Changes in zooxanthellae density, morphology, and mitotic index in hermatypic corals and anemones exposed to cyanide.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cervino, J M; Hayes, R L; Honovich, M; Goreau, T J; Jones, S; Rubec, P J

    2003-05-01

    Sodium cyanide (NaCN) is widely used for the capture of reef fish throughout Southeast Asia and causes extensive fish mortality, but the effect of NaCN on reef corals remains debated. To document the impact of cyanide exposure on corals, the species Acropora millepora, Goniopora sp., Favites abdita, Trachyphyllia geoffrio, Plerogyra sp., Heliofungia actinformis, Euphyllia divisa, and Scarophyton sp., and the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida were exposed to varying concentrations of cyanide for varying time periods. Corals were exposed to 50, 100, 300, and 600 mg/l of cyanide ion (CN(-)) for 1-2 min (in seawater, the CN(-) forms hydrocyanic acid). These concentrations are much lower than those reportedly used by fish collectors. Exposed corals and anemones immediately retracted their tentacles and mesenterial filaments, and discharged copious amounts of mucus containing zooxanthellae. Gel electrophoreses techniques found changes in protein expression in both zooxanthellae and host tissue. Corals and anemones exposed to cyanide showed an immediate increase in mitotic cell division of their zooxenthellae, and a decrease in zooxanthellae density. In contrast, zooxanthellae cell division and density remained constant in controls. Histopathological changes included gastrodermal disruption, mesogleal degradation, and increased mucus in coral tissues. Zooxanthellae showed pigment loss, swelling, and deformation. Mortality occurred at all exposure levels. Exposed specimens experienced an increase in the ratio of gram-negative to gram-positive bacteria on the coral surface. The results demonstrate that exposure cyanide causes mortality to corals and anemones, even when applied at lower levels than that used by fish collectors. Even brief exposure to cyanide caused slow-acting and long-term damage to corals and their zooxanthellae.

  4. Gene expression of a green fluorescent protein homolog as a host-specific biomarker of heat stress within a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith-Keune, C; Dove, S

    2008-01-01

    Recent incidences of mass coral bleaching indicate that major reef building corals are increasingly suffering thermal stress associated with climate-related temperature increases. The development of pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry has enabled rapid detection of the onset of thermal stress within coral algal symbionts, but sensitive biomarkers of thermal stress specific to the host coral have been slower to emerge. Differential display reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (DDRT-PCR) was used to produce fingerprints of gene expression for the reef-building coral Acropora millepora exposed to 33 degrees C. Changes in the expression of 23 out of 399 putative genes occurred within 144 h. Down-regulation of one host-specific gene (AmA1a) occurred within just 6 h. Full-length sequencing revealed the product of this gene to be an all-protein chromatophore (green fluorescent protein [GFP]-homolog). RT-PCR revealed consistent down-regulation of this GFP-homolog for three replicate colonies within 6 h at both 32 degrees C and 33 degrees C but not at lower temperatures. Down-regulation of this host gene preceded significant decreases in the photosynthetic activity of photosystem II (dark-adapted F (v)/F (m)) of algal symbionts as measured by PAM fluorometry. Gene expression of host-specific genes such as GFP-homologs may therefore prove to be highly sensitive indicators for the onset of thermal stress within host coral cells.

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular characterization of larval development from fertilization to metamorphosis in a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strader, Marie E; Aglyamova, Galina V; Matz, Mikhail V

    2018-01-04

    Molecular mechanisms underlying coral larval competence, the ability of larvae to respond to settlement cues, determine their dispersal potential and are potential targets of natural selection. Here, we profiled competence, fluorescence and genome-wide gene expression in embryos and larvae of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora daily throughout 12 days post-fertilization. Gene expression associated with competence was positively correlated with transcriptomic response to the natural settlement cue, confirming that mature coral larvae are "primed" for settlement. Rise of competence through development was accompanied by up-regulation of sensory and signal transduction genes such as ion channels, genes involved in neuropeptide signaling, and G-protein coupled receptor (GPCRs). A drug screen targeting components of GPCR signaling pathways confirmed a role in larval settlement behavior and metamorphosis. These results gives insight into the molecular complexity underlying these transitions and reveals receptors and pathways that, if altered by changing environments, could affect dispersal capabilities of reef-building corals. In addition, this dataset provides a toolkit for asking broad questions about sensory capacity in multicellular animals and the evolution of development.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaniewska, Paulina; Campbell, Paul R; Kline, David I; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio; Miller, David J; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2012-01-01

    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.

  8. Coral zonation and diagenesis of an emergent Pleistocene patch reef, Belize, Central America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lighty, R.G.; Russell, K.L.

    1985-01-01

    Transect mapping and petrologic studies reveal a new depositional model and limited diagenesis of a well-exposed Pleistocene reef outcrop at Ambergris Cay, northern Belize. This emergent shelf-edge reef forms a rocky wave-washed headland at the northern terminus of the present-day 250 km long flourishing Belize Barrier Reef. Previously, the Belize reef outcrop was thought to extend southward in the subsurface beneath the modern barrier reef as a Pleistocene equivalent. The authors study indicate that this outcrop is a large, coral patch reef and not part of a barrier reef trend. Sixteen transects 12.5 m apart described in continuous cm increments from fore reef to back reef identified: extensive deposits of broken Acropora cervicornis; small thickets of A. palmata with small, oriented branches; and muddy skeletal sediments with few corals or reef rubble. Thin section and SEM studies show three phases of early submarine cementation: syntaxial and rosette aragonite; Mg-calcite rim cement and peloids; and colloidal Mg-calcite geopetal fill. Subaerial exposure in semi-arid northern Belize caused only minor skeletal dissolution, some precipitation of vadose whisker calcite, and no meteoric phreatic diagenesis. Facies geometry, coral assemblages, lack of rubble deposits, coralline algal encrustations and Millepora framework, and recognition of common but discrete submarine cements, all indicate that this Pleistocene reef was an isolated, coral-fringed sediment buildup similar to may large patch reefs existing today in moderate-energy shelf environments behind the modern barrier reef in central and southern Belize.

  9. 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.

  10. Effects of the herbicide diuron on the early life history stages of coral

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Negri, Andrew [Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3 Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia)]. E-mail: a.negri@aims.gov.au; Vollhardt, Claudia [Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3 Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia); Humphrey, Craig [Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3 Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia); Heyward, Andrew [Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3 Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia); Jones, Ross [Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072 (Australia); Queensland Health Scientific Services, 39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains 4108 (Australia); Eaglesham, Geoff [Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Inc, Ferry Reach, St George' s GE 01 (Bermuda); Fabricius, Katharina [Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3 Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia)

    2005-07-01

    The effects of the herbicide diuron on the early life history stages of broadcast spawning and brooding corals were examined in laboratory experiments. Fertilisation of Acropora millepora and Montipora aequituberculata oocytes were not inhibited at diuron concentrations of up to 1000{mu}gl{sup -1}. Metamorphosis of symbiont-free A. millepora larvae was only significantly inhibited at 300{mu}gl{sup -1} diuron. Pocillopora damicornis larvae, which contain symbiotic dinoflagellates, were able to undergo metamorphosis after 24h exposure to diuron at 1000{mu}gl{sup -1}. Two-week old P. damicornis recruits on the other hand were as susceptible to diuron as adult colonies, with expulsion of symbiotic dinoflagellates (bleaching) evident at 10{mu}gl{sup -1} diuron after 96h exposure. Reversible metamorphosis was observed at high diuron concentrations, with fully bleached polyps escaping from their skeletons. Pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll fluorescence techniques demonstrated a reduction in photosynthetic efficiency ({delta}F/F{sub m}{sup '}) in illuminated P. damicornis recruits after a 2h exposure to 1{mu}gl{sup -1} diuron. The dark-adapted quantum yields (F{sub v}/F{sub m}) also declined, indicating chronic photoinhibition and damage to photosystem II.

  11. Effects of the herbicide diuron on the early life history stages of coral

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Negri, Andrew; Vollhardt, Claudia; Humphrey, Craig; Heyward, Andrew; Jones, Ross; Eaglesham, Geoff; Fabricius, Katharina

    2005-01-01

    The effects of the herbicide diuron on the early life history stages of broadcast spawning and brooding corals were examined in laboratory experiments. Fertilisation of Acropora millepora and Montipora aequituberculata oocytes were not inhibited at diuron concentrations of up to 1000μgl -1 . Metamorphosis of symbiont-free A. millepora larvae was only significantly inhibited at 300μgl -1 diuron. Pocillopora damicornis larvae, which contain symbiotic dinoflagellates, were able to undergo metamorphosis after 24h exposure to diuron at 1000μgl -1 . Two-week old P. damicornis recruits on the other hand were as susceptible to diuron as adult colonies, with expulsion of symbiotic dinoflagellates (bleaching) evident at 10μgl -1 diuron after 96h exposure. Reversible metamorphosis was observed at high diuron concentrations, with fully bleached polyps escaping from their skeletons. Pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll fluorescence techniques demonstrated a reduction in photosynthetic efficiency (ΔF/F m ' ) in illuminated P. damicornis recruits after a 2h exposure to 1μgl -1 diuron. The dark-adapted quantum yields (F v /F m ) also declined, indicating chronic photoinhibition and damage to photosystem II

  12. 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,...

  13. Chemical and physical environmental conditions underneath mat- and canopy-forming macroalgae, and their effects on understorey corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauri, Claudine; Fabricius, Katharina E; Schaffelke, Britta; Humphrey, Craig

    2010-09-13

    Disturbed coral reefs are often dominated by dense mat- or canopy-forming assemblages of macroalgae. This study investigated how such dense macroalgal assemblages change the chemical and physical microenvironment for understorey corals, and how the altered environmental conditions affect the physiological performance of corals. Field measurements were conducted on macroalgal-dominated inshore reefs in the Great Barrier Reef in quadrats with macroalgal biomass ranging from 235 to 1029 g DW m(-2) dry weight. Underneath mat-forming assemblages, the mean concentration of dissolved oxygen was reduced by 26% and irradiance by 96% compared with conditions above the mat, while concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and soluble reactive phosphorous increased by 26% and 267%, respectively. The difference was significant but less pronounced under canopy-forming assemblages. Dissolved oxygen declined and dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity increased with increasing algal biomass underneath mat-forming but not under canopy-forming assemblages. The responses of corals to conditions similar to those found underneath algal assemblages were investigated in an aquarium experiment. Coral nubbins of the species Acropora millepora showed reduced photosynthetic yields and increased RNA/DNA ratios when exposed to conditions simulating those underneath assemblages (pre-incubating seawater with macroalgae, and shading). The magnitude of these stress responses increased with increasing proportion of pre-incubated algal water. Our study shows that mat-forming and, to a lesser extent, canopy-forming macroalgal assemblages alter the physical and chemical microenvironment sufficiently to directly and detrimentally affect the metabolism of corals, potentially impeding reef recovery from algal to coral-dominated states after disturbance. Macroalgal dominance on coral reefs therefore simultaneously represents a consequence and cause of coral reef degradation.

  14. Chemical and physical environmental conditions underneath mat- and canopy-forming macroalgae, and their effects on understorey corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudine Hauri

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Disturbed coral reefs are often dominated by dense mat- or canopy-forming assemblages of macroalgae. This study investigated how such dense macroalgal assemblages change the chemical and physical microenvironment for understorey corals, and how the altered environmental conditions affect the physiological performance of corals. Field measurements were conducted on macroalgal-dominated inshore reefs in the Great Barrier Reef in quadrats with macroalgal biomass ranging from 235 to 1029 g DW m(-2 dry weight. Underneath mat-forming assemblages, the mean concentration of dissolved oxygen was reduced by 26% and irradiance by 96% compared with conditions above the mat, while concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and soluble reactive phosphorous increased by 26% and 267%, respectively. The difference was significant but less pronounced under canopy-forming assemblages. Dissolved oxygen declined and dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity increased with increasing algal biomass underneath mat-forming but not under canopy-forming assemblages. The responses of corals to conditions similar to those found underneath algal assemblages were investigated in an aquarium experiment. Coral nubbins of the species Acropora millepora showed reduced photosynthetic yields and increased RNA/DNA ratios when exposed to conditions simulating those underneath assemblages (pre-incubating seawater with macroalgae, and shading. The magnitude of these stress responses increased with increasing proportion of pre-incubated algal water. Our study shows that mat-forming and, to a lesser extent, canopy-forming macroalgal assemblages alter the physical and chemical microenvironment sufficiently to directly and detrimentally affect the metabolism of corals, potentially impeding reef recovery from algal to coral-dominated states after disturbance. Macroalgal dominance on coral reefs therefore simultaneously represents a consequence and cause of coral reef degradation.

  15. CRCP-Acropora spp. distribution in the upper Florida Keys 2013-2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set is derived from visual surveys by snorkelers using handheld GPS units to map extant live colonies of the threatened corals Acropora palmata and A....

  16. CRCP-Acropora spp. distribution in the upper Florida Keys 2013-2015 (NCEI Accession 0157538)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains data from visual surveys by snorkelers using handheld GPS units to map extant live colonies of the threatened corals Acropora palmata and A....

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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. © 2014 The Authors Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    OpenAIRE

    Katherine E. Wirt; Pamela Hallock; David Palandro; Kathleen Semon Lunz

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto R...

  1. A comparison of two common sample preparation techniques for lipid and fatty acid analysis in three different coral morphotypes reveals quantitative and qualitative differences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conlan, Jessica A; Rocker, Melissa M; Francis, David S

    2017-01-01

    Lipids are involved in a host of biochemical and physiological processes in corals. Therefore, changes in lipid composition reflect changes in the ecology, nutrition, and health of corals. As such, accurate lipid extraction, quantification, and identification is critical to obtain comprehensive insight into a coral's condition. However, discrepancies exist in sample preparation methodology globally, and it is currently unknown whether these techniques generate analogous results. This study compared the two most common sample preparation techniques for lipid analysis in corals: (1) tissue isolation by air-spraying and (2) crushing the coral in toto . Samples derived from each preparation technique were subsequently analysed to quantify lipids and their constituent classes and fatty acids in four common, scleractinian coral species representing three distinct morphotypes ( Acropora millepora , Montipora crassotuberculata , Porites cylindrica , and Pocillopora damicornis ). Results revealed substantial amounts of organic material, including lipids, retained in the skeletons of all species following air-spraying, causing a marked underestimation of total lipid concentration using this method. Moreover, lipid class and fatty acid compositions between the denuded skeleton and sprayed tissue were substantially different. In particular, the majority of the total triacylglycerol and total fatty acid concentrations were retained in the skeleton (55-69% and 56-64%, respectively). As such, the isolated, sprayed tissue cannot serve as a reliable proxy for lipid quantification or identification in the coral holobiont. The in toto crushing method is therefore recommended for coral sample preparation prior to lipid analysis to capture the lipid profile of the entire holobiont, permitting accurate diagnoses of coral condition.

  2. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species, but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (2: 621-634. Epub 2010 June 02.El objetivo principal de la investigación fue obtener una línea base de la composición de las comunidades de esponjas, corales y gorgonias que pueda ser utilizada como referencia para futuros análisis de impacto antrópico. Nuestra hipótesis es que un arrecife relativamente homogéneo y bien conservado, presenta una variabilidad natural

  3. A comparison of two common sample preparation techniques for lipid and fatty acid analysis in three different coral morphotypes reveals quantitative and qualitative differences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jessica A. Conlan

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Lipids are involved in a host of biochemical and physiological processes in corals. Therefore, changes in lipid composition reflect changes in the ecology, nutrition, and health of corals. As such, accurate lipid extraction, quantification, and identification is critical to obtain comprehensive insight into a coral’s condition. However, discrepancies exist in sample preparation methodology globally, and it is currently unknown whether these techniques generate analogous results. This study compared the two most common sample preparation techniques for lipid analysis in corals: (1 tissue isolation by air-spraying and (2 crushing the coral in toto. Samples derived from each preparation technique were subsequently analysed to quantify lipids and their constituent classes and fatty acids in four common, scleractinian coral species representing three distinct morphotypes (Acropora millepora, Montipora crassotuberculata, Porites cylindrica, and Pocillopora damicornis. Results revealed substantial amounts of organic material, including lipids, retained in the skeletons of all species following air-spraying, causing a marked underestimation of total lipid concentration using this method. Moreover, lipid class and fatty acid compositions between the denuded skeleton and sprayed tissue were substantially different. In particular, the majority of the total triacylglycerol and total fatty acid concentrations were retained in the skeleton (55–69% and 56–64%, respectively. As such, the isolated, sprayed tissue cannot serve as a reliable proxy for lipid quantification or identification in the coral holobiont. The in toto crushing method is therefore recommended for coral sample preparation prior to lipid analysis to capture the lipid profile of the entire holobiont, permitting accurate diagnoses of coral condition.

  4. Changes in coral-associated microbial communities during a bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourne, David; Iida, Yuki; Uthicke, Sven; Smith-Keune, Carolyn

    2008-04-01

    Environmental stressors such as increased sea surface temperatures are well-known for contributing to coral bleaching; however, the effect of increased temperatures and subsequent bleaching on coral-associated microbial communities is poorly understood. Colonies of the hard coral Acropora millepora were tagged on a reef flat off Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef) and surveyed over 2.5 years, which included a severe bleaching event in January/February 2002. Daily average water temperatures exceeded the previous 10-year average by more than 1 degrees C for extended periods with field-based visual surveys recording all tagged colonies displaying signs of bleaching. During the bleaching period, direct counts of coral zooxanthellae densities decreased by approximately 64%, before recovery to pre-bleaching levels after the thermal stress event. A subset of three tagged coral colonies were sampled through the bleaching event and changes in the microbial community elucidated. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis demonstrated conserved bacterial banding profiles between the three coral colonies, confirming previous studies highlighting specific microbial associations. As coral colonies bleached, the microbial community shifted and redundancy analysis (RDA) of DGGE banding patterns revealed a correlation of increasing temperature with the appearance of Vibrio-affiliated sequences. Interestingly, this shift to a Vibrio-dominated community commenced prior to visual signs of bleaching. Clone libraries hybridized with Vibrio-specific oligonucleotide probes confirmed an increase in the fraction of Vibrio-affiliated clones during the bleaching period. Post bleaching, the coral microbial associations again shifted, returning to a profile similar to the fingerprints prior to bleaching. This provided further evidence for corals selecting and shaping their microbial partners. For non-bleached samples, a close association with Spongiobacter-related sequences were

  5. Regional restoration benchmarks for Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A.; Lirman, Diego; Bartels, Erich; Gilliam, David S.; Goergen, Elizabeth A.; Griffin, Sean P.; Johnson, Meaghan E.; Lustic, Caitlin; Maxwell, Kerry; Walter, Cory S.

    2017-12-01

    Coral gardening plays an important role in the recovery of depleted populations of threatened Acropora cervicornis in the Caribbean. Over the past decade, high survival coupled with fast growth of in situ nursery corals have allowed practitioners to create healthy and genotypically diverse nursery stocks. Currently, thousands of corals are propagated and outplanted onto degraded reefs on a yearly basis, representing a substantial increase in the abundance, biomass, and overall footprint of A. cervicornis. Here, we combined an extensive dataset collected by restoration practitioners to document early (1-2 yr) restoration success metrics in Florida and Puerto Rico, USA. By reporting region-specific data on the impacts of fragment collection on donor colonies, survivorship and productivity of nursery corals, and survivorship and productivity of outplanted corals during normal conditions, we provide the basis for a stop-light indicator framework for new or existing restoration programs to evaluate their performance. We show that current restoration methods are very effective, that no excess damage is caused to donor colonies, and that once outplanted, corals behave just as wild colonies. We also provide science-based benchmarks that can be used by programs to evaluate successes and challenges of their efforts, and to make modifications where needed. We propose that up to 10% of the biomass can be collected from healthy, large A. cervicornis donor colonies for nursery propagation. We also propose the following benchmarks for the first year of activities for A. cervicornis restoration: (1) >75% live tissue cover on donor colonies; (2) >80% survivorship of nursery corals; and (3) >70% survivorship of outplanted corals. Finally, we report productivity means of 4.4 cm yr-1 for nursery corals and 4.8 cm yr-1 for outplants as a frame of reference for ranking performance within programs. Such benchmarks, and potential subsequent adaptive actions, are needed to fully assess the

  6. A population genetic assessment of coral recovery on highly disturbed reefs of the Keppel Island archipelago in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Madeleine J.H. van Oppen

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs surrounding the islands lying close to the coast are unique to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR in that they are frequently exposed to disturbance events including floods caused by cyclonic rainfall, strong winds and occasional periods of prolonged above-average temperatures during summer. In one such group of islands in the southern GBR, the Keppel Island archipelago, climate-driven disturbances frequently result in major coral mortality. Whilst these island reefs have clearly survived such dramatic disturbances in the past, the consequences of extreme mortality events may include the loss of genetic diversity, and hence adaptive potential, and a reduction in fitness due to inbreeding, especially if new recruitment from external sources is limited. Here we examined the level of isolation of the Keppel Island group as well as patterns of gene flow within the Keppel Islands using 10 microsatellite markers in nine populations of the coral, Acropora millepora. Bayesian cluster analysis and assignment tests indicated gene flow is restricted, but not absent, between the outer and inner Keppel Island groups, and that extensive gene flow exists within each of these island groups. Comparison of the Keppel Island data with results from a previous GBR-wide study that included a single Keppel Island population, confirmed that A. millepora in the Keppel Islands is genetically distinct from populations elsewhere on the GBR, with exception of the nearby inshore High Peak Reef just north of the Keppel Islands. We compared patterns of genetic diversity in the Keppel Island populations with those from other GBR populations and found them to be slightly, but significantly lower, consistent with the archipelago being geographically isolated, but there was no evidence for recent bottlenecks or deviation from mutation-drift equilibrium. A high incidence of private alleles in the Keppel Islands, particularly in the outer islands, supports their relative

  7. Reply to comment by E. Bard et al. on "Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata" by N. A. Abdul et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mortlock, Richard A.; Abdul, Nicole A.; Wright, James D.; Fairbanks, Richard G.

