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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jos C Mieog

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

  3. 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...

  4. Coral bleaching: the role of the host.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baird, Andrew H; Bhagooli, Ranjeet; Ralph, Peter J; Takahashi, Shunichi

    2009-01-01

    Coral bleaching caused by global warming is one of the major threats to coral reefs. Very recently, research has focused on the possibility of corals switching symbionts as a means of adjusting to accelerating increases in sea surface temperature. Although symbionts are clearly of fundamental importance, many aspects of coral bleaching cannot be readily explained by differences in symbionts among coral species. Here we outline several potential mechanisms by which the host might influence the bleaching response, and conclude that predicting the fate of corals in response to climate change requires both members of the symbiosis to be considered equally.

  5. 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.

  6. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeSalvo, M K; Sunagawa, S; Fisher, P L; Voolstra, C R; Iglesias-Prieto, R; Medina, M

    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.

  7. Historical thermal regimes define limits to coral acclimatization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K

    2013-05-01

    Knowledge of the degree to which corals undergo physiological acclimatization or genetic adaptation in response to changes in their thermal environment is crucial to the success of coral reef conservation strategies. The potential of corals to acclimatize to temperatures exceeding historical thermal regimes was investigated by reciprocal transplantation of Acropora millepora colonies between the warm central and cool southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) for a duration of 14 months. Colony fragments retained at native sites remained healthy, whereas transplanted fragments, although healthy over initial months when temperatures remained within native thermal regimes, subsequently bleached and suffered mortality during seasonal temperature extremes. Corals hosting Symbiodinium D transplanted to the southern GBR bleached in winter and the majority suffered whole (40%; n=20 colonies) or partial (50%) mortality at temperatures 1.1 degrees C below their 15-year native minimum. In contrast, corals hosting Symbiodinium C2 transplanted to the central GBR bleached in summer and suffered whole (50%; n=10 colonies) or partial (42%) mortality at temperatures 2.5 degrees C above their 15-year native maximum. During summer bleaching, the dominant Symbiodinium type changed from C2 to D within corals transplanted to the central GBR. Corals transplanted to the cooler, southern GBR grew 74-80% slower than corals at their native site, and only 50% of surviving colonies reproduced, at least partially because of cold water bleaching of transplants. Despite the absence of any visual signs of stress, corals transplanted to the warmer, central GBR grew 52-59% more slowly than corals at their native site before the summer bleaching (i.e., from autumn to spring). Allocation of energy to initial acclimatization or reproduction may explain this pattern, as the majority (65%) of transplants reproduced one month earlier than portions of the same colonies retained at the southern

  8. Coral host cells acidify symbiotic algal microenvironment to promote photosynthesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Venn, Alexander A; Perez, Sidney O; Tambutté, Sylvie; Tresguerres, Martin

    2015-01-13

    Symbiotic dinoflagellate algae residing inside coral tissues supply the host with the majority of their energy requirements through the translocation of photosynthetically fixed carbon. The algae, in turn, rely on the host for the supply of inorganic carbon. Carbon must be concentrated as CO2 in order for photosynthesis to proceed, and here we show that the coral host plays an active role in this process. The host-derived symbiosome membrane surrounding the algae abundantly expresses vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (VHA), which acidifies the symbiosome space down to pH ∼ 4. Inhibition of VHA results in a significant decrease in average H(+) activity in the symbiosome of up to 75% and a significant reduction in O2 production rate, a measure of photosynthetic activity. These results suggest that host VHA is part of a previously unidentified carbon concentrating mechanism for algal photosynthesis and provide mechanistic evidence that coral host cells can actively modulate the physiology of their symbionts.

  9. Host shift and speciation in a coral-feeding nudibranch

    Science.gov (United States)

    Faucci, Anuschka; Toonen, Robert J; Hadfield, Michael G

    2006-01-01

    While the role of host preference in ecological speciation has been investigated extensively in terrestrial systems, very little is known in marine environments. Host preference combined with mate choice on the preferred host can lead to population subdivision and adaptation leading to host shifts. We use a phylogenetic approach based on two mitochondrial genetic markers to disentangle the taxonomic status and to investigate the role of host specificity in the speciation of the nudibranch genus Phestilla (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia) from Guam, Palau and Hawaii. Species of the genus Phestilla complete their life cycle almost entirely on their specific host coral (species of Porites, Goniopora and Tubastrea). They reproduce on their host coral and their planktonic larvae require a host-specific chemical cue to metamorphose and settle onto their host. The phylogenetic trees of the combined cytochrome oxidase I and ribosomal 16S gene sequences clarify the relationship among species of Phestilla identifying most of the nominal species as monophyletic clades. We found a possible case of host shift from Porites to Goniopora and Tubastrea in sympatric Phestilla spp. This represents one of the first documented cases of host shift as a mechanism underlying speciation in a marine invertebrate. Furthermore, we found highly divergent clades within Phestilla sp. 1 and Phestilla minor (8.1–11.1%), suggesting cryptic speciation. The presence of a strong phylogenetic signal for the coral host confirms that the tight link between species of Phestilla and their host coral probably played an important role in speciation within this genus. PMID:17134995

  10. Host pigments: potential facilitators of photosynthesis in coral symbioses.

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    Dove, Sophie G; Lovell, Carli; Fine, Maoz; Deckenback, Jeffry; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Anthony, Kenneth R N

    2008-11-01

    Reef-building corals occur as a range of colour morphs because of varying types and concentrations of pigments within the host tissues, but little is known about their physiological or ecological significance. Here, we examined whether specific host pigments act as an alternative mechanism for photoacclimation in the coral holobiont. We used the coral Montipora monasteriata (Forskål 1775) as a case study because it occurs in multiple colour morphs (tan, blue, brown, green and red) within varying light-habitat distributions. We demonstrated that two of the non-fluorescent host pigments are responsive to changes in external irradiance, with some host pigments up-regulating in response to elevated irradiance. This appeared to facilitate the retention of antennal chlorophyll by endosymbionts and hence, photosynthetic capacity. Specifically, net P(max) Chl a(-1) correlated strongly with the concentration of an orange-absorbing non-fluorescent pigment (CP-580). This had major implications for the energetics of bleached blue-pigmented (CP-580) colonies that maintained net P(max) cm(-2) by increasing P(max) Chl a(-1). The data suggested that blue morphs can bleach, decreasing their symbiont populations by an order of magnitude without compromising symbiont or coral health.

  11. 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.

  12. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms compete with their coral host for zooplankton

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Spijkers, P.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Osinga, R.

    2011-01-01

    Satisfying nutrient requirement of corals is still a major constraint for maintaining corals in marine aquariums. Corals are polytrophic in nature. Heterotrophic feeding on zooplankton is one of the corals’ strategies to overcome nutrient deficiency. Artemia salina nauplii are commonly used as bioca

  13. The evolutionary history of parasitic gastropods and their coral hosts in the Indo-Pacific

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gittenberger, Adriaan

    2006-01-01

    This thesis deals with the associations between parasitic snails and their mushroom coral hosts. Gittenberger has spent 800 hours under water and searched about 60,000 coral discs for these parasites. He dived in Egypt, the Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Palau, the Philippines, Indonesia and A

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

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    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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. How a bacterial pathogen swims in the storm stirred up by its coral host

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    Brumley, Douglas; Garren, Melissa; Fernandez, Vicente; Stocker, Roman

    2014-11-01

    One important cause of the worldwide demise of coral reefs is the infection of corals by pathogenic bacteria. These bacteria are always motile, yet how they land on the coral surface remains unclear. In particular, the recently discovered vortical flows produced by the coral with its epidermal cilia create a hostile hydrodynamic environment for motility and the pursuit of chemical cues. We used high-speed imaging coupled with dual-wavelength epifluorescent microscopy to track individual Vibrio coralliilyticus bacteria - known for causing coral disease - in the immediate vicinity of its host, the coral Pocillopora damicornis. By simultaneously determining the fluid velocity and bacterial trajectories, we quantified the ability of the bacteria to target the coral surface. We show that the cilia-driven flows considerably but not entirely disrupt bacterial navigation towards the coral, as a result of (i) the stirring of the chemical cues guiding the cells and (ii) the shear-induced alignment of bacteria within the flow. By enabling the direct visualization of microbial motility in ciliary flows, this system can not only provide insights into coral disease, but also serve as a model system for bacterial disease in other ciliated environments, including the human respiratory system.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Differential thermal bleaching susceptibilities amongst coral taxa: re-posing the role of the host

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    Wooldridge, Scott A.

    2014-03-01

    It is well established that different coral species have different susceptibilities to thermal stress, yet it is less clear which biological or physical mechanisms allow some corals to resist thermal stress, whereas other corals bleach and die. Although the type of symbiont is clearly of fundamental importance, many aspects of coral bleaching cannot be explained solely by differences in symbionts amongst coral species. Here, I use the CO2 (sink) limitation model of coral bleaching to repose various host traits believed to influence thermal tolerance (e.g. metabolic rates, colony tissue thickness, skeletal growth form, mucus production rates, tissue concentration of fluorescent pigments and heterotrophic feedings capacity) in terms of an integrated strategy to reduce the likelihood of CO2 limitation around its intracellular photosymbionts. Contrasting observational data for the skeletal vital effect on oxygen isotope composition (δ18O) partitions two alternate evolutionary strategies. The first strategy is heavily reliant on a sea water supply chain of CO2 to supplement respiratory CO2(met). In contrast, the alternate strategy is less reliant on the sea water supply source, potentially facilitated by increased basal respiration rates and/or a lower photosynthetic demand for CO2. The comparative vulnerability of these alternative strategies to modern ocean conditions is used to explain the global-wide observation that corals with branching morphologies (and thin tissue layers) are generally more thermally sensitive than corals with massive morphologies (and thick tissue layers). The life history implications of this new framework are discussed in terms of contrasting fitness drivers and past environmental constraints, which delivers ominous predictions for the viability of thin-tissued branching and plating species during the present human-dominated ("Anthropocene") era of the Earth System.

  3. A Compartmental Comparison of Major Lipid Species in a Coral-Symbiodinium Endosymbiosis: Evidence that the Coral Host Regulates Lipogenesis of Its Cytosolic Lipid Bodies.

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    Hung-Kai Chen

    Full Text Available The lipid body (LB formation in the host coral gastrodermal cell cytoplasm is a hallmark of the coral-Symbiodinium endosymbiosis, and such lipid-based entities are not found in endosymbiont-free cnidarian cells. Therefore, the elucidation of lipogenesis regulation in LBs and how it is related to the lipid metabolism of the host and endosymbiont could provide direct insight to understand the symbiosis mechanism. Herein, the lipid composition of host cells of the stony coral Euphyllia glabrescens, as well as that of their cytoplasmic LBs and in hospite Symbiodinium populations, was examined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS, and six major lipid species were identified: wax esters, sterol esters, triacylglycerols, cholesterols, free fatty acids, and phospholipids. Their concentrations differed significantly between host coral cells, LBs, and Symbiodinium, suggesting compartmental regulation. WE were only present in the host coral and were particularly highly concentrated in LBs. Amongst the four species of WE, the monoene R = C18:1/R = C16 was found to be LB-specific and was not present in the host gastrodermal cell cytoplasm. Furthermore, the acyl pool profiles of the individual LB lipid species were more similar, but not equal to, those of the host gastrodermal cells in which they were located, indicating partially autonomous lipid metabolism in these LBs. Nevertheless, given the overall similarity in the host gastrodermal cell and LB lipid profiles, these data suggest that a significant portion of the LB lipids may be of host coral origin. Finally, lipid profiles of the in hospite Symbiodinium populations were significantly distinct from those of the cultured Symbiodinium, potentially suggesting a host regulation effect that may be fundamental to lipid metabolism in endosymbiotic associations involving clade C Symbiodinium.

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

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    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.

  5. Defining dysbiosis and its influence on host immunity and disease.

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    Petersen, Charisse; Round, June L

    2014-07-01

    Mammalian immune system development depends on instruction from resident commensal microorganisms. Diseases associated with abnormal immune responses towards environmental and self antigens have been rapidly increasing over the last 50 years. These diseases include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS), type I diabetes (T1D), allergies and asthma. The observation that people with immune mediated diseases house a different microbial community when compared to healthy individuals suggests that pathogenesis arises from improper training of the immune system by the microbiota. However, with hundreds of different microorganisms on our bodies it is hard to know which of these contribute to health and more importantly how? Microbiologists studying pathogenic organisms have long adhered to Koch's postulates to directly relate a certain disease to a specific microbe, raising the question of whether this might be true of commensal-host relationships as well. Emerging evidence supports that rather than one or two dominant organisms inducing host health, the composition of the entire community of microbial residents influences a balanced immune response. Thus, perturbations to the structure of complex commensal communities (referred to as dysbiosis) can lead to deficient education of the host immune system and subsequent development of immune mediated diseases. Here we will overview the literature that describes the causes of dysbiosis and the mechanisms evolved by the host to prevent these changes to community structure. Building off these studies, we will categorize the different types of dysbiosis and define how collections of microorganisms can influence the host response. This research has broad implications for future therapies that go beyond the introduction of a single organism to induce health. We propose that identifying mechanisms to re-establish a healthy complex microbiota after dysbiosis has occurred, a process we will refer to as rebiosis

  6. Differential nitric oxide synthesis and host apoptotic events correlate with bleaching susceptibility in reef corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkins, T. D.; Krueger, T.; Becker, S.; Fisher, P. L.; Davy, S. K.

    2014-03-01

    Coral bleaching poses a threat to coral reefs worldwide. As a consequence of the temperature-induced breakdown in coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis, bleaching can have extensive effects on reef communities. However, our understanding of bleaching at a cellular level is limited, and this is particularly true regarding differential susceptibility among coral species. Recent work suggests that bleaching may represent a host innate immune-like response to symbiont dysfunction that involves synthesis of the signalling compound nitric oxide (NO) and the induction of host apoptotic-like cell death. In this study, we examined the activity of apoptosis-regulating enzymes alongside oxidised NO accumulation (a proxy for NO synthesis) in the reef corals Acropora millepora, Montipora digitata, and Pocillopora damicornis during experimental thermal stress. P. damicornis was the most sensitive species, suffering mortality (tissue sloughing) after 5 days at 33 °C but non-lethal bleaching after 9 days at 31.5 °C. A. millepora bleached at 33 °C but remained structurally intact, while M. digitata showed little evidence of bleaching. P. damicornis and A. millepora both exhibited evidence of temperature-induced NO synthesis and, after 5 days of heating, levels of oxidised NO in both species were fivefold higher than in controls maintained at 28.5 °C. These responses preceded bleaching by a number of days and may have occurred before symbiont dysfunction (measured as chlorophyll a degradation and oxidised NO accumulation). In A. millepora, apparent NO synthesis correlated with the induction of host apoptotic-like pathways, while in P. damicornis, the upregulation of apoptotic pathways occurred later. No evidence of elevated NO production or apoptosis was observed in M. digitata at 33 °C and baseline activity of apoptosis-regulating enzymes was negligible in this species. These findings provide important physiological data in the context of the responses of corals to global change and

  7. Ancient DNA from coral-hosted Symbiodinium reveal a static mutualism over the last 172 years.

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    David M Baker

    Full Text Available Ancient DNA (aDNA provides powerful evidence for detecting the genetic basis for adaptation to environmental change in many taxa. Among the greatest of changes in our biosphere within the last century is rapid anthropogenic ocean warming. This phenomenon threatens corals with extinction, evidenced by the increasing observation of widespread mortality following mass bleaching events. There is some evidence and conjecture that coral-dinoflagellate symbioses change partnerships in response to changing external conditions over ecological and evolutionary timescales. Until now, we have been unable to ascertain the genetic identity of Symbiodinium hosted by corals prior to the rapid global change of the last century. Here, we show that Symbiodinium cells recovered from dry, century old specimens of 6 host species of octocorals contain sufficient DNA for amplification of the ITS2 subregion of the nuclear ribosomal DNA, commonly used for genotyping within this genus. Through comparisons with modern specimens sampled from similar locales we show that symbiotic associations among several species have been static over the last century, thereby suggesting that adaptive shifts to novel symbiont types is not common among these gorgonians, and perhaps, symbiotic corals in general.

  8. Relationships between host phylogeny, host type and bacterial community diversity in cold-water coral reef sponges.

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    Sandra Schöttner

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral reefs are known to locally enhance the diversity of deep-sea fauna as well as of microbes. Sponges are among the most diverse faunal groups in these ecosystems, and many of them host large abundances of microbes in their tissues. In this study, twelve sponge species from three cold-water coral reefs off Norway were investigated for the relationship between sponge phylogenetic classification (species and family level, as well as sponge type (high versus low microbial abundance, and the diversity of sponge-associated bacterial communities, taking also geographic location and water depth into account. Community analysis by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA showed that as many as 345 (79% of the 437 different bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs detected in the dataset were shared between sponges and sediments, while only 70 (16% appeared purely sponge-associated. Furthermore, changes in bacterial community structure were significantly related to sponge species (63% of explained community variation, sponge family (52% or sponge type (30%, whereas mesoscale geographic distances and water depth showed comparatively small effects (<5% each. In addition, a highly significant, positive relationship between bacterial community dissimilarity and sponge phylogenetic distance was observed within the ancient family of the Geodiidae. Overall, the high diversity of sponges in cold-water coral reefs, combined with the observed sponge-related variation in bacterial community structure, support the idea that sponges represent heterogeneous, yet structured microbial habitats that contribute significantly to enhancing bacterial diversity in deep-sea ecosystems.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Yvonne L; Pochon, Xavier; Fisher, Marla A; Wagner, Daniel; Concepcion, Gregory T; Kahng, Samuel E; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19747389

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Yvonne L; Pochon, Xavier; Fisher, Marla A; Wagner, Daniel; Concepcion, Gregory T; Kahng, Samuel E; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2009-09-11

    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. 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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Diversity of fatty acid composition of symbiotic dinoflagellates in corals: evidence for the transfer of host PUFAs to the symbionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imbs, Andrey B; Yakovleva, Irina M; Dautova, Tatiana N; Bui, Long H; Jones, Paul

    2014-05-01

    High diversity of fatty acid (FA) composition of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates of the Symbiodinium group (zooxanthellae) isolated from different cnidarian groups has been found. To explain this diversity, FA composition of the total lipids of pure symbiont fractions (SF) and host cell tissue fractions (HF) isolated from one hydrocoral, two soft coral, and seven hard coral species inhabiting the shallow waters of the South China Sea (Vietnam) were compared. Symbiodinium phylogenetic clade designation for each SF was also determined, however, the relationship between the clade designation and FA composition of Symbiodinium was not found. The profiles of marker polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) of symbionts (18:4n-3, 18:5n-3, 20:5n-3) did not depend on taxonomic designation of the host and reflected only a specimen-specific diversity of the SF lipids. Several FAs such as 20:0, C24 PUFAs, 22:5n-6, and 18:2n-7 concentrated in HF lipids but were also found in SF lipids. For ten cnidarian species studied, the principal components analysis of total FAs (27 variables) of the symbiotic fractions was performed. The clear division of the symbiotic dinoflagellates according to the host systematic identity was found on a subclass level. This division was mainly caused by the FAs specific for the host lipids of each cnidarian subclasses such as hard corals, soft corals, and hydrocorals. Thus, the coral hosts affect the FA profile of their symbionts and cause the diversity of FA composition of Symbiodinium. The transfer of FAs from the coral host to their symbiotic dinoflagellates and modulation of PUFA biosynthesis in symbionts by the host are considered as possible reasons of the diversity studied.

  15. Evidence for host specificity among dominant bacterial symbionts in temperate gorgonian corals

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    La Rivière, Marie; Garrabou, Joaquim; Bally, Marc

    2015-12-01

    Gorgonian corals serve as key engineering species within Mediterranean rocky-shore communities that have recently suffered from repeated mortality events during warm temperature anomalies. Among the factors that may link thermal conditions with disease outbreaks, a number of bacterial pathogens have been implicated; they may take advantage of decreases in the defenses and/or overall health of the gorgonian hosts. Considering the beneficial role of the resident bacteria in tropical coral holobionts, a detailed characterization of the gorgonian-associated microbial populations is required to better understand the relationships among native microbiota, host fitness, and pathogen susceptibility. In this study, the bacterial communities associated with three sympatric gorgonian species, Eunicella singularis, Eunicella cavolini, and Corallium rubrum, were investigated to provide insight into the stability and the specificity of host-microbe interactions. Natural variations in bacterial communities were detected using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the 16S ribosomal DNA. No major differences were identified between individual colonies sampled in winter or in summer within each gorgonian species. Although hierarchical cluster analysis of the T-RFLP profiles revealed that the three species harbor distinct communities, comparison of the T-RFLP peaks indicated the presence of common bacterial ribotypes. From phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA clone libraries, we identified a bacterial lineage related to the Hahellaceae family within the Oceanospirillales that is shared among E. singularis, E. cavolini, and C. rubrum and that dominates the communities of both species of Eunicella. However, distinct clades of Hahellaceae are harbored by various gorgonian species from Mediterranean and tropical waters, suggesting that these bacteria have formed host-specific symbiotic relationships with gorgonian octocorals. In addition, the relatedness of symbionts

  16. Evidence for a host role in thermotolerance divergence between populations of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) from different reef environments.

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    Kenkel, C D; Goodbody-Gringley, G; Caillaud, D; Davies, S W; Bartels, E; Matz, M V

    2013-08-01

    Studying the mechanisms that enable coral populations to inhabit spatially varying thermal environments can help evaluate how they will respond in time to the effects of global climate change and elucidate the evolutionary forces that enable or constrain adaptation. Inshore reefs in the Florida Keys experience higher temperatures than offshore reefs for prolonged periods during the summer. We conducted a common garden experiment with heat stress as our selective agent to test for local thermal adaptation in corals from inshore and offshore reefs. We show that inshore corals are more tolerant of a 6-week temperature stress than offshore corals. Compared with inshore corals, offshore corals in the 31 °C treatment showed significantly elevated bleaching levels concomitant with a tendency towards reduced growth. In addition, dinoflagellate symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) of offshore corals exhibited reduced photosynthetic efficiency. We did not detect differences in the frequencies of major (>5%) haplotypes comprising Symbiodinium communities hosted by inshore and offshore corals, nor did we observe frequency shifts ('shuffling') in response to thermal stress. Instead, coral host populations showed significant genetic divergence between inshore and offshore reefs, suggesting that in Porites astreoides, the coral host might play a prominent role in holobiont thermotolerance. Our results demonstrate that coral populations inhabiting reefs <10-km apart can exhibit substantial differences in their physiological response to thermal stress, which could impact their population dynamics under climate change. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Geographic structure and host specificity shape the community composition of symbiotic dinoflagellates in corals from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, Michael; Yost, Denise M.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2015-12-01

    How host-symbiont assemblages vary over space and time is fundamental to understanding the evolution and persistence of mutualistic symbioses. In this study, the diversity and geographic structure of coral-algal partnerships across the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands archipelago was investigated. The diversity of symbionts in the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium was characterised using the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) gene in corals sampled at ten reef locations across the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Symbiodinium diversity was reported using operational taxonomic units and the distribution of Symbiodinium across the island archipelago investigated for evidence of geographic structure using permutational MANOVA. A 97 % sequence similarity of the ITS2 gene for characterising Symbiodinium diversity was supported by phylogenetic and ecological data. Four of the nine Symbiodinium evolutionary lineages (clades A, C, D, and G) were identified from 16 coral species at French Frigate Shoals, and host specificity was a dominant feature in the symbiotic assemblages at this location. Significant structure in the diversity of Symbiodinium was also found across the archipelago in the three coral species investigated. The latitudinal gradient and subsequent variation in abiotic conditions (particularly sea surface temperature dynamics) across the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands encompasses an environmental range that decouples the stability of host-symbiont assemblages across the archipelago. This suggests that local adaptation to prevailing environmental conditions by at least one partner in coral-algal mutualism occurs prior to the selection pressures associated with the maintenance of a symbiotic state.

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

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    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.

  19. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrian Lutz

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

  1. 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

  2. Tissue loss (white syndrome) in the coral Montipora capitata is a dynamic disease with multiple host responses and potential causes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Russell, Robin; Aeby, Greta S.

    2012-01-01

    Tissue loss diseases or white syndromes (WS) are some of the most important coral diseases because they result in significant colony mortality and morbidity, threatening dominant Acroporidae in the Caribbean and Pacific. The causes of WS remain elusive in part because few have examined affected corals at the cellular level. We studied the cellular changes associated with WS over time in a dominant Hawaiian coral, Montipora capitata, and showed that: (i) WS has rapidly progressing (acute) phases mainly associated with ciliates or slowly progressing (chronic) phases mainly associated with helminths or chimeric parasites; (ii) these phases interchanged and waxed and waned; (iii) WS could be a systemic disease associated with chimeric parasitism or a localized disease associated with helminths or ciliates; (iv) corals responded to ciliates mainly with necrosis and to helminths or chimeric parasites with wound repair; (v) mixed infections were uncommon; and (vi) other than cyanobacteria, prokaryotes associated with cell death were not seen. Recognizing potential agents associated with disease at the cellular level and the host response to those agents offers a logical deductive rationale to further explore the role of such agents in the pathogenesis of WS in M. capitata and helps explain manifestation of gross lesions. This approach has broad applicability to the study of the pathogenesis of coral diseases in the field and under experimental settings.

  3. Defining the biological integrity of coral reefs using a biological condition gradient framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Under authority of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the US EPA is committed to protecting the biological integrity of tropical ecosystems, including mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs that lie within the 3-mile limit of the territorial seas. The biological condition gradient (BCG) w...

  4. CORAL: building up the model for bioconcentration factor and defining it's applicability domain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toropov, A A; Toropova, A P; Lombardo, A; Roncaglioni, A; Benfenati, E; Gini, G

    2011-04-01

    CORAL (CORrelation And Logic) software can be used to build up the quantitative structure--property/activity relationships (QSPR/QSAR) with optimal descriptors calculated with the simplified molecular input line entry system (SMILES). We used CORAL to evaluate the applicability domain of the QSAR models, taking a model of bioconcentration factor (logBCF) as example. This model's based on a large training set of more than 1000 chemicals. To improve the model is predictivity and reliability on new compounds, we introduced a new function, which uses the Delta(obs) = logBCF(expr)--logBCF(calc) of the predictions on the chemicals in the training set. With this approach, outliers are eliminated from the phase of training. This proved useful and increased the model's predictivity. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  5. Effects of Coralliophila violacea on tissue loss in the scleractinian corals Porites spp. depend on host response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymundo, L.; Work, Thierry M.; Miller, R.L.; Lozada-Misa, P.L.

    2016-01-01

    We investigated interactions between the corallivorous gastropod Coralliophila violacea and its preferred hosts Porites spp. Our objectives were to experimentally determine whether tissue loss could progress in Porites during or after Coralliophila predation on corals with and without tissue loss and to histologically document snail predation. In 64% of feeding scars, tissue regenerated within 3 wk, leaving no trace of predation. However, in roughly 28% of scars, lesions progressed to subacute tissue loss resembling white syndrome. In feeding experiments, scars from snails previously fed diseased tissue developed progressive tissue loss twice as frequently as scars from snails previously fed healthy tissue. Scars from previously healthy-fed snails were 3 times as likely to heal as those from previously diseased-fed snails. Histology revealed marked differences in host responses to snails; P. cylindrica manifested a robust inflammatory response with fewer secondary colonizing organisms such as algae, sponges, and helminths, whereas P. rus showed no evident inflammation and more secondary colonization. We conclude that lesion progression associated with Coralliophila may be associated with secondary colonization of coral tissues damaged by predator-induced trauma and necrosis. Importantly, variation at the cellular level should be considered when explaining interspecific differences in host responses in corals impacted by phenomena such as predation.

  6. Population genetics of an ecosystem-defining reef coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Tropical Eastern Pacific.

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    David J Combosch

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP are amongst the most peripheral and geographically isolated in the world. This isolation has shaped the biology of TEP organisms and lead to the formation of numerous endemic species. For example, the coral Pocillopora damicornis is a minor reef-builder elsewhere in the Indo-West Pacific, but is the dominant reef-building coral in the TEP, where it forms large, mono-specific stands, covering many hectares of reef. Moreover, TEP P. damicornis reproduces by broadcast spawning, while it broods mostly parthenogenetic larvae throughout the rest of the Indo-West Pacific. Population genetic surveys for P. damicornis from across its Indo-Pacific range indicate that gene flow (i.e. larval dispersal is generally limited over hundreds of kilometers or less. Little is known about the population genetic structure and the dispersal potential of P. damicornis in the TEP. METHODOLOGY: Using multilocus microsatellite data, we analyzed the population structure of TEP P. damicornis among and within nine reefs and test for significant genetic structure across three geographically and ecologically distinct regions in Panama. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: We detected significant levels of population genetic structure (global R(ST = 0.162, indicating restricted gene flow (i.e. larvae dispersal, both among the three regions (R(RT = 0.081 as well as within regions (R(SR = 0.089. Limited gene flow across a distinct environmental cline, like the regional upwelling gradient in Panama, indicates a significant potential for differential adaptation and population differentiation. Individual reefs were characterized by unexpectedly high genet diversity (avg. 94%, relatively high inbreeding coefficients (global F(IS = 0.183, and localized spatial genetic structure among individuals (i.e. unique genets over 10 m intervals. These findings suggest that gene flow is limited in TEP P. damicornis

  7. 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.

  8. Protein expression and genetic structure of the coral Porites lobata in an environmentally extreme Samoan back reef: Does host genotype limit phenotypic plasticity?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barshis, D.J.; Stillman, J.H.; Gates, R.D.; Toonen, R.J.; Smith, L.W.; Birkeland, C.

    2010-01-01

    The degree to which coral reef ecosystems will be impacted by global climate change depends on regional and local differences in corals' susceptibility and resilience to environmental stressors. Here, we present data from a reciprocal transplant experiment using the common reef building coral Porites lobata between a highly fluctuating back reef environment that reaches stressful daily extremes, and a more stable, neighbouring forereef. Protein biomarker analyses assessing physiological contributions to stress resistance showed evidence for both fixed and environmental influence on biomarker response. Fixed influences were strongest for ubiquitin-conjugated proteins with consistently higher levels found in back reef source colonies both pre and post-transplant when compared with their forereef conspecifics. Additionally, genetic comparisons of back reef and forereef populations revealed significant population structure of both the nuclear ribosomal and mitochondrial genomes of the coral host (FST = 0.146 P < 0.0001, FST = 0.335 P < 0.0001 for rDNA and mtDNA, respectively), whereas algal endosymbiont populations were genetically indistinguishable between the two sites. We propose that the genotype of the coral host may drive limitations to the physiological responses of these corals when faced with new environmental conditions. This result is important in understanding genotypic and environmental interactions in the coral algal symbiosis and how corals may respond to future environmental changes. ?? 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  9. 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, G.S.; Williams, G.J.; Franklin, E.C.; Haapkyla, J.; Harvell, C.D.; Neale, S.; Page, C.A.; Raymundo, L.; Vargas-Angel, B.; Willis, B.L.; Work, T.M.; Davy, S.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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Reef endemism, host specificity and temporal stability in populations of symbiotic dinoflagellates from two ecologically dominant Caribbean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thornhill, Daniel J; Xiang, Yu; Fitt, William K; Santos, Scott R

    2009-07-15

    The dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium forms symbioses with numerous protistan and invertebrate metazoan hosts. However, few data on symbiont genetic structure are available, hindering predictions of how these populations and their host associations will fair in the face of global climate change. Here, Symbiodinium population structure from two of the Caribbean's ecologically dominant scleractinian corals, Montastraea faveolata and M. annularis, was examined. Tagged colonies on Florida Keys and Bahamian (i.e., Exuma Cays) reefs were sampled from 2003-2005 and their Symbiodinium diversity assessed via internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) rDNA and three Symbiodinium Clade B-specific microsatellite loci. Generally, the majority of host individuals at a site harbored an identical Symbiodinium ITS2 "type" B1 microsatellite genotype. Notably, symbiont genotypes were largely reef endemic, suggesting a near absence of dispersal between populations. Relative to the Bahamas, sympatric M. faveolata and M. annularis in the Florida Keys harbored unique Symbiodinium populations, implying regional host specificity in these relationships. Furthermore, within-colony Symbiodinium population structure remained stable through time and environmental perturbation, including a prolonged bleaching event in 2005. Taken together, the population-level endemism, specificity and stability exhibited by Symbiodinium raises concerns about the long-term adaptive capacity and persistence of these symbioses in an uncertain future of climate change.

  13. Reef endemism, host specificity and temporal stability in populations of symbiotic dinoflagellates from two ecologically dominant Caribbean corals.

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    Daniel J Thornhill

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium forms symbioses with numerous protistan and invertebrate metazoan hosts. However, few data on symbiont genetic structure are available, hindering predictions of how these populations and their host associations will fair in the face of global climate change. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, Symbiodinium population structure from two of the Caribbean's ecologically dominant scleractinian corals, Montastraea faveolata and M. annularis, was examined. Tagged colonies on Florida Keys and Bahamian (i.e., Exuma Cays reefs were sampled from 2003-2005 and their Symbiodinium diversity assessed via internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2 rDNA and three Symbiodinium Clade B-specific microsatellite loci. Generally, the majority of host individuals at a site harbored an identical Symbiodinium ITS2 "type" B1 microsatellite genotype. Notably, symbiont genotypes were largely reef endemic, suggesting a near absence of dispersal between populations. Relative to the Bahamas, sympatric M. faveolata and M. annularis in the Florida Keys harbored unique Symbiodinium populations, implying regional host specificity in these relationships. Furthermore, within-colony Symbiodinium population structure remained stable through time and environmental perturbation, including a prolonged bleaching event in 2005. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, the population-level endemism, specificity and stability exhibited by Symbiodinium raises concerns about the long-term adaptive capacity and persistence of these symbioses in an uncertain future of climate change.

  14. Coral diseases on Philippine reefs: genus Porites is a dominant host.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymundo, Laurie J; Rosell, Kathryn B; Reboton, Clarissa T; Kaczmarsky, Longin

    2005-05-20

    While it is generally assumed that Indo-Pacific reefs are not widely affected by diseases, limited data suggest a number of diseases and syndromes that appear to differ from those currently under study in the Caribbean. This report presents the results of a baseline survey of coral diseases in 2 regions in the Philippines: the Central Visayas and the Lingayen Gulf. Mean prevalence for all diseases observed was 8.3 +/- 1.2% (mean +/- SE; n = 8 reefs), with Central Visayas reefs showing higher disease prevalence (11.6 +/- 2.8%; n = 4 reefs) than those of Lingayen Gulf (5.1 +/- 1.4%; n = 4 reefs). Five diseases and syndromes were described; 3 of these-Porites ulcerative white spot disease (PUWS) (prevalence = 8.96 +/- 2.2%), tumors (prevalence = 1.0 +/- 0.5%) and pigmentation response (prevalence = 0.5 +/- 0.2%)--occurred frequently in both regions and targeted the genus Porites. Correlation between disease prevalence and number of Porites colonies was fairly strong (r2 = 43.4), though not significant, and no correlation was seen between prevalence and either the amount or diversity of hard coral. Porites is a major reef-builder in the Indo-Pacific comprising 30% of hard coral colonies on our surveyed reefs, and is generally thought to be a hardy, long-lived genus. Diseases targeting this robust group present an as yet unquantified risk to Philippine reefs and could result in major changes in reef structure.

  15. The distribution of the thermally tolerant symbiont lineage (Symbiodinium clade D) in corals from Hawaii: correlations with host and the history of ocean thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, Michael; Pochon, Xavier; Franklin, Erik C; Bruno, John F; Casey, Kenneth S; Selig, Elizabeth R; Gates, Ruth D

    2013-05-01

    Spatially intimate symbioses, such as those between scleractinian corals and unicellular algae belonging to the genus Symbiodinium, can potentially adapt to changes in the environment by altering the taxonomic composition of their endosymbiont communities. We quantified the spatial relationship between the cumulative frequency of thermal stress anomalies (TSAs) and the taxonomic composition of Symbiodinium in the corals Montipora capitata, Porites lobata, and Porites compressa across the Hawaiian archipelago. Specifically, we investigated whether thermally tolerant clade D Symbiodinium was in greater abundance in corals from sites with high frequencies of TSAs. We recovered 2305 Symbiodinium ITS2 sequences from 242 coral colonies in lagoonal reef habitats at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, French Frigate Shoals, and Kaneohe Bay, Oahu in 2007. Sequences were grouped into 26 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 12 OTUs associated with Montipora and 21 with Porites. Both coral genera associated with Symbiodinium in clade C, and these co-occurred with clade D in M. capitata and clade G in P. lobata. The latter represents the first report of clade G Symbiodinium in P. lobata. In M. capitata (but not Porites spp.), there was a significant correlation between the presence of Symbiodinium in clade D and a thermal history characterized by high cumulative frequency of TSAs. The endogenous community composition of Symbiodinium and an association with clade D symbionts after long-term thermal disturbance appear strongly dependent on the taxa of the coral host.

  16. Insights into the Coral Microbiome: Underpinning the Health and Resilience of Reef Ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourne, David G; Morrow, Kathleen M; Webster, Nicole S

    2016-09-01

    Corals are fundamental ecosystem engineers, creating large, intricate reefs that support diverse and abundant marine life. At the core of a healthy coral animal is a dynamic relationship with microorganisms, including a mutually beneficial symbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) and enduring partnerships with an array of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, protistan, and viral associates, collectively termed the coral holobiont. The combined genomes of this coral holobiont form a coral hologenome, and genomic interactions within the hologenome ultimately define the coral phenotype. Here we integrate contemporary scientific knowledge regarding the ecological, host-specific, and environmental forces shaping the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the coral holobiont, explore physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont fitness, and describe potential mechanisms for holobiont homeostasis. Understanding the role of the microbiome in coral resilience, acclimation, and environmental adaptation is a new frontier in reef science that will require large-scale collaborative research efforts.

  17. 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

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

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    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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Murine Gut Microbiota Is Defined by Host Genetics and Modulates Variation of Metabolic Traits

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McKnite, A.M.; Lu, L.; Williams, E.; Bastiaansen, J.W.M.

    2012-01-01

    The gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that has an important role in host metabolism. Microbial diversity is influenced by a combination of environmental and host genetic factors and is associated with several polygenic diseases. In this study we combined next-generation

  2. The influence of colony size and coral health on the occupation of coral-associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schiemer, L.; Niedermüller, S.; Herler, J.

    2009-03-01

    Fishes of the genus Gobiodon are habitat specialists by their association with Acropora corals. Little is known about the parameters that define host coral quality for these fishes, in particular their breeding pairs. Data were collected in the northern Red Sea using 10 × 1-m belt transects in different reefs and zones. Gobiid density was highly correlated with coral density over all sites and zones, and the more specialized goby species preferred coral species that are less vulnerable to environmental stress. Moreover, the occupation rate of corals by goby breeding pairs significantly increased with colony size and decreased with partial mortality of colonies. Logistic regression showed that both coral size (being most important) and partial mortality are key factors influencing the occupation by breeding pairs. This study provides the first evidence that breeding pairs of coral-associated gobiids have more advanced habitat requirements than con-specifics in other social states. As coral reefs are threatened worldwide and habitat loss and degradation increase, this information will help predict the potential effects on those reef fishes obligatorily associated with live corals.

  3. Phage therapy for Florida corals?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2007-01-01

    Coral disease is a major cause of reef decline in the Florida Keys. Bacterium has been defined as the most common pathogen (disease-causing organism). Although much is being done to catalog coral diseases, map their locations, determine the causes of disease, or measure the rates of coral demise, very little research has been directed toward actually preventing or eliminating the diseases affecting coral and coral reef decline.

  4. Host-dependent differences in resource use associated with Anilocra spp. parasitism in two coral reef fishes, as revealed by stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    The role of parasites in trophic ecology is poorly understood in marine ecosystems. Stable isotope analyses (SIA) have been widely used in studies of trophic ecology, but have rarely been applied to study the role of parasites. Considering that some parasites are associated with altered host foraging patterns, SIA can help elucidate whether parasitism influences host trophic interactions. French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum), an abundant Caribbean coral reef fish, contributes greatly to trophic connectivity. They typically depart the reef at dusk, feed overnight in seagrass beds, and return to the reef at dawn. The large parasitic isopod Anilocra haemuli commonly infects French grunt, and infected fish are less likely to complete their diel migration, and are in poorer condition than uninfected conspecifics. Brown chromis (Chromis multilineata) are diurnally feeding planktivores and infection by Anilocra chromis does not influence host condition. To determine if Anilocra infection influences host diet and foraging locality, we conducted stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses on scale, muscle, heart and gill tissues of infected and uninfected French grunt and brown chromis. We determined that all French grunt had δ13C values representative of seagrass habitats, but infected French grunt were significantly enriched in 13C and 15N compared to uninfected conspecifics. This suggests that compared to uninfected conspecifics, infected French grunt forage in seagrass, but on isotopically enriched prey, and/or are in poorer condition, which can elevate δ13C and δ15N values. For brown chromis, infection did not significantly influence any δ13C and δ15N values; hence they all foraged in the same environment and on similar prey. This is the first study to use SIA to examine differences in resource use by Caribbean coral reef fishes associated with parasitism and to evaluate how closely related parasites might have host-dependent effects on host trophic ecology.

  5. Coral-associated micro-organisms and their roles in promoting coral health and thwarting diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krediet, Cory J.; Ritchie, Kim B.; Paul, Valerie J.; Teplitski, Max

    2013-01-01

    Over the last decade, significant advances have been made in characterization of the coral microbiota. Shifts in its composition often correlate with the appearance of signs of diseases and/or bleaching, thus suggesting a link between microbes, coral health and stability of reef ecosystems. The understanding of interactions in coral-associated microbiota is informed by the on-going characterization of other microbiomes, which suggest that metabolic pathways and functional capabilities define the ‘core’ microbiota more accurately than the taxonomic diversity of its members. Consistent with this hypothesis, there does not appear to be a consensus on the specificity in the interactions of corals with microbial commensals, even though recent studies report potentially beneficial functions of the coral-associated bacteria. They cycle sulphur, fix nitrogen, produce antimicrobial compounds, inhibit cell-to-cell signalling and disrupt virulence in opportunistic pathogens. While their beneficial functions have been documented, it is not certain whether or how these microbes are selected by the hosts. Therefore, understanding the role of innate immunity, signal and nutrient exchange in the establishment of coral microbiota and in controlling its functions will probably reveal ancient, evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that dictate the outcomes of host–microbial interactions, and impact the resilience of the host. PMID:23363627

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  7. Antimicrobial growth promoters modulate host responses in mice with a defined intestinal microbiota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Kirsty; Zaytsoff, Sarah J. M.; Uwiera, Richard R. E.; Inglis, G. Douglas

    2016-01-01

    Antibiotics can promote growth in livestock (antimicrobial growth promoters, AGPs), however lack of knowledge regarding mechanisms has hampered the development of effective non-antibiotic alternatives. Antibiotics affect eukaryotic cells at therapeutic concentrations, yet effects of AGPs on host physiology are relatively understudied, partially due to the complexity of host-microorganism interactions within the gastrointestinal tract. To determine the direct effects of AGPs on the host, we generated Altered Schaedler Flora (ASF) mice, and administered chlortetracycline (CTC) and tylosin phosphate (TYL) in feed. Mice were challenged with Citrobacter rodentium to determine how AGPs alter host responses to physiological stress. Although CTC and TYL had inconsistent effects on the ASF taxa, AGPs protected mice from weight loss following C. rodentium inoculation. Mice treated with either CTC or TYL had lower expression of βd1 and Il17a in the intestine and had a robust induction of Il17a and Il10. Furthermore, AGP administration resulted in a lower hepatic expression of acute phase proteins (Saa1, Hp, and Cp) in liver tissue, and ameliorated C. rodentium-induced reductions in the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis (Hmgcl and Fabp1). Collectively, this indicates that AGPs directly affect host physiology, and highlights important considerations in the development of non-antibiotic alternatives. PMID:27929072

  8. 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 IC50 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.

  9. Coral Reef Ecosystems Monitoring Feature Service

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring feature service hosted on ArcGIS Online provides access to data collected in the Mariana Archipelago by the Coral Reef Ecosystem...

  10. Host-associated coral reef microbes respond to the cumulative pressures of ocean warming and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, N S; Negri, A P; Botté, E S; Laffy, P W; Flores, F; Noonan, S; Schmidt, C; Uthicke, S

    2016-01-13

    Key calcifying reef taxa are currently threatened by thermal stress associated with elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) and reduced calcification linked to ocean acidification (OA). Here we undertook an 8 week experimental exposure to near-future climate change conditions and explored the microbiome response of the corals Acropora millepora and Seriatopora hystrix, the crustose coralline algae Hydrolithon onkodes, the foraminifera Marginopora vertebralis and Heterostegina depressa and the sea urchin Echinometra sp. Microbial communities of all taxa were tolerant of elevated pCO2/reduced pH, exhibiting stable microbial communities between pH 8.1 (pCO2 479-499 μatm) and pH 7.9 (pCO2 738-835 μatm). In contrast, microbial communities of the CCA and foraminifera were sensitive to elevated seawater temperature, with a significant microbial shift involving loss of specific taxa and appearance of novel microbial groups occurring between 28 and 31 °C. An interactive effect between stressors was also identified, with distinct communities developing under different pCO2 conditions only evident at 31 °C. Microbiome analysis of key calcifying coral reef species under near-future climate conditions highlights the importance of assessing impacts from both increased SST and OA, as combinations of these global stressors can amplify microbial shifts which may have concomitant impacts for coral reef structure and function.

  11. Devising a Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Monitoring Portfolio

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gledhill, D. K.; Jewett, L.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef monitoring has frequently been based only on descriptive science with limited capacity to assign specific attribution to agents of change. There is a requirement to engineer a diagnostic monitoring approach that can test predictions regarding the response of coral reef ecosystems to ocean acidification, and to identify potential areas of refugia or areas of particular concern. The approach should provide the means to detect not only changes in water chemistry but also changes in coral reef community structure and function which can be anticipated based upon our current understanding of paleo-OA events, experimental findings, process investigations, and modeling projections In August, 2012 a Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Monitoring Portfolio Workshop was hosted by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and the National Coral Reef Institute at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. The workshop convened researchers and project managers from around the world engaged in coral reef ecosystems ocean acidification monitoring and research. The workshop sought to define a suite of metrics to include as part of long-term coral reef monitoring efforts that can contribute to discerning specific attribution of changes in coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification. This portfolio of observations should leverage existing and proposed monitoring initiatives and would be derived from a suite of chemical, biogeochemical and ecological measurements. This talk will report out on the key findings from the workshop which should include identifying the most valuable that should be integrated into long-term coral reef ecosystem monitoring that will aid in discerning changes in coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification. The outcomes should provide: recommendations of the most efficient and robust ways to monitor these metrics; identified augmentations that would be required to current ocean acidification monitoring necessary to achieve

  12. 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

  13. Coral microbiology

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  14. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vollmer, Steven V; Kline, David I

    2008-01-01

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    This chapter deals with biology of corals, coral reefs (in general) and coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. Biology of corals is lucidly dealt with, beginning from the clarification on hermatypic and ahermatypic forms. A complete account...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Coral choreography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Viewers clicking onto the Waikiki Aquarium's “Coral Research Cam” any time during daylight hours in Hawaii can catch the latest action of three species of living corals (Acropora sp., Acropora elseyi,and Montipora digitata) and the yellow tang and blue tang fish swimming amongst them in an outdoor aquarium.Waikiki Aquarium Director Bruce Carlson says the camera is part of a new exhibit, “Corals Are Alive!,” which encourages people to view living corals close-up at the aquarium or via the Internet, in order to gain a better appreciation of the corals. “Hopefully through education and awareness, people will be more interested and willing to help with conservation efforts to preserve coral reefs,” says Carlson.

  2. The role of microorganisms in coral health, disease and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Koren, Omry; Reshef, Leah; Efrony, Rotem; Zilber-Rosenberg, Ilana

    2007-05-01

    Coral microbiology is an emerging field, driven largely by a desire to understand, and ultimately prevent, the worldwide destruction of coral reefs. The mucus layer, skeleton and tissues of healthy corals all contain large populations of eukaryotic algae, bacteria and archaea. These microorganisms confer benefits to their host by various mechanisms, including photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, the provision of nutrients and infection prevention. Conversely, in conditions of environmental stress, certain microorganisms cause coral bleaching and other diseases. Recent research indicates that corals can develop resistance to specific pathogens and adapt to higher environmental temperatures. To explain these findings the coral probiotic hypothesis proposes the occurrence of a dynamic relationship between symbiotic microorganisms and corals that selects for the coral holobiont that is best suited for the prevailing environmental conditions. Generalization of the coral probiotic hypothesis has led us to propose the hologenome theory of evolution.

  3. 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.

  4. The role of microorganisms in coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kushmaro, Ariel; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Banin, Ehud; Yossi, Loya

    2009-02-01

    Coral bleaching is the disruption of the symbiosis between the coral host and its endosymbiotic algae. The prevalence and severity of the disease have been correlated with high seawater temperature. During the last decade, the major hypothesis to explain coral bleaching is that high water temperatures cause irreversible damage to the symbiotic algae resulting in loss of pigment and/or algae from the holobiont. Here, we discuss the evidence for an alternative but not mutually exclusive concept, the microbial hypothesis of coral bleaching.

  5. 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.

  6. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and oil transport, thermal pollution and freshwater inflow are the major threats to corals growing along the urban and industrialised centres. Therefore, a concerted effort from academicians, governmental and non-governmental bodies to educate the public...

  7. Miocene reef-coral diversity of Indonesia: unlocking the murky origins of the Coral Triangle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Santodomingo Aguilar, Nadia

    2014-01-01

    Reefs in the Coral Triangle host the richest marine diversity today. While the biodiversity gradients associated with the Coral Triangle are progressively better documented, the mechanisms responsible for the origins and maintenance of this pattern still remain obscure. Until recently, palaeontologi

  8. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    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

  9. Large-amplitude internal waves sustain coral health during thermal stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Gertraud M.; Wall, Marlene; Taylor, Marc; Jantzen, Carin; Richter, Claudio

    2016-09-01

    Ocean warming is a major threat for coral reefs causing widespread coral bleaching and mortality. Potential refugia are thus crucial for coral survival. Exposure to large-amplitude internal waves (LAIW) mitigated heat stress and ensured coral survival and recovery during and after an extreme heat anomaly. The physiological status of two common corals, Porites lutea and Pocillopora meandrina, was monitored in host and symbiont traits, in response to LAIW-exposure throughout the unprecedented 2010 heat anomaly in the Andaman Sea. LAIW-exposed corals of both species survived and recovered, while LAIW-sheltered corals suffered partial and total mortality in P. lutea and P. meandrina, respectively. LAIW are ubiquitous in the tropics and potentially generate coral refuge areas. As thermal stress to corals is expected to increase in a warming ocean, the mechanisms linking coral bleaching to ocean dynamics will be crucial to predict coral survival on a warming planet.

  10. 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

  11. Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2013-07-01

    The dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium plays a fundamental role in defining the physiological tolerances of coral holobionts, but little is known about the dynamics of these endosymbiotic populations on coral reefs. Sparse data indicate that Symbiodinium populations show limited spatial connectivity; however, no studies have investigated temporal dynamics for in hospite Symbiodinium populations following significant mortality and recruitment events in coral populations. We investigated the combined influences of spatial isolation and disturbance on the population dynamics of the generalist Symbiodinium type C2 (ITS1 rDNA) hosted by the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora in the central Great Barrier Reef. Using eight microsatellite markers, we genotyped Symbiodinium in a total of 401 coral colonies, which were sampled from seven sites across a 12-year period including during flood plume-induced coral bleaching. Genetic differentiation of Symbiodinium was greatest within sites, explaining 70-86% of the total genetic variation. An additional 9-27% of variation was explained by significant differentiation of populations among sites separated by 0.4-13 km, which is consistent with low levels of dispersal via water movement and historical disturbance regimes. Sampling year accounted for 6-7% of total genetic variation and was related to significant coral mortality following severe bleaching in 1998 and a cyclone in 2006. Only 3% of the total genetic variation was related to coral bleaching status, reflecting generally small (8%) reductions in allelic diversity within bleached corals. This reduction probably reflected a loss of genotypes in hospite during bleaching, although no site-wide changes in genetic diversity were observed. Combined, our results indicate the importance of disturbance regimes acting together with limited oceanographic transport to determine the genetic composition of Symbiodinium types within reefs.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    photosynthesis and survival of coral planulae, etc. Unfortunately, no such studies have been carried out on Indian corals so far, and a visualization of what will happen to Indian reefs if sea level rises rapidly will have to be constructed based on such dat... susceptible, as plankton living near the sea surface, and as hosts deriving nutri tional benefits from zooxanthtllar photosynthesis, which itself is susceptible to UV-B damage. Contrary to the misconception that UV is absorbed by the sea water, UV penetrates...

  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. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Meng, Pei-Jie; Wang, Jih-Terng; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Yang, Sung-Yin; Hsu, Chia-Min; Gan, Chai-Hsia; Dai, Chang-Feng; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-01-01

    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 (change.

  2. New records of Fungiacava eilatensis Goreau et al., 1968 (Bivalvia, Mytilidae) boring into Indonesian mushroom corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Kleemann, K.

    2002-01-01

    New observations on endoparasites in mushroom corals at South Sulawesi and Bali resulted in eight coral host records of the mytilid bivalve Fungiacava eilatensis Goreau et al., 1968, bringing the total to 14. The host corals were observed in various habitats, most frequently on sandy substrates. The

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, Tonya L; Snell, Terry W; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

    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.

  6. Gene Expression of Corals in Response to Macroalgal Competitors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, Tonya L.; Snell, Terry W.; Hay, Mark E.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25500576

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Evolutionary diversification of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meij, Sancia Esmeralda Theonilla van der

    2015-01-01

    Gall crabs (Crustacea : Cryptochiridae) are small, coral-dwelling crabs that live in obligate association with their host corals (Scleractinia), on which they rely for food and shelter. They have been recorded from shallow and deeper waters (over 500 m), but the majority of the species live in reef

  11. Coral contact dermatitis

    OpenAIRE

    Jefferson, Julie; Thompson, Curtis; Hinshaw, Molly; Rich, Phoebe

    2015-01-01

    Corals can elicit both toxic and allergic reactions upon contact with the skin. Clinical presentations vary depending on whether the reaction is acute, delayed, or chronic. Literature concerning cutaneous reactions to corals and other Cnidarians is scarce. Herein we report a case of delayed contact hypersensitivity reaction to coral and review the clinical and histopathological features of coral contact dermatitis.

  12. Coral contact dermatitis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jefferson, Julie; Thompson, Curtis; Hinshaw, Molly; Rich, Phoebe

    2015-04-16

    Corals can elicit both toxic and allergic reactions upon contact with the skin. Clinical presentations vary depending on whether the reaction is acute, delayed, or chronic. Literature concerning cutaneous reactions to corals and other Cnidarians is scarce. Herein we report a case of delayed contact hypersensitivity reaction to coral and review the clinical and histopathological features of coral contact dermatitis.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  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. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen Dawn Weynberg

    2014-05-01

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

  20. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

    The community structure of sedentary organisms is largely controlled by the outcome of direct competition for space. Understanding factors defining competitive outcomes among neighbors is thus critical for predicting large-scale changes, such as transitions to alternate states within coral reefs. Using a spatially explicit model, we explored the importance of variation in two spatial properties in benthic dynamics on coral reefs: (1) patterns of herbivory are spatially distinct between fishes and sea urchins and (2) there is wide variation in the areal extent into which different coral species can expand. We reveal that the size-specific, competitive asymmetry of corals versus fleshy algae highlights the significance of spatial patterning of herbivory and of coral growth. Spatial dynamics that alter the demographic importance of coral recruitment and maturation have profound effects on the emergent structure of the reef benthic community. Spatially constrained herbivory (as by sea urchins) is more effective than spatially unconstrained herbivory (as by many fish) at opening space for the time needed for corals to settle and to recruit to the adult population. Further, spatially unconstrained coral growth (as by many branching coral species) reduces the number of recruitment events needed to fill a habitat with coral relative to more spatially constrained growth (as by many massive species). Our model predicts that widespread mortality of branching corals (e.g., Acropora spp) and herbivorous sea urchins (particularly Diadema antillarum) in the Caribbean has greatly reduced the potential for restoration across the region.

  1. Understanding the murky history of the Coral Triangle: Miocene corals and reef habitats in East Kalimantan (Indonesia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Renema, Willem; Johnson, Kenneth G.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on ancient coral communities living in marginal conditions, including low light, high turbidity, extreme temperatures, or high nutrients, are important to understand the current structure of reefs and how they could potentially respond to global changes. The main goal of this study was to document the rich and well-preserved fossil coral fauna preserved in Miocene exposures of the Kutai Basin in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our collections include almost forty thousand specimens collected from 47 outcrops. Seventy-nine genera and 234 species have been identified. Three different coral assemblages were found corresponding to small patch reefs that developed under the influence of high siliciclastic inputs from the Mahakam Delta. Coral assemblages vary in richness, structure, and composition. Platy coral assemblages were common until the Serravallian (Middle Miocene), while branching coral assemblages became dominant in the Tortonian (Late Miocene). By the late Tortonian massive coral assemblages dominated, similar to modern-style coral framework. Our results suggest that challenging habitats, such as the Miocene turbid habitats of East Kalimantan, might have played an important role during the early diversification of the Coral Triangle by hosting a pool of resilient species more likely to survive the environmental changes that have affected this region since the Cenozoic. Further research that integrates fossil and recent turbid habitats may provide a glimpse into the dynamics and future of coral reefs as "typical" clear-water reefs continue to decline in most regions.

  2. 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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Quantifying coastal connectivity of coral spawn and larvae around Ryukyu Islands in the East China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Odani, S.; Uchiyama, Y.; Kashima, M.; Kamidaira, Y.; Mitarai, S.

    2016-12-01

    Ryukyu Islands in the East China Sea are in a subtropical climate, hosting desirable environment for abundant coral ecosystem. Okinawa Main Island is the most densely populated island among them with tremendous tourist attractions including enchanting coral reefs and beaches. Kamidaira et al. (2016) suggested that the Kuroshio warm water maintains warmer water temperature favorable to corals around the island due mainly to intermittent eddy heat transport. It is presumed that the Kuroshio and associated eddy mixing also promote the transport and dispersal of coral spawn and larvae across the islands, whereas the area has suffered from coral breeching in the recent decades. Therefore, for optimal preservation and protection of the coral habitats around Ryukyu Island, we conduct a double nested high-resolution synoptic ocean modeling using ROMS with grid spacing down to 1 km coupled with an offline Lagrangian particle tracking model to investigate dispersal of coral spawn and larvae released from about 20 major islands and lagoons. Based on the model outcome, we quantify connectivity using Lagrangian probability density functions (PDFs) of the Lagrangian particles (e.g., Mitarai et al., 2009) among Ryukyu Islands. We then focus on the larval dispersal released from Sekisei Lagoon in Yaeyama Islands close to Taiwan, where we have carried out a series of in-situ surface drifter measurement. To compare the observation with the model, 160 source and sink patches with a diameter of 3 km are defined around Sekisei Lagoon and Okinawa Main Island for quantification of the detailed connectivity between them. The advection time is assumed for no more than 3 weeks to represent the lifespan of coral spawn and larvae. A PDF analysis suggests that the particles mostly remain near the released areas with predominant clockwise circulation around the lagoon, while approximately less than 5 % of particles are trapped and transported northeastward in long distance by the Kuroshio. The

  8. 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.

  9. In situ visualization of bacterial populations in coral tissues: pitfalls and solutions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naohisa Wada

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available In situ visualization of microbial communities within their natural habitats provides a powerful approach to explore complex interactions between microorganisms and their macroscopic hosts. Specifically, the application of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH to simultaneously identify and visualize diverse microbial taxa associated with coral hosts, including symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium, Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi and protists, could help untangle the structure and function of these diverse taxa within the coral holobiont. However, the application of FISH approaches to coral samples is constrained by non-specific binding of targeted rRNA probes to cellular structures within the coral animal tissues (including nematocysts, spirocysts, granular gland cells within the gastrodermis and cnidoglandular bands of mesenterial filaments. This issue, combined with high auto-fluorescence of both host tissues and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium, make FISH approaches for analyses of coral tissues challenging. Here we outline the major pitfalls associated with applying FISH to coral samples and describe approaches to overcome these challenges.

  10. 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.

  11. Temperature and Light Effects on Extracellular Superoxide Production by Algal and Bacterial Symbionts in Corals: Implications for Coral Bleaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brighi, C.; Diaz, J. M.; Apprill, A.; Hansel, C. M.

    2014-12-01

    Increased surface seawater temperature due to global warming is one of the main causes of coral bleaching, a phenomenon in which corals lose their photosynthetic algae. Light and temperature induced production of superoxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) by these symbiotic algae has been implicated in the breakdown of their symbiotic association with the coral host and subsequent coral bleaching. Nevertheless, a direct link between Symbiodinium ROS production and coral bleaching has not been demonstrated. In fact, given the abundance and diversity of microorganisms within the coral holobiont, the concentration and fluxes of ROS within corals may involve several microbial sources and sinks. Here, we explore the role of increased light and temperature on superoxide production by coral-derived cultures of Symbiodinium algae and Oceanospirillales bacteria of the genus Endozoicomonas, which are globally common and abundant associates of corals. Using a high sensitivity chemiluminescent technique, we find that heat stress (exposure to 34°C vs. 23°C for 2hr or 24hr) has no significant effect on extracellular superoxide production by Symbiodinium isolates within clades B and C, regardless of the level of light exposure. Exposure to high light, however, increased superoxide production by these organisms at both 34°C and 23°C. On the other hand, extracellular superoxide production by Endozoicomonas bacteria tested under the same conditions was stimulated by the combined effects of thermal and light stress. The results of this research suggest that the sources and physical triggers for biological superoxide production within corals are more complex than currently assumed. Thus, further investigations into the biological processes controlling ROS dynamics within corals are required to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning coral bleaching and to aid in the development of mitigation strategies.

  12. 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.

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikolaus B M Császár

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

  15. Relationships between the history of thermal stress and the relative risk of diseases of Caribbean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randall, C J; Jordan-Garza, A G; Muller, E M; Van Woesik, R

    2014-07-01

    The putative increase in coral diseases in the Caribbean has led to extensive declines in coral populations. Coral diseases are a consequence of the complex interactions among the coral hosts, the pathogens, and the environment. Yet, the relative influence that each of these components has on the prevalence of coral diseases is unclear. Also unknown is the extent to which historical thermal-stress events have influenced the prevalence of contemporary coral diseases and the potential adjustment of coral populations to thermal stress. We used a Bayesian approach to test the hypothesis that in 2012 the relative risk of four signs of coral disease (white signs, dark spots, black bands, and yellow signs) differed at reef locations with different thermal histories. We undertook an extensive spatial study of coral diseases at four locations in the Caribbean region (10(3) km), two with and two without a history of frequent thermal anomalies (approximately 4-6 years) over the last 143 years (1870-2012). Locations that historically experienced frequent thermal anomalies had a significantly higher risk of corals displaying white signs, and had a lower risk of corals displaying dark spots, than locations that did not historically experience frequent thermal anomalies. By contrast, there was no relationship between the history of thermal stress and the relative risk of corals displaying black bands and yellow signs, at least at the spatial scale of our observations.

  16. Symbiodinium associations with diseased and healthy scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correa, A. M. S.; Brandt, M. E.; Smith, T. B.; Thornhill, D. J.; Baker, A. C.

    2009-06-01

    Despite recent advances in identifying the causative agents of disease in corals and understanding the impact of epizootics on reef communities, little is known regarding the interactions among diseases, corals, and their dinoflagellate endosymbionts ( Symbiodinium spp.). Since the genotypes of both corals and their resident Symbiodinium contribute to colony-level phenotypes, such as thermotolerance, symbiont genotypes might also contribute to the resistance or susceptibility of coral colonies to disease. To explore this, Symbiodinium were identified using the internal transcribed spacer-2 region of ribosomal DNA from diseased and healthy tissues within individual coral colonies infected with black band disease (BB), dark spot syndrome (DSS), white plague disease (WP), or yellow blotch disease (YB) in the Florida Keys (USA) and the US Virgin Islands. Most of the diseased colonies sampled contained B1, B5a, or C1 (depending on host species), while apparently healthy colonies of the same coral species frequently hosted these types and/or additional symbiont diversity. No potentially “parasitic” Symbiodinium types, uniquely associated with diseased coral tissue, were detected. Within most individual colonies, the same dominant Symbiodinium type was detected in diseased and visually healthy tissues. These data indicate that specific Symbiodinium types are not correlated with the infected tissues of diseased colonies and that DSS and WP onset do not trigger symbiont shuffling within infected tissues. However, few diseased colonies contained clade D symbionts suggesting a negative correlation between hosting Symbiodinium clade D and disease incidence in scleractinian corals. Understanding the influence of Symbiodinium diversity on colony phenotypes may play a critical role in predicting disease resistance and susceptibility in scleractinian corals.

  17. Defining parasite biodiversity at high latitudes of North America: new host and geographic records for Onchocerca cervipedis (Nematoda: Onchocercidae in moose and caribou

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Verocai Guilherme G

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Onchocerca cervipedis is a filarioid nematode of cervids reported from Central America to boreal regions of North America. It is found primarily in subcutaneous tissues of the legs, and is more commonly known as ‘legworm’. Blackflies are intermediate hosts and transmit larvae to ungulates when they blood-feed. In this article we report the first records of O. cervipedis from high latitudes of North America and its occurrence in previously unrecognized host subspecies including the Yukon-Alaska moose (Alces americanus gigas and the Grant’s caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti. Methods We examined the subcutaneous connective tissues of the metacarpi and/or metatarsi of 34 moose and one caribou for parasitic lesions. Samples were collected from animals killed by subsistence hunters or animals found dead in the Northwest Territories (NT, Canada and Alaska (AK, USA from 2005 to 2012. Genomic DNA lysate was prepared from nematode fragments collected from two moose. The nd5 region of the mitochondrial DNA was amplified by PCR and sequenced. Results Subcutaneous nodules were found in 12 moose from the NT and AK, and one caribou from AK. Nematodes dissected from the lesions were identified as Onchocerca cervipedis based on morphology of female and male specimens. Histopathological findings in moose included cavitating lesions with multifocal granulomatous cellulitis containing intralesional microfilariae and adults, often necrotic and partially mineralized. Lesions in the caribou included periosteitis with chronic cellulitis, eosinophilic and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate, and abundant granulation associated with intralesional adult nematodes and larvae. Sequences of the nd5 region (471bp, the first generated for this species, were deposited with Genbank (JN580791 and JN580792. Representative voucher specimens were deposited in the archives of the United States National Parasite Collection. Conclusions The geographic range of O

  18. Miocene reef-coral diversity of Indonesia: unlocking the murky origins of the Coral Triangle (Utrecht Studies in Earth Sciences 063)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Santodomingo Aguilar, Nadia

    2014-01-01

    Reefs in the Coral Triangle host the richest marine diversity today. While the biodiversity gradients associated with the Coral Triangle are progressively better documented, the mechanisms responsible for the origins and maintenance of this pattern still remain obscure. Until recently, palaeontologi

  19. 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.

  20. Dialeurolonga re-defined (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae): with a new genus and species from India, two new genera from Australia, and discussion of host-correlated puparial variation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubey, Anil Kumar; Ramamurthy, V V

    2013-02-25

    Aleuropositus Dubey gen. n., Australeurodes Dubey gen. n. and Septemaleurodes Dubey gen. n. are proposed with their respective type species as A. sinus Dubey sp. n. from India, D. operculobata Martin & Carver from Australia, and D. swainei Martin from Australia. A. sinus sp. n. is described from Kerala, India, illustrated with line drawings, microphotographs and SEM images. The puparia are asymmetric in taxonomic characters and shape, and variation in puparia associated with a single host is discussed. A generic diagnosis of Dialeurolonga is provided based on SEM study of the type species, D. elongata. Australian species placed in this genus have puparial characteristics that distinguish them from Afrotropical assemblages, and are here referred to two new genera.

  1. RNA-seq profiles of immune related genes in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis infected with white band disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Libro, Silvia; Kaluziak, Stefan T; Vollmer, Steven V

    2013-01-01

    Coral diseases are among the most serious threats to coral reefs worldwide, yet most coral diseases remain poorly understood. How the coral host responds to pathogen infection is an area where very little is known. Here we used next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to produce a transcriptome-wide profile of the immune response of the Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis to White Band Disease (WBD) by comparing infected versus healthy (asymptomatