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Sample records for coral hosts define

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J.C.; Olsen, J.L.; Berkelmans, R; Bleuler-Martinez, S.A.; Willis, B.; van Oppen, M.J H

    2009-01-01

    Background: Reef-building corals live in symbiosis with a diverse range of dinoflagellate algae ( genus Symbiodinium) that differentially influence the fitness of the coral holobiont. The comparative role of symbiont type in holobiont fitness in relation to host genotype or the environment, however,

  2. Species-specific interactions between algal endosymbionts and coral hosts define their bleaching response to heat and light stress

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Abrego, David; Ulstrup, Karin E; Willis, Bette L

    2008-01-01

    The impacts of warming seas on the frequency and severity of bleaching events are well documented, but the potential for different Symbiodinium types to enhance the physiological tolerance of reef corals is not well understood. Here we compare the functionality and physiological properties...... and a potential role for host factors in determining the physiological performance of reef corals....... of juvenile corals when experimentally infected with one of two homologous Symbiodinium types and exposed to combined heat and light stress. A suite of physiological indicators including chlorophyll a fluorescence, oxygen production and respiration, as well as pigment concentration consistently demonstrated...

  3. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, Michael K.; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Fisher, Paul L.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Iglesias Prieto, Roberto; Medina, Mó nica

    2010-01-01

    susceptibilities. In this study, we monitored Symbiodinium physiological parameters and profiled the coral host transcriptional responses in acclimated, thermally stressed, and recovered fragments of the coral Montastraea faveolata using a custom cDNA gene

  4. Defining the Core Microbiome in Corals' Microbial Soup.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernandez-Agreda, Alejandra; Gates, Ruth D; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2017-02-01

    Corals are considered one of the most complex microbial biospheres studied to date, hosting thousands of bacterial phylotypes in species-specific associations. There are, however, substantial knowledge gaps and challenges in understanding the functional significance of bacterial communities and bacterial symbioses of corals. The ubiquitous nature of some bacterial interactions has only recently been investigated and an accurate differentiation between the healthy (symbiotic) and unhealthy (dysbiotic) microbial state has not yet been determined. Here we review the complexity of the coral holobiont, coral microbiome diversity, and recently proposed bacterial symbioses of corals. We provide insight into coupling the core microbiome framework with community ecology principals, and draw on the theoretical insights from other complex systems, to build a framework to aid in deciphering ecologically significant microbes within a corals' microbial soup. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Host adaptation and unexpected symbiont partners enable reef-building corals to tolerate extreme temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Abrego, David; Meyer, Eli; Kirk, Nathan L; Burt, John A

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the potential for coral adaptation to warming seas is complicated by interactions between symbiotic partners that define stress responses and the difficulties of tracking selection in natural populations. To overcome these challenges, we characterized the contribution of both animal host and symbiotic algae to thermal tolerance in corals that have already experienced considerable warming on par with end-of-century projections for most coral reefs. Thermal responses in Platygyra daedalea corals from the hot Persian Gulf where summer temperatures reach 36°C were compared with conspecifics from the milder Sea of Oman. Persian Gulf corals had higher rates of survival at elevated temperatures (33 and 36°C) in both the nonsymbiotic larval stage (32-49% higher) and the symbiotic adult life stage (51% higher). Additionally, Persian Gulf hosts had fixed greater potential to mitigate oxidative stress (31-49% higher) and their Symbiodinium partners had better retention of photosynthetic performance under elevated temperature (up to 161% higher). Superior thermal tolerance of Persian Gulf vs. Sea of Oman corals was maintained after 6-month acclimatization to a common ambient environment and was underpinned by genetic divergence in both the coral host and symbiotic algae. In P. daedalea host samples, genomewide SNP variation clustered into two discrete groups corresponding with Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman sites. Symbiodinium within host tissues predominantly belonged to ITS2 rDNA type C3 in the Persian Gulf and type D1a in the Sea of Oman contradicting patterns of Symbiodinium thermal tolerance from other regions. Our findings provide evidence that genetic adaptation of both host and Symbiodinium has enabled corals to cope with extreme temperatures in the Persian Gulf. Thus, the persistence of coral populations under continued warming will likely be determined by evolutionary rates in both, rather than single, symbiotic partners. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, Michael K.

    2010-03-01

    A mutualistic relationship between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) forms the basis for the existence of coral reefs. Genotyping tools for Symbiodinium spp. have added a new level of complexity to studies concerning cnidarian growth, nutrient acquisition, and stress. For example, the response of the coral holobiont to thermal stress is connected to the host-Symbiodinium genotypic combination, as different partnerships can have different bleaching susceptibilities. In this study, we monitored Symbiodinium physiological parameters and profiled the coral host transcriptional responses in acclimated, thermally stressed, and recovered fragments of the coral Montastraea faveolata using a custom cDNA gene expression microarray. Interestingly, gene expression was more similar among samples with the same Symbiodinium content rather than the same experimental condition. In order to discount for host-genotypic effects, we sampled fragments from a single colony of M. faveolata containing different symbiont types, and found that the host transcriptomic states grouped according to Symbiodinium genotype rather than thermal stress. As the first study that links coral host transcriptomic patterns to the clade content of their Symbiodinium community, our results provide a critical step to elucidating the molecular basis of the apparent variability seen among different coral-Symbiodinium partnerships. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  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. Coral bleaching under thermal stress: putative involvement of host/symbiont recognition mechanisms

    OpenAIRE

    Tambutte Sylvie; Tambutte Eric; Ferrier-Pages Christine; Mone Yves; Duval David; Foure Laurent; Roger Emmanuel; Adjeroud Mehdi; Vidal-Dupiol Jeremie; Zoccola Didier; Allemand Denis; Mitta Guillaume

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Background Coral bleaching can be defined as the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their photosynthetic pigments from their cnidarian host. This major disturbance of reef ecosystems is principally induced by increases in water temperature. Since the beginning of the 1980s and the onset of global climate change, this phenomenon has been occurring at increasing rates and scales, and with increasing severity. Several studies have been undertaken in the last few years to better unde...

  9. 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.

  10. Assessment of host-associated genetic differentiation among phenotypically divergent populations of a coral-eating gastropod across the Caribbean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lyza Johnston

    Full Text Available Host-associated adaptation is emerging as a potential driver of population differentiation and speciation for marine organisms with major implications for ecosystem structure and function. Coralliophila abbreviata are corallivorous gastropods that live and feed on most of the reef-building corals in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. Populations of C. abbreviata associated with the threatened acroporid corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, display different behavioral, morphological, demographic, and life-history characteristics than those that inhabit other coral host taxa, indicating that host-specific selective forces may be acting on C. abbreviata. Here, we used newly developed polymorphic microsatellite loci and mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence data to assess the population genetic structure, connectivity, and demographic history of C. abbreviata populations from three coral host taxa (A. palmata, Montastraea spp., Mycetophyllia spp. and six geographic locations across the Caribbean. Analysis of molecular variance provided some evidence of weak and possibly geographically variable host-associated differentiation but no evidence of differentiation among sampling locations or major oceanographic regions, suggesting high gene flow across the Caribbean. Phylogenetic network and bayesian clustering analyses supported a hypothesis of a single panmictic population as individuals failed to cluster by host or sampling location. Demographic analyses consistently supported a scenario of population expansion during the Pleistocene, a time of major carbonate reef development in the region. Although further study is needed to fully elucidate the interactive effects of host-associated selection and high gene flow in this system, our results have implications for local and regional community interactions and impact of predation on declining coral populations.

  11. Assessment of host-associated genetic differentiation among phenotypically divergent populations of a coral-eating gastropod across the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Lyza; Miller, Margaret W; Baums, Iliana B

    2012-01-01

    Host-associated adaptation is emerging as a potential driver of population differentiation and speciation for marine organisms with major implications for ecosystem structure and function. Coralliophila abbreviata are corallivorous gastropods that live and feed on most of the reef-building corals in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. Populations of C. abbreviata associated with the threatened acroporid corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, display different behavioral, morphological, demographic, and life-history characteristics than those that inhabit other coral host taxa, indicating that host-specific selective forces may be acting on C. abbreviata. Here, we used newly developed polymorphic microsatellite loci and mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence data to assess the population genetic structure, connectivity, and demographic history of C. abbreviata populations from three coral host taxa (A. palmata, Montastraea spp., Mycetophyllia spp.) and six geographic locations across the Caribbean. Analysis of molecular variance provided some evidence of weak and possibly geographically variable host-associated differentiation but no evidence of differentiation among sampling locations or major oceanographic regions, suggesting high gene flow across the Caribbean. Phylogenetic network and bayesian clustering analyses supported a hypothesis of a single panmictic population as individuals failed to cluster by host or sampling location. Demographic analyses consistently supported a scenario of population expansion during the Pleistocene, a time of major carbonate reef development in the region. Although further study is needed to fully elucidate the interactive effects of host-associated selection and high gene flow in this system, our results have implications for local and regional community interactions and impact of predation on declining coral populations.

  12. Corals hosting symbiotic hydrozoans are less susceptible to predation and disease

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone; Fattorini, Simone; Parravicini, Valeriano; Berumen, Michael L.; Galli, Paolo; Maggioni, Davide; Arrigoni, Roberto; Seveso, Davide; Strona, Giovanni

    2017-01-01

    for our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs, and for their conservation in the current scenario of global change, because it suggests that symbiotic hydrozoans may play an active role in protecting their scleractinian hosts from stresses induced

  13. Coral bleaching under thermal stress: putative involvement of host/symbiont recognition mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidal-Dupiol, Jeremie; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Roger, Emmanuel; Foure, Laurent; Duval, David; Mone, Yves; Ferrier-Pages, Christine; Tambutte, Eric; Tambutte, Sylvie; Zoccola, Didier; Allemand, Denis; Mitta, Guillaume

    2009-08-04

    Coral bleaching can be defined as the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their photosynthetic pigments from their cnidarian host. This major disturbance of reef ecosystems is principally induced by increases in water temperature. Since the beginning of the 1980s and the onset of global climate change, this phenomenon has been occurring at increasing rates and scales, and with increasing severity. Several studies have been undertaken in the last few years to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of coral bleaching but the jigsaw puzzle is far from being complete, especially concerning the early events leading to symbiosis breakdown. The aim of the present study was to find molecular actors involved early in the mechanism leading to symbiosis collapse. In our experimental procedure, one set of Pocillopora damicornis nubbins was subjected to a gradual increase of water temperature from 28 degrees C to 32 degrees C over 15 days. A second control set kept at constant temperature (28 degrees C). The differentially expressed mRNA between the stressed states (sampled just before the onset of bleaching) and the non stressed states (control) were isolated by Suppression Subtractive Hybridization. Transcription rates of the most interesting genes (considering their putative function) were quantified by Q-RT-PCR, which revealed a significant decrease in transcription of two candidates six days before bleaching. RACE-PCR experiments showed that one of them (PdC-Lectin) contained a C-Type-Lectin domain specific for mannose. Immunolocalisation demonstrated that this host gene mediates molecular interactions between the host and the symbionts suggesting a putative role in zooxanthellae acquisition and/or sequestration. The second gene corresponds to a gene putatively involved in calcification processes (Pdcyst-rich). Its down-regulation could reflect a trade-off mechanism leading to the arrest of the mineralization process under stress. Under thermal stress

  14. Coral bleaching under thermal stress: putative involvement of host/symbiont recognition mechanisms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tambutte Sylvie

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral bleaching can be defined as the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their photosynthetic pigments from their cnidarian host. This major disturbance of reef ecosystems is principally induced by increases in water temperature. Since the beginning of the 1980s and the onset of global climate change, this phenomenon has been occurring at increasing rates and scales, and with increasing severity. Several studies have been undertaken in the last few years to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of coral bleaching but the jigsaw puzzle is far from being complete, especially concerning the early events leading to symbiosis breakdown. The aim of the present study was to find molecular actors involved early in the mechanism leading to symbiosis collapse. Results In our experimental procedure, one set of Pocillopora damicornis nubbins was subjected to a gradual increase of water temperature from 28°C to 32°C over 15 days. A second control set kept at constant temperature (28°C. The differentially expressed mRNA between the stressed states (sampled just before the onset of bleaching and the non stressed states (control were isolated by Suppression Subtractive Hybridization. Transcription rates of the most interesting genes (considering their putative function were quantified by Q-RT-PCR, which revealed a significant decrease in transcription of two candidates six days before bleaching. RACE-PCR experiments showed that one of them (PdC-Lectin contained a C-Type-Lectin domain specific for mannose. Immunolocalisation demonstrated that this host gene mediates molecular interactions between the host and the symbionts suggesting a putative role in zooxanthellae acquisition and/or sequestration. The second gene corresponds to a gene putatively involved in calcification processes (Pdcyst-rich. Its down-regulation could reflect a trade-off mechanism leading to the arrest of the mineralization process under stress

  15. Virus-host interactions and their roles in coral reef health and disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Payet, Jérôme P; Thurber, Andrew R; Correa, Adrienne M S

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs occur in nutrient-poor shallow waters, constitute biodiversity and productivity hotspots, and are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. This Review provides an introduction to coral reef virology and emphasizes the links between viruses, coral mortality and reef ecosystem decline. We describe the distinctive benthic-associated and water-column- associated viromes that are unique to coral reefs, which have received less attention than viruses in open-ocean systems. We hypothesize that viruses of bacteria and eukaryotes dynamically interact with their hosts in the water column and with scleractinian (stony) corals to influence microbial community dynamics, coral bleaching and disease, and reef biogeochemical cycling. Last, we outline how marine viruses are an integral part of the reef system and suggest that the influence of viruses on reef function is an essential component of these globally important environments.

  16. Mesophotic coral depth acclimatization is a function of host-specific symbiont physiology

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2015-02-06

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems receive increasing attention owing to their potential as deep coral refuges in times of global environmental change. Here, the mechanisms of coral holobiont photoacclimatization over a 60 m depth gradient in the central Red Sea were examined for the four coral genera Porites, Leptoseris, Pachyseris, and Podabacia. General acclimatization strategies were common to all host-symbiont combinations, e.g., Symbiodinium cell densities and photoprotective (PP) to light-harvesting pigment ratios both significantly decreased with water depth. Porites harbored Symbiodinium type C15 over the whole 60 m depth range, while Pachyseris and Podabacia had limited vertical distributions and hosted mainly Symbiodinium type C1. Symbiodinium type C15 had generally higher xanthophyll de-epoxidation rates and lower maximum quantum yields than C1, and also exhibited a strong photoacclimatory signal over depth that relates to the large distribution range of Porites. Interestingly, the coral host had an effect on Symbiodinium pigment composition. When comparing Symbiodinium type C1 in Podabacia and Pachyseris, the ß-carotene chl a−1, the peridinin chl a−1, and diadinoxanthin chl a−1 ratios were significantly different between host species. Our data support a view that depth acclimatization of corals in the mesophotics is facilitated by Symbiodinium physiology, which in turn is host-specific.

  17. Mesophotic coral depth acclimatization is a function of host-specific symbiont physiology

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Roder, Cornelia; Bü chel, Claudia; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems receive increasing attention owing to their potential as deep coral refuges in times of global environmental change. Here, the mechanisms of coral holobiont photoacclimatization over a 60 m depth gradient in the central Red Sea were examined for the four coral genera Porites, Leptoseris, Pachyseris, and Podabacia. General acclimatization strategies were common to all host-symbiont combinations, e.g., Symbiodinium cell densities and photoprotective (PP) to light-harvesting pigment ratios both significantly decreased with water depth. Porites harbored Symbiodinium type C15 over the whole 60 m depth range, while Pachyseris and Podabacia had limited vertical distributions and hosted mainly Symbiodinium type C1. Symbiodinium type C15 had generally higher xanthophyll de-epoxidation rates and lower maximum quantum yields than C1, and also exhibited a strong photoacclimatory signal over depth that relates to the large distribution range of Porites. Interestingly, the coral host had an effect on Symbiodinium pigment composition. When comparing Symbiodinium type C1 in Podabacia and Pachyseris, the ß-carotene chl a−1, the peridinin chl a−1, and diadinoxanthin chl a−1 ratios were significantly different between host species. Our data support a view that depth acclimatization of corals in the mesophotics is facilitated by Symbiodinium physiology, which in turn is host-specific.

  18. Role of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae and coral mucus in the adhesion of the coral-bleaching pathogen Vibrio shiloi to its host.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banin, E; Israely, T; Fine, M; Loya, Y; Rosenberg, E

    2001-05-15

    Vibrio shiloi, the causative agent of bleaching the coral Oculina patagonica in the Mediterranean Sea, adheres to its coral host by a beta-D-galactopyranoside-containing receptor on the coral surface. The receptor is present in the coral mucus, since V. shiloi adhered avidly to mucus-coated ELISA plates. Adhesion was inhibited by methyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside. Removal of the mucus from O. patagonica resulted in a delay in adhesion of V. shiloi to the coral, corresponding to regeneration of the mucus. DCMU inhibited the recovery of adhesion of the bacteria to the mucus-depleted corals, indicating that active photosynthesis by the endosymbiotic zooxanthellae was necessary for the synthesis or secretion of the receptor. Further evidence of the role of the zooxanthellae in producing the receptor came from a study of adhesion of V. shiloi to different species of corals. The bacteria failed to adhere to bleached corals and white (azooxanthellate) O. patagonica cave corals, both of which lacked the algae. In addition, V. shiloi adhered to two Mediterranean corals (Madracis and Cladocora) that contained zooxanthellae and did not adhere to two azooxanthellate Mediterranean corals (Phyllangia and Polycyathus). V. shiloi demonstrated positive chemotaxis towards the mucus of O. patagonica. The data demonstrate that endosymbiotic zooxanthellae contribute to the production of coral mucus and that V. shiloi infects only mucus-containing, zooxanthellate corals.

  19. Symbiotic zooxanthellae provide the host-coral Montipora digitata with polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Papina, M; Meziane, T; van Woesik, R

    2003-07-01

    We compared the fatty acid composition of the host-coral Montipora digitata with the fatty acid composition in the coral's endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae). Fatty acids as methyl esters were determined using gas chromatography (GC) and verified by GC-mass spectrometry. We found the main difference between the fatty acids in the host and their symbionts were that zooxanthellae supported higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The presence of fatty acids specific to dinoflagellates (i.e. 18:4omega3, 22:5omega3 and 22:6omega3) in the host tissue suggests that zooxanthellae provide the coral host not only with saturated fatty acids, but also with diverse polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  20. Corals hosting symbiotic hydrozoans are less susceptible to predation and disease

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone

    2017-12-20

    In spite of growing evidence that climate change may dramatically affect networks of interacting species, whether-and to what extent-ecological interactions can mediate species\\' responses to disturbances is an open question. Here we show how a largely overseen association such as that between hydrozoans and scleractinian corals could be possibly associated with a reduction in coral susceptibility to ever-increasing predator and disease outbreaks. We examined 2455 scleractinian colonies (from both Maldivian and the Saudi Arabian coral reefs) searching for non-random patterns in the occurrence of hydrozoans on corals showing signs of different health conditions (i.e. bleaching, algal overgrowth, corallivory and different coral diseases). We show that, after accounting for geographical, ecological and co-evolutionary factors, signs of disease and corallivory are significantly lower in coral colonies hosting hydrozoans than in hydrozoan-free ones. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs, and for their conservation in the current scenario of global change, because it suggests that symbiotic hydrozoans may play an active role in protecting their scleractinian hosts from stresses induced by warming water temperatures.

  1. Differential responses of the coral host and their algal symbiont to thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William Leggat

    Full Text Available The success of any symbiosis under stress conditions is dependent upon the responses of both partners to that stress. The coral symbiosis is particularly susceptible to small increases of temperature above the long term summer maxima, which leads to the phenomenon known as coral bleaching, where the intracellular dinoflagellate symbionts are expelled. Here we for the first time used quantitative PCR to simultaneously examine the gene expression response of orthologs of the coral Acropora aspera and their dinoflagellate symbiont Symbiodinium. During an experimental bleaching event significant up-regulation of genes involved in stress response (HSP90 and HSP70 and carbon metabolism (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase from the coral host were observed. In contrast in the symbiont, HSP90 expression decreased, while HSP70 levels were increased on only one day, and only the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase expression levels were found to increase. In addition the changes seen in expression patterns of the coral host were much larger, up to 10.5 fold, compared to the symbiont response, which in all cases was less than 2-fold. This targeted study of the expression of key metabolic and stress genes demonstrates that the response of the coral and their symbiont vary significantly, also a response in the host transcriptome was observed prior to what has previously been thought to be the temperatures at which thermal stress events occur.

  2. Niche acclimatization in Red Sea corals is dependent on flexibility of host-symbiont association

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2015-08-06

    Knowledge of host-symbiont specificity and acclimatization capacity of corals is crucial for understanding implications of environmental change. Whilst some corals have been shown to associate with a number of symbionts that may comprise different physiologies, most corals associate with only one dominant Symbiodinium species at a time. Coral communities in the Red Sea thrive under large fluctuations of environmental conditions, but the degree and mechanisms of coral acclimatization are largely unexplored. Here we investigated the potential for niche acclimatization in 2 dominant corals from the central Red Sea, Pocillopora verrucosa and Porites lutea, in relation to the fidelity of the underlying coral-symbiont association. Repeated sampling over 2 seasons along a cross-shelf and depth gradient revealed a stable symbiont association in P. verrucosa and flexible association in P. lutea. A statistical biological-environmental matching routine revealed that the high plasticity of photophysiology and photopigments in the stable Symbiodinium microadriaticum (type A1) community in P. verrucosa were correlated with environmental influences along spatio-temporal dimensions. In contrast, photophysiology and pigments were less variable within each symbiont type from P. lutea indicating that niche acclimatization was rather regulated by a flexible association with a variable Symbiodinium community. Based on these data, we advocate an extended concept of phenotypic plasticity of the coral holobiont, in which the scleractinian host either associates with a specific Symbiodinium type with a broad physiological tolerance, or the host-symbiont pairing is more flexible to accommodate for different symbiont associations, each adapted to specific environmental settings.

  3. Niche acclimatization in Red Sea corals is dependent on flexibility of host-symbiont association

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Roder, Cornelia; Bü chel, C; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge of host-symbiont specificity and acclimatization capacity of corals is crucial for understanding implications of environmental change. Whilst some corals have been shown to associate with a number of symbionts that may comprise different physiologies, most corals associate with only one dominant Symbiodinium species at a time. Coral communities in the Red Sea thrive under large fluctuations of environmental conditions, but the degree and mechanisms of coral acclimatization are largely unexplored. Here we investigated the potential for niche acclimatization in 2 dominant corals from the central Red Sea, Pocillopora verrucosa and Porites lutea, in relation to the fidelity of the underlying coral-symbiont association. Repeated sampling over 2 seasons along a cross-shelf and depth gradient revealed a stable symbiont association in P. verrucosa and flexible association in P. lutea. A statistical biological-environmental matching routine revealed that the high plasticity of photophysiology and photopigments in the stable Symbiodinium microadriaticum (type A1) community in P. verrucosa were correlated with environmental influences along spatio-temporal dimensions. In contrast, photophysiology and pigments were less variable within each symbiont type from P. lutea indicating that niche acclimatization was rather regulated by a flexible association with a variable Symbiodinium community. Based on these data, we advocate an extended concept of phenotypic plasticity of the coral holobiont, in which the scleractinian host either associates with a specific Symbiodinium type with a broad physiological tolerance, or the host-symbiont pairing is more flexible to accommodate for different symbiont associations, each adapted to specific environmental settings.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Why Do Corals Bleach? Conflict and Conflict Mediation in a Host/Symbiont Community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blackstone, Neil W; Golladay, Jeff M

    2018-06-26

    Coral bleaching has attracted considerable study, yet one central question remains unanswered: given that corals and their Symbiodinium symbionts have co-evolved for millions of years, why does this clearly maladaptive process occur? Bleaching may result from evolutionary conflict between the host corals and their symbionts. Selection at the level of the individual symbiont favors using the products of photosynthesis for selfish replication, while selection at the higher level favors using these products for growth of the entire host/symbiont community. To hold the selfish lower-level units in check, mechanisms of conflict mediation must evolve. Fundamental features of photosynthesis have been co-opted into conflict mediation so that symbionts that fail to export these products produce high levels of reactive oxygen species and undergo programmed cell death. These mechanisms function very well under most environmental conditions, but under conditions particularly detrimental to photosynthesis, it is these mechanisms of conflict mediation that trigger bleaching. © 2018 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Coral bleaching is linked to the capacity of the animal host to supply essential metals to the symbionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Sauzéat, Lucie; Balter, Vincent

    2018-03-23

    Massive coral bleaching events result in extensive coral loss throughout the world. These events are mainly caused by seawater warming, but are exacerbated by the subsequent decrease in nutrient availability in surface waters. It has therefore been shown that nitrogen, phosphorus or iron limitation contribute to the underlying conditions by which thermal stress induces coral bleaching. Generally, information on the trophic ecology of trace elements (micronutrients) in corals, and on how they modulate the coral response to thermal stress is lacking. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that heterotrophic feeding (i.e. the capture of zooplankton prey by the coral host) and thermal stress induce significant changes in micro element concentrations and isotopic signatures of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. The results obtained first reveal that coral symbionts are the major sink for the heterotrophically acquired micronutrients and accumulate manganese, magnesium and iron from the food. These metals are involved in photosynthesis and antioxidant protection. In addition, we show that fed corals can maintain high micronutrient concentrations in the host tissue during thermal stress and do not bleach, whereas unfed corals experience a significant decrease in copper, zinc, boron, calcium and magnesium in the host tissue and bleach. In addition, the significant increase in δ 65 Cu and δ 66 Zn signature of symbionts and host tissue at high temperature suggests that these isotopic compositions are good proxy for stress in corals. Overall, present findings highlight a new way in which coral heterotrophy and micronutrient availability contribute to coral resistance to global warming and bleaching. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Genomic insight into the host-endosymbiont relationship of Endozoicomonas montiporae CL-33T with its coral host

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiun-Yan eDing

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The bacterial genus Endozoicomonas was commonly detected in healthy corals in many coral-associated bacteria studies in the past decade. Although it is likely to be a core member of coral microbiota, little is known about its ecological roles. To decipher potential interactions between bacteria and their coral hosts, we sequenced and investigated the first culturable endozoicomonal bacterium from coral, the E. montiporae CL-33T. Its genome had potential sign of ongoing genome erosion and gene exchange with its host. Testosterone degradation and type III secretion system are commonly present in Endozoicomonas and may have roles to recognize and deliver effectors to their hosts. Moreover, genes of eukaryotic ephrin ligand B2 are present in its genome; presumably, this bacterium could move into coral cells via endocytosis after binding to coral’s Eph receptors. In addition, 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine triphosphatase and isocitrate lyase are possible type III secretion effectors that might help coral to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and promote gluconeogenesis, especially under stress conditions. Based on all these findings, we inferred that E. montiporae was a facultative endosymbiont that can recognize, translocate, communicate and modulate its coral host.

  9. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Frade, P.R.; Roll, K.; Bergauer, K.; Herndl, G.

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associatedwith the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has thereforeremained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibita similar specificity towards coral hosts

  10. Generalist dinoflagellate endosymbionts and host genotype diversity detected from mesophotic (67-100 m depths coral Leptoseris

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kahng Samuel E

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Mesophotic corals (light-dependent corals in the deepest half of the photic zone at depths of 30 - 150 m provide a unique opportunity to study the limits of the interactions between corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. We sampled Leptoseris spp. in Hawaii via manned submersibles across a depth range of 67 - 100 m. Both the host and Symbiodinium communities were genotyped, using a non-coding region of the mitochondrial ND5 intron (NAD5 and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS2, respectively. Results Coral colonies harbored endosymbiotic communities dominated by previously identified shallow water Symbiodinium ITS2 types (C1_ AF333515, C1c_ AY239364, C27_ AY239379, and C1b_ AY239363 and exhibited genetic variability at mitochondrial NAD5. Conclusion This is one of the first studies to examine genetic diversity in corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates sampled at the limits of the depth and light gradients for hermatypic corals. The results reveal that these corals associate with generalist endosymbiont types commonly found in shallow water corals and implies that the composition of the Symbiodinium community (based on ITS2 alone is not responsible for the dominance and broad depth distribution of Leptoseris spp. The level of genetic diversity detected in the coral NAD5 suggests that there is undescribed taxonomic diversity in the genus Leptoseris from Hawaii.

  11. Carbon translocation from symbiont to host depends on irradiance and food availability in the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremblay, P.; Grover, R.; Maguer, J. F.; Hoogenboom, M.; Ferrier-Pagès, C.

    2014-03-01

    Reef-building corals live in symbiosis with dinoflagellates that translocate a large proportion of their photosynthetically fixed carbon compounds to their coral host for its own metabolism. The carbon budget and translocation rate, however, vary depending on environmental conditions, coral host species, and symbiont clade. To quantify variability in carbon translocation in response to environmental conditions, this study assessed the effect of two different irradiance levels (120 and 250 μmol photons m-2 s-1) and feeding regimes (fed with Artemia salina nauplii and unfed) on the carbon budget of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata. For this purpose, H13CO3 --enriched seawater was used to trace the conversion of photosynthetic carbon into symbiont and coral biomass and excrete particulate organic carbon. Results showed that carbon translocation (ca. 78 %) and utilization were similar under both irradiance levels for unfed colonies. In contrast, carbon utilization by fed colonies was dependent on the growth irradiance. Under low irradiance, heterotrophy was accompanied by lower carbon translocation (71 %), higher host and symbiont biomass, and higher calcification rates. Under high irradiance, heterotrophy was accompanied by higher rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and carbon translocation (90 %) as well as higher host biomass. Hence, levels of resource sharing within coral-dinoflagellate symbioses depend critically on environmental conditions.

  12. 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.

  13. Predation scars may influence host susceptibility to pathogens: evaluating the role of corallivores as vectors of coral disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicolet, K J; Chong-Seng, K M; Pratchett, M S; Willis, B L; Hoogenboom, M O

    2018-03-27

    Infectious diseases not regulated by host density, such as vector-borne diseases, have the potential to drive population declines and extinctions. Here we test the vector potential of the snail Drupella sp. and butterflyfish Chaetodon plebeius for two coral diseases, black band (BBD) and brown band (BrB) disease. Drupella transmitted BrB to healthy corals in 40% of cases immediately following feeding on infected corals, and even in 12% of cases 12 and 24 hours following feeding. However, Drupella was unable to transmit BBD in either transmission treatment. In a field experiment testing the vector potential of naturally-occurring fish assemblages, equivalent numbers of caged and uncaged coral fragments became infected with either BrB, BBD or skeletal eroding band, indicating that corallivorous fish were unlikely to have caused transmission. In aquaria, C. plebeius did not transmit either BBD or BrB, even following extended feeding on both infected and healthy nubbins. A literature review confirmed only four known coral disease vectors, all invertebrates, corroborating our conclusion that polyp-feeding fishes are unlikely to be vectors of coral diseases. This potentially because polyp-feeding fishes produce shallow lesions, not allowing pathogens to invade coral tissues. In contrast, corallivorous invertebrates that create deeper feeding scars increase pathogens transmission.

  14. Enhanced understanding of ectoparasite: host trophic linkages on coral reefs through stable isotope analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demopoulos, Amanda W. J.; Sikkel, Paul C.

    2015-01-01

    Parasitism, although the most common type of ecological interaction, is usually ignored in food web models and studies of trophic connectivity. Stable isotope analysis is widely used in assessing the flow of energy in ecological communities and thus is a potentially valuable tool in understanding the cryptic trophic relationships mediated by parasites. In an effort to assess the utility of stable isotope analysis in understanding the role of parasites in complex coral-reef trophic systems, we performed stable isotope analysis on three common Caribbean reef fish hosts and two kinds of ectoparasitic isopods: temporarily parasitic gnathiids (Gnathia marleyi) and permanently parasitic cymothoids (Anilocra). To further track the transfer of fish-derived carbon (energy) from parasites to parasite consumers, gnathiids from host fish were also fed to captive Pederson shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni) for at least 1 month. Parasitic isopods had δ13C and δ15N values similar to their host, comparable with results from the small number of other host–parasite studies that have employed stable isotopes. Adult gnathiids were enriched in 15N and depleted in13C relative to juvenile gnathiids, providing insights into the potential isotopic fractionation associated with blood-meal assimilation and subsequent metamorphosis. Gnathiid-fed Pedersen shrimp also had δ13C values consistent with their food source and enriched in 15N as predicted due to trophic fractionation. These results further indicate that stable isotopes can be an effective tool in deciphering cryptic feeding relationships involving parasites and their consumers, and the role of parasites and cleaners in carbon transfer in coral-reef ecosystems specifically.

  15. Enhanced understanding of ectoparasite–host trophic linkages on coral reefs through stable isotope analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amanda W.J. Demopoulos

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Parasitism, although the most common type of ecological interaction, is usually ignored in food web models and studies of trophic connectivity. Stable isotope analysis is widely used in assessing the flow of energy in ecological communities and thus is a potentially valuable tool in understanding the cryptic trophic relationships mediated by parasites. In an effort to assess the utility of stable isotope analysis in understanding the role of parasites in complex coral-reef trophic systems, we performed stable isotope analysis on three common Caribbean reef fish hosts and two kinds of ectoparasitic isopods: temporarily parasitic gnathiids (Gnathia marleyi and permanently parasitic cymothoids (Anilocra. To further track the transfer of fish-derived carbon (energy from parasites to parasite consumers, gnathiids from host fish were also fed to captive Pederson shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni for at least 1 month. Parasitic isopods had δ13C and δ15N values similar to their host, comparable with results from the small number of other host–parasite studies that have employed stable isotopes. Adult gnathiids were enriched in 15N and depleted in 13C relative to juvenile gnathiids, providing insights into the potential isotopic fractionation associated with blood-meal assimilation and subsequent metamorphosis. Gnathiid-fed Pedersen shrimp also had δ13C values consistent with their food source and enriched in 15N as predicted due to trophic fractionation. These results further indicate that stable isotopes can be an effective tool in deciphering cryptic feeding relationships involving parasites and their consumers, and the role of parasites and cleaners in carbon transfer in coral-reef ecosystems specifically.

  16. Endosymbiotic copepods may feed on zooxanthellae from their coral host, Pocillopora damicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Y.-R.; Dai, C.-F.

    2010-03-01

    The Xarifiidae is one of the most common families of endosymbiotic copepods that live in close association with scleractinian corals. Previous studies on xarifiids primarily focused on their taxonomy and morphology, while their influence on corals is still unknown. In this study, we collected a total of 1,579 individuals belonging to 6 species of xarifiids from 360 colonies of Pocillopora damicornis at Nanwan Bay, southern Taiwan from July 2007 to May 2008. Furthermore, using optical and electron microscopic observations, we examined the gut contents of Xarifia fissilis, the most abundant species of the Xarifiidae that we collected. We found that the gut of X. fissilis was characterized by a reddish-brown color due to the presence of numerous unicellular algae with diameters of 5-10 μm. TEM observations indicated that the unicellular algae possessed typical characteristics of Symbiodinium including a peripheral chloroplast, stalked pyrenoids, starch sheaths, mesokaryotic nuclei, amphiesmas, an accumulation body, and mitochondria. After starving the isolated X. fissilis in the light and dark (light intensity: 140 μmol photon m-2 s-1; photoperiod: 12 h light/12 h dark) for 2 weeks, fluorescence was clearly visible in its gut and fecal pellets under fluorescent microscopic observations. The cultivation experiment supports the hypothesis that the unicellular algae were beneficial to the survival of X. fissilis under light conditions, possibly through transferring photosynthates to the hosts. These results suggest that X. fissilis may consume and retain unicellular algae for further photosynthesis.

  17. The coral genus Caulastraea Dana, 1846 (Scleractinia, Merulinidae) as a new host for gall crabs (Decapoda, Cryptochiridae), with the description of Lithoscaptus tuerkayi sp. nov.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Meij, Sancia E. T.

    2017-01-01

    A new gall crab species is described from the stony coral genus Caulastraea, a new host coral genus for Cryptochiridae crabs. Specimens were collected during fieldwork off Kudat (Malaysian Borneo) and Okinawa (Japan). Further material was retrieved from the collections of the Institute of

  18. Symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and function determine community responses to global changes: defining critical research areas for coral-Symbiodinium symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabina, Nicholas S; Putnam, Hollie M; Franklin, Erik C; Stat, Michael; Gates, Ruth D

    2013-11-01

    Climate change-driven stressors threaten the persistence of coral reefs worldwide. Symbiotic relationships between scleractinian corals and photosynthetic endosymbionts (genus Symbiodinium) are the foundation of reef ecosystems, and these associations are differentially impacted by stress. Here, we couple empirical data from the coral reefs of Moorea, French Polynesia, and a network theoretic modeling approach to evaluate how patterns in coral-Symbiodinium associations influence community stability under climate change. To introduce the effect of climate perturbations, we simulate local 'extinctions' that represent either the loss of coral species or the ability to engage in symbiotic interactions. Community stability is measured by determining the duration and number of species that persist through the simulated extinctions. Our results suggest that four factors greatly increase coral-Symbiodinium community stability in response to global changes: (i) the survival of generalist hosts and symbionts maximizes potential symbiotic unions; (ii) elevated symbiont diversity provides redundant or complementary symbiotic functions; (iii) compatible symbiotic assemblages create the potential for local recolonization; and (iv) the persistence of certain traits associate with symbiotic diversity and redundancy. Symbiodinium may facilitate coral persistence through novel environmental regimes, but this capacity is mediated by symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and the functional performance of the symbionts. Our model-based approach identifies general trends and testable hypotheses in coral-Symbiodinium community responses. Future studies should consider similar methods when community size and/or environmental complexity preclude experimental approaches. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Patterns of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity and assemblages among diverse hosts and the coral reef environment of Lizard Island, Australia

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2018-04-26

    Large-scale environmental disturbances may impact both partners in coral host-Symbiodinium systems. Elucidation of the assembly patterns in such complex and interdependent communities may enable better prediction of environmental impacts across coral reef ecosystems. In this study, we investigated how the community composition and diversity of dinoflagellate symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium were distributed among 12 host species from six taxonomic orders (Actinaria, Alcyonacea, Miliolida, Porifera, Rhizostoma, Scleractinia) and in the reef water and sediments at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef before the 3rd Global Coral Bleaching Event. 454 pyrosequencing of the ITS2 region of Symbiodinium yielded 83 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) at a 97% similarity cut-off. Approximately half of the Symbiodinium OTUs from reef water or sediments were also present in symbio. OTUs belonged to six clades (A-D, F-G), but community structure was uneven. The two most abundant OTUs (100% matches to types C1 and A3) comprised 91% of reads and OTU C1 was shared by all species. However, sequence-based analysis of these dominant OTUs revealed host species-specificity, suggesting that genetic similarity cut-offs of Symbiodinium ITS2 data sets need careful evaluation. Of the less abundant OTUs, roughly half occurred at only one site or in one species and the background Symbiodinium communities were distinct between individual samples. We conclude that sampling multiple host taxa with differing life history traits will be critical to fully understand the symbiont diversity of a given system and to predict coral ecosystem responses to environmental change and disturbance considering the differential stress response of the taxa within. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  20. Host tolerance, not symbiont tolerance, determines the distribution of coral species in relation to their environment at a Central Pacific atoll

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wicks, L. C.; Gardner, J. P. A.; Davy, S. K.

    2012-06-01

    Tolerance of environmental variables differs between corals and their dinoflagellate symbionts ( Symbiodinium spp.), controlling the holobiont's (host and symbiont combined) resilience to environmental stress. However, the ecological role that environmental variables play in holobiont distribution remains poorly understood. We compared the drivers of symbiont and coral species distributions at Palmyra Atoll, a location with a range of reef environments from low to high sediment concentrations (1-52 g dry weight m-2 day-1). We observed uniform holobiont partnerships across the atoll (e.g. Montipora spp. with Symbiodinium type C15 at all sites). Multivariate analysis revealed that field-based estimates of settling sediment predominantly explained the spatial variation of coral species among sites ( P coral rather than Symbiodinium physiology. The data highlight the importance of host tolerance to environmental stressors, which should be considered simultaneously with symbiont sensitivity when considering the impact of variations in environmental conditions on coral communities.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  5. Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC): Proposed Mechanisms for Coral Health and Resilience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peixoto, Raquel S; Rosado, Phillipe M; Leite, Deborah Catharine de Assis; Rosado, Alexandre S; Bourne, David G

    2017-01-01

    The symbiotic association between the coral animal and its endosymbiotic dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is central to the success of corals. However, an array of other microorganisms associated with coral (i.e., Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi, and viruses) have a complex and intricate role in maintaining homeostasis between corals and Symbiodinium . Corals are sensitive to shifts in the surrounding environmental conditions. One of the most widely reported responses of coral to stressful environmental conditions is bleaching. During this event, corals expel Symbiodinium cells from their gastrodermal tissues upon experiencing extended seawater temperatures above their thermal threshold. An array of other environmental stressors can also destabilize the coral microbiome, resulting in compromised health of the host, which may include disease and mortality in the worst scenario. However, the exact mechanisms by which the coral microbiome supports coral health and increases resilience are poorly understood. Earlier studies of coral microbiology proposed a coral probiotic hypothesis, wherein a dynamic relationship exists between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms, selecting for the coral holobiont that is best suited for the prevailing environmental conditions. Here, we discuss the microbial-host relationships within the coral holobiont, along with their potential roles in maintaining coral health. We propose the term BMC (Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals) to define (specific) symbionts that promote coral health. This term and concept are analogous to the term Plant Growth Promoting Rhizosphere (PGPR), which has been widely explored and manipulated in the agricultural industry for microorganisms that inhabit the rhizosphere and directly or indirectly promote plant growth and development through the production of regulatory signals, antibiotics and nutrients. Additionally, we propose and discuss the potential mechanisms of the effects of BMC on corals, suggesting

  6. On the use of 31P NMR for the quantification of hydrosoluble phosphorus-containing compounds in coral host tissues and cultured zooxanthellae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godinot, Claire; Gaysinski, Marc; Thomas, Olivier P.; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Grover, Renaud

    2016-02-01

    31P Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) was assessed to investigate the phosphorus-containing compounds present in the tissues of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata as well as of cultured zooxanthellae (CZ). Results showed that phosphorus-containing compounds observed in CZ were mainly phosphate and phosphate esters. Phosphate accounted for 19 ± 2% of the total phosphorus compounds observed in CZ maintained under low P-levels (0.02 μM). Adding 5 mM of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (KH2PO4) to the CZ culture medium led to a 3.1-fold increase in intracellular phosphate, while adding 5 mM of dissolved organic phosphorus led to a reduction in the concentration of phosphorus compounds, including a 2.5-fold intracellular phosphate decrease. In sharp contrast to zooxanthellae, the host mainly contained phosphonates, and to a lesser extent, phosphate esters and phosphate. Two-months of host starvation decreased the phosphate content by 2.4 fold, while bleaching of fed corals did not modify this content. Based on 31P NMR analyses, this study highlights the importance of phosphonates in the composition of coral host tissues, and illustrates the impact of phosphorus availability on the phosphorus composition of host tissues and CZ, both through feeding of the host and inorganic phosphorus enrichment of the CZ.

  7. Host population genetic structure and zooxanthellae diversity of two reef-building coral species along the Florida Reef Tract and wider Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, I. B.; Johnson, M. E.; Devlin-Durante, M. K.; Miller, M. W.

    2010-12-01

    In preparation for a large-scale coral restoration project, we surveyed host population genetic structure and symbiont diversity of two reef-building corals in four reef zones along the Florida reef tract (FRT). There was no evidence for coral population subdivision along the FRT in Acropora cervicornis or Montastraea faveolata based on microsatellite markers. However, in A. cervicornis, significant genetic differentiation was apparent when extending the analysis to broader scales (Caribbean). Clade diversity of the zooxanthellae differed along the FRT. A. cervicornis harbored mostly clade A with clade D zooxanthellae being prominent in colonies growing inshore and in the mid-channel zones that experience greater temperature fluctuations and receive significant nutrient and sediment input. M. faveolata harbored a more diverse array of symbionts, and variation in symbiont diversity among four habitat zones was more subtle but still significant. Implications of these results are discussed for ongoing restoration and conservation work.

  8. Implication of the host TGFβ pathway in the onset of symbiosis between larvae of the coral Fungia scutaria and the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. (clade C1f)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berthelier, Jérémy; Schnitzler, Christine E.; Wood-Charlson, Elisha M.; Poole, Angela Z.; Weis, Virginia M.; Detournay, Olivier

    2017-12-01

    Dinoflagellate-cnidarian associations form both the trophic and structural foundation of coral-reef ecosystems. Previous studies have highlighted the role of host innate immunity in regulation of these partnerships. This study reveals the presence of a transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) in the coral Fungia scutaria that clusters with TGFβ sensu stricto (ss) from other animals. In functional studies of F. scutaria larvae, we show that (1) TGFβ ss mRNA is expressed during early stages of development prior to the onset of symbiosis; (2) apparent interference of the TGFβ pathway impairs the onset of symbiosis; and (3) this effect is associated with an increase of cytotoxic nitric oxide secretion, an immune response. This work highlights the importance of the TGFβ pathway in early life-history stages of corals by suggesting that its inhibition impacts the onset of symbiosis.

  9. Algae as reservoirs for coral pathogens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Sweet

    Full Text Available Benthic algae are associated with coral death in the form of stress and disease. It's been proposed that they release exudates, which facilitate invasion of potentially pathogenic microbes at the coral-algal interface, resulting in coral disease. However, the original source of these pathogens remains unknown. This study examined the ability of benthic algae to act as reservoirs of coral pathogens by characterizing surface associated microbes associated with major Caribbean and Indo-Pacific algal species/types and by comparing them to potential pathogens of two dominant coral diseases: White Syndrome (WS in the Indo-Pacific and Yellow Band Disease (YBD in the Caribbean. Coral and algal sampling was conducted simultaneously at the same sites to avoid spatial effects. Potential pathogens were defined as those absent or rare in healthy corals, increasing in abundance in healthy tissues adjacent to a disease lesion, and dominant in disease lesions. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were detected in both WS and YBD and were also present within the majority of algal species/types (54 and 100% for WS and YBD respectively. Pathogenic ciliates were associated only with WS and not YBD lesions and these were also present in 36% of the Indo-Pacific algal species. Although potential pathogens were associated with many algal species, their presence was inconsistent among replicate algal samples and detection rates were relatively low, suggestive of low density and occurrence. At the community level, coral-associated microbes irrespective of the health of their host differed from algal-associated microbes, supporting that algae and corals have distinctive microbial communities associated with their tissue. We conclude that benthic algae are common reservoirs for a variety of different potential coral pathogens. However, algal-associated microbes alone are unlikely to cause coral death. Initial damage or stress to the coral via other competitive mechanisms is

  10. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frade, Pedro R; Roll, Katharina; Bergauer, Kristin; Herndl, Gerhard J

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis) over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%). About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively) were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA) showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater), host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity.

  11. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro R Frade

    Full Text Available Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%. About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater, host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity.

  12. Spatial analyses of benthic habitats to define coral reef ecosystem regions and potential biogeographic boundaries along a latitudinal gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian K Walker

    Full Text Available Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0-30 m benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework

  13. Stable mucus-associated bacterial communities in bleached and healthy corals of Porites lobata from the Arabian Seas

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida Ali Hassan; Rö thig, Till; Yum, Lauren; Ziegler, Maren; Arif, Chatchanit; Roder, Cornelia; Burt, John; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are subject to coral bleaching manifested by the loss of endosymbiotic algae from coral host tissue. Besides algae, corals associate with bacteria. In particular, bacteria residing in the surface mucus layer are thought to mediate coral

  14. Temperature-Driven Local Acclimatization of Symbiodnium Hosted by the Coral Galaxea fascicularis at Hainan Island, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guowei Zhou

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The success of coral reef ecosystems largely depends on mutualistic symbiosis between scleractinian corals and the dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium spp. However, further investigation is needed to elucidate the flexibility of coral-algae associations in response to environmental changes. In this study, we applied a molecular method (high-throughput internal transcribed spacer 2 region of ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing to explore diversity and flexibility of Symbiodinium associated with Galaxea fascicularis, an ecologically important scleractinian coral species collected at five locations around Hainan Island, South China Sea. The results revealed a high diversity of Symbiodinium subclades with C2r and D17 being dominant in G. fascicularis. Clade D Symbiodinium occurred most frequently in habitats where the annual average sea surface temperatures are the highest, suggesting that temperature is an important factor in determining Symbiodinium D abundance in G. fascicularis. The distribution of coral-Symbiodinium associations are possibly mediated by trade-off mechanisms which change the relative abundance of Symbiodinium clades/subclades under different environmental conditions. These findings provide further evidence that reef-building corals such as G. fascicularis can shuffle their symbionts to cope with environmental changes, and have implications for our understanding of the ecology of flexible coral-algal symbiosis.

  15. Defined Host-Guest Chemistry on Nanocarbon for Sustained Inhibition of Cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostadhossein, Fatemeh; Misra, Santosh K; Mukherjee, Prabuddha; Ostadhossein, Alireza; Daza, Enrique; Tiwari, Saumya; Mittal, Shachi; Gryka, Mark C; Bhargava, Rohit; Pan, Dipanjan

    2016-08-22

    Signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT-3) is known to be overexpressed in cancer stem cells. Poor solubility and variable drug absorption are linked to low bioavailability and decreased efficacy. Many of the drugs regulating STAT-3 expression lack aqueous solubility; hence hindering efficient bioavailability. A theranostics nanoplatform based on luminescent carbon particles decorated with cucurbit[6]uril is introduced for enhancing the solubility of niclosamide, a STAT-3 inhibitor. The host-guest chemistry between cucurbit[6]uril and niclosamide makes the delivery of the hydrophobic drug feasible while carbon nanoparticles enhance cellular internalization. Extensive physicochemical characterizations confirm successful synthesis. Subsequently, the host-guest chemistry of niclosamide and cucurbit[6]uril is studied experimentally and computationally. In vitro assessments in human breast cancer cells indicate approximately twofold enhancement in IC 50 of drug. Fourier transform infrared and fluorescence imaging demonstrate efficient cellular internalization. Furthermore, the catalytic biodegradation of the nanoplatforms occur upon exposure to human myeloperoxidase in short time. In vivo studies on athymic mice with MCF-7 xenograft indicate the size of tumor in the treatment group is half of the controls after 40 d. Immunohistochemistry corroborates the downregulation of STAT-3 phosphorylation. Overall, the host-guest chemistry on nanocarbon acts as a novel arsenal for STAT-3 inhibition. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  16. Calcification rate and the stable carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen isotopes in the skeleton, host tissue, and zooxanthellae of bleached and recovering Hawaiian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, Lisa J.; Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2006-06-01

    We tested the effectiveness of stable isotopes as recorders of physiological changes that occur during coral bleaching and recovery. Montipora capitata and Porites compressa fragments were bleached in outdoor tanks with seawater temperature raised to 30 °C (treatment corals) for one month. Additional fragments were maintained at 27 °C in separate tanks (control corals). After one month, (0 months recovery), buoyant weight was measured and a subset of fragments was frozen. Remaining fragments were returned to the reef for recovery. After 1.5, 4, and 8 months, fragments were collected, measured for buoyant weight, and frozen. Fragments were analyzed for stable carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of the skeleton (δ 13C s; δ 18O s) and nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions of the host tissue (δ 15N h; δ 13C h) and zooxanthellae (δ 15N z; δ 13C z). δ 13C s decreased immediately after bleaching in M. capitata, but not in P. compressa. δ 18O s of both species failed to record the warming event. During the remaining months of recovery, δ 13C s and δ 18O s were more enriched in treatment than control corals due to decreases in calcification and metabolic fractionation during that time. Increased δ 15N h of treatment P. compressa may be due to expelled zooxanthellae during bleaching and recovery. Increased δ 15N z at 1.5 months in treatment fragments of both species reflects the increased incorporation of dissolved inorganic nitrogen to facilitate mitotic cell division and/or chl a/cell recovery. Changes in δ 13C h and δ 13C z at 1.5 months in treatment M. capitata indicated a large increase in heterotrophically acquired carbon relative to photosynthetically fixed carbon. We experimentally show that isotopes in coral skeleton, host tissue and zooxanthellae can be used to verify physiological changes during bleaching and recovery, but their use as a proxy for past bleaching events in the skeletal record is limited.

  17. The chemical interactome space between the human host and the genetically defined gut metabotypes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Ulrik Plesner; Nielsen, Henrik Bjørn; Hildebrand, Falk

    2013-01-01

    symbiosis in the gut of mammals, mechanistic understanding of the contributions of the gut microbiome and how variations in the metabotypes are linked to the host health are obscure. Here, we mapped the entire metabolic potential of the gut microiome based solely on metagenomics sequencing data derived from...... pharmacy in our guts. Furthermore, we established connections between the systemic effects of non-antibiotic drugs and the gut microbiome of relevance to drug side effects and health-care solutions.......The bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tracts of mammals represent a highly selected microbiome that has a profound influence on human physiology by shaping the host’s metabolic and immune system activity. Despite the recent advances on the biological principles that underlie microbial...

  18. Host-symbiont recombination versus natural selection in the response of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses to environmental disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaJeunesse, Todd C; Smith, Robin; Walther, Mariana; Pinzón, Jorge; Pettay, Daniel T; McGinley, Michael; Aschaffenburg, Matthew; Medina-Rosas, Pedro; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar L; Pérez, Andrés López; Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Warner, Mark E

    2010-10-07

    Mutualisms between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates are particularly sensitive to environmental stress, yet the ecosystems they construct have endured major oscillations in global climate. During the winter of 2008, an extreme cold-water event occurred in the Gulf of California that bleached corals in the genus Pocillopora harbouring a thermally 'sensitive' symbiont, designated Symbiodinium C1b-c, while colonies possessing Symbiodinium D1 were mostly unaffected. Certain bleached colonies recovered quickly while others suffered partial or complete mortality. In most colonies, no appreciable change was observed in the identity of the original symbiont, indicating that these partnerships are stable. During the initial phases of recovery, a third species of symbiont B1(Aiptasia), genetically identical to that harboured by the invasive anemone, Aiptasia sp., grew opportunistically and was visible as light-yellow patches on the branch tips of several colonies. However, this symbiont did not persist and was displaced in all cases by C1b-c several months later. Colonies with D1 were abundant at inshore habitats along the continental eastern Pacific, where seasonal turbidity is high relative to offshore islands. Environmental conditions of the central and southern coasts of Mexico were not sufficient to explain the exclusivity of D1 Pocillopora in these regions. It is possible that mass mortalities associated with major thermal disturbances during the 1997-1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation eliminated C1b-c holobionts from these locations. The differential loss of Pocillopora holobionts in response to thermal stress suggests that natural selection on existing variation can cause rapid and significant shifts in the frequency of particular coral-algal partnerships. However, coral populations may take decades to recover following episodes of severe selection, thereby raising considerable uncertainty about the long-term viability of these communities.

  19. Thermal regime and host clade, rather than geography, drive Symbiodinium and bacterial assemblages in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis sensu lato.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brener-Raffalli, Kelly; Clerissi, Camille; Vidal-Dupiol, Jeremie; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Bonhomme, François; Pratlong, Marine; Aurelle, Didier; Mitta, Guillaume; Toulza, Eve

    2018-02-20

    Although the term holobiont has been popularized in corals with the advent of the hologenome theory of evolution, the underlying concepts are still a matter of debate. Indeed, the relative contribution of host and environment and especially thermal regime in shaping the microbial communities should be examined carefully to evaluate the potential role of symbionts for holobiont adaptation in the context of global changes. We used the sessile, long-lived, symbiotic and environmentally sensitive reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis to address these issues. We sampled Pocillopora damicornis colonies corresponding to two different mitochondrial lineages in different geographic areas displaying different thermal regimes: Djibouti, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Taiwan. The community composition of bacteria and the algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium were characterized using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer, ITS2, respectively. Bacterial microbiota was very diverse with high prevalence of Endozoicomonas, Arcobacter, and Acinetobacter in all samples. While Symbiodinium sub-clade C1 was dominant in Taiwan and New Caledonia, D1 was dominant in Djibouti and French Polynesia. Moreover, we also identified a high background diversity (i.e., with proportions world.

  20. Patterns of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity and assemblages among diverse hosts and the coral reef environment of Lizard Island, Australia

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Stone, Elizabeth; Colman, Daniel; Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina; Shepherd, Ursula

    2018-01-01

    careful evaluation. Of the less abundant OTUs, roughly half occurred at only one site or in one species and the background Symbiodinium communities were distinct between individual samples. We conclude that sampling multiple host taxa with differing life

  1. Biomedical and veterinary science can increase our understanding of coral disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Richardson, Laurie L.; Reynolds, T.L.; Willis, Bette L.

    2008-01-01

    A balanced approach to coral disease investigation is critical for understanding the global decline of corals. Such an approach should involve the proper use of biomedical concepts, tools, and terminology to address confusion and promote clarity in the coral disease literature. Investigating disease in corals should follow a logical series of steps including identification of disease, systematic morphologic descriptions of lesions at the gross and cellular levels, measurement of health indices, and experiments to understand disease pathogenesis and the complex interactions between host, pathogen, and the environment. This model for disease investigation is widely accepted in the medical, veterinary and invertebrate pathology disciplines. We present standard biomedical rationale behind the detection, description, and naming of diseases and offer examples of the application of Koch's postulates to elucidate the etiology of some infectious diseases. Basic epidemiologic concepts are introduced to help investigators think systematically about the cause(s) of complex diseases. A major goal of disease investigation in corals and other organisms is to gather data that will enable the establishment of standardized case definitions to distinguish among diseases. Concepts and facts amassed from empirical studies over the centuries by medical and veterinary pathologists have standardized disease investigation and are invaluable to coral researchers because of the robust comparisons they enable; examples of these are given throughout this paper. Arguments over whether coral diseases are caused by primary versus opportunistic pathogens reflect the lack of data available to prove or refute such hypotheses and emphasize the need for coral disease investigations that focus on: characterizing the normal microbiota and physiology of the healthy host; defining ecological interactions within the microbial community associated with the host; and investigating host immunity, host

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with the Coral Model Aiptasia in Aposymbiotic and Symbiotic States with Symbiodinium

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Costa, Rú ben M.; Simona, Fabia; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Torres, Ana F.; Radhakrishnan, Anand; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are in decline. The basic functional unit of coral reefs is the coral metaorganism or holobiont consisting of the cnidarian host animal, symbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium, and a specific consortium of bacteria (among others

  5. 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.

  6. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs are under considerable decline. The framework builders in coral reefs are scleractinian corals, which comprise so-called holobionts, consisting of cnidarian host, algal symbionts (genus Symbiodinium), and other associated microbes. Corals are commonly considered stenohaline osmoconformers, possessing limited capability to adjust to salinity changes. However, corals differ in their ability to cope with different salinities. The underlying mechanisms have not yet been addressed. To further understand putative mechanisms involved, I examined coral holobiont osmoregulation conducting a range of experiments on the coral Fungia granulosa. In my research F. granulosa from the Red Sea exhibited pronounced physiological reactions (decreased photosynthesis, cessation of calcification) upon short-term incubations (4 h) to high salinity (55). However, during a 29-day in situ salinity transect experiment, coral holobiont photosynthesis was unimpaired under high salinity (49) indicating acclimatization. F. granulosa microbiome changes after the 29-day high salinity exposure aligned with a bacterial community restructuring that putatively supports the coral salinity acclimatization (osmolyte synthesis, nutrient fixation/cycling). Long-term incubations (7 d) of cultured Symbiodinium exhibited cell growth even at ‘extreme’ salinity levels of 25 and 55. Metabolic profiles of four Symbiodinium strains exposed to increased (55) and decreased (25) salinities for 4 h indicated distinct carbohydrates and amino acids to be putatively involved in the osmoadjustment. Importantly, under high salinity the osmolyte floridoside was consistently increased. This could be corroborated in the coral model Aiptasia and in corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf, where floridoside was also markedly increased upon short- (15 h) and long-term (>24 months) exposure to high salinity, confirming an important role of floridoside in the osmoadjustment of cnidarian holobionts. This thesis

  7. The Road to Infection: Host-Microbe Interactions Defining the Pathogenicity of Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus Complex Members

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christoph Jans

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available The Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus complex (SBSEC comprises several species inhabiting the animal and human gastrointestinal tract (GIT. They match the pathobiont description, are potential zoonotic agents and technological organisms in fermented foods. SBSEC members are associated with multiple diseases in humans and animals including ruminal acidosis, infective endocarditis (IE and colorectal cancer (CRC. Therefore, this review aims to re-evaluate adhesion and colonization abilities of SBSEC members of animal, human and food origin paired with genomic and functional host-microbe interaction data on their road from colonization to infection. SBSEC seem to be a marginal population during GIT symbiosis that can proliferate as opportunistic pathogens. Risk factors for human colonization are considered living in rural areas and animal-feces contact. Niche adaptation plays a pivotal role where Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus (SGG retained the ability to proliferate in various environments. Other SBSEC members have undergone genome reduction and niche-specific gene gain to yield important commensal, pathobiont and technological species. Selective colonization of CRC tissue is suggested for SGG, possibly related to increased adhesion to cancerous cell types featuring enhanced collagen IV accessibility. SGG can colonize, proliferate and may shape the tumor microenvironment to their benefit by tumor promotion upon initial neoplasia development. Bacteria cell surface structures including lipotheichoic acids, capsular polysaccharides and pilus loci (pil1, pil2, and pil3 govern adhesion. Only human blood-derived SGG contain complete pilus loci and other disease-associated surface proteins. Rumen or feces-derived SGG and other SBSEC members lack or harbor mutated pili. Pili also contribute to binding to fibrinogen upon invasion and translocation of cells from the GIT into the blood system, subsequent immune evasion, human contact

  8. The Road to Infection: Host-Microbe Interactions Defining the Pathogenicity of Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus Complex Members

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jans, Christoph; Boleij, Annemarie

    2018-01-01

    The Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus complex (SBSEC) comprises several species inhabiting the animal and human gastrointestinal tract (GIT). They match the pathobiont description, are potential zoonotic agents and technological organisms in fermented foods. SBSEC members are associated with multiple diseases in humans and animals including ruminal acidosis, infective endocarditis (IE) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Therefore, this review aims to re-evaluate adhesion and colonization abilities of SBSEC members of animal, human and food origin paired with genomic and functional host-microbe interaction data on their road from colonization to infection. SBSEC seem to be a marginal population during GIT symbiosis that can proliferate as opportunistic pathogens. Risk factors for human colonization are considered living in rural areas and animal-feces contact. Niche adaptation plays a pivotal role where Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus (SGG) retained the ability to proliferate in various environments. Other SBSEC members have undergone genome reduction and niche-specific gene gain to yield important commensal, pathobiont and technological species. Selective colonization of CRC tissue is suggested for SGG, possibly related to increased adhesion to cancerous cell types featuring enhanced collagen IV accessibility. SGG can colonize, proliferate and may shape the tumor microenvironment to their benefit by tumor promotion upon initial neoplasia development. Bacteria cell surface structures including lipotheichoic acids, capsular polysaccharides and pilus loci (pil1, pil2, and pil3) govern adhesion. Only human blood-derived SGG contain complete pilus loci and other disease-associated surface proteins. Rumen or feces-derived SGG and other SBSEC members lack or harbor mutated pili. Pili also contribute to binding to fibrinogen upon invasion and translocation of cells from the GIT into the blood system, subsequent immune evasion, human contact system

  9. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2017-02-10

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  10. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Seneca, Francois O.; Yum, Lauren; Palumbi, Stephen R.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  11. A hydrophobic anchor mechanism defines a deacetylase family that suppresses host response against YopJ effectors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bürger, Marco; Willige, Björn C; Chory, Joanne

    2017-12-19

    Several Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas species are plant pathogens that infect the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana and important crops such as Brassica. Resistant plants contain the infection by rapid cell death of the infected area through the hypersensitive response (HR). A family of highly related α/β hydrolases is involved in diverse processes in all domains of life. Functional details of their catalytic machinery, however, remained unclear. We report the crystal structures of α/β hydrolases representing two different clades of the family, including the protein SOBER1, which suppresses AvrBsT-incited HR in Arabidopsis. Our results reveal a unique hydrophobic anchor mechanism that defines a previously unknown family of protein deacetylases. Furthermore, this study identifies a lid-loop as general feature for substrate turnover in acyl-protein thioesterases and the described family of deacetylases. Furthermore, we found that SOBER1's biological function is not restricted to Arabidopsis thaliana and not limited to suppress HR induced by AvrBsT.

  12. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

    Coral reef bleaching, the whitening of diverse invertebrate taxa, results from the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or a reduction in photosynthetic pigment concentrations in zooxanthellae residing within the gastrodermal tissues of host animals. Of particular concern are the consequences of bleaching of large numbers of reef-building scleractinian corals and hydrocorals. Published records of coral reef bleaching events from 1870 to the present suggest that the frequency (60 major events from 1979 to 1990), scale (co-occurrence in many coral reef regions and often over the bathymetric depth range of corals) and severity (>95% mortality in some areas) of recent bleaching disturbances are unprecedented in the scientific literature. The causes of small scale, isolated bleaching events can often be explained by particular stressors (e.g., temperature, salinity, light, sedimentation, aerial exposure and pollutants), but attempts to explain large scale bleaching events in terms of possible global change (e.g., greenhouse warming, increased UV radiation flux, deteriorating ecosystem health, or some combination of the above) have not been convincing. Attempts to relate the severity and extent of large scale coral reef bleaching events to particular causes have been hampered by a lack of (a) standardized methods to assess bleaching and (b) continuous, long-term data bases of environmental conditions over the periods of interest. An effort must be made to understand the impact of bleaching on the remainder of the reef community and the long-term effects on competition, predation, symbioses, bioerosion and substrate condition, all factors that can influence coral recruitment and reef recovery. If projected rates of sea warming are realized by mid to late AD 2000, i.e. a 2°C increase in high latitude coral seas, the upper thermal tolerance limits of many reef-building corals could be exceeded. Present evidence suggests that many corals would be unable to adapt

  13. Comparative analysis and culturing of the microbial community of Aiptasia pallida, A Sea Anemone Model for Coral Biology

    KAUST Repository

    Binsarhan, Mohammad

    2016-01-01

    Recent works has highlighted the contribution of microbes to animal function. In this regard, the microbial community associated with corals has become a growing field of research in order to understand how microbes contribute to the host organisms’ response to environmental changes. It has been shown that microbes associated with corals have important functions in the coral holobiont such as immunity and nutrient assimilation. However, corals are notoriously difficult to work with. To this end, the sea anemone Aiptasia is becoming a model organism for coral symbiosis. Given the importance of host-­microbiome interactions, the topic of this thesis is to assess microbial structure of Aiptasia, culture prominent bacterial members, and compare bacterial community structure to corals. Different molecular methods have been applied using 16S rRNA bacterial gene fragments to characterize the microbial composition of Aiptasia. 16S rRNA gene sequence derived from cultured bacteria was compared to 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from native Red Sea Aiptasia. Inter-­individual as well as methodological differences were found to account for variance in microbiome composition. However, all approaches showed a highly abundant microbial taxon belonging to the genus Alteromonas in all samples. The Alteromonas species was successfully isolated for further research targeting microbiome selection mechanisms in Aiptasia. Future investigations by using different molecular tools will help to define the functions and relationship between the Aiptasia and its complex microbiome.

  14. Exploring coral microbiome assemblages in the South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cai, Lin; Tian, Ren-Mao; Zhou, Guowei; Tong, Haoya; Wong, Yue Him; Zhang, Weipeng; Chui, Apple Pui Yi; Xie, James Y; Qiu, Jian-Wen; Ang, Put O; Liu, Sheng; Huang, Hui; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2018-02-05

    Coral reefs are significant ecosystems. The ecological success of coral reefs relies on not only coral-algal symbiosis but also coral-microbial partnership. However, microbiome assemblages in the South China Sea corals remain largely unexplored. Here, we compared the microbiome assemblages of reef-building corals Galaxea (G. fascicularis) and Montipora (M. venosa, M. peltiformis, M. monasteriata) collected from five different locations in the South China Sea using massively-parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA gene and multivariate analysis. The results indicated that microbiome assemblages for each coral species were unique regardless of location and were different from the corresponding seawater. Host type appeared to drive the coral microbiome assemblages rather than location and seawater. Network analysis was employed to explore coral microbiome co-occurrence patterns, which revealed 61 and 80 co-occurring microbial species assembling the Galaxea and Montipora microbiomes, respectively. Most of these co-occurring microbial species were commonly found in corals and were inferred to play potential roles in host nutrient metabolism; carbon, nitrogen, sulfur cycles; host detoxification; and climate change. These findings suggest that the co-occurring microbial species explored might be essential to maintain the critical coral-microbial partnership. The present study provides new insights into coral microbiome assemblages in the South China Sea.

  15. Spectral classifying base on color of live corals and dead corals covered with algae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Barille, Laurent; Akbar, A. S. M.; Sawayama, Shuhei; Fitrah, Muh. Nur; Prasyad, Hermansyah

    2016-05-01

    Pigments in the host tissues of corals can make a significant contribution to their spectral signature and can affect their apparent color as perceived by a human observer. The aim of this study is classifying the spectral reflectance of corals base on different color. It is expected that they can be used as references in discriminating between live corals, dead coral covered with algae Spectral reflectance data was collected in three small islands, Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia by using a hyperspectral radiometer underwater. First and second derivative analysis resolved the wavelength locations of dominant features contributing to reflectance in corals and support the distinct differences in spectra among colour existed. Spectral derivative analysis was used to determine the specific wavelength regions ideal for remote identification of substrate type. The analysis results shown that yellow, green, brown and violet live corals are spectrally separable from each other, but they are similar with dead coral covered with algae spectral.

  16. Six host range variants of the xenotropic/polytropic gammaretroviruses define determinants for entry in the XPR1 cell surface receptor

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kozak Christine A

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The evolutionary interactions between retroviruses and their receptors result in adaptive selection of restriction variants that can allow natural populations to evade retrovirus infection. The mouse xenotropic/polytropic (X/PMV gammaretroviruses rely on the XPR1 cell surface receptor for entry into host cells, and polymorphic variants of this receptor have been identified in different rodent species. Results We screened a panel of X/PMVs for infectivity on rodent cells carrying 6 different XPR1 receptor variants. The X/PMVs included 5 well-characterized laboratory and wild mouse virus isolates as well as a novel cytopathic XMV-related virus, termed Cz524, isolated from an Eastern European wild mouse-derived strain, and XMRV, a xenotropic-like virus isolated from human prostate cancer. The 7 viruses define 6 distinct tropisms. Cz524 and another wild mouse isolate, CasE#1, have unique species tropisms. Among the PMVs, one Friend isolate is restricted by rat cells. Among the XMVs, two isolates, XMRV and AKR6, differ from other XMVs in their PMV-like restriction in hamster cells. We generated a set of Xpr1 mutants and chimeras, and identified critical amino acids in two extracellular loops (ECLs that mediate entry of these different viruses, including 3 residues in ECL3 that are involved in PMV entry (E500, T507, and V508 and can also influence infectivity by AKR6 and Cz524. Conclusion We used a set of natural variants and mutants of Xpr1 to define 6 distinct host range variants among naturally occurring X/PMVs (2 XMV variants, 2 PMVs, 2 different wild mouse variants. We identified critical amino acids in XPR1 that mediate entry of these viruses. These gammaretroviruses and their XPR1 receptor are thus highly functionally polymorphic, a consequence of the evolutionary pressures that favor both host resistance and virus escape mutants. This variation accounts for multiple naturally occurring virus resistance phenotypes and

  17. 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....

  18. The genome of Aiptasia, a sea anemone model for coral symbiosis

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian; Simakov, Oleg; Esherick, Lisl Y.; Liew, Yi Jin; Lehnert, Erik M.; Michell, Craig; Li, Yong; Hambleton, Elizabeth A.; Guse, Annika; Oates, Matt E.; Gough, Julian; Weis, Virginia M.; Aranda, Manuel; Pringle, John R.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    The most diverse marine ecosystems, coral reefs, depend upon a functional symbiosis between a cnidarian animal host (the coral) and intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate algae. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying

  19. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Ochsenkuhn, Michael A.; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Van Der Merwe, Riaan; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration, and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa

  20. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease in a comparative coral species framework.

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia; Arif, Chatchanit; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Daniels, Camille Arian; Shibl, Ahmed A.; Chavanich, Suchana; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2014-01-01

    agents, hosts and vectors. It is known that compromised health in corals is correlated with shifts in bacterial assemblages colonizing coral mucus and tissue. However, general disease patterns remain, to a large extent, ambiguous as comparative studies

  1. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Contemporary in-depth sequencing of environmental samples has provided novel insights into microbial community structures, revealing that their diversity had been previously underestimated. Communities in marine environments are commonly composed of a few dominant taxa and a high number of taxonomically diverse, low-abundance organisms. However, studying the roles and genomic information of these "rare" organisms remains challenging, because little is known about their ecological niches and the environmental conditions to which they respond. Given the current threat to coral reef ecosystems, we investigated the potential of corals to provide highly specialized habitats for bacterial taxa including those that are rarely detected or absent in surrounding reef waters. The analysis of more than 350,000 small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA sequence tags and almost 2,000 nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that rare seawater biosphere members are highly abundant or even dominant in diverse Caribbean corals. Closely related corals (in the same genus/family harbored similar bacterial communities. At higher taxonomic levels, however, the similarities of these communities did not correlate with the phylogenetic relationships among corals, opening novel questions about the evolutionary stability of coral-microbial associations. Large proportions of OTUs (28.7-49.1% were unique to the coral species of origin. Analysis of the most dominant ribotypes suggests that many uncovered bacterial taxa exist in coral habitats and await future exploration. Our results indicate that coral species, and by extension other animal hosts, act as specialized habitats of otherwise rare microbes in marine ecosystems. Here, deep sequencing provided insights into coral microbiota at an unparalleled resolution and revealed that corals harbor many bacterial taxa previously not known. Given that two of the coral species investigated are listed as threatened under

  2. 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

  3. Cyanobacteria in Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Charpy

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr. Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrogenase were found in the open ocean and in coral reef lagoons. Furthermore, cyanobacteria are important in calcification and decalcification. All limestone surfaces have a layer of boring algae in which cyanobacteria often play a dominant role. Cyanobacterial symbioses are abundant in coral reefs; the most common hosts are sponges and ascidians. Cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. Cyanobacteria can also form pathogenic microbial consortia in association with other microbes on living coral tissues, causing coral tissue lysis and death, and considerable declines in coral reefs. In deep lagoons, coccoid cyanobacteria are abundant and are grazed by ciliates, heteroflagellates, and the benthic coral reef community. Cyanobacteria produce metabolites that act as attractants for some species and deterrents for some grazers of the reef communities.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Daniels, Camille Arian

    2015-09-11

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

  5. Metatranscriptome analysis of the reef-buidling coral Orbicella faveolata indicates holobiont response to coral disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Camille eDaniels

    2015-09-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop April 27-29, 2010 Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI) hosted a Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop on April 27-28, 2010 at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Forty-three participants, includin...

  8. 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.

  9. Sugar enrichment provides evidence for a role of nitrogen fixation in coral bleaching

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Cardenas, Anny; Gä rdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian

    2017-01-01

    The disruption of the coral-algae symbiosis (coral bleaching) due to rising sea surface temperatures has become an unprecedented global threat to coral reefs. Despite decades of research, our ability to manage mass bleaching events remains hampered by an incomplete mechanistic understanding of the processes involved. In this study, we induced a coral bleaching phenotype in the absence of heat and light stress by adding sugars. The sugar addition resulted in coral symbiotic breakdown accompanied by a fourfold increase of coral-associated microbial nitrogen fixation. Concomitantly, increased N:P ratios by the coral host and algal symbionts suggest excess availability of nitrogen and a disruption of the nitrogen limitation within the coral holobiont. As nitrogen fixation is similarly stimulated in ocean warming scenarios, here we propose a refined coral bleaching model integrating the cascading effects of stimulated microbial nitrogen fixation. This model highlights the putative role of nitrogen-fixing microbes in coral holobiont functioning and breakdown.

  10. Sugar enrichment provides evidence for a role of nitrogen fixation in coral bleaching

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2017-04-21

    The disruption of the coral-algae symbiosis (coral bleaching) due to rising sea surface temperatures has become an unprecedented global threat to coral reefs. Despite decades of research, our ability to manage mass bleaching events remains hampered by an incomplete mechanistic understanding of the processes involved. In this study, we induced a coral bleaching phenotype in the absence of heat and light stress by adding sugars. The sugar addition resulted in coral symbiotic breakdown accompanied by a fourfold increase of coral-associated microbial nitrogen fixation. Concomitantly, increased N:P ratios by the coral host and algal symbionts suggest excess availability of nitrogen and a disruption of the nitrogen limitation within the coral holobiont. As nitrogen fixation is similarly stimulated in ocean warming scenarios, here we propose a refined coral bleaching model integrating the cascading effects of stimulated microbial nitrogen fixation. This model highlights the putative role of nitrogen-fixing microbes in coral holobiont functioning and breakdown.

  11. In situ photobiology of corals over large depth ranges: A multivariate analysis on the roles of environment, host, and algal symbiont

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Frade, P.R.; Bongaerts, P.; Winkelhagen, A.J.S.; Tonk, L.; Bak, R.P.M.

    2008-01-01

    We applied a multivariate analysis to investigate the roles of host and symbiont on the in situ physiological response of genus Madracis holobionts towards light. Across a large depth gradient (5-40 m) and for four Madracis species and three symbiont genotypes, we assessed several variables by

  12. Light gradients and optical microniches in coral tissues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel eWangpraseurt

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Light quantity and quality are among the most important factors determining the physiology and stress response of zooxanthellate corals. Yet, almost nothing is known about the light field that Symbiodinium experiences within their coral host, and the basic optical properties of coral tissue are unknown. We used scalar irradiance microprobes to characterise vertical and lateral light gradients within and across tissues of several coral species. Our results revealed the presence of steep light gradients with PAR (photosynthetically available radiation decreasing by about one order of magnitude from the tissue surface to the coral skeleton. Surface scalar irradiance was consistently higher over polyp tissue than over coenosarc tissue in faviid corals. Coral bleaching increased surface scalar irradiance by ~150% (between 500-700 nm relative to a healthy coral. Photosynthesis peaked around 300 µm within the tissue, which corresponded to a zone exhibiting strongest depletion of scalar irradiance. Deeper coral tissue layers, e.g. ~1000 µm into aboral polyp tissues, harbor optical microniches, where only ~10% of the incident irradiance remains. We conclude that the optical microenvironment of corals exhibits strong lateral and vertical gradients of scalar irradiance, which are affected by both tissue and skeleton optical properties. Our results imply that zooxanthellae populations inhabit a strongly heterogeneous light environment and highlight the presence of different optical microniches in corals; an important finding for understanding the photobiology, stress response, as well as the phenotypic and genotypic plasticity of coral symbionts.

  13. Physiological and biochemical performances of menthol-induced aposymbiotic corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jih-Terng Wang

    Full Text Available The unique mutualism between corals and their photosynthetic zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium spp. is the driving force behind functional assemblages of coral reefs. However, the respective roles of hosts and Symbiodinium in this endosymbiotic association, particularly in response to environmental challenges (e.g., high sea surface temperatures, remain unsettled. One of the key obstacles is to produce and maintain aposymbiotic coral hosts for experimental purposes. In this study, a simple and gentle protocol to generate aposymbiotic coral hosts (Isopora palifera and Stylophora pistillata was developed using repeated incubation in menthol/artificial seawater (ASW medium under light and in ASW in darkness, which depleted more than 99% of Symbiodinium from the host within 4∼8 days. As indicated by the respiration rate, energy metabolism (by malate dehydrogenase activity, and nitrogen metabolism (by glutamate dehydrogenase activity and profiles of free amino acids, the physiological and biochemical performances of the menthol-induced aposymbiotic corals were comparable to their symbiotic counterparts without nutrient supplementation (e.g., for Stylophora or with a nutrient supplement containing glycerol, vitamins, and a host mimic of free amino acid mixture (e.g., for Isopora. Differences in biochemical responses to menthol-induced bleaching between Stylophora and Isopora were attributed to the former digesting Symbiodinium rather than expelling the algae live as found in the latter species. Our studies showed that menthol could successfully bleach corals and provided aposymbiotic corals for further exploration of coral-alga symbioses.

  14. Microbial disease and the coral holobiont

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourne, David G.; Garren, Melissa; Work, Thierry M.; Rosenberg, Eugene; Smith, Garriet W.; Harvell, C. Drew

    2009-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs harbour a reservoir of enormous biodiversity that is increasingly threatened by direct human activities and indirect global climate shifts. Emerging coral diseases are one serious threat implicated in extensive reef deterioration through disruption of the integrity of the coral holobiont – a complex symbiosis between the coral animal, endobiotic alga and an array of microorganisms. In this article, we review our current understanding of the role of microorganisms in coral health and disease, and highlight the pressing interdisciplinary research priorities required to elucidate the mechanisms of disease. We advocate an approach that applies knowledge gained from experiences in human and veterinary medicine, integrated into multidisciplinary studies that investigate the interactions between host, agent and environment of a given coral disease. These approaches include robust and precise disease diagnosis, standardised ecological methods and application of rapidly developing DNA, RNA and protein technologies, alongside established histological, microbial ecology and ecological expertise. Such approaches will allow a better understanding of the causes of coral mortality and coral reef declines and help assess potential management options to mitigate their effects in the longer term.

  15. Conservation genetics and the resilience of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D

    2006-11-01

    Coral reefs have suffered long-term decline due to a range of anthropogenic disturbances and are now also under threat from climate change. For appropriate management of these vulnerable and valuable ecosystems it is important to understand the factors and processes that determine their resilience and that of the organisms inhabiting them, as well as those that have led to existing patterns of coral reef biodiversity. The scleractinian (stony) corals deposit the structural framework that supports and promotes the maintenance of biological diversity and complexity of coral reefs, and as such, are major components of these ecosystems. The success of reef-building corals is related to their obligate symbiotic association with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. These one-celled algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) live in the endodermal tissues of their coral host, provide most of the host's energy budget and promote rapid calcification. Furthermore, zooxanthellae are the main primary producers on coral reefs due to the oligotrophic nature of the surrounding waters. In this review paper, we summarize and critically evaluate studies that have employed genetics and/or molecular biology in examining questions relating to the evolution and ecology of reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts, and that bear relevance to coral reef conservation. We discuss how these studies can focus future efforts, and examine how these approaches enhance our understanding of the resilience of reef-building corals.

  16. Discordant coral-symbiont structuring: factors shaping geographical variation of Symbiodinium communities in a facultative zooxanthellate coral genus, Oculina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leydet, Karine Posbic; Hellberg, Michael E.

    2016-06-01

    Understanding the factors that help shape the association between corals and their algal symbionts, zooxanthellae ( Symbiodinium), is necessary to better understand the functional diversity and acclimatization potential of the coral host. However, most studies focus on tropical zooxanthellate corals and their obligate algal symbionts, thus limiting our full comprehension of coral-algal symbiont associations. Here, we examine algal associations in a facultative zooxanthellate coral. We survey the Symbiodinium communities associated with Oculina corals in the western North Atlantic and the Mediterranean using one clade-level marker ( psbA coding region) and three fine-scale markers ( cp23S- rDNA, b7sym15 flanking region, and b2sym17). We ask whether Oculina spp. harbor geographically different Symbiodinium communities across their geographic range and, if so, whether the host's genetics or habitat differences are correlated with this geographical variation. We found that Oculina corals harbor different Symbiodinium communities across their geographical range. Of the habitat differences (including chlorophyll a concentration and depth), sea surface temperature is better correlated with this geographical variation than the host's genetics, a pattern most evident in the Mediterranean. Our results suggest that although facultative zooxanthellate corals may be less dependent on their algal partners compared to obligate zooxanthellate corals, the Symbiodinium communities that they harbor may nevertheless reflect acclimatization to environmental variation among habitats.

  17. 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.

  18. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    on the systematic position is presented. The general structure is depicted with illustrations. Physiology part is updated to current knowledge on reproduction, nutrition and excretion of corals. The coral reefs section begins with status of world reefs...

  19. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Phylogenetic diversity of actinobacteria associated with soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and stony coral Tubastraea coccinea in the East China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Shan; Sun, Wei; Tang, Cen; Jin, Liling; Zhang, Fengli; Li, Zhiyong

    2013-07-01

    Actinobacteria are widely distributed in the marine environment. To date, few studies have been performed to explore the coral-associated Actinobacteria, and little is known about the diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. In this study, the actinobacterial diversity associated with one soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and one stony coral Tubastraea coccinea collected from the East China Sea was investigated using both culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches. A total of 19 actinobacterial genera were detected in these two corals, among which nine genera (Corynebacterium, Dietzia, Gordonia, Kocuria, Microbacterium, Micrococcus, Mycobacterium, Streptomyces, and Candidatus Microthrix) were common, three genera (Cellulomonas, Dermatophilus, and Janibacter) were unique to the soft coral, and seven genera (Brevibacterium, Dermacoccus, Leucobacter, Micromonospora, Nocardioides, Rhodococcus, and Serinicoccus) were unique to the stony coral. This finding suggested that highly diverse Actinobacteria were associated with different types of corals. In particular, five actinobacterial genera (Cellulomonas, Dermacoccus, Gordonia, Serinicoccus, and Candidatus Microthrix) were recovered from corals for the first time, extending the known diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. This study shows that soft and stony corals host diverse Actinobacteria and can serve as a new source of marine actinomycetes.

  3. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease in a comparative coral species framework.

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are threatened throughout the world. A major factor contributing to their decline is outbreaks and propagation of coral diseases. Due to the complexity of coral-associated microbe communities, little is understood in terms of disease agents, hosts and vectors. It is known that compromised health in corals is correlated with shifts in bacterial assemblages colonizing coral mucus and tissue. However, general disease patterns remain, to a large extent, ambiguous as comparative studies over species, regions, or diseases are scarce. Here, we compare bacterial assemblages of samples from healthy (HH) colonies and such displaying signs of White Plague Disease (WPD) of two different coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) from the same reef in Koh Tao, Thailand, using 16S rRNA gene microarrays. In line with other studies, we found an increase of bacterial diversity in diseased (DD) corals, and a higher abundance of taxa from the families that include known coral pathogens (Alteromonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Vibrionaceae). In our comparative framework analysis, we found differences in microbial assemblages between coral species and coral health states. Notably, patterns of bacterial community structures from HH and DD corals were maintained over species boundaries. Moreover, microbes that differentiated the two coral species did not overlap with microbes that were indicative of HH and DD corals. This suggests that while corals harbor distinct species-specific microbial assemblages, disease-specific bacterial abundance patterns exist that are maintained over coral species boundaries.

  4. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura D. Mydlarz

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Gorgonian corals possess many novel natural products that could potentially mediate coral-bacterial interactions. Since many bacteria use quorum sensing (QS signals to facilitate colonization of host organisms, regulation of prokaryotic cell-to-cell communication may represent an important bacterial control mechanism. In the present study, we examined extracts of twelve species of Caribbean gorgonian corals, for mechanisms that regulate microbial colonization, such as antibacterial activity and QS regulatory activity. Ethanol extracts of gorgonians collected from Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys showed a range of both antibacterial and QS activities using a specific Pseudomonas aeruginosa QS reporter, sensitive to long chain AHLs and a short chain N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHL biosensor, Chromobacterium violaceium. Overall, the gorgonian corals had higher antimicrobial activity against non-marine strains when compared to marine strains. Pseudopterogorgia americana, Pseusopterogorgia acerosa, and Pseudoplexuara flexuosa had the highest QS inhibitory effect. Interestingly, Pseudoplexuara porosa extracts stimulated QS activity with a striking 17-fold increase in signal. The stimulation of QS by P. porosa or other elements of the holobiont may encourage colonization or recruitment of specific microbial species. Overall, these results suggest the presence of novel stimulatory QS, inhibitory QS and bactericidal compounds in gorgonian corals. A better understanding of these compounds may reveal insight into coral-microbial ecology and whether a therapeutic potential exists.

  5. CORAL REEF BIOLOGICAL CRITERIA: USING THE CLEAN ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are declining at unprecedented rates worldwide due to multiple interactive stressors including climate change and land-based sources of pollution. The Clean Water Act (CWA) can be a powerful legal instrument for protecting water resources, including the biological inhabitants of coral reefs. The objective of the CWA is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of water resources. Coral reef protection and restoration under the Clean Water Act begins with water quality standards - provisions of state or Federal law that consist of a designated use(s) for the waters of the United States and water quality criteria sufficient to protect the uses. Aquatic life use is the designated use that is measured by biological criteria (biocriteria). Biocriteria are expectations set by a jurisdiction for the quality and quantity of living aquatic resources in a defined waterbody. Biocriteria are an important addition to existing management tools for coral reef ecosystems. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework to aid States and Territories in their development, adoption, and implementation of coral reef biocriteria in their respective water quality standards. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework for coral re

  6. 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

  7. Non-intrusive Assessment of Photosystem II and Photosystem I in Whole Coral Tissues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Milán Szabó

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Reef building corals (phylum Cnidaria harbor endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae (genus Symbiodinium that generate photosynthetic products to fuel their host's metabolism. Non-invasive techniques such as chlorophyll (Chl fluorescence analyses of Photosystem II (PSII have been widely used to estimate the photosynthetic performance of Symbiodinium in hospite. However, since the spatial origin of PSII chlorophyll fluorescence in coral tissues is uncertain, such signals give limited information on depth-integrated photosynthetic performance of the whole tissue. In contrast, detection of absorbance changes in the near infrared (NIR region integrates signals from deeper tissue layers due to weak absorption and multiple scattering of NIR light. While extensively utilized in higher plants, NIR bio-optical techniques are seldom applied to corals. We have developed a non-intrusive measurement method to examine photochemistry of intact corals, based on redox kinetics of the primary electron donor in Photosystem I (P700 and chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics (Fast-Repetition Rate fluorometry, FRRf. Since the redox state of P700 depends on the operation of both PSI and PSII, important information can be obtained on the PSII-PSI intersystem electron transfer kinetics. Under moderate, sub-lethal heat stress treatments (33°C for ~20 min, the coral Pavona decussata exhibited down-regulation of PSII electron transfer kinetics, indicated by slower rates of electron transport from QA to plastoquinone (PQ pool, and smaller relative size of oxidized PQ with concomitant decrease of a specifically-defined P700 kinetics area, which represents the active pool of PSII. The maximum quantum efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm and functional absorption cross-section of PSII (σPSII remained unchanged. Based on the coordinated response of P700 parameters and PSII-PSI electron transport properties, we propose that simple P700 kinetics parameters as employed here serve as indicators of

  8. Microbial community composition of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provides insight into functional adaption to a unique environment

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Yum, Lauren; Kremb, Stephan Georg; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Microbes associated with deep-sea corals remain poorly studied. The lack of symbiotic algae suggests that associated microbes may play a fundamental role in maintaining a viable coral host via acquisition and recycling of nutrients. Here we employed

  9. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.

    2017-12-15

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

  10. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.; Ziegler, Maren; Radecker, Nils; Buitrago Lopez, Carol; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anthony J Bellantuono

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

  12. Species and size diversity in protective services offered by coral guard-crabs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Seabird McKeon

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Coral guard-crabs in the genus Trapezia are well-documented defenders of their pocilloporid coral hosts against coral predators such as the Crown-of-Thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci complex. The objectives of this study were to examine the protective services of six species of Trapezia against corallivory, and the extent of functional diversity among these Trapezia species.Studies conducted in Mo’orea, French Polynesia showed the Trapezia—coral mutualism protected the host corals from multiple predators through functional diversity in the assemblage of crab symbionts. Species differed in their defensive efficacy, but species within similar size classes shared similar abilities. Smaller-size Trapezia species, which were previously thought to be ineffective guards, play important defensive roles against small corallivores.We also measured the benefits of this mutualism to corals in the midst of an Acanthaster outbreak that reduced the live coral cover on the fore reef to less than 4%. The mutualism may positively affect the reef coral demography and potential for recovery during adverse predation events through shelter of multiple species of small corals near the host coral. Our results show that while functional diversity is supported within the genus, some Trapezia species may be functionally equivalent within the same size class, decreasing the threat of gaps in coral protection caused by absence or replacement of any single Trapezia species.

  13. Responses of Coral-Associated Bacterial Communities to Local and Global Stressors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. McDevitt-Irwin

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The microbial contribution to ecological resilience is still largely overlooked in coral reef ecology. Coral-associated bacteria serve a wide variety of functional roles with reference to the coral host, and thus, the composition of the overall microbiome community can strongly influence coral health and survival. Here, we synthesize the findings of recent studies (n = 45 that evaluated the impacts of the top three stressors facing coral reefs (climate change, water pollution and overfishing on coral microbiome community structure and diversity. Contrary to the species losses that are typical of many ecological communities under stress, here we show that microbial richness tends to be higher rather than lower for stressed corals (i.e., in ~60% of cases, regardless of the stressor. Microbial responses to stress were taxonomically consistent across stressors, with specific taxa typically increasing in abundance (e.g., Vibrionales, Flavobacteriales, Rhodobacterales, Alteromonadales, Rhizobiales, Rhodospirillales, and Desulfovibrionales and others declining (e.g., Oceanosprillales. Emerging evidence also suggests that stress may increase the microbial beta diversity amongst coral colonies, potentially reflecting a reduced ability of the coral host to regulate its microbiome. Moving forward, studies will need to discern the implications of stress-induced shifts in microbiome diversity for the coral hosts and may be able to use microbiome community structure to identify resilient corals. The evidence we present here supports the hypothesis that microbial communities play important roles in ecological resilience, and we encourage a focus on the microbial contributions to resilience for future research.

  14. Coral reefs - Specialized ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    This paper discusses briefly some aspects that characterize and differentiate coral reef ecosystems from other tropical marine ecosystems. A brief account on the resources that are extractable from coral reefs, their susceptibility to natural...

  15. Coral-Associated Actinobacteria: Diversity, Abundance, and Biotechnological Potentials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahmoud, Huda M.; Kalendar, Aisha A.

    2016-01-01

    Marine Actinobacteria, particularly coral-associated Actinobacteria, have attracted attention recently. In this study, the abundance and diversity of Actinobacteria associated with three types of coral thriving in a thermally stressed coral reef system north of the Arabian Gulf were investigated. Coscinaraea columna, Platygyra daedalea and Porites harrisoni have been found to harbor equivalent numbers of culturable Actinobacteria in their tissues but not in their mucus. However, different culturable actinobacterial communities have been found to be associated with different coral hosts. Differences in the abundance and diversity of Actinobacteria were detected between the mucus and tissue of the same coral host. In addition, temporal and spatial variations in the abundance and diversity of the cultivable actinobacterial communities were detected. In total, 19 different actinobacterial genera, namely Micrococcus, Brachybacterium, Brevibacterium, Streptomyces, Micromonospora, Renibacterium, Nocardia, Microbacterium, Dietzia, Cellulomonas, Ornithinimicrobium, Rhodococcus, Agrococcus, Kineococcus, Dermacoccus, Devriesea, Kocuria, Marmoricola, and Arthrobacter, were isolated from the coral tissue and mucus samples. Furthermore, 82 isolates related to Micromonospora, Brachybacterium, Nocardia, Micrococcus, Arthrobacter, Rhodococcus, and Streptomyces showed antimicrobial activities against representative Gram-positive and/or Gram-negative bacteria. Even though Brevibacterium and Kocuria were the most dominant actinobacterial isolates, they failed to show any antimicrobial activity, whereas less dominant genera, such as Streptomyces, did show antimicrobial activity. Focusing on the diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria may help to understand how corals thrive under harsh environmental conditions and may lead to the discovery of novel antimicrobial metabolites with potential biotechnological applications. PMID:26973601

  16. Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef-building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (>50% cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant.

  17. Bacterial assemblages differ between compartments within the coral holobiont

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-03-01

    It is widely accepted that corals are associated with a diverse and host species-specific microbiota, but how they are organized within their hosts remains poorly understood. Previous sampling techniques (blasted coral tissues, coral swabs and milked mucus) may preferentially sample from different compartments such as mucus, tissue and skeleton, or amalgamate them, making comparisons and generalizations between studies difficult. This study characterized bacterial communities of corals with minimal mechanical disruption and contamination from water, air and sediments from three compartments: surface mucus layer (SML), coral tissue and coral skeleton. A novel apparatus (the `snot sucker') was used to separate the SML from tissues and skeleton, and these three compartments were compared to swab samples and milked mucus along with adjacent environmental samples (water column and sediments). Bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity was significantly different between the various coral compartments and environmental samples (PERMANOVA, F = 6.9, df = 8, P = 0.001), the only exceptions being the complete crushed coral samples and the coral skeleton, which were similar, because the skeleton represents a proportionally large volume and supports a relatively rich microflora. Milked mucus differed significantly from the SML collected with the `snot sucker' and was contaminated with zooxanthellae, suggesting that it may originate at least partially from the gastrovascular cavity rather than the tissue surface. A common method of sampling the SML, surface swabs, produced a bacterial community profile distinct from the SML sampled using our novel apparatus and also showed contamination from coral tissues. Our results indicate that microbial communities are spatially structured within the coral holobiont, and methods used to describe these need to be standardized to allow comparisons between studies.

  18. Ultrastructural biomarkers in symbiotic algae reflect the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients and particulate food to the reef coral holobiont

    OpenAIRE

    Sabrina eRosset; Cecilia eD'Angelo; Jörg eWiedenmann; Jörg eWiedenmann

    2015-01-01

    Reef building corals associated with symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) can access environmental nutrients from different sources, most significantly via the uptake of dissolved inorganic nutrients by the algal symbiont and heterotrophic feeding of the coral host. Climate change is expected to alter the nutrient environment in coral reefs with the potential to benefit or disturb coral reef resilience. At present, the relative importance of the two major nutrient sources is not well understood, m...

  19. Nitrogen cycling in corals: the key to understanding holobiont functioning?

    KAUST Repository

    Rädecker, Nils

    2015-04-01

    Corals are animals that form close mutualistic associations with endosymbiotic photosynthetic algae of the genus Symbiodinium. Together they provide the calcium carbonate framework of coral reef ecosystems. The importance of the microbiome (i.e., bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses) to holobiont functioning has only recently been recognized. Given that growth and density of Symbiodinium within the coral host is highly dependent on nitrogen availability, nitrogen-cycling microbes may be of fundamental importance to the stability of the coral–algae symbiosis and holobiont functioning, in particular under nutrient-enriched and -depleted scenarios. We summarize what is known about nitrogen cycling in corals and conclude that disturbance of microbial nitrogen cycling may be tightly linked to coral bleaching and disease.

  20. Nitrogen cycling in corals: the key to understanding holobiont functioning?

    KAUST Repository

    Rä decker, Nils; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Jö rg; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Corals are animals that form close mutualistic associations with endosymbiotic photosynthetic algae of the genus Symbiodinium. Together they provide the calcium carbonate framework of coral reef ecosystems. The importance of the microbiome (i.e., bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses) to holobiont functioning has only recently been recognized. Given that growth and density of Symbiodinium within the coral host is highly dependent on nitrogen availability, nitrogen-cycling microbes may be of fundamental importance to the stability of the coral–algae symbiosis and holobiont functioning, in particular under nutrient-enriched and -depleted scenarios. We summarize what is known about nitrogen cycling in corals and conclude that disturbance of microbial nitrogen cycling may be tightly linked to coral bleaching and disease.

  1. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals, like humans, are susceptible to diseases. Some coral diseases are associated with pathogenic bacteria; however, the causes of most remain unknown. Some diseases trigger rapid and extensive mortality, while others slowly cause localized color changes or injure coral tiss...

  2. Carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of coral-associated nitrogen in rugose corals of the Middle Devonian, implications for paleoecology and paleoceanography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hickey, A. N.; Junium, C. K.; Uveges, B. T.; Ivany, L. C.; Martindale, R. C.

    2017-12-01

    The Middle Devonian Appalachian Basin of Central New York hosts an extraordinary diversity of well-studied fossil invertebrates within the shallow marine sequences of the Givetian Age, Hamilton Group. Of particular interest are a series of aerially expansive coral beds with diverse assemblages of rugose corals. These well-preserved specimens provide an excellent opportunity to test the feasibility of δ15N and δ13C analyses in rugose corals in an effort to resolve outstanding issues regarding their paleoecology and ontogeny as well environmental dynamics within the Devonian Appalachian Basin. Here we present carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of the rugose corals Heliophyllum and Siphonophrentis from the Joshua Coral Bed. Corals were cleaned of the host calcareous shale and sonicated sequentially in deionized water and methanol, and then oxidatively cleaned. Cleaned corals were sectioned into 0.5cm billets to obtain enough residual organic material for analysis. The organic content of the corals is low, but nanoEA allows for serial sampling of 5-10 samples per coral. Coral sections were decarbonated and the residual organic material is filtered and dried prior to analysis. Coral organic matter is analyzed in triplicate using nanoEA, which is a cryo-trapping, capillary focusing technique for δ15N and δ13C. The δ15N of organic matter extracted from rugose corals is, on average, enriched by 2-4‰ relative to the bulk nitrogen in the host rock. As well, the δ13C of organic carbon from the corals is 13C-enriched relative to the bulk rock, but to a lesser degree (no more than 1.5‰). Assuming that the bulk rock carbon and nitrogen are largely representative of the long-term primary production background, the modest enrichment is consistent with a trophic effect, and that rugose corals are likely planktivores. In an individual coral, δ15N ranges by 3-4‰ over its length, and when adjusted for trophic enrichment varies around the average δ15N of bulk

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olga Pantos

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

  4. Investigating Coral Disease Spread Across the Hawaiian Archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sziklay, Jamie

    Coral diseases negatively impact reef ecosystems and they are increasing worldwide; yet, we have a limited understanding of the factors that influence disease risk and transmission. My dissertation research investigated coral disease spread for several common coral diseases in the Hawaiian archipelago to understand how host-pathogenenvironment interactions vary across different spatial scales and how we can use that information to improve management strategies. At broad spatial scales, I developed forecasting models to predict outbreak risk based on depth, coral density and temperature anomalies from remotely sensed data (chapter 1). In this chapter, I determined that host density, total coral density, depth and winter temperature variation were important predictors of disease prevalence for several coral diseases. Expanding on the predictive models, I also found that colony size, wave energy, water quality, fish abundance and nearby human population size altered disease risk (chapter 2). Most of the model variation occurred at the scale of sites and coastline, indicating that local coral composition and water quality were key determinants of disease risk. At the reef scale, I investigated factors that influence disease transmission among individuals using a tissue loss disease outbreak in Kane'ohe Bay, O'ahu, Hawai'i as a case study (chapter 3). I determined that host size, proximity to infected neighbors and numbers of infected neighbors were associated with disease risk. Disease transmission events were very localized (within 15 m) and rates changed dramatically over the course of the outbreak: the transmission rate initially increased quickly during the outbreak and then decreased steadily until the outbreak ended. At the colony scale, I investigated disease progression between polyps within individual coral colonies using confocal microscopy (chapter 4). Here, I determined that fragmented florescent pigment distributions appeared adjacent to the disease front

  5. Microbiome structure of the fungid coral Ctenactis echinata aligns with environmental differences

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2015-06-19

    The significance of bacteria for eukaryotic functioning is increasingly recognized. Coral reef ecosystems critically rely on the relationship between coral hosts and their intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates, but the role of the associated bacteria remains largely theoretical. Here, we set out to relate coral-associated bacterial communities of the fungid host species Ctenactis echinata to environmental settings (geographic location, substrate cover, summer/winter, nutrient and suspended matter concentrations) and coral host abundance. We show that bacterial diversity of C. echinata aligns with ecological differences between sites and that coral colonies sampled at the species’ preferred habitats are primarily structured by one bacterial taxon (genus Endozoicomonas) representing more than 60% of all bacteria. In contrast, host microbiomes from lower populated coral habitats are less structured and more diverse. Our study demonstrates that the content and structure of the coral microbiome aligns with environmental differences and denotes habitat adequacy. Availability of a range of coral host habitats might be important for the conservation of distinct microbiome structures and diversity.

  6. Microbiome structure of the fungid coral Ctenactis echinata aligns with environmental differences

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Kruse, Maren; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    The significance of bacteria for eukaryotic functioning is increasingly recognized. Coral reef ecosystems critically rely on the relationship between coral hosts and their intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates, but the role of the associated bacteria remains largely theoretical. Here, we set out to relate coral-associated bacterial communities of the fungid host species Ctenactis echinata to environmental settings (geographic location, substrate cover, summer/winter, nutrient and suspended matter concentrations) and coral host abundance. We show that bacterial diversity of C. echinata aligns with ecological differences between sites and that coral colonies sampled at the species’ preferred habitats are primarily structured by one bacterial taxon (genus Endozoicomonas) representing more than 60% of all bacteria. In contrast, host microbiomes from lower populated coral habitats are less structured and more diverse. Our study demonstrates that the content and structure of the coral microbiome aligns with environmental differences and denotes habitat adequacy. Availability of a range of coral host habitats might be important for the conservation of distinct microbiome structures and diversity.

  7. Coral health on reefs near mining sites in New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heintz, T; Haapkylä, J; Gilbert, A

    2015-07-23

    Coral health data are poorly documented in New Caledonia, particularly from reefs chronically subject to anthropogenic and natural runoff. We investigated patterns of coral disease and non-disease conditions on reefs situated downstream of mining sites off the coast of New Caledonia. Surveys were conducted in March 2013 at 2 locations along the west coast and 2 locations along the east coast of the main island. Only 2 coral diseases were detected: growth anomalies and white syndrome. The most prevalent signs of compromised health at each location were sediment damage and algal overgrowth. These results support earlier findings that sedimentation and turbidity are major threats to in-shore reefs in New Caledonia. The Poritidae-dominated west coast locations were more subject to sediment damage, algal overgrowth and growth anomalies compared to the Acroporidae-dominated east coast locations. If growth form and resistance of coral hosts influence these results, differences in environmental conditions including hydro-dynamism between locations may also contribute to these outputs. Our results highlight the importance of combining coral health surveys with measurements of coral cover when assessing the health status of a reef, as reefs with high coral cover may have a high prevalence of corals demonstrating signs of compromised health.

  8. Low coral cover in a high-CO2 world

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2005-09-01

    Coral reefs generally exist within a relatively narrow band of temperatures, light, and seawater aragonite saturation states. The growth of coral reefs is minimal or nonexistent outside this envelope. Climate change, through its effect on ocean temperature, has already had an impact on the world's coral reefs, with almost 30% of corals having disappeared since the beginning of the 1980s. Abnormally warm temperatures cause corals to bleach (lose their brown dinoflagellate symbionts) and, if elevated for long enough, to die. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is also potentially affecting coral reefs by lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater, making carbonate ions less available for calcification. The synergistic interaction of elevated temperature and CO2 is likely to produce major changes to coral reefs over the next few decades and centuries. Known tolerances of corals to projected changes to sea temperatures indicate that corals are unlikely to remain abundant on reefs and could be rare by the middle of this century if the atmospheric CO2 concentration doubles or triples. The combination of changes to sea temperature and carbonate ion availability could trigger large-scale changes in the biodiversity and function of coral reefs. The ramifications of these changes for the hundred of millions of coral reef-dependent people and industries living in a high-CO2 world have yet to be properly defined. The weight of evidence suggests, however, that projected changes will cause major shifts in the prospects for industries and societies that depend on having healthy coral reefs along their coastlines.

  9. Season, but not symbiont state, drives microbiome structure in the temperate coral Astrangia poculata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, Koty H; Pratte, Zoe A; Kerwin, Allison H; Rotjan, Randi D; Stewart, Frank J

    2017-09-15

    Understanding the associations among corals, their photosynthetic zooxanthella symbionts (Symbiodinium), and coral-associated prokaryotic microbiomes is critical for predicting the fidelity and strength of coral symbioses in the face of growing environmental threats. Most coral-microbiome associations are beneficial, yet the mechanisms that determine the composition of the coral microbiome remain largely unknown. Here, we characterized microbiome diversity in the temperate, facultatively symbiotic coral Astrangia poculata at four seasonal time points near the northernmost limit of the species range. The facultative nature of this system allowed us to test seasonal influence and symbiotic state (Symbiodinium density in the coral) on microbiome community composition. Change in season had a strong effect on A. poculata microbiome composition. The seasonal shift was greatest upon the winter to spring transition, during which time A. poculata microbiome composition became more similar among host individuals. Within each of the four seasons, microbiome composition differed significantly from that of surrounding seawater but was surprisingly uniform between symbiotic and aposymbiotic corals, even in summer, when differences in Symbiodinium density between brown and white colonies are the highest, indicating that the observed seasonal shifts are not likely due to fluctuations in Symbiodinium density. Our results suggest that symbiotic state may not be a primary driver of coral microbial community organization in A. poculata, which is a surprise given the long-held assumption that excess photosynthate is of importance to coral-associated microbes. Rather, other environmental or host factors, in this case, seasonal changes in host physiology associated with winter quiescence, may drive microbiome diversity. Additional studies of A. poculata and other facultatively symbiotic corals will provide important comparisons to studies of reef-building tropical corals and therefore

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-26

    The capacity of coral-dinoflagellate mutualisms to adapt to a changing climate relies in part on standing variation in host and symbiont populations, but rarely have the interactions between symbiotic partners been considered at the level of individuals. Here, we tested the importance of inter-individual variation with respect to the physiology of coral holobionts. We identified six genetically distinct Acropora palmata coral colonies that all shared the same isoclonal Symbiodinium 'fitti' dinoflagellate strain. No other Symbiodinium could be detected in host tissues. We exposed fragments of each colony to extreme cold and found that the stress-induced change in symbiont photochemical efficiency varied up to 3.6-fold depending on host genetic background. The S. 'fitti' strain was least stressed when associating with hosts that significantly altered the expression of 184 genes under cold shock; it was most stressed in hosts that only adjusted 14 genes. Key expression differences among hosts were related to redox signaling and iron availability pathways. Fine-scale interactions among unique host colonies and symbiont strains provide an underappreciated source of raw material for natural selection in coral symbioses.

  11. Skeletal light-scattering accelerates bleaching response in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swain, Timothy D; DuBois, Emily; Gomes, Andrew; Stoyneva, Valentina P; Radosevich, Andrew J; Henss, Jillian; Wagner, Michelle E; Derbas, Justin; Grooms, Hannah W; Velazquez, Elizabeth M; Traub, Joshua; Kennedy, Brian J; Grigorescu, Arabela A; Westneat, Mark W; Sanborn, Kevin; Levine, Shoshana; Schick, Mark; Parsons, George; Biggs, Brendan C; Rogers, Jeremy D; Backman, Vadim; Marcelino, Luisa A

    2016-03-21

    At the forefront of ecosystems adversely affected by climate change, coral reefs are sensitive to anomalously high temperatures which disassociate (bleaching) photosynthetic symbionts (Symbiodinium) from coral hosts and cause increasingly frequent and severe mass mortality events. Susceptibility to bleaching and mortality is variable among corals, and is determined by unknown proportions of environmental history and the synergy of Symbiodinium- and coral-specific properties. Symbiodinium live within host tissues overlaying the coral skeleton, which increases light availability through multiple light-scattering, forming one of the most efficient biological collectors of solar radiation. Light-transport in the upper ~200 μm layer of corals skeletons (measured as 'microscopic' reduced-scattering coefficient, μ'(S,m)), has been identified as a determinant of excess light increase during bleaching and is therefore a potential determinant of the differential rate and severity of bleaching response among coral species. Here we experimentally demonstrate (in ten coral species) that, under thermal stress alone or combined thermal and light stress, low-μ'(S,m) corals bleach at higher rate and severity than high-μ'(S,m) corals and the Symbiodinium associated with low-μ'(S,m) corals experience twice the decrease in photochemical efficiency. We further modelled the light absorbed by Symbiodinium due to skeletal-scattering and show that the estimated skeleton-dependent light absorbed by Symbiodinium (per unit of photosynthetic pigment) and the temporal rate of increase in absorbed light during bleaching are several fold higher in low-μ'(S,m) corals. While symbionts associated with low-[Formula: see text] corals receive less total light from the skeleton, they experience a higher rate of light increase once bleaching is initiated and absorbing bodies are lost; further precipitating the bleaching response. Because microscopic skeletal light-scattering is a robust predictor

  12. Words matter: Recommendations for clarifying coral disease nomenclature and terminology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2010-01-01

    Coral diseases have caused significant losses on Caribbean reefs and are becoming a greater concern in the Pacific. Progress in coral disease research requires collaboration and communication among experts from many different disciplines. The lack of consistency in the use of terms and names in the recent scientific literature reflects the absence of an authority for naming coral diseases, a lack of consensus on the meaning of even some of the most basic terms as they apply to corals, and imprecision in the use of descriptive words. The lack of consensus partly reflects the complexity of this newly emerging field of research. Establishment of a nomenclature committee under the Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) could lead to more standardized definitions and could promote use of appropriate medical terminology for describing and communicating disease conditions in corals. This committee could also help to define disease terminology unique to corals where existing medical terminology is not applicable. These efforts will help scientists communicate with one another and with the general public more effectively. Scientists can immediately begin to reduce some of the confusion simply by explicitly defining the words they are using. In addition, digital photographs can be posted on the CDHC website and included in publications to document the macroscopic (gross) signs of the conditions observed on coral colonies along with precisely written characterizations and descriptions.

  13. 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.

  14. Genetic divergence across habitats in the widespread coral Seriatopora hystrix and its associated Symbiodinium.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pim Bongaerts

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity, yet processes of diversification in these ecosystems are poorly understood. The environmental heterogeneity of coral reef environments could be an important contributor to diversification, however, evidence supporting ecological speciation in corals is sparse. Here, we present data from a widespread coral species that reveals a strong association of host and symbiont lineages with specific habitats, consistent with distinct, sympatric gene pools that are maintained through ecologically-based selection.Populations of a common brooding coral, Seriatopora hystrix, were sampled from three adjacent reef habitats (spanning a approximately 30 m depth range at three locations on the Great Barrier Reef (n = 336. The populations were assessed for genetic structure using a combination of mitochondrial (putative control region and nuclear (three microsatellites markers for the coral host, and the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA for the algal symbionts (Symbiodinium. Our results show concordant genetic partitioning of both the coral host and its symbionts across the different habitats, independent of sampling location.This study demonstrates that coral populations and their associated symbionts can be highly structured across habitats on a single reef. Coral populations from adjacent habitats were found to be genetically isolated from each other, whereas genetic similarity was maintained across similar habitat types at different locations. The most parsimonious explanation for the observed genetic partitioning across habitats is that adaptation to the local environment has caused ecological divergence of distinct genetic groups within S. hystrix.

  15. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

    Coral reefs are found in oligotrophic waters, which are poor in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and possibly iron. In spite of this, coral reefs exhibit high gross primary productivity rates. They thrive in oligotrophic conditions because of the symbiotic relationship between corals and dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) embedded in the coral tissue. In their mutualistic symbiosis, the zooxanthellae contribute their photosynthetic capability as the basis for the metabolic energy of the whole association, and eventually of a great part of the entire reef ecosystem

  16. Moderate Thermal Stress Causes Active and Immediate Expulsion of Photosynthetically Damaged Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium from Corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Fujise

    Full Text Available The foundation of coral reef biology is the symbiosis between corals and zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium. Recently, coral bleaching, which often results in mass mortality of corals and the collapse of coral reef ecosystems, has become an important issue around the world as coral reefs decrease in number year after year. To understand the mechanisms underlying coral bleaching, we maintained two species of scleractinian corals (Acroporidae in aquaria under non-thermal stress (27°C and moderate thermal stress conditions (30°C, and we compared the numbers and conditions of the expelled Symbiodinium from these corals. Under non-thermal stress conditions corals actively expel a degraded form of Symbiodinium, which are thought to be digested by their host coral. This response was also observed at 30°C. However, while the expulsion rates of Symbiodinium cells remained constant, the proportion of degraded cells significantly increased at 30°C. This result indicates that corals more actively digest and expel damaged Symbiodinium under thermal stress conditions, likely as a mechanism for coping with environmental change. However, the increase in digested Symbiodinium expulsion under thermal stress may not fully keep up with accumulation of the damaged cells. There are more photosynthetically damaged Symbiodinium upon prolonged exposure to thermal stress, and corals release them without digestion to prevent their accumulation. This response may be an adaptive strategy to moderate stress to ensure survival, but the accumulation of damaged Symbiodinium, which causes subsequent coral deterioration, may occur when the response cannot cope with the magnitude or duration of environmental stress, and this might be a possible mechanism underlying coral bleaching during prolonged moderate thermal stress.

  17. Moderate Thermal Stress Causes Active and Immediate Expulsion of Photosynthetically Damaged Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium) from Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujise, Lisa; Yamashita, Hiroshi; Suzuki, Go; Sasaki, Kengo; Liao, Lawrence M; Koike, Kazuhiko

    2014-01-01

    The foundation of coral reef biology is the symbiosis between corals and zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium). Recently, coral bleaching, which often results in mass mortality of corals and the collapse of coral reef ecosystems, has become an important issue around the world as coral reefs decrease in number year after year. To understand the mechanisms underlying coral bleaching, we maintained two species of scleractinian corals (Acroporidae) in aquaria under non-thermal stress (27°C) and moderate thermal stress conditions (30°C), and we compared the numbers and conditions of the expelled Symbiodinium from these corals. Under non-thermal stress conditions corals actively expel a degraded form of Symbiodinium, which are thought to be digested by their host coral. This response was also observed at 30°C. However, while the expulsion rates of Symbiodinium cells remained constant, the proportion of degraded cells significantly increased at 30°C. This result indicates that corals more actively digest and expel damaged Symbiodinium under thermal stress conditions, likely as a mechanism for coping with environmental change. However, the increase in digested Symbiodinium expulsion under thermal stress may not fully keep up with accumulation of the damaged cells. There are more photosynthetically damaged Symbiodinium upon prolonged exposure to thermal stress, and corals release them without digestion to prevent their accumulation. This response may be an adaptive strategy to moderate stress to ensure survival, but the accumulation of damaged Symbiodinium, which causes subsequent coral deterioration, may occur when the response cannot cope with the magnitude or duration of environmental stress, and this might be a possible mechanism underlying coral bleaching during prolonged moderate thermal stress.

  18. 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

  19. Response of Holobiont Compartments to Salinity Changes Indicates Osmoregulation of Scleractinian Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roethig, T.; Ochsenkuehn, M. A.; van der Merwe, R.; Roik, A.; Voolstra, C. R.

    2016-02-01

    Environmental change is expected to render the oceans more saline, but scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers. Yet, some corals are able to tolerate salinities up to 50 PSU, but we know little about the mechanisms involved. Previous studies have exclusively addressed the coral host and their algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) in hospite. To disentangle the role of all compartments of the coral holobiont we assessed the response of the coral host, its symbiont algae in the genus Symbiodinium (in hospite and in culture), and the associated bacterial community to strongly increased salinities. In a short-term incubation (4h) we could measure decreases in the calcification rate of the coral host and the photosynthetic performance of its algal symbiont in hospite. In a long-term (29 days) setup we found no differences in the photosynthetic efficiency but a major restructuring of the bacterial communities. In four Symbiodinium cultures we identified changes in photosynthetic yields and osmolytes composition upon short-term salinity exposure (≤24h). Our results show a short-term reaction of coral host and Symbiodinium to strongly increased salinities. However, lack of an apparent physiological long-term response indicates an acclimation process that is accompanied by a microbiome community shift towards a microbiome that potentially supports increased osmolyte production. Furthermore, changes in osmolytes composition in the Symbiodinium cultures display conserved osmoregulatory processes that may translate to osmoregulation for the coral holobiont.

  20. Predictive modeling of coral disease distribution within a reef system.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gareth J Williams

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available Diseases often display complex and distinct associations with their environment due to differences in etiology, modes of transmission between hosts, and the shifting balance between pathogen virulence and host resistance. Statistical modeling has been underutilized in coral disease research to explore the spatial patterns that result from this triad of interactions. We tested the hypotheses that: 1 coral diseases show distinct associations with multiple environmental factors, 2 incorporating interactions (synergistic collinearities among environmental variables is important when predicting coral disease spatial patterns, and 3 modeling overall coral disease prevalence (the prevalence of multiple diseases as a single proportion value will increase predictive error relative to modeling the same diseases independently. Four coral diseases: Porites growth anomalies (PorGA, Porites tissue loss (PorTL, Porites trematodiasis (PorTrem, and Montipora white syndrome (MWS, and their interactions with 17 predictor variables were modeled using boosted regression trees (BRT within a reef system in Hawaii. Each disease showed distinct associations with the predictors. Environmental predictors showing the strongest overall associations with the coral diseases were both biotic and abiotic. PorGA was optimally predicted by a negative association with turbidity, PorTL and MWS by declines in butterflyfish and juvenile parrotfish abundance respectively, and PorTrem by a modal relationship with Porites host cover. Incorporating interactions among predictor variables contributed to the predictive power of our models, particularly for PorTrem. Combining diseases (using overall disease prevalence as the model response, led to an average six-fold increase in cross-validation predictive deviance over modeling the diseases individually. We therefore recommend coral diseases to be modeled separately, unless known to have etiologies that respond in a similar manner to

  1. Trophodynamics as a Tool for Understanding Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stacy L. Bierwagen

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available The increased frequency of publications concerning trophic ecology of coral reefs suggests a degree of interest in the role species and functional groups play in energy flow within these systems. Coral reef ecosystems are particularly complex, however, and assignment of trophic positions requires precise knowledge of mechanisms driving food webs and population dynamics. Competent analytical tools and empirical analysis are integral to defining ecosystem processes and avoiding misinterpretation of results. Here we examine the contribution of trophodynamics to informing ecological roles and understanding of coral reef ecology. Applied trophic studies of coral reefs were used to identify recent trends in methodology and analysis. Although research is increasing, clear definitions and scaling of studies is lacking. Trophodynamic studies will require more precise spatial and temporal data collection and analysis using multiple methods to fully explore the complex interactions within coral reef ecosystems.

  2. Comparative Profiling of coral symbiont communities from the Caribbean, Indo-Pacific, and Arabian Seas

    KAUST Repository

    Arif, Chatchanit

    2014-12-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are in rapid decline due to global and local anthropogenic factors. Being among the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, a loss will decrease species diversity, and remove food source for people along the coast. The coral together with its symbionts (i.e. Symbiodinium, bacteria, and other microorganisms) is called the ‘coral holobiont’. The coral host offers its associated symbionts suitable habitats and nutrients, while Symbiodinium and coral-associated bacteria provide the host with photosynthates and vital nutrients. Association of corals with certain types of Symbiodinium and bacteria confer coral stress tolerance, and lack or loss of these symbionts coincides with diseased or bleached corals. However, a detailed understanding of the coral holobiont diversity and structure in regard to diseases and health states or across global scales is missing. This dissertation addressed coral-associated symbiont diversity, specifically of Symbiodinium and bacteria, in various coral species from different geographic locations and different health states. The main aims were (1) to expand the scope of existing technologies, (2) to establish a standardized framework to facilitate comparison of symbiont assemblages over coral species and sites, (3) to assess Symbiodinium diversity in the Arabian Seas, and (4) to elucidate whether coral health states have conserved bacterial footprints. In summary, a next generation sequencing pipeline for Symbiodinium diversity typing of the ITS2 marker is developed and applied to describe Symbiodinium diversity in corals around the Arabian Peninsula. The data show that corals in the Arabian Seas are dominated by a single Symbiodinium type, but harbor a rich variety of types in low abundant. Further, association with different Symbiodinium types is structured according to geographic locations. In addition, the application of 16S rRNA gene microarrays to investigate how differences in microbiome structure relate to

  3. Influence of Eunice norvegica on feeding and calcification in the coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, C. E.; van Oevelen, D.; Middelburg, J. J.; Lundälv, T.

    2012-04-01

    Lophelia pertusa is the main framework building cold-water coral in the North Atlantic. It forms complex reef structures, extending up to several km in length and several meters in hight. Many species are attracted by the coral frame work, forming a highly diverse community within the reef. Although most work has focused on the corals, the functioning of the system also depends on interactions between corals and associated species. A particular example is the Polychaete Eunice norvegica that lives in close association with the coral host. The Polychaete builds a thin texture-tube between living coral branches and stimulates the coral to calcify the tube. This process strengthens the reef framwork by thickening and connecting coral brances and thereby acts as a positive feedback on the development of large reef structures. This comes however at an metabolic cost for the coral due to the enhanced calcificationrates. Another negative feedback for cold-water coral may be food related, since aquaria observations have shown that Eunice occasionally steels food from its host coral. In this study we investigated the interactions between the coral and polychaete related to calcification and food partitioning for two food types (algae and Artemia). The uptake of 13C and 15N labeled food sources by the worm and the coral was studied in chambers with only corals, only the polychaete and both species present. After 7 days, corals and worms were analyzed for isotope incorporation in bulk tissue and skeleton samples and specific fatty acids (13C) using GC-c-IRMS (gas-chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry). Corals that were kept in the presence of Eunice indeed showed a higher calcification rates of 7.4 ug C (day* g dw coral)-1, evidencing the stimulation of calcification by Eunice. Interestingly, food uptake of algae and Artemia was higher in the coral-worm treatment for both species as compared to the single species treatments. These results shed new light on

  4. Can resistant coral-Symbiodinium associations enable coral communities to survive climate change? A study of a site exposed to long-term hot water input

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shashank Keshavmurthy

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Climate change has led to a decline in the health of corals and coral reefs around the world. Studies have shown that, while some corals can cope with natural and anthropogenic stressors either through resistance mechanisms of coral hosts or through sustainable relationships with Symbiodinium clades or types, many coral species cannot. Here, we show that the corals present in a reef in southern Taiwan, and exposed to long-term elevated seawater temperatures due to the presence of a nuclear power plant outlet (NPP OL, are unique in terms of species and associated Symbiodinium types. At shallow depths (<3 m, eleven coral genera elsewhere in Kenting predominantly found with Symbiodinium types C1 and C3 (stress sensitive were instead hosting Symbiodinium type D1a (stress tolerant or a mixture of Symbiodinium type C1/C3/C21a/C15 and Symbiodinium type D1a. Of the 16 coral genera that dominate the local reefs, two that are apparently unable to associate with Symbiodinium type D1a are not present at NPP OL at depths of <3 m. Two other genera present at NPP OL and other locations host a specific type of Symbiodinium type C15. These data imply that coral assemblages may have the capacity to maintain their presence at the generic level against long-term disturbances such as elevated seawater temperatures by acclimatization through successful association with a stress-tolerant Symbiodinium over time. However, at the community level it comes at the cost of some coral genera being lost, suggesting that species unable to associate with a stress-tolerant Symbiodinium are likely to become extinct locally and unfavorable shifts in coral communities are likely to occur under the impact of climate change.

  5. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagedorn, Mary; Farrell, Ann; Carter, Virginia L

    2013-02-01

    Around the world, coral reefs are dying due to human influences, and saving habitat alone may not stop this destruction. This investigation focused on the biological processes that will provide the first steps in understanding the cryobiology of whole coral fragments. Coral fragments are a partnership of coral tissue and endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium sp., commonly called zooxanthellae. These data reflected their separate sensitivities to chilling and a cryoprotectant (dimethyl sulfoxide) for the coral Pocillopora damicornis, as measured by tissue loss and Pulse Amplitude Modulated fluorometry 3weeks post-treatment. Five cryoprotectant treatments maintained the viability of the coral tissue and zooxanthellae at control values (1M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0h exposures, and 1.5M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0 and 1.5h exposures, P>0.05, ANOVA), whereas 2M concentrations did not (Pzooxanthellae. During the winter when the fragments were chilled, the coral tissue remained relatively intact (∼25% loss) post-treatment, but the zooxanthellae numbers in the tissue declined after 5min of chilling (Pzooxanthellae numbers declined in response to chilling alone (P0.05, ANOVA), but it did not protect against the loss of zooxanthellae (Pzooxanthellae are the most sensitive element in the coral fragment complex and future cryopreservation protocols must be guided by their greater sensitivity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

    Full Text Available The scale of the collapse of coral reef communities in 1998 following a warming episode (Wilkinson, 2000 was unprecedented, and took many people by surprise. The Indian Ocean was the worst affected with a coral mortality over 75% in many areas such as the Chagos Archipelago (Sheppard, 1999, Seychelles (Spencer et al., 2000 and Maldives (McClanahan, 2000. Several other locations were affected at least as much, with mortality reaching 100% (to the nearest whole number; this is being compiled by various authors (e.g., CORDIO, in press. For example, in the Arabian Gulf, coral mortality is almost total across many large areas of shallow water (Sheppard, unpublished; D. George and D. John, personal communication. The mortality is patchy of course, depending on currents, location inside or outside lagoons, etc., but it is now possible to swim for over 200 m and see not one remaining living coral or soft coral on some previously rich reefs.

  7. Review on hard coral recruitment (Cnidaria: Scleractinia in Colombia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luisa F. Dueñas

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment, defined and measured as the incorporation of new individuals (i.e. coral juveniles into a population, is a fundamentalprocess for ecologists, evolutionists and conservationists due to its direct effect on population structure and function. Because most coralpopulations are self-feeding, a breakdown in recruitment would lead to local extinction. Recruitment indirectly affects both renewal andmaintenance of existing and future coral communities, coral reef biodiversity (bottom-up effect and therefore coral reef resilience. This process has been used as an indirect measure of individual reproductive success (fitness and is the final stage of larval dispersal leading to population connectivity. As a result, recruitment has been proposed as an indicator of coral-reef health in marine protected areas, as well as a central aspect of the decision-making process concerning management and conservation. The creation of management plans to promote impact mitigation, rehabilitation and conservation of the Colombian coral reefs is a necessity that requires firstly, a review and integration of existing literature on scleractinian coral recruitment in Colombia and secondly, larger scale field studies. This motivated us to summarize and analyze all existing information on coral recruitment to determine the state of knowledge, isolate patterns, identify gaps, and suggest future lines of research.

  8. In vivo Microscale Measurements of Light and Photosynthesis during Coral Bleaching: Evidence for the Optical Feedback Loop?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wangpraseurt, Daniel; Holm, Jacob B; Larkum, Anthony W D; Pernice, Mathieu; Ralph, Peter J; Suggett, David J; Kühl, Michael

    2017-01-01

    Climate change-related coral bleaching, i.e., the visible loss of zooxanthellae from the coral host, is increasing in frequency and extent and presents a major threat to coral reefs globally. Coral bleaching has been proposed to involve accelerating light stress of their microalgal endosymbionts via a positive feedback loop of photodamage, symbiont expulsion and excess in vivo light exposure. To test this hypothesis, we used light and O 2 microsensors to characterize in vivo light exposure and photosynthesis of Symbiodinium during a thermal stress experiment. We created tissue areas with different densities of Symbiodinium cells in order to understand the optical properties and light microenvironment of corals during bleaching. Our results showed that in bleached Pocillopora damicornis corals, Symbiodinium light exposure was up to fivefold enhanced relative to healthy corals, and the relationship between symbiont loss and light enhancement was well-described by a power-law function. Cell-specific rates of Symbiodinium gross photosynthesis and light respiration were enhanced in bleached P. damicornis compared to healthy corals, while areal rates of net photosynthesis decreased. Symbiodinium light exposure in Favites sp. revealed the presence of low light microniches in bleached coral tissues, suggesting that light scattering in thick coral tissues can enable photoprotection of cryptic symbionts. Our study provides evidence for the acceleration of in vivo light exposure during coral bleaching but this optical feedback mechanism differs between coral hosts. Enhanced photosynthesis in relation to accelerating light exposure shows that coral microscale optics exerts a key role on coral photophysiology and the subsequent degree of radiative stress during coral bleaching.

  9. Seasonal Preservation Success of the Marine Dinoflagellate Coral Symbiont, Symbiodinium sp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Hagedorn

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, but are threatened by global and local stressors, mandating the need for incorporating ex situ conservation practices. One approach that is highly protective is the development of genome resource banks that preserve the species and its genetic diversity. A critical component of the reef are the endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium sp., living within most coral that transfer energy-rich sugars to their hosts. Although Symbiodinium are maintained alive in culture collections around the world, the cryopreservation of these algae to prevent loss and genetic drift is not well-defined. This study examined the quantum yield physiology and freezing protocols that resulted in survival of Symbiodinium at 24 h post-thawing. Only the ultra-rapid procedure called vitrification resulted in success whereas conventional slow freezing protocols did not. We determined that success also depended on using a thin film of agar with embedded Symbiodinium on Cryotops, a process that yielded a post-thaw viability of >50% in extracted and vitrified Symbiodinium from Fungia scutaria, Pocillopora damicornis and Porites compressa. Additionally, there also was a seasonal influence on vitrification success as the best post-thaw survival of F. scutaria occurred in winter and spring compared to summer and fall (P < 0.05. These findings lay the foundation for developing a viable genome resource bank for the world's Symbiodinium that, in turn, will not only protect this critical element of coral functionality but serve as a resource for understanding the complexities of symbiosis, support selective breeding experiments to develop more thermally resilient strains of coral, and provide a 'gold-standard' genomics collection, allowing for full genomic sequencing of unique Symbiodinium strains.

  10. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röthig, Till; Ochsenkühn, Michael A; Roik, Anna; van der Merwe, Riaan; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-03-01

    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater run-off and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here, we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high-salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high-salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulphur oxidation and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition. © 2016 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2016-02-03

    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater runoff, and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration, and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae, and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulfur oxidation, and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition.

  12. 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

  13. Prevalent and persistent viral infection in cultures of the coral algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weynberg, Karen D.; Neave, Matthew; Clode, Peta L.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Brownlee, Christopher; Laffy, Patrick; Webster, Nicole S.; Levin, Rachel A.; Wood-Charlson, Elisha M.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2017-09-01

    Reef corals are under threat from bleaching and disease outbreaks that target both the host animal and the algal symbionts within the coral holobiont. A viral origin for coral bleaching has been hypothesized, but direct evidence has remained elusive. Using a multifaceted approach incorporating flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy, DNA and RNA virome sequencing, we show that type C1 Symbiodinium cultures host a nucleocytoplasmic large double-stranded DNA virus (NCLDV) related to Phycodnaviridae and Mimiviridae, a novel filamentous virus of unknown phylogenetic affiliation, and a single-stranded RNA virus related to retroviruses. We discuss implications of these findings for laboratory-based experiments using Symbiodinium cultures.

  14. Prevalent and persistent viral infection in cultures of the coral algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium

    KAUST Repository

    Weynberg, Karen D.; Neave, Matthew J.; Clode, Peta L.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Brownlee, Christopher; Laffy, Patrick; Webster, Nicole S.; Levin, Rachel A.; Wood-Charlson, Elisha M.; Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2017-01-01

    Reef corals are under threat from bleaching and disease outbreaks that target both the host animal and the algal symbionts within the coral holobiont. A viral origin for coral bleaching has been hypothesized, but direct evidence has remained elusive. Using a multifaceted approach incorporating flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy, DNA and RNA virome sequencing, we show that type C1 Symbiodinium cultures host a nucleocytoplasmic large double-stranded DNA virus (NCLDV) related to Phycodnaviridae and Mimiviridae, a novel filamentous virus of unknown phylogenetic affiliation, and a single-stranded RNA virus related to retroviruses. We discuss implications of these findings for laboratory-based experiments using Symbiodinium cultures.

  15. Prevalent and persistent viral infection in cultures of the coral algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium

    KAUST Repository

    Weynberg, Karen D.

    2017-03-17

    Reef corals are under threat from bleaching and disease outbreaks that target both the host animal and the algal symbionts within the coral holobiont. A viral origin for coral bleaching has been hypothesized, but direct evidence has remained elusive. Using a multifaceted approach incorporating flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy, DNA and RNA virome sequencing, we show that type C1 Symbiodinium cultures host a nucleocytoplasmic large double-stranded DNA virus (NCLDV) related to Phycodnaviridae and Mimiviridae, a novel filamentous virus of unknown phylogenetic affiliation, and a single-stranded RNA virus related to retroviruses. We discuss implications of these findings for laboratory-based experiments using Symbiodinium cultures.

  16. SPATIAL HETEROGENEITY OF PHOTOSYNTHETIC ACTIVITY WITHIN DISEASED CORALS FROM THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roff, George; Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Fine, Maoz

    2008-01-01

    Morphological diagnosis and descriptions of seven disease-like syndromes affecting scleractinian corals were characterized from the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Chl a fluorescence of PSII was measured using an Imaging-PAM (pulse amplitude modulated) fluorometer, enabling visualization...... with white patch syndrome appeared to impact primarily on the symbiotic dinoflagellates, as evidenced by declines in minimum fluorescence (F0) and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm), with no indication of degeneration in the host tissues. Our results suggest that for the majority of coral syndromes from the GBR......, pathogenesis occurs in the host tissue, while the impact on the zooxanthellae populations residing in affected corals is minimal....

  17. A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, Iliana B

    2008-06-01

    Worldwide degradation of coral reef communities has prompted a surge in restoration efforts. They proceed largely without considering genetic factors because traditionally, coral populations have been regarded as open over large areas with little potential for local adaptation. Since, biophysical and molecular studies indicated that most populations are closed over shorter time and smaller spatial scales. Thus, it is justified to re-examine the potential for site adaptation in corals. There is ample evidence for differentiated populations, inbreeding, asexual reproduction and the occurrence of ecotypes, factors that may facilitate local adaptation. Discovery of widespread local adaptation would influence coral restoration projects mainly with regard to the physical and evolutionary distance from the source wild and/or captive bred propagules may be moved without causing a loss of fitness in the restored population. Proposed causes for loss of fitness as a result of (plant) restoration efforts include founder effects, genetic swamping, inbreeding and/or outbreeding depression. Direct evidence for any of these processes is scarce in reef corals due to a lack of model species that allow for testing over multiple generations and the separation of the relative contributions of algal symbionts and their coral hosts to the overall performance of the coral colony. This gap in our knowledge may be closed by employing novel population genetic and genomics approaches. The use of molecular tools may aid managers in the selection of appropriate propagule sources, guide spatial arrangement of transplants, and help in assessing the success of coral restoration projects by tracking the performance of transplants, thereby generating important data for future coral reef conservation and restoration projects.

  18. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

    The outcome of the interactions between native commensal microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens is crucial to the health of the coral holobiont. During the establishment within the coral surface mucus layer, opportunistic pathogens, including a white pox pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100, compete with native bacteria for available nutrients. Both commensals and pathogens employ glycosidases and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase to utilize components of coral mucus. This study tested the hypothesis that specific glycosidases were critical for the growth of S. marcescens on mucus and that their inhibition by native coral microbiota reduces fitness of the pathogen. Consistent with this hypothesis, a S. marcescens transposon mutant with reduced glycosidase and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase activities was unable to compete with the wild type on the mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata, although it was at least as competitive as the wild type on a minimal medium with glycerol and casamino acids. Virulence of the mutant was modestly reduced in the Aiptasia model. A survey revealed that ∼8% of culturable coral commensal bacteria have the ability to inhibit glycosidases in the pathogen. A small molecular weight, ethanol-soluble substance(s) produced by the coral commensal Exiguobacterium sp. was capable of the inhibition of the induction of catabolic enzymes in S. marcescens. This inhibition was in part responsible for the 10-100-fold reduction in the ability of the pathogen to grow on coral mucus. These results provide insight into potential mechanisms of commensal interference with early colonization and infection behaviors in opportunistic pathogens and highlight an important function for the native microbiota in coral health.

  20. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidance prepared by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers concerning coral reef protection under the Clean Water Act, Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and Federal Project Authorities.

  1. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The data represent predicted habitat suitability for several taxa of deep-sea corals. Predictions were modeled using a statistical machine-learning algorithm called...

  2. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Records of past climate and ocean environment derived from stable isotope, trace metal, and other measurements made on corals and sclerosponges. Parameter keywords...

  3. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian

    Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals, fresh coral mucus and floating and attached mucus detritus from the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea was studied. Corallochytrium limacisporum Raghukumar, Thraustochytrium motivum Goldstein...

  4. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till

    2017-01-01

    and amino acids to be putatively involved in the osmoadjustment. Importantly, under high salinity the osmolyte floridoside was consistently increased. This could be corroborated in the coral model Aiptasia and in corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf, where

  5. Bacterial communities of two ubiquitous Great Barrier Reef corals reveals both site- and species-specificity of common bacterial associates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E Charlotte E Kvennefors

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral-associated bacteria are increasingly considered to be important in coral health, and altered bacterial community structures have been linked to both coral disease and bleaching. Despite this, assessments of bacterial communities on corals rarely apply sufficient replication to adequately describe the natural variability. Replicated data such as these are crucial in determining potential roles of bacteria on coral. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE of the V3 region of the 16S ribosomal DNA was used in a highly replicated approach to analyse bacterial communities on both healthy and diseased corals. Although site-specific variations in the bacterial communities of healthy corals were present, host species-specific bacterial associates within a distinct cluster of gamma-proteobacteria could be identified, which are potentially linked to coral health. Corals affected by "White Syndrome" (WS underwent pronounced changes in their bacterial communities in comparison to healthy colonies. However, the community structure and bacterial ribotypes identified in diseased corals did not support the previously suggested theory of a bacterial pathogen as the causative agent of the syndrome. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study to employ large numbers of replicated samples to assess the bacterial communities of healthy and diseased corals, and the first culture-independent assessment of bacterial communities on WS affected Acroporid corals on the GBR. Results indicate that a minimum of 6 replicate samples are required in order to draw inferences on species, spatial or health-related changes in community composition, as a set of clearly distinct bacterial community profiles exist in healthy corals. Coral bacterial communities may be both site and species specific. Furthermore, a cluster of gamma-proteobacterial ribotypes may represent a group of specific common coral and marine

  6. Light-Dependency of Growth and Secondary Metabolite Production in the Captive Zooxanthellate Soft Coral Sinularia flexibilis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Khalesi, M.K.; Beeftink, H.H.; Wijffels, R.H.

    2009-01-01

    The branching zooxanthellate soft coral Sinularia flexibillis releases antimicrobial and toxic compounds with potential pharmaceutical importance. As photosynthesis by the symbiotic algae is vital to the host, the light-dependency of the coral, including its specific growth rate (µ day-1) and the

  7. Physiological and biogeochemical traits of bleaching and recovery in the mounding species of coral Porites lobata: implications for resilience in mounding corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen J Levas

    Full Text Available Mounding corals survive bleaching events in greater numbers than branching corals. However, no study to date has determined the underlying physiological and biogeochemical trait(s that are responsible for mounding coral holobiont resilience to bleaching. Furthermore, the potential of dissolved organic carbon (DOC as a source of fixed carbon to bleached corals has never been determined. Here, Porites lobata corals were experimentally bleached for 23 days and then allowed to recover for 0, 1, 5, and 11 months. At each recovery interval a suite of analyses were performed to assess their recovery (photosynthesis, respiration, chlorophyll a, energy reserves, tissue biomass, calcification, δ(13C of the skeletal, δ(13C, and δ(15N of the animal host and endosymbiont fractions. Furthermore, at 0 months of recovery, the assimilation of photosynthetically acquired and zooplankton-feeding acquired carbon into the animal host, endosymbiont, skeleton, and coral-mediated DOC were measured via (13C-pulse-chase labeling. During the first month of recovery, energy reserves and tissue biomass in bleached corals were maintained despite reductions in chlorophyll a, photosynthesis, and the assimilation of photosynthetically fixed carbon. At the same time, P. lobata corals catabolized carbon acquired from zooplankton and seemed to take up DOC as a source of fixed carbon. All variables that were negatively affected by bleaching recovered within 5 to 11 months. Thus, bleaching resilience in the mounding coral P. lobata is driven by its ability to actively catabolize zooplankton-acquired carbon and seemingly utilize DOC as a significant fixed carbon source, facilitating the maintenance of energy reserves and tissue biomass. With the frequency and intensity of bleaching events expected to increase over the next century, coral diversity on future reefs may favor not only mounding morphologies but species like P. lobata, which have the ability to utilize heterotrophic

  8. Mechanisms of Thermal Tolerance in Reef-Building Corals across a Fine-Grained Environmental Mosaic: Lessons from Ofu, American Samoa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luke Thomas

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Environmental heterogeneity gives rise to phenotypic variation through a combination of phenotypic plasticity and fixed genetic effects. For reef-building corals, understanding the relative roles of acclimatization and adaptation in generating thermal tolerance is fundamental to predicting the response of coral populations to future climate change. The temperature mosaic in the lagoon of Ofu, American Samoa, represents an ideal natural laboratory for studying thermal tolerance in corals. Two adjacent back-reef pools approximately 500 m apart have different temperature profiles: the highly variable (HV pool experiences temperatures that range from 24.5 to 35°C, whereas the moderately variable (MV pool ranges from 25 to 32°C. Standardized heat stress tests have shown that corals native to the HV pool have consistently higher levels of bleaching resistance than those in the MV pool. In this review, we summarize research into the mechanisms underlying this variation in bleaching resistance, focusing on the important reef-building genus Acropora. Both acclimatization and adaptation occur strongly and define thermal tolerance differences between pools. Most individual corals shift physiology to become more heat resistant when moved into the warmer pool. Lab based tests show that these shifts begin in as little as a week and are equally sparked by exposure to periodic high temperatures as constant high temperatures. Transcriptome-wide data on gene expression show that a wide variety of genes are co-regulated in expression modules that change expression after experimental heat stress, after acclimatization, and even after short term environmental fluctuations. Population genetic scans show associations between a corals' thermal environment and its alleles at 100s to 1000s of nuclear genes and no single gene confers strong environmental effects within or between species. Symbionts also tend to differ between pools and species, and the thermal tolerance

  9. Dark production of extracellular superoxide by the coral Porites astreoides and representative symbionts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tong Zhang

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The reactive oxygen species (ROS superoxide has been implicated in both beneficial and detrimental processes in coral biology, ranging from pathogenic disease resistance to coral bleaching. Despite the critical role of ROS in coral health, there is a distinct lack of ROS measurements and thus an incomplete understanding of underpinning ROS sources and production mechanisms within coral systems. Here, we quantified in situ extracellular superoxide concentrations at the surfaces of aquaria-hosted Porites astreoides during a diel cycle. High concentrations of superoxide (~10’s of nM were present at coral surfaces, and these levels did not change significantly as a function of time of day. These results indicate that the coral holobiont produces extracellular superoxide in the dark, independent of photosynthesis. As a short-lived anion at physiological pH, superoxide has a limited ability to cross intact biological membranes. Further, removing surface mucus layers from the P. astreoides colonies did not impact external superoxide concentrations. We therefore attribute external superoxide derived from the coral holobiont under these conditions to the activity of the coral host epithelium, rather than mucus-derived epibionts or internal sources such as endosymbionts (e.g., Symbiodinium. However, endosymbionts likely contribute to internal ROS levels via extracellular superoxide production. Indeed, common coral symbionts, including multiple strains of Symbiodinium (clades A to D and the bacterium Endozoicomonas montiporae LMG 24815, produced extracellular superoxide in the dark and at low light levels. Further, representative P. astreoides symbionts, Symbiodinium CCMP2456 (clade A and E. montiporae, produced similar concentrations of superoxide alone and in combination with each other, in the dark and low light, and regardless of time of day. Overall, these results indicate that healthy, non-stressed P. astreoides and representative symbionts produce

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Variation in Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages among coral colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, Michael; Bird, Christopher E; Pochon, Xavier; Chasqui, Luis; Chauka, Leonard J; Concepcion, Gregory T; Logan, Dan; Takabayashi, Misaki; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2011-01-05

    Endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are fundamentally important to the biology of scleractinian corals, as well as to a variety of other marine organisms. The genus Symbiodinium is genetically and functionally diverse and the taxonomic nature of the union between Symbiodinium and corals is implicated as a key trait determining the environmental tolerance of the symbiosis. Surprisingly, the question of how Symbiodinium diversity partitions within a species across spatial scales of meters to kilometers has received little attention, but is important to understanding the intrinsic biological scope of a given coral population and adaptations to the local environment. Here we address this gap by describing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages recovered from colonies of the reef building coral Montipora capitata sampled across Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i. A total of 52 corals were sampled in a nested design of Coral Colony(Site(Region)) reflecting spatial scales of meters to kilometers. A diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequences was recovered with the majority of variance partitioning at the level of the Coral Colony. To confirm this result, the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence diversity in six M. capitata colonies were analyzed in much greater depth with 35 to 55 clones per colony. The ITS2 sequences and quantitative composition recovered from these colonies varied significantly, indicating that each coral hosted a different assemblage of Symbiodinium. The diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages retrieved from individual colonies of M. capitata here highlights the problems inherent in interpreting multi-copy and intra-genomically variable molecular markers, and serves as a context for discussing the utility and biological relevance of assigning species names based on Symbiodinium ITS2 genotyping.

  13. Microbes in the coral holobiont: partners through evolution, development, and ecological interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Janelle R; Rivera, Hanny E; Closek, Collin J; Medina, Mónica

    2014-01-01

    In the last two decades, genetic and genomic studies have revealed the astonishing diversity and ubiquity of microorganisms. Emergence and expansion of the human microbiome project has reshaped our thinking about how microbes control host health-not only as pathogens, but also as symbionts. In coral reef environments, scientists have begun to examine the role that microorganisms play in coral life history. Herein, we review the current literature on coral-microbe interactions within the context of their role in evolution, development, and ecology. We ask the following questions, first posed by McFall-Ngai et al. (2013) in their review of animal evolution, with specific attention to how coral-microbial interactions may be affected under future environmental conditions: (1) How do corals and their microbiome affect each other's genomes? (2) How does coral development depend on microbial partners? (3) How is homeostasis maintained between corals and their microbial symbionts? (4) How can ecological approaches deepen our understanding of the multiple levels of coral-microbial interactions? Elucidating the role that microorganisms play in the structure and function of the holobiont is essential for understanding how corals maintain homeostasis and acclimate to changing environmental conditions.

  14. Spatial and Species Variations in Bacterial Communities Associated with Corals from the Red Sea as Revealed by Pyrosequencing

    KAUST Repository

    Lee, O. O.

    2012-08-03

    Microbial associations with corals are common and are most likely symbiotic, although their diversity and relationships with environmental factors and host species remain unclear. In this study, we adopted a 16S rRNA gene tag-pyrosequencing technique to investigate the bacterial communities associated with three stony Scleractinea and two soft Octocorallia corals from three locations in the Red Sea. Our results revealed highly diverse bacterial communities in the Red Sea corals, with more than 600 ribotypes detected and up to 1,000 species estimated from a single coral species. Altogether, 21 bacterial phyla were recovered from the corals, of which Gammaproteobacteria was the most dominant group, and Chloroflexi, Chlamydiae, and the candidate phylum WS3 were reported in corals for the first time. The associated bacterial communities varied greatly with location, where environmental conditions differed significantly. Corals from disturbed areas appeared to share more similar bacterial communities, but larger variations in community structures were observed between different coral species from pristine waters. Ordination methods identified salinity and depth as the most influential parameters affecting the abundance of Vibrio, Pseudoalteromonas, Serratia, Stenotrophomonas, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter in the corals. On the other hand, bacteria such as Chloracidobacterium and Endozoicomonas were more sensitive to the coral species, suggesting that the host species type may be influential in the associated bacterial community, as well. The combined influences of the coral host and environmental factors on the associated microbial communities are discussed. This study represents the first comparative study using tag-pyrosequencing technology to investigate the bacterial communities in Red Sea corals.

  15. The ;Sardinian cold-water coral province; in the context of the Mediterranean coral ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taviani, M.; Angeletti, L.; Canese, S.; Cannas, R.; Cardone, F.; Cau, A.; Cau, A. B.; Follesa, M. C.; Marchese, F.; Montagna, P.; Tessarolo, C.

    2017-11-01

    A new cold-water coral (CWC) province has been identified in the Mediterranean Sea in the Capo Spartivento canyon system offshore the southern coast of Sardinia. The 'Sardinia cold-water coral province' is characterized in the Nora canyon by a spectacular coral growth dominated by the branching scleractinian Madrepora oculata at a depth of 380-460 m. The general biohermal frame is strengthened by the common occurrence of the solitary scleractinian Desmophyllum dianthus and the occasional presence of Lophelia pertusa. As documented by Remotely Operated Vehicle survey, this area is a hotspot of megafaunal diversity hosting among other also live specimens of the deep oyster Neopycnodonte zibrowii. The new coral province is located between the central Mediterranean CWC provinces (Bari Canyon, Santa Maria di Leuca, South Malta) and the western and northern ones (Melilla, Catalan-Provençal-Ligurian canyons). As for all the best developed CWC situations in the present Mediterranean Sea, the new Sardinian province is clearly influenced by Levantine Intermediate Water which appears to be a main driver for CWC distribution and viability in this basin.

  16. Comparative Metabolomics Approach Detects Stress-Specific Responses during Coral Bleaching in Soft Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farag, Mohamed A; Meyer, Achim; Ali, Sara E; Salem, Mohamed A; Giavalisco, Patrick; Westphal, Hildegard; Wessjohann, Ludger A

    2018-06-01

    Chronic exposure to ocean acidification and elevated sea-surface temperatures pose significant stress to marine ecosystems. This in turn necessitates costly acclimation responses in corals in both the symbiont and host, with a reorganization of cell metabolism and structure. A large-scale untargeted metabolomics approach comprising gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) was applied to profile the metabolite composition of the soft coral Sarcophyton ehrenbergi and its dinoflagellate symbiont. Metabolite profiling compared ambient conditions with response to simulated climate change stressors and with the sister species, S. glaucum. Among ∼300 monitored metabolites, 13 metabolites were modulated. Incubation experiments providing four selected upregulated metabolites (alanine, GABA, nicotinic acid, and proline) in the culturing water failed to subside the bleaching response at temperature-induced stress, despite their known ability to mitigate heat stress in plants or animals. Thus, the results hint to metabolite accumulation (marker) during heat stress. This study provides the first detailed map of metabolic pathways transition in corals in response to different environmental stresses, accounting for the superior thermal tolerance of S. ehrenbergi versus S. glaucum, which can ultimately help maintain a viable symbiosis and mitigate against coral bleaching.

  17. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Kerry, James T; Baird, Andrew H; Connolly, Sean R; Dietzel, Andreas; Eakin, C Mark; Heron, Scott F; Hoey, Andrew S; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Liu, Gang; McWilliam, Michael J; Pears, Rachel J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Skirving, William J; Stella, Jessica S; Torda, Gergely

    2018-04-01

    Global warming is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them 1 . Here we show that in the aftermath of the record-breaking marine heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 2 , corals began to die immediately on reefs where the accumulated heat exposure exceeded a critical threshold of degree heating weeks, which was 3-4 °C-weeks. After eight months, an exposure of 6 °C-weeks or more drove an unprecedented, regional-scale shift in the composition of coral assemblages, reflecting markedly divergent responses to heat stress by different taxa. Fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three-dimensionality and ecological functioning of 29% of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world's largest coral reef system. Our study bridges the gap between the theory and practice of assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse, under the emerging framework for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems 3 , by rigorously defining both the initial and collapsed states, identifying the major driver of change, and establishing quantitative collapse thresholds. The increasing prevalence of post-bleaching mass mortality of corals represents a radical shift in the disturbance regimes of tropical reefs, both adding to and far exceeding the influence of recurrent cyclones and other local pulse events, presenting a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems.

  18. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease across corals and oceans indicates a conserved and distinct disease microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, C.

    2014-01-29

    Coral diseases are characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue, but causes and consequences of these changes are vaguely understood due to the complexity and dynamics of coral-associated bacteria. We used 16S rRNA gene microarrays to assay differences in bacterial assemblages of healthy and diseased colonies displaying White Plague Disease (WPD) signs from two closely related Caribbean coral species, Orbicella faveolata and Orbicella franksi. Analysis of differentially abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed strong differences between healthy and diseased specimens, but not between coral species. A subsequent comparison to data from two Indo-Pacific coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) revealed distinct microbial community patterns associated with ocean basin, coral species and health state. Coral species were clearly separated by site, but also, the relatedness of the underlying bacterial community structures resembled the phylogenetic relationship of the coral hosts. In diseased samples, bacterial richness increased and putatively opportunistic bacteria were consistently more abundant highlighting the role of opportunistic conditions in structuring microbial community patterns during disease. Our comparative analysis shows that it is possible to derive conserved bacterial footprints of diseased coral holobionts that might help in identifying key bacterial species related to the underlying etiopathology. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that similar-appearing disease phenotypes produce microbial community patterns that are consistent over coral species and oceans, irrespective of the putative underlying pathogen. Consequently, profiling coral diseases by microbial community structure over multiple coral species might allow the development of a comparative disease framework that can inform on cause and relatedness of coral diseases. 2013 The Authors Molecular Ecology John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Define Project

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Munk-Madsen, Andreas

    2005-01-01

    "Project" is a key concept in IS management. The word is frequently used in textbooks and standards. Yet we seldom find a precise definition of the concept. This paper discusses how to define the concept of a project. The proposed definition covers both heavily formalized projects and informally...... organized, agile projects. Based on the proposed definition popular existing definitions are discussed....

  20. "Dermatitis" defined.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Suzanne M; Nedorost, Susan T

    2010-01-01

    The term "dermatitis" can be defined narrowly or broadly, clinically or histologically. A common and costly condition, dermatitis is underresourced compared to other chronic skin conditions. The lack of a collectively understood definition of dermatitis and its subcategories could be the primary barrier. To investigate how dermatologists define the term "dermatitis" and determine if a consensus on the definition of this term and other related terms exists. A seven-question survey of dermatologists nationwide was conducted. Of respondents (n  =  122), half consider dermatitis to be any inflammation of the skin. Nearly half (47.5%) use the term interchangeably with "eczema." Virtually all (> 96%) endorse the subcategory "atopic" under the terms "dermatitis" and "eczema," but the subcategories "contact," "drug hypersensitivity," and "occupational" are more highly endorsed under the term "dermatitis" than under the term "eczema." Over half (55.7%) personally consider "dermatitis" to have a broad meaning, and even more (62.3%) believe that dermatologists as a whole define the term broadly. There is a lack of consensus among experts in defining dermatitis, eczema, and their related subcategories.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Comparative genomics explains the evolutionary success of reef-forming corals

    KAUST Repository

    Bhattacharya, Debashish

    2016-05-24

    Transcriptome and genome data from twenty stony coral species and a selection of reference bilaterians were studied to elucidate coral evolutionary history. We identified genes that encode the proteins responsible for the precipitation and aggregation of the aragonite skeleton on which the organisms live, and revealed a network of environmental sensors that coordinate responses of the host animals to temperature, light, and pH. Furthermore, we describe a variety of stress-related pathways, including apoptotic pathways that allow the host animals to detoxify reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that are generated by their intracellular photosynthetic symbionts, and determine the fate of corals under environmental stress. Some of these genes arose through horizontal gene transfer and comprise at least 0.2% of the animal gene inventory. Our analysis elucidates the evolutionary strategies that have allowed symbiotic corals to adapt and thrive for hundreds of millions of years.

  4. Comparative genomics explains the evolutionary success of reef-forming corals

    KAUST Repository

    Bhattacharya, Debashish; Agrawal, Shobhit; Aranda, Manuel; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Belcaid, Mahdi; Drake, Jeana L; Erwin, Douglas; Foret, Sylvian; Gates, Ruth D; Gruber, David F; Kamel, Bishoy; Lesser, Michael P; Levy, Oren; Liew, Yi Jin; MacManes, Matthew; Mass, Tali; Medina, Monica; Mehr, Shaadi; Meyer, Eli; Price, Dana C; Putnam, Hollie M; Qiu, Huan; Shinzato, Chuya; Shoguchi, Eiichi; Stokes, Alexander J; Tambutté , Sylvie; Tchernov, Dan; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wagner, Nicole; Walker, Charles W; Weber, Andreas PM; Weis, Virginia; Zelzion, Ehud; Zoccola, Didier; Falkowski, Paul G

    2016-01-01

    Transcriptome and genome data from twenty stony coral species and a selection of reference bilaterians were studied to elucidate coral evolutionary history. We identified genes that encode the proteins responsible for the precipitation and aggregation of the aragonite skeleton on which the organisms live, and revealed a network of environmental sensors that coordinate responses of the host animals to temperature, light, and pH. Furthermore, we describe a variety of stress-related pathways, including apoptotic pathways that allow the host animals to detoxify reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that are generated by their intracellular photosynthetic symbionts, and determine the fate of corals under environmental stress. Some of these genes arose through horizontal gene transfer and comprise at least 0.2% of the animal gene inventory. Our analysis elucidates the evolutionary strategies that have allowed symbiotic corals to adapt and thrive for hundreds of millions of years.

  5. Predicting dredging-associated effects to coral reefs in Apra Harbor, Guam - Part 2: Potential coral effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Deborah Shafer; McManus, John; Richmond, Robert H; King, David B; Gailani, Joe Z; Lackey, Tahirih C; Bryant, Duncan

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs are in decline worldwide due to anthropogenic stressors including reductions in water and substratum quality. Dredging results in the mobilization of sediments, which can stress and kill corals via increasing turbidity, tissue damage and burial. The Particle Tracking Model (PTM) was applied to predict the potential impacts of dredging-associated sediment exposure on the coral reef ecosystems of Apra Harbor, Guam. The data were interpreted using maps of bathymetry and coral abundance and distribution in conjunction with impact parameters of suspended sediment concentration (turbidity) and sedimentation using defined coral response thresholds. The results are presented using a "stoplight" model of negligible or limited impacts to coral reefs (green), moderate stress from which some corals would be expected to recover while others would not (yellow) and severe stress resulting in mortality (red). The red conditions for sediment deposition rate and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) were defined as values exceeding 25 mg cm(-2) d(-1) over any 30 day window and >20 mg/l for any 18 days in any 90 day period over a column of water greater than 2 m, respectively. The yellow conditions were defined as values >10 mg cm(-2) d(-1) and <25 mg cm(-2) d(-1) over any 30 day period, and as 20% of 3 months' concentration exceeding 10 mg/l for the deposition and SSC, respectively. The model also incorporates the potential for cumulative effects on the assumption that even sub-lethal stress levels can ultimately lead to mortality in a multi-stressor system. This modeling approach can be applied by resource managers and regulatory agencies to support management decisions related to planning, site selection, damage reduction, and compensatory mitigation. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. Unrecognized coral species diversity masks differences in functional ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulay, Jennifer N; Hellberg, Michael E; Cortés, Jorge; Baums, Iliana B

    2014-02-07

    Porites corals are foundation species on Pacific reefs but a confused taxonomy hinders understanding of their ecosystem function and responses to climate change. Here, we show that what has been considered a single species in the eastern tropical Pacific, Porites lobata, includes a morphologically similar yet ecologically distinct species, Porites evermanni. While P. lobata reproduces mainly sexually, P. evermanni dominates in areas where triggerfish prey on bioeroding mussels living within the coral skeleton, thereby generating asexual coral fragments. These fragments proliferate in marginal habitat not colonized by P. lobata. The two Porites species also show a differential bleaching response despite hosting the same dominant symbiont subclade. Thus, hidden diversity within these reef-builders has until now obscured differences in trophic interactions, reproductive dynamics and bleaching susceptibility, indicative of differential responses when confronted with future climate change.

  7. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing decline from a variety of stressors. Some important stressors are land-based sources of pollution and human activities in the coastal zone. However, few tools are available to offset the impact of these stressors. The Clean Water Act (CWA...

  8. Raiding the Coral Nurseries?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available A recent shift in the pattern of commercial harvest in the Keppel Island region of the southern inshore Great Barrier Reef raises concern about the depletion of a number of relatively rare restricted range taxa. The shift appears to be driven by demand from the United States (US for corals for domestic aquaria. Data from the annual status reports from the Queensland Coral Fishery were compared with export trade data to the US from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES. Evidence was found of recent increases in the harvest of species from the Mussidae family (Acanthastrea spp. which appears to be largely driven by demand from the US. On present trends, the industry runs the risk of localized depletion of Blastomussa and Scolymia; evidenced by an increase in the harvest of small specimens and the trend of decreasing harvest despite a concurrent increase in demand. Considering their relatively high sediment tolerance compared to other reef-building species, and the current lack of information about their functional role in reef stability, the trend raises concerns about the impact of the harvest on local coral communities. The recent shift in harvest patterns could have impacts on slow-growing species by allowing harvest beyond the rate of population regeneration. In light of these factors, combined with the value of such species to local tourism, a commercial coral fishery based on uncommon but highly sought-after species may not be ecologically sustainable or economically viable in the Keppels.

  9. Heterotrophy promotes the re-establishment of photosynthate translocation in a symbiotic coral after heat stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremblay, Pascale; Gori, Andrea; Maguer, Jean François; Hoogenboom, Mia; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-12-01

    Symbiotic scleractinian corals are particularly affected by climate change stress and respond by bleaching (losing their symbiotic dinoflagellate partners). Recently, the energetic status of corals is emerging as a particularly important factor that determines the corals’ vulnerability to heat stress. However, detailed studies of coral energetic that trace the flow of carbon from symbionts to host are still sparse. The present study thus investigates the impact of heat stress on the nutritional interactions between dinoflagellates and coral Stylophora pistillata maintained under auto- and heterotrophy. First, we demonstrated that the percentage of autotrophic carbon retained in the symbionts was significantly higher during heat stress than under non-stressful conditions, in both fed and unfed colonies. This higher photosynthate retention in symbionts translated into lower rates of carbon translocation, which required the coral host to use tissue energy reserves to sustain its respiratory needs. As calcification rates were positively correlated to carbon translocation, a significant decrease in skeletal growth was observed during heat stress. This study also provides evidence that heterotrophic nutrient supply enhances the re-establishment of normal nutritional exchanges between the two symbiotic partners in the coral S. pistillata, but it did not mitigate the effects of temperature stress on coral calcification.

  10. Quantification of total and particulate dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in five Bermudian coral species across a depth gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yost, D. M.; Jones, R.; Rowe, C. L.; Mitchelmore, Carys Louise

    2012-06-01

    The symbiotic dinoflagellate microalgae of corals ( Symbiodinium spp.) contain high concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a multifunctional metabolite commonly found in many species of marine algae and dinoflagellates. A photoprotective antioxidant function for DMSP and its breakdown products has often been inferred in algae, but its role(s) in the coral-algal symbiosis remains elusive. To examine potential correlations between environmental and physiological parameters and DMSP, total DMSP (DMSPt, from the host coral and zooxanthellae), particulate DMSP (DMSPp, from the zooxanthellae only), coral surface area, and total protein, as well as zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll concentration, cell volume and genotype (i.e., clade) were measured in five coral species from the Diploria- Montastraea- Porites species complex in Bermuda along a depth gradient of 4, 12, 18, and 24 m. DMSPt concentrations were consistently greater than DMSPp concentrations in all species suggesting the possible translocation of DMSP from symbiont to host. D. labyrinthiformis was notably different from the other corals examined, showing DMSPp and DMSPt increases (per coral surface area or tissue biomass) with increasing water depth. However, overall, there were no consistent depth-related patterns in DMSPp and DMSPt concentrations. Further research, investigating dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoxide, and acrylate levels and DMSP-lyase activity in correlation with other biomarker endpoints that have been shown to be depth (i.e., temperature and light) responsive are needed to substantiate the significance of these findings.

  11. Biogeography and molecular diversity of coral symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium around the Arabian Peninsula

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Arif, Chatchanit; Burt, John A.; Dobretsov, Sergey; Roder, Cornelia; Lajeunesse, Todd C.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Aim: Coral reefs rely on the symbiosis between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium making the assessment of symbiont diversity critical to our understanding of ecological resilience of these ecosystems. This study characterizes Symbiodinium diversity around the Arabian Peninsula, which contains some of the most thermally diverse and understudied reefs on Earth. Location: Shallow water coral reefs throughout the Red Sea (RS), Sea of Oman (SO), and Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG). Methods: Next-generation sequencing of the ITS2 marker gene was used to assess Symbiodinium community composition and diversity comprising 892 samples from 46 hard and soft coral genera. Results: Corals were associated with a large diversity of Symbiodinium, which usually consisted of one or two prevalent symbiont types and many types at low abundance. Symbiodinium communities were strongly structured according to geographical region and to a lesser extent by coral host identity. Overall symbiont communities were composed primarily of species from clade A and C in the RS, clade A, C, and D in the SO, and clade C and D in the PAG, representing a gradual shift from C- to D-dominated coral hosts. The analysis of symbiont diversity in an Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU)-based framework allowed the identification of differences in symbiont taxon richness over geographical regions and host genera. Main conclusions: Our study represents a comprehensive overview over biogeography and molecular diversity of Symbiodinium in the Arabian Seas, where coral reefs thrive in one of the most extreme environmental settings on the planet. As such our data will serve as a baseline for further exploration into the effects of environmental change on host-symbiont pairings and the identification and ecological significance of Symbiodinium types from regions already experiencing 'Future Ocean' conditions.

  12. Antioxidant responses to heat and light stress differ with habitat in a common reef coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkins, Thomas D.; Krueger, Thomas; Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Fisher, Paul L.; Davy, Simon K.

    2015-12-01

    Coral bleaching—the stress-induced collapse of the coral- Symbiodinium symbiosis—is a significant driver of worldwide coral reef degradation. Yet, not all corals are equally susceptible to bleaching, and we lack a clear understanding of the mechanisms underpinning their differential susceptibilities. Here, we focus on cellular redox regulation as a potential determinant of bleaching susceptibility in the reef coral Stylophora pistillata. Using slow heating (1 °C d-1) and altered irradiance, we induced bleaching in S. pistillata colonies sampled from two depths [5-8 m (shallow) and 15-18 m (deep)]. There was significant depth-dependent variability in the timing and extent of bleaching (loss of symbiont cells), as well as in host enzymatic antioxidant activity [specifically, superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT)]. However, among the coral fragments that bleached, most did so without displaying any evidence of a host enzymatic antioxidant response. For example, both deep and shallow corals suffered significant symbiont loss at elevated temperature, but only deep colonies exposed to high temperature and high light displayed any up-regulation of host antioxidant enzyme activity (CAT). Surprisingly, this preceded the equivalent antioxidant responses of the symbiont, which raises questions about the source(s) of hydrogen peroxide in the symbiosis. Overall, changes in enzymatic antioxidant activity in the symbionts were driven primarily by irradiance rather than temperature, and responses were similar across depth groups. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of light stress, heating of 1 °C d-1 to 4 °C above ambient is not sufficient to induce a substantial oxidative challenge in S. pistillata. We provide some of the first evidence that regulation of coral enzymatic antioxidants can vary significantly depending on habitat, and, in terms of determining bleaching susceptibility, our results suggest a significant role for the host's differential

  13. Biogeography and molecular diversity of coral symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium around the Arabian Peninsula

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2017-01-02

    Aim: Coral reefs rely on the symbiosis between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium making the assessment of symbiont diversity critical to our understanding of ecological resilience of these ecosystems. This study characterizes Symbiodinium diversity around the Arabian Peninsula, which contains some of the most thermally diverse and understudied reefs on Earth. Location: Shallow water coral reefs throughout the Red Sea (RS), Sea of Oman (SO), and Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG). Methods: Next-generation sequencing of the ITS2 marker gene was used to assess Symbiodinium community composition and diversity comprising 892 samples from 46 hard and soft coral genera. Results: Corals were associated with a large diversity of Symbiodinium, which usually consisted of one or two prevalent symbiont types and many types at low abundance. Symbiodinium communities were strongly structured according to geographical region and to a lesser extent by coral host identity. Overall symbiont communities were composed primarily of species from clade A and C in the RS, clade A, C, and D in the SO, and clade C and D in the PAG, representing a gradual shift from C- to D-dominated coral hosts. The analysis of symbiont diversity in an Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU)-based framework allowed the identification of differences in symbiont taxon richness over geographical regions and host genera. Main conclusions: Our study represents a comprehensive overview over biogeography and molecular diversity of Symbiodinium in the Arabian Seas, where coral reefs thrive in one of the most extreme environmental settings on the planet. As such our data will serve as a baseline for further exploration into the effects of environmental change on host-symbiont pairings and the identification and ecological significance of Symbiodinium types from regions already experiencing \\'Future Ocean\\' conditions.

  14. 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.

  15. Feeding sustains photosynthetic quantum yield of a scleractinian coral during thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borell, Esther M; Bischof, Kai

    2008-10-01

    Thermal resistance of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis has been associated with chronic photoinhibition, increased antioxidant activity and protein repair involving high demands of nitrogen and energy. While the relative importance of heterotrophy as a source of nutrients and energy for cnidarian hosts, and as a means of nitrogen acquisition for their zooxanthellae, is well documented, the effect of feeding on the thermal sensitivity of the symbiotic association has been so far overlooked. Here we examine the effect of zooplankton feeding versus starvation on the bleaching susceptibility and photosynthetic activity of photosystem II (PSII) of zooxanthellae in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata in response to thermal stress (daily temperature rises of 2-3 degrees C) over 10 days, employing pulse-amplitude-modulated chlorophyll fluorometry. Fed and starved corals displayed a decrease in daily maximum potential quantum yield (F (v)/F (m)) of PSII, effective quantum yield (F/F (m)') and relative electron transport rates over the course of 10 days. However after 10 days of exposure to elevated temperature, F (v)/F (m) of fed corals was still 50-70% higher than F (v)/F (m) of starved corals. Starved corals showed strong signs of chronic photoinhibition, which was reflected in a significant decline in nocturnal recovery rates of PSII relative to fed corals. This was paralleled by the progressive inability to dissipate excess excitation energy via non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). After 10 days, NPQ of starved corals had decreased by about 80% relative to fed corals. Feeding treatment had no significant effect on chlorophyll a and c (2) concentrations and zooxanthellae densities, but the mitotic indices were significantly lower in starved than in fed corals. Collectively the results indicate that exogenous food may reduce the photophysiological damage of zooxanthellae that typically leads to bleaching and could therefore play an important role in mediating the

  16. Regulation and control of intracellular algae (= zooxanthellae) in hard corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, R. J.; Yellowlees, D.

    1997-01-01

    To examine algal (= zooxanthellae) regulation and control, and the factors determining algal densities in hard corals, the zooxanthellae mitotic index and release rates were regularly determined in branch tips from a colony of a staghorn coral, Acropora formosa, recovering from a coral 'bleaching' event (the stress-related dissociation of the coral–algal symbiosis). Mathematical models based upon density-dependent decreases in the algal division frequency and increases in algal release rates during the post-bleaching recovery period accurately predict the observed recovery period (ca. 20 weeks). The models suggest that (i) the colony recovered its algal population from the division of the remaining zooxanthellae, and (ii) the continual loss of zooxanthellae significantly slowed the recovery of the coral. Possible reasons for the 'paradoxical' loss of healthy zooxanthellae from the bleached coral are discussed in terms of endodermal processes occurring in the recovering coral and the redistribution of newly formed zooxanthellae to aposymbiotic host cells. At a steady-state algal density of 2.1 x 106 zooxanthellae cm-2 at the end of the recovery period, the zooxanthellae would have to form a double layer of cells in the coral tissues, consistent with microscopic observations. Neighbouring colonies of A. formosa with inherently higher algal densities possess proportionately smaller zooxanthellae. Results suggest that space availability and the size of the algal symbionts determines the algal densities in the coral colonies. The large increases in the algal densities reported in corals exposed to elevated nutrient concentrations (i.e between a two- and five-fold increase in the algal standing stock) are not consistent with this theory. We suggest that increases of this magnitude are a product of the experimental conditions: reasons for this statement are discussed. We propose that the stability of the coral–algal symbiosis under non-stress conditions, and the

  17. Differential specificity between closely related corals and abundant Endozoicomonas endosymbionts across global scales

    KAUST Repository

    Neave, Matthew J.

    2016-07-08

    Reef-building corals are well regarded not only for their obligate association with endosymbiotic algae, but also with prokaryotic symbionts, the specificity of which remains elusive. To identify the central microbial symbionts of corals, their specificity across species and conservation over geographic regions, we sequenced partial SSU ribosomal RNA genes of Bacteria and Archaea from the common corals Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora verrucosa across 28 reefs within seven major geographical regions. We demonstrate that both corals harbor Endozoicomonas bacteria as their prevalent symbiont. Importantly, catalyzed reporter deposition–fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD–FISH) with Endozoicomonas-specific probes confirmed their residence as large aggregations deep within coral tissues. Using fine-scale genotyping techniques and single-cell genomics, we demonstrate that P. verrucosa harbors the same Endozoicomonas, whereas S. pistillata associates with geographically distinct genotypes. This specificity may be shaped by the different reproductive strategies of the hosts, potentially uncovering a pattern of symbiont selection that is linked to life history. Spawning corals such as P. verrucosa acquire prokaryotes from the environment. In contrast, brooding corals such as S. pistillata release symbiont-packed planula larvae, which may explain a strong regional signature in their microbiome. Our work contributes to the factors underlying microbiome specificity and adds detail to coral holobiont functioning.

  18. Differential specificity between closely related corals and abundant Endozoicomonas endosymbionts across global scales

    KAUST Repository

    Neave, Matthew J.; Rachmawati, Rita; Xun, Liping; Michell, Craig; Bourne, David G; Apprill, Amy; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    Reef-building corals are well regarded not only for their obligate association with endosymbiotic algae, but also with prokaryotic symbionts, the specificity of which remains elusive. To identify the central microbial symbionts of corals, their specificity across species and conservation over geographic regions, we sequenced partial SSU ribosomal RNA genes of Bacteria and Archaea from the common corals Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora verrucosa across 28 reefs within seven major geographical regions. We demonstrate that both corals harbor Endozoicomonas bacteria as their prevalent symbiont. Importantly, catalyzed reporter deposition–fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD–FISH) with Endozoicomonas-specific probes confirmed their residence as large aggregations deep within coral tissues. Using fine-scale genotyping techniques and single-cell genomics, we demonstrate that P. verrucosa harbors the same Endozoicomonas, whereas S. pistillata associates with geographically distinct genotypes. This specificity may be shaped by the different reproductive strategies of the hosts, potentially uncovering a pattern of symbiont selection that is linked to life history. Spawning corals such as P. verrucosa acquire prokaryotes from the environment. In contrast, brooding corals such as S. pistillata release symbiont-packed planula larvae, which may explain a strong regional signature in their microbiome. Our work contributes to the factors underlying microbiome specificity and adds detail to coral holobiont functioning.

  19. Defining chaos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunt, Brian R; Ott, Edward

    2015-09-01

    In this paper, we propose, discuss, and illustrate a computationally feasible definition of chaos which can be applied very generally to situations that are commonly encountered, including attractors, repellers, and non-periodically forced systems. This definition is based on an entropy-like quantity, which we call "expansion entropy," and we define chaos as occurring when this quantity is positive. We relate and compare expansion entropy to the well-known concept of topological entropy to which it is equivalent under appropriate conditions. We also present example illustrations, discuss computational implementations, and point out issues arising from attempts at giving definitions of chaos that are not entropy-based.

  20. An annotated list of fish parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda, Nematoda) collected from Snappers and Bream (Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Caesionidae) in New Caledonia confirms high parasite biodiversity on coral reef fish

    OpenAIRE

    Justine, Jean-Lou; Beveridge, Ian; Boxshall, Geoffrey A; Bray, Rodney A; Miller, Terrence L; Moravec, František; Trilles, Jean-Paul; Whittington, Ian D

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral reefs are areas of maximum biodiversity, but the parasites of coral reef fishes, and especially their species richness, are not well known. Over an 8-year period, parasites were collected from 24 species of Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae and Caesionidae off New Caledonia, South Pacific. Results Host-parasite and parasite-host lists are provided, with a total of 207 host-parasite combinations and 58 parasite species identified at the species level, with 27 new host records. Results ...

  1. Monitoring Coral Health to Determine Coral Bleaching Response at High Latitude Eastern Australian Reefs: An Applied Model for A Changing Climate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G. Carroll

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available Limited information is available on the bleaching susceptibility of coral species that dominate high latitude reefs along the eastern seaboard of Australia. The main aims of this study were to: (i monitor coral health and spatial patterns of coral bleaching response at the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP and Lord Howe Island Marine Park (LHIMP, to determine variability of bleaching susceptibility among coral taxa; (ii predict coral bleaching thresholds at 30 °S and 31.5 °S, extrapolated from published bleaching threshold data; and (iii propose a subtropical northern New South Wales coral bleaching model from biological and physical data. Between 2005 and 2007 minor bleaching was observed in dominant coral families including Pocilloporidae, Poritidae and Dendrophylliidae in the SIMP and Pocilloporidae, Poritidae and Acroporidae (Isopora and Montipora spp. in the LHIMP, with a clear difference in bleaching susceptibility found between sites, both within and between locations. Bleaching susceptibility was highest in Porites spp. at the most offshore island site within the SIMP during summer 2005. Patterns of subtropical family bleaching susceptibility within the SIMP and LHIMP differed to those previously reported for the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR. These differences may be due to a number of factors, including temperature history and/or the coral hosts association with different zooxanthellae clades, which may have lower thermal tolerances. An analysis of published estimates of coral bleaching thresholds from the Caribbean, South Africa, GBR and central and northern Pacific regions suggests that the bleaching threshold at 30–31.5 °S ranges between 26.5–26.8 °C. This predicted threshold was confirmed by an extensive coral bleaching event on the world’s southernmost coral reef at Lord Howe Island, during the 2010 austral summer season. These results imply that dominant coral taxa at subtropical reefs along the eastern Australian

  2. 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.

  3. Defining Cyberbullying.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Englander, Elizabeth; Donnerstein, Edward; Kowalski, Robin; Lin, Carolyn A; Parti, Katalin

    2017-11-01

    Is cyberbullying essentially the same as bullying, or is it a qualitatively different activity? The lack of a consensual, nuanced definition has limited the field's ability to examine these issues. Evidence suggests that being a perpetrator of one is related to being a perpetrator of the other; furthermore, strong relationships can also be noted between being a victim of either type of attack. It also seems that both types of social cruelty have a psychological impact, although the effects of being cyberbullied may be worse than those of being bullied in a traditional sense (evidence here is by no means definitive). A complicating factor is that the 3 characteristics that define bullying (intent, repetition, and power imbalance) do not always translate well into digital behaviors. Qualities specific to digital environments often render cyberbullying and bullying different in circumstances, motivations, and outcomes. To make significant progress in addressing cyberbullying, certain key research questions need to be addressed. These are as follows: How can we define, distinguish between, and understand the nature of cyberbullying and other forms of digital conflict and cruelty, including online harassment and sexual harassment? Once we have a functional taxonomy of the different types of digital cruelty, what are the short- and long-term effects of exposure to or participation in these social behaviors? What are the idiosyncratic characteristics of digital communication that users can be taught? Finally, how can we apply this information to develop and evaluate effective prevention programs? Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  4. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  6. 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

  7. Association of coral algal symbionts with a diverse viral community responsive to heat shock

    KAUST Repository

    Brüwer, Jan D.

    2017-08-17

    Stony corals provide the structural foundation of coral reef ecosystems and are termed holobionts given they engage in symbioses, in particular with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Besides Symbiodinium, corals also engage with bacteria affecting metabolism, immunity, and resilience of the coral holobiont, but the role of associated viruses is largely unknown. In this regard, the increase of studies using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to assess gene expression provides an opportunity to elucidate viral signatures encompassed within the data via careful delineation of sequence reads and their source of origin.Here, we re-analyzed an RNA-Seq dataset from a cultured coral symbiont (Symbiodinium microadriaticum, Clade A1) across four experimental treatments (control, cold shock, heat shock, dark shock) to characterize associated viral diversity, abundance, and gene expression. Our approach comprised the filtering and removal of host sequence reads, subsequent phylogenetic assignment of sequence reads of putative viral origin, and the assembly and analysis of differentially expressed viral genes. About 15.46% (123 million) of all sequence reads were non-host-related, of which <1% could be classified as archaea, bacteria, or virus. Of these, 18.78% were annotated as virus and comprised a diverse community consistent across experimental treatments. Further, non-host related sequence reads assembled into 56,064 contigs, including 4856 contigs of putative viral origin that featured 43 differentially expressed genes during heat shock. The differentially expressed genes included viral kinases, ubiquitin, and ankyrin repeat proteins (amongst others), which are suggested to help the virus proliferate and inhibit the algal host\\'s antiviral response.Our results suggest that a diverse viral community is associated with coral algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium, which prompts further research on their ecological role in coral health and resilience.

  8. Spectral response of the coral rubble, living corals, and dead corals: study case on the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Yamano, Hiroya; Arafat, Gulam; Rani, Chair; Akbar AS, M.

    2012-10-01

    Coral reefs play important ecological services such as providing foods, biodiversity, nutrient recycling etc. for human society. On the other hand, they are threatened by human impacts such as illegal fishing and environmental changes such as rises of sea water temperature and sea level due to global warming. Thus, it is very important to monitor dynamic spatial distributions of coral reefs and related habitats such as coral rubble, dead coral, bleached corals, seagrass, etc. Hyperspectral data, in particular, offer high potential for characterizing and mapping coral reefs because of their capability to identify individual reef components based on their detailed spectral response. We studied the optical properties by measuring in situ spectra of living corals, dead coral and coral rubble covered with algae. Study site was selected in Spermonde archipelago, South Sulawesi, Indonesia because this area is included in the highest diversity of corals in the world named as Coral Triangle, which is recognized as the global centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation. Correlation analysis and cluster analysis support that there are distinct differences in reflectance spectra among categories. Common spectral characteristic of living corals, dead corals and coral rubble covered with algae was a reflectance minimum at 674 nm. Healthy corals, dead coral covered with algae and coral rubble covered with algae showed high similarity of spectral reflectance. It is estimated that this is due to photsynthetic pigments.

  9. Trehalose is a chemical attractant in the establishment of coral symbiosis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Hagedorn

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have evolved with a crucial symbiosis between photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium and their cnidarian hosts (Scleractinians. Most coral larvae take up Symbiodinium from their environment; however, the earliest steps in this process have been elusive. Here we demonstrate that the disaccharide trehalose may be an important signal from the symbiont to potential larval hosts. Symbiodinium freshly isolated from Fungia scutaria corals constantly released trehalose (but not sucrose, maltose or glucose into seawater, and released glycerol only in the presence of coral tissue. Spawning Fungia adults increased symbiont number in their immediate area by excreting pellets of Symbiodinium, and when these naturally discharged Symbiodinium were cultured, they also released trehalose. In Y-maze experiments, coral larvae demonstrated chemoattractant and feeding behaviors only towards a chamber with trehalose or glycerol. Concomitantly, coral larvae and adult tissue, but not symbionts, had significant trehalase enzymatic activities, suggesting the capacity to utilize trehalose. Trehalase activity was developmentally regulated in F. scutaria larvae, rising as the time for symbiont uptake occurs. Consistent with the enzymatic assays, gene finding demonstrated the presence of a trehalase enzyme in the genome of a related coral, Acropora digitifera, and a likely trehalase in the transcriptome of F. scutaria. Taken together, these data suggest that adult F. scutaria seed the reef with Symbiodinium during spawning and the exuded Symbiodinium release trehalose into the environment, which acts as a chemoattractant for F. scutaria larvae and as an initiator of feeding behavior- the first stages toward establishing the coral-Symbiodinium relationship. Because trehalose is a fixed carbon compound, this cue would accurately demonstrate to the cnidarian larvae the photosynthetic ability of the potential symbiont in the ambient environment. To our

  10. Thresholds for Coral Bleaching: Are Synergistic Factors and Shifting Thresholds Changing the Landscape for Management? (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, C.; Donner, S. D.; Logan, C. A.; Gledhill, D. K.; Liu, G.; Heron, S. F.; Christensen, T.; Rauenzahn, J.; Morgan, J.; Parker, B. A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Skirving, W. J.; Strong, A. E.

    2010-12-01

    As carbon dioxide rises in the atmosphere, climate change and ocean acidification are modifying important physical and chemical parameters in the oceans with resulting impacts on coral reef ecosystems. Rising CO2 is warming the world’s oceans and causing corals to bleach, with both alarming frequency and severity. The frequent return of stressful temperatures has already resulted in major damage to many of the world’s coral reefs and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Warmer oceans also have contributed to a rise in coral infectious diseases. Both bleaching and infectious disease can result in coral mortality and threaten one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth and the important ecosystem services they provide. Additionally, ocean acidification from rising CO2 is reducing the availability of carbonate ions needed by corals to build their skeletons and perhaps depressing the threshold for bleaching. While thresholds vary among species and locations, it is clear that corals around the world are already experiencing anomalous temperatures that are too high, too often, and that warming is exceeding the rate at which corals can adapt. This is despite a complex adaptive capacity that involves both the coral host and the zooxanthellae, including changes in the relative abundance of the latter in their coral hosts. The safe upper limit for atmospheric CO2 is probably somewhere below 350ppm, a level we passed decades ago, and for temperature is a sustained global temperature increase of less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. How much can corals acclimate and/or adapt to the unprecedented fast changing environmental conditions? Any change in the threshold for coral bleaching as the result of acclimation and/or adaption may help corals to survive in the future but adaptation to one stress may be maladaptive to another. There also is evidence that ocean acidification and nutrient enrichment modify this threshold. What do shifting thresholds mean

  11. Revealing Holobiont Structure and Function of Three Red Sea Deep-Sea Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2014-12-01

    Deep-sea corals have long been regarded as cold-water coral; however a reevaluation of their habitat limitations has been suggested after the discovery of deep-sea coral in the Red Sea where temperatures exceed 20˚C. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals at these temperatures, the work in this PhD employed a holotranscriptomic approach, looking at coral animal host and bacterial symbiont gene expression in Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus sp. sampled from the deep Red Sea. Bacterial community composition was analyzed via amplicon-based 16S surveys and cultured bacterial strains were subjected to bioprospecting in order to gauge the pharmaceutical potential of coralassociated microbes. Coral host transcriptome data suggest that coral can employ mitochondrial hypometabolism, anaerobic glycolysis, and surface cilia to enhance mass transport rates to manage the low oxygen and highly oligotrophic Red Sea waters. In the microbial community associated with these corals, ribokinases and retron-type reverse transcriptases are abundantly expressed. In its first application to deep-sea coral associated microbial communities, 16S-based next-generation sequencing found that a single operational taxonomic unit can comprise the majority of sequence reads and that a large number of low abundance populations are present, which cannot be visualized with first generation sequencing. Bioactivity testing of selected bacterial isolates was surveyed over 100 cytological parameters with high content screening, covering several major organelles and key proteins involved in a variety of signaling cascades. Some of these cytological profiles were similar to those of several reference pharmacologically active compounds, which suggest that the bacteria isolates produce compounds with similar mechanisms of action as the reference compounds. The sum of this work offers several mechanisms by which Red Sea deep-sea corals cope with environmental

  12. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.; David, J.J.

    . An estimate of the density of nitrifying bacteria on living corals can be made by comparing the nitrifying rates of bacterial cells and the rate of production of NO,-. Kaplan (1983) summarized the growth con- stants of marine nitrifying bacteria... Reef Con=. 3: 395-399. -, C. R. WILKINSON, V. p. VICENTE, J. M. MORELL, AND E. OTERO. 1988. Nitrate release by Carib- bean reef sponges. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 114- 120. CROSSLAND, C. J., AND D. J. BARNES. 1983. Dissolved nutrients and organic...

  13. Heterotrophic compensation: a possible mechanism for resilience of coral reefs to global warming or a sign of prolonged stress?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam D Hughes

    Full Text Available Thermally induced bleaching has caused a global decline in corals and the frequency of such bleaching events will increase. Thermal bleaching severely disrupts the trophic behaviour of the coral holobiont, reducing the photosynthetically derived energy available to the coral host. In the short term this reduction in energy transfer from endosymbiotic algae results in an energy deficit for the coral host. If the bleaching event is short-lived then the coral may survive this energy deficit by depleting its lipid reserves, or by increasing heterotrophic energy acquisition. We show for the first time that the coral animal is capable of increasing the amount of heterotrophic carbon incorporated into its tissues for almost a year following bleaching. This prolonged heterotrophic compensation could be a sign of resilience or prolonged stress. If the heterotrophic compensation is in fact an acclimatization response, then this physiological response could act as a buffer from future bleaching by providing sufficient heterotrophic energy to compensate for photoautotrophic energy losses during bleaching, and potentially minimizing the effect of subsequent elevated temperature stresses. However, if the elevated incorporation of zooplankton is a sign that the effects of bleaching continue to be stressful on the holobiont, even after 11 months of recovery, then this physiological response would indicate that complete coral recovery requires more than 11 months to achieve. If coral bleaching becomes an annual global phenomenon by mid-century, then present temporal refugia will not be sufficient to allow coral colonies to recover between bleaching events and coral reefs will become increasingly less resilient to future climate change. If, however, increasing their sequestration of zooplankton-derived nutrition into their tissues over prolonged periods of time is a compensating mechanism, the impacts of annual bleaching may be reduced. Thus, some coral species

  14. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for ...

  15. Assessing Coral Community Recovery from Coral Bleaching by ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The densities of small colonies were lowest at the northern sites, and small colonies of genera of corals that suffered from high bleaching and mortality during the El Niño Southern Oscillation in 1998 were less abundant in the north. These northern reefs are relatively isolated from sources of coral larvae from reefs in the ...

  16. Effects of light, food availability and temperature stress on the function of photosystem II and photosystem I of coral symbionts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mia O Hoogenboom

    Full Text Available Reef corals are heterotrophic coelenterates that achieve high productivity through their photosynthetic dinoflagellate symbionts. Excessive seawater temperature destabilises this symbiosis and causes corals to "bleach," lowering their photosynthetic capacity. Bleaching poses a serious threat to the persistence of coral reefs on a global scale. Despite expanding research on the causes of bleaching, the mechanisms remain a subject of debate.This study determined how light and food availability modulate the effects of temperature stress on photosynthesis in two reef coral species. We quantified the activities of Photosystem II, Photosystem I and whole chain electron transport under combinations of normal and stressful growth temperatures, moderate and high light levels and the presence or absence of feeding of the coral hosts. Our results show that PS1 function is comparatively robust against temperature stress in both species, whereas PS2 and whole chain electron transport are susceptible to temperature stress. In the symbiotic dinoflagellates of Stylophora pistillata the contents of chlorophyll and major photosynthetic complexes were primarily affected by food availability. In Turbinaria reniformis growth temperature was the dominant influence on the contents of the photosynthetic complexes. In both species feeding the host significantly protected photosynthetic function from high temperature stress.Our findings support the photoinhibition model of coral bleaching and demonstrate that PS1 is not a major site for thermal damage during bleaching events. Feeding mitigates bleaching in two scleractinian corals, so that reef responses to temperature stresses will likely be influenced by the coinciding availabilities of prey for the host.

  17. Stable mucus-associated bacterial communities in bleached and healthy corals of Porites lobata from the Arabian Seas

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida Ali Hassan

    2017-03-31

    Coral reefs are subject to coral bleaching manifested by the loss of endosymbiotic algae from coral host tissue. Besides algae, corals associate with bacteria. In particular, bacteria residing in the surface mucus layer are thought to mediate coral health, but their role in coral bleaching is unknown. We collected mucus from bleached and healthy Porites lobata colonies in the Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG) and the Red Sea (RS) to investigate bacterial microbiome composition using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We found that bacterial community structure was notably similar in bleached and healthy corals, and the most abundant bacterial taxa were identical. However, fine-scale differences in bacterial community composition between the PAG and RS were present and aligned with predicted differences in sulfur- and nitrogen-cycling processes. Based on our data, we argue that bleached corals benefit from the stable composition of mucus bacteria that resemble their healthy coral counterparts and presumably provide a conserved suite of protective functions, but monitoring of post-bleaching survival is needed to further confirm this assumption. Conversely, fine-scale site-specific differences highlight flexibility of the bacterial microbiome that may underlie adjustment to local environmental conditions and contribute to the widespread success of Porites lobata.

  18. A new conceptual model of coral biomineralisation: hypoxia as the physiological driver of skeletal extension

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, S.

    2013-05-01

    That corals skeletons are built of aragonite crystals with taxonomy-linked ultrastructure has been well understood since the 19th century. Yet, the way by which corals control this crystallization process remains an unsolved question. Here, I outline a new conceptual model of coral biomineralisation that endeavours to relate known skeletal features with homeostatic functions beyond traditional growth (structural) determinants. In particular, I propose that the dominant physiological driver of skeletal extension is night-time hypoxia, which is exacerbated by the respiratory oxygen demands of the coral's algal symbionts (= zooxanthellae). The model thus provides a new narrative to explain the high growth rate of symbiotic corals, by equating skeletal deposition with the "work-rate" of the coral host needed to maintain a stable and beneficial symbiosis. In this way, coral skeletons are interpreted as a continuous (long-run) recording unit of the stability and functioning of the coral-algae endosymbiosis. After providing supportive evidence for the model across multiple scales of observation, I use coral core data from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) to highlight the disturbed nature of the symbiosis in recent decades, but suggest that its onset is consistent with a trajectory that has been followed since at least the start of the 1900s. In concluding, I outline how the proposed capacity of cnidarians (which includes modern reef corals) to overcome the metabolic limitation of hypoxia via skeletogenesis also provides a new hypothesis to explain the sudden appearance in the fossil record of calcified skeletons at the Precambrian-Cambrian transition - and the ensuing rapid appearance of most major animal phyla.

  19. Fungal invasion of massive corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Raghukumar, S.

    Five species of corals from the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal (Indian Ocean) have been regularly found to have single or multiple necrotic patches. The occurrence of such corals with necrotic patches varied from 10-50% in the field. Sections...

  20. The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

    To protect natural coral reefs, it is of utmost importance to understand how the growth of the main reef-building organisms-the zooxanthellate scleractinian corals-is controlled. Understanding coral growth is also relevant for coral aquaculture, which is a rapidly developing business. This review

  1. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin Mao-Jones

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Reef coral cover is in rapid decline worldwide, in part due to bleaching (expulsion of photosynthetic symbionts and outbreaks of infectious disease. One important factor associated with bleaching and in disease transmission is a shift in the composition of the microbial community in the mucus layer surrounding the coral: the resident microbial community-which is critical to the healthy functioning of the coral holobiont-is replaced by pathogenic microbes, often species of Vibrio. In this paper we develop computational models for microbial community dynamics in the mucus layer in order to understand how the surface microbial community responds to changes in environmental conditions, and under what circumstances it becomes vulnerable to overgrowth by pathogens. Some of our model's assumptions and parameter values are based on Vibrio spp. as a model system for other established and emerging coral pathogens. We find that the pattern of interactions in the surface microbial community facilitates the existence of alternate stable states, one dominated by antibiotic-producing beneficial microbes and the other pathogen-dominated. A shift to pathogen dominance under transient stressful conditions, such as a brief warming spell, may persist long after environmental conditions have returned to normal. This prediction is consistent with experimental findings that antibiotic properties of Acropora palmata mucus did not return to normal long after temperatures had fallen. Long-term loss of antibiotic activity eliminates a critical component in coral defense against disease, giving pathogens an extended opportunity to infect and spread within the host, elevating the risk of coral bleaching, disease, and mortality.

  2. Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids from Coral Dinoflagellates▿

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka N.; Dove, Sophie

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most important marine ecosystems, providing habitat for approximately a quarter of all marine organisms. Within the foundation of this ecosystem, reef-building corals form mutualistic symbioses with unicellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Exposure to UV radiation (UVR) (280 to 400 nm) especially when combined with thermal stress has been recognized as an important abiotic factor leading to the loss of algal symbionts from coral tissue and/or a reduction in their pigment concentration and coral bleaching. UVR may damage biological macromolecules, increase the level of mutagenesis in cells, and destabilize the symbiosis between the coral host and their dinoflagellate symbionts. In nature, corals and other marine organisms are protected from harmful UVR through several important photoprotective mechanisms that include the synthesis of UV-absorbing compounds such as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). MAAs are small (<400-Da), colorless, water-soluble compounds made of a cyclohexenone or cyclohexenimine chromophore that is bound to an amino acid residue or its imino alcohol. These secondary metabolites are natural biological sunscreens characterized by a maximum absorbance in the UVA and UVB ranges of 310 to 362 nm. In addition to their photoprotective role, MAAs act as antioxidants scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and suppressing singlet oxygen-induced damage. It has been proposed that MAAs are synthesized during the first part of the shikimate pathway, and recently, it has been suggested that they are synthesized in the pentose phosphate pathway. The shikimate pathway is not found in animals, but in plants and microbes, it connects the metabolism of carbohydrates to the biosynthesis of aromatic compounds. However, both the complete enzymatic pathway of MAA synthesis and the extent of their regulation by environmental conditions are not known. This minireview discusses the current knowledge of MAA

  3. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mao-Jones, Justin; Ritchie, Kim B; Jones, Laura E; Ellner, Stephen P

    2010-03-30

    Reef coral cover is in rapid decline worldwide, in part due to bleaching (expulsion of photosynthetic symbionts) and outbreaks of infectious disease. One important factor associated with bleaching and in disease transmission is a shift in the composition of the microbial community in the mucus layer surrounding the coral: the resident microbial community-which is critical to the healthy functioning of the coral holobiont-is replaced by pathogenic microbes, often species of Vibrio. In this paper we develop computational models for microbial community dynamics in the mucus layer in order to understand how the surface microbial community responds to changes in environmental conditions, and under what circumstances it becomes vulnerable to overgrowth by pathogens. Some of our model's assumptions and parameter values are based on Vibrio spp. as a model system for other established and emerging coral pathogens. We find that the pattern of interactions in the surface microbial community facilitates the existence of alternate stable states, one dominated by antibiotic-producing beneficial microbes and the other pathogen-dominated. A shift to pathogen dominance under transient stressful conditions, such as a brief warming spell, may persist long after environmental conditions have returned to normal. This prediction is consistent with experimental findings that antibiotic properties of Acropora palmata mucus did not return to normal long after temperatures had fallen. Long-term loss of antibiotic activity eliminates a critical component in coral defense against disease, giving pathogens an extended opportunity to infect and spread within the host, elevating the risk of coral bleaching, disease, and mortality.

  4. PhyloChip™ microarray comparison of sampling methods used for coral microbial ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A.; Piceno, Yvette M.; Tom, Lauren M.; DeSantis, Todd Z.; Zawada, David G.; Andersen, Gary L.

    2012-01-01

    Interest in coral microbial ecology has been increasing steadily over the last decade, yet standardized methods of sample collection still have not been defined. Two methods were compared for their ability to sample coral-associated microbial communities: tissue punches and foam swabs, the latter being less invasive and preferred by reef managers. Four colonies of star coral, Montastraea annularis, were sampled in the Dry Tortugas National Park (two healthy and two with white plague disease). The PhyloChip™ G3 microarray was used to assess microbial community structure of amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences. Samples clustered based on methodology rather than coral colony. Punch samples from healthy and diseased corals were distinct. All swab samples clustered closely together with the seawater control and did not group according to the health state of the corals. Although more microbial taxa were detected by the swab method, there is a much larger overlap between the water control and swab samples than punch samples, suggesting some of the additional diversity is due to contamination from water absorbed by the swab. While swabs are useful for noninvasive studies of the coral surface mucus layer, these results show that they are not optimal for studies of coral disease.

  5. [Progress of heterotrophic studies on symbiotic corals].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yang-Chu-Qiao; Hong, Wen Ting; Wang, Shu Hong

    2017-12-01

    Heterotrophy of zooxanthellae symbiotic corals refers to the nutrition directly coming from food absorption, not the nutrition obtained from photosynthesis. Most ex situ propagation of symbiotic corals focused on the effects of irradiation, flow rate and water quality on corals, few of them involved in the demand and supply of coral heterotrophic nutrition. This paper reviewed the significance of heterotrophic nutrient supply to symbiotic corals from the sources of coral heterotrophic nutrition, the factors affecting the supply of coral heterotrophic nutrient, and the methods of how to study the coral heterotrophy. In general, the research of coral heterotrophy is just at the beginning stage, and future studies should focus on the inherent mechanism of coral feeding selection and developing more effective research methods.

  6. CORAL: aligning conserved core regions across domain families.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fong, Jessica H; Marchler-Bauer, Aron

    2009-08-01

    Homologous protein families share highly conserved sequence and structure regions that are frequent targets for comparative analysis of related proteins and families. Many protein families, such as the curated domain families in the Conserved Domain Database (CDD), exhibit similar structural cores. To improve accuracy in aligning such protein families, we propose a profile-profile method CORAL that aligns individual core regions as gap-free units. CORAL computes optimal local alignment of two profiles with heuristics to preserve continuity within core regions. We benchmarked its performance on curated domains in CDD, which have pre-defined core regions, against COMPASS, HHalign and PSI-BLAST, using structure superpositions and comprehensive curator-optimized alignments as standards of truth. CORAL improves alignment accuracy on core regions over general profile methods, returning a balanced score of 0.57 for over 80% of all domain families in CDD, compared with the highest balanced score of 0.45 from other methods. Further, CORAL provides E-values to aid in detecting homologous protein families and, by respecting block boundaries, produces alignments with improved 'readability' that facilitate manual refinement. CORAL will be included in future versions of the NCBI Cn3D/CDTree software, which can be downloaded at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Structure/cdtree/cdtree.shtml. Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

  7. Using virtual reality to estimate aesthetic values of coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clifford, Sam; Caley, M. Julian; Pearse, Alan R.; Brown, Ross; James, Allan; Christensen, Bryce; Bednarz, Tomasz; Anthony, Ken; González-Rivero, Manuel; Mengersen, Kerrie; Peterson, Erin E.

    2018-01-01

    Aesthetic value, or beauty, is important to the relationship between humans and natural environments and is, therefore, a fundamental socio-economic attribute of conservation alongside other ecosystem services. However, beauty is difficult to quantify and is not estimated well using traditional approaches to monitoring coral-reef aesthetics. To improve the estimation of ecosystem aesthetic values, we developed and implemented a novel framework used to quantify features of coral-reef aesthetics based on people's perceptions of beauty. Three observer groups with different experience to reef environments (Marine Scientist, Experienced Diver and Citizen) were virtually immersed in Australian's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) using 360° images. Perceptions of beauty and observations were used to assess the importance of eight potential attributes of reef-aesthetic value. Among these, heterogeneity, defined by structural complexity and colour diversity, was positively associated with coral-reef-aesthetic values. There were no group-level differences in the way the observer groups perceived reef aesthetics suggesting that past experiences with coral reefs do not necessarily influence the perception of beauty by the observer. The framework developed here provides a generic tool to help identify indicators of aesthetic value applicable to a wide variety of natural systems. The ability to estimate aesthetic values robustly adds an important dimension to the holistic conservation of the GBR, coral reefs worldwide and other natural ecosystems. PMID:29765676

  8. Acclimatization of symbiotic corals to mesophotic light environments through wavelength transformation by fluorescent protein pigments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Edward G; D'Angelo, Cecilia; Sharon, Yoni; Tchernov, Dan; Wiedenmann, Joerg

    2017-07-12

    The depth distribution of reef-building corals exposes their photosynthetic symbionts of the genus Symbiodinium to extreme gradients in the intensity and spectral quality of the ambient light environment. Characterizing the mechanisms used by the coral holobiont to respond to the low intensity and reduced spectral composition of the light environment in deeper reefs (greater than 20 m) is fundamental to our understanding of the functioning and structure of reefs across depth gradients. Here, we demonstrate that host pigments, specifically photoconvertible red fluorescent proteins (pcRFPs), can promote coral adaptation/acclimatization to deeper-water light environments by transforming the prevalent blue light into orange-red light, which can penetrate deeper within zooxanthellae-containing tissues; this facilitates a more homogeneous distribution of photons across symbiont communities. The ecological importance of pcRFPs in deeper reefs is supported by the increasing proportion of red fluorescent corals with depth (measured down to 45 m) and increased survival of colour morphs with strong expression of pcRFPs in long-term light manipulation experiments. In addition to screening by host pigments from high light intensities in shallow water, the spectral transformation observed in deeper-water corals highlights the importance of GFP-like protein expression as an ecological mechanism to support the functioning of the coral- Symbiodinium association across steep environmental gradients. © 2017 The Authors.

  9. Nitrogen Fixation Aligns with nifH Abundance and Expression in Two Coral Trophic Functional Groups

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2017-06-28

    Microbial nitrogen fixation (diazotrophy) is a functional trait widely associated with tropical reef-building (scleractinian) corals. While the integral role of nitrogen fixation in coral nutrient dynamics is recognized, its ecological significance across different coral functional groups remains yet to be evaluated. Here we set out to compare molecular and physiological patterns of diazotrophy (i.e., nifH gene abundance and expression as well as nitrogen fixation rates) in two coral families with contrasting trophic strategies: highly heterotrophic, free-living members of the family Fungiidae (Pleuractis granulosa, Ctenactis echinata), and mostly autotrophic coral holobionts with low heterotrophic capacity (Pocilloporidae: Pocillopora verrucosa, Stylophora pistillata). The Fungiidae exhibited low diazotroph abundance (based on nifH gene copy numbers) and activity (based on nifH gene expression and the absence of detectable nitrogen fixation rates). In contrast, the mostly autotrophic Pocilloporidae exhibited nifH gene copy numbers and gene expression two orders of magnitude higher than in the Fungiidae, which coincided with detectable nitrogen fixation activity. Based on these data, we suggest that nitrogen fixation compensates for the low heterotrophic nitrogen uptake in autotrophic corals. Consequently, the ecological importance of diazotrophy in coral holobionts may be determined by the trophic functional group of the host.

  10. Dynamics of coral-associated microbiomes during a thermal bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pootakham, Wirulda; Mhuantong, Wuttichai; Putchim, Lalita; Yoocha, Thippawan; Sonthirod, Chutima; Kongkachana, Wasitthee; Sangsrakru, Duangjai; Naktang, Chaiwat; Jomchai, Nukoon; Thongtham, Nalinee; Tangphatsornruang, Sithichoke

    2018-03-23

    Coral-associated microorganisms play an important role in their host fitness and survival. A number of studies have demonstrated connections between thermal tolerance in corals and the type/relative abundance of Symbiodinium they harbor. More recently, the shifts in coral-associated bacterial profiles were also shown to be linked to the patterns of coral heat tolerance. Here, we investigated the dynamics of Porites lutea-associated bacterial and algal communities throughout a natural bleaching event, using full-length 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer sequences (ITS) obtained from PacBio circular consensus sequencing. We provided evidence of significant changes in the structure and diversity of coral-associated microbiomes during thermal stress. The balance of the symbiosis shifted from a predominant association between corals and Gammaproteobacteria to a predominance of Alphaproteobacteria and to a lesser extent Betaproteobacteria following the bleaching event. On the contrary, the composition and diversity of Symbiodinium communities remained unaltered throughout the bleaching event. It appears that the switching and/or shuffling of Symbiodinium types may not be the primary mechanism used by P. lutea to cope with increasing seawater temperature. The shifts in the structure and diversity of associated bacterial communities may contribute more to the survival of the coral holobiont under heat stress. © 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. 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.

  12. NanoSIMS study of trophic interactions in the coral-dinoflagellate endosymbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kopp, Christophe; Mathieu, Pernice; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Djediat, Chakib; Spangenberg, Jorge; Alexander, Duncan; Hignette, Michel; Meziane, Tarik; Meibom, Anders

    2013-04-01

    Tropical and subtropical reef-building corals generally form a stable endosymbiotic association with autotrophic single-celled dinoflagellate algae, commonly known as "zooxanthellae", which is crucial for the development of coral reef ecosystems. In the present work, the spatial and temporal dynamics of trophic interactions between corals and their dinoflagellates was investigated in situ and at a subcellular level in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and quantitative NanoSIMS isotopic imaging of tissue ultra-thin sections (70 nm) were combined to precisely track the assimilation and the fate of 15N-labeled compounds (ammonium, nitrate and aspartic acid) within each symbiotic partner of the coral-dinoflagellate association. Among our main results, we found that (i) both dinoflagellate algae and coral tissue rapidly assimilate ammonium and aspartic acid from the environment, (ii) however only the dinoflagellates assimilate nitrate, (ii) nitrogen is rapidly and temporary stored within the dinoflagellate cells into uric acid crystals, and (iii) the dinoflagellate endosymbionts translocate nitrogenous compounds to their coral host. This study paves the way for exploring in details the wide range of metabolic interactions between partners of any symbiosis in the biosphere.

  13. Nitrogen Fixation Aligns with nifH Abundance and Expression in Two Coral Trophic Functional Groups

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Cardenas, Anny; Gä rdes, Astrid; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Microbial nitrogen fixation (diazotrophy) is a functional trait widely associated with tropical reef-building (scleractinian) corals. While the integral role of nitrogen fixation in coral nutrient dynamics is recognized, its ecological significance across different coral functional groups remains yet to be evaluated. Here we set out to compare molecular and physiological patterns of diazotrophy (i.e., nifH gene abundance and expression as well as nitrogen fixation rates) in two coral families with contrasting trophic strategies: highly heterotrophic, free-living members of the family Fungiidae (Pleuractis granulosa, Ctenactis echinata), and mostly autotrophic coral holobionts with low heterotrophic capacity (Pocilloporidae: Pocillopora verrucosa, Stylophora pistillata). The Fungiidae exhibited low diazotroph abundance (based on nifH gene copy numbers) and activity (based on nifH gene expression and the absence of detectable nitrogen fixation rates). In contrast, the mostly autotrophic Pocilloporidae exhibited nifH gene copy numbers and gene expression two orders of magnitude higher than in the Fungiidae, which coincided with detectable nitrogen fixation activity. Based on these data, we suggest that nitrogen fixation compensates for the low heterotrophic nitrogen uptake in autotrophic corals. Consequently, the ecological importance of diazotrophy in coral holobionts may be determined by the trophic functional group of the host.

  14. 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.

  15. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for their response to gradients of human disturbance. The purpose of the study was to identify indicators that could be used for regulatory assessments under authority of the Clean Water Act--this requires that indicators distinguish anthropogenic disturbances from natural variation. Stony coral indicators were tested for correlation with human disturbance across gradients located on three different sides of the island. At the most intensely disturbed location, five of eight primary indicators were highly correlated with distance from the source of disturbance: Coral taxa richness, average colony size, the coefficient of variation of colony size (an indicator of colony size heterogeneity), total topographic coral surface area, and live coral surface area. An additional set of exploratory indicators related to rarity, reproductive and spawning mode, and taxonomic identity were also screened for association with disturbance at the same location. For the other two locations, there were no significant changes in indicator values and therefore no discernible effects of human activity. Coral indicators demonstrated sufficient precision to detect levels of change that would be applicable in a regio

  16. 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...

  17. 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

  18. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.

    ), on submerged banks like Gave shani bank (13°24'N; 73°45'E) (Nair and Qasim 1978) andSidere~ko Bank (13°43.5' N; 73°42'E) (Rao 1972) and as stray individual units off Visakhapatnam (Bakus, G. personal communication) and Pondicherry (Ramesh, A. personal... communication). Fossil reefs, drowned as a result of the Holocene sea level rise, occur at 92, 85, 75 and 55 m depth along .. ~ !! ":2 0. ~ Figure 3.1 Graphical Representation of the SO-Box Model of a Caribbean Coral Reef Key: 1. Benthic producers. 2. Detritus...

  19. 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.

  20. Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with the Coral Model Aiptasia in Aposymbiotic and Symbiotic States with Symbiodinium

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2016-11-18

    Coral reefs are in decline. The basic functional unit of coral reefs is the coral metaorganism or holobiont consisting of the cnidarian host animal, symbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium, and a specific consortium of bacteria (among others), but research is slow due to the difficulty of working with corals. Aiptasia has proven to be a tractable model system to elucidate the intricacies of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses, but characterization of the associated bacterial microbiome is required to provide a complete and integrated understanding of holobiont function. In this work, we characterize and analyze the microbiome of aposymbiotic and symbiotic Aiptasia and show that bacterial associates are distinct in both conditions. We further show that key microbial associates can be cultured without their cnidarian host. Our results suggest that bacteria play an important role in the symbiosis of Aiptasia with Symbiodinium, a finding that underlines the power of the Aiptasia model system where cnidarian hosts can be analyzed in aposymbiotic and symbiotic states. The characterization of the native microbiome and the ability to retrieve culturable isolates contributes to the resources available for the Aiptasia model system. This provides an opportunity to comparatively analyze cnidarian metaorganisms as collective functional holobionts and as separated member species. We hope that this will accelerate research into understanding the intricacies of coral biology, which is urgently needed to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of environmental change.

  1. Diverse coral communities in mangrove habitats suggest a novel refuge from climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, Kimberly K.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.; Brooks, Gregg R.; Smiley, Nathan A.; Larson, Rebekka A.

    2014-01-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business-as-usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined

  2. New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S.N.; Fogarty, N.D.; Steneck, R.S.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Paul, V.J.

    2009-01-01

    Coral mortality has increased in recent decades, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral reef ecosystems and contributing to their resilience. This review summarizes existing information on ecological factors affecting scleractinian coral recruitment. Successful

  3. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

    Research indicates that 58 per cent of the coral reefs of the world are threatened by human activities. Pollution and global heating represent some of the threats. Coral reefs just beneath the surface of the sea are very sensitive to temperature changes. Since 1979, mass death of coral reefs has been reported increasingly often. More than 1000 marine species live in the coral reefs, among these are one fourth of all marine species of fish. It is imperative that the coral reefs be preserved, as coastal communities all over the world depend on them as sources of food and as they are the raw materials for important medicines. The article discusses the threats to the coral reefs in general and does not single out any particular energy-related activity as the principal threat. For instance, the El-Nino phenomenon of the Pacific Ocean is probably involved in mass death of coral reefs and in the North Sea large parts of deep-water reefs have been crushed by heavy beam trawlers fishing for bottom fish

  4. Zooxanthellar symbiosis in planula larvae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaither, Michelle R; Rowan, Rob

    2010-04-30

    We characterized the planular-zooxanthellae symbiosis of the coral Pocillopora damicornis using criteria that are familiar in studies on corals. Similar to adult corals, planulae exhibited photoacclimation, as changes in symbiont chlorophyll a (chl a); changes in the light-saturation constant for photosynthesis (I(k)); and, at insufficient light, fewer zooxanthellae, decreased respiration, increased weight loss, and increased sensitivity to photoinhibition. Numbers of zooxanthellae in newly-released planulae varied by at least three-fold within broods. Planulae with low versus high numbers of zooxanthellae (termed pale versus dark planulae, respectively) did not differ in symbiont chl-a content, I(k), or biomass-specific rate of dark respiration. Pale planulae had lower rates of photosynthesis, but this difference vanished after three weeks, when zooxanthellar numbers increased by 225% in pale planulae and by 31% in dark planulae. Numbers of zooxanthellae also increased significantly in planulae cultured in ammonium-enriched seawater; ammonium also apparently prevented weight loss and induced settlement. Approximately 70% of photosynthetically-fixed carbon (labeled using (14)C) apparently was translocated from the zooxanthellae to their host. A comparison of planulae cultured at 0.3% versus 11% sunlight suggested that photosynthesis provided ~ 31% of the energy utilized by the latter. Overall, we conclude that the physiology of symbiosis in planulae of P. damicornis is broadly similar to symbiosis physiology in adult corals.

  5. Structural and functional analysis of coral Hypoxia Inducible Factor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoccola, Didier; Morain, Jonas; Pagès, Gilles; Caminiti-Segonds, Natacha; Giuliano, Sandy; Tambutté, Sylvie; Allemand, Denis

    2017-01-01

    Tissues of symbiotic Cnidarians are exposed to wide, rapid and daily variations of oxygen concentration. Indeed, during daytime, intracellular O2 concentration increases due to symbiont photosynthesis, while during night, respiration of both host cells and symbionts leads to intra-tissue hypoxia. The Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric transcription factor used for maintenance of oxygen homeostasis and adaptation to hypoxia. Here, we carried out a mechanistic study of the response to variations of O2 concentrations of the coral model Stylophora pistillata. In silico analysis showed that homologs of HIF-1 α (SpiHIF-1α) and HIF-1β (SpiHIF-1β) exist in coral. A specific SpiHIF-1 DNA binding on mammalian Hypoxia Response Element (HRE) sequences was shown in extracts from coral exposed to dark conditions. Then, we cloned the coral HIF-1α and β genes and determined their expression and transcriptional activity. Although HIF-1α has an incomplete Oxygen-dependent Degradation Domain (ODD) relative to its human homolog, its protein level is increased under hypoxia when tested in mammalian cells. Moreover, co-transfection of SpiHIF-1α and β in mammalian cells stimulated an artificial promoter containing HRE only in hypoxic conditions. This study shows the strong conservation of molecular mechanisms involved in adaptation to O2 concentration between Cnidarians and Mammals whose ancestors diverged about 1,200-1,500 million years ago.

  6. Structural and functional analysis of coral Hypoxia Inducible Factor.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Didier Zoccola

    Full Text Available Tissues of symbiotic Cnidarians are exposed to wide, rapid and daily variations of oxygen concentration. Indeed, during daytime, intracellular O2 concentration increases due to symbiont photosynthesis, while during night, respiration of both host cells and symbionts leads to intra-tissue hypoxia. The Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1 is a heterodimeric transcription factor used for maintenance of oxygen homeostasis and adaptation to hypoxia. Here, we carried out a mechanistic study of the response to variations of O2 concentrations of the coral model Stylophora pistillata. In silico analysis showed that homologs of HIF-1 α (SpiHIF-1α and HIF-1β (SpiHIF-1β exist in coral. A specific SpiHIF-1 DNA binding on mammalian Hypoxia Response Element (HRE sequences was shown in extracts from coral exposed to dark conditions. Then, we cloned the coral HIF-1α and β genes and determined their expression and transcriptional activity. Although HIF-1α has an incomplete Oxygen-dependent Degradation Domain (ODD relative to its human homolog, its protein level is increased under hypoxia when tested in mammalian cells. Moreover, co-transfection of SpiHIF-1α and β in mammalian cells stimulated an artificial promoter containing HRE only in hypoxic conditions. This study shows the strong conservation of molecular mechanisms involved in adaptation to O2 concentration between Cnidarians and Mammals whose ancestors diverged about 1,200-1,500 million years ago.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-03-01

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

  8. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic... regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of... Cancer Institute (http:// [[Page 39918

  9. Extracellular production and degradation of superoxide in the coral Stylophora pistillata and cultured Symbiodinium.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eldad Saragosti

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Reactive oxygen species (ROS are thought to play a major role in cell death pathways and bleaching in scleractinian corals. Direct measurements of ROS in corals are conspicuously in short supply, partly due to inherent problems with ROS quantification in cellular systems.In this study we characterized the dynamics of the reactive oxygen species superoxide anion radical (O(2(- in the external milieu of the coral Stylophora pistillata. Using a sensitive, rapid and selective chemiluminescence-based technique, we measured extracellular superoxide production and detoxification activity of symbiont (non-bleached and aposymbiont (bleached corals, and of cultured Symbiodinium (from clades A and C. Bleached and non-bleached Stylophora fragments were found to produce superoxide at comparable rates of 10(-11-10(-9 mol O(2(- mg protein(-1 min(-1 in the dark. In the light, a two-fold enhancement in O(2(- production rates was observed in non-bleached corals, but not in bleached corals. Cultured Symbiodinium produced superoxide in the dark at a rate of . Light was found to markedly enhance O(2(- production. The NADPH Oxidase inhibitor Diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI strongly inhibited O(2(- production by corals (and more moderately by algae, possibly suggesting an involvement of NADPH Oxidase in the process. An extracellular O(2(- detoxifying activity was found for bleached and non-bleached Stylophora but not for Symbiodinium. The O(2(- detoxifying activity was partially characterized and found to resemble that of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD.The findings of substantial extracellular O(2(- production as well as extracellular O(2(- detoxifying activity may shed light on the chemical interactions between the symbiont and its host and between the coral and its environment. Superoxide production by Symbiodinium possibly implies that algal bearing corals are more susceptible to an internal build-up of O(2(-, which may in turn be linked to oxidative stress

  10. 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.

  11. A new conceptual model of coral biomineralisation: hypoxia as the physiological driver of skeletal extension

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Wooldridge

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available That corals skeletons are built of aragonite crystals with taxonomy-linked ultrastructure has been well understood since the 19th century. Yet, the way by which corals control this crystallization process remains an unsolved question. Here, I outline a new conceptual model of coral biomineralisation that endeavours to relate known skeletal features with homeostatic functions beyond traditional growth (structural determinants. In particular, I propose that the dominant physiological driver of skeletal extension is night-time hypoxia, which is exacerbated by the respiratory oxygen demands of the coral's algal symbionts (= zooxanthellae. The model thus provides a new narrative to explain the high growth rate of symbiotic corals, by equating skeletal deposition with the "work-rate" of the coral host needed to maintain a stable and beneficial symbiosis. In this way, coral skeletons are interpreted as a continuous (long-run recording unit of the stability and functioning of the coral–algae endosymbiosis. After providing supportive evidence for the model across multiple scales of observation, I use coral core data from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia to highlight the disturbed nature of the symbiosis in recent decades, but suggest that its onset is consistent with a trajectory that has been followed since at least the start of the 1900s. In concluding, I outline how the proposed capacity of cnidarians (which includes modern reef corals to overcome the metabolic limitation of hypoxia via skeletogenesis also provides a new hypothesis to explain the sudden appearance in the fossil record of calcified skeletons at the Precambrian–Cambrian transition – and the ensuing rapid appearance of most major animal phyla.

  12. Natural variations in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes: developing tools for coral monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rougée, L. R. A.; Richmond, R. H.; Collier, A. C.

    2014-06-01

    The continued deterioration of coral reefs worldwide demonstrates the need to develop diagnostic tools for corals that go beyond general ecological monitoring and can identify specific stressors at sublethal levels. Cellular diagnostics present an approach to defining indicators (biomarkers) that have the potential to reflect the impact of stress at the cellular level, allowing for the detection of intracellular changes in corals prior to outright mortality. Detoxification enzymes, which may be readily induced or inhibited by environmental stressors, present such a set of indicators. However, in order to apply these diagnostic tools for the detection of stress, a detailed understanding of their normal, homeostatic levels within healthy corals must first be established. Herein, we present molecular and biochemical evidence for the expression and activity of major Phase I detoxification enzymes cytochrome P450 (CYP450), CYP2E1, and CYP450 reductase, as well as the Phase II enzymes UDP, glucuronosyltransferase (UGT), β-glucuronidase, glutathione- S-transferase (GST), and arylsulfatase C (ASC) in the coral Pocillopora damicornis. Additionally, we characterized enzyme expression and activity variations over a reproductive cycle within a coral's life history to determine natural endogenous changes devoid of stress exposure. Significant changes in enzyme activity over the coral's natural lunar reproductive cycle were observed for CYP2E1 and CYP450 reductase as well as UGT and GST, while β-glucuronidase and ASC did not fluctuate significantly. The data represent a baseline description of `health' for the expression and activity of these enzymes that can be used toward understanding the impact of environmental stressors on corals. Such knowledge can be applied to address causes of coral reef ecosystem decline and to monitor effectiveness of mitigation strategies. Achieving a better understanding of cause-and-effect relationships between putative stressors and biological

  13. Local stressors reduce coral resilience to bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carilli, Jessica E; Norris, Richard D; Black, Bryan A; Walsh, Sheila M; McField, Melanie

    2009-07-22

    Coral bleaching, during which corals lose their symbiotic dinoflagellates, typically corresponds with periods of intense heat stress, and appears to be increasing in frequency and geographic extent as the climate warms. A fundamental question in coral reef ecology is whether chronic local stress reduces coral resistance and resilience from episodic stress such as bleaching, or alternatively promotes acclimatization, potentially increasing resistance and resilience. Here we show that following a major bleaching event, Montastraea faveolata coral growth rates at sites with higher local anthropogenic stressors remained suppressed for at least 8 years, while coral growth rates at sites with lower stress recovered in 2-3 years. Instead of promoting acclimatization, our data indicate that background stress reduces coral fitness and resilience to episodic events. We also suggest that reducing chronic stress through local coral reef management efforts may increase coral resilience to global climate change.

  14. 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...

  15. Fungi and their role in corals and coral reef ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

    fungal hyphae have on corals, their mechanism of penetration and the role their enzymes play in this process. 3.2. Fungi as pathogens in reef ecosystems Besides natural disasters and climate warming, diseases have contributed to coral decline... defence mechanisms against predation, biofouling, diseases, environmental perturbations and other stressors. These chemicals are either synthesized by the organisms themselves or their endobiontic microorganisms. If these valuable compounds...

  16. Ultrastructural biomarkers in symbiotic algae reflect the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients and particulate food to the reef coral holobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sabrina eRosset

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Reef building corals associated with symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae can access environmental nutrients from different sources, most significantly via the uptake of dissolved inorganic nutrients by the algal symbiont and heterotrophic feeding of the coral host. Climate change is expected to alter the nutrient environment in coral reefs with the potential to benefit or disturb coral reef resilience. At present, the relative importance of the two major nutrient sources is not well understood, making predictions of the responses of corals to changes in their nutrient environment difficult. Therefore, we have examined the long-term effects of the availability of different concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients and of nutrients in particulate organic form on the model coral Euphyllia paradivisa. Coral and algal biomass showed a significantly stronger increase in response to elevated levels of dissolved inorganic nutrients as compared to the supply with particulate food. Also, changes in the zooxanthellae ultrastructure, determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM, were mostly driven by the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients under the present experimental conditions. The larger size of symbiont cells, their increased accumulation of lipid bodies, a higher number of starch granules and the fragmentation of their accumulation body could be established as reliable biomarkers of low availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients to the coral holobiont.

  17. Local endemicity and high diversity characterise high-latitude coral- Symbiodinium partnerships

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wicks, L. C.; Sampayo, E.; Gardner, J. P. A.; Davy, S. K.

    2010-12-01

    Obligate symbiotic dinoflagellates ( Symbiodinium) residing within the tissues of most reef invertebrates are important in determining the tolerance range of their host. Coral communities living at high latitudes experience wide fluctuations in environmental conditions and thus provide an ideal system to gain insights into the range within which the symbiotic relationship can be sustained. Further, understanding whether and how symbiont communities associated with high-latitude coral reefs are different from their tropical counterparts will provide clues to the potential of corals to cope with marginal or changing conditions. However, little is known of the host and symbiont partnerships at high latitudes. Symbiodinium diversity and specificity of high-latitude coral communities were explored using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis of the internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1 and ITS2) of the ribosomal DNA at Lord Howe Island (31°S; Australia), and the Kermadec Islands (29°S; New Zealand). All but one host associated with clade C Symbiodinium, the exception being a soft coral ( Capnella sp.) that contained Symbiodinium B1. Besides ‘host-generalist’ Symbiodinium types C1 and C3, approximately 72% of the Symbiodinium identified were novel C types, and zonation of symbionts in relation to environmental parameters such as depth and turbidity was evident in certain host species. The high-latitude Symbiodinium communities showed little overlap and relatively high diversity compared with communities sampled on the tropical Great Barrier Reef. Although host specificity was maintained in certain species, others shared symbionts and this potential reduction of fidelity at high-latitude locations may be the result of locally challenging and highly variable environmental conditions.

  18. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lobel, Lisa

    2000-01-01

    This document identify policies and actions to implement the Department of Defense's responsibilities under Executive Order 13089 on Coral Reef Protection, and are a requirement of the interim Task...

  19. Advancing Ocean Monitoring Near Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heron, Scott F.; Steinberg, Craig R.; Heron, Mal L.; Mantovanelli, Alessandra; Jaffrés, Jasmine B. D.; Skirving, William J.; McAllister, Felicity; Rigby, Paul; Wisdom, Daniel; Bainbridge, Scott

    2010-10-01

    Corals, the foundation of tropical marine ecosystems, exist in a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae (algae). The corals obtain much of their energy by consuming compounds derived from photosynthesis by these microorganisms; the microorganisms, which reside in the coral tissue, in turn use waste products from the corals to sustain photosynthesis. This symbiosis is very sensitive to subtle changes in environment, such as increased ocean acidity, temperature, and light. When unduly stressed, the colorful algae are expelled from the corals, causing the corals to “bleach” and potentially die [e.g., van Oppen and Lough, 2009].

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mickael Ros

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available There is an urgent need to develop and implement rapid assessments of coral health to allow effective adaptive management in response to coastal development and global change. There is now increasing evidence that activation of caspase-dependent apoptosis plays a key role during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this study, a “clinical” approach was used to assess coral health by measuring the activity of caspase 3 using a commercial kit. This method was first applied while inducing thermal bleaching in two coral species, Acropora millepora and Pocillopora damicornis. The latter species was then chosen to undergo further studies combining the detection of oxidative stress-related compounds (catalase activity and glutathione concentrations as well as caspase activity during both stress and recovery phases. Zooxanthellae photosystem II (PSII efficiency and cell density were measured in parallel to assess symbiont health. Our results demonstrate that the increased caspase 3 activity in the coral host could be detected before observing any significant decrease in the photochemical efficiency of PSII in the algal symbionts and/or their expulsion from the host. This study highlights the potential of host caspase 3 and reactive oxygen species scavenging activities as early indicators of stress in individual coral colonies.

  1. Coral Sr-U Thermometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeCarlo, T. M.; Gaetani, G. A.; Cohen, A. L.; Foster, G. L.; Alpert, A.; Stewart, J.

    2016-12-01

    Coral skeletons archive the past two millennia of climate variability in the oceans with unrivaled temporal resolution. However, extracting accurate temperature information from coral skeletons is confounded by "vital effects", which often override the temperature dependence of geochemical proxies. Here, we present a new approach to coral paleothermometry based on results of abiogenic precipitation experiments interpreted within a framework provided by a quantitative model of the coral biomineralization process. We conducted laboratory experiments to test the temperature and carbonate chemistry controls on abiogenic partitioning of Sr/Ca and U/Ca between aragonite and seawater, and we modeled the sensitivity of skeletal composition to processes occurring at the site of calcification. The model predicts that temperature can be accurately reconstructed from coral skeleton by combining Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios into a new proxy, Sr-U. We tested the model predictions with measured Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios of fourteen Porites sp. corals collected from the tropical Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea, with a subset also analyzed using the boron isotope (δ11B) pH proxy. Observed relationships among Sr/Ca, U/Ca, and δ11B agree with model predictions, indicating that the model accounts for the key features of the coral biomineralization process. We calibrated Sr-U to instrumental temperature records and found that it captures 93% of mean annual variability (26-30 °C) and predicts temperature within 0.5 °C (1 σ). Conversely, Sr/Ca alone has an error of prediction of 1 °C and often diverges from observed temperature by 3 °C or more. Many of the problems afflicting Sr/Ca - including offsets among neighboring corals and decouplings from temperature during coral stress events - are reconciled by Sr-U. By accounting for the influence of the coral biomineralization process, the Sr-U thermometer may offer significantly improved reliability for reconstructing ocean temperatures from coral

  2. 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.

  3. Genetic variation within Symbiodinium clade B from the coral genus Madracis in the Caribbean (Netherlands Antilles)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Diekmann, O.E.; Olsen, J.L.; Stam, W.T.; Bak, R.P M

    The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was sequenced in symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from five morphospecies in the genus Madracis. The phylogeny of the symbionts is congruent with a companion phylogeny of the coral host. Comparison with known clade B symbiont ITS types reveals

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. LEDs light spectrum effect on the success of fragmentation and growth of the leather coral Sarcophyton spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Chambel

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The increasing demand for soft corals is reflected on the high attention of the scientific community during the last decades, with several studies focus on production techniques and optimization of coral husbandry (Schlacher et al., 2007;Sella and Benayahu, 2010. However, coral culture success is influenced by the interaction of different factors, such as water movement, temperature, nutrients, heterotrophic feeding and light conditions (Rocha et al., 2013a. Light plays a key role in the growth, reproduction and physiology of scleractinian corals that host phototrophic symbionts and it has been found that the photoresponse of corals is species-specific. Several studies have already focused on the effects of irradiance on coral and its algal symbionts (Osinga et al., 2011. Although, only a few works have investigated the role of the spectral quality of light on coral photobiology, physiology and growth (Rocha et al., 2013b. In the present study, we hypothesize that light spectrum can influence the growth performance of scleractinian corals when exposed at identical intensities of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR. To test our hypothesis we evaluated the effect of contrasting light spectra with an identical PAR of 70 ± 10 μmol quantam−2.s−1emitted by T8 fluorescent lamps (used as a control treatment and three different colours of Light Emitting Diode (LED, white, blue and red. It was evaluated survival and growth rates of Sarcophyton spp., an important scleractinian coral in the marine aquarium trade and for the bioprospecting of marine natural compounds. Replicated coral fragments were obtained from two mother colonies and were exposed to the four types of light spectrum for a period of 30 days. At the end of the experiment period, the results showed 100% of survival in coral fragments, and specific growth rate (SGR of 0,055 ± 0,09 %/day in control group and 0,091 ± 0,019 %/day, 0,210 ± 0,031 %/day and 0,380 ± 0,245 %/day in

  6. Symbiodinium biogeography tracks environmental patterns rather than host genetics in a key Caribbean reef-builder, Orbicella annularis

    OpenAIRE

    Kennedy, EV; Tonk, L; Foster, NL; Chollett, I; Ortiz, J-C; Dove, S; Hoegh-Guldberg, O; Mumby, PJ; Stevens, JR

    2016-01-01

    The physiological performance of a reef-building coral is a combined outcome of both the coral host and its algal endosymbionts, Symbiodinium. While Orbicella annularis?a dominant reef-building coral in the Wider Caribbean?is known to be a flexible host in terms of the diversity of Symbiodinium types it can associate with, it is uncertain how this diversity varies across the Caribbean, and whether spatial variability in the symbiont community is related to either O. annularis genotype or envi...

  7. Robust Performance of Marginal Pacific Coral Reef Habitats in Future Climate Scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Lauren A

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under dual threat from climate change. Increasing sea surface temperatures and thermal stress create environmental limits at low latitudes, and decreasing aragonite saturation state creates environmental limits at high latitudes. This study examines the response of unique coral reef habitats to climate change in the remote Pacific, using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model version 1 alongside the species distribution algorithm Maxent. Narrow ranges of physico-chemical variables are used to define unique coral habitats and their performance is tested in future climate scenarios. General loss of coral reef habitat is expected in future climate scenarios and has been shown in previous studies. This study found exactly that for most of the predominant physico-chemical environments. However, certain coral reef habitats considered marginal today at high latitude, along the equator and in the eastern tropical Pacific were found to be quite robust in climate change scenarios. Furthermore, an environmental coral reef refuge previously identified in the central south Pacific near French Polynesia was further reinforced. Studying the response of specific habitats showed that the prevailing conditions of this refuge during the 20th century shift to a new set of conditions, more characteristic of higher latitude coral reefs in the 20th century, in future climate scenarios projected to 2100.

  8. Robust Performance of Marginal Pacific Coral Reef Habitats in Future Climate Scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lauren A Freeman

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are under dual threat from climate change. Increasing sea surface temperatures and thermal stress create environmental limits at low latitudes, and decreasing aragonite saturation state creates environmental limits at high latitudes. This study examines the response of unique coral reef habitats to climate change in the remote Pacific, using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model version 1 alongside the species distribution algorithm Maxent. Narrow ranges of physico-chemical variables are used to define unique coral habitats and their performance is tested in future climate scenarios. General loss of coral reef habitat is expected in future climate scenarios and has been shown in previous studies. This study found exactly that for most of the predominant physico-chemical environments. However, certain coral reef habitats considered marginal today at high latitude, along the equator and in the eastern tropical Pacific were found to be quite robust in climate change scenarios. Furthermore, an environmental coral reef refuge previously identified in the central south Pacific near French Polynesia was further reinforced. Studying the response of specific habitats showed that the prevailing conditions of this refuge during the 20th century shift to a new set of conditions, more characteristic of higher latitude coral reefs in the 20th century, in future climate scenarios projected to 2100.

  9. THE CONDITION OF CORAL REEFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA (2000) USING CORAL DISEASE AND BLEACHING AS INDICATORS

    Science.gov (United States)

    The destruction for coral reef habitats is occurring at unprecedented levels. Coral disease epizootics in the Southwestern Atlantic have lead to coral replacement by turf algae, prompting a call to classify some coral species as endangered. In addition, a massive bleaching event ...

  10. Coral calcification and ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Jury, Christopher P.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-01-01

    Over 60 years ago, the discovery that light increased calcification in the coral plant-animal symbiosis triggered interest in explaining the phenomenon and understanding the mechanisms involved. Major findings along the way include the observation that carbon fixed by photosynthesis in the zooxanthellae is translocated to animal cells throughout the colony and that corals can therefore live as autotrophs in many situations. Recent research has focused on explaining the observed reduction in calcification rate with increasing ocean acidification (OA). Experiments have shown a direct correlation between declining ocean pH, declining aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), declining [CO32_] and coral calcification. Nearly all previous reports on OA identify Ωarag or its surrogate [CO32] as the factor driving coral calcification. However, the alternate “Proton Flux Hypothesis” stated that coral calcification is controlled by diffusion limitation of net H+ transport through the boundary layer in relation to availability of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The “Two Compartment Proton Flux Model” expanded this explanation and synthesized diverse observations into a universal model that explains many paradoxes of coral metabolism, morphology and plasticity of growth form in addition to observed coral skeletal growth response to OA. It is now clear that irradiance is the main driver of net photosynthesis (Pnet), which in turn drives net calcification (Gnet), and alters pH in the bulk water surrounding the coral. Pnet controls [CO32] and thus Ωarag of the bulk water over the diel cycle. Changes in Ωarag and pH lag behind Gnet throughout the daily cycle by two or more hours. The flux rate Pnet, rather than concentration-based parameters (e.g., Ωarag, [CO3 2], pH and [DIC]:[H+] ratio) is the primary driver of Gnet. Daytime coral metabolism rapidly removes DIC from the bulk seawater. Photosynthesis increases the bulk seawater pH while providing the energy that drives

  11. 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

    revealed by both clone libraries and DGGE profiling. Despite Vibrio species being previously implicated in bleaching of specific coral species, it is unsure if the relative increase in retrieved Vibrio sequences is due to bacterial infection or an opportunistic response to compromised health and changing environmental parameters of the coral host. This study provides the first molecular-based study demonstrating changes in coral-associated bacterial assemblages during a bleaching event on a natural reef system.

  12. Holobiont Diversity in a Reef-Building Coral over Its Entire Depth Range in the Mesophotic Zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fanny L. Gonzalez-Zapata

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Mesophotic reef-building coral communities (~30–120 m depth remain largely unexplored, despite representing roughly three-quarters of the overall depth range at which tropical coral reef ecosystems occur. Although many coral species are restricted to shallow depths, several species occur across large depth ranges, including lower mesophotic depths. Yet, it remains unclear how such species can persist under extreme low-light conditions and how the different symbiotic partners associated with these corals contribute to facilitate such broad depth ranges. We assessed holobiont genetic diversity of the Caribbean coral Agaricia undata over depth in three localities of Colombia: San Andres Island (between 37 and 85 m, Cartagena (between 17 and 45 m and “Parque Nacional Natural Corales de Profundidad” (between 77 and 87 m. We used a population genomics approach (NextRAD for the coral host, and amplicon sequencing for the associated Symbiodinium (non-coding region of the plastid psbA minicircle and prokaryotic (V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene symbiont community. For the coral host, genetic structuring was only observed across geographic regions, but not between depths. Bayesian clustering and discriminant analysis of principal components revealed genetic structuring between the three regions, but not between shallow (<30 m, upper (≥30 and ≤60 m and lower mesophotic (>60 m depths. This pattern was confirmed when evaluating pairwise differentiation (FST between populations, with much higher values between regions (0.0467–0.1034 compared to between depths [within location; −0.0075–(−0.0007]. Symbiotic partners, including seven types of zooxanthellae and 325 prokaryotic OTUs, did not exhibit partitioning across depths. All samples hosted Symbiodinium clade C3 and the type C3psbA_e was present in all depths. Alpha microbial diversity was not significantly different between zones (upper vs. lower, which community composition between coral

  13. 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

  14. Status of coral reefs of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Muley, E.V.; Venkataraman, K.; Alfred, J.R.B.; Wafar, M.V.M.

    and economic significance of coral reefs and the threat perceptions, Government of India has initiated measures for their intensive conservation and management. Present paper deals with ecological status of coral reefs in the country and various national...

  15. 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,...

  16. Deep-Sea Soft Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  17. Deep-Sea Stony Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  18. Coral Reef Watch, Hotspots, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides Coral Bleaching hotspot maps derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides global area...

  19. Assessing Coral Response to a Severe Bleaching Event Using Mulimolecular Biomarkers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Babcock-Adams, L.; Minarro, S.; Fitt, W. K.; Medeiros, P. M.

    2016-02-01

    Coral bleaching events occur primarily due to increased seawater temperatures that results in the expulsion and/or reduction of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae. The Adaptive Bleaching Hypothesis suggests that bleaching events allow a different symbiont to populate the host. Specifically, the Symbiodinium clade D has been shown to increase in abundance following a bleaching event. Approximately 40 coral tissue samples (Orbicella annularis and Orbicella faveolata) were collected in the Florida Keys in March, May, August, and November of 2000, and analyzed using GC-MS for molecular biomarkers to determine if a different suite of compounds is produced at different times following the severe bleaching events in 1997 and 1998, and to relate the biomarker composition and levels to the symbiont(s) that were present in the corals. Our preliminary results show a predominant presence of saccharides (e.g., glucose, sucrose) and sterols (e.g., cholesterol, campesterol, brassicasterol), and to a lesser degree saturated (C16:0, C18:0, C20:0) and unsaturated fatty acids (C16:1; C18:1; C18:2; C20:4). The corals with the bleaching resistant clade D symbiont have higher levels of sterols as compared to corals with other non-resistant symbionts that were collected at the same time point. Concentrations of both sterols and saccharides increased throughout time, especially from March to May, which may indicate a recovery of the corals.

  20. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis Gutierrez-Heredia

    Full Text Available Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters, but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb, allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  1. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez-Heredia, Luis; Benzoni, Francesca; Murphy, Emma; Reynaud, Emmanuel G

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters), but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon) and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb), allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies) were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  2. Interactions between the tropical sea anemone Aiptasia pallida and Serratia marcescens, an opportunistic pathogen of corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J; Meyer, Julie L; Gimbrone, Nicholas; Yanong, Roy; Berzins, Ilze; Alagely, Ali; Castro, Herman; Ritchie, Kim B; Paul, Valerie J; Teplitski, Max

    2014-06-01

    Coral reefs are under increasing stress caused by global and local environmental changes, which are thought to increase the susceptibility of corals to opportunistic pathogens. In the absence of an easily culturable model animal, the understanding of the mechanisms of disease progression in corals remains fairly limited. In the present study, we tested the susceptibility of the tropical sea anemone Aiptasia pallida to an opportunistic coral pathogen (Serratia marcescens). A. pallida was susceptible to S. marcescens PDL100 and responded to this opportunistic coral pathogen with darkening of the tissues and retraction of tentacles, followed by complete disintegration of polyp tissues. Histological observations revealed loss of zooxanthellae and structural changes in eosinophilic granular cells in response to pathogen infection. A screen of S. marcescens mutants identified a motility and tetrathionate reductase mutants as defective in virulence in the A. pallida infection model. In co-infections with the wild-type strain, the tetrathionate reductase mutant was less fit within the surface mucopolysaccharide layer of the host coral Acropora palmata. © 2014 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Transcriptomic responses to darkness stress point to common coral bleaching mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Desalvo, M. K.; Estrada, A.; Sunagawa, S.; Medina, Mónica

    2012-03-01

    Coral bleaching occurs in response to numerous abiotic stressors, the ecologically most relevant of which is hyperthermic stress due to increasing seawater temperatures. Bleaching events can span large geographic areas and are currently a salient threat to coral reefs worldwide. Much effort has been focused on understanding the molecular and cellular events underlying bleaching, and these studies have mainly utilized heat and light stress regimes. In an effort to determine whether different stressors share common bleaching mechanisms, we used complementary DNA (cDNA) microarrays for the corals Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata (containing >10,000 features) to measure differential gene expression during darkness stress. Our results reveal a striking transcriptomic response to darkness in A. palmata involving chaperone and antioxidant up-regulation, growth arrest, and metabolic modifications. As these responses were previously measured during thermal stress, our results suggest that different stressors may share common bleaching mechanisms. Furthermore, our results point to hypoxia and endoplasmic reticulum stress as critical cellular events involved in molecular bleaching mechanisms. On the other hand, we identified a meager transcriptomic response to darkness in M. faveolata where gene expression differences between host colonies and sampling locations were greater than differences between control and stressed fragments. This and previous coral microarray studies reveal the immense range of transcriptomic responses that are possible when studying two coral species that differ greatly in their ecophysiology, thus pointing to the importance of comparative approaches in forecasting how corals will respond to future environmental change.

  4. Growth tradeoffs associated with thermotolerant symbionts in the coral Pocillopora damicornis are lost in warmer oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, R.; Gillette, P.; Capo, T.; Galvez, K.; Baker, A. C.

    2015-03-01

    The growth and survival of reef corals are influenced by their symbiotic algal partners ( Symbiodinium spp.), which may be flexible in space and time. Tradeoffs among partnerships exist such that corals with thermotolerant symbionts (e.g., clade D) resist bleaching but grow more slowly, making the long-term ecosystem-level impacts of different host-symbiont associations uncertain. However, much of this uncertainty is due to limited data regarding these tradeoffs and particularly how they are mediated by the environment. To address this knowledge gap, we measured growth and survival of Pocillopora damicornis with thermally sensitive (clade C) or tolerant (clade D) symbionts at three temperatures over 18-55 weeks. Warming reduced coral growth overall, but altered the tradeoffs associated with symbiont type. While clade D corals grew 35-40 % slower than clade C corals at cooler temperatures (26 °C), warming of 1.5-3 °C reduced and eliminated this growth disadvantage. These results suggest that although warmer oceans will negatively impact corals, clade D may enhance survival at no cost to growth relative to clade C. Understanding these genotype-environment interactions can help improve modeling efforts and conservation strategies for reefs under global climate change.

  5. Multiple mechanisms of transmission of the Caribbean coral disease white plague

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemens, E.; Brandt, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    White plague is one of the most devastating coral diseases in the Caribbean, and yet important aspects of its epidemiology, including how the disease transmits, remain unknown. This study tested potential mechanisms and rates of transmission of white plague in a laboratory setting. Transmission mechanisms including the transport of water, contact with macroalgae, and predation via corallivorous worms and snails were tested on the host species Orbicella annularis. Two of the tested mechanisms were shown to transmit disease: water transport and the corallivorous snail Coralliophila abbreviata. Between these transmission mechanisms, transport of water between a diseased coral and a healthy coral resulted in disease incidence significantly more frequently in exposed healthy corals. Transmission via water transport also occurred more quickly and was associated with higher rates of tissue loss (up to 3.5 cm d-1) than with the corallivorous snail treatment. In addition, water that was in contact with diseased corals but was filtered with a 0.22-μm filter prior to being introduced to apparently healthy corals also resulted in the transmission of disease signs, but at a much lower rate than when water was not filtered. This study has provided important information on the transmission potential of Caribbean white plague disease and highlights the need for a greater understanding of how these processes operate in the natural environment.

  6. Microbial dinitrogen fixation in coral holobionts exposed to thermal stress and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardini, Ulisse; van Hoytema, Nanne; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Rix, Laura; Foster, Rachel A; Al-Rshaidat, Mamoon M D; Wild, Christian

    2016-09-01

    Coral holobionts (i.e., coral-algal-prokaryote symbioses) exhibit dissimilar thermal sensitivities that may determine which coral species will adapt to global warming. Nonetheless, studies simultaneously investigating the effects of warming on all holobiont members are lacking. Here we show that exposure to increased temperature affects key physiological traits of all members (herein: animal host, zooxanthellae and diazotrophs) of both Stylophora pistillata and Acropora hemprichii during and after thermal stress. S. pistillata experienced severe loss of zooxanthellae (i.e., bleaching) with no net photosynthesis at the end of the experiment. Conversely, A. hemprichii was more resilient to thermal stress. Exposure to increased temperature (+ 6°C) resulted in a drastic increase in daylight dinitrogen (N2 ) fixation, particularly in A. hemprichii (threefold compared with controls). After the temperature was reduced again to in situ levels, diazotrophs exhibited a reversed diel pattern of activity, with increased N2 fixation rates recorded only in the dark, particularly in bleached S. pistillata (twofold compared to controls). Concurrently, both animal hosts, but particularly bleached S. pistillata, reduced both organic matter release and heterotrophic feeding on picoplankton. Our findings indicate that physiological plasticity by coral-associated diazotrophs may play an important role in determining the response of coral holobionts to ocean warming. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. Dominance of Endozoicomonas bacteria throughout coral bleaching and mortality suggests structural inflexibility of the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pogoreutz, Claudia; Rädecker, Nils; Cárdenas, Anny; Gärdes, Astrid; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R

    2018-02-01

    The importance of Symbiodinium algal endosymbionts and a diverse suite of bacteria for coral holobiont health and functioning are widely acknowledged. Yet, we know surprisingly little about microbial community dynamics and the stability of host-microbe associations under adverse environmental conditions. To gain insight into the stability of coral host-microbe associations and holobiont structure, we assessed changes in the community structure of Symbiodinium and bacteria associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa under excess organic nutrient conditions. Pocillopora -associated microbial communities were monitored over 14 days in two independent experiments. We assessed the effect of excess dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and excess dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Exposure to excess nutrients rapidly affected coral health, resulting in two distinct stress phenotypes: coral bleaching under excess DOC and severe tissue sloughing (>90% tissue loss resulting in host mortality) under excess DON. These phenotypes were accompanied by structural changes in the Symbiodinium community. In contrast, the associated bacterial community remained remarkably stable and was dominated by two Endozoicomonas phylotypes, comprising on average 90% of 16S rRNA gene sequences. This dominance of Endozoicomonas even under conditions of coral bleaching and mortality suggests the bacterial community of P. verrucosa may be rather inflexible and thereby unable to respond or acclimatize to rapid changes in the environment, contrary to what was previously observed in other corals. In this light, our results suggest that coral holobionts might occupy structural landscapes ranging from a highly flexible to a rather inflexible composition with consequences for their ability to respond to environmental change.

  8. 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.

  9. Dominance of Endozoicomonas bacteria throughout coral bleaching and mortality suggests structural inflexibility of the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2018-01-25

    The importance of Symbiodinium algal endosymbionts and a diverse suite of bacteria for coral holobiont health and functioning are widely acknowledged. Yet, we know surprisingly little about microbial community dynamics and the stability of host-microbe associations under adverse environmental conditions. To gain insight into the stability of coral host-microbe associations and holobiont structure, we assessed changes in the community structure of Symbiodinium and bacteria associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa under excess organic nutrient conditions. Pocillopora-associated microbial communities were monitored over 14 days in two independent experiments. We assessed the effect of excess dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and excess dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Exposure to excess nutrients rapidly affected coral health, resulting in two distinct stress phenotypes: coral bleaching under excess DOC and severe tissue sloughing (>90% tissue loss resulting in host mortality) under excess DON. These phenotypes were accompanied by structural changes in the Symbiodinium community. In contrast, the associated bacterial community remained remarkably stable and was dominated by two Endozoicomonas phylotypes, comprising on average 90% of 16S rRNA gene sequences. This dominance of Endozoicomonas even under conditions of coral bleaching and mortality suggests the bacterial community of P. verrucosa may be rather inflexible and thereby unable to respond or acclimatize to rapid changes in the environment, contrary to what was previously observed in other corals. In this light, our results suggest that coral holobionts might occupy structural landscapes ranging from a highly flexible to a rather inflexible composition with consequences for their ability to respond to environmental change.

  10. The effects of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean gorgonian corals and their algal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tamar L Goulet

    Full Text Available Global climate change not only leads to elevated seawater temperatures but also to episodic anomalously high or low temperatures lasting for several hours to days. Scleractinian corals are detrimentally affected by thermal fluctuations, which often lead to an uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium spp. (coral bleaching and potentially coral death. Consequently, on many Caribbean reefs scleractinian coral cover has plummeted. Conversely, gorgonian corals persist, with their abundance even increasing. How gorgonians react to thermal anomalies has been investigated utilizing limited parameters of either the gorgonian, Symbiodinium or the combined symbiosis (holobiont. We employed a holistic approach to examine the effect of an experimental five-day elevated temperature episode on parameters of the host, symbiont, and the holobiont in Eunicea tourneforti, E. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa. These gorgonian corals reacted and coped with 32°C seawater temperatures. Neither Symbiodinium genotypes nor densities differed between the ambient 29.5°C and 32°C. Chlorophyll a and c2 per Symbiodinium cell, however, were lower at 32°C leading to a reduction in chlorophyll content in the branches and an associated reduction in estimated absorbance and increase in the chlorophyll a specific absorption coefficient. The adjustments in the photochemical parameters led to changes in photochemical efficiencies, although these too showed that the gorgonians were coping. For example, the maximum excitation pressure, Qm, was significantly lower at 32°C than at 29.5°C. In addition, although per dry weight the amount of protein and lipids were lower at 32°C, the overall energy content in the tissues did not differ between the temperatures. Antioxidant activity either remained the same or increased following exposure to 32°C further reiterating a response that dealt with the stressor. Taken together, the capability of Caribbean gorgonian corals to modify

  11. Patterns of coral disease across the Hawaiian archipelago: relating disease to environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Greta S Aeby

    Full Text Available In Hawaii, coral reefs occur across a gradient of biological (host abundance, climatic (sea surface temperature anomalies and anthropogenic conditions from the human-impacted reefs of the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI to the pristine reefs of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI. Coral disease surveys were conducted at 142 sites from across the Archipelago and disease patterns examined. Twelve diseases were recorded from three coral genera (Porites, Montipora, Acropora with Porites having the highest prevalence. Porites growth anomalies (PorGAs were significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the MHI and Porites trematodiasis (PorTrm was significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the NWHI. Porites tissue loss syndrome (PorTLS was also important in driving regional differences but that relationship was less clear. These results highlight the importance of understanding disease ecology when interpreting patterns of disease occurrence. PorTrm is caused by a parasitic flatworm that utilizes multiple hosts during its life cycle (fish, mollusk and coral. All three hosts must be present for the disease to occur and higher host abundance leads to higher disease prevalence. Thus, a high prevalence of PorTrm on Hawaiian reefs would be an indicator of a healthy coral reef ecosystem. In contrast, the high occurrence of PorGAs within the MHI suggests that PorGAs are related, directly or indirectly, to some environmental co-factor associated with increased human population sizes. Focusing on the three indicator diseases (PorGAs, PorTrm, PorTLS we used statistical modeling to examine the underlying associations between disease prevalence and 14 different predictor variables (biotic and abiotic. All three diseases showed positive associations with host abundance and negative associations with thermal stress. The association with human population density differed among disease states with PorGAs showing a positive and Por

  12. Patterns of coral disease across the Hawaiian Archipelago: Relating disease to environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aeby, G.S.; Williams, G.J.; Franklin, E.C.; Kenyon, J.; Cox, E.F.; Coles, S.; Work, Thierry M.

    2011-01-01

    In Hawaii, coral reefs occur across a gradient of biological (host abundance), climatic (sea surface temperature anomalies) and anthropogenic conditions from the human-impacted reefs of the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) to the pristine reefs of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). Coral disease surveys were conducted at 142 sites from across the Archipelago and disease patterns examined. Twelve diseases were recorded from three coral genera (Porites, Montipora, Acropora) with Porites having the highest prevalence. Porites growth anomalies (PorGAs) were significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the MHI and Porites trematodiasis (PorTrm) was significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the NWHI. Porites tissue loss syndrome (PorTLS) was also important in driving regional differences but that relationship was less clear. These results highlight the importance of understanding disease ecology when interpreting patterns of disease occurrence. PorTrm is caused by a parasitic flatworm that utilizes multiple hosts during its life cycle (fish, mollusk and coral). All three hosts must be present for the disease to occur and higher host abundance leads to higher disease prevalence. Thus, a high prevalence of PorTrm on Hawaiian reefs would be an indicator of a healthy coral reef ecosystem. In contrast, the high occurrence of PorGAs within the MHI suggests that PorGAs are related, directly or indirectly, to some environmental co-factor associated with increased human population sizes. Focusing on the three indicator diseases (PorGAs, PorTrm, PorTLS) we used statistical modeling to examine the underlying associations between disease prevalence and 14 different predictor variables (biotic and abiotic). All three diseases showed positive associations with host abundance and negative associations with thermal stress. The association with human population density differed among disease states with PorGAs showing a positive and PorTrm showing

  13. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged or...

  14. Seasonal mesophotic coral bleaching of Stylophora pistillata in the Northern Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nir, Orit; Gruber, David F; Shemesh, Eli; Glasser, Eliezra; Tchernov, Dan

    2014-01-01

    Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stress induces breakdown of the coral-algae symbiosis and the host initiates algae expulsion. Two types of coral bleaching had been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature; the first is primarily associated with mass coral bleaching events; the second is a seasonal loss of algae and/or pigments. Here, we describe a phenomenon that has been witnessed for repeated summers in the mesophotic zone (40-63 m) in the northern Red Sea: seasonal bleaching and recovery of several hermatypic coral species. In this study, we followed the recurring bleaching process of the common coral Stylophora pistillata. Bleaching occurred from April to September with a 66% decline in chlorophyll a concentration, while recovery began in October. Using aquarium and transplantation experiments, we explored environmental factors such as temperature, photon flux density and heterotrophic food availability. Our experiments and observations did not yield one single factor, alone, responsible for the seasonal bleaching. The dinoflagellate symbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium) in shallow (5 m) Stylophora pistillata were found to have a net photosynthetic rate of 56.98-92.19 µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). However, those from mesophotic depth (60 m) during months when they are not bleached are net consumers of oxygen having a net photosynthetic rate between -12.86 - (-10.24) µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). But during months when these mesophotic corals are partially-bleached, they yielded higher net production, between -2.83-0.76 µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). This study opens research questions as to why mesophotic zooxanthellae are more successfully meeting the corals metabolic requirements when Chl a concentration decreases by over 60% during summer and early fall.

  15. Seasonal mesophotic coral bleaching of Stylophora pistillata in the Northern Red Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Orit Nir

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stress induces breakdown of the coral-algae symbiosis and the host initiates algae expulsion. Two types of coral bleaching had been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature; the first is primarily associated with mass coral bleaching events; the second is a seasonal loss of algae and/or pigments. Here, we describe a phenomenon that has been witnessed for repeated summers in the mesophotic zone (40-63 m in the northern Red Sea: seasonal bleaching and recovery of several hermatypic coral species. In this study, we followed the recurring bleaching process of the common coral Stylophora pistillata. Bleaching occurred from April to September with a 66% decline in chlorophyll a concentration, while recovery began in October. Using aquarium and transplantation experiments, we explored environmental factors such as temperature, photon flux density and heterotrophic food availability. Our experiments and observations did not yield one single factor, alone, responsible for the seasonal bleaching. The dinoflagellate symbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium in shallow (5 m Stylophora pistillata were found to have a net photosynthetic rate of 56.98-92.19 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. However, those from mesophotic depth (60 m during months when they are not bleached are net consumers of oxygen having a net photosynthetic rate between -12.86 - (-10.24 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. But during months when these mesophotic corals are partially-bleached, they yielded higher net production, between -2.83-0.76 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. This study opens research questions as to why mesophotic zooxanthellae are more successfully meeting the corals metabolic requirements when Chl a concentration decreases by over 60% during summer and early fall.

  16. Immunity to community: what can immune pathways tell us about disease patterns in corals?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mydlarz, L. D.; Fuess, L.; Pinzon, J. C.; Weil, E.

    2016-02-01

    Predicting species composition and abundances is one of the most fundamental questions in ecology. This question is even more pressing in marine ecology and coral reefs since communities are changing at a rapid pace due to climate-related changes. Increases in disease prevalence and severity are just some of the consequences of these environmental changes. Particularly in coral reef ecosystems, diseases are increasing and driving region-wide population collapses. It has become clear, however, that not all reefs or coral species are affected by disease equally. In fact, the Caribbean is a concentrated area for diseases. The patterns in which disease manifests itself on an individual reef are also proving interesting, as not all coral species are affected by disease equally. Some species are host to different diseases, but seem to successfully fight them reducing mortality. Other species are disproportionately infected on any given reef and experience high mortality due to disease. We are interested in the role immunity can play in directing these patterns and are evaluating coral immunity using several novel approaches. We exposed 4 species of corals with different disease susceptibilities to immune stimulators and quantified of coral immunity using a combination of full transcriptome sequencing and protein activity assays for gene to phenotype analysis. We also mapped gene expression changes onto immune pathways (i.e. melanin-cascade, antimicrobial peptide synthesis, complement cascade, lectin-opsonization) to evaluate expression of immune pathways between species. In our preliminary data we found many immune genes in the disease susceptible Orbicella faveolata underwent changes in gene expression opposite of the predictions and may disply `dysfunctional' patterns of expression. We will present expression data for 4 species of coral and assess how these transcriptional and protein immune responses are related to disease susceptibility in nature, thus scaling up

  17. Can heterotrophic uptake of dissolved organic carbon and zooplankton mitigate carbon budget deficits in annually bleached corals?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levas, Stephen; Grottoli, Andréa G.; Schoepf, Verena; Aschaffenburg, Matthew; Baumann, Justin; Bauer, James E.; Warner, Mark E.

    2016-06-01

    Annual coral bleaching events due to increasing sea surface temperatures are predicted to occur globally by the mid-century and as early as 2025 in the Caribbean, and severely impact coral reefs. We hypothesize that heterotrophic carbon (C) in the form of zooplankton and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a significant source of C to bleached corals. Thus, the ability to utilize multiple pools of fixed carbon and/or increase the amount of fixed carbon acquired from one or more pools of fixed carbon (defined here as heterotrophic plasticity) could underlie coral acclimatization and persistence under future ocean-warming scenarios. Here, three species of Caribbean coral— Porites divaricata, P. astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata—were experimentally bleached for 2.5 weeks in two successive years and allowed to recover in the field. Zooplankton feeding was assessed after single and repeat bleaching, while DOC fluxes and the contribution of DOC to the total C budget were determined after single bleaching, 11 months on the reef, and repeat bleaching. Zooplankton was a large C source for P. astreoides, but only following single bleaching. DOC was a source of C for single-bleached corals and accounted for 11-36 % of daily metabolic demand (CHARDOC), but represented a net loss of C in repeat-bleached corals. In repeat-bleached corals, DOC loss exacerbated the negative C budgets in all three species. Thus, the capacity for heterotrophic plasticity in corals is compromised under annual bleaching, and heterotrophic uptake of DOC and zooplankton does not mitigate C budget deficits in annually bleached corals. Overall, these findings suggest that some Caribbean corals may be more susceptible to repeat bleaching than to single bleaching due to a lack of heterotrophic plasticity, and coral persistence under increasing bleaching frequency may ultimately depend on other factors such as energy reserves and symbiont shuffling.

  18. Image Fusion Applied to Satellite Imagery for the Improved Mapping and Monitoring of Coral Reefs: a Proposal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gholoum, M.; Bruce, D.; Hazeam, S. Al

    2012-07-01

    A coral reef ecosystem, one of the most complex marine environmental systems on the planet, is defined as biologically diverse and immense. It plays an important role in maintaining a vast biological diversity for future generations and functions as an essential spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding ground for many kinds of marine species. In addition, coral reef ecosystems provide valuable benefits such as fisheries, ecological goods and services and recreational activities to many communities. However, this valuable resource is highly threatened by a number of environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts that can lead to reduced coral growth and production, mass coral mortality and loss of coral diversity. With the growth of these threats on coral reef ecosystems, there is a strong management need for mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Remote sensing technology can be a valuable tool for mapping and monitoring of these ecosystems. However, the diversity and complexity of coral reef ecosystems, the resolution capabilities of satellite sensors and the low reflectivity of shallow water increases the difficulties to identify and classify its features. This paper reviews the methods used in mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems. In addition, this paper proposes improved methods for mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems based on image fusion techniques. This image fusion techniques will be applied to satellite images exhibiting high spatial and low to medium spectral resolution with images exhibiting low spatial and high spectral resolution. Furthermore, a new method will be developed to fuse hyperspectral imagery with multispectral imagery. The fused image will have a large number of spectral bands and it will have all pairs of corresponding spatial objects. This will potentially help to accurately classify the image data. Accuracy assessment use ground truth will be performed for the selected methods to determine the quality of the

  19. IMAGE FUSION APPLIED TO SATELLITE IMAGERY FOR THE IMPROVED MAPPING AND MONITORING OF CORAL REEFS: A PROPOSAL

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Gholoum

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available A coral reef ecosystem, one of the most complex marine environmental systems on the planet, is defined as biologically diverse and immense. It plays an important role in maintaining a vast biological diversity for future generations and functions as an essential spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding ground for many kinds of marine species. In addition, coral reef ecosystems provide valuable benefits such as fisheries, ecological goods and services and recreational activities to many communities. However, this valuable resource is highly threatened by a number of environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts that can lead to reduced coral growth and production, mass coral mortality and loss of coral diversity. With the growth of these threats on coral reef ecosystems, there is a strong management need for mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Remote sensing technology can be a valuable tool for mapping and monitoring of these ecosystems. However, the diversity and complexity of coral reef ecosystems, the resolution capabilities of satellite sensors and the low reflectivity of shallow water increases the difficulties to identify and classify its features. This paper reviews the methods used in mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems. In addition, this paper proposes improved methods for mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems based on image fusion techniques. This image fusion techniques will be applied to satellite images exhibiting high spatial and low to medium spectral resolution with images exhibiting low spatial and high spectral resolution. Furthermore, a new method will be developed to fuse hyperspectral imagery with multispectral imagery. The fused image will have a large number of spectral bands and it will have all pairs of corresponding spatial objects. This will potentially help to accurately classify the image data. Accuracy assessment use ground truth will be performed for the selected methods to determine

  20. CORAL REEFS. Genomic determinants of coral heat tolerance across latitudes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixon, Groves B; Davies, Sarah W; Aglyamova, Galina A; Meyer, Eli; Bay, Line K; Matz, Mikhail V

    2015-06-26

    As global warming continues, reef-building corals could avoid local population declines through "genetic rescue" involving exchange of heat-tolerant genotypes across latitudes, but only if latitudinal variation in thermal tolerance is heritable. Here, we show an up-to-10-fold increase in odds of survival of coral larvae under heat stress when their parents come from a warmer lower-latitude location. Elevated thermal tolerance was associated with heritable differences in expression of oxidative, extracellular, transport, and mitochondrial functions that indicated a lack of prior stress. Moreover, two genomic regions strongly responded to selection for thermal tolerance in interlatitudinal crosses. These results demonstrate that variation in coral thermal tolerance across latitudes has a strong genetic basis and could serve as raw material for natural selection. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, Andreas F; Fairoz, Mohamed F M; Kelly, Linda W; Nelson, Craig E; Dinsdale, Elizabeth A; Edwards, Robert A; Giles, Steve; Hatay, Mark; Hisakawa, Nao; Knowles, Ben; Lim, Yan Wei; Maughan, Heather; Pantos, Olga; Roach, Ty N F; Sanchez, Savannah E; Silveira, Cynthia B; Sandin, Stuart; Smith, Jennifer E; Rohwer, Forest

    2016-04-25

    Microbialization refers to the observed shift in ecosystem trophic structure towards higher microbial biomass and energy use. On coral reefs, the proximal causes of microbialization are overfishing and eutrophication, both of which facilitate enhanced growth of fleshy algae, conferring a competitive advantage over calcifying corals and coralline algae. The proposed mechanism for this competitive advantage is the DDAM positive feedback loop (dissolved organic carbon (DOC), disease, algae, microorganism), where DOC released by ungrazed fleshy algae supports copiotrophic, potentially pathogenic bacterial communities, ultimately harming corals and maintaining algal competitive dominance. Using an unprecedented data set of >400 samples from 60 coral reef sites, we show that the central DDAM predictions are consistent across three ocean basins. Reef algal cover is positively correlated with lower concentrations of DOC and higher microbial abundances. On turf and fleshy macroalgal-rich reefs, higher relative abundances of copiotrophic microbial taxa were identified. These microbial communities shift their metabolic potential for carbohydrate degradation from the more energy efficient Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway on coral-dominated reefs to the less efficient Entner-Doudoroff and pentose phosphate pathways on algal-dominated reefs. This 'yield-to-power' switch by microorganism directly threatens reefs via increased hypoxia and greater CO2 release from the microbial respiration of DOC.

  2. Changes in the fluorescence of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata during heat-induced bleaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zawada, David G.; Jaffe, J.S.

    2003-01-01

    In order to evaluate the response of commonly occurring green and orange fluorescent host-based pigments, a thermal stress experiment was performed on specimens of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. Seven paired samples were collected from a small oceanic reef near Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Seven of the fourteen corals were subjected to elevated temperatures for 28 d, followed by a recovery period lasting 53 d. Throughout the experiment, high-resolution (~400 µm pixel-1) multispectral images of induced fluorescence were recorded at wavelengths corresponding to the green and orange host pigments, plus chlorophyll. These images revealed that the fluorescence of both host pigments was concentrated at polyp centers and declined by 70–90% in regions between polyps. Chlorophyll fluorescence, however, was distributed almost uniformly across the entire coral surface, but with decreases of 10–30% around polyp centers. A normalized difference ratio between the green and orange pigments (GO ratio) was developed to facilitate comparison with chlorophyll fluorescence as a bleaching indicator. Analysis showed a high correspondence between a sustained GO ratio of less than zero and the death of corals. Finally, this ratio was resistant to contamination from other sources of chlorophyll fluorescence, such as filamentous algae.

  3. Coral transcriptome and bacterial community profiles reveal distinct Yellow Band Disease states in Orbicella faveolata

    KAUST Repository

    Closek, Collin J.

    2014-06-20

    Coral diseases impact reefs globally. Although we continue to describe diseases, little is known about the etiology or progression of even the most common cases. To examine a spectrum of coral health and determine factors of disease progression we examined Orbicella faveolata exhibiting signs of Yellow Band Disease (YBD), a widespread condition in the Caribbean. We used a novel combined approach to assess three members of the coral holobiont: the coral-host, associated Symbiodinium algae, and bacteria. We profiled three conditions: (1) healthy-appearing colonies (HH), (2) healthy-appearing tissue on diseased colonies (HD), and (3) diseased lesion (DD). Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed health state-specific diversity in Symbiodinium clade associations. 16S ribosomal RNA gene microarrays (PhyloChips) and O. faveolata complimentary DNA microarrays revealed the bacterial community structure and host transcriptional response, respectively. A distinct bacterial community structure marked each health state. Diseased samples were associated with two to three times more bacterial diversity. HD samples had the highest bacterial richness, which included components associated with HH and DD, as well as additional unique families. The host transcriptome under YBD revealed a reduced cellular expression of defense- and metabolism-related processes, while the neighboring HD condition exhibited an intermediate expression profile. Although HD tissue appeared visibly healthy, the microbial communities and gene expression profiles were distinct. HD should be regarded as an additional (intermediate) state of disease, which is important for understanding the progression of YBD. © 2014 International Society for Microbial Ecology. All rights reserved.

  4. Inter-domain microbial diversity within the coral holobiont Siderastrea siderea from two depth habitats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guido Bonthond

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Corals host diverse microbial communities that are involved in acclimatization, pathogen defense, and nutrient cycling. Surveys of coral-associated microbes have been particularly directed toward Symbiodinium and bacteria. However, a holistic understanding of the total microbiome has been hindered by a lack of analyses bridging taxonomically disparate groups. Using high-throughput amplicon sequencing, we simultaneously characterized the Symbiodinium, bacterial, and fungal communities associated with the Caribbean coral Siderastrea siderea collected from two depths (17 and 27 m on Conch reef in the Florida Keys. S. siderea hosted an exceptionally diverse Symbiodinium community, structured differently between sampled depth habitats. While dominated at 27 m by a Symbiodinium belonging to clade C, at 17 m S. siderea primarily hosted a mixture of clade B types. Most fungal operational taxonomic units were distantly related to available reference sequences, indicating the presence of a high degree of fungal novelty within the S. siderea holobiont and a lack of knowledge on the diversity of fungi on coral reefs. Network analysis showed that co-occurrence patterns in the S. siderea holobiont were prevalent among bacteria, however, also detected between fungi and bacteria. Overall, our data show a drastic shift in the associated Symbiodinium community between depths on Conch Reef, which might indicate that alteration in this community is an important mechanism facilitating local physiological adaptation of the S. siderea holobiont. In contrast, bacterial and fungal communities were not structured differently between depth habitats.

  5. Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicity to corals: A review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Nicholas R; Renegar, D Abigail

    2017-06-30

    The proximity of coral reefs to coastal urban areas and shipping lanes predisposes corals to petroleum pollution from multiple sources. Previous research has evaluated petroleum toxicity to coral using a variety of methodology, including monitoring effects of acute and chronic spills, in situ exposures, and ex situ exposures with both adult and larval stage corals. Variability in toxicant, bioassay conditions, species and other methodological disparities between studies prevents comprehensive conclusions regarding the toxicity of hydrocarbons to corals. Following standardized protocols and quantifying the concentration and composition of toxicant will aid in comparison of results between studies and extrapolation to actual spills. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Oceanic forcing of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Ryan J; Falter, James L

    2015-01-01

    Although the oceans play a fundamental role in shaping the distribution and function of coral reefs worldwide, a modern understanding of the complex interactions between ocean and reef processes is still only emerging. These dynamics are especially challenging owing to both the broad range of spatial scales (less than a meter to hundreds of kilometers) and the complex physical and biological feedbacks involved. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of these processes, ranging from the small-scale mechanics of flow around coral communities and their influence on nutrient exchange to larger, reef-scale patterns of wave- and tide-driven circulation and their effects on reef water quality and perceived rates of metabolism. We also examine regional-scale drivers of reefs such as coastal upwelling, internal waves, and extreme disturbances such as cyclones. Our goal is to show how a wide range of ocean-driven processes ultimately shape the growth and metabolism of coral reefs.

  7. Temperature Regimes Impact Coral Assemblages along Environmental Gradients on Lagoonal Reefs in Belize.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin H Baumann

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by global and local anthropogenic stressors such as rising seawater temperature, nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, and overfishing. Although many studies have investigated the impacts of local and global stressors on coral reefs, we still do not fully understand how these stressors influence coral community structure, particularly across environmental gradients on a reef system. Here, we investigate coral community composition across three different temperature and productivity regimes along a nearshore-offshore gradient on lagoonal reefs of the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS. A novel metric was developed using ultra-high-resolution satellite-derived estimates of sea surface temperatures (SST to classify reefs as exposed to low (lowTP, moderate (modTP, or high (highTP temperature parameters over 10 years (2003 to 2012. Coral species richness, abundance, diversity, density, and percent cover were lower at highTP sites relative to lowTP and modTP sites, but these coral community traits did not differ significantly between lowTP and modTP sites. Analysis of coral life history strategies revealed that highTP sites were dominated by hardy stress-tolerant and fast-growing weedy coral species, while lowTP and modTP sites consisted of competitive, generalist, weedy, and stress-tolerant coral species. Satellite-derived estimates of Chlorophyll-a (chl-a were obtained for 13-years (2003-2015 as a proxy for primary production. Chl-a concentrations were highest at highTP sites, medial at modTP sites, and lowest at lowTP sites. Notably, thermal parameters correlated better with coral community traits between site types than productivity, suggesting that temperature (specifically number of days above the thermal bleaching threshold played a greater role in defining coral community structure than productivity on the MBRS. Dominance of weedy and stress-tolerant genera at highTP sites suggests that corals

  8. Coral bleaching independent of photosynthetic activity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tolleter, Dimitri; Seneca, François O; DeNofrio, Jan C; Krediet, Cory J; Palumbi, Stephen R; Pringle, John R; Grossman, Arthur R

    2013-09-23

    The global decline of reef-building corals is due in part to the loss of algal symbionts, or "bleaching," during the increasingly frequent periods of high seawater temperatures. During bleaching, endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae (Symbiodinium spp.) either are lost from the animal tissue or lose their photosynthetic pigments, resulting in host mortality if the Symbiodinium populations fail to recover. The >1,000 studies of the causes of heat-induced bleaching have focused overwhelmingly on the consequences of damage to algal photosynthetic processes, and the prevailing model for bleaching invokes a light-dependent generation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) by heat-damaged chloroplasts as the primary trigger. However, the precise mechanisms of bleaching remain unknown, and there is evidence for involvement of multiple cellular processes. In this study, we asked the simple question of whether bleaching can be triggered by heat in the dark, in the absence of photosynthetically derived ROS. We used both the sea anemone model system Aiptasia and several species of reef-building corals to demonstrate that symbiont loss can occur rapidly during heat stress in complete darkness. Furthermore, we observed damage to the photosynthetic apparatus under these conditions in both Aiptasia endosymbionts and cultured Symbiodinium. These results do not directly contradict the view that light-stimulated ROS production is important in bleaching, but they do show that there must be another pathway leading to bleaching. Elucidation of this pathway should help to clarify bleaching mechanisms under the more usual conditions of heat stress in the light. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. CORAL Server and CORAL Server Proxy: Scalable Access to Relational Databases from CORAL Applications

    CERN Document Server

    Valassi, A; Kalkhof, A; Salnikov, A; Wache, M

    2011-01-01

    The CORAL software is widely used at CERN for accessing the data stored by the LHC experiments using relational database technologies. CORAL provides a C++ abstraction layer that supports data persistency for several backends and deployment models, including local access to SQLite files, direct client access to Oracle and MySQL servers, and read-only access to Oracle through the FroNTier web server and cache. Two new components have recently been added to CORAL to implement a model involving a middle tier "CORAL server" deployed close to the database and a tree of "CORAL server proxy" instances, with data caching and multiplexing functionalities, deployed close to the client. The new components are meant to provide advantages for read-only and read-write data access, in both offline and online use cases, in the areas of scalability and performance (multiplexing for several incoming connections, optional data caching) and security (authentication via proxy certificates). A first implementation of the two new c...

  10. Autonomous Coral Reef Survey in Support of Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven G. Ackleson

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available An autonomous surface vehicle instrumented with optical and acoustical sensors was deployed in Kane'ohe Bay, HI, U.S.A., to provide high-resolution, in situ observations of coral reef reflectance with minimal human presence. The data represented a wide range in bottom type, water depth, and illumination and supported more thorough investigations of remote sensing methods for identifying and mapping shallow reef features. The in situ data were used to compute spectral bottom reflectance and remote sensing reflectance, Rrs,λ, as a function of water depth and benthic features. The signals were used to distinguish between live coral and uncolonized sediment within the depth range of the measurements (2.5–5 m. In situRrs, λ were found to compare well with remotely sensed measurements from an imaging spectrometer, the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS, deployed on an aircraft at high altitude. Cloud cover and in situ sensor orientation were found to have minimal impact on in situRrs, λ, suggesting that valid reflectance data may be collected using autonomous surveys even when atmospheric conditions are not favorable for remote sensing operations. The use of reflectance in the red and near infrared portions of the spectrum, expressed as the red edge height, REHλ, was investigated for detecting live aquatic vegetative biomass, including coral symbionts and turf algae. The REHλ signal from live coral was detected in Kane'ohe Bay to a depth of approximately 4 m with in situ measurements. A remote sensing algorithm based on the REHλ signal was defined and applied to AVIRIS imagery of the entire bay and was found to reveal areas of shallow, dense coral and algal cover. The peak wavelength of REHλ decreased with increasing water depth, indicating that a more complete examination of the red edge signal may potentially yield a remote sensing approach to simultaneously estimate vegetative biomass and bathymetry in shallow water.

  11. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Barnes, Michele L; Bellwood, David R; Cinner, Joshua E; Cumming, Graeme S; Jackson, Jeremy B C; Kleypas, Joanie; van de Leemput, Ingrid A; Lough, Janice M; Morrison, Tiffany H; Palumbi, Stephen R; van Nes, Egbert H; Scheffer, Marten

    2017-05-31

    Coral reefs support immense biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services to many millions of people. Yet reefs are degrading rapidly in response to numerous anthropogenic drivers. In the coming centuries, reefs will run the gauntlet of climate change, and rising temperatures will transform them into new configurations, unlike anything observed previously by humans. Returning reefs to past configurations is no longer an option. Instead, the global challenge is to steer reefs through the Anthropocene era in a way that maintains their biological functions. Successful navigation of this transition will require radical changes in the science, management and governance of coral reefs.

  12. Patterns of coral bleaching: Modeling the adaptive bleaching hypothesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ware, J.R.; Fautin, D.G.; Buddemeier, R.W.

    1996-01-01

    Bleaching - the loss of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from animals normally possessing them - can be induced by a variety of stresses, of which temperature has received the most attention. Bleaching is generally considered detrimental, but Buddemeier and Fautin have proposed that bleaching is also adaptive, providing an opportunity for recombining hosts with alternative algal types to form symbioses that might be better adapted to altered circumstances. Our mathematical model of this "adaptive bleaching hypothesis" provides insight into how animal-algae symbioses might react under various circumstances. It emulates many aspects of the coral bleaching phenomenon including: corals bleaching in response to a temperature only slightly greater than their average local maximum temperature; background bleaching; bleaching events being followed by bleaching of lesser magnitude in the subsequent one to several years; higher thermal tolerance of corals subject to environmental variability compared with those living under more constant conditions; patchiness in bleaching; and bleaching at temperatures that had not previously resulted in bleaching. ?? 1996 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. CORAL Server and CORAL Server Proxy: Scalable Access to Relational Databases from CORAL Applications

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valassi, A; Kalkhof, A; Bartoldus, R; Salnikov, A; Wache, M

    2011-01-01

    The CORAL software is widely used at CERN by the LHC experiments to access the data they store on relational databases, such as Oracle. Two new components have recently been added to implement a model involving a middle tier 'CORAL server' deployed close to the database and a tree of 'CORAL server proxies', providing data caching and multiplexing, deployed close to the client. A first implementation of the two new components, released in the summer 2009, is now deployed in the ATLAS online system to read the data needed by the High Level Trigger, allowing the configuration of a farm of several thousand processes. This paper reviews the architecture of the software, its development status and its usage in ATLAS.

  14. Novel tradable instruments in the conservation of coral reefs, based on the coral gardening concept for reef restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rinkevich, Baruch

    2015-10-01

    Nearly all coral reefs bordering nations have experienced net losses in reef biodiversity, goods and services, even without considering the ever-developing global change impacts. In response, this overview wishes to reveal through prospects of active reef-restoration, the currently non-marketed or poorly marketed reef services, focusing on a single coral species (Stylophora pistillata). It is implied that the integration of equity capitals and other commodification with reef-restoration practices will improve total reef services. Two tiers of market-related activities are defined, the traditional first-tier instruments (valuating costs/gains for extracting tradable goods and services) and novel second-tier instruments (new/expanded monetary tools developed as by-products of reef restoration measures). The emerging new suite of economic mechanisms based on restoration methodologies could be served as an incentive for ecosystem conservation, enhancing the sum values of all services generated by coral reefs, where the same stocks of farmed/transplanted coral colonies will be used as market instruments. I found that active restoration measures disclose 12 classes of second-tier goods and services, which may partly/wholly finance restoration acts, bringing to light reef capitalizations that allow the expansion of markets with products that have not been considered before. The degree to which the second tier of market-related services could buffer coral-reef degradation is still unclear and would vary with different reef types and in various reef restoration scenarios; however, reducing the uncertainty associated with restoration. It is expected that the expansion of markets with the new products and the enhancement of those already existing will be materialized even if reef ecosystems will recover into different statuses. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  19. Effects of temperature, nutrients, organic matter and coral mucus on the survival of the coral pathogen, Serratia marcescens PDL100.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Looney, Erin E; Sutherland, Kathryn P; Lipp, Erin K

    2010-09-01

    Serratia marcescens is an enteric bacterium that causes white pox disease in elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata; however, it remains unclear if the pathogenic strain has adapted to seawater or if it requires a host or reservoir for survival. To begin to address this fundamental issue, the persistence of strain PDL100 was compared among seawater and coral mucus microcosms. Median survival time across all conditions ranged from a low of 15 h in natural seawater [with a first-order decay constant (k) = -0.173] at 30°C to a maximum of 120 h in glucose-amended A. palmata mucus (k = -0.029) at 30°C. Among seawater and mucus microcosms, median survival time was significantly greater within Siderastrea siderea mucus compared with seawater or mucus of Montastraea faveolata or A. palmata (P palmata mucus (P < 0.0001). Increasing the temperature of seawater to 35°C resulted in a significantly slower decay than that observed at 30°C (P < 0.0001). The results of this study indicate that PDL100 is not well-adapted to marine water; however, survival can be improved by increasing temperature, the availability of coral mucus from S. siderea and most notably the presence of dissolved organic carbon. © 2010 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  20. Light-shade adaptation of Stylophora pistillata, a hermatypic coral from the Gulf of Eilat

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Falkowski, P G [Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY; Dubinsky, Z

    1981-01-15

    All reef-forming, or hermatypic, corals harbor photosynthetic endosymbiotic algae called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae are essential for the well-being of their hosts; nevertheless, little is known about how light affects the symbiotic association, especially regarding the numbers of zooxanthellae, their photosynthetic responses, and their overall productivity. On the reefs of the Gulf of Eilat, Stylophora pistillata is an abundant hermatypic coral; it is unique in that region in that it can adapt to a wide range of light intensities. In the high light intensities of lagoons or the upper areas of reefs, the corals are markedly lighter in color than those living under ledges, in grottos, or near the reef floor. We report here on the biochemical and physiological adaptations of S. pistillata to variations in light intensity spanning more than two orders of magnitude.

  1. Physiological and Biogeochemical Responses of Super-Corals to Thermal Stress from the Northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andréa G. Grottoli

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching is increasing in frequency and severity, leading to the loss of coral abundance and diversity. However, some corals are less susceptible to bleaching than others and can provide a model for identifying the physiological and biogeochemical traits that underlie coral resilience to thermal stress. Corals from Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba in the northern Red Sea do not bleach unless seawater temperatures are sustained at +6°C or higher above their average summer maximum. This extreme thermal tolerance qualifies these as super-corals, as most corals bleach when exposed to temperatures that are only +1–2°C above their thermal maximum. Here, we conducted a controlled bleaching experiment (+6°C for 37 days (equivalent to 32° heating weeks on three species of corals from Eilat: Stylophora pistillata, Pocillopora damicornis, and Favia favus. To assess the response of the holobiont to thermal stress, the following variables were measured on each coral: endosymbiotic algal cell density, Chlorophyll a, endosymbiotic mitotic cell division, total lipids, protein, carbohydrate, and the stable carbon (δ13C and oxygen (δ18O isotopic composition of the skeleton and the δ13C of the animal host tissue and endosymbiotic algae. While all three species appeared visibly bleached, their physiological and biogeochemical responses were species-specific. S. pistillata catabolized lipids but still maintained total energy reserves and biomass. Increases in both skeletal δ13C and δ18O indicates that calcification declined in this species. P. damicornis was the least affected by bleaching. It maintained its total energy reserves and biomass, and isotopic evidence suggests that it maintained calcification and was not dependent on heterotrophy for meeting metabolic demand when bleached. Finally, F. favus catabolized protein and carbohydrates, and suffered losses in total energy reserves and biomass. Nevertheless, isotopic evidence suggest that

  2. The cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species winners into losers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, Andréa G; Warner, Mark E; Levas, Stephen J; Aschaffenburg, Matthew D; Schoepf, Verena; McGinley, Michael; Baumann, Justin; Matsui, Yohei

    2014-12-01

    Mass coral bleaching events caused by elevated seawater temperatures result in extensive coral loss throughout the tropics, and are projected to increase in frequency and severity. If bleaching becomes an annual event later in this century, more than 90% of coral reefs worldwide may be at risk of long-term degradation. While corals can recover from single isolated bleaching and can acclimate to recurring bleaching events that are separated by multiple years, it is currently unknown if and how they will survive and possibly acclimatize to annual coral bleaching. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that annual coral bleaching can dramatically alter thermal tolerance in Caribbean corals. We found that high coral energy reserves and changes in the dominant algal endosymbiont type (Symbiodinium spp.) facilitated rapid acclimation in Porites divaricata, whereas low energy reserves and a lack of algal phenotypic plasticity significantly increased susceptibility in Porites astreoides to bleaching the following year. Phenotypic plasticity in the dominant endosymbiont type of Orbicella faveolata did not prevent repeat bleaching, but may have facilitated rapid recovery. Thus, coral holobiont response to an isolated single bleaching event is not an accurate predictor of its response to bleaching the following year. Rather, the cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species 'winners' into 'losers', and can also facilitate acclimation and turn some coral species 'losers' into 'winners'. Overall, these findings indicate that cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching could result in some species becoming increasingly susceptible to bleaching and face a long-term decline, while phenotypically plastic coral species will acclimatize and persist. Thus, annual coral bleaching and recovery could contribute to the selective loss of coral diversity as well as the overall decline of coral reefs in the Caribbean. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Houk

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

  5. Alien vs. predator: bacterial challenge alters coral microbiomes unless controlled by Halobacteriovorax predators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rory M. Welsh

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral microbiomes are known to play important roles in organismal health, response to environmental stress, and resistance to disease. The coral microbiome contains diverse assemblages of resident bacteria, ranging from defensive and metabolic symbionts to opportunistic bacteria that may turn harmful in compromised hosts. However, little is known about how these bacterial interactions influence the mechanism and controls of overall structure, stability, and function of the microbiome. We sought to test how coral microbiome dynamics were affected by interactions between two bacteria: Vibrio coralliilyticus, a known temperature-dependent pathogen of some corals, and Halobacteriovorax, a unique bacterial predator of Vibrio and other gram-negative bacteria. We challenged reef-building coral with V. coralliilyticus in the presence or absence of Halobacteriovorax predators, and monitored microbial community dynamics with 16S rRNA gene profiling time-series. Vibrio coralliilyticus inoculation increased the mean relative abundance of Vibrios by greater than 35% from the 4 to 8 hour time point, but not in the 24 & 32 hour time points. However, strong secondary effects of the Vibrio challenge were also observed for the rest of the microbiome such as increased richness (observed species, and reduced stability (increased beta-diversity. Moreover, after the transient increase in Vibrios, two lineages of bacteria (Rhodobacterales and Cytophagales increased in coral tissues, suggesting that V. coralliilyticus challenge opens niche space for these known opportunists. Rhodobacterales increased from 6.99% (±0.05 SEM to a maximum mean relative abundance of 48.75% (±0.14 SEM in the final time point and Cytophagales from <0.001% to 3.656%. Halobacteriovorax predators are commonly present at low-abundance on coral surfaces. Based on the keystone role of predators in many ecosystems, we hypothesized that Halobacteriovorax predators might help protect corals by

  6. Status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs: 1970-2012

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Jeremy; Donovan, Mary; Cramer, Katie; Lam, Vivian

    2014-01-01

    This it the 9th status report since the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) was founded in 1995 was the data arm of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to document the ecological condition or corral reefs, strengthen monitoring efforts, and link existing organizations and people working on reefs worldwide. The US Government provided the initial funding to help set up a global network of coral reef workers and has continued to provide core support. Since then, the series of reports have aimed to present the current status of coral reefs of the world or particular regions, the major threats to reefs and their consequences, and any initiative undertaken under the auspices of ICRI or other bodies to arrest or reverse the decline of coral reefs.IUCN assumed responsibility for hosting the global coordination of the GCRMN in 2010 under the scientific direction of Jeremy Jackson with the following objectives:1. Document quantitatively the global status and trends for corals, macroalgae, sea urchins, and fishes based on available data from individual scientists as well as the peer reviewed scientific literature, monitoring programs, and report.2. Bring together regional experts in a series of workshops to involve them in data compilation, analysis, and synthesis.3. Integrate coral reef status and trends with independent environmental, management, and socioeconomic data to better understand the primary factors responsible for coral reef decline, the possible synergies among factors that may further magnify their impacts, and how these stresses may be more effectively alleviated.Work with GCRMN partners to establish simple and practical standardized protocols for future monitoring and assessment.Disseminate information and results to help guide member state policy and actions.The overarching objective is to understand why some reefs are much healthier than others, to identify what kinds of actions have been particularly beneficial or harmful, and to

  7. Gene expression profiles during short-term heat stress; branching vs. massive Scleractinian corals of the Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keren Maor-Landaw

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available It is well-established that there is a hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral genera during heat-stress. However, molecular mechanisms governing these differences are still poorly understood. Here we explored if specific corals possessing different morphologies and different susceptibilities to heat stress may manifest varied gene expression patterns. We examined expression patterns of seven genes in the branching corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora eurystoma and additionally in the massive robust coral, Porites sp. The tested genes are representatives of key cellular processes occurring during heat-stress in Cnidaria: oxidative stress, ER stress, energy metabolism, DNA repair and apoptosis. Varied response to the heat-stress, in terms of visual coral paling, algal maximum quantum yield and host gene expression was evident in the different growth forms. The two branching corals exhibited similar overall responses that differed from that of the massive coral. A. eurystoma that is considered as a susceptible species did not bleach in our experiment, but tissue sloughing was evident at 34 °C. Interestingly, in this species redox regulation genes were up-regulated at the very onset of the thermal challenge. In S. pistillata, bleaching was evident at 34 °C and most of the stress markers were already up-regulated at 32 °C, either remaining highly expressed or decreasing when temperatures reached 34 °C. The massive Porites species displayed severe bleaching at 32 °C but stress marker genes were only significantly elevated at 34 °C. We postulate that by expelling the algal symbionts from Porites tissues, oxidation damages are reduced and stress genes are activated only at a progressed stage. The differential gene expression responses exhibited here can be correlated with the literature well-documented hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral morphologies and genera in Eilat’s coral reef.

  8. Distinct Bacterial Microbiomes Associate with the Deep-Sea Coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea and from Aquaria Settings

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-08-10

    Microbial communities associated with deep-sea corals are beginning to be studied in earnest and the contribution of the microbiome to host organismal function remains to be investigated. In this regard, the ability of the microbiome to adjust to prevailing environmental conditions might provide clues to its functional importance. In this study, we characterized bacterial community composition associated with the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula under natural (in situ) and aquaria (ex situ) settings using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We compared freshly collected Red Sea coral specimens with those reared for >1 year at conditions that partially differed from the natural environment, in particular regarding increased oxygen and food availability under ex situ conditions. We found substantial differences between the microbiomes associated with corals under both environmental settings. The core microbiome comprised only six bacterial taxa consistently present in all corals, whereas the majority of bacteria were exclusively associated either with freshly collected corals or corals under long-term reared aquaria settings. Putative functional profiling of microbial communities showed that corals in their natural habitat were enriched for processes indicative of a carbon- and nitrogen-limited environment, which might be reflective of differences in diet under in situ and ex situ conditions. The ability of E. fistula to harbor distinct microbiomes under different environmental settings might contribute to the flexibility and phenotypic plasticity of this cosmopolitan coral. Future efforts should further assess the role of these different bacteria in holobiont function, in particular since E. fistula is naturally present in markedly different environments.

  9. Distinct Bacterial Microbiomes Associate with the Deep-Sea Coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea and from Aquaria Settings

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Yum, Lauren; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Microbial communities associated with deep-sea corals are beginning to be studied in earnest and the contribution of the microbiome to host organismal function remains to be investigated. In this regard, the ability of the microbiome to adjust to prevailing environmental conditions might provide clues to its functional importance. In this study, we characterized bacterial community composition associated with the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula under natural (in situ) and aquaria (ex situ) settings using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We compared freshly collected Red Sea coral specimens with those reared for >1 year at conditions that partially differed from the natural environment, in particular regarding increased oxygen and food availability under ex situ conditions. We found substantial differences between the microbiomes associated with corals under both environmental settings. The core microbiome comprised only six bacterial taxa consistently present in all corals, whereas the majority of bacteria were exclusively associated either with freshly collected corals or corals under long-term reared aquaria settings. Putative functional profiling of microbial communities showed that corals in their natural habitat were enriched for processes indicative of a carbon- and nitrogen-limited environment, which might be reflective of differences in diet under in situ and ex situ conditions. The ability of E. fistula to harbor distinct microbiomes under different environmental settings might contribute to the flexibility and phenotypic plasticity of this cosmopolitan coral. Future efforts should further assess the role of these different bacteria in holobiont function, in particular since E. fistula is naturally present in markedly different environments.

  10. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  11. Sharing the slope: depth partitioning of agariciid corals and associated

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Ogier, J.J.; Hay, K.B.; van Bleijswijk, J.; Englebert, N.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Bak, R.P.M.; Visser, P.M.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2013-01-01

    Background: Scleractinian corals and their algal endosymbionts (genus Symbiodinium) exhibit distinct bathymetric distributions on coral reefs. Yet, few studies have assessed the evolutionary context of these ecological distributions by exploring the genetic diversity of closely related coral species

  12. 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.

  13. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 projects to address coral reef conservation issues

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to address aspects of coral reef conservation: Enhancing Management of Pacific ESA-listed Corals with Improved Utility...

  14. EOP Settlement colonization and succession patterns of gold coral Kulamana haumeaae in Hawaiian deep coral assemblages

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Relational tabular data on corals relevant to the parasitic life history of gold coral. Surveys conducted throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago with attention on...

  15. Photosystem II heterogeneity of in hospite zooxanthellae in scleractinian corals exposed to bleaching conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Ross; PeterJ, Ralph

    2006-01-01

    Increased ocean temperatures are thought to be triggering mass coral bleaching events around the world. The intracellular symbiotic zooxanthellae (genus Symbiodinium) are expelled from the coral host, which is believed to be a response to photosynthetic damage within these symbionts. Several sites of impact have been proposed, and here we probe the functional heterogeneity of Photosystem II (PSII) in three coral species exposed to bleaching conditions. As length of exposure to bleaching conditions (32 degrees C and 350 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1)) increased, the QA- reoxidation kinetics showed a rise in the proportion of inactive PSII centers (PSIIx), where QB was unable to accept electrons. PSIIx contributed up to 20% of the total PSII centers in Pocillopora damicornis, 35% in Acropora nobilis and 14% in Cyphastrea serailia. Changes in Fv/Fm and amplitude of the J step along fast induction curves were found to be highly dependent upon the proportion of PSIIx centers within the total pool of PSII reaction centers. Determination of PSII antenna size revealed that under control conditions in the three coral species up to 60% of PSII centers were lacking peripheral light-harvesting complexes (PSIIbeta). In P. damicornis, the proportion of PSIIbeta increased under bleaching conditions and this could be a photoprotective mechanism in response to excess light. The rapid increases in PSIIx and PSIIbeta observed in these corals under bleaching conditions indicates these physiological processes are involved in the initial photochemical damage to zooxanthellae.

  16. Coral bleaching on high-latitude marginal reefs at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Celliers, Louis; Schleyer, Michael H.

    2002-01-01

    Coral bleaching, involving the expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae from the host cells, poses a major threat to coral reefs throughout their distributional range. The role of temperature in coral bleaching has been extensively investigated and is widely accepted. A bleaching event was observed on the marginal high-latitude reefs of South Africa located at Sodwana Bay during the summer months of 2000. This was associated with increased sea temperatures with high seasonal peaks in summer and increased radiation in exceptionally clear water. The bleaching was limited to Two-mile Reef and Nine-mile Reef at Sodwana Bay and affected -1 from May 1994 to April 2000. High maximum temperatures were measured (>29 deg. C). The lowest mean monthly and the mean maximum monthly temperatures at which coral bleaching occurred were 27.5 and 28.8 deg. C, respectively, while the duration for which high temperatures occurred in 2000 was 67 days at ≥27.5 deg. C (4 days at ≥28.8 deg. C). Increased water clarity and radiation appeared to be a synergistic cause in the coral bleaching encountered at Sodwana Bay

  17. Evidence for rapid, tide-related shifts in the microbiome of the coral Coelastrea aspera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweet, M. J.; Brown, B. E.; Dunne, R. P.; Singleton, I.; Bulling, M.

    2017-09-01

    Shifts in the microbiome of the intertidal coral Coelastrea aspera (formally known as Goniastrea aspera) from Phuket, Thailand, were noted over the course of a 4-d period of spring tides. During this time, corals were naturally exposed to high temperatures, intense solar radiation, sub-aerial exposure and tidally induced water fluxes. Analysis of the 16S microbiome highlighted that the corals harbored both `core or stable' communities and those which appeared to be more `transient or sporadic.' Only relatively few microbial associates were classified as core microbes; the majority were transient or sporadic. Such transient associates were likely to have been governed by tidally induced variations in mucus thickness and water fluxes. Here we report strong shifts in the bacterial community of C. aspera over a short temporal scale. However, we also show significant differences in the timing of shifts between the two age groups of corals studied. More rapid changes (within 2 d of sub-aerial exposure) occurred within the 4-yr-old colonies, but a slightly delayed response was observed in the 10-yr-old colonies, whereby the microbial associates only changed after 4 d. We hypothesize that these shifts are age related and could be influenced by the observed baseline differences in the microbiome of the 4- and 10-yr-old corals, bacteria-bacteria interactions, and/or host energetics.

  18. Novel transcriptome resources for three scleractinian coral species from the Indo-Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenkel, Carly D; Bay, Line K

    2017-09-01

    Transcriptomic resources for coral species can provide insight into coral evolutionary history and stress-response physiology. Goniopora columna, Galaxea astreata, and Galaxea acrhelia are scleractinian corals of the Indo-Pacific, representing a diversity of morphologies and life-history traits. G. columna and G. astreata are common and cosmopolitan, while G. acrhelia is largely restricted to the coral triangle and Great Barrier Reef. Reference transcriptomes for these species were assembled from replicate colony fragments exposed to elevated (31°C) and ambient (27°C) temperatures. Trinity was used to create de novo assemblies for each species from 92-102 million raw Illumina Hiseq 2 × 150 bp reads. Host-specific assemblies contained 65 460-72 405 contigs, representing 26 693-37 894 isogroups (∼genes) with an average N50 of 2254. Gene name and/or gene ontology annotations were possible for 58% of isogroups on average. Transcriptomes contained 93.1-94.3% of EuKaryotic Orthologous Groups comprising the core eukaryotic gene set, and 89.98-91.92% of the single-copy metazoan core gene set orthologs were complete, indicating fairly comprehensive assemblies. This work expands the complement of transcriptomic resources available for scleractinian coral species, including the first reference for a representative of Goniopora spp. as well as species with novel morphology. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  19. Characterization of culturable bacteria isolated from the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galkiewicz, Julia P.; Pratte, Zoe A.; Gray, Michael A.; Kellogg, Christina A.

    2011-01-01

    Microorganisms associated with corals are hypothesized to contribute to the function of the host animal by cycling nutrients, breaking down carbon sources, fixing nitrogen, and producing antibiotics. This is the first study to culture and characterize bacteria from Lophelia pertusa, a cold-water coral found in the deep sea, in an effort to understand the roles that the microorganisms play in the coral microbial community. Two sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico were sampled over 2 years. Bacteria were cultured from coral tissue, skeleton, and mucus, identified by 16S rRNA genes, and subjected to biochemical testing. Most isolates were members of the Gammaproteobacteria, although there was one isolate each from the Betaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Phylogenetic results showed that both sampling sites shared closely related isolates (e.g. Pseudoalteromonas spp.), indicating possible temporally and geographically stable bacterial-coral associations. The Kirby-Bauer antibiotic susceptibility test was used to separate bacteria to the strain level, with the results showing that isolates that were phylogenetically tightly grouped had varying responses to antibiotics. These results support the conclusion that phylogenetic placement cannot predict strain-level differences and further highlight the need for culture-based experiments to supplement culture-independent studies.

  20. Characterization of the gacA-dependent surface and coral mucus colonization by an opportunistic coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J; Carpinone, Emily M; Ritchie, Kim B; Teplitski, Max

    2013-05-01

    Opportunistic pathogens rely on global regulatory systems to assess the environment and to control virulence and metabolism to overcome host defenses and outcompete host-associated microbiota. In Gammaproteobacteria, GacS/GacA is one such regulatory system. GacA orthologs direct the expression of the csr (rsm) small regulatory RNAs, which through their interaction with the RNA-binding protein CsrA (RsmA), control genes with functions in carbon metabolism, motility, biofilm formation, and virulence. The csrB gene was controlled by gacA in Serratia marcescens PDL100. A disruption of the S. marcescens gacA gene resulted in an increased fitness of the mutant on mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata and its high molecular weight fraction, whereas the mutant was as competitive as the wild type on the low molecular weight fraction of the mucus. Swarming motility and biofilm formation were reduced in the gacA mutant. This indicates a critical role for gacA in the efficient utilization of specific components of coral mucus and establishment within the surface mucopolysaccharide layer. While significantly affecting early colonization behaviors (coral mucus utilization, swarming motility, and biofilm formation), gacA was not required for virulence of S. marcescens PDL100 in either a model polyp Aiptasia pallida or in brine shrimp Artemia nauplii. © 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Graham, N. A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2014-06-01

    Processes that affect recovery of coral assemblages require investigation because coral reefs are experiencing a diverse array of more frequent disturbances. Potential bottlenecks to coral recovery include limited larval supply, low rates of settlement, and high mortality of new recruits or juvenile corals. We investigated spatial variation in local abundance of scleractinian corals in the Seychelles at three distinct life history stages (recruits, juveniles, and adults) on reefs with differing benthic conditions. Following widespread coral loss due to the 1998 bleaching event, some reefs are recovering (i.e., relatively high scleractinian coral cover: `coral-dominated'), some reefs have low cover of living macrobenthos and unconsolidated rubble substrates (`rubble-dominated'), and some reefs have high cover of macroalgae (`macroalgal-dominated'). Rates of coral recruitment to artificial settlement tiles were similar across all reef conditions, suggesting that larval supply does not explain differential coral recovery across the three reef types. However, acroporid recruits were absent on macroalgal-dominated reefs (0.0 ± 0.0 recruits tile-1) in comparison to coral-dominated reefs (5.2 ± 1.6 recruits tile-1). Juvenile coral colony density was significantly lower on macroalgal-dominated reefs (2.4 ± 1.1 colonies m-2), compared to coral-dominated reefs (16.8 ± 2.4 m-2) and rubble-dominated reefs (33.1 ± 7.3 m-2), suggesting that macroalgal-dominated reefs have either a bottleneck to successful settlement on the natural substrates or a high post-settlement mortality bottleneck. Rubble-dominated reefs had very low cover of adult corals (10.0 ± 1.7 %) compared to coral-dominated reefs (33.4 ± 3.6 %) despite no statistical difference in their juvenile coral densities. A bottleneck caused by low juvenile colony survivorship on unconsolidated rubble-dominated reefs is possible, or alternatively, recruitment to rubble-dominated reefs has only recently begun. This

  2. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rix, L.; de Goeij, J.M.; Mueller, C.E.; Struck, U.; Middelburg, J.J.; van Duyl, F.C.; Al-Horani, F.A.; Wild, C.; Naumann, M.S.; Van Oevelen, D.

    2016-01-01

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and

  3. Inhibition of photosynthetic CO₂ fixation in the coral Pocillopora damicornis and its relationship to thermal bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Ross; Szabó, Milán; ur Rehman, Ateeq; Vass, Imre; Ralph, Peter J; Larkum, Anthony W D

    2014-06-15

    Two inhibitors of the Calvin-Benson cycle [glycolaldehyde (GA) and potassium cyanide (KCN)] were used in cultured Symbiodinium cells and in nubbins of the coral Pocillopora damicornis to test the hypothesis that inhibition of the Calvin-Benson cycle triggers coral bleaching. Inhibitor concentration range-finding trials aimed to determine the appropriate concentration to generate inhibition of the Calvin-Benson cycle, but avoid other metabolic impacts to the symbiont and the animal host. Both 3 mmol l(-1) GA and 20 μmol l(-1) KCN caused minimal inhibition of host respiration, but did induce photosynthetic impairment, measured by a loss of photosystem II function and oxygen production. GA did not affect the severity of bleaching, nor induce bleaching in the absence of thermal stress, suggesting inhibition of the Calvin-Benson cycle by GA does not initiate bleaching in P. damicornis. In contrast, KCN did activate a bleaching response through symbiont expulsion, which occurred in the presence and absence of thermal stress. While KCN is an inhibitor of the Calvin-Benson cycle, it also promotes reactive oxygen species formation, and it is likely that this was the principal agent in the coral bleaching process. These findings do not support the hypothesis that temperature-induced inhibition of the Calvin-Benson cycle alone induces coral bleaching. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. Microbial invasion of the Caribbean by an Indo-Pacific coral zooxanthella.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pettay, D Tye; Wham, Drew C; Smith, Robin T; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; LaJeunesse, Todd C

    2015-06-16

    Human-induced environmental changes have ushered in the rapid decline of coral reef ecosystems, particularly by disrupting the symbioses between reef-building corals and their photosymbionts. However, escalating stressful conditions enable some symbionts to thrive as opportunists. We present evidence that a stress-tolerant "zooxanthella" from the Indo-Pacific Ocean, Symbiodinium trenchii, has rapidly spread to coral communities across the Greater Caribbean. In marked contrast to populations from the Indo-Pacific, Atlantic populations of S. trenchii contained exceptionally low genetic diversity, including several widespread and genetically similar clones. Colonies with this symbiont tolerate temperatures 1-2 °C higher than other host-symbiont combinations; however, calcification by hosts harboring S. trenchii is reduced by nearly half, compared with those harboring natives, and suggests that these new symbioses are maladapted. Unforeseen opportunism and geographical expansion by invasive mutualistic microbes could profoundly influence the response of reef coral symbioses to major environmental perturbations but may ultimately compromise ecosystem stability and function.

  5. Janzen-Connell effects in a broadcast-spawning Caribbean coral: Distance-dependent survival of larvae and settlers.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Marhaver, K.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Rohwer, F.; Sandin, S.A.

    2013-01-01

    The Janzen-Connell hypothesis states that host-specific biotic enemies (pathogens and predators) promote the coexistence of tree species in tropical forests by causing distance- or density-dependent mortality of seeds and seedlings. Although coral reefs are the aquatic analogues of tropical forests,

  6. Amorphous calcium carbonate particles form coral skeletons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mass, Tali; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Stifler, Cayla A.; Frazier, Matthew J.; Neder, Maayan; Tamura, Nobumichi; Stan, Camelia V.; Marcus, Matthew A.; Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.

    2017-09-01

    Do corals form their skeletons by precipitation from solution or by attachment of amorphous precursor particles as observed in other minerals and biominerals? The classical model assumes precipitation in contrast with observed “vital effects,” that is, deviations from elemental and isotopic compositions at thermodynamic equilibrium. Here, we show direct spectromicroscopy evidence in Stylophora pistillata corals that two amorphous precursors exist, one hydrated and one anhydrous amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC); that these are formed in the tissue as 400-nm particles; and that they attach to the surface of coral skeletons, remain amorphous for hours, and finally, crystallize into aragonite (CaCO3). We show in both coral and synthetic aragonite spherulites that crystal growth by attachment of ACC particles is more than 100 times faster than ion-by-ion growth from solution. Fast growth provides a distinct physiological advantage to corals in the rigors of the reef, a crowded and fiercely competitive ecosystem. Corals are affected by warming-induced bleaching and postmortem dissolution, but the finding here that ACC particles are formed inside tissue may make coral skeleton formation less susceptible to ocean acidification than previously assumed. If this is how other corals form their skeletons, perhaps this is how a few corals survived past CO2 increases, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56 Mya.

  7. A too acid world for coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allemand, D.; Reynaud, St.; Salvat, B.

    2010-01-01

    While briefly presenting how corals grow and exchange with their environment and after having recalled that temperature increase was already a threat for them, this article outlines that ocean acidification is now considered as another danger. This acidification is due to the dissolution in sea water of CO 2 produced by human activities. This entails a slower calcification which is the process by which corals grow their skeleton. But, some researches showed that some corals manage to survive normally in such acid conditions, and even without skeleton for some other species. Anyhow, coral reefs will tend to disappear with environmental and socio-economical consequences

  8. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knap, A H [Bermuda Biological Station, Ferry Reach (Bermuda)

    1992-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals. This report summarises and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (author)

  9. Fatty acid composition of symbiotic zooxanthellae in relation to their hosts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, D G; Kenrick, J R

    1980-10-01

    Gymnodinoid dinoflagellate symbionts, commonly referred to as zooxanthellae, are widely distributed among marine invertebrates. It has been assumed that they represent only one species,Gymnodinium microadriaticum. The fatty acid composition of total lipids and galactolipids of zooxanthellae isolated from 8 species of corals, 3 species of clams and a foraminiferan have been analyzed and found to vary according to the host. For example, the content of eicosapentaenoic acid in clam zooxanthellae monogalactosyldiacylglycerol was less than 2%, whereas in the same lipid from coral zooxanthellae, the content ranged from 9 to 22%. Corresponding values for the acid in digalactosyl-diacylglycerol were 1-8% from clam zooxanthellae and 23-40% from coral zooxanthellae. Coral zooxanthellae monogalactosyldiacylglycerol contain higher levels of octadecatetraenoic acid than are found in digalactosyldiacylglycerol, whereas the reverse is true in clam zooxanthellae. The fatty acid composition of the lipids of an axenic culture of zooxanthellae isolated from the clamTridacna maxima are similar to those of cells freshly isolated from the host. The results suggest either that the host is capable of affecting the fatty acid metabolism of the symbiont or that different strains of zooxanthellae occur in corals and clams.

  10. 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.

  11. The role of floridoside in osmoadaptation of coral-associated algal endosymbionts to high-salinity conditions

    KAUST Repository

    Ochsenkuhn, Michael A.

    2017-08-17

    The endosymbiosis between Symbiodinium dinoflagellates and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. The survival of these ecosystems is under threat at a global scale, and better knowledge is needed to conceive strategies for mitigating future reef loss. Environmental disturbance imposing temperature, salinity, and nutrient stress can lead to the loss of the Symbiodinium partner, causing so-called coral bleaching. Some of the most thermotolerant coral-Symbiodinium associations occur in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, which also represent the most saline coral habitats. We studied whether Symbiodinium alter their metabolite content in response to high-salinity environments. We found that Symbiodinium cells exposed to high salinity produced high levels of the osmolyte 2-O-glycerol-α-d-galactopyranoside (floridoside), both in vitro and in their coral host animals, thereby increasing their capacity and, putatively, the capacity of the holobiont to cope with the effects of osmotic stress in extreme environments. Given that floridoside has been previously shown to also act as an antioxidant, this osmolyte may serve a dual function: first, to serve as a compatible organic osmolyte accumulated by Symbiodinium in response to elevated salinities and, second, to counter reactive oxygen species produced as a consequence of potential salinity and heat stress.

  12. Extensive phenotypic plasticity of a Red Sea coral over a strong latitudinal temperature gradient suggests limited acclimatization potential to warming

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne

    2015-03-10

    Global warming was reported to cause growth reductions in tropical shallow water corals in both, cooler and warmer, regions of the coral species range. This suggests regional adaptation with less heat-tolerant populations in cooler and more thermo-tolerant populations in warmer regions. Here, we investigated seasonal changes in the in situ metabolic performance of the widely distributed hermatypic coral Pocillopora verrucosa along 12° latitudes featuring a steep temperature gradient between the northern (28.5°N, 21-27°C) and southern (16.5°N, 28-33°C) reaches of the Red Sea. Surprisingly, we found little indication for regional adaptation, but strong indications for high phenotypic plasticity: Calcification rates in two seasons (winter, summer) were found to be highest at 28-29°C throughout all populations independent of their geographic location. Mucus release increased with temperature and nutrient supply, both being highest in the south. Genetic characterization of the coral host revealed low inter-regional variation and differences in the Symbiodinium clade composition only at the most northern and most southern region. This suggests variable acclimatization potential to ocean warming of coral populations across the Red Sea: high acclimatization potential in northern populations, but limited ability to cope with ocean warming in southern populations already existing at the upper thermal margin for corals.

  13. Extensive phenotypic plasticity of a Red Sea coral over a strong latitudinal temperature gradient suggests limited acclimatization potential to warming

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne; Al-Sofyani, Abdulmoshin; Hohn, Sö nke; Banguera Hinestroza, Eulalia; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wahl, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Global warming was reported to cause growth reductions in tropical shallow water corals in both, cooler and warmer, regions of the coral species range. This suggests regional adaptation with less heat-tolerant populations in cooler and more thermo-tolerant populations in warmer regions. Here, we investigated seasonal changes in the in situ metabolic performance of the widely distributed hermatypic coral Pocillopora verrucosa along 12° latitudes featuring a steep temperature gradient between the northern (28.5°N, 21-27°C) and southern (16.5°N, 28-33°C) reaches of the Red Sea. Surprisingly, we found little indication for regional adaptation, but strong indications for high phenotypic plasticity: Calcification rates in two seasons (winter, summer) were found to be highest at 28-29°C throughout all populations independent of their geographic location. Mucus release increased with temperature and nutrient supply, both being highest in the south. Genetic characterization of the coral host revealed low inter-regional variation and differences in the Symbiodinium clade composition only at the most northern and most southern region. This suggests variable acclimatization potential to ocean warming of coral populations across the Red Sea: high acclimatization potential in northern populations, but limited ability to cope with ocean warming in southern populations already existing at the upper thermal margin for corals.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Semi-permeable species boundaries in the coral genus Madracis: introgression in a brooding coral system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frade, P R; Reyes-Nivia, M C; Faria, J; Kaandorp, J A; Luttikhuizen, P C; Bak, R P M

    2010-12-01

    Introgressive hybridization is described in several phylogenetic studies of mass-spawning corals. However, the prevalence of this process among brooding coral species is unclear. We used a mitochondrial (mtDNA: nad5) and two nuclear (nDNA: ATPSα and SRP54) intron markers to explore species barriers in the coral genus Madracis and address the role of hybridization in brooding systems. Specimens of six Caribbean Madracis morphospecies were collected from 5 to 60 m depth at Buoy One, Curaçao, supplemented by samples from Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and Bermuda. Polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis were coupled to detect distinct alleles within single colonies. The recurrent nDNA phylogenetic non-monophyly among taxa is only challenged by Madracis senaria, the single monophyletic species within the genus. nDNA AMOVAs indicated overall statistical divergence (0.1% significance level) among species but pairwise comparisons of genetic differentiation revealed some gene exchange between Madracis taxa. mtDNA sequences clustered in two main groups representing typical shallow and deep water Madracis species. Madracis pharensis shallow and deep colonies (with threshold at about 23-24 m) clustered in different mtDNA branches, together with their depth-sympatric congenerics. This divergence was repeated for the nDNA (ATPSα) suggestive of distinct M. pharensis depth populations. These matched the vertical distribution of the dinoflagellate symbionts hosted by M. pharensis, with Symbiodinium ITS2 type B7 in the shallows but type B15 in the deep habitats, suggesting symbiont-related disruptive selection. Recurrent non-monophyly of Madracis taxa and high levels of shared polymorphism reflected in ambiguous phylogenetic networks indicate that hybridization is likely to have played a role in the evolution of the genus. Using coalescent forward-in-time simulations, lineage sorting alone was rejected as an explanation to the SRP54 genetic variation

  18. Loss of live coral compromises predator-avoidance behaviour in coral reef damselfish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boström-Einarsson, Lisa; Bonin, Mary C; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2018-05-17

    Tropical reefs have experienced an unprecedented loss of live coral in the past few decades and the biodiversity of coral-dependent species is under threat. Many reef fish species decline in abundance as coral cover is lost, yet the mechanisms responsible for these losses are largely unknown. A commonly hypothesised cause of fish decline is the loss of shelter space between branches as dead corals become overgrown by algae. Here we tested this hypothesis by quantifying changes in predator-avoidance behaviour of a common damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis, before and after the death of their coral colony. Groups of P. moluccensis were placed on either healthy or degraded coral colonies, startled using a visual stimulus and their sheltering responses compared over a 7-week period. P. moluccensis stopped sheltering amongst the coral branches immediately following the death of the coral, despite the presence of ample shelter space. Instead, most individuals swam away from the dead coral, potentially increasing their exposure to predators. It appears that the presence of live coral rather than shelter per se is the necessary cue that elicits the appropriate behavioural response to potential predators. The disruption of this link poses an immediate threat to coral-associated fishes on degrading reefs.

  19. 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.

  20. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  1. The Biological Nature of Geochemical Proxies: algal symbionts affect coral skeletal chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Owens, K.; Cohen, A. L.; Shimizu, N.

    2001-12-01

    The strontium-calcium ratio (Sr/Ca) of reef coral skeleton is an important ocean temperature proxy that has been used to address some particularly controversial climate change issues. However, the paleothermometer has sometimes proven unreliable and there are indications that the temperature-dependence of Sr/Ca in coral aragonite is linked to the photosynthetic activity of algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) in coral tissue. We examined the effect of algal symbiosis on skeletal chemistry using Astrangia danae, a small colonial temperate scleractinian that occurs naturally with and without zooxanthellae. Live symbiotic (deep brown) and asymbiotic (white) colonies of similar size were collected in Woods Hole where water temperatures fluctuate seasonally between -2oC and 23oC. We used a microbeam technique (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) and a 30 micron diameter sampling beam to construct high-resolution Sr/Ca profiles, 2500 microns long, down the growth axes of the outer calical (thecal) walls. Profiles generated from co-occuring symbiotic and asymbiotic colonies are remarkably different despite their exposure to identical water temperatures. Symbiotic coral Sr/Ca displays four large-amplitude annual cycles with high values in the winter, low values in the summer and a temperature dependence similar to that of tropical reef corals. By comparison, Sr/Ca profiles constructed from asymbiotic coral skeleton display little variability over the same time period. Asymbiont Sr/Ca is relatively insensitive to the enormous temperature changes experienced over the year; the temperature dependence is similar to that of nighttime skeletal deposits in tropical reef corals and non-biological aragonite precipitates. We propose that the large variations in skeletal Sr/Ca observed in all symbiont-hosting coral species are not related to SST variability per se but are driven primarily by large seasonal variations in skeletal calcification rate associated with symbiont photosynthesis. Our

  2. Symbiont shuffling linked to differential photochemical dynamics of Symbiodinium in three Caribbean reef corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, Ross; Silverstein, Rachel N.; Baker, Andrew C.

    2018-03-01

    Dynamic symbioses with functionally diverse dinoflagellate algae in the genus Symbiodinium may allow some reef corals to alter their phenotypes through `symbiont shuffling', or changes in symbiont community composition. In particular, corals may become more bleaching resistant by increasing the relative abundance of thermally tolerant Symbiodinium in clade D after bleaching. Despite the immediate relevance of this phenomenon to corals living in warming oceans—and to interventions aimed at boosting coral resilience—the mechanisms governing how, why, and when symbiont shuffling occurs are still poorly understood. Here, we performed controlled thermal bleaching and recovery experiments on three species of Caribbean corals hosting mixtures of D1a ( S. trenchii) and other symbionts in clades B or C. We show that the degree of symbiont shuffling is related to (1) the duration of stress exposure and (2) the difference in photochemical efficiency ( F v /F m) of co-occurring symbionts under stress (i.e., the `photochemical advantage' of one symbiont over the other). The advantage of D1a under stress was greatest in Montastraea cavernosa, intermediate in Siderastrea siderea, and lowest in Orbicella faveolata and correlated positively with the magnitude of shuffling toward D1a. In holobionts where D1a had less of an advantage over co-occurring symbionts (i.e., only slightly higher F v /F m under stress), a longer stress duration was required to elicit commensurate increases in D1a abundance. In fact, across these three coral species, 92.9% of variation in the degree of symbiont shuffling could be explained by the time-integrated photochemical advantage of D1a under heat stress. Although F v /F m is governed by numerous factors that this study is unable to resolve mechanistically, its strong empirical relationship with symbiont shuffling helps elucidate general features that govern this process in reef corals, which will help refine predictions of coral responses to

  3. 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

  4. Spatio-temporal transmission patterns of black-band disease in a coral community.

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    Assaf Zvuloni

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Transmission mechanisms of black-band disease (BBD in coral reefs are poorly understood, although this disease is considered to be one of the most widespread and destructive coral infectious diseases. The major objective of this study was to assess transmission mechanisms of BBD in the field based on the spatio-temporal patterns of the disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 3,175 susceptible and infected corals were mapped over an area of 10x10 m in Eilat (northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea and the distribution of the disease was examined monthly throughout almost two full disease cycles (June 2006-December 2007. Spatial and spatio-temporal analyses were applied to infer the transmission pattern of the disease and to calculate key epidemiological parameters such as (basic reproduction number. We show that the prevalence of the disease is strongly associated with high water temperature. When water temperatures rise and disease prevalence increases, infected corals exhibit aggregated distributions on small spatial scales of up to 1.9 m. Additionally, newly-infected corals clearly appear in proximity to existing infected corals and in a few cases in direct contact with them. We also present and test a model of water-borne infection, indicating that the likelihood of a susceptible coral becoming infected is defined by its spatial location and by the relative spatial distribution of nearby infected corals found in the site. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results provide evidence that local transmission, but not necessarily by direct contact, is likely to be an important factor in the spread of the disease over the tested spatial scale. In the absence of potential disease vectors with limited mobility (e.g., snails, fireworms in the studied site, water-borne infection is likely to be a significant transmission mechanism of BBD. Our suggested model of water-borne transmission supports this hypothesis. The spatio-temporal analysis also points

  5. Population genetics of reef coral endosymbionts (Symbiodinium, Dinophyceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thornhill, D J; Howells, E J; Wham, D C; Steury, T D; Santos, S R

    2017-05-01

    Symbiodinium is a diverse genus of unicellular dinoflagellate symbionts associating with various marine protists and invertebrates. Although the broadscale diversity and phylogenetics of the Symbiodinium complex is well established, there have been surprisingly few data on fine-scale population structure and biogeography of these dinoflagellates. Yet population-level processes contribute strongly to the biology of Symbiodinium, including how anthropogenic-driven global climate change impacts these symbionts and their host associations. Here, we present a synthesis of population-level characteristics for Symbiodinium, with an emphasis on how phylogenetic affinities, dynamics within and among host individuals, and a propensity towards clonality shape patterns on and across reefs. Major inferences include the following: (i) Symbiodinium populations within individual hosts are comprised mainly of cells belonging to a single or few genetic clones. (ii) Symbiont populations exhibit a mixed mode of reproduction, wherein at least one sexual recombination event occurs in the genealogy between most genotypes, but clonal propagation predominates overall. (iii) Mutualistic Symbiodinium do not perpetually persist outside their hosts, instead undergoing turnover and replacement via the continuous shedding of viable clonal cells from host individuals. (iv) Symbiont populations living in the same host, but on different reefs, are often genetically subdivided, suggesting low connectivity, adaptation to local conditions, or prolific asexual reproduction and low effective population sizes leading to disproportionate success within and among hosts. Overall, this synthesis forms a basis for future investigations of coral symbiosis ecology and evolution as well as delimitation of species boundaries in Symbiodinium and other eukaryotic microorganisms. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Conservation of coral reefs through active restoration measures: recent approaches and last decade progress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rinkevich, Baruch

    2005-06-15

    The scientific discipline of active restoration of denuded coral reef areas has drawn much attention in the past decade as it became evident that this ecosystem does not often recover naturally from anthropogenic stress without manipulation. Essentially, the choices are eitherthe continuous degradation of the reefs or active restoration to encourage reef development. As a result, worldwide restoration operations during the past decade have been recognized as being a major tool for reef rehabilitation. This situation has also stirred discussions and debates on the various restoration measures suggested as management options, supplementary to the traditional conservation acts. The present essay reviews past decade's (1994-2004) approaches and advances in coral reef restoration. While direct coral transplantation is still the primer vehicle of operations used, the concept of in situ and ex situ coral nurseries (the gardening concept), where coral materials (nubbins, branches, spats) are maricultured to a size suitable for transplantation, has been gaining recognition. The use of nubbins (down to the size of a single or few polyps) has been suggested and employed as a unique technique for mass production of coral colonies. Restoration of ship grounding sites and the use of artificial reefs have become common tools for specific restoration needs. Substrate stabilization, 3-D structural consideration of developing colonies, and the use of molecular/biochemical tools are part of novel technology approaches developed in the past decade. Economic considerations for reef restoration have become an important avenue for evaluating success of restoration activities. It has been suggested that landscape restoration and restoration genetics are important issues to be studied. In the future, as coral reef restoration may become the dominant conservation act, there would be the need not only to develop improved protocols but also to define the conceptual bases.

  7. Global gradients of coral exposure to environmental stresses and implications for local management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph Maina

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The decline of coral reefs globally underscores the need for a spatial assessment of their exposure to multiple environmental stressors to estimate vulnerability and evaluate potential counter-measures. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study combined global spatial gradients of coral exposure to radiation stress factors (temperature, UV light and doldrums, stress-reinforcing factors (sedimentation and eutrophication, and stress-reducing factors (temperature variability and tidal amplitude to produce a global map of coral exposure and identify areas where exposure depends on factors that can be locally managed. A systems analytical approach was used to define interactions between radiation stress variables, stress reinforcing variables and stress reducing variables. Fuzzy logic and spatial ordinations were employed to quantify coral exposure to these stressors. Globally, corals are exposed to radiation and reinforcing stress, albeit with high spatial variability within regions. Based on ordination of exposure grades, regions group into two clusters. The first cluster was composed of severely exposed regions with high radiation and low reducing stress scores (South East Asia, Micronesia, Eastern Pacific and the central Indian Ocean or alternatively high reinforcing stress scores (the Middle East and the Western Australia. The second cluster was composed of moderately to highly exposed regions with moderate to high scores in both radiation and reducing factors (Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Central Pacific, Polynesia and the western Indian Ocean where the GBR was strongly associated with reinforcing stress. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Despite radiation stress being the most dominant stressor, the exposure of coral reefs could be reduced by locally managing chronic human impacts that act to reinforce radiation stress. Future research and management efforts should focus on incorporating the factors that mitigate the effect of

  8. Change in algal symbiont communities after bleaching, not prior heat exposure, increases heat tolerance of reef corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silverstein, Rachel N; Cunning, Ross; Baker, Andrew C

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic organisms can be particularly susceptible to climate change stress, as their survivorship is often limited by the most vulnerable partner. However, symbiotic plasticity can also help organisms in changing environments by expanding their realized niche space. Coral-algal (Symbiodinium spp.) symbiosis exemplifies this dichotomy: the partnership is highly susceptible to 'bleaching' (stress-induced symbiosis breakdown), but stress-tolerant symbionts can also sometimes mitigate bleaching. Here, we investigate the role of diverse and mutable symbiotic partnerships in increasing corals' ability to thrive in high temperature conditions. We conducted repeat bleaching and recovery experiments on the coral Montastraea cavernosa, and used quantitative PCR and chlorophyll fluorometry to assess the structure and function of Symbiodinium communities within coral hosts. During an initial heat exposure (32 °C for 10 days), corals hosting only stress-sensitive symbionts (Symbiodinium C3) bleached, but recovered (at either 24 °C or 29 °C) with predominantly (>90%) stress-tolerant symbionts (Symbiodinium D1a), which were not detected before bleaching (either due to absence or extreme low abundance). When a second heat stress (also 32 °C for 10 days) was applied 3 months later, corals that previously bleached and were now dominated by D1a Symbiodinium experienced less photodamage and symbiont loss compared to control corals that had not been previously bleached, and were therefore still dominated by Symbiodinium C3. Additional corals that were initially bleached without heat by a herbicide (DCMU, at 24 °C) also recovered predominantly with D1a symbionts, and similarly lost fewer symbionts during subsequent thermal stress. Increased thermotolerance was also not observed in C3-dominated corals that were acclimated for 3 months to warmer temperatures (29 °C) before heat stress. These findings indicate that increased thermotolerance post-bleaching resulted from

  9. The Stylasterine coral Allopora stellulata (Stewart)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boschma, H.

    1960-01-01

    The description of Stylaster stellulatus Stewart was based on a specimen obtained at Tahiti, the coral was stated to be extremely rare, and only found at one small island in the neighbourhood. The description contains all the peculiarities for a specific definition of the coral, the salient points

  10. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Marhaver, K.L.; Huijbers, C.M.; Nagelkerken, I.; Simpson, S.D.

    2010-01-01

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm) that influence settlement success are difficult to

  11. The mushroom coral as a habitat

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Meij, van der S.E.T.; Fransen, C.H.J.M.

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of symbiotic relationships involving reef corals has had much impact on tropical marine biodiversity. Because of their endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) corals can grow fast in tropical shallow seas where they form reefs that supply food, substrate and shelter for other organisms.

  12. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Hoey, Andrew S.; Almany, Glenn R.

    2018-03-01

    Ecosystems are becoming vastly modified through disturbance. In coral reef ecosystems, the differential susceptibility of coral taxa to climate-driven bleaching is predicted to shift coral assemblages towards reefs with an increased relative abundance of taxa with high thermal tolerance. Many thermally tolerant coral species are characterised by low structural complexity, with reduced habitat niche space for the small-bodied coral reef fishes on which piscivorous mesopredators feed. This study used a patch reef array to investigate the potential impacts of climate-driven shifts in coral assemblages on the trophodynamics of reef mesopredators and their prey communities. The `tolerant' reef treatment consisted only of coral taxa of low susceptibility to bleaching, while `vulnerable' reefs included species of moderate to high thermal vulnerability. `Vulnerable' reefs had higher structural complexity, and the fish assemblages that established on these reefs over 18 months had higher species diversity, abundance and biomass than those on `tolerant' reefs. Fish assemblages on `tolerant' reefs were also more strongly influenced by the introduction of a mesopredator ( Cephalopholis boenak). Mesopredators on `tolerant' reefs had lower lipid content in their muscle tissue by the end of the 6-week experiment. Such sublethal energetic costs can compromise growth, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in unexpected population declines in long-lived mesopredators. This study provides valuable insight into the altered trophodynamics of future coral reef ecosystems, highlighting the potentially increased vulnerability of reef fish assemblages to predation as reef structure declines, and the cost of changing prey availability on mesopredator condition.

  13. Coral aquaculture: applying scientific knowledge to ex situ production

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Leal, M.C.; Ferrier-Pagès, C.; Petersen, D.; Osinga, R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral aquaculture is an activity of growing interest due to the degradation of coral reefs worldwide and concomitant growing demand for corals by three industries: marine ornamental trade, pharmaceutical industry and reef restoration. Although captive breeding and propagation of corals is a

  14. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ...-01] RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines AGENCY: National Oceanic... Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or Program) under the Coral Reef... assistance for coral reef conservation projects under the Act. NOAA revised the Implementation Guidelines for...

  15. A Review of SCUBA Diving Impacts and Implication for Coral Reefs Conservation and Tourism Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zainal Abidin Siti Zulaiha

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Dive tourism has become important in term of magnitude and significantly contributes to regional economies. Nevertheless, in the absence of proper controls and enforcement, unplanned tourism growth has caused environmental degradation which undermines the long-term sustainability of the tourism industry. The purpose of this paper is to explore factors that contribute to the SCUBA diving impacts on coral and fish communities. This paper explains the causes of a certain event, validating the problem of impacts, defining the core issues and identifies possible causes leading to an effect. The phenomenon of diving impacts on coral reefs is a result of intensive use of dive site over the long-term. The divers can reduce their impacts towards coral reefs through responsible diving behaviors. The causes of cumulative diver’s contacts are more complicated than it seems. In response, this paper proposes the best mitigation strategies that need to be considered for future dive tourism management.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy F Cooper

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

  17. Quantifying uncertainty and resilience on coral reefs using a Bayesian approach

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Woesik, R

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are rapidly deteriorating globally. The contemporary management option favors managing for resilience to provide reefs with the capacity to tolerate human-induced disturbances. Yet resilience is most commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances without changing fundamental processes or functionality. Quantifying no change, or the uncertainty of a null hypothesis, is nonsensical using frequentist statistics, but is achievable using a Bayesian approach. This study outlines a practical Bayesian framework that quantifies the resilience of coral reefs using two inter-related models. The first model examines the functionality of coral reefs in the context of their reef-building capacity, whereas the second model examines the recovery rates of coral cover after disturbances. Quantifying intrinsic rates of increase in coral cover and habitat-specific, steady-state equilibria are useful proxies of resilience. A reduction in the intrinsic rate of increase following a disturbance, or the slowing of recovery over time, can be useful indicators of stress; a change in the steady-state equilibrium suggests a phase shift. Quantifying the uncertainty of key reef-building processes and recovery parameters, and comparing these parameters against benchmarks, facilitates the detection of loss of resilience and provides signals of imminent change. (letter)

  18. Quantifying uncertainty and resilience on coral reefs using a Bayesian approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Woesik, R.

    2013-12-01

    Coral reefs are rapidly deteriorating globally. The contemporary management option favors managing for resilience to provide reefs with the capacity to tolerate human-induced disturbances. Yet resilience is most commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances without changing fundamental processes or functionality. Quantifying no change, or the uncertainty of a null hypothesis, is nonsensical using frequentist statistics, but is achievable using a Bayesian approach. This study outlines a practical Bayesian framework that quantifies the resilience of coral reefs using two inter-related models. The first model examines the functionality of coral reefs in the context of their reef-building capacity, whereas the second model examines the recovery rates of coral cover after disturbances. Quantifying intrinsic rates of increase in coral cover and habitat-specific, steady-state equilibria are useful proxies of resilience. A reduction in the intrinsic rate of increase following a disturbance, or the slowing of recovery over time, can be useful indicators of stress; a change in the steady-state equilibrium suggests a phase shift. Quantifying the uncertainty of key reef-building processes and recovery parameters, and comparing these parameters against benchmarks, facilitates the detection of loss of resilience and provides signals of imminent change.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

    other coral host genes whose expression differs in this disease. Our work provides a first glimpse into coral holobiont community gene function and its deviations in disease. Moreover, we hope that our bioinformatic protocol, designed to cope with the challenges of short-read transcriptomics from complex ecosystems with no close reference, will be a useful template to further understanding of the gene functions and ecological partnerships in coral reefs and other complex ecosystems.

  20. Microbial community composition of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provides insight into functional adaption to a unique environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röthig, Till; Yum, Lauren K; Kremb, Stephan G; Roik, Anna; Voolstra, Christian R

    2017-03-17

    Microbes associated with deep-sea corals remain poorly studied. The lack of symbiotic algae suggests that associated microbes may play a fundamental role in maintaining a viable coral host via acquisition and recycling of nutrients. Here we employed 16 S rRNA gene sequencing to study bacterial communities of three deep-sea scleractinian corals from the Red Sea, Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. We found diverse, species-specific microbiomes, distinct from the surrounding seawater. Microbiomes were comprised of few abundant bacteria, which constituted the majority of sequences (up to 58% depending on the coral species). In addition, we found a high diversity of rare bacteria (taxa at 90% of all bacteria). Interestingly, we identified anaerobic bacteria, potentially providing metabolic functions at low oxygen conditions, as well as bacteria harboring the potential to degrade crude oil components. Considering the presence of oil and gas fields in the Red Sea, these bacteria may unlock this carbon source for the coral host. In conclusion, the prevailing environmental conditions of the deep Red Sea (>20 °C, <2 mg oxygen L -1 ) may require distinct functional adaptations, and our data suggest that bacterial communities may contribute to coral functioning in this challenging environment.

  1. Microbial community composition of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provides insight into functional adaption to a unique environment

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-03-17

    Microbes associated with deep-sea corals remain poorly studied. The lack of symbiotic algae suggests that associated microbes may play a fundamental role in maintaining a viable coral host via acquisition and recycling of nutrients. Here we employed 16 S rRNA gene sequencing to study bacterial communities of three deep-sea scleractinian corals from the Red Sea, Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. We found diverse, species-specific microbiomes, distinct from the surrounding seawater. Microbiomes were comprised of few abundant bacteria, which constituted the majority of sequences (up to 58% depending on the coral species). In addition, we found a high diversity of rare bacteria (taxa at <1% abundance comprised >90% of all bacteria). Interestingly, we identified anaerobic bacteria, potentially providing metabolic functions at low oxygen conditions, as well as bacteria harboring the potential to degrade crude oil components. Considering the presence of oil and gas fields in the Red Sea, these bacteria may unlock this carbon source for the coral host. In conclusion, the prevailing environmental conditions of the deep Red Sea (>20 °C, <2 mg oxygen L−1) may require distinct functional adaptations, and our data suggest that bacterial communities may contribute to coral functioning in this challenging environment.

  2. 76 FR 30110 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic..., Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. The applicant has requested.... HHSN261200900012C) between the National Cancer Institute ( http://www.cancer.gov/ ) and the Coral Reef Research...

  3. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

    ...-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic... the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats of the... Aquariums to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters...

  4. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.

    2016-06-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes ( Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reefs: present-day reefs that are vulnerable to climate-induced coral bleaching, and reefs with more bleaching-robust coral taxa, thereby simulating the likely future of coral reefs under a warming climate. Fish communities were allowed to establish naturally on the reefs during the summer recruitment period. Climate-robust reefs had lower total species richness of coral-reef fishes than climate-vulnerable reefs, but total fish abundance was not significantly different between reef types (pooled across all species and life-history stages). The nature of aggressive interactions, measured as the number of aggressive chases, varied according to coral composition; on climate-robust reefs, juveniles used the substratum less often to avoid aggression from competitors, and interspecific aggression became relatively more frequent than intraspecific aggression for juveniles of the coral-obligate P. moluccensis. This study highlights the importance of coral composition as a determinant of behaviour and diversity of coral-reef fishes.

  5. The ReFuGe 2020 consortium - Using ‘omics’ approaches to explore the adaptability and resilience of coral holobionts to environmental change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Robert Voolstra

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Human-induced environmental changes have been linked directly with loss of biodiversity. Coral reefs, which have been severely impacted by anthropogenic activities over the last few decades, exemplify this global problem and provide an opportunity to develop research addressing key knowledge gaps through ‘omics’-based approaches. While many stressors, e.g. global warming, ocean acidification, overfishing and coastal development have been identified, there is an urgent need to understand how corals function at a basic level in order to conceive strategies for mitigating future reef loss. In this regard, availability of fully sequenced genomes has been immensely valuable in providing answers to questions of organismal biology. Given that corals are metaorganisms comprised of the coral animal host, its intracellular photosynthetic algae, and associated microbiota (i.e. bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, these efforts must focus on entire coral holobionts. The Reef Future Genomics 2020 (ReFuGe 2020 consortium has formed to sequence hologenomes of ten coral species representing different physiological or functional groups to provide foundation data for coral reef adaptation research that is freely available to the research community.

  6. Assessing the effects of iron enrichment across holobiont compartments reveals reduced microbial nitrogen fixation in the Red Sea coral Pocillopora verrucosa

    KAUST Repository

    Radecker, Nils; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Ziegler, Maren; Ashok, Ananya; Barreto, Marcelle M.; Chaidez, Veronica; Grupstra, Carsten G. B.; Ng, Yi Mei; Perna, Gabriela; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    The productivity of coral reefs in oligotrophic tropical waters is sustained by an efficient uptake and recycling of nutrients. In reef-building corals, the engineers of these ecosystems, this nutrient recycling is facilitated by a constant exchange of nutrients between the animal host and endosymbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae), bacteria, and other microbes. Due to the complex interactions in this so-called coral holobiont, it has proven difficult to understand the environmental limitations of productivity in corals. Among others, the micronutrient iron has been proposed to limit primary productivity due to its essential role in photosynthesis and bacterial processes. Here, we tested the effect of iron enrichment on the physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa from the central Red Sea during a 12-day experiment. Contrary to previous reports, we did not see an increase in zooxanthellae population density or gross photosynthesis. Conversely, respiration rates were significantly increased, and microbial nitrogen fixation was significantly decreased. Taken together, our data suggest that iron is not a limiting factor of primary productivity in Red Sea corals. Rather, increased metabolic demands in response to iron enrichment, as evidenced by increased respiration rates, may reduce carbon (i.e., energy) availability in the coral holobiont, resulting in reduced microbial nitrogen fixation. This decrease in nitrogen supply in turn may exacerbate the limitation of other nutrients, creating a negative feedback loop. Thereby, our results highlight that the effects of iron enrichment appear to be strongly dependent on local environmental conditions and ultimately may depend on the availability of other nutrients.

  7. Assessing the effects of iron enrichment across holobiont compartments reveals reduced microbial nitrogen fixation in the Red Sea coral Pocillopora verrucosa

    KAUST Repository

    Radecker, Nils

    2017-07-31

    The productivity of coral reefs in oligotrophic tropical waters is sustained by an efficient uptake and recycling of nutrients. In reef-building corals, the engineers of these ecosystems, this nutrient recycling is facilitated by a constant exchange of nutrients between the animal host and endosymbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae), bacteria, and other microbes. Due to the complex interactions in this so-called coral holobiont, it has proven difficult to understand the environmental limitations of productivity in corals. Among others, the micronutrient iron has been proposed to limit primary productivity due to its essential role in photosynthesis and bacterial processes. Here, we tested the effect of iron enrichment on the physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa from the central Red Sea during a 12-day experiment. Contrary to previous reports, we did not see an increase in zooxanthellae population density or gross photosynthesis. Conversely, respiration rates were significantly increased, and microbial nitrogen fixation was significantly decreased. Taken together, our data suggest that iron is not a limiting factor of primary productivity in Red Sea corals. Rather, increased metabolic demands in response to iron enrichment, as evidenced by increased respiration rates, may reduce carbon (i.e., energy) availability in the coral holobiont, resulting in reduced microbial nitrogen fixation. This decrease in nitrogen supply in turn may exacerbate the limitation of other nutrients, creating a negative feedback loop. Thereby, our results highlight that the effects of iron enrichment appear to be strongly dependent on local environmental conditions and ultimately may depend on the availability of other nutrients.

  8. Pyrosequencing of the bacteria associated with Platygyra carnosus corals with skeletal growth anomalies reveals differences in bacterial community composition in apparently healthy and diseased tissues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jenny Chun-Yee Ng

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Corals are rapidly declining globally due to coral diseases. Skeletal growth anomalies (SGA or coral tumors are a group of coral diseases that affect coral reefs worldwide, including Hong Kong waters in the Indo-Pacific region. To better understand how bacterial communities may vary in corals with SGA, for the first time, we examined the bacterial composition associated with the apparently healthy and the diseased tissues of SGA-affected Platgyra carnosus using 16S ribosomal rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Taxonomic analysis revealed Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, and Actinobacteria as the main phyla in both the apparently healthy and the diseased tissues. A significant difference in the bacterial community composition was observed between the two conditions at the OTU level. Diseased tissues were associated with higher abundances of Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes, and a lower abundance of Spirochaetes. Several OTUs belonging to Rhodobacteraceae, Rhizobiales, Gammaproteobacteria, and Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroidetes (CFB were strongly associated with the diseased tissues. These groups of bacteria may contain potential pathogens involved with the development of SGA or opportunistic secondary or tertiary colonizers that proliferated upon the health-compromised coral host. We suggest that these bacterial groups to be further studied based on inoculation experiments and testing of Koch’s postulates in efforts to understand the etiology and progression of SGA.

  9. Big Data Approaches To Coral-Microbe Symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaneveld, J.; Pollock, F. J.; McMinds, R.; Smith, S.; Payet, J.; Hanna, B.; Welsh, R.; Foster, A.; Ohdera, A.; Shantz, A. A.; Burkepile, D. E.; Maynard, J. A.; Medina, M.; Vega Thurber, R.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs face increasing challenges worldwide, threatened by overfishing and nutrient pollution, which drive growth of algal competitors of corals, and periods of extreme temperature, which drive mass coral bleaching. I will discuss two projects that examine how coral's complex relationships with microorganisms affect the response of coral colonies and coral species to environmental challenge. Microbiological studies have documented key roles for coral's microbial symbionts in energy harvest and defense against pathogens. However, the evolutionary history of corals and their microbes is little studied. As part of the Global Coral Microbiome Project, we are characterizing bacterial, archaeal, fungal, and Symbiodinium diversity across >1400 DNA samples from all major groups of corals, collected from 15 locations worldwide. This collection will allow us to ask how coral- microbe associations evolved over evolutionary time, and to determine whether microbial symbiosis helps predict the relative vulnerability of certain coral species to environmental stress. In the second project, we experimentally characterized how the long-term effects of human impacts such as overfishing and nutrient pollution influence coral-microbe symbiosis. We conducted a three-year field experiment in the Florida Keys applying nutrient pollution or simulated overfishing to reef plots, and traced the effects on reef communities, coral microbiomes, and coral health. The results show that extremes of temperature and algal competition destabilize coral microbiomes, increasing pathogen blooms, coral disease, and coral death. Surprisingly, these local stressors interacted strongly with thermal stress: the greatest microbiome disruption, and >80% of coral mortality happened in the hottest periods. Thus, overfishing and nutrient pollution may interact with increased climate-driven episodes of sub-bleaching thermal stress to increase coral mortality by disrupt reef communities down to microbial scales.

  10. New insights into the dynamics between reef corals and their associated dinoflagellate endosymbionts from population genetic studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, Iliana B; Devlin-Durante, Meghann K; LaJeunesse, Todd C

    2014-09-01

    The mutualistic symbioses between reef-building corals and micro-algae form the basis of coral reef ecosystems, yet recent environmental changes threaten their survival. Diversity in host-symbiont pairings on the sub-species level could be an unrecognized source of functional variation in response to stress. The Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, associates predominantly with one symbiont species (Symbiodinium 'fitti'), facilitating investigations of individual-level (genotype) interactions. Individual genotypes of both host and symbiont were resolved across the entire species' range. Most colonies of a particular animal genotype were dominated by one symbiont genotype (or strain) that may persist in the host for decades or more. While Symbiodinium are primarily clonal, the occurrence of recombinant genotypes indicates sexual recombination is the source of this genetic variation, and some evidence suggests this happens within the host. When these data are examined at spatial scales spanning the entire distribution of A. palmata, gene flow among animal populations was an order of magnitude greater than among populations of the symbiont. This suggests that independent micro-evolutionary processes created dissimilar population genetic structures between host and symbiont. The lower effective dispersal exhibited by the dinoflagellate raises questions regarding the extent to which populations of host and symbiont can co-evolve during times of rapid and substantial climate change. However, these findings also support a growing body of evidence, suggesting that genotype-by-genotype interactions may provide significant physiological variation, influencing the adaptive potential of symbiotic reef corals to severe selection. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Expression of a symbiosis-specific gene in Symbiodinium type A1 associated with coral, nudibranch and giant clam larvae

    KAUST Repository

    Mies, M.

    2017-05-24

    Symbiodinium are responsible for the majority of primary production in coral reefs and found in a mutualistic symbiosis with multiple animal phyla. However, little is known about the molecular signals involved in the establishment of this symbiosis and whether it initiates during host larval development. To address this question, we monitored the expression of a putative symbiosis-specific gene (H+-ATPase) in Symbiodinium A1 ex hospite and in association with larvae of a scleractinian coral (Mussismilia hispida), a nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae) and a giant clam (Tridacna crocea). We acquired broodstock for each host, induced spawning and cultured the larvae. Symbiodinium cells were offered and larval samples taken for each host during the first 72 h after symbiont addition. In addition, control samples including free-living Symbiodinium and broodstock tissue containing symbionts for each host were collected. RNA extraction and RT-PCR were performed and amplified products cloned and sequenced. Our results show that H+-ATPase was expressed in Symbiodinium associated with coral and giant clam larvae, but not with nudibranch larvae, which digested the symbionts. Broodstock tissue for coral and giant clam also expressed H+-ATPase, but not the nudibranch tissue sample. Our results of the expression of H+-ATPase as a marker gene suggest that symbiosis between Symbiodinium and M. hispida and T. crocea is established during host larval development. Conversely, in the case of B. stephanieae larvae, evidence does not support a mutualistic relationship. Our study supports the utilization of H+-ATPase expression as a marker for assessing Symbiodinium-invertebrate relationships with applications for the differentiation of symbiotic and non-symbiotic associations. At the same time, insights from a single marker gene approach are limited and future studies should direct the identification of additional symbiosis-specific genes, ideally from both symbiont and host.

  12. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    , notably at Ratnagiri. Malwan. Redi Port and Vizhingam. Relic reefs with living herm<:ltypic corals at depths ranging fror:l 25 to 45m are the Gaves hani Bank off~\\angalore,and the submerged banks (Bass<:ls de Pedro. Sesostris Bank and Cora Divh... the snore (Qaslm and Wafar, 1979). The other representative Sea le\\lel Variation 417 of the extensive reelS of the outer shelf that survived Pleistocene drowning is the Gaveshani Bank, fanhc: south (J 3° 24' N; 73° 45' E), about 100 km off \\1 ar:ga lore...

  13. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M.

    2003-01-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and ≥50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs

  14. 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.

  15. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M

    2003-03-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and {>=}50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs.

  16. Arnfried Antonius, coral diseases, and the AMLC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurie L. Richardson

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The study of coral diseases, coral pathogens, and the effects of diseases on tropical and subtropical coral reefs are all current, high-profile research areas. This interest has grown steadily since the first report of a coral disease in 1973. The author of this report was Arnfried Antonius and the publication was an abstract in the proceedings of a scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, or AMLC (then known as the Association of Island Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean. Since Antonius’ pioneering communication he continued working on coral diseases on reefs throughout the world, often documenting the first observation of a novel pathology in a novel location. Each of the coral diseases Antonius first described, in particular black band disease, is the subject of current and ongoing investigations addressing pathogens, etiology, and their effects on coral reefs. Many of the points and observations he made in his early papers are highly relevant to research today. This paper reviews aspects of Antonius’ early work, highlighting contributions he made that include the first in situ experimental studies aimed at discerning coral epizootiology and the first quantitative assessments of the role of environmental factors in coral disease. Antonius’ early findings are discussed in terms of relevant current controversies in this research areaEl estudio de las enfermedades de los corales, los patogenos de los corales y los efectos de estas enfermedades sobre los arrecifes tropicales y subtropicales son actualmente areas importantes de investigacion. El interés en este tema ha crecido continuamente desde el primer informe sobre una enfermedad de coral que se publico en 1973. El autor de este informe fue Arnfried Antonius y la publicacion fue un resumen en el Libro de Programa y Resumenes de la Decima Reunion de la Asociacion de Laboratorios Marinos Islenos del Caribe (conocida ahora como la Asociacion de

  17. Reef corals bleach to resist stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O

    2009-02-01

    A rationale is presented here for a primary role of bleaching in regulation of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis under conditions of stress. Corals and zooxanthellae have fundamentally different metabolic rates, requiring active homeostasis to limit zooxanthellae production and manage translocated products to maintain the symbiosis. The control processes for homeostasis are compromised by environmental stress, resulting in metabolic imbalance between the symbionts. For the coral-zooxanthella symbiosis the most direct way to minimize metabolic imbalance under stress is to reduce photosynthetic production by zooxanthellae. Two mechanisms have been demonstrated that do this: reduction of the chlorophyll concentration in individual zooxanthellae and reduction of the relative biomass of zooxanthellae. Both mechanisms result in visual whitening of the coral, termed bleaching. Arguments are presented here that bleaching provides the final control to minimize physiological damage from stress as an adversity response to metabolic imbalance. As such, bleaching meets the requirements of a stress response syndrome/general adaptive mechanism that is sensitive to internal states rather than external parameters. Variation in bleaching responses among holobionts reflects genotypic and phenotypic differentiation, allowing evolutionary change by natural selection. Thus, reef corals bleach to resist stress, and thereby have some capacity to adapt to and survive change. The extreme thermal anomalies causing mass coral bleaching worldwide lie outside the reaction norms for most coral-zooxanthellae holobionts, revealing the limitations of bleaching as a control mechanism.

  18. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

    Microbial processes largely control the health and resilience of coral reef ecosystems, and new technologies have led to an exciting wave of discovery regarding the mechanisms by which microbial communities support the functioning of these incredibly diverse and valuable systems. There are three questions at the forefront of discovery: What mechanisms underlie coral reef health and resilience? How do environmental and anthropogenic pressures affect ecosystem function? What is the ecology of microbial diseases of corals? The goal is to understand the functioning of coral reefs as integrated systems from microbes and molecules to regional and ocean-basin scale ecosystems to enable accurate predictions of resilience and responses to perturbations such as climate change and eutrophication. This review outlines recent discoveries regarding the microbial ecology of different microenvironments within coral ecosystems, and highlights research directions that take advantage of new technologies to build a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how coral health is connected through microbial processes to its surrounding environment. The time is ripe for natural resource managers and microbial ecologists to work together to create an integrated understanding of coral reef functioning. In the context of long-term survival and conservation of reefs, the need for this work is immediate. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  19. Functional significance of genetically different symbiotic algae Symbiodinium in a coral reef symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loram, J E; Trapido-Rosenthal, H G; Douglas, A E

    2007-11-01

    The giant sea anemone Condylactis gigantea associates with members of two clades of the dinoflagellate alga Symbiodinium, either singly or in mixed infection, as revealed by clade-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction of large subunit ribosomal DNA. To explore the functional significance of this molecular variation, the fate of photosynthetically fixed carbon was investigated by (14)C radiotracer experiments. Symbioses with algae of clades A and B released ca. 30-40% of fixed carbon to the animal tissues. Incorporation into the lipid fraction and the low molecular weight fraction dominated by amino acids was significantly higher in symbioses with algae of clade A than of clade B, suggesting that the genetically different algae in C. gigantea are not functionally equivalent. Symbioses with mixed infections yielded intermediate values, such that this functional trait of the symbiosis can be predicted from the traits of the contributing algae. Coral and sea anemone symbioses with Symbiodinium break down at elevated temperature, a process known as 'coral bleaching'. The functional response of the C. gigantea symbiosis to heat stress varied between the algae of clades A and B, with particularly depressed incorporation of photosynthetic carbon into lipid of the clade B algae, which are more susceptible to high temperature than the algae of clade A. This study provides a first exploration of how the core symbiotic function of photosynthate transfer to the host varies with the genotype of Symbiodinium, an algal symbiont which underpins corals and, hence, coral reef ecosystems.

  20. Responses of two scleractinian corals to cobalt pollution and ocean acidification.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Biscéré

    Full Text Available The effects of ocean acidification alone or in combination with warming on coral metabolism have been extensively investigated, whereas none of these studies consider that most coral reefs near shore are already impacted by other natural anthropogenic inputs such as metal pollution. It is likely that projected ocean acidification levels will aggravate coral reef health. We first investigated how ocean acidification interacts with one near shore locally abundant metal on the physiology of two major reef-building corals: Stylophora pistillata and Acropora muricata. Two pH levels (pHT 8.02; pCO2 366 μatm and pHT 7.75; pCO2 1140 μatm and two cobalt concentrations (natural, 0.03 μg L-1 and polluted, 0.2 μg L-1 were tested during five weeks in aquaria. We found that, for both species, cobalt input decreased significantly their growth rates by 28% while it stimulated their photosystem II, with higher values of rETRmax (relative Electron Transport Rate. Elevated pCO2 levels acted differently on the coral rETRmax values and did not affect their growth rates. No consistent interaction was found between pCO2 levels and cobalt concentrations. We also measured in situ the effect of higher cobalt concentrations (1.06 ± 0.16 μg L-1 on A. muricata using benthic chamber experiments. At this elevated concentration, cobalt decreased simultaneously coral growth and photosynthetic rates, indicating that the toxic threshold for this pollutant has been reached for both host cells and zooxanthellae. Our results from both aquaria and in situ experiments, suggest that these coral species are not particularly sensitive to high pCO2 conditions but they are to ecologically relevant cobalt concentrations. Our study reveals that some reefs may be yet subjected to deleterious pollution levels, and even if no interaction between pCO2 levels and cobalt concentration has been found, it is likely that coral metabolism will be weakened if they are subjected to additional

  1. Linking Wave Forcing to Coral Cover and Structural Complexity Across Coral Reef Flats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, D. L.; Rovere, A.; Parravicini, V.; Casella, E.

    2015-12-01

    The hydrodynamic regime is a significant component in the geomorphic and ecological development of coral reefs. The energy gradients and flow conditions generated by the breaking and transformation of waves across coral reef crests and flats drive changes in geomorphic structure, and coral growth form and distribution. One of the key aspects in regulating the wave energy propagating across reef flats is the rugosity or roughness of the benthic substrate. Rugosity and structural complexity of coral reefs is also a key indicator of species diversity, ecological functioning, and reef health. However, the links between reef rugosity, coral species distribution and abundance, and hydrodynamic forcing are poorly understood. In this study we examine this relationship by using high resolution measurement of waves in the surf zone and coral reef benthic structure.Pressure transducers (logging at 4 Hz) were deployed in cross reef transects at two sites (Tiahura and Ha'apiti reef systems) in Moorea, French Polynesia with wave characteristics determined on a wave by wave basis. A one dimensional hydrodynamic model (XBeach) was calibrated from this data to determine wave processes on the reef flats under average conditions. Transects of the reef benthic structure were conducted using photographic analysis and the three dimensional reef surface was constructed using structure from motion procedures. From this analysis reef rugosity, changes in coral genus and growth form, and across reef shifts in benthic community were determined. The results show clear changes in benthic assemblages along wave energy gradients with some indication of threshold values of wave induced bed shear stress above which live coral cover was reduced. Reef rugosity was shown to be significantly along the cross-reef transect which has important implications for accurate assessment of wave dissipation across coral reef flats. Links between reef rugosity and coral genus were also observed and may indicate

  2. Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Rafael A. Magris; Alana Grech; Robert L. Pressey

    2018-01-01

    Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal de...

  3. Defining Quantum Control Flow

    OpenAIRE

    Ying, Mingsheng; Yu, Nengkun; Feng, Yuan

    2012-01-01

    A remarkable difference between quantum and classical programs is that the control flow of the former can be either classical or quantum. One of the key issues in the theory of quantum programming languages is defining and understanding quantum control flow. A functional language with quantum control flow was defined by Altenkirch and Grattage [\\textit{Proc. LICS'05}, pp. 249-258]. This paper extends their work, and we introduce a general quantum control structure by defining three new quantu...

  4. Can play be defined?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eichberg, Henning

    2015-01-01

    Can play be defined? There is reason to raise critical questions about the established academic demand that at phenomenon – also in humanist studies – should first of all be defined, i.e. de-lineated and by neat lines limited to a “little box” that can be handled. The following chapter develops....... Human beings can very well understand play – or whatever phenomenon in human life – without defining it....

  5. Changes in biodiversity and functioning of reef fish assemblages following coral bleaching and coral loss

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.; Hoey, A.S.; Wilson, S.K.; Messmer, V.; Graham, N.A.J.

    2011-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching) and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60%) coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  6. 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.

  7. Coral reef fish assemblages at Clipperton Atoll (Eastern Tropical Pacific and their relationship with coral cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Clipperton Atoll, one of the most isolated coral reefs worldwide, is of great scientific interest due to its geomorphology and high levels of endemism. This study explored the reef fish assemblage structure of Clipperton Atoll and its relationship with live coral cover. Nine stations were sampled at three sites and three depths (6, 12 and 20 m around the reef, measuring fish species richness and biomass and hermatypic coral cover (at genus level. We evaluated variation in species richness, biomass and diversity of fish assemblages among sites and depths, as well as the relationship between the entire fish assemblage composition and live coral cover. The results showed that species richness and biomass were similar among sites, but differed across depths, increasing with depth. In contrast, diversity differed among sites but not among depths. Multivariate analyses indicated that fish assemblage composition differed among sites and depths in relation to changes in cover of coral of the genera Pocillopora, Porites, Pavona and Leptoseris, which dominate at different depths. The results showed that fish species richness and diversity were low at Clipperton Atoll and that, in isolated coral reefs with a low habitat heterogeneity and low human disturbance, live coral cover has a significant influence on the spatial variation of the reef fish assemblages. This study highlights the importance of coral habitat structure in shaping coral reef fish assemblages.

  8. Changes in biodiversity and functioning of reef fish assemblages following coral bleaching and coral loss

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.

    2011-08-12

    Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching) and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60%) coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  9. Stable Carbon Isotopes (δ 13C) in Coral Skeletons: Experimental Approach and Applications for Paleoceanography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, A. G.

    2004-12-01

    Scleractinian corals obtain fixed carbon via photosynthesis by their endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) and via hetertrophy (injestion of zooplankton, δ 13C ≈ -17 to -22‰ ). Carbon dioxide (CO2) used for photosynthesis is obtained from seawater (δ 13C ≈ 0%) or from respired CO2 within the coral host. The δ 13C of the carbon used in the formation of the underlying coral skeleton is fractionated as a result of both of these metabolic processes. Here I have pooled evidence from several field and tank experiments on the effect of photosynthesis and heterotrophy of coral skeletal δ 13C. In the experiments, decreases in light levels due to shading or depth resulted in a significant decrease in skeletal δ 13C in all species studied (Pavona gigantea, Pavona clavus, Porites compressa). Decreases in photosynthesis in bleached corals also resulted in a decrease in skeletal δ 13C compared to non-bleached corals growing under the same conditions and at the same location. Skeletal δ 13C also decreased at higher than normal light levels most likely due to photoinhibition. Thus, decreases in photosynthesis due to reduced light levels, due to bleaching-induced decreases in chlorophyll a concentrations, or due to photodamage-induced decreases in functional cholorphyll a, results in significant δ 13C decreases. Comprehensive interpretation of all of the data showed that changes in photosynthesis itself can drive the changes in δ 13C. In field experiments, the addition of natural concentrations of zooplankton to the diet resulted in decreases in skeletal δ 13C. Such a decrease was more pronounced with depth and in P. gigantea compared to P. clavus. In situ feeding experiments have since confirmed these findings. However under tank conditions with unaturally high feeding rates, enhanced nitrogen supply in the diet can disrupt the coral-algal symbiosis, stimlate zooxanthellae growth and photosynthesis, and cause an incrase in skeletal δ 13C. It is proposed that under

  10. Beyond peak summer temperatures, branching corals in the Gulf of Aqaba are resilient to thermal stress but sensitive to high light

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellworthy, Jessica; Fine, Maoz

    2017-12-01

    Despite rapidly rising sea surface temperatures and recurrent positive temperature anomalies, corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) rarely experience thermal bleaching. Elsewhere, mass coral bleaching has been observed in corals when the water temperature exceeds 1-2 °C above the local maximum monthly mean (MMM). This threshold value or "bleaching rule" has been used to create predictive models of bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature observations, namely the "degree heating week" index. This study aimed to characterize the physiological changes of dominant reef building corals from the GoA in response to a temperature and light stress gradient. Coral collection and experiments began after a period of 14 consecutive days above MMM in the field. Stylophora pistillata showed negligible changes in symbiont and host physiology parameters after accumulating up to 9.4 degree heating weeks during peak summer temperatures, for which the index predicts widespread bleaching and some mortality. This result demonstrates acute thermal tolerance in S. pistillata from the GoA and deviation from the bleaching rule. In a second experiment after 4 weeks at 4 °C above peak summer temperatures, S. pistillata and Acropora eurystoma in the high-light treatment visibly paled and suffered greater midday and afternoon photoinhibition compared to corals under low-light conditions (35% of high-light treatment). However, light, not temperature (alone or in synergy with light), was the dominant factor in causing paling and the effective quantum yield of corals at 4 °C above ambient was indistinguishable from those in the ambient control. This result highlights the exceptional, atypical thermal tolerance of dominant GoA branching corals. Concomitantly, it validates the efficacy of protecting GoA reefs from local stressors if they are to serve as a coral refuge in the face of global sea temperature rise.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Diversity and distribution of symbiodinium associated with seven common coral species in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sung-Yin Yang

    Full Text Available The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with scleractinian corals in five atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, spread over 10,000 km(2. Symbiodinium clade diversity in 262 samples of seven common coral species, Acropora muricata, Isopora palifera, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, P. eydouxi, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata were determined using PCR-SSCP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1, PCR-DDGE of ITS2, and phylogenetic analyses. The results indicated that Symbiodinium in clade C were the dominant symbiont group in the seven coral species. Our analysis revealed types of Symbiodinium clade C specific to coral species. Types C1 and C3 (with C3z and C3i variants were dominant in Acroporidae and C1 and C1c were the dominant types in Pocilloporidae. We also found 2 novel ITS2 types in S. hystrix and 1 novel ITS2 type of Symbiodinium in A. muricata. Some colonies of A. muricata and I. palifera were also associated with Symbiodinium A1. These results suggest that corals in the Chagos Archipelago host different assemblages of Symbiodinium types then their conspecifics from other locations in the Indian Ocean; and that future research will show whether these patterns in Symbiodinium genotypes may be due to local adaptation to specific conditions in the Chagos.

  15. 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

  16. Effect of light and brine shrimp on skeletal δ 13C in the Hawaiian coral Porites compressa: a tank experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2002-06-01

    Previous experimental fieldwork showed that coral skeletal δ13C values decreased when solar intensity was reduced, and increased in the absence of zooplankton. However, actual seasonal changes in solar irradiance levels are typically less pronounced than those used in the previous experiment and the effect of increases in the consumption of zooplankton in the coral diet on skeletal δ13C remains relatively unknown. In the present study, the effects of four different light and heterotrophy regimes on coral skeletal δ13C values were measured. Porites compressa corals were grown in outdoor flow-through tanks under 112%, 100%, 75%, and 50% light conditions at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Hawaii. In addition, corals were fed either zero, low, medium, or high concentrations of brine shrimp. Decreases in light from 100% resulted in significant decreases in δ13C that is most likely due to a corresponding decrease in photosynthesis. Increases in light to 112% also resulted in a decrease in δ13C values. This latter response may be a consequence of photoinhibition. The overall curved response in δ13C values was described by a significant quadratic function. Increases in brine shrimp concentrations resulted in increased skeletal δ13C levels. This unexpected outcome appears to be attributable to enhanced nitrogen supply associated with the brine shrimp diet which led to increased zooxanthellae concentrations, increased photosynthesis rates, and thus increased δ13C values. This result highlights the potential influence of nutrients from heterotrophically acquired carbon in maintaining the zooxanthellae-host symbiosis in balance. In addition, evidence is presented that suggests that coral skeletal growth and δ13C are decoupled. These results increase our knowledge of how light and heterotrophy affects the δ13C of coral skeletons.

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

    2010-06-01

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

  19. Repopulation of Zooxanthellae in the Caribbean corals Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata following experimental and disease-associated bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toller, W W; Rowan, R; Knowlton, N

    2001-12-01

    Caribbean corals of the Montastraea annularis species complex associate with four taxa of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae; genus Symbiodinium) in ecologically predictable patterns. To investigate the resilience of these host-zooxanthella associations, we conducted field experiments in which we experimentally reduced the numbers of zooxanthellae (by transplanting to shallow water or by shading) and then allowed treated corals to recover. When depletion was not extreme, recovering corals generally contained the same types of zooxanthellae as they did prior to treatment. After severe depletion, however, recovering corals were always repopulated by zooxanthellae atypical for their habitat (and in some cases atypical for the coral species). These unusual zooxanthellar associations were often (but not always) established in experimentally bleached tissues even when adjacent tissues were untreated. Atypical zooxanthellae were also observed in bleached tissues of unmanipulated Montastraea with yellow-blotch disease. In colonies where unusual associations were established, the original taxa of zooxanthellae were not detected even 9 months after the end of treatment. These observations suggest that zooxanthellae in Montastraea range from fugitive opportunists and stress-tolerant generalists (Symbiodinium A and E) to narrowly adapted specialists (Symbiodinium B and C), and may undergo succession.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandra Verde

    2016-07-01

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

  1. The genome of Aiptasia, a sea anemone model for coral symbiosis

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian

    2015-08-31

    The most diverse marine ecosystems, coral reefs, depend upon a functional symbiosis between a cnidarian animal host (the coral) and intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate algae. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this endosymbiosis are not well understood, in part because of the difficulties of experimental work with corals. The small sea anemone Aiptasia provides a tractable laboratory model for investigating these mechanisms. Here we report on the assembly and analysis of the Aiptasia genome, which will provide a foundation for future studies and has revealed several features that may be key to understanding the evolution and function of the endosymbiosis. These features include genomic rearrangements and taxonomically restricted genes that may be functionally related to the symbiosis, aspects of host dependence on alga-derived nutrients, a novel and expanded cnidarian-specific family of putative pattern-recognition receptors that might be involved in the animal–algal interactions, and extensive lineage-specific horizontal gene transfer. Extensive integration of genes of prokaryotic origin, including genes for antimicrobial peptides, presumably reflects an intimate association of the animal–algal pair also with its prokaryotic microbiome.

  2. NOAA Photo Library - The Coral Kingdom

    Science.gov (United States)

    has only begun within the past 200 years. Charles Darwin, James Dwight Dana, and Louis Agassiz were photographs found here that will help you learn more about coral reefs in this album, visit the following

  3. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  4. EOP Gold Coral (Gerardia sp.) Growth Measurements

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Gold coral (Gerardia sp.) trees that were inspected years earlier on Pisces submersible dives were revisited and their change in size measured. The fishery for...

  5. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  6. Marine metabolites: The sterols of soft coral

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Sarma, N.S.; Krishna, M.S.; Pasha, Sk.G.; Rao, T.S.P.; Venkateswarlu, Y.; Parameswaran, P.S.

    Sterols constitute a major group of secondary metabolites of soft corals. Several of these compounds have the 'usual' 3 beta-hydroxy, delta sup(5) (or delta sup(0)) cholestane skeleton, a large number of these metabolites are polar sterols...

  7. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Ogden, J.; Done, T.; Salvat, B.

    1994-01-01

    The article highlights a workshop held in Key West, Florida in November 1993 attended by a group of 35 international scientists where topics of ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs were discussed.

  8. New protection initiatives announced for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Off the coasts of some of the South Pacific's most idyllic-sounding atolls, Austin Bowden-Kerby has seen first-hand the heavy damage to coral reefs from dynamite and cyanide fishing. For instance, while snorkeling near Chuuk, an island in Micronesia, he has observed craters and rubble beds of coral, which locals have told him date to World War II ordnance.A marine biologist and project scientist for the Coral Gardens Initiative of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Bowden-Kerby has also identified what he says are some public health effects related to destroyed coral reefs and their dying fisheries. These problems include protein and vitamin A deficiency and blindness, all of which may—in some instances—be linked to poor nutrition resulting from lower reef fish consumption by islanders, according to Bowden-Kerby.

  9. 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.

  10. Carbonate chemistry, water quality, coral measurements

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Carbonate chemistry parameters (pH, total alkalinity, and pCO2), water quality parameters (Temperature, salinity, Ca, Mg, PO4, NH3 and NO3) as well as all coral...

  11. Coral Reef Status of Navassa Island 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Benthic and habitat data collected on the 2004 cruise to Navassa Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Parameters include benthic cover, coral disease prevalence,...

  12. Precious Coral Sales Report Data Set

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This is a federally mandated sales log which collects information on sales of raw coral, including weight and revenue. Also includes seller and buyer information....

  13. Software Defined Radio Datalink Implementation Using PC-Type Computers

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Zafeiropoulos, Georgios

    2003-01-01

    The objective of this thesis was to examine the feasibility of implementation and the performance of a Software Defined Radio datalink, using a common PC type host computer and a high level programming language...

  14. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

    The relationship between reef-building corals and light-harvesting pigments of zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium sp.) has been acknowledged for decades. The photosynthetic activity of the algal endocellular symbionts may provide up to 90% of the energy needed for the coral holobiont. This relationship limits the bathymetric distribution of coral reefs to the upper 100 m of tropical shorelines. However, even corals growing under high light intensities have to supplement the photosynthates translocated from the algae by predation on nutrient-rich zooplankton. New information has revealed how the fate of carbon acquired through photosynthesis differs from that secured by predation, whose rates are controlled by light-induced tentacular extension. The Goreau paradigm of "light-enhanced calcification" is being reevaluated, based on evidence that blue light stimulates coral calcification independently from photosynthesis rates. Furthermore, under dim light, calcification rates were stoichiometrically uncoupled from photosynthesis. The rates of photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae exhibit a clear endogenous rhythmicity maintained by light patterns. This daily pattern is concomitant with a periodicity of all the antioxidant protective mechanisms that wax and wane to meet the concomitant fluctuation in oxygen evolution. The phases of the moon are involved in the triggering of coral reproduction and control the spectacular annual mass-spawning events taking place in several reefs. The intensity and directionality of the underwater light field affect the architecture of coral colonies, leading to an optimization of the exposure of the zooxanthellae to light. We present a summary of major gaps in our understanding of the relationship between light and corals as a roadmap for future research. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  15. Defining Overweight and Obesity

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Micronutrient Malnutrition State and Local Programs Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity Recommend on Facebook Tweet Share Compartir ... weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is ...

  16. Drinking Levels Defined

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... of Alcohol Consumption Alcohol's Effects on the Body Alcohol Use Disorder Fetal Alcohol Exposure Support & Treatment Alcohol Policy Special ... Definition of Drinking at Low Risk for Developing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): For women, low-risk drinking is defined ...

  17. Defining Documentary Film

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Juel, Henrik

    2006-01-01

    A discussion of various attemts at defining documentary film regarding form, content, truth, stile, genre or reception - and a propoposal of a positive list of essential, but non-exclusive characteristica of documentary film......A discussion of various attemts at defining documentary film regarding form, content, truth, stile, genre or reception - and a propoposal of a positive list of essential, but non-exclusive characteristica of documentary film...

  18. Behaviourally mediated phenotypic selection in a disturbed coral reef environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitude and frequency of these perturbations are predicted to increase under climate change. Globally coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Fishes often show relatively rapid declines in abundance when corals become stressed and die, but the processes responsible are largely unknown. This study explored the mechanism by which coral bleaching may influence the levels and selective nature of mortality on a juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which associates with hard coral. Recently settled fish had a low propensity to migrate small distances (40 cm between habitat patches, even when densities were elevated to their natural maximum. Intraspecific interactions and space use differ among three habitats: live hard coral, bleached coral and dead algal-covered coral. Large fish pushed smaller fish further from the shelter of bleached and dead coral thereby exposing smaller fish to higher mortality than experienced on healthy coral. Small recruits suffered higher mortality than large recruits on bleached and dead coral. Mortality was not size selective on live coral. Survival was 3 times as high on live coral as on either bleached or dead coral. Subtle behavioural interactions between fish and their habitats influence the fundamental link between life history stages, the distribution of phenotypic traits in the local population and potentially the evolution of life history strategies.

  19. 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.

  20. Coral-Associated Bacterial Diversity is Conserved Across Two Deep-Sea Anthothela Species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephanie Nichole Lawler

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water corals, similar to tropical corals, contain diverse and complex microbial assemblages. These bacteria provide essential biological functions within coral holobionts, facilitating increased nutrient utilization and production of antimicrobial compounds. To date, few cold-water octocoral species have been analyzed to explore the diversity and abundance of their microbial associates. For this study, 23 samples of the family Anthothelidae were collected from Norfolk (n = 12 and Baltimore Canyons (n = 11 from the western Atlantic in August 2012 and May 2013. Genetic testing found that these samples comprised two Anthothela species (Anthothela grandiflora and Anthothela sp. and Alcyonium grandiflorum. DNA was extracted and sequenced with primers targeting the V4-V5 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using 454 pyrosequencing with GS FLX Titanium chemistry. Results demonstrated that the coral host was the primary driver of bacterial community composition. Al. grandiflorum, dominated by Alteromonadales and Pirellulales had much higher species richness, and a distinct bacterial community compared to Anthothela samples. Anthothela species (A. grandiflora and Anthothela sp. had very similar bacterial communities, dominated by Oceanospirillales and Spirochaetes. Additional analysis of core-conserved bacteria at 90% sample coverage revealed genus level conservation across Anthothela samples. This core included unclassified Oceanospirillales, Kiloniellales, Campylobacterales, and genus Spirochaeta. Members of this core were previously recognized for their functional capabilities in nitrogen cycling and suggest the possibility of a nearly complete nitrogen cycle within Anthothela species. Overall, many of the bacterial associates identified in this study have the potential to contribute to the acquisition and cycling of nutrients within the coral holobiont.

  1. Coral bleaching on high-latitude marginal reefs at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Celliers, Louis; Schleyer, Michael H

    2002-12-01

    Coral bleaching, involving the expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae from the host cells, poses a major threat to coral reefs throughout their distributional range. The role of temperature in coral bleaching has been extensively investigated and is widely accepted. A bleaching event was observed on the marginal high-latitude reefs of South Africa located at Sodwana Bay during the summer months of 2000. This was associated with increased sea temperatures with high seasonal peaks in summer and increased radiation in exceptionally clear water. The bleaching was limited to Two-mile Reef and Nine-mile Reef at Sodwana Bay and affected <12% of the total living cover on Two-mile Reef. Montipora spp., Alveopora spongiosa and Acropora spp. were bleached, as well as some Alcyoniidae (Sinularia dura, Lobophytum depressum, L. patulum). A cyclical increase in sea temperature (with a period of 5-6 years) was recorded during 1998-2000 in addition to the regional temperature increase caused by the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon. The mean sea temperature increased at a rate of 0.27 deg. C year{sup -1} from May 1994 to April 2000. High maximum temperatures were measured (>29 deg. C). The lowest mean monthly and the mean maximum monthly temperatures at which coral bleaching occurred were 27.5 and 28.8 deg. C, respectively, while the duration for which high temperatures occurred in 2000 was 67 days at {>=}27.5 deg. C (4 days at {>=}28.8 deg. C). Increased water clarity and radiation appeared to be a synergistic cause in the coral bleaching encountered at Sodwana Bay.

  2. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M; Mueller, Christina E; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J; van Duyl, Fleur C; Al-Horani, Fuad A; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-07

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21-40% of the mucus carbon and 32-39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments.

  3. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    Science.gov (United States)

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be induc...

  4. RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO CORAL BLEACHING: IMPLICATIONS FOR CORAL REEF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

    Science.gov (United States)

    The massive scale of the 1997–1998 El Nino–associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality. As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent ...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Condition-specific RNA editing in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2017-03-01

    RNA editing is a rare post-transcriptional event that provides cells with an additional level of gene expression regulation. It has been implicated in various processes including adaptation, viral defence and RNA interference; however, its potential role as a mechanism in acclimatization has just recently been recognised. Here, we show that RNA editing occurs in 1.6% of all nuclear-encoded genes of Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals. All base-substitution edit types were present, and statistically significant motifs were associated with three edit types. Strikingly, a subset of genes exhibited condition-specific editing patterns in response to different stressors that resulted in significant increases of non-synonymous changes. We posit that this previously unrecognised mechanism extends this organism’s capability to respond to stress beyond what is encoded by the genome. This in turn may provide further acclimatization capacity to these organisms, and by extension, their coral hosts.

  8. Condition-specific RNA editing in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin; Li, Yong; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Voolstra, Christian R.; Aranda, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    RNA editing is a rare post-transcriptional event that provides cells with an additional level of gene expression regulation. It has been implicated in various processes including adaptation, viral defence and RNA interference; however, its potential role as a mechanism in acclimatization has just recently been recognised. Here, we show that RNA editing occurs in 1.6% of all nuclear-encoded genes of Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals. All base-substitution edit types were present, and statistically significant motifs were associated with three edit types. Strikingly, a subset of genes exhibited condition-specific editing patterns in response to different stressors that resulted in significant increases of non-synonymous changes. We posit that this previously unrecognised mechanism extends this organism’s capability to respond to stress beyond what is encoded by the genome. This in turn may provide further acclimatization capacity to these organisms, and by extension, their coral hosts.

  9. Evidence for coral range expansion accompanied by reduced diversity of Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    Grupstra, Carsten G. B.

    2017-05-15

    Zooxanthellate corals are threatened by climate change but may be able to escape increasing temperatures by colonizing higher latitudes. To determine the effect of host range expansion on symbiont genetic diversity, we examined genetic variation among populations of Symbiodinium psygmophilum associated with Oculina patagonica, a range-expanding coral that acquires its symbionts through horizontal transmission. We optimized five microsatellite primer pairs for S. psygmophilum and tested them on Oculina spp. samples from the western North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. We then used them to compare symbiont genotype diversity between an Iberian core and an expansion front population of O. patagonica. Only one multilocus S. psygmophilum genotype was identified at the expansion front, and it was shared with the core population, which harbored seven multilocus genotypes. This pattern suggests that O. patagonica range expansion is accompanied by reduced symbiont genetic diversity, possibly due to limited dispersal of symbionts or local selection.