    2016-12-01

    Abdul et al. (2016) presented a detailed record of sea level at Barbados (13.9-9 kyr B.P.) tightly constraining the timing and amplitude during the Younger Dryas and Meltwater Pulse 1B (MWP-1B) based on U-Th dated reef crest coral species Acropora palmata. The Younger Dryas slow stand and the large (14 m) rapid sea level jump are not resolved in the Tahiti record. Tahiti sea level estimates are remarkably close to the Barbados sea level curve between 13.9 and 11.6 kyr but fall below the Barbados sea level curve for a few thousand years following MWP-1B. By 9 kyr the Tahiti sea level estimates again converge with the Barbados sea level curve. Abdul et al. (2016) concluded that Tahiti reefs at the core sites did not keep up with intervals of rapidly rising sea level during MWP-1B. We counter Bard et al. (2016) by showing (1) that there is no evidence for a hypothetical fault in Oistins Bay affecting one of the Barbados coring locations, (2) that the authors confuse the rare occurrences of A. palmata at depths >5 m with the "thickets" of A. palmata fronds representing the reef-crest facies, and (3) that uncertainties in depth habitat proxies largely account for differences in Barbados and Tahiti sea level differences curves with A. palmata providing the most faithful proxy. Given the range in Tahiti paleodepth uncertainties at the cored sites, the most parsimonious explanation remains that Tahiti coralgal ridges did not keep up with the sea level rise of MWP-1B.

  8. 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...

  9. CRCP-Acropora palmata fragment outplants: evaluating the performance in the Upper Florida Keys from 2014 to 2016

    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...

  10. Population Monitoring of Acropora palmata and its predator, Coralliophila abbreviata, in the upper Florida Keys 1998 to 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This record refers to ongoing population surveys of corallivorous snail, C. abbreviata, and two of its coral hosts, Acropora palmata, and Montastraea spp at six reef...

  11. 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.

  12. Potential Costs of Acclimatization to a Warmer Climate: Growth of a Reef Coral with Heat Tolerant vs. Sensitive Symbiont Types

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Alison; Berkelmans, Ray

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20454653

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Alison; Berkelmans, Ray

    2010-05-03

    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.

  14. A genetic approach to the origin of Millepora sp. in the eastern Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    López, C.; Clemente, S.; Almeida, C.; Brito, A.; Hernández, M.

    2015-06-01

    Many species have experienced recent range expansions due to human-mediated processes, such as the unintentional transport on ships or plastic waste and ocean warming, which facilitates many tropical species to tolerate living beyond their normal limit of distribution, with a potential impact on autochthonous assemblages. In September 2008, three colonies of the fire coral Millepora sp. (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa) were found on the southeastern coast of Tenerife (Canary Islands), though this species had been previously described to have a circumtropical distribution with Cape Verde Islands as its northern limit of distribution in the eastern Atlantic. The aim of this study was to determine the origin of these new colonies in the Canary Islands (11°N of its previously known northernmost limit of distribution) using variation in the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene as a molecular marker. In order to do that, Millepora samples from Tenerife and Cape Verde Islands were collected for molecular analyses, and COI sequences from Caribbean samples listed in GenBank were also included in the analysis. Our results showed that all the specimens from Tenerife were genetically identical, suggesting that the colonization of the Canary Islands was the result of a very recent and strong founder effect. The nucleotide sequences of the samples from the Cape Verde and the Canary Islands were closer to the Caribbean than between themselves, pointing to the Caribbean population as the source population for both archipelagos, through independent founder events. The fact that Millepora sp. arrived to Cape Verde long before arriving to the Canaries (pleistocene fossils have been found in that archipelago) suggests that the habitat requirements for this species did not exist before in the Canarian archipelago. Therefore, the rising seawater temperatures recently registered in the Canary Islands could have facilitated the settlement of reef-forming corals drifting across the two basins of

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

    OpenAIRE

    Tomiak, P. J.; Andersen, M. B.; Hendy, E. J.; 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 ...

  16. Differential regulation by heat stress of novel cytochrome P450 genes from the dinoflagellate symbionts of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka N; Pernice, Mathieu; Dunn, Simon; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2010-05-01

    Exposure to heat stress has been recognized as one of the major factors leading to the breakdown of the coral-alga symbiosis and coral bleaching. Here, we describe the presence of three new cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes from the reef-building coral endosymbiont Symbiodinium (type C3) and changes in their expression during exposure to severe and moderate heat stress conditions. Sequence analysis of the CYP C-terminal region and two conserved domains, the "PERF" and "heme-binding" domains, confirmed the separate identities of the CYP genes analyzed. In order to explore the effects of different heat stress scenarios, samples of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora were exposed to elevated temperatures incrementally over an 18-h period (rapid thermal stress) and over a 120-h period (gradual thermal stress). After 18 h of gradual heating and incubation at 26 degrees C, the Symbiodinium CYP mRNA pool was approximately 30% larger, while a further 6 degrees C increase to a temperature above the average sea temperature (29 degrees C after 72 h) resulted in a 2- to 4-fold increase in CYP expression. Both rapid heat stress and gradual heat stress at 32 degrees C resulted in 50% to 90% decreases in CYP gene transcript abundance. Consequently, the initial upregulation of expression of CYP genes at moderately elevated temperatures (26 degrees C and 29 degrees C) was followed by a decrease in expression under the greater thermal stress conditions at 32 degrees C. These findings indicate that in the coral-alga symbiosis under heat stress conditions there is production of chemical stressors and/or transcriptional factors that regulate the expression of genes, such as the genes encoding cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, that are involved in the first line of an organism's chemical defense.

  17. Single-Cell Biomolecular Analysis of Coral Algal Symbionts Reveals Opposing Metabolic Responses to Heat Stress and Expulsion

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    Katherina Petrou

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available The success of corals in nutrient poor environments is largely attributed to the symbiosis between the cnidarian host and its intracellular alga. Warm water anomalies have been shown to destabilize this symbiosis, yet detailed analysis of the effect of temperature and expulsion on cell-specific carbon and nutrient allocation in the symbiont is limited. Here, we exposed colonies of the hard coral Acropora millepora to heat stress and using synchrotron-based infrared microspectroscopy measured the biomolecular profiles of individual in hospite and expelled symbiont cells at an acute state of bleaching. Our results showed symbiont metabolic profiles to be remarkably distinct with heat stress and expulsion, where the two effectors elicited opposing metabolic adjustments independent of treatment or cell type. Elevated temperature resulted in biomolecular changes reflecting cellular stress, with relative increases in free amino acids and phosphorylation of molecules and a concomitant decline in protein content, suggesting protein modification and degradation. This contrasted with the metabolic profiles of expelled symbionts, which showed relative decreases in free amino acids and phosphorylated molecules, but increases in proteins and lipids, suggesting expulsion lessens the overall effect of heat stress on the metabolic signature of the algal symbionts. Interestingly, the combined effects of expulsion and thermal stress were additive, reducing the overall shifts in all biomolecules, with the notable exception of the significant accumulation of lipids and saturated fatty acids. This first use of a single-cell metabolomics approach on the coral symbiosis provides novel insight into coral bleaching and emphasizes the importance of a single-cell approach to demark the cell-to-cell variability in the physiology of coral cellular populations.

  18. Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change.

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    Paulina Kaniewska

    Full Text Available Tropical reef-building coral stress levels will intensify with the predicted rising atmospheric CO2 resulting in ocean temperature and acidification increase. Most studies to date have focused on the destabilization of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses due to warming oceans, or declining calcification due to ocean acidification. In our study, pH and temperature conditions consistent with the end-of-century scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC caused major changes in photosynthesis and respiration, in addition to decreased calcification rates in the coral Acropora millepora. Population density of symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium under high levels of ocean acidification and temperature (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP8.5 decreased to half of that found under present day conditions, with photosynthetic and respiratory rates also being reduced by 40%. These physiological changes were accompanied by evidence for gene regulation of calcium and bicarbonate transporters along with components of the organic matrix. Metatranscriptomic RNA-Seq data analyses showed an overall down regulation of metabolic transcripts, and an increased abundance of transcripts involved in circadian clock control, controlling the damage of oxidative stress, calcium signaling/homeostasis, cytoskeletal interactions, transcription regulation, DNA repair, Wnt signaling and apoptosis/immunity/ toxins. We suggest that increased maintenance costs under ocean acidification and warming, and diversion of cellular ATP to pH homeostasis, oxidative stress response, UPR and DNA repair, along with metabolic suppression, may underpin why Acroporid species tend not to thrive under future environmental stress. Our study highlights the potential increased energy demand when the coral holobiont is exposed to high levels of ocean warming and acidification.

  19. Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaniewska, Paulina; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Kline, David; Ling, Edmund Yew Siang; Rosic, Nedeljka; Edwards, David; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie

    2015-01-01

    Tropical reef-building coral stress levels will intensify with the predicted rising atmospheric CO2 resulting in ocean temperature and acidification increase. Most studies to date have focused on the destabilization of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses due to warming oceans, or declining calcification due to ocean acidification. In our study, pH and temperature conditions consistent with the end-of-century scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) caused major changes in photosynthesis and respiration, in addition to decreased calcification rates in the coral Acropora millepora. Population density of symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) under high levels of ocean acidification and temperature (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP8.5) decreased to half of that found under present day conditions, with photosynthetic and respiratory rates also being reduced by 40%. These physiological changes were accompanied by evidence for gene regulation of calcium and bicarbonate transporters along with components of the organic matrix. Metatranscriptomic RNA-Seq data analyses showed an overall down regulation of metabolic transcripts, and an increased abundance of transcripts involved in circadian clock control, controlling the damage of oxidative stress, calcium signaling/homeostasis, cytoskeletal interactions, transcription regulation, DNA repair, Wnt signaling and apoptosis/immunity/ toxins. We suggest that increased maintenance costs under ocean acidification and warming, and diversion of cellular ATP to pH homeostasis, oxidative stress response, UPR and DNA repair, along with metabolic suppression, may underpin why Acroporid species tend not to thrive under future environmental stress. Our study highlights the potential increased energy demand when the coral holobiont is exposed to high levels of ocean warming and acidification.

  20. Sequencing and de novo analysis of a coral larval transcriptome using 454 GSFlx

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    Colbourne John K

    2009-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background New methods are needed for genomic-scale analysis of emerging model organisms that exemplify important biological questions but lack fully sequenced genomes. For example, there is an urgent need to understand the potential for corals to adapt to climate change, but few molecular resources are available for studying these processes in reef-building corals. To facilitate genomics studies in corals and other non-model systems, we describe methods for transcriptome sequencing using 454, as well as strategies for assembling a useful catalog of genes from the output. We have applied these methods to sequence the transcriptome of planulae larvae from the coral Acropora millepora. Results More than 600,000 reads produced in a single 454 sequencing run were assembled into ~40,000 contigs with five-fold average sequencing coverage. Based on sequence similarity with known proteins, these analyses identified ~11,000 different genes expressed in a range of conditions including thermal stress and settlement induction. Assembled sequences were annotated with gene names, conserved domains, and Gene Ontology terms. Targeted searches using these annotations identified the majority of genes associated with essential metabolic pathways and conserved signaling pathways, as well as novel candidate genes for stress-related processes. Comparisons with the genome of the anemone Nematostella vectensis revealed ~8,500 pairs of orthologs and ~100 candidate coral-specific genes. More than 30,000 SNPs were detected in the coral sequences, and a subset of these validated by re-sequencing. Conclusion The methods described here for deep sequencing of the transcriptome should be widely applicable to generate catalogs of genes and genetic markers in emerging model organisms. Our data provide the most comprehensive sequence resource currently available for reef-building corals, and include an extensive collection of potential genetic markers for association and

  1. CRCP-Acropora palmata fragment outplants: evaluating the performance in the Upper Florida Keys from 2014 to 2016 (NCEI Accession 0161630)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset contains condition and size of outplanted, cultured fragments of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, observed in two separate experiments. Data tables give...

  2. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven V Vollmer

    Full Text Available Disease epidemics have caused extensive damage to tropical coral reefs and to the reef-building corals themselves, yet nothing is known about the abilities of the coral host to resist disease infection. Understanding the potential for natural disease resistance in corals is critically important, especially in the Caribbean where the two ecologically dominant shallow-water corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have suffered an unprecedented mass die-off due to White Band Disease (WBD, and are now listed as threatened under the US Threatened Species Act and as critically endangered under the IUCN Red List criteria. Here we examine the potential for natural resistance to WBD in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis by combining microsatellite genotype information with in situ transmission assays and field monitoring of WBD on tagged genotypes. We show that six percent of staghorn coral genotypes (3 out of 49 are resistant to WBD. This natural resistance to WBD in staghorn corals represents the first evidence of host disease resistance in scleractinian corals and demonstrates that staghorn corals have an innate ability to resist WBD infection. These resistant staghorn coral genotypes may explain why pockets of Acropora have been able to survive the WBD epidemic. Understanding disease resistance in these corals may be the critical link to restoring populations of these once dominant corals throughout their range.

  3. DNA barcode of Acropora hyacinthus of Karimunjawa Archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayanti, D. P.; Indrayanti, E.; Nuryadi, H.; Rintiantono, S. A.; Sabdono, A.

    2018-03-01

    Karimunjawa is one of the earliest marine parks in Indonesia. Karimunjawa National Park (KNP) was designated as a marine conservation area to conserve marine resources from destructive fishing activities. Scleractinian corals in the genus Acropora are among the most dominant distributed in the KNPs, including the species of Acropora hyacinthus. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of intra- and interspecific COI variabilities in A. hyacinthus to analyze genetic diversity and to describe the kinship relationship of the coral between 5 localities of the reefs. Genetic marker Cytochrome Oxidase I of the mitochondrial genome DNA (mtDNA) was used to analyze genetic diversity. Reconstruction of phylogenetic tree and genetic diversity were made by using software MEGA 5.05 (Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis). The results indicate corals A. hyacinthus from five localities of Karimunjawa Archipelago are in the high category of genetic diversity. However, the five populations showed a close genetic relationship of kinship. This is likely due to the small size of the population and few numbers of samples that may not represent the population. The results may aid managers of the park in the selection of appropriate propagules sources which can help to restore important data for conservation and sustain coral reef resources.

  4. Coral restoration Bonaire : an evaluation of growth, regeneration and survival

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meesters, H.W.G.; Boomstra, B.; Hurtado-Lopez, N.; Montbrun, A.; Virdis, F.

    2015-01-01

    The Coral restoration of Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (A. palmata) as practiced by the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (CRFB) is shown to be highly successful in terms of growth and survival of new colonies, in both nurseries and transplant locations. Coral restoration is

  5. 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

  6. Genetic diversity and differentiation in reef-building Millepora species, as revealed by cross-species amplification of fifteen novel microsatellite loci

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Caroline E. Dubé

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Quantifying the genetic diversity in natural populations is crucial to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Despite recent advances in whole-genome sequencing, microsatellite markers have remained one of the most powerful tools for a myriad of population genetic approaches. Here, we used the 454 sequencing technique to develop microsatellite loci in the fire coral Millepora platyphylla, an important reef-builder of Indo-Pacific reefs. We tested the cross-species amplification of these loci in five other species of the genus Millepora and analysed its success in correlation with the genetic distances between species using mitochondrial 16S sequences. We succeeded in discovering fifteen microsatellite loci in our target species M. platyphylla, among which twelve were polymorphic with 2–13 alleles and a mean observed heterozygosity of 0.411. Cross-species amplification in the five other Millepora species revealed a high probability of amplification success (71% and polymorphism (59% of the loci. Our results show no evidence of decreased heterozygosity with increasing genetic distance. However, only one locus enabled measures of genetic diversity in the Caribbean species M. complanata due to high proportions of null alleles for most of the microsatellites. This result indicates that our novel markers may only be useful for the Indo-Pacific species of Millepora. Measures of genetic diversity revealed significant linkage disequilibrium, moderate levels of observed heterozygosity (0.323–0.496 and heterozygote deficiencies for the Indo-Pacific species. The accessibility to new polymorphic microsatellite markers for hydrozoan Millepora species creates new opportunities for future research on processes driving the complexity of their colonisation success on many Indo-Pacific reefs.

  7. Population assessment of Acropora palmata (Scleractinia: Acroporidae: relationship between habitat and reef associated species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Martínez

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Three decades ago, Acropora palmata was one of the main reef-building coral species throughout the Caribbean, forming an essential component of the structural complexity of shallow coral reef habitats. These colonies still provide microhabitats for settlement, food and shelter to many vertebrates and invertebrates. The recent decline of A. palmata has been followed by a significant loss in spatial heterogeneity and possibly in species diversity. Studies addressing whether dead and living stands of Acropora hold different fish and benthic assemblages are scarce. The status of Acropora colonies and their associated species were assessed in October 2012, at two reef zones of Cayo Sombrero, Venezuela. Visual censuses of fish abundance and the number of macrofaunal individuals were recorded for both live and dead zones. Living Acropora colonies had the lowest abundance (˂31%. In both zoned the fish community was dominated by damselfishes (˂53% and wrasses (˂36%, the benthic macrofauna by peracarid crustaceans (˂40% and polychaetes (˂38%. Fish and benthic communities were not correlated with the condition (live or dead of the Acropora habitats; possibly branching structures provide the necessary shelter and protection no matter if they are dead or alive. More replication is necessary to test this unexpected result.

  8. 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.

  9. Genetic diversity of the Acropora-associated hydrozoans: new insight from the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Maggioni, Davide

    2017-01-21

    To date, four nominal species and several other unidentified species of Zanclea hydrozoans are known to live symbiotically with scleractinians, and recent surveys reported this association also in the Red Sea. Previous molecular studies showed that each coral genus involved in this association hosts only one species or molecular clade of Zanclea, with the only exception being the genus Acropora, which hosts at least two Zanclea species. Moreover, some of the detected genetic lineages were morphologically undistinguishable in the polyp stage, suggesting the presence of cryptic species. In this study, we investigated the morphology and genetic diversity of Acropora-associated Zanclea specimens collected in previous studies in Egypt and Israel, as well as new samples collected in Saudi Arabia. Based on the current data, all the analysed samples were morphologically identical to Zanclea gallii, a species associated with Acropora corals from the Maldives. However, molecular analyses separated the samples collected in the Red Sea from all other coral-associated hydroids. Therefore, phylogenetic reconstructions, haplotype networks, genetic distance analyses and distribution data allowed us to identify a previously unknown cryptic species of Acropora-associated hydroid, here named Zanclea gallii IIa, following a recently proposed molecular nomenclature.

  10. Survival and growth of the giant clam larvae utilizing zooxanthellae from Acropora valenciennesi, Tridacna crocea and Sarcophyton trocheliophorum

    OpenAIRE

    A. Niartiningsih; Magdalena Litaay; Niradhyna W. M

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to know the survival and growth of the giant clam larvae given zooxanthellae from different host. The field experiment was conducted from September ???November 2006 at hatchery of Marine Field Station Barrang Lompo Island, Makassar. Zooxanthellae hosts used were: (A) Table coral (Acropora valenciennesi); (B) Tridacna crocea, (C) soft coral (Sarcophyton trocheliophorum) and (D) control (no additional zooxanthellae). The Complete Randomized Design with four treatments ...

  11. Decapod crustaceans inhabiting live and dead colonies of three species of Acropora in the Roques Archipelago, Venezuela

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grajal, P. Alejandro; Laughlin, G. Roger

    1984-01-01

    A systematic account is given of the decapod crustaceans found in live and dead colonies of three species of the scleractinian coral Acropora (A. cervicornis, A. palmata, A. prolifera), collected during a 9 month period in a shallow reef flat in the southwestern portion of the Archipelago Los

  12. Oxidative stress in the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis exposed to CO2-driven seawater acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luz, Débora Camacho; Zebral, Yuri Dornelles; Klein, Roberta Daniele; Marques, Joseane Aparecida; Marangoni, Laura Fernandes de Barros; Pereira, Cristiano Macedo; Duarte, Gustavo Adolpho Santos; Pires, Débora de Oliveira; Castro, Clovis Barreira e.; Calderon, Emiliano Nicolas; Bianchini, Adalto

    2018-06-01

    Global impacts are affecting negatively coral reefs' health worldwide. Ocean acidification associated with the increasing CO2 partial pressure in the atmosphere can potentially induce oxidative stress with consequent cellular damage in corals and hydrocorals. In the present study, parameters related to oxidative status were evaluated in the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis exposed to three different levels of seawater acidification using a mesocosm system. CO2-driven acidification of seawater was performed until reaching 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 pH units below the current pH of seawater pumped from the coral reef adjacent to the mesocosm. Therefore, treatments corresponded to control (pH 8.1), mild (pH 7.8), intermediate (pH 7.5) and severe (pH 7.2) seawater acidification. After 0, 16 and 30 d of exposure, hydrocorals were collected and the following parameters were analyzed in the holobiont: antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals (ACAP), total glutathione (GSHt) concentration, reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG), lipid peroxidation (LPO) and protein carbonyl group (PC) levels. ACAP was increased in hydrocorals after 16 d of exposure to intermediate levels of seawater acidification. GSHt and GSH/GSSG did not change over the experimental period. LPO was increased at any level of seawater acidification, while PC content was increased in hydrocorals exposed to intermediate and severe seawater acidification for 30 d. These findings indicate that the antioxidant defense system of M. alcicornis is capable of coping with acidic conditions for a short period of time (16 d). Additionally, they clearly show that a long-term (30 d) exposure to seawater acidification induces oxidative stress with consequent oxidative damage to lipids and proteins, which could compromise hydrocoral health.

  13. 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.

  14. SYMBIODINIUM ISOLATES FROM STONY CORAL: ISOLATION, GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS AND EFFECTS OF UV IRRADIATION

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symbiodinium spp. Isolates from Stony Coral: Isolation, Growth Characteristics and Effects of UV Irradiation (Abstract). J. Phycol. 37(3):42-43.Symbiodinium species were isolated from Montipora capitata, Acropora palmata and two field samples of Porites porites. Cultures ...

  15. Coral lipids and environmental stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harriott, V J

    1993-04-01

    Environmental monitoring of coral reefs is presently limited by difficulties in recognising coral stress, other than by monitoring coral mortality over time. A recent report described an experiment demonstrating that a measured lipid index declined in shaded corals. The technique described might have application in monitoring coral health, with a decline in coral lipid index as an indicator of coral stress. The application of the technique as a practical monitoring tool was tested for two coral species from the Great Barrier Reef. Consistent with the previous results, lipid index for Pocillopora damicornis initially declined over a period of three weeks in corals maintained in filtered seawater in the dark, indicating possible utilization of lipid stored as energy reserves. However, lipid index subsequently rose to near normal levels. In contrast, lipid index of Acropora formosa increased after four weeks in the dark in filtered seawater. The results showed considerable variability in lipid content between samples from the same colony. Results were also found to be dependent on fixation times and sample weight, introducing potential error into the practical application of the technique. The method as described would be unsuitable for monitoring environmental stress in corals, but the search for a practical method to monitor coral health should continue, given its importance in coral reef management.

  16. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The coral reef damage in Probolinggo region was expected to be caused by several factors. The first one comes from its society that exploits fishery by using cyanide toxin and bomb. The second one goes to the extraction of coral reef, which is used as decoration or construction materials. The other factor is likely caused by the existence of large industry on the seashore, such as Electric Steam Power Plant (PLTU Paiton and others alike. Related to the development of coral reef ecosystem, availability of an accurate data is crucially needed to support the manner of future policy, so the research of coral reef coverage percentage needs to be conducted continuously. The aim of this research is to collect biological data of coral reef and to identify coral reef coverage percentage in the effort of constructing coral reef condition basic data on Binor, Paiton, and Probolinggo regency seashore. The method used in this research is Line Intercept Transect (LIT method. LIT method is a method that used to decide benthic community on coral reef based on percentage growth, and to take note of benthic quantity along transect line. Percentage of living coral coverage in 3 meters depth on this Binor Paiton seashore that may be categorized in a good condition is 57,65%. While the rest are dead coral that is only 1,45%, other life form in 23,2%, and non-life form in 17,7%. A good condition of coral reef is caused by coral reef transplantation on the seashore, so this coral reef is dominated by Acropora Branching. On the other hand, Mortality Index (IM of coral reef resulted in 24,5%. The result from observation and calculation of coral reef is dominated by Hard Coral in Acropora Branching (ACB with coral reef coverage percentage of 39%, Coral Massive (CM with coral reef coverage percentage of 2,85%, Coral Foliose (CF with coral reef coverage percentage of 1,6%, and Coral Mushroom (CRM with coral reef coverage percentage of 8,5%. Observation in 10 meters depth

  17. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available The coral reef damage in Probolinggo region was expected to be caused by several factors. The first one comes from its society that exploits fishery by using cyanide toxin and bomb. The second one goes to the extraction of coral reef, which is used as decoration or construction materials. The other factor is likely caused by the existence of large industry on the seashore, such as Electric Steam Power Plant (PLTU Paiton and others alike. Related to the development of coral reef ecosystem, availability of an accurate data is crucially needed to support the manner of future policy, so the research of coral reef coverage percentage needs to be conducted continuously. The aim of this research is to collect biological data of coral reef and to identify coral reef coverage percentage in the effort of constructing coral reef condition basic data on Binor, Paiton, and Probolinggo regency seashore. The method used in this research is Line Intercept Transect (LIT method. LIT method is a method that used to decide benthic community on coral reef based on percentage growth, and to take note of benthic quantity along transect line. Percentage of living coral coverage in 3 meters depth on this Binor Paiton seashore that may be categorized in a good condition is 57,65%. While the rest are dead coral that is only 1,45%, other life form in 23,2%, and non-life form in 17,7%. A good condition of coral reef is caused by coral reef transplantation on the seashore, so this coral reef is dominated by Acropora Branching. On the other hand, Mortality Index (IM of coral reef resulted in 24,5%. The result from observation and calculation of coral reef is dominated by Hard Coral in Acropora Branching (ACB with coral reef coverage percentage of 39%, Coral Massive (CM with coral reef coverage percentage of 2,85%, Coral Foliose (CF with coral reef coverage percentage of 1,6%, and Coral Mushroom (CRM with coral reef coverage percentage of 8,5%. Observation in 10 meters depth

  18. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine E. Wirt

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Island reef tracts were used to generate potential-habitat polygons using buffers that incorporated 95% and 99% of reported observations of Acropora spp. Locations of 92% of A. palmata observations and 84% of A. cervicornis observations coincided with mapped coral reef or hard-bottom habitat throughout the study area. These results indicate that potential habitat for A. palmata is currently well defined throughout this region, but that potential habitat for A. cervicornis is more variable and has a wider range than that for A. palmata. This study provides a novel method of combining data sets at various geographic spatial scales and may be used to inform and refine the current National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration critical habitat map.

  19. 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. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  20. Differential larval settlement responses of Porites astreoides and Acropora palmata in the presence of the green alga Halimeda opuntia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, K.; Sneed, J. M.; Paul, V. J.

    2016-06-01

    Settlement is critical to maintaining coral cover on reefs, yet interspecific responses of coral planulae to common benthic macroalgae are not well characterized. Larval survival and settlement of two Caribbean reef-building corals, the broadcast-spawner Acropora palmata and the planulae-brooder Porites astreoides, were quantified following exposure to plastic algae controls and the green macroalga Halimeda opuntia. Survival and settlement rates were not significantly affected by the presence of H. opuntia in either species. However, ~10 % of P. astreoides larvae settled on the surface of the macroalga, whereas larvae of A. palmata did not. It is unlikely that corals that settle on macroalgae will survive post-settlement; therefore, H. opuntia may reduce the number of P. astreoides and other non-discriminatory larvae that survive to adulthood. Our results suggest that the presence of macroalgae on impacted reefs can have unexpected repercussions for coral recruitment and highlight discrepancies in settlement specificity between corals with distinct life history strategies.

  1. Temporal variations in metabolic and autotrophic indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera--implications for monitoring projects.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saskia Hinrichs

    Full Text Available Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal. We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a, zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield and relative electron transport rate (rETR for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia in August 2010 (austral winter and February 2011 (austral summer. Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal and short-term (diel coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time

  2. Temporal variations in metabolic and autotrophic indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera--implications for monitoring projects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L; Waite, Anya M

    2013-01-01

    Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal). We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration) and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a), zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield) and relative electron transport rate (rETR)) for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in August 2010 (austral winter) and February 2011 (austral summer). Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (diel) coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time-lag effect has

  3. Temporal Variations in Metabolic and Autotrophic Indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera – Implications for Monitoring Projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal). We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration) and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a), zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield) and relative electron transport rate (rETR)) for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in August 2010 (austral winter) and February 2011 (austral summer). Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (diel) coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time-lag effect has

  4. Calcium-dependent smooth muscle excitatory effect elicited by the venom of the hydrocoral Millepora complanata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rojas, Alejandra; Torres, Mónica; Rojas, J Isela; Feregrino, Angélica; Heimer-de la Cotera, Edgar P

    2002-06-01

    In the present paper, we describe the results obtained from a preliminary pharmacological and biochemical study of the fire coral Millepora complanata, a regular component of coral reefs in the Mexican Caribbean. The protein-containing crude extract obtained from M. complanata (tested from 0.001 to 1000 microg protein/ml) caused a concentration-dependent stimulation of spontaneous contractions of the guinea pig ileum. The extract (EC(50)=11.55+/-2.36 microg/ml) was approximately 12-fold less potent than ionomycin (EC(50)=0.876+/-0.25 microg/ml) and its maximum induced contraction (1mg protein/ml) was equivalent to 68% of the response to 60mM KCl. FPLC size exclusion chromatography of the M. complanta extract afforded 12 primary fractions, of which only FV (containing proteins with molecular weights ranging from 17 to 44 kDa) and FVIII (consisting of peptides with molecular weights lesser than 1.8k Da) elicited an excitatory effect when tested at the EC(50) of the original extract. After incubation in Ca(2+)-free medium, the ileal response to FV and FVIII was significantly reduced. Blockage of L-type Ca(2+) channels with nifedipine (1 microM) inhibited FV and FVIII-evoked contractions. Cd(2+) (10 microM), an unspecific blocker of voltage-activated calcium channels, also antagonized FV and FVIII-induced effects, whereas the Na(+) channel blocker tetrodotoxin (10nM) did not significantly affect FV and FVIII responses. These results suggest that the contractions induced by the bioactive fractions obtained from the crude extract of M. complanata are caused mainly by a direct action on smooth muscle cells, via an increase in Ca(2+) permeability that occurs, at least partly, through L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels found in the cell membrane of smooth muscle. Copright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.

  5. Changes in coral reef communities among the Florida Keys, 1996-2003

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somerfield, P. J.; Jaap, W. C.; Clarke, K. R.; Callahan, M.; Hackett, K.; Porter, J.; Lybolt, M.; Tsokos, C.; Yanev, G.

    2008-12-01

    Hard coral (Scleractinia and Milleporina) cover data were examined from 37 sites surveyed annually from 1996 to 2003 in the Florida reef tract, USA. Analyses of species numbers and total cover showed that site-to-site differences were generally very much greater than differences among times within sites. There were no significant differences among different geographical areas within the reef tract (Upper, Middle and Lower Keys). Large-scale changes documented included a reduction in species numbers and total cover on both deep and shallow offshore reefs between 1997 and 1999 followed by no recovery in cover, and only scant evidence of any recovery in species numbers by 2003. These changes coincided with bleaching events in 1997 and 1998, and the passage of Hurricane Georges through the Lower Keys in 1998. The lack of recovery among offshore reefs suggests that they were no longer resilient. Multivariate analyses revealed that some sites showed relatively little temporal variation in community composition, essentially random in direction, while others showed relatively large year-on-year changes. There was little evidence of any major region-wide changes affecting assemblage composition, or of any events that had impacted all of the sampling sites in any single year. Instead, different sites exhibited differing patterns of temporal variation, with certain sites displaying greater variation than others. Changes in community composition at some sites are interpreted in the light of knowledge of events at those sites and the relative sensitivities of species to various stressors, such as changes in cover of Acropora palmata and Millepora complanata at Sand Key following the bleaching events and hurricane in 1998, and declines in Montastraea annularis at Smith Shoal following a harmful algal bloom in 2002. For most sites, however, it is impossible to determine the causes of observed variation.

  6. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

    Larval production and recruitment underpin the maintenance of coral populations, but these early life history stages are vulnerable to extreme variation in physical conditions. Environmental managers aim to minimise human impacts during significant periods of larval production and recruitment on reefs, but doing so requires knowledge of the modes and timing of coral reproduction. Most corals are hermaphroditic or gonochoric, with a brooding or broadcast spawning mode of reproduction. Brooding corals are a significant component of some reefs and produce larvae over consecutive months. Broadcast spawning corals are more common and display considerable variation in their patterns of spawning among reefs. Highly synchronous spawning can occur on reefs around Australia, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef. On Australia’s remote north-west coast there have been fewer studies of coral reproduction. The recent industrial expansion into these regions has facilitated research, but the associated data are often contained within confidential reports. Here we combine information in this grey-literature with that available publicly to update our knowledge of coral reproduction in WA, for tens of thousands of corals and hundreds of species from over a dozen reefs spanning 20° of latitude. We identified broad patterns in coral reproduction, but more detailed insights were hindered by biased sampling; most studies focused on species of Acropora sampled over a few months at several reefs. Within the existing data, there was a latitudinal gradient in spawning activity among seasons, with mass spawning during autumn occurring on all reefs (but the temperate south-west). Participation in a smaller, multi-specific spawning during spring decreased from approximately one quarter of corals on the Kimberley Oceanic reefs to little participation at Ningaloo. Within these seasons, spawning was concentrated in March and/or April, and October and/or November, depending on the timing of

  7. Specializing on vulnerable habitat: Acropora selectivity among damselfish recruits and the risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonin, M. C.

    2012-03-01

    Coral reef habitats are increasingly being degraded and destroyed by a range of disturbances, most notably climate-induced coral bleaching. Habitat specialists, particularly those associated with susceptible coral species, are clearly among the most vulnerable to population decline or extinction. However, the degree of specialization on coral microhabitats is still unclear for one of the most ubiquitous, abundant and well studied of coral reef fish families—the damselfishes (Pomacentridae). Using high taxonomic resolution surveys of microhabitat use and availability, this study provides the first species-level description of patterns of Acropora selectivity among recruits of 10 damselfish species in order to determine their vulnerability to habitat degradation. In addition, surveys of the bleaching susceptibility of 16 branching coral species revealed which preferred recruitment microhabitats are at highest risk of decline as a result of chronic coral bleaching. Four species (i.e., Chrysiptera parasema, Pomacentrus moluccensis, Dascyllus melanurus and Chromis retrofasciata) were identified as highly vulnerable because they used only branching hard corals as recruitment habitat and primarily associated with only 2-4 coral species. The bleaching surveys revealed that five species of Acropora were highly susceptible to bleaching, with more than 50% of colonies either severely bleached or already dead. These highly susceptible corals included two of the preferred microhabitats of the specialist C. parasema and represented a significant proportion of its total recruitment microhabitat. In contrast, highly susceptible corals were rarely used by another specialist, P. moluccensis, suggesting that this species faces a lower risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss compared to C. parasema. As degradation to coral reef habitats continues, specialists will increasingly be forced to use alternative recruitment microhabitats, and this is likely to reduce population

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Trapon, Melanie L.; Berumen, Michael L.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.

    2010-01-01

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Settlement induction of Acropora palmata planulae by a GLW-amide neuropeptide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erwin, P. M.; Szmant, A. M.

    2010-12-01

    Complex environmental cues dictate the settlement of coral planulae in situ; however, simple artificial cues may be all that is required to induce settlement of ex situ larval cultures for reef re-seeding and restoration projects. Neuropeptides that transmit settlement signals and initiate the metamorphic cascade have been isolated from hydrozoan taxa and shown to induce metamorphosis of reef-building Acropora spp. in the Indo-Pacific, providing a reliable and efficient settlement cue. Here, the metamorphic activity of six GLW-amide cnidarian neuropeptides was tested on larvae of the Caribbean corals Acropora palmata, Montastraea faveolata and Favia fragum. A. palmata planulae were induced to settle by the exogenous application of the neuropeptide Hym-248 (concentrations ≥1 × 10-6 M), achieving 40-80% attachment and 100% metamorphosis of competent planulae (≥6 days post-fertilization) during two spawning seasons; the remaining neuropeptides exhibited no activity. Hym-248 exposure rapidly altered larval swimming behavior (96% metamorphosis after 6 h. In contrast , M. faveolata and F. fragum planulae did not respond to any GLW-amides tested, suggesting a high specificity of neuropeptide activators on lower taxonomic scales in corals. Subsequent experiments for A. palmata revealed that (1) the presence of a biofilm did not enhance attachment efficiency when coupled with Hym-248 treatment, (2) neuropeptide-induced settlement had no negative effects on early life-history developmental processes: zooxanthellae acquisition and skeletal secretion occurred within 12 days, colonial growth occurred within 36 days, and (3) Hym-248 solutions maintained metamorphic activity following storage at room temperature (10 days), indicating its utility in remote field settings. These results corroborate previous studies on Indo-Pacific Acropora spp. and extend the known metamorphic activity of Hym-248 to Caribbean acroporids. Hym-248 allows for directed and reliable settlement of

  11. Resilience of the prokaryotic microbial community of Acropora digitifera to elevated temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gajigan, Andrian P; Diaz, Leomir A; Conaco, Cecilia

    2017-08-01

    The coral is a holobiont formed by the close interaction between the coral animal and a diverse community of microorganisms, including dinoflagellates, bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses. The prokaryotic symbionts of corals are important for host fitness but are also highly sensitive to changes in the environment. In this study, we used 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing to examine the response of the microbial community associated with the coral, Acropora digitifera, to elevated temperature. The A. digitifera microbial community is dominated by operational taxonomic unit (OTUs) affiliated with classes Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria. The prokaryotic community in the coral tissue is distinct from that of the mucus and the surrounding seawater. Remarkably, the overall microbial community structure of A. digitifera remained stable for 10 days of continuous exptosure at 32°C compared to corals maintained at 27°C. However, the elevated temperature regime resulted in a decrease in the abundance of OTUs affiliated with certain groups of bacteria, such as order Rhodobacterales. On the other hand, some OTUs affiliated with the orders Alteromonadales, Vibrionales, and Flavobacteriales, which are often associated with diseased and stressed corals, increased in abundance. Thus, while the A. digitifera bacterial community structure appears resilient to higher temperature, prolonged exposure and intensified stress results in changes in the abundance of specific microbial community members that may affect the overall metabolic state and health of the coral holobiont. © 2017 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. The influence of fire-coral colony size and agonistic behaviour of territorial damselfish on associated coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leal, Isabela Carolina Silva; de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth; da Cunha, Simone Rabelo; Pereira, Pedro Henrique Cipresso

    2015-07-01

    Branching hydrocorals from the genus Millepora play an important ecological role in South Atlantic reefs, where branching scleractinian corals are absent. Previous studies have shown a high proportion of reef fish species using branching fire-coral colonies as shelter, breeding, and feeding sites. However, the effects of Millepora spp. colony size and how the agonistic behaviour of a competitive damselfish affect the associated reef fish community are still unknown. The present study examined how fire-coral colony volume and the presence of a highly territorial and aggressive damselfish (Brazilian endemic Stegastes fuscus) affects the reef fish community associated with the fire-coral Millepora alcicornis. M. alcicornis colonies were surveyed from September 2012 to April 2013 at Tamandaré Reefs off Northeast Brazil. Our results show that the abundance and richness of coral associated fish was positively correlated with M. alcicornis coral colony volume. Additionally, behaviour of S. fuscus, the most abundant reef fish species found associated with fire-coral colonies (almost 57% of the fish community), was also influenced by fire-coral colony volume. There was a clear trend of increased agonistic behaviour and feeding on coral polyps as colony volume increased. This trend was reversed for the non-occupational swimming category, which decreased as M. alcicornis colony volume increased. Behavioural ontogenetic changes were also detected for S. fuscus individuals. Juveniles mainly showed two distinct behaviours: sheltered on coral branches and feeding on coral polyps. In contrast, adults presented greater equitability among the behavioural categories, mostly non-occupational swimming around coral colonies and agonistic behaviour. Lastly, S. fuscus individuals actively defended fire-coral colonies from intruders. A large number of agonistic interactions occurred against potential food competitors, which were mainly roving herbivores, omnivores, and sessile

  13. Reef-scale trends in Florida Acropora spp. abundance and the effects of population enhancement

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Margaret W. Miller

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Since the listing of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, increasing investments have been made in propagation of listed corals (primarily A. cervicornis, A. palmata to a much lesser extent in offshore coral nurseries and outplanting cultured fragments to reef habitats. This investment is superimposed over a spatiotemporal patchwork of ongoing disturbances (especially storms, thermal bleaching, and disease as well as the potential for natural population recovery. In 2014 and 2015, we repeated broad scale (>50 ha, low precision Acropora spp. censuses (i.e., direct observation by snorkelers documented via handheld GPS originally conducted in appropriate reef habitats during 2005–2007 to evaluate the trajectory of local populations and the effect of population enhancement. Over the decade-long study, A. palmata showed a cumulative proportional decline of 0.4 –0.7x in colony density across all sites, despite very low levels of outplanting at some sites. A. cervicornis showed similar proportional declines at sites without outplanting. In contrast, sites that received A. cervicornis outplants showed a dramatic increase in density (over 13x. Indeed, change in A. cervicornis colony density was significantly positively correlated with cumulative numbers of outplants across sites. This study documents a substantive reef-scale benefit of Acropora spp. population enhancement in the Florida Keys, when performed at adequate levels, against a backdrop of ongoing population decline.

  14. Unusual “Knob-Like Chimney” Growth Forms on Acropora Species in the Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Rivera-Sosa

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available This manuscript provides new insights on an unusual morphological plasticity growth form on Acropora spp. in the Caribbean. This abnormal knob-shaped growth is thought to be a progression from the damselfish “chimneys” that are commonly seen in coral-algal farms. However, the diameters of the observed knobs tend to be much larger on Acropora palmata, where they range from 1.37 to 5.44 cm in diameter, and they tend to be slightly smaller on A. prolifera, where they range from 1.1 to 2.72 cm in diameter. These knob-like chimney growths can affect entire colonies. The knobs are mostly covered with live tissue, while some knobs compete with turf algae. We hypothesize that these growths may be linked to stress from multiple predation and environmental conditions. Local stressors could synergistically influence the regeneration of scarred tissue and skeleton that result from predatory lesions, possibly leading to the formation of the knobs. Therefore, we provide preliminary data from a shallow reef site in coastal Honduras located within the Mesoamerican region where we found the knobs. To the best of our knowledge, the conditions that drive the occurrence of these unusual “knob-like chimneys” on Acropora spp. have not been previously assessed. Thus, we propose a series of guidelines to research the coral morphological plasticity that may be linked to this knob-like chimney phenomenon.

  15. Reef-scale trends in Florida Acropora spp. abundance and the effects of population enhancement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Margaret W; Kerr, Katryna; Williams, Dana E

    2016-01-01

    Since the listing of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, increasing investments have been made in propagation of listed corals (primarily A. cervicornis , A. palmata to a much lesser extent) in offshore coral nurseries and outplanting cultured fragments to reef habitats. This investment is superimposed over a spatiotemporal patchwork of ongoing disturbances (especially storms, thermal bleaching, and disease) as well as the potential for natural population recovery. In 2014 and 2015, we repeated broad scale (>50 ha), low precision Acropora spp. censuses (i.e., direct observation by snorkelers documented via handheld GPS) originally conducted in appropriate reef habitats during 2005-2007 to evaluate the trajectory of local populations and the effect of population enhancement. Over the decade-long study, A. palmata showed a cumulative proportional decline of 0.4 -0.7x in colony density across all sites, despite very low levels of outplanting at some sites. A. cervicornis showed similar proportional declines at sites without outplanting. In contrast, sites that received A. cervicornis outplants showed a dramatic increase in density (over 13x). Indeed, change in A. cervicornis colony density was significantly positively correlated with cumulative numbers of outplants across sites. This study documents a substantive reef-scale benefit of Acropora spp. population enhancement in the Florida Keys, when performed at adequate levels, against a backdrop of ongoing population decline.

  16. Some rare Indo-Pacific coral species are probable hybrids.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe T Richards

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs worldwide face a variety of threats and many coral species are increasingly endangered. It is often assumed that rare coral species face higher risks of extinction because they have very small effective population sizes, a predicted consequence of which is decreased genetic diversity and adaptive potential. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we show that some Indo-Pacific members of the coral genus Acropora have very small global population sizes and are likely to be unidirectional hybrids. Whether this reflects hybrid origins or secondary hybridization following speciation is unclear. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The interspecific gene flow demonstrated here implies increased genetic diversity and adaptive potential in these coral species. Rare Acropora species may therefore be less vulnerable to extinction than has often been assumed because of their propensity for hybridization and introgression, which may increase their adaptive potential.

  17. Hybridization and the evolution of reef coral diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vollmer, Steven V; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2002-06-14

    Hundreds of coral species coexist sympatrically on reefs, reproducing in mass-spawning events where hybridization appears common. In the Caribbean, DNA sequence data from all three sympatric Acropora corals show that mass spawning does not erode species barriers. Species A. cervicornis and A. palmata are distinct at two nuclear loci or share ancestral alleles. Morphotypes historically given the name Acropora prolifera are entirely F(1) hybrids of these two species, showing morphologies that depend on which species provides the egg for hybridization. Although selection limits the evolutionary potential of hybrids, F(1) individuals can reproduce asexually and form long-lived, potentially immortal hybrids with unique morphologies.

  18. Long-term growth rates and effects of bleaching in Acropora hyacinthus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gold, Zachary; Palumbi, Stephen R.

    2018-03-01

    Understanding the response of coral growth to natural variation in the environment, as well as to acute temperature stress under current and future climate change conditions, is critical to predicting the future health of coral reef ecosystems. As such, ecological surveys are beginning to focus on corals that live in high thermal stress environments to understand how future coral populations may adapt to climate change. We investigated the relationship between coral growth, thermal microhabitat, symbionts type, and thermal acclimatization of four species of the Acropora hyacinthus complex in back-reef lagoons in American Samoa. Coral growth was measured from August 2010 to April 2016 using horizontal planar area of coral colonies derived from photographs and in situ maximum width measurements. Despite marked intraspecific variation, we found that planar colony growth rates were significantly different among cryptic species. The highly heat tolerant A. hyacinthus variant "HE" increased in area an average of 2.9% month-1 (0.03 cm average mean radial extension month-1). By contrast, the three less tolerant species averaged 6.1% (0.07 cm average mean radial extension month-1). Planar growth rates were 40% higher on average in corals harboring Clade C versus Clade D symbiont types, although marked inter-colony variation in growth rendered this difference nonsignificant. Planar growth rates for all four species dropped to near zero following a 2015 bleaching event, independent of the visually estimated percent area of bleaching. Within 1 yr, growth rates recovered to previous levels, confirming previous studies that found sublethal effects of thermal stress on coral growth. Long-term studies of individual coral colonies provide an important tool to measure impacts of environmental change and allow integration of coral physiology, genetics, symbionts, and microclimate on reef growth patterns.

  19. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Gil-Agudelo, Diego Luis; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá). The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10 x 2m) with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters) are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2), and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2). Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD), and White Plague Disease (WPD) were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A. grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years) variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few long

  20. Secondary structure of the rRNA ITS2 region reveals key evolutionary patterns in acroporid corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coleman, Annette W; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2008-10-01

    This study investigates the ribosomal RNA transcript secondary structure in corals as confirmed by compensatory base changes in Isopora/Acropora species. These species are unique versus all other corals in the absence of a eukaryote-wide conserved structural component, the helix III in internal transcriber spacer (ITS) 2, and their variability in the 5.8S-LSU helix basal to ITS2, a helix with pairings identical among all other scleractinian corals. Furthermore, Isopora/Acropora individuals display at least two, and as many as three, ITS sequence isotypes in their genome which appear to be capable of function. From consideration of the conserved elements in ITS2 and flanking regions, it appears that there are three major groups within the IsoporaAcropora lineage: the Isopora + Acropora "longi" group, the large group including Caribbean Acropora + the Acropora "carib" types plus the bulk of the Indo-Pacific Acropora species, and the remaining enigmatic "pseudo" group found in the Pacific. Interbreeding is possible among Caribbean A. palmata and A. cervicornis and among some species of Indo-Pacific Acropora. Recombinant ITS sequences are obvious among these latter, such that morphology (as represented by species name) does not correlate with common ITS sequence. The combination of characters revealed by RNA secondary structure analyses suggests a recent past/current history of interbreeding among the Indo-Pacific Acropora species and a shared ancestry of some of these with the Caribbean Acropora. The unusual absence of helix III of ITS2 of Isopora/Acropora species may have some causative role in the equally unusual instability in the 5.8S-LSU helix basal to ITS2 of this species complex.

  1. Response of millepora alcicornis (Milleporina: Milleporidae) to two bleaching enventgs at Puerto Morelos reef, Mexican Caribbean

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Banaszak, A.T.; Ayala Schiaffino, B.N.; Rodriguez Roman, A.; Enriquez, S.; Iglesias Prieto, R.

    2003-01-01

    Two naturally occurring colonies of Millepora alcicornis were monitored during 1997 and 1998, both years in which this species bleached in the Mexican Caribbean. One colony (HL) was naturally exposed to a high light environment and another nearby colony (LL) was exposed to 5.9 times lower light levels due to shadowing by a pier. For 10 days in August 1997, seawater temperatures in the surrounding reef lagoon rose up to 1.5 degrees C above the 6-year August average. The HL colony bleached to white during this period, whereas, the LL colony remained dark-brown colored. The HL colony recovered its normal dark-brown coloration (reversible bleaching) within several weeks, during which time the seawater temperatures returned to average. The following year, for 10 days, seawater temperatures rose up to 3 degrees C above the 7-year August average and both colonies bleached to white and neither colony recovered (irreversible bleaching). Both colonies were rapidly overgrown by algae and hydroids and, as of June 2003, no recovery has taken place. Prior to the 1997 bleaching, experiments using solar radiation showed that the quantum yield of photosystem II charge separation of branches from HL and LL colonies were affected for several hours by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280 to 400 nm), but recovered by the same evening, suggesting that UVR does not have long-term effects on photochemistry in M. alcicornis. In situ effective quantum yield of photosystem II charge separation (ΔF/Fm ' ) measurements before the 1998 bleaching event indicate that both colonies were healthy in terms of the physiological status of their endosymbionts. During and after the 1998 bleaching event, both colonies showed a reduction in ΔF/Fm ' and consequently an increase in excitation pressure on photosystem II. The data suggest that temperature is not the only factor that causes bleaching and that solar radiation may play an important role in coral bleaching. (Author)

  2. 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.

  3. Environmental Drivers of Variation in Bleaching Severity of Acropora Species during an Extreme Thermal Anomaly

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mia O. Hoogenboom

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available High sea surface temperatures caused global coral bleaching during 2015–2016. During this thermal stress event, we quantified within- and among-species variability in bleaching severity for critical habitat-forming Acropora corals. The objective of this study was to understand the drivers of spatial and species-specific variation in the bleaching susceptibility of these corals, and to evaluate whether bleaching susceptibility under extreme thermal stress was consistent with that observed during less severe bleaching events. We surveyed and mapped Acropora corals at 10 sites (N = 596 around the Lizard Island group on the northern Great Barrier Reef. For each colony, bleaching severity was quantified using a new image analysis technique, and we assessed whether small-scale environmental variables (depth, microhabitat, competition intensity and species traits (colony morphology, colony size, known symbiont clade association explained variation in bleaching. Results showed that during severe thermal stress, bleaching of branching corals was linked to microhabitat features, and was more severe at reef edge compared with lagoonal sites. Bleaching severity worsened over a very short time-frame (~1 week, but did not differ systematically with water depth, competition intensity, or colony size. At our study location, within- and among-species variation in bleaching severity was relatively low compared to the level of variation reported in the literature. More broadly, our results indicate that variability in bleaching susceptibility during extreme thermal stress is not consistent with that observed during previous bleaching events that have ranged in severity among globally dispersed sites, with fewer species escaping bleaching during severe thermal stress. In addition, shaded microhabitats can provide a refuge from bleaching which provides further evidence of the importance of topographic complexity for maintaining the biodiversity and ecosystem

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S; McCowan, Dominique; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Heron, Scott F

    2013-01-01

    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. 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. 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 more resistant to sustained and ongoing ocean warming.

  5. Changes in Bleaching Susceptibility among Corals Subject to Ocean Warming and Recurrent Bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; McCowan, Dominique; Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Heron, Scott F.

    2013-01-01

    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 more resistant to

  6. Is Echinometra viridis facilitating a phase shift on an Acropora cervicornis patch reef in Belize?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanic, C. M.; Greer, L.; Norvell, D.; Benson, W.; Curran, H.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef health is in rapid decline across the Caribbean due to a number of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. A phase shift from coral- to macroalgae-dominant reefs is pervasive and has been well documented. Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral) has been particularly affected by this shift due to mass mortality of this species since the 1980s. In recent years few Caribbean A. cervicornis refugia have been documented. This study characterizes the relationship between coral and grazing urchins on a rare patch reef system dominated by A. cervicornis off the coast of Belize. To assess relative abundance of live A. cervicornis and the urchin Echinometra viridis, photographs and urchin abundance data were collected from 132 meter square quadrats along five transects across the reef. Photographs were digitized and manually segmented using Adobe Illustrator, and percent live coral cover and branch tip densities were calculated using Matlab. Mean percent live coral cover across all transects was 24.4 % with a high of 65% live coral per meter square. Average urchin density was 18.5 per quadrat, with an average density per transect ranging from 22.1 to 0.5 per quadrat. Up to over 400 live A. cervicornis branch tips per quadrat were observed. Data show a positive correlation between E. viridis abundance and live A. cervicornis, suggesting that these urchins are facilitating recovery or persistence of this endangered coral species. These results suggest the relationship between E. viridis and A. cervicornis could be a key element in a future reversal of the coral to macroalgae phase shift on some Caribbean coral reefs.

  7. The host transcriptome remains unaltered during the establishment of coral-algal symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voolstra, Christian R; Schwarz, Jodi A; Schnetzer, Julia; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Desalvo, Michael K; Szmant, Alina M; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Mónica

    2009-05-01

    Coral reefs are based on the symbiotic relationship between corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. We followed gene expression of coral larvae of Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata after exposure to Symbiodinium strains that differed in their ability to establish symbioses. We show that the coral host transcriptome remains almost unchanged during infection by competent symbionts, but is massively altered by symbionts that fail to establish symbioses. Our data suggest that successful coral-algal symbioses depend mainly on the symbionts' ability to enter the host in a stealth manner rather than a more active response from the coral host.

  8. Acropora interbranch skeleton Sr/Ca ratios: Evaluation of a potential new high-resolution paleothermometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadler, James; Nguyen, Ai D.; Leonard, Nicole D.; Webb, Gregory E.; Nothdurft, Luke D.

    2016-04-01

    The majority of coral geochemistry-based paleoclimate reconstructions in the Indo-Pacific are conducted on selectively cored colonies of massive Porites. This restriction to a single genus may make it difficult to amass the required paleoclimate data for studies that require deep reef coring techniques. Acropora, however, is a highly abundant coral genus in both modern and fossil reef systems and displays potential as a novel climate archive. Here we present a calibration study for Sr/Ca ratios recovered from interbranch skeleton in corymbose Acropora colonies from Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef. Significant intercolony differences in absolute Sr/Ca ratios were normalized by producing anomaly plots of both coral geochemistry and instrumental water temperature records. Weighted linear regression of these anomalies from the lagoon and fore-reef slope provide a sensitivity of -0.05 mmol/mol °C-1, with a correlation coefficient (r2 = 0.65) comparable to those of genera currently used in paleoclimate reconstructions. Reconstructions of lagoon and reef slope mean seasonality in water temperature accurately identify the greater seasonal amplitude observed in the lagoon of Heron Reef. A longer calibration period is, however, required for reliable reconstructions of annual mean water temperatures.

  9. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Esteban A. Agudo-Adriani

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  11. 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.

  12. The Acropora inheritance: A reinterpretation of the development of fringing reefs in Barbados, West Indies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, John B.

    1984-11-01

    The discovery of the widespread occurrence of the remains of the reef coral Acropora palmata within the fabric of the fringing reefs on the west coast of Barbados requires a new interpretation of their Holocene development. Radiocarbon dating of the A. palmata framework suggests that reef construction by this species began as early as 2,300 years B.P. A. palmata probably flourished in Barbados into the present century but has now declined. The present fringing reefs are characterized by a core and base of A. palmata upon which subsequent colonization took place, especially by Montastrea annularis, Porites porites and coralline algae.

  13. Coral recovery in the central Maldives archipelago since the last major mass-bleaching, in 1998

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, C.; Burn, D.; Yoosuf, R.; Najeeb, A.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-10-01

    Increasing frequency and severity of disturbances is causing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems. This study examined temporal changes in live coral cover and coral composition in the central Maldives from 1997 to 2016, encompassing two bleaching events, a tsunami, and an outbreak of Acanthaster planci. We also examined the contemporary size structure for five dominant coral taxa (tabular Acropora, Acropora muricata, Acropora humilis, Pocillopora spp, and massive Porites). Total coral cover increased throughout the study period, with marked increases following the 1998 mass-bleaching. The relative abundance of key genera has changed through time, where Acropora and Pocillopora (which are highly susceptible to bleaching) were under-represented following 1998 mass-bleaching but increased until outbreaks of A. planci in 2015. The contemporary size-structure for all coral taxa was dominated by larger colonies with peaked distributions suggesting that recent disturbances had a disproportionate impact on smaller colonies, or that recruitment is currently limited. This may suggest that coral resilience has been compromised by recent disturbances, and further bleaching (expected in 2016) could lead to highly protracted recovery times. We showed that Maldivian reefs recovered following the 1998 mass-bleaching event, but it took up to a decade, and ongoing disturbances may be eroding reef resilience.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Microscopic observation of symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals in nutrient-enriched seawater.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Yasuaki; Iguchi, Akira; Inoue, Mayuri; Mori, Chiharu; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Nakamura, Takashi

    2013-03-15

    Symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals, which were grown in the laboratory from the gametes of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera and had settled down onto plastic culture plates, were observed with a microscope under different nutrient conditions. The symbiotic corals successfully removed the surrounding benthic microalgae (BMA), whereas the aposymbiotic corals were in close physical contact with BMA. The areal growth rate of the symbiotic corals was significantly higher than that of the aposymbiotic corals. The addition of nutrients to the culture seawater increased the chlorophyll a content in the symbiotic coral polyps and enhanced the growth of some of the symbiotic corals, however the average growth rate was not significantly affected, most likely because of the competition with BMA. The comparison between the symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals showed that the establishment of a symbiotic association could be imperative for post-settlement juvenile corals to survive in high-nutrient seawater. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Distribution and morphology of growth anomalies in Acropora from the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Coles, Steve 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Shifting white pox aetiologies affecting Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys, 1994-2014.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutherland, Kathryn P; Berry, Brett; Park, Andrew; Kemp, Dustin W; Kemp, Keri M; Lipp, Erin K; Porter, James W

    2016-03-05

    We propose 'the moving target hypothesis' to describe the aetiology of a contemporary coral disease that differs from that of its historical disease state. Hitting the target with coral disease aetiology is a complex pursuit that requires understanding of host and environment, and may lack a single pathogen solution. White pox disease (WPX) affects the Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Acroporid serratiosis is a form of WPX for which the bacterial pathogen (Serratia marcescens) has been established. We used long-term (1994-2014) photographic monitoring to evaluate historical and contemporary epizootiology and aetiology of WPX affecting A. palmata at eight reefs in the Florida Keys. Ranges of WPX prevalence over time (0-71.4%) were comparable for the duration of the 20-year study. Whole colony mortality and disease severity were high in historical (1994-2004), and low in contemporary (2008-2014), outbreaks of WPX. Acroporid serratiosis was diagnosed for some historical (1999, 2003) and contemporary (2012, 2013) outbreaks, but this form of WPX was not confirmed for all WPX cases. Our results serve as a context for considering aetiology as a moving target for WPX and other coral diseases for which pathogens are established and/or candidate pathogens are identified. Coral aetiology investigations completed to date suggest that changes in pathogen, host and/or environment alter the disease state and complicate diagnosis. © 2016 The Author(s).

  20. Shifting white pox aetiologies affecting Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys, 1994–2014

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Brett; Park, Andrew; Kemp, Dustin W.; Kemp, Keri M.; Lipp, Erin K.; Porter, James W.

    2016-01-01

    We propose ‘the moving target hypothesis’ to describe the aetiology of a contemporary coral disease that differs from that of its historical disease state. Hitting the target with coral disease aetiology is a complex pursuit that requires understanding of host and environment, and may lack a single pathogen solution. White pox disease (WPX) affects the Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Acroporid serratiosis is a form of WPX for which the bacterial pathogen (Serratia marcescens) has been established. We used long-term (1994–2014) photographic monitoring to evaluate historical and contemporary epizootiology and aetiology of WPX affecting A. palmata at eight reefs in the Florida Keys. Ranges of WPX prevalence over time (0–71.4%) were comparable for the duration of the 20-year study. Whole colony mortality and disease severity were high in historical (1994–2004), and low in contemporary (2008–2014), outbreaks of WPX. Acroporid serratiosis was diagnosed for some historical (1999, 2003) and contemporary (2012, 2013) outbreaks, but this form of WPX was not confirmed for all WPX cases. Our results serve as a context for considering aetiology as a moving target for WPX and other coral diseases for which pathogens are established and/or candidate pathogens are identified. Coral aetiology investigations completed to date suggest that changes in pathogen, host and/or environment alter the disease state and complicate diagnosis. PMID:26880837

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swierts, Thomas; 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.

  3. Morphology offers no clues to asexual vs. sexual origin of small Acropora cervicornis (Scleractinia: Acroporidae colonies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. E Williams

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Sexual recruitment of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is accepted to be very rare. Instead, these branching corals proliferate through fragmentation leading to dense mono-specific and possibly monoclonal stands. For acroporid corals, which have suffered drastic population declines, dominance of asexual reproduction results in low levels of genotypic diversity and limited ability to re-colonize extirpated areas. Small colonies with a single encrusting, symmetrical base, and few incipient branches are frequently presumed to be the result of a settled planula (i.e. sexual reproduction. Here, we show that colonies fitting this description (i.e., presumed sexual recruits can result from asexual fragmentation. Acropora cervicornis colonies (~20 cm diameter were tagged and observed over eighteen months. In several cases, colony offshoots fused with the adjacent substrate forming secondary disc-like attachment points. Following natural fragmentation, these discs of tissue became separated from the original colony, and were observed to heal and give rise to smaller colonies with striking similarity to the expected morphology of a sexual recruit. Thus, presuming a colony is a sexual recruit based on appearance is unreliable and may lead to inflated expectations of genetic diversity among populations. The accurate assessment of recruitment and genetic diversity is crucial to predicting the recovery potential of these imperiled and ecologically irreplaceable reef corals. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3: 145-151. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.Se ha aceptado que el reclutamiento sexual del coral asta de venado, Acropora cervicornis, es muy raro. Por el contrario, estos corales ramificados proliferan a través de fragmentación, generando densas bases monoespecíficas e incluso monoclonales. Para corales acropóridos, los cuales han sufrido disminuciones de población drásticas, la dominancia de reproducción asexual resulta en bajos niveles de diversidad genot

  4. Physical and mechanical properties evaluation of Acropora palmata coralline species for bone substitution applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez, K; Camero, S; Alarcón, M E; Rivas, A; González, G

    2002-05-01

    The search for ideal materials for bone substitution has been a challenge for many decades. Numerous natural and synthetic materials have been studied. For this application, exoskeletons of coral have been considered a good alternative given its tendency to resorption, biocompatibility and similarity to the mineral bone phase. Very few studies of these materials consider a detailed analysis of the structure-property relationship. The purpose of this work was to carry out the microstructural characterization of a coralline species named Acropora palmata and the determination of the mechanical and physico-chemical properties. Measurements of hardness, compressive strength, bulk density and apparent porosity were performed. From these results it was determined that this marine coral species could be an alternative xenograft due to its mechanical properties and osteoconductive nature.

  5. Field Note

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora. Marine Ecology Progress Series 362: 129-137. Benzoni F, Basso D, Caragnano A, Rodondi G (2011) Hydrolithon spp. (Rhodophyta, Corallinales) overgrow live corals (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) in Yemen. Marine Biology 158: 2419-2428. Figure 1. Hydrolithon sp. overgrowing ...

  6. 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. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  7. Viruses: agents of coral disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davy, S K; Burchett, S G; Dale, A L; Davies, P; Davy, J E; Muncke, C; Hoegh-Guldberg, O; Wilson, W H

    2006-03-23

    The potential role of viruses in coral disease has only recently begun to receive attention. Here we describe our attempts to determine whether viruses are present in thermally stressed corals Pavona danai, Acropora formosa and Stylophora pistillata and zoanthids Zoanthus sp., and their zooxanthellae. Heat-shocked P. danai, A. formosa and Zoanthus sp. all produced numerous virus-like particles (VLPs) that were evident in the animal tissue, zooxanthellae and the surrounding seawater; VLPs were also seen around heat-shocked freshly isolated zooxanthellae (FIZ) from P. danai and S. pistillata. The most commonly seen VLPs were tail-less, hexagonal and about 40 to 50 nm in diameter, though a diverse range of other VLP morphotypes (e.g. rounded, rod-shaped, droplet-shaped, filamentous) were also present around corals. When VLPs around heat-shocked FIZ from S. pistillata were added to non-stressed FIZ from this coral, they resulted in cell lysis, suggesting that an infectious agent was present; however, analysis with transmission electron microscopy provided no clear evidence of viral infection. The release of diverse VLPs was again apparent when flow cytometry was used to enumerate release by heat-stressed A. formosa nubbins. Our data support the infection of reef corals by viruses, though we cannot yet determine the precise origin (i.e. coral, zooxanthellae and/or surface microbes) of the VLPs seen. Furthermore, genome sequence data are required to establish the presence of viruses unequivocally.

  8. Mass coral bleaching in the northern Persian Gulf, 2012

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javid Kavousi

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events due to elevated temperatures are increasing in both frequency and magnitude worldwide. Mass bleaching was recorded at five sites in the northern Persian Gulf during August and September 2012. Based on available seawater temperature data from field, satellite and previous studies, we suggest that the coral bleaching threshold temperature in the northern Persian Gulf is between 33.5 and 34°C, which is about 1.5 to 2.5°C lower than that in the southern part. To assess the bleaching effects, coral genera counted during 60-minute dives were categorized into four groups including healthy, slightly bleached ( 50% bleached tissue and fully bleached colonies. The anomalously high sea surface temperature resulted in massive coral bleaching (~84% coral colonies affected. Acropora spp. colonies, which are known as the most vulnerable corals to thermal stress, were less affected by the bleaching than massive corals, such as Porites, which are among the most thermo-tolerant corals. Turbid waters, suggested as coral refugia against global warming, did not protect corals in this study since most affected corals were found in the most turbid waters. The 2012 bleaching in the northern Persian Gulf was relatively strong from the viewpoint of coral bleaching severity. Long-term monitoring is needed to understand the actual consequences of the bleaching event on the coral reefs and communities.

  9. Genet-specific spawning patterns in Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, M. W.; Williams, D. E.; Fisch, J.

    2016-12-01

    The broadcast spawning elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, requires outcrossing among different genets for effective fertilization. Hence, a low density of genets in parts of its range emphasizes the need for precise synchrony among neighboring genets as sperm concentration dilutes rapidly in open-ocean conditions. We documented the genet-specific nightly occurrence of spawning of A. palmata over 8 yr in a depauperate population in the Florida Keys to better understand this potential reproductive hurdle. The observed population failed to spawn within the predicted monthly window (nights 2-6 after the full moon in August) in three of the 8 yr of observation; negligible spawning was observed in a fourth year. Moreover, genet-specific patterns are evident in that (1) certain genets have significantly greater odds of spawning overall and (2) certain genets predictably spawn on the earlier and others on the later lunar nights within the predicted window. Given the already low genet density in this population, this pattern implies a substantial degree of wasted reproductive effort and supports the hypothesis that depensatory factors are impairing recovery in this species.

  10. 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.

  11. Enhanced susceptibility to predation in corals of compromised condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allan J. Bright

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The marine gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata, is an obligate corallivore that causes substantial mortality in Caribbean Acropora spp. Considering the imperiled status of Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, a better understanding of ecological interactions resulting in tissue loss may enable more effective conservation strategies. We examined differences in susceptibility of A. cervicornis to C. abbreviata predation based on coral tissue condition. Coral tissue condition was a strong determinant of snail prey choice, with snails preferring A. cervicornis fragments that were diseased or mechanically damaged over healthy fragments. In addition, snails always chose fragments undergoing active predation by another snail, while showing no preference for a non-feeding snail when compared with an undisturbed prey fragment. These results indicate that the condition of A. cervicornis prey influenced foraging behavior of C. abbreviata, creating a potential feedback that may exacerbate damage from predation in coral populations compromised by other types of disturbance.

  12. Enhanced susceptibility to predation in corals of compromised condition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bright, Allan J; Cameron, Caitlin M; Miller, Margaret W

    2015-01-01

    The marine gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata, is an obligate corallivore that causes substantial mortality in Caribbean Acropora spp. Considering the imperiled status of Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, a better understanding of ecological interactions resulting in tissue loss may enable more effective conservation strategies. We examined differences in susceptibility of A. cervicornis to C. abbreviata predation based on coral tissue condition. Coral tissue condition was a strong determinant of snail prey choice, with snails preferring A. cervicornis fragments that were diseased or mechanically damaged over healthy fragments. In addition, snails always chose fragments undergoing active predation by another snail, while showing no preference for a non-feeding snail when compared with an undisturbed prey fragment. These results indicate that the condition of A. cervicornis prey influenced foraging behavior of C. abbreviata, creating a potential feedback that may exacerbate damage from predation in coral populations compromised by other types of disturbance.

  13. Effects of temperature and UVR on organic matter fluxes and the metabolic activity of Acropora muricata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucile Courtial

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events are predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes depends on many factors, including the magnitude of thermal stress and irradiance. The interactions among these two factors, and in particular with ultra-violet radiation (UVR, the most harmful component of light, are more complex than assumed, and are not yet well understood. This paper explores the individual and combined effects of temperature and UVR on the metabolism of Acropora muricata, one of the most abundant coral species worldwide. Particulate and dissolved organic matter (POM/DOM fluxes and organic matter (OM degradation by the mucus-associated bacteria were also monitored in all conditions. The results show that UVR exposure exacerbated the temperature-induced bleaching, but did not affect OM fluxes, which were only altered by seawater warming. Temperature increase induced a shift from POM release and DOM uptake in healthy corals to POM uptake and DOM release in stressed ones. POM uptake was linked to a significant grazing of pico- and nanoplankton particles during the incubation, to fulfil the energetic requirements of A. muricata in the absence of autotrophy. Finally, OM degradation by mucus-associated bacterial activity was unaffected by UVR exposure, but significantly increased under high temperature. Altogether, our results demonstrate that seawater warming and UVR not only affect coral physiology, but also the way corals interact with the surrounding seawater, with potential consequences for coral reef biogeochemical cycles and food webs.

  14. Trend in coral-algal phase shift in the Mandapam group of islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machendiranathan, M.; Senthilnathan, L.; Ranith, R.; Saravanakumar, A.; Thangaradjou, T.; Choudhry, S. B.; Sasamal, S. K.

    2016-12-01

    The present study revealed proliferation of macro-algae modifying coral reef ecosystems in a different manner due to diseases and sedimentations in the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Benthic surveys were conducted with major attack of seven coral reefs diseases with high sedimentation rate, nine species of fleshy macro-algae ( Turbinaria ornata, Turbinaria conaides, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Padina gymnosphora, Sargassum wightii, Ulva reticulata and Calurpa lentillifera) proliferation against major corals life forms (Acropora branching, Acropora digitate, Acropora tabulate, coral massive, coral submassive, coral foliose and coral encrusting). The results confirm that diseased corals most favor to macro-algae growth (15.27%) rather than the sedimentation covered corals (8.24 %). In the degradation of coral life forms, massive corals were more highly damaged (7.05%) than any other forms. Within a short period of time (May to September), coral coverage shrank to 17.4% from 21.9%, macro-algae increased 23.51% and the average sedimentation rate attained 77.52 mg cm-2d-1 with persisting coral reef diseases of 17.59%. The Pearson correlation showed that the coral cover decreased with increasing macro-algae growth, which was statistically significant ( r = -0.774, n = 100, P K. alvarezii, P. gymnosphora and C. lentillifera increased with percentages of 6.0, 5.8, 5.7, 4.9, 4.2, 3.7, 2.7 and 1.9, respectively. If this trend continues, the next generation of new recruit corals will undoubtedly lead to a phase shift in Gulf of Mannar corals.

  15. 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.

  16. A new and presumably now extinct species of Millepora (Hydrozoa) in the eastern Pacific

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weerdt, de W.H.; Glynn, P.W.

    1991-01-01

    A new species of hydrocoral, Millepora boschmai, is described from the Gulf of Chiriqui, Pacific Panamá. This species was first found in the early 1970's, but it has disappeared from this area as a result of the severe 1982-83 El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event. Because the species has never

  17. Preliminary geochemical results of corals from the Puerto Morelos Reef, Southeastern Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marquez, N.; Kasper, J.

    2012-04-01

    A microprobe (MB), major, trace and rare earth elements (REE) analyses were carried out in three coral species Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis and Gorgonia ventalina at Puerto Morelos, Reef, Southeastern Mexico. This was done to assess the degree in which the corals developed under the different chemical-physical natural and artificial conditions. The corals were cut at the top and middle and based upon the observations by using the MB analysis, results showed the highest concentrations of Ag, Cu, Cr, Ni, S, Sr, Zn y Zr in Gorgonia Ventalina suggesting an impact coming from the industrial discharges and/or rusting of boats in the area. The results of X-ray fluorescence analysis for major and trace elements showed that the Fe , Sr and Zr increase their content in the skeletons of Acropora palmata y Gorgonia ventalina also asociated with the presence of human activity since the area is composed mainly by carbonate source sediments. The rare earth elements (REE) analysis showed that the negative anomaly of Ce suggests a well oxygenated, highly oxidative modern shallow waters, and high nutrients related to suspended matter for Acropora Palmata, Acropora cervicornis y Gorgonia ventalina, The Positive Eu anomaly in the corals are due to the development of the reef linked to the concentration of waters enriched in La. The Nd/Yb ratio indicates a shallow water development for the corals. This is also supported by the Ce/Ce* vs. Pr/Pr* ratios that indicate shallow marine waters in the development of the three corals studied (Ce*= 0.5La+0.5Pr and Pr*= 0.5Ce+0.5Nd). Enrichment of heavy rare earth elements (Gd-Lu) in the corals may be associated with high pH values and CO, OH- ions in the sea water.

  18. Some Physical, Chemical, and Biological Parameters of Samples of Scleractinium Coral Aquaculture Skeleton Used for Reconstruction/Engineering of the Bone Tissue.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popov, A A; Sergeeva, N S; Britaev, T A; Komlev, V S; Sviridova, I K; Kirsanova, V A; Akhmedova, S A; Dgebuadze, P Yu; Teterina, A Yu; Kuvshinova, E A; Schanskii, Ya D

    2015-08-01

    Physical and chemical (phase and chemical composition, dynamics of resorption, and strength properties), and biological (cytological compatibility and scaffold properties of the surface) properties of samples of scleractinium coral skeletons from aquacultures of three types and corresponding samples of natural coral skeletons (Pocillopora verrucosa, Acropora formosa, and Acropora nobilis) were studied. Samples of scleractinium coral aquaculture skeleton of A. nobilis, A. formosa, and P. verrucosa met the requirements (all study parameters) to materials for osteoplasty and 3D-scaffolds for engineering of bone tissue.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2004-01-01

    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 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

  20. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá. The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10x2m with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2, and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2. Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD, and White Plague Disease (WPD were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A.grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few

  1. Geochemical study of coral skeletons from the Puerto Morelos Reef, southeastern Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasper-Zubillaga, Juan J.; Armstrong-Altrin, John S.; Rosales-Hoz, Leticia

    2014-12-01

    Geochemical analyses in coral skeletons have been used as a proxy of marine environmental conditions and to understand the mechanisms of adsorption of chemical elements into the coral skeletons and growth forms. However, little attention has been given to show the possible differences in the growth rates of corals based upon major, trace, rare earth element and microprobe analyses to examine the physical-chemical conditions influencing those differences. Our goal is to show how branch and fan corals incorporate elements into their skeletons comparing them with their coral growth rates. We determine the development of the skeletons of two branching (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) and one fan shaped (Gorgonia ventalina) colonies in the Puerto Morelos Reef, southeastern Mexico based upon geochemical data and the influence of terrigenous input into the species. Mg and Sr concentrations were the most statistically significant elements among the species studied suggesting that Mg concentration in Gorgonia ventalina is probably not linked to its growth rate. Mn content in the sea water is adsorbed by the three corals during past growth rates during high rainfall events. Sr concentration may be associated with the growth rate of Acropora palmata. Little differences in the growth rate in Acropora palmata may be associated with low rates of calcitization, negligible changes in the Sr concentration and little influence of temperature and water depth in its growth. Trace elements like Cr, Co, Ni and V adsorbed by the corals are influenced by natural concentration of these elements in the sea-water. Rare earth elements in the corals studied suggests abundant inorganic ions CO32- with variable pH in modern shallow well-oxygenated sea water. Lack of terrigenous input seawards is supported by geochemical, geomorphological and biological evidences. This study is an example of how geochemical data are useful to observe the differences in environmental conditions related to

  2. Possible return of Acropora cervicornis at Pulaski Shoal, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lidz, Barbara H.; Zawada, David G.

    2013-01-01

    Seabed classification is essential to assessing environmental associations and physical status in coral reef ecosystems. At Pulaski Shoal in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, nearly continuous underwater-image coverage was acquired in 15.5 hours in 2009 along 70.2 km of transect lines spanning ~0.2 km2. The Along-Track Reef-Imaging System (ATRIS), a boat-based, high-speed, digital imaging system, was used. ATRIS-derived benthic classes were merged with a QuickBird satellite image to create a habitat map that defines areas of senile coral reef, carbonate sand, seagrasses, and coral rubble. This atypical approach of starting with extensive, high-resolution in situ imagery and extrapolating between transect lines using satellite imagery leverages the strengths of each remote-sensing modality. The ATRIS images also captured the spatial distribution of two species once common on now-degraded Florida-Caribbean coral reefs: the stony staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis, a designated threatened species, and the long-spined urchin Diadema antillarum. This article documents the utility of ATRIS imagery for quantifying number and estimating age of A. cervicornis colonies (n = 400, age range, 5–11 y) since the severe hypothermic die-off in the Dry Tortugas in 1976–77. This study is also the first to document the largest number of new colonies of A. cervicornis tabulated in an area of the park where coral-monitoring stations maintained by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute have not been established. The elevated numbers provide an updated baseline for tracking revival of this species at Pulaski Shoal.

  3. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, Koty H; Ritchie, Kim B; Schupp, Peter J; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Paul, Valerie J

    2010-05-28

    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.

  8. Seasonal variations in energy levels and metabolic processes of two dominant Acropora species ( A. spicifera and A. digitifera) at Ningaloo Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, S.; Patten, N. L.; Allcock, R. J. N.; Saunders, S. M.; Strickland, D.; Waite, A. M.

    2013-09-01

    Seasonal variations in coral health indices reflecting autotrophic activity (chlorophyll a and zooxanthellae density), metabolic rates (RNA/DNA ratio and protein) and energy storage (ratio of storage: structural lipids or lipid ratios) were examined for two dominant Acropora species [ Acropora digitifera ( AD) and Acropora spicifera ( AS)] at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia). Such detailed investigation of metabolic processes is important background, with regard to understanding the vulnerability of corals to environmental change. Health indices in AD and AS were measured before and after spawning in austral autumn and winter 2010, and austral summer 2011 at six stations. Health indices showed seasonal and species-specific differences but negligible spatial differences across a reef section. For AD, autotrophic indices were negatively correlated with lipid ratios and metabolic indices. Metabolic indices were significantly higher in AS than AD. No correlation was observed between RNA/DNA ratios and lipid ratios with any autotrophic indices for AS. Lipid ratios were stable throughout the year for AS while they changed significantly for AD. For both species, indices of metabolic activity were highest during autumn, while autotrophic indices were highest in winter and summer. Results suggest that the impact of the broadcast spawning event on coral health indices at Ningaloo Reef occurred only as a backdrop to massive seasonal changes in coral physiology. The La Niña summer pattern resulted in high autotrophic indices and low metabolic indices and energy stores. Our results imply different metabolic processes in A. digitifera and A. spicifera as well as a strong impact of extreme events on coral physiology.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel; DeSalvo, Michael K; Bayer, Till; Medina, Monica; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2012-01-01

    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).

  10. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. 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).

  12. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa E; Banaszak, Anastazia T; McField, Melanie D; Beltrán-Torres, Aurora U; Álvarez-Filip, Lorenzo

    2014-01-01

    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.

  14. Coral-bacterial communities before and after a coral mass spawning event on Ningaloo Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janja Ceh

    Full Text Available 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 coral-associated bacterial diversity and community structure. Bacterial diversity increased for all coral species after spawning as assessed by Chao1 diversity indicators. Minimal changes in community structure were observed at the class level and data at the taxonomical level of genus incorporated into a PCA analysis indicated that despite bacterial diversity increasing after spawning, coral-associated community structure did not shift greatly with samples grouped according to species. However, interesting changes could be detected from the dataset; for example, α-Proteobacteria increased in relative abundance after coral spawning and particularly the Roseobacter clade was found to be prominent in all coral species, indicating that this group may be important in coral reproduction.

  15. Identification and prevalence of coral diseases on three Western Indian Ocean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Séré, Mathieu G; Chabanet, Pascale; Turquet, Jean; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Schleyer, Michael H

    2015-06-03

    Coral diseases have caused a substantial decline in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. To date, more than 30 distinct diseases of scleractinian corals have been reported, which cause progressive tissue loss and/or affect coral growth, reproductive capacity, recruitment, species diversity and the abundance of reef-associated organisms. While coral disease research has increased over the last 4 decades, very little is known about coral diseases in the Western Indian Ocean. Surveys conducted at multiple sites in Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte between August 2010 and June 2012 revealed the presence of 6 main coral diseases: black band disease (BBD), white syndrome (WS), pink line syndrome (PLS), growth anomalies (GA), skeleton eroding band (SEB) and Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Overall, disease prevalence was higher in Reunion (7.5 ± 2.2%; mean ± SE) compared to South Africa (3.9 ± 0.8%) and Mayotte (2.7 ± 0.3%). Across locations, Acropora and Porites were the genera most susceptible to disease. Spatial variability was detected in both Reunion and South Africa, with BBD and WS more prevalent on shallow than deep reefs. There was also evidence of seasonality in 2 diseases: the prevalence of BBD and WS was higher in summer than winter. This was the first study to investigate the ecology of coral diseases, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, on Western Indian Ocean reefs, and surveys should be expanded to confirm these patterns.

  16. Genomic patterns in Acropora cervicornis show extensive population structure and variable genetic diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Schopmeyer, Stephanie; Goergen, Elizabeth; Bartels, Erich; Nedimyer, Ken; Johnson, Meaghan; Maxwell, Kerry; Galvan, Victor; Manfrino, Carrie; Lirman, Diego

    2017-08-01

    Threatened Caribbean coral communities can benefit from high-resolution genetic data used to inform management and conservation action. We use Genotyping by Sequencing (GBS) to investigate genetic patterns in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis , across the Florida Reef Tract (FRT) and the western Caribbean. Results show extensive population structure at regional scales and resolve previously unknown structure within the FRT. Different regions also exhibit up to threefold differences in genetic diversity (He), suggesting targeted management based on the goals and resources of each population is needed. Patterns of genetic diversity have a strong spatial component, and our results show Broward and the Lower Keys are among the most diverse populations in Florida. The genetic diversity of Caribbean staghorn coral is concentrated within populations and within individual reefs (AMOVA), highlighting the complex mosaic of population structure. This variance structure is similar over regional and local scales, which suggests that in situ nurseries are adequately capturing natural patterns of diversity, representing a resource that can replicate the average diversity of wild assemblages, serving to increase intraspecific diversity and potentially leading to improved biodiversity and ecosystem function. Results presented here can be translated into specific goals for the recovery of A. cervicornis , including active focus on low diversity areas, protection of high diversity and connectivity, and practical thresholds for responsible restoration.

  17. Background mortality rates for recovering populations of Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, M S; Pisapia, C; Sheppard, C R C

    2013-05-01

    This study quantified background rates of mortality for Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago. Despite low levels of anthropogenic disturbance, 27.5% (149/541) of A. cytherea colonies exhibited some level of partial mortality, and 9.0% (49/541) of colonies had recent injuries. A total of 15.3% of the overall surface area of physically intact A. cytherea colonies was dead. Observed mortality was partly attributable to overtopping and/or self-shading among colonies. There were also low-densities of Acanthaster planci apparent at some study sites. However, most of the recent mortality recorded was associated with isolated infestations of the coral crab, Cymo melanodactylus. A. cytherea is a relatively fast growing coral and these levels of mortality may be biologically unimportant. However, few studies have measured background rates of coral mortality, especially in the absence of direct human disturbances. These data are important for assessing the impacts of increasing disturbances, especially in projecting likely recovery. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  18. Transcriptional responses of Acropora hyacinthus embryo under the benzo(a)pyrene stress by deep sequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Rong; Zhou, Hailong; Chen, Chien-Min; Cheng, Huamin; Li, Hongwu; Xie, Jia; Zhao, Hongwei; Han, Qian; Diao, Xiaoping

    2018-04-24

    Coral embryos are a critical and sensitive period for the early growth and development of coral. Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) is widely distributed in the ocean and has strong toxicity, but there is little information on the toxic effects to coral embryos exposed to this widespread environmental contaminant. Thus, in this study, we utilized the Illumina Hiseq™ 4000 platform to explore the gene response of Acropora hyacinthus embryos under the BaP stress. A total of 130,042 Unigenes were obtained and analyzed, and approximately 37.67% of those matched with sequences from four different species. In total, 2606 Unigenes were up-regulated, and 3872 Unigenes were down-regulated. After Gene Ontology (GO) annotation, the results show that the "cellular process" and "metabolic process" were leading in the category of biological processes, which the "binding" and "catalytic activity" were the most abundant subcategories in molecular function. Based on the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, the most differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were enriched, as well as down-regulated in the pathways of oxidative phosphorylation, metabolism of xenobiotics, immune-related genes, apoptosis and human disease genes. At the same time, 388,197 of Single-nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and 6164 of Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) were obtained, which can be served as the richer and more valuable SSRs molecular markers in the future. The results of this study can help to better understand the toxicological mechanism of coral embryo exposed to BaP, and it is also essential for the protection and restoration of coral reef ecosystem in the future. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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.

  20. Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata (Lamarck) in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muller, E. M.; Rogers, C. S.; Spitzack, A. S.; van Woesik, R.

    2008-03-01

    Anomalously high water temperatures may enhance the likelihood of coral disease outbreaks by increasing the abundance or virulence of pathogens, or by increasing host susceptibility. This study tested the compromised-host hypothesis, and documented the relationship between disease and temperature, through monthly monitoring of Acropora palmata colonies from May 2004 to December 2006, in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Disease prevalence and the rate of change in prevalence showed a positive linear relationship with water temperature and rate of change in water temperature, respectively, but only in 2005 during prolonged periods of elevated temperature. Both bleached and unbleached colonies showed a positive relationship between disease prevalence and temperature in 2005, but the average area of disease-associated mortality increased only for bleached corals, indicating host susceptibility, rather than temperature per se, influenced disease severity on A. palmata.

  1. The northernmost coral frontier of the Maldives: The coral reefs of Ihavandippolu Atoll under long-term environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

    Ihavandippolu, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in 1998 followed by several bleaching episodes in the last decade. Coral cover in the 11 study sites surveyed in July-December of 2011 in the 3-5 m depth range varied from 1.7 to 51%. Reefs of the islands located in the center of Ihavandippolu lagoon have exhibited a very low coral recovery since 1998 and remain mostly degraded 12 years after the impact. At the same time, some reefs, especially in the inner part of the eastern ring of the atoll, demonstrate a high coral cover (>40%) with a dominance of branching Acropora that is known to be one of the coral genera that is most susceptible to thermal stress. The last severe bleaching event in 2010 resulted in high coral mortality in some sites of the atoll. Differences in coral mortality rates and proportion between "susceptible" and "resistant" taxa in study sites are apparently related to long-term adaptation and local hydrological features that can mitigate thermal impacts. Abundant herbivorous fish observed in the atoll prevent coral overgrowth by macroalgae even on degraded reefs. Despite the frequent influence of temperature anomalies and having less geomorphologic refuges for coral survivals than other larger Maldivian atolls, a major part of observed coral communities in Ihavandippolu Atoll exhibits high resilience and potential for further acclimatization to a changing environment. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. 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. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reichert, Jessica; Schellenberg, Johannes; Schubert, Patrick; Wilke, Thomas

    2018-06-01

    Pollution of marine environments with microplastic particles (i.e. plastic fragments terrestrial origin, coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs are particularly threatened. Recent studies revealed that microplastic ingestion can have adverse effects on marine invertebrates. However, little is known about its effects on small-polyp stony corals that are the main framework builders in coral reefs. The goal of this study is to characterise how different coral species I) respond to microplastic particles and whether the exposure might II) lead to health effects. Therefore, six small-polyp stony coral species belonging to the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites were exposed to microplastics (polyethylene, size 37-163 μm, concentration ca. 4000 particles L -1 ) over four weeks, and responses and effects on health were documented. The study showed that the corals responded differentially to microplastics. Cleaning mechanisms (direct interaction, mucus production) but also feeding interactions (i.e. interaction with mesenterial filaments, ingestion, and egestion) were observed. Additionally, passive contact through overgrowth was documented. In five of the six studied species, negative effects on health (i.e. bleaching and tissue necrosis) were reported. We here provide preliminary knowledge about coral-microplastic-interactions. The results call for further investigations of the effects of realistic microplastic concentrations on growth, reproduction, and survival of stony corals. This might lead to a better understanding of resilience capacities in coral reef ecosystems. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Evaluating the potential of natural reproduction and artificial techniques to increase Acropora cervicornis populations at Discovery Bay, Jamaica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norman J Quinn

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Shallow water Acropora species have become uncommon on north coast Jamaican coral reefs owing to a number of factors. On many reefs, algae have taken their place. The result is loss of habitat for many species of fish and invertebrates and less attractive reefs with fewer fish. These reefs appear to be prime candidates for coral restoration. However, the potential for coral to naturally recover should be examined before efforts to restore reefs are undertaken. Reef restoration is unnecessary if the population has the capacity to recovery through natural means. We observed that the rate of settlement of Acropora spat in the Caribbean is much lower than the spat settlement rate of several other Caribbean coral families and much lower than Acropora spat settlement rates in the South Pacific. A very low percentage of apparently healthy colonies of A. cervicornis possessed developing gametes in July 2005, a month before spawning. It appears that the long-term survival of remnant A. cervicornis populations is threatened unless successful sexual reproduction is restored. Several techniques were used to test transplant methods for restoring A. cervicornis populations. The mean survivorship and growth rate of one technique was >75% and nearly 250% per annum, respectively. Working with hotel operators, environmental groups, and local fishers, we are attempting to reintroduce A. cervicornis to sites where it previously existed and increase coral biomass and complexity at these sites. Reefs with greater A. cervicornis biomass have larger edible fish populations. With localized protection of these restored reefs we anticipate an increase of larger edible fish not only on reefs within the restored protected areas but also on adjacent reefs. Furthermore, increased coral and fish biodiversity improves the attractiveness of the reef community for divers and snorkelers. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3: 105-116. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.Las especies someras de Acropora se

  5. The continuing decline of coral reefs in Bahrain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa; Khalaf, Ebtesam; Alshuwaikh, Bassem; Abdulwahab, Ahmed

    2013-07-30

    Historically coral reefs of Bahrain were among the most extensive in the southern basin of the Arabian Gulf. However, Bahrain's reefs have undergone significant decline in the last four decades as a result of large-scale coastal development and elevated sea surface temperature events. Here we quantitatively surveyed six sites including most major coral reef habitats around Bahrain and a reef located 72 km offshore. Fleshy and turf algae now dominate Bahrain's reefs (mean: 72% cover), and live coral cover is low (mean: 5.1%). Formerly dominant Acropora were not observed at any site. The offshore Bulthama reef had the highest coral cover (16.3%) and species richness (22 of the 23 species observed, 13 of which were exclusive to this site). All reefs for which recent and historical data are available show continued degradation, and it is unlikely that they will recover under continuing coastal development and projected climate change impacts. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. Chemotaxis by natural populations of coral reef bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Petrou, Katherina; Tyson, Gene W; Webster, Nicole S; Garren, Melissa; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2015-08-01

    Corals experience intimate associations with distinct populations of marine microorganisms, but the microbial behaviours underpinning these relationships are poorly understood. There is evidence that chemotaxis is pivotal to the infection process of corals by pathogenic bacteria, but this evidence is limited to experiments using cultured isolates under laboratory conditions. We measured the chemotactic capabilities of natural populations of coral-associated bacteria towards chemicals released by corals and their symbionts, including amino acids, carbohydrates, ammonium and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Laboratory experiments, using a modified capillary assay, and in situ measurements, using a novel microfabricated in situ chemotaxis assay, were employed to quantify the chemotactic responses of natural microbial assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef. Both approaches showed that bacteria associated with the surface of the coral species Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora aspera exhibited significant levels of chemotaxis, particularly towards DMSP and amino acids, and that these levels of chemotaxis were significantly higher than that of bacteria inhabiting nearby, non-coral-associated waters. This pattern was supported by a significantly higher abundance of chemotaxis and motility genes in metagenomes within coral-associated water types. The phylogenetic composition of the coral-associated chemotactic microorganisms, determined using 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, differed from the community in the seawater surrounding the coral and comprised known coral associates, including potentially pathogenic Vibrio species. These findings indicate that motility and chemotaxis are prevalent phenotypes among coral-associated bacteria, and we propose that chemotaxis has an important role in the establishment and maintenance of specific coral-microbe associations, which may ultimately influence the health and stability of the coral holobiont.

  9. Early signs of recovery of Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muller, E.M.; Rogers, Caroline S.; van Woesik, R.

    2014-01-01

    Since the 1980s, diseases have caused significant declines in the population of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Yet it is largely unknown whether the population densities have recovered from these declines and whether there have been any recent shifts in size-frequency distributions toward large colonies. It is also unknown whether colony size influences the risk of disease infection, the most common stressor affecting this species. To address these unknowns, we examined A. palmata colonies at ten sites around St. John, US Virgin Islands, in 2004 and 2010. The prevalence of white-pox disease was highly variable among sites, ranging from 0 to 53 %, and this disease preferentially targeted large colonies. We found that colony density did not significantly change over the 6-year period, although six out of ten sites showed higher densities through time. The size-frequency distributions of coral colonies at all sites were positively skewed in both 2004 and 2010, however, most sites showed a temporal shift toward more large-sized colonies. This increase in large-sized colonies occurred despite the presence of white-pox disease, a severe bleaching event, and several storms. This study provides evidence of slow recovery of the A. palmata population around St. John despite the persistence of several stressors.

  10. Does body type really matter? Relating climate change, coral morphology and resiliency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, M.; Shein, K. A.; Foster, K.; Hendee, J. C.

    2016-02-01

    Average sea temperatures in many tropical regions are rising approximately 1-2˚C per century, and are thought to be a major driver of increased frequency of coral bleaching. However, certain coral morphologies appear to be more resilient to changes in the environment, particularly to sea temperature variations resulting from global climate change. Although branching corals (e.g., Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata) are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, this morphology is commonly used in coral restoration efforts because of its fast growth rate. Massive corals show higher resistance and resilience to elevated temperature events than branching species, but are less common in coral nurseries. The objective of this study was to compare coral resilience among morphology types in Little Cayman, a remote tropical island with <200 inhabitants where it is possible to decouple environmental and anthropogenic stressors. Three morphological groups (branching, intermediary and massive) were surveyed at 17 sites to estimate the percent cover of each group. Temperature profiles were observed at six moorings around the island, allowing for direct comparison between sea surface temperature, sea temperature at the reef depths, and coral cover, per morphology. The relationship between coral morphological coverage and temperature variation at depth was assessed in the context of geographic variation around the island. Understanding the relationship between coral morphology and resilience to temperature variability will enhance current coral restoration practices by identifying which morphologies have the highest chance of long-term survivorship following outplanting, concurrently optimizing cumulative reef survivorship.

  11. Variation in size frequency distribution of coral populations under different fishing pressures in two contrasting locations in the Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grimsditch, G; Pisapia, C; Huck, M; Karisa, J; Obura, D; Sweet, M

    2017-10-01

    This study aimed to assess how the size-frequency distributions of coral genera varied between reefs under different fishing pressures in two contrasting Indian Ocean locations (the Maldives and East Africa). Using generalized linear mixed models, we were able to demonstrate that complex interactions occurred between coral genera, coral size class and fishing pressure. In both locations, we found Acropora coral species to be more abundant in non-fished compared to fished sites (a pattern which was consistent for nearly all the assessed size classes). Coral genera classified as 'stress tolerant' showed a contrasting pattern i.e. were higher in abundance in fished compared to non-fished sites. Site specific variations were also observed. For example, Maldivian reefs exhibited a significantly higher abundance in all size classes of 'competitive' corals compared to East Africa. This possibly indicates that East African reefs have already been subjected to higher levels of stress and are therefore less suitable environments for 'competitive' corals. This study also highlights the potential structure and composition of reefs under future degradation scenarios, for example with a loss of Acropora corals and an increase in dominance of 'stress tolerant' and 'generalist' coral genera. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  12. Assessment of Acropora palmata in the Mesoamerican Reef System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa E.; Banaszak, Anastazia T.; McField, Melanie D.; Beltrán-Torres, Aurora U.; Álvarez-Filip, Lorenzo

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24763319

  13. 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.

  14. Facilitation in Caribbean coral reefs: high densities of staghorn coral foster greater coral condition and reef fish composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huntington, Brittany E; Miller, Margaret W; Pausch, Rachel; Richter, Lee

    2017-05-01

    Recovery of the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is posited to play a key role in Caribbean reef resilience. At four Caribbean locations (including one restored and three extant populations), we quantified characteristics of contemporary staghorn coral across increasing conspecific densities, and investigated a hypothesis of facilitation between staghorn coral and reef fishes. High staghorn densities in the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly less partial mortality, higher branch growth, and supported greater fish abundances compared to lower densities within the same population. In contrast, partial mortality, branch growth, and fish community composition did not vary with staghorn density at the three other study locations where staghorn densities were lower overall. This suggests that density-dependent effects between the coral and fish community may only manifest at high staghorn densities. We then evaluated one facilitative mechanism for such density-dependence, whereby abundant fishes sheltering in dense staghorn aggregations deliver nutrients back to the coral, fueling faster coral growth, thereby creating more fish habitat. Indeed, dense staghorn aggregations within the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly higher growth rates, tissue nitrogen, and zooxanthellae densities than sparse aggregations. Similarly, higher tissue nitrogen was induced in a macroalgae bioassay outplanted into the same dense and sparse aggregations, confirming greater bioavailability of nutrients at high staghorn densities. Our findings inform staghorn restoration efforts, suggesting that the most effective targets may be higher coral densities than previously thought. These coral-dense aggregations may reap the benefits of positive facilitation between the staghorn and fish community, favoring the growth and survivorship of this threatened species.

  15. Metabolite Profiling of Red Sea Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Ortega, Jovhana Alejandra

    2016-12-01

    Looking at the metabolite profile of an organism provides insights into the metabolomic state of a cell and hence also into pathways employed. Little is known about the metabolites produced by corals and their algal symbionts. In particular, corals from the central Red Sea are understudied, but interesting study objects, as they live in one of the warmest and most saline environments and can provide clues as to the adjustment of corals to environmental change. In this study, we applied gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC–MS) metabolite profiling to analyze the metabolic profile of four coral species and their associated symbionts: Fungia granulosa, Acropora hemprichii, Porites lutea, and Pocillopora verrucosa. We identified and quantified 102 compounds among primary and secondary metabolites across all samples. F. granulosa and its symbiont showed a total of 59 metabolites which were similar to the 51 displayed by P. verrucosa. P. lutea and A. hemprichii both harbored 40 compounds in conjunction with their respective isolated algae. Comparing across species, 28 metabolites were exclusively present in algae, while 38 were exclusive to corals. A principal component and cluster analyses revealed that metabolite profiles clustered between corals and algae, but each species harbored a distinct catalog of metabolites. The major classes of compounds were carbohydrates and amino acids. Taken together, this study provides a first description of metabolites of Red Sea corals and their associated symbionts. As expected, the metabolites of coral hosts differ from their algal symbionts, but each host and algal species harbor a unique set of metabolites. This corroborates that host-symbiont species pairs display a fine-tuned complementary metabolism that provide insights into the specific nature of the symbiosis. Our analysis also revealed aquatic pollutants, which suggests that metabolite profiling might be used for monitoring pollution levels and assessing

  16. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLean, Matthew; Cuetos-Bueno, Javier; Nedlic, Osamu; Luckymiss, Marston; Houk, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  17. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew McLean

    Full Text Available Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  18. Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Massive and Branching Scleractinian Corals and Potential Linkages to Coral Susceptibility to Thermal or Cold Stress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiayuan Liang

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available It is well known that different coral species have different tolerances to thermal or cold stress, which is presumed to be related to the density of Symbiodinium. However, the intrinsic factors between stress-tolerant characteristics and coral-associated bacteria are rarely studied. In this study, 16 massive coral and 9 branching coral colonies from 6 families, 10 genera, and 18 species were collected at the same time and location (Xinyi Reef in the South China Sea to investigate the bacterial communities. The results of an alpha diversity analysis showed that bacterial diversities associated with massive corals were generally higher than those with branching corals at different taxonomic levels (phylum, class, order, and so on. In addition, hierarchical clustering tree and PCoA analyses showed that coral species were clustered into two large groups according to the similarity of bacterial communities. Group I consisted of massive Goniastrea, Plesiastrea, Leptastrea, Platygyra, Echinopora, Porites, and Leptoria, and group II consisted of branching Acropora and Pocillopora. These findings suggested that both massive corals and branching corals have their own preference for the choice of associated bacteria, which may be involved in observed differences in thermal/cold tolerances. Further analysis found that 55 bacterial phyla, including 43 formally described phyla and 12 candidate phyla, were detected in these coral species. Among them, 52 phyla were recovered from the massive coral group, and 46 phyla were recovered from the branching coral group. Formally described coral pathogens have not been detected in these coral species, suggesting that they are less likely to be threatened by disease in this geographic area. This study highlights a clear relationship between the high complexity of bacterial community associated with coral, skeletal morphology of coral and potentially tolerances to thermal or cold stress.

  19. Temporal and taxonomic contrasts in coral growth at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kristen D.; Cantin, Neal E.; Heron, Scott F.; Lough, Janice M.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2018-06-01

    Demographic processes, such as growth, can have an important influence on the population and community structure of reef-building corals. Importantly, ongoing changes in environmental conditions (e.g. ocean warming) are expected to affect coral growth, contributing to changes in the structure of coral populations and communities. This study quantified contemporary growth rates (linear extension and calcification) for the staghorn coral, Acropora muricata, at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Growth rates were measured at three different depths (5, 10, and 15 m) over 2 yr (2012-2014) assessing both seasonal and inter-annual variability. Results of this study were compared to equivalent measurements made in 1980-1982 at the same location. To assist in understanding inter-annual variability in coral growth, we also examined annual growth bands from massive Porites providing continuous growth and records of flooding history for Davies Reef over the period 1979-2012. Linear extension rates of A. muricata were substantially (11-62%) lower in 2012-2014 compared to 1980-1982, especially at 10 and 15 m depths. These declines in growth coincide with a + 0.14 °C change in annual mean temperature. For massive Porites, however, calcification rates were highly variable among years and there was no discernible long-term change in growth despite sustained increases in temperature of 0.064 °C per decade. Apparent differences in the growth rates of Acropora between 1980-1982 and 2012-2014 may reflect inter-annual variation in coral growth (as seen for massive Porites), though it is known branching Acropora is much more sensitive to changing environmental conditions than massive corals. There are persistent issues in assessing the sensitivities of branching corals to environmental change due to limited capacity for retrospective analyses of growth, but given their disproportionate contribution to habitat complexity and reef structure, it is critical to ascertain

  20. 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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Inoue, Mayuri; Kusakabe, Makoto

    2014-01-01

    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 coral symbioses

  1. 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

  2. Long-wavelength photosensitivity in coral planula larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Benjamin M; Cohen, Jonathan H

    2012-04-01

    Light influences the swimming behavior and settlement of the planktonic planula larvae of coral, but little is known regarding the photosensory biology of coral at this or any life-history stage. Here we used changes in the electrical activity of coral planula tissue upon light flashes to investigate the photosensitivity of the larvae. Recordings were made from five species: two whose larvae are brooded and contain algal symbionts (Porites astreoides and Agaricia agaricites), and three whose larvae are spawned and lack algal symbionts (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata,and Montastrea faveolata). Photosensitivity originated from the coral larva rather than from, or in addition to, its algal symbionts as species with and without symbionts displayed similar tissue-level electrical responses to light. All species exhibited as much (or more) sensitivity to red stimuli as to blue/green stimuli, which is consistent with a role for long-wavelength visible light in the preference for substrata observed during settlement and in facilitating vertical positioning of larvae in the water column.

  3. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá. The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10x2m with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2, and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2. Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD, and White Plague Disease (WPD were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A.grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few

  4. Interactive effect of elevated CO2 and temperature on coral physiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, A. G.; Cai, W.; Warner, M.; Melman, T.; Schoepf, V.; Baumann, J.; Matsui, Y.; Pettay, D. T.; Hoadley, K.; Xu, H.; Wang, Y.; Li, Q.; Hu, X.

    2011-12-01

    Increases in ocean acidification and temperature threaten coral reefs globally. However, the interactive effect of both lower pH and higher temperature on coral physiology and growth are poorly understood. Here, we present preliminary findings from a replicated controlled experiment where four species of corals (Acorpora millepora, Pocillopora damicornis, Montipora monasteriata, Turbinaria reniformis) were reared under the following six treatments for three weeks: 1) 400ppm CO2 and ambient temperature, 2) 400ppm CO2 and elevated temperature, 3) 650ppm CO2 and ambient temperature, 4) 650ppm CO2 and elevated temperature, 5) 800ppm CO2 and ambient temperature, 6) 800ppm CO2 and elevated temperature. Initial findings of photophysiological health (Fv/Fm), calcification rates (as measured by both buoyant weight and the total alkalinity methods), and energy reserves will be presented.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ciemon Frank Caballes

    Full Text Available 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Inhibition in fertilisation of coral gametes following exposure to nickel and copper.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gissi, Francesca; Stauber, Jenny; Reichelt-Brushett, Amanda; Harrison, Peter L; Jolley, Dianne F

    2017-11-01

    The mining and production of nickel in tropical regions have the potential to impact on ecologically valuable tropical marine ecosystems. Currently, few data exist to assess the risks of nickel exposure to tropical ecosystems and to derive ecologically relevant water quality guidelines. In particular, data are lacking for keystone species such as scleractinian corals, which create the complex structural reef habitats that support many other marine species. As part of a larger study developing risk assessment tools for nickel in the tropical Asia-Pacific region, we investigated the toxicity of nickel on fertilisation success in three species of scleractinian corals: Acropora aspera, Acropora digitifera and Platygyra daedalea. In the literature, more data are available on the effects of copper on coral fertilisation, so to allow for comparisons with past studies, the toxicity of copper to A. aspera and P. daedalea was also determined. Overall, copper was more toxic than nickel to the fertilisation success of the species tested. Acropora aspera was the most sensitive species to nickel (NOEC 4610µg Ni/L). Acropora aspera was also the more sensitive species to copper with an EC10 of 5.8µg Cu/L. The EC10 for P. daedalea was 16µg Cu/L, similar to previous studies. This is the first time that the toxicity of nickel on fertilisation success in Acropora species has been reported, and thus provides valuable data that can contribute to the development of reliable water quality guidelines for nickel in tropical marine waters. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  8. Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature

    KAUST Repository

    Keith, Sally A.; Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Edwards, Alasdair J.; Guest, James R.; Bauman, Andrew G.; van Hooidonk, Ruben; Heron, Scott F.; Berumen, Michael L.; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Piromvaragorn, Srisakul; Rahbek, Carsten; Baird, Andrew H.

    2016-01-01

    Coral spawning times have been linked to multiple environmental factors; however, to what extent these factors act as generalized cues across multiple species and large spatial scales is unknown. We used a unique dataset of coral spawning from 34 reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to test if month of spawning and peak spawning month in assemblages of Acropora spp. can be predicted by sea surface temperature (SST), photosynthetically available radiation, wind speed, current speed, rainfall or sunset time. Contrary to the classic view that high mean SST initiates coral spawning, we found rapid increases in SST to be the best predictor in both cases (month of spawning: R2 = 0.73, peak: R2 = 0.62). Our findings suggest that a rapid increase in SST provides the dominant proximate cue for coral mass spawning over large geographical scales. We hypothesize that coral spawning is ultimately timed to ensure optimal fertilization success.

  9. Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature

    KAUST Repository

    Keith, Sally A.

    2016-05-11

    Coral spawning times have been linked to multiple environmental factors; however, to what extent these factors act as generalized cues across multiple species and large spatial scales is unknown. We used a unique dataset of coral spawning from 34 reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to test if month of spawning and peak spawning month in assemblages of Acropora spp. can be predicted by sea surface temperature (SST), photosynthetically available radiation, wind speed, current speed, rainfall or sunset time. Contrary to the classic view that high mean SST initiates coral spawning, we found rapid increases in SST to be the best predictor in both cases (month of spawning: R2 = 0.73, peak: R2 = 0.62). Our findings suggest that a rapid increase in SST provides the dominant proximate cue for coral mass spawning over large geographical scales. We hypothesize that coral spawning is ultimately timed to ensure optimal fertilization success.

  10. Molecular Identification and Genetic Diversity of Acropora hyacinthus from Boo and Deer Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayanti, DP; Indrayanti, E.; Nuryadi, H.; Dewi, RA; Sabdono, A.

    2018-02-01

    Indonesia lies at the centre of biodiversity for corals. However, the reefs suffered from extensive human exploitation. Marine Protected Areas is thought to be best solution to protect coral reefs ecosystem. Understanding genetic diversity is crucial for effective management of the MPAs, however genetic diversity is rarely been corporate in designing an MPA. Moreover, many MPAs are uneffectively manage due to poor designated and demarcated.Raja Ampat which is located in western tip of West Papua, was designated as a park to mitigatethreatsand protect the valuable marine resources.Scleractinian corals in the genus Acropora are among the most dominant distributed in Raja Ampat waters, including the species of Acroporahyacinthus. The research aimed to analyze genetic diversity and to describe the kinship relationship of Acroporahyacinthus between 2 populations: Boo Island and Deer Island, Raja Ampat. Genetic marker Cytochrome Oxidase I (CO I) of the mitochondrial genome DNA (mtDNA) was used to analyze genetic diversity. Reconstruction of phylogenetic tree and genetic diversity were made by usingsoftware MEGA 5.05 (Moleculer Evolutionary Genetics Analysis). The results of this research indicatecorals A. hyacinthus from Boo Island and Deer Island Raja Ampat are in the low category of genetic diversity and overall had a close genetic relationship of kinship. This is likely due to the small size of the population and few numbers of samples that may not represent the population.

  11. Restoration of coral populations in light of genetic diversity estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, T. L.; Porto, I.; Zubillaga, A. L.

    2009-09-01

    Due to the importance of preserving the genetic integrity of populations, strategies to restore damaged coral reefs should attempt to retain the allelic diversity of the disturbed population; however, genetic diversity estimates are not available for most coral populations. To provide a generalized estimate of genetic diversity (in terms of allelic richness) of scleractinian coral populations, the literature was surveyed for studies describing the genetic structure of coral populations using microsatellites. The mean number of alleles per locus across 72 surveyed scleractinian coral populations was 8.27 (±0.75 SE). In addition, population genetic datasets from four species ( Acropora palmata, Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea faveolata and Pocillopora damicornis) were analyzed to assess the minimum number of donor colonies required to retain specific proportions of the genetic diversity of the population. Rarefaction analysis of the population genetic datasets indicated that using 10 donor colonies randomly sampled from the original population would retain >50% of the allelic diversity, while 35 colonies would retain >90% of the original diversity. In general, scleractinian coral populations are genetically diverse and restoration methods utilizing few clonal genotypes to re-populate a reef will diminish the genetic integrity of the population. Coral restoration strategies using 10-35 randomly selected local donor colonies will retain at least 50-90% of the genetic diversity of the original population.

  12. 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.

  13. Selective feeding by coral reef fishes on coral lesions associated with brown band and black band disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Cole, A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Recent studies have suggested that corallivorous fishes may be vectors for coral disease, but the extent to which fishes actually feed on and thereby potentially transmit coral pathogens is largely unknown. For this study, in situ video observations were used to assess the level to which fishes fed on diseased coral tissues at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Surveys conducted at multiple locations around Lizard Island revealed that coral disease prevalence, especially of brown band disease (BrB), was higher in lagoon and backreef locations than in exposed reef crests. Accordingly, video cameras were deployed in lagoon and backreef habitats to record feeding by fishes during 1-h periods on diseased sections of each of 44 different coral colonies. Twenty-five species from five fish families (Blennidae, Chaetodontidae, Gobiidae, Labridae and Pomacentridae) were observed to feed on infected coral tissues of staghorn species of Acropora that were naturally infected with black band disease (BBD) or brown band disease (BrB). Collectively, these fishes took an average of 18.6 (±5.6 SE) and 14.3 (±6.1 SE) bites per hour from BBD and BrB lesions, respectively. More than 40% (408/948 bites) and nearly 25% (314/1319 bites) of bites were observed on lesions associated with BBD and BrB, respectively, despite these bands each representing only about 1% of the substratum available. Moreover, many corallivorous fishes ( Labrichthys unilineatus, Chaetodon aureofasciatus, C. baronessa, C. lunulatus, C. trifascialis, Cheiloprion labiatus) selectively targeted disease lesions over adjacent healthy coral tissues. These findings highlight the important role that reef fishes may play in the dynamics of coral diseases, either as vectors for the spread of coral disease or in reducing coral disease progression through intensive and selective consumption of diseased coral tissues.

  14. Microenvironment and Photosynthesis of Zooxanthellae in Scleractinian Corals Studied with Microsensors for O-2, Ph and Light Rid A-1977-2009 Rid B-5428-2008

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    KUHL, M.; COHEN, Y.; DALSGAARD, T.

    1995-01-01

    During experimental Light-dark cycles, O-2 in the tissue of the colonial scleractinian corals Favia sp. and Acropora sp. reached >250% of air saturation after a few minutes in Light. Immediately after darkening, O-2 was depleted rapidly, and within 5 min the O-2 concentration at the tissue surface...

  15. Dicty_cDB: SHJ393 [Dicty_cDB

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available 1554 |AR551554.1 Sequence 6685 from patent US 6747137. 58 3e-04 1 DY586119 |DY586119.1 GS01JG03 Acropora millepora presettlement... |DY586847.1 GS01OG04 Acropora millepora presettlement library GS01 Acropora mill...epora cDNA clone GS01OG04, mRNA sequence. 38 0.029 2 DY587622 |DY587622.1 GS01YD02 Acropora millepora presettlement

  16. Contrasting patterns of changes in abundance following a bleaching event between juvenile and adult scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Álvarez-Noriega, Mariana; Baird, Andrew H.; Bridge, Tom C. L.; Dornelas, Maria; Fontoura, Luisa; Pizarro, Oscar; Precoda, Kristin; Torres-Pulliza, Damaris; Woods, Rachael M.; Zawada, Kyle; Madin, Joshua S.

    2018-06-01

    Coral bleaching events have caused extensive mortality on reefs around the world. Juvenile corals are generally less affected by bleaching than their conspecific adults and therefore have the potential to buffer population declines and seed recovery. Here, we use juvenile and adult abundance data at 20 sites encircling Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, before and after the 2016 bleaching event to quantify: (1) correlates of changes in juvenile abundance following a bleaching event; (2) differences in susceptibility to extreme thermal stress between juveniles and adults. Declines in juvenile abundance were lower at sites closer to the 20-m-depth contour and higher for Acropora and Pocillopora juveniles than for other taxa. Juveniles of Acropora and Goniastrea were less susceptible to bleaching than adults, but the opposite was true for Pocillopora spp. and taxa in the family Merulinidae. Our results indicate that the potential of the juvenile life stage to act as a buffer during bleaching events is taxon-dependent.

  17. 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.

  18. Fire coral clones demonstrate phenotypic plasticity among reef habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubé, Caroline E; Boissin, Emilie; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Planes, Serge

    2017-08-01

    Clonal populations are often characterized by reduced levels of genotypic diversity, which can translate into lower numbers of functional phenotypes, both of which impede adaptation. Study of partially clonal animals enables examination of the environmental settings under which clonal reproduction is favoured. Here, we gathered genotypic and phenotypic information from 3,651 georeferenced colonies of the fire coral Millepora platyphylla in five habitats with different hydrodynamic regimes in Moorea, French Polynesia. In the upper slope where waves break, most colonies grew as vertical sheets ("sheet tree") making them more vulnerable to fragmentation. Nearly all fire corals in the other habitats are encrusting or massive. The M. platyphylla population is highly clonal (80% of the colonies are clones), while characterized by the highest genotype diversity ever documented for terrestrial or marine populations (1,064 genotypes). The proportion of clones varies greatly among habitats (≥58%-97%) and clones (328 clonal lineages) are distributed perpendicularly from the reef crest, perfectly aligned with wave energy. There are six clonal lineages with clones dispersed in at least two adjacent habitats that strongly demonstrate phenotypic plasticity. Eighty per cent of the colonies in these lineages are "sheet tree" on the upper slope, while 80%-100% are encrusting or massive on the mid slope and back reef. This is a unique example of phenotypic plasticity among reef-building coral clones as corals typically have wave-tolerant growth forms in high-energy reef areas. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. 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

  20. Exposure to elevated sea-surface temperatures below the bleaching threshold impairs coral recovery and regeneration following injury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonesso, Joshua Louis; Leggat, William; Ainsworth, Tracy Danielle

    2017-01-01

    Elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are linked to an increase in the frequency and severity of bleaching events due to temperatures exceeding corals' upper thermal limits. The temperatures at which a breakdown of the coral- Symbiodinium endosymbiosis (coral bleaching) occurs are referred to as the upper thermal limits for the coral species. This breakdown of the endosymbiosis results in a reduction of corals' nutritional uptake, growth, and tissue integrity. Periods of elevated sea surface temperature, thermal stress and coral bleaching are also linked to increased disease susceptibility and an increased frequency of storms which cause injury and physical damage to corals. Herein we aimed to determine the capacity of corals to regenerate and recover from injuries (removal of apical tips) sustained during periods of elevated sea surface temperatures which result in coral stress responses, but which do not result in coral bleaching (i.e., sub-bleaching thermal stress events). In this study, exposure of the species Acropora aspera to an elevated SST of 32 °C (2 °C below the bleaching threshold, 34 °C) was found to result in reduced fluorescence of green fluorescent protein (GFP), reduced skeletal calcification and a lack of branch regrowth at the site of injury, compared to corals maintained under ambient SST conditions (26 °C). Corals maintained under normal, ambient, sea surface temperatures expressed high GFP fluorescence at the injury site, underwent a rapid regeneration of the coral branch apical tip within 12 days of sustaining injury, and showed extensive regrowth of the coral skeleton. Taken together, our results have demonstrated that periods of sustained increased sea surface temperatures, below the corals' bleaching threshold but above long-term summertime averages, impair coral recovery from damage, regardless of the onset or occurrence of coral bleaching.

  1. 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.

  2. Modern coral reefs of western Atlantic: new geological perspective

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    MacIntyre, I.G.

    1988-11-01

    Contrary to popular belief of the late 1960s, western Atlantic Holocene reefs have a long history and are not feeble novice nearshore veneers that barely survived postglacial temperatures. Rather, the growth of these reefs kept pace with the rising seas of the Holocene transgression and their development was, for the most part, controlled by offshore wave-energy conditions and the relationship between changing sea levels and local shelf topography. Thus, the outer shelves of the eastern Caribbean in areas of high energy have relict reefs consisting predominantly of Acropora palmata, a robust shallow-water coral. The flooding of adjacent shelves during the postglacial transgression introduced stress conditions that terminated the growth of these reefs. When, about 7000 yr ago, shelf-water conditions improved, scattered deeper water coral communities reestablished themselves on these stranded shelf-edge reefs, and fringing and bank-barrier reefs began to flourish in shallow coastal areas. At the same time, the fragile and rapidly growing Acropora cervicornis and other corals flourished at greater depths on the more protected shelves of the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, late Holocene buildups more than 30 m thick developed in those areas. 7 figures.

  3. Examination of species boundaries in the Acropora cervicornis group (Scleractinia, cnidaria) using nuclear DNA sequence analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oppen, M J; Willis, B L; Vugt, H W; Miller, D J

    2000-09-01

    Although Acropora is the most species-rich genus of the scleractinian (stony) corals, only three species occur in the Caribbean: A. cervicornis, A. palmata and A. prolifera. Based on overall coral morphology, abundance and distribution patterns, it has been suggested that A. prolifera may be a hybrid between A. cervicornis and A. palmata. The species boundaries among these three morphospecies were examined using DNA sequence analyses of the nuclear Pax-C 46/47 intron and the ribosomal DNA Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1 and ITS2) and 5.8S regions. Moderate levels of sequence variability were observed in the ITS and 5.8S sequences (up to 5.2% overall sequence difference), but variability within species was as large as between species and all three species carried similar sequences. Since this is unlikely to represent a shared ancestral polymorphism, the data suggest that introgressive hybridization occurs among the three species. For the Pax-C intron, A. cervicornis and A. palmata had very distinct allele frequencies and A. cervicornis carried a unique allele at a frequency of 0.769 (although sequence differences between alleles were small). All A. prolifera colonies examined were heterozygous for the Pax-C intron, whereas heterozygosity was only 0.286 and 0.333 for A. cervicornis and A. palmata, respectively. These data support the hypothesis that A. prolifera is the product of hybridization between two species that have a different allelic composition for the Pax-C intron, i.e. A. cervicornis and A. palmata. We therefore suggest that A. prolifera is a hybrid between A. cervicornis and A. palmata, which backcrosses with the parental species at low frequency.

  4. Dispersal capacity and genetic relatedness in Acropora cervicornis on the Florida Reef Tract

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Paris, Claire B.; Kourafalou, Vassiliki H.; Lirman, Diego

    2018-06-01

    Sexual reproduction in scleractinian corals is a critical component of species recovery, fostering population connectivity and enhancing genetic diveristy. The relative contribution of sexual reproduction to both connectivity and diversity in Acropora cervicornis may be variable due to this species' capacity to reproduce effectively by fragmentation. Using a biophysical model and genomic data in this threatened species, we construct potential connectivity pathways on the Florida Reef Tract (FRT) and compare them to inferred migration rates derived from next-generation sequencing, using a link and node-based approach. Larval connectivity on the FRT can be divided into two zones: the northern region, where most transport is unidirectional to the north with the Florida Current, and the southern region that is more dynamic and exhibits complex spatial patterns. These biophysical linkages are poorly correlated with genetic connectivity patterns, which resolve many reciprocal connections and suggest a less sparse network. These results are difficult to reconcile with genetic data which indicate that individual reefs are diverse, suggesting important contributions of sexual reproduction and recruitment. Larval connectivity models highlight potential resources for recovery, such as areas with high larval export like the Lower Keys, or areas that are well connected to most other regions on the FRT, such as the Dry Tortugas.

  5. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James; Hoey, Andrew S.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Depczynski, Martial; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Holmes, Thomas H.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2015-01-01

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Darren J Coker

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coker, Darren J; Hoey, Andrew S; Wilson, Shaun K; Depczynski, Martial; Graham, Nicholas A J; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Holmes, Thomas H; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2015-01-01

    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.

  9. 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 spawned...

  10. Estimating Sustainable Live-Coral Harvest at Kamiali Wildlife Management Area, Papua New Guinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longenecker, Ken; Bolick, Holly; Langston, Ross

    2015-01-01

    Live coral is harvested throughout the Indo-West Pacific to make lime, used in the consumption of the world's fourth-most consumed drug, betel nut. Coral harvesting is an environmental concern; however, because lime-making is one of the few sources of income in some areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the practice is unlikely to stop. To better manage coral harvest, we used standard fishery-yield methods to generate sustainable-harvest guidelines for corymbose Acropora species found on the reef flat and crest at Lababia, PNG. We constructed a yield curve (weight-specific net annual-dry-weight production) by: 1) describing the allometric relationship between colony size and dry weight, and using that relationship to estimate the dry weight of Acropora colonies in situ; 2) estimating annual growth of Acropora colonies by estimating in situ, and describing the relationship between, colony dry weight at the beginning and end of one year; and 3) conducting belt-transect surveys to describe weight-frequencies and ultimately to predict annual weight change per square meter for each weight class. Reef habitat covers a total 2,467,550 m2 at Lababia and produces an estimated 248,397 kg/y (dry weight) of corymbose Acropora, of which 203,897 kg is produced on the reef flat/crest. We conservatively estimate that 30,706.6 kg of whole, dry, corymbose, Acropora can be sustainably harvested from the reef flat/crest habitat each year provided each culled colony weighs at least 1805 g when dry (or is at least 46 cm along its major axis). Artisanal lime-makers convert 24.8% of whole-colony weight into marketable lime, thus we estimate 7615.2 g of lime can be sustainably produced annually from corymbose Acropora. This value incorporates several safety margins, and should lead to proper management of live coral harvest. Importantly, the guideline recognizes village rights to exploit its marine resources, is consistent with village needs for income, and balances an equally strong village

  11. Estimating Sustainable Live-Coral Harvest at Kamiali Wildlife Management Area, Papua New Guinea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ken Longenecker

    Full Text Available Live coral is harvested throughout the Indo-West Pacific to make lime, used in the consumption of the world's fourth-most consumed drug, betel nut. Coral harvesting is an environmental concern; however, because lime-making is one of the few sources of income in some areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG, the practice is unlikely to stop. To better manage coral harvest, we used standard fishery-yield methods to generate sustainable-harvest guidelines for corymbose Acropora species found on the reef flat and crest at Lababia, PNG. We constructed a yield curve (weight-specific net annual-dry-weight production by: 1 describing the allometric relationship between colony size and dry weight, and using that relationship to estimate the dry weight of Acropora colonies in situ; 2 estimating annual growth of Acropora colonies by estimating in situ, and describing the relationship between, colony dry weight at the beginning and end of one year; and 3 conducting belt-transect surveys to describe weight-frequencies and ultimately to predict annual weight change per square meter for each weight class. Reef habitat covers a total 2,467,550 m2 at Lababia and produces an estimated 248,397 kg/y (dry weight of corymbose Acropora, of which 203,897 kg is produced on the reef flat/crest. We conservatively estimate that 30,706.6 kg of whole, dry, corymbose, Acropora can be sustainably harvested from the reef flat/crest habitat each year provided each culled colony weighs at least 1805 g when dry (or is at least 46 cm along its major axis. Artisanal lime-makers convert 24.8% of whole-colony weight into marketable lime, thus we estimate 7615.2 g of lime can be sustainably produced annually from corymbose Acropora. This value incorporates several safety margins, and should lead to proper management of live coral harvest. Importantly, the guideline recognizes village rights to exploit its marine resources, is consistent with village needs for income, and balances an equally

  12. The effects of coral bleaching on settlement preferences and growth of juvenile butterflyfishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cole, A J; Lawton, R J; Pisapia, C; Pratchett, M S

    2014-07-01

    Coral bleaching and associated mortality is an increasingly prominent threat to coral reef ecosystems. Although the effects of bleaching-induced coral mortality on reef fishes have been well demonstrated, corals can remain bleached for several weeks prior to recovery or death and little is known about how bleaching affects resident fishes during this time period. This study compared growth rates of two species of juvenile butterflyfishes (Chaetodon aureofasciatus and Chaetodon lunulatus) that were restricted to feeding upon either bleached or healthy coral tissue of Acropora spathulata or Pocillopora damicornis. Coral condition (bleached vs. unbleached) had no significant effects on changes in total length or weight over a 23-day period. Likewise, in a habitat choice experiment, juvenile butterflyfishes did not discriminate between healthy and bleached corals, but actively avoided using recently dead colonies. These results indicate that juvenile coral-feeding fishes are relatively robust to short term effects of bleaching events, provided that the corals do recover. Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anithajothi, R.; Duraikannu, K.; Umagowsalya, G.; Ramakritinan, C. M.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25215288

  15. 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.

  16. The presence of biomarker enzymes of selected Scleractinian corals of Palk Bay, southeast coast of India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anithajothi, R; Duraikannu, K; Umagowsalya, G; Ramakritinan, C M

    2014-01-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Comparative embryology of eleven species of stony corals (Scleractinia.

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    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

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

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    Aranda, Manuel; DeSalvo, Michael K; Bayer, Till; Medina, Monica; Voolstra, Christian R

    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). 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. 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 nuclear encoded genes in robust corals. Accordingly, this

  20. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

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    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

  1. Tracking transmission of apicomplexan symbionts in diverse Caribbean corals.

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    Nathan L Kirk

    Full Text Available Symbionts in each generation are transmitted to new host individuals either vertically (parent to offspring, horizontally (from exogenous sources, or a combination of both. Scleractinian corals make an excellent study system for understanding patterns of symbiont transmission since they harbor diverse symbionts and possess distinct reproductive modes of either internal brooding or external broadcast spawning that generally correlate with vertical or horizontal transmission, respectively. Here, we focused on the under-recognized, but apparently widespread, coral-associated apicomplexans (Protista: Alveolata to determine if symbiont transmission depends on host reproductive mode. Specifically, a PCR-based assay was utilized towards identifying whether planula larvae and reproductive adults from brooding and broadcast spawning scleractinian coral species in Florida and Belize harbored apicomplexan DNA. Nearly all (85.5%; n = 85/89 examined planulae of five brooding species (Porites astreoides, Agaricia tenuifolia, Agaricia agaricites, Favia fragum, Mycetophyllia ferox and adults of P. astreoides were positive for apicomplexan DNA. In contrast, no (n = 0/10 apicomplexan DNA was detected from planulae of four broadcast spawning species (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and Orbicella faveolata and rarely in gametes (8.9%; n = 5/56 of these species sampled from the same geographical range as the brooding species. In contrast, tissue samples from nearly all (92.0%; n = 81/88 adults of the broadcast spawning species A. cervicornis, A. palmata and O. faveolata harbored apicomplexan DNA, including colonies whose gametes and planulae tested negative for these symbionts. Taken together, these data suggest apicomplexans are transmitted vertically in these brooding scleractinian coral species while the broadcast spawning scleractinian species examined here acquire these symbionts horizontally. Notably, these transmission

  2. Tracking transmission of apicomplexan symbionts in diverse Caribbean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirk, Nathan L; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Miller, Margaret W; Fogarty, Nicole D; Santos, Scott R

    2013-01-01

    Symbionts in each generation are transmitted to new host individuals either vertically (parent to offspring), horizontally (from exogenous sources), or a combination of both. Scleractinian corals make an excellent study system for understanding patterns of symbiont transmission since they harbor diverse symbionts and possess distinct reproductive modes of either internal brooding or external broadcast spawning that generally correlate with vertical or horizontal transmission, respectively. Here, we focused on the under-recognized, but apparently widespread, coral-associated apicomplexans (Protista: Alveolata) to determine if symbiont transmission depends on host reproductive mode. Specifically, a PCR-based assay was utilized towards identifying whether planula larvae and reproductive adults from brooding and broadcast spawning scleractinian coral species in Florida and Belize harbored apicomplexan DNA. Nearly all (85.5%; n = 85/89) examined planulae of five brooding species (Porites astreoides, Agaricia tenuifolia, Agaricia agaricites, Favia fragum, Mycetophyllia ferox) and adults of P. astreoides were positive for apicomplexan DNA. In contrast, no (n = 0/10) apicomplexan DNA was detected from planulae of four broadcast spawning species (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and Orbicella faveolata) and rarely in gametes (8.9%; n = 5/56) of these species sampled from the same geographical range as the brooding species. In contrast, tissue samples from nearly all (92.0%; n = 81/88) adults of the broadcast spawning species A. cervicornis, A. palmata and O. faveolata harbored apicomplexan DNA, including colonies whose gametes and planulae tested negative for these symbionts. Taken together, these data suggest apicomplexans are transmitted vertically in these brooding scleractinian coral species while the broadcast spawning scleractinian species examined here acquire these symbionts horizontally. Notably, these transmission patterns are

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

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    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. © 2014 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Members of native coral microbiota inhibit glycosidases and thwart colonization of coral mucus by an opportunistic pathogen.

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    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.

  5. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and build-awareness about the rich, diverse biological resources is warranted and a plea is made to manage the sewage, oil and thermal pollution to help preserve the biodiversity of coral and associated flora and fauna....

  6. Evidence for Rhythmicity Pacemaker in the Calcification Process of Scleractinian Coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Schneider, Kenneth; Stolarski, Jaroslaw; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Yam, Ruth; Meibom, Anders; Shemesh, Aldo; Levy, Oren

    2016-02-01

    Reef-building scleractinian (stony) corals are among the most efficient bio-mineralizing organisms in nature. The calcification rate of scleractinian corals oscillates under ambient light conditions, with a cyclic, diurnal pattern. A fundamental question is whether this cyclic pattern is controlled by exogenous signals or by an endogenous ‘biological-clock’ mechanism, or both. To address this problem, we have studied calcification patterns of the Red Sea scleractinian coral Acropora eurystoma with frequent measurements of total alkalinity (AT) under different light conditions. Additionally, skeletal extension and ultra-structure of newly deposited calcium carbonate were elucidated with 86Sr isotope labeling analysis, combined with NanoSIMS ion microprobe and scanning electron microscope imaging. Our results show that the calcification process persists with its cyclic pattern under constant light conditions while dissolution takes place within one day of constant dark conditions, indicating that an intrinsic, light-entrained mechanism may be involved in controlling the calcification process in photosymbiotic corals.

  7. Evidence of initial coral community recovery at Discovery Bay on Jamaica’s North Coast

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    M. James C. Crabbe

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Current challenges to coral reef sustainability include overfishing, destructive fishing practices, bleaching, acidification, sea-level rise, starfish, algae, agricultural run-off, coastal and resort development, pollution, diseases, invasive species and hurricanes. We used SCUBA belt transects to record coral cover and digital image analysis in the Dairy Bull Reef off the north coast of Jamaica and found that it is a positive example of how reefs can recover after major environmental disturbance. Live coral cover increased from 13±5% in 2006 to 31±7% in 2008, while live Acropora cervicornis increased from 2±2% in 2006 to 22±7% in 2008. Coral cover levels were maintained until 2012.

  8. In situ observations of coral bleaching in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea during the 2015/2016 global coral bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monroe, Alison A; Ziegler, Maren; Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Hardenstine, Royale S; Emms, Madeleine A; Jensen, Thor; Voolstra, Christian R; Berumen, Michael L

    2018-01-01

    Coral bleaching continues to be one of the most devastating and immediate impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems worldwide. In 2015, a major bleaching event was declared as the "3rd global coral bleaching event" by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, impacting a large number of reefs in every major ocean. The Red Sea was no exception, and we present herein in situ observations of the status of coral reefs in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea from September 2015, following extended periods of high temperatures reaching upwards of 32.5°C in our study area. We examined eleven reefs using line-intercept transects at three different depths, including all reefs that were surveyed during a previous bleaching event in 2010. Bleaching was most prevalent on inshore reefs (55.6% ± 14.6% of live coral cover exhibited bleaching) and on shallower transects (41% ± 10.2% of live corals surveyed at 5m depth) within reefs. Similar taxonomic groups (e.g., Agariciidae) were affected in 2015 and in 2010. Most interestingly, Acropora and Porites had similar bleaching rates (~30% each) and similar relative coral cover (~7% each) across all reefs in 2015. Coral genera with the highest levels of bleaching (>60%) were also among the rarest (coral cover) in 2015. While this bodes well for the relative retention of coral cover, it may ultimately lead to decreased species richness, often considered an important component of a healthy coral reef. The resultant long-term changes in these coral reef communities remain to be seen.

  9. Patterns of sexual recruitment of acroporid coral populations on the west fore reef at Discovery Bay, Jamaica.

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    Quinn, Norman J; Kojis, Barbara L

    2005-05-01

    Coral recruitment was examined on terracotta tiles deployed for four six-month periods between March 2001 and April 2003 on the West Fore Reef at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. During each sampling period, four tiles were deployed on each of two arrays at six depths ranging from 3 m to 33 m. Only three Acropora spat recruited to the tiles over the sampling period. The Acropora spat recruited during only one of the four six-month sampling periods and at only one depth, 3m. That represents a density of 8 spat m(-2) at 3 m depth for one six-month sampling period. Acropora recruitment represented Acropora colony (an A. palmata) was recorded during Point-Quarter surveys of coral cover and density at depths of 3 m, 9 m, 14 m and 19 m. Considering the paucity of acroporid colonies and the infrequent settlement of acroporid spat on the West Fore Reef, it is unlikely that the historic abundance of A. palmata and A. cervicornis will return soon.

  10. 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 palmata in sites that had previously been categorized as having a high potential for recovery. One explanation for this continued decline may be due to the fact that over the past 10 years, two massive bleaching events have

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

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    Aldo Croquer

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available 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 ( ${X}_{o}^{2}=5.4> {X}_{c}^{2}=4.5$ X o 2 = 5.4 > X c 2 = 4.5 ; df = 4, p {X}_{\\mathrm{cri}}^{2}=15.5$ X exp 2 = 126.8 > X cri 2 = 15.5 ; df = 8; p < 0.05 in the density of A. palmata in sites that had previously been categorized as having a

  12. Acute ecotoxicology of natural oil and gas condensate to coral reef larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Negri, Andrew P; Brinkman, Diane L; Flores, Florita; Botté, Emmanuelle S; Jones, Ross J; Webster, Nicole S

    2016-02-19

    Risks posed by oil spills to coral reefs are difficult to evaluate, partially due to the absence of studies that adequately assess toxicity to relevant coral reef species. Here we experimentally tested the acute toxicity of condensate, representing a fraction of light crude oil, to coral (Acropora tenuis) and sponge (Rhopaloeides odorabile) larvae. The metamorphosis of coral larvae was inhibited at total petroleum aromatic hydrocarbon (TPAH) concentrations of water accommodated fractions (WAF) as low as 103 μg l(-1), similar to concentrations detected in seawater following large spills. The sensitivity of coral larvae increased by 40% when co-exposed to UV light that they might encounter in shallow reefal systems. Condensate WAF was more toxic to coral larvae than predicted by summing the toxicity of its main components (benzene, toluene, p-xylene and napthalene). In contrast, the sensitivity of sponge larvae to condensate WAF (>10,000 μg l(-1) TPAH) was far less than coral in the presence and absence of UV, but similar to that of other marine invertebrates. While these results highlight the relative sensitivity of coral larvae to oil, further research is needed to better understand and predict the impacts and risks posed by hydrocarbons to tropical reef systems.

  13. Phage and Nucleocytoplasmic Large Viral Sequences Dominate Coral Viromes from the Arabian Gulf.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahmoud, Huda; Jose, Liny

    2017-01-01

    Corals that naturally thrive under extreme conditions are gaining increasing attention due to their importance as living models to understand the impact of global warming on world corals. Here, we present the first metagenomic study of viral communities in corals thriving in a thermally variable water body in which the temperature fluctuates between 11 and 39°C in different seasons. The viral assemblages of two of the most abundant massive ( Porites harrisoni ) and branching ( Acropora downingi ) corals in offshore and inshore reef systems in the northern Arabian Gulf were investigated. Samples were collected from five reef systems during summer, autumn and winter of 2011/2012. The two coral viromes contain 12 viral families, including 10 dsDNA viral families [Siphoviridae, Podoviridae, Myoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Baculoviridae, Herpesviridae, Adenoviridae, Alloherpesviridae, Mimiviridae and one unclassified family], one-ssDNA viral family (Microviridae) and one RNA viral family (Retroviridae). Overall, sequences significantly similar to Podoviridae were the most abundant in the P. harrisoni and A. downingi viromes. Various morphological types of virus-like particles (VLPs) were confirmed in the healthy coral tissue by transmission electron microscopy, including large tailless VLPs and electron-dense core VLPs. Tailed bacteriophages were isolated from coral tissue using a plaque assay. Higher functional gene diversity was recorded in A. downingi than in P. harrisoni , and comparative metagenomics revealed that the Gulf viral assemblages are functionally distinct from Pacific Ocean coral viral communities.

  14. Phage and Nucleocytoplasmic Large Viral Sequences Dominate Coral Viromes from the Arabian Gulf

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    Huda Mahmoud

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Corals that naturally thrive under extreme conditions are gaining increasing attention due to their importance as living models to understand the impact of global warming on world corals. Here, we present the first metagenomic study of viral communities in corals thriving in a thermally variable water body in which the temperature fluctuates between 11 and 39°C in different seasons. The viral assemblages of two of the most abundant massive (Porites harrisoni and branching (Acropora downingi corals in offshore and inshore reef systems in the northern Arabian Gulf were investigated. Samples were collected from five reef systems during summer, autumn and winter of 2011/2012. The two coral viromes contain 12 viral families, including 10 dsDNA viral families [Siphoviridae, Podoviridae, Myoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Baculoviridae, Herpesviridae, Adenoviridae, Alloherpesviridae, Mimiviridae and one unclassified family], one-ssDNA viral family (Microviridae and one RNA viral family (Retroviridae. Overall, sequences significantly similar to Podoviridae were the most abundant in the P. harrisoni and A. downingi viromes. Various morphological types of virus-like particles (VLPs were confirmed in the healthy coral tissue by transmission electron microscopy, including large tailless VLPs and electron-dense core VLPs. Tailed bacteriophages were isolated from coral tissue using a plaque assay. Higher functional gene diversity was recorded in A. downingi than in P. harrisoni, and comparative metagenomics revealed that the Gulf viral assemblages are functionally distinct from Pacific Ocean coral viral communities.

  15. Interspecific Hybridization May Provide Novel Opportunities for Coral Reef Restoration

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    Wing Yan Chan

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances have created an era characterized by the inability of most ecosystems to maintain their original, pristine states, the Anthropocene. Investigating new and innovative strategies that may facilitate ecosystem restoration is thus becoming increasingly important, particularly for coral reefs around the globe which are deteriorating at an alarming rate. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR lost half its coral cover between 1985 and 2012, and experienced back-to-back heat-induced mass bleaching events and high coral mortality in 2016 and 2017. Here we investigate the efficacy of interspecific hybridization as a tool to develop coral stock with enhanced climate resilience. We crossed two Acropora species pairs from the GBR and examined several phenotypic traits over 28 weeks of exposure to ambient and elevated temperature and pCO2. While elevated temperature and pCO2 conditions negatively affected size and survival of both purebreds and hybrids, higher survival and larger recruit size were observed in some of the hybrid offspring groups under both ambient and elevated conditions. Further, interspecific hybrids had high fertilization rates, normal embryonic development, and similar Symbiodinium uptake and photochemical efficiency as purebred offspring. While the fitness of these hybrids in the field and their reproductive and backcrossing potential remain to be investigated, current findings provide proof-of-concept that interspecific hybridization may produce genotypes with enhanced climate resilience, and has the potential to increase the success of coral reef restoration initiatives.

  16. Gross and microscopic lesions in corals from Micronesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Hughen, Konrad A.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  17. Elevated temperatures and bleaching on a high latitude coral reef: the 1988 Bermuda event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Clayton B.; Logan, Alan; Ward, Jack; Luckhurst, Brian; Berg, Carl J.

    1990-03-01

    Sea temperatures were normal in Bermuda during 1987, when Bermuda escaped the episodes of coral bleaching which were prevalent throughout the Caribbean region. Survey transecs in 1988 on 4 6 m reefs located on the rim margin and on a lagoonal patch reef revealed bleaching only of zoanthids between May and July. Transect and tow surveys in August and September revealed bleaching of several coral species; Millepora alcicornis on rim reefs was the most extensively affected. The frequency of bleaching in this species, Montastrea annularis and perhaps Diploria labyrinthiformis was significantly higher on outer reefs than on inshore reefs. This bleaching period coincided with the longest period of elevated sea temperatures in Bermuda in 38 years (28.9 30.9°C inshore, >28° offshore). By December, when temperatures had returned to normal, bleaching of seleractinians continued, but bleaching of M. alcicornis on the outer reefs was greatly reduced. Our observations suggest that corals which normally experience wide temperature ranges are less sensitive to thermal stress, and that high-latitude reef corals are sensitive to elevated temperatures which are within the normal thermal range of corals at lower latitudes.

  18. Paleoecological Evidence for Late Holocene Range Shifting of Acropora palmata and Orbicella annularis on the Nearshore Southeast Florida Reef Tract

    Science.gov (United States)

    Modys, A. B.; Zuccarelli, C. L.; Oleinik, A. E.

    2016-02-01

    Climate fluctuations on the southeast Florida reef tract have been linked to long-term geographic distribution shifts in framework-building coral species Acropora palmata and Orbicella annularis. Previous data suggest that the boundary for active reef accretion driven by these corals contracted southward to its current position at Biscayne Bay throughout the early to middle Holocene ( 8500-5500 cal BP). However, recent observations have shown that while A. palmata and O. annularis are still functionally absent north of this boundary, they are well represented within late Holocene sub-fossil death assemblages found at 3-4 m depths on the nearshore ridge complex (NRC). To assess this disparity, we performed a systematic comparison of taxonomic composition and diversity of living and dead coral assemblages at two locations on the northern NRC. We also determined an estimated age range for the death assemblages from 2 samples of A. palmata and 1 sample of O. annularis using high-resolution AMS radiocarbon dating. Our results show a clear transition from a late Holocene reef assemblage dominated by A. palmata and O. annularis to a modern reef assemblage dominated by less sensitive Porites astreoides. Sub-fossil A. palmata samples dated to 2950-3140 cal BP and 1820-1960 cal BP (2σ), and the sub-fossil O. annularis sample dated to 2290-2420 cal BP (2σ), indicating a total growth period of at least 1000 years. Our findings provide new evidence for a distinct late Holocene range shift in A. palmata and O. annularis on the northern shallow-water ridge complex of the southeast Florida reef tract system.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

    2015-12-16

    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.

  3. Contemporary white-band disease in Caribbean corals driven by climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randall, C. J.; van Woesik, R.

    2015-04-01

    Over the past 40 years, two of the dominant reef-building corals in the Caribbean, Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis, have experienced unprecedented declines. That loss has been largely attributed to a syndrome commonly referred to as white-band disease. Climate change-driven increases in sea surface temperature (SST) have been linked to several coral diseases, yet, despite decades of research, the attribution of white-band disease to climate change remains unknown. Here we hindcasted the potential relationship between recent ocean warming and outbreaks of white-band disease on acroporid corals. We quantified eight SST metrics, including rates of change in SST and contemporary thermal anomalies, and compared them with records of white-band disease on A. palmata and A. cervicornis from 473 sites across the Caribbean, surveyed from 1997 to 2004. The results of our models suggest that decades-long climate-driven changes in SST, increases in thermal minima, and the breach of thermal maxima have all played significant roles in the spread of white-band disease. We conclude that white-band disease has been strongly coupled with thermal stresses associated with climate change, which has contributed to the regional decline of these once-dominant reef-building corals.

  4. Recovery from a near-lethal exposure to ultraviolet-C radiation in a scleractinian coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basti, David; Bricknell, Ian; Beane, Dawna; Bouchard, Deborah

    2009-04-01

    Hermatypic (reef building) corals live in an environment characterized by high ambient levels of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Photoadaptive mechanisms have evolved to protect the sensitive cell structures of the host coral and their photosynthetic, endosymbiotic zooxanthellae. Environmental stressors may destabilize the coral-zooxanthellae system resulting in the expulsion of zooxanthellae and/or loss of photosynthetic pigment within zooxanthellae, causing a condition known as bleaching. It is estimated that 1% of the world's coral population is lost yearly, partly due to bleaching. Despite intensive research efforts, a single unified mechanism cannot explain this phenomenon. Although UVA and UVB cellular damage is well documented, UVC damage is rarely reported due to its almost complete absorption in the stratosphere. A small scale coral propagation system at the University of Maine was accidentally exposed to 15.5h of UVC radiation (253.7 nm) from a G15T8 germicidal lamp, resulting in a cumulative surface irradiance of 8.39 x 10(4) J m(-2). An experiment was designed to monitor the progression of UVC induced damage. Branch sections from affected scleractinian corals, Acropora yongei and Acropora formosa were submitted to histopathology to provide an historical record of tissue response. The death of gastrodermal cells and necrosis resulted in the release of intracellular zooxanthellae into the gastrovascular canals. Zooxanthellae were also injured as evidenced by pale coloration, increased vacuolization and loss of membrane integrity. The recovery of damaged coral tissue likely proceeds by re-epithelialization and zooxanthellae repopulation of gastrodermal cells by adjacent healthy tissue.

  5. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Roder, Cornelia; Rö thig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  6. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    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.

  7. Can mesophotic reefs replenish shallow reefs? Reduced coral reproductive performance casts a doubt.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shlesinger, Tom; Grinblat, Mila; Rapuano, Hanna; Amit, Tal; Loya, Yossi

    2018-02-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (i.e., deep coral reefs at 30-120 m depth) appear to be thriving while many shallow reefs in the world are declining. Amid efforts to understand and manage their decline, it was suggested that mesophotic reefs might serve as natural refuges and a possible source of propagules for the shallow reefs. However, our knowledge of how reproductive performance of corals alters with depth is sparse. Here, we present a comprehensive study of the reproductive phenology, fecundity, and abundance of seven reef-building conspecific corals in shallow and mesophotic habitats. Significant differences were found in the synchrony and timing of gametogenesis and spawning between shallow and mesophotic coral populations. Thus, mesophotic populations exhibited delayed or protracted spawning events, which led to spawning of the mesophotic colonies in large proportions at times where the shallow ones had long been depleted of reproductive material. All species investigated demonstrated a substantial reduction in fecundity and/or oocyte sizes at mesophotic depths (40-60 m). Two species (Seriatopora hystrix and Galaxea fascicularis) displayed a reduction in both fecundity and oocyte size at mesophotic depths. Turbinaria reniformis had only reduced fecundity and Acropora squarrosa and Acropora valida only reduced oocyte size. In Montipora verrucosa, reduced fecundity was found during one annual reproductive season while, in the following year, only reduced oocyte size was found. In contrast, reduced oocyte size in mesophotic populations of Acropora squarrosa was consistent along three studied years. One species, Acropora pharaonis, was found to be infertile at mesophotic depths along two studied years. This indicates that reproductive performance decreases with depth; and that although some species are capable of reproducing at mesophotic depths, their contribution to the replenishment of shallow reefs may be inconsequential. Reduced reproductive performance

  8. 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...

  9. Comparative study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in coral tissues and the ambient sediments from Kenting National Park, Taiwan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ko, Fung-Chi; Chang, Chiung-Wen; Cheng, Jing-O.

    2014-01-01

    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)

  10. Complex interactions between potentially pathogenic, opportunistic, and resident bacteria emerge during infection on a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Sarah A; Aronson, Felicia M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2017-07-01

    Increased bacterial diversity on diseased corals can obscure disease etiology and complicate our understanding of pathogenesis. To untangle microbes that may cause white band disease signs from microbes responding to disease, we inoculated healthy Acropora cervicornis corals with an infectious dose from visibly diseased corals. We sampled these dosed corals and healthy controls over time for sequencing of the bacterial 16S region. Endozoicomonas were associated with healthy fragments from 4/10 colonies, dominating microbiomes before dosing and decreasing over time only in corals that displayed disease signs, suggesting a role in disease resistance. We grouped disease-associated bacteria by when they increased in abundance (primary vs secondary) and whether they originated in the dose (colonizers) or the previously healthy corals (responders). We found that all primary responders increased in all dosed corals regardless of final disease state and are therefore unlikely to cause disease signs. In contrast, primary colonizers in the families Pasteurellaceae and Francisellaceae increased solely in dosed corals that ultimately displayed disease signs, and may be infectious foreign bacteria involved in the development of disease signs. Moving away from a static comparison of diseased and healthy bacterial communities, we provide a framework to identify key players in other coral diseases. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. 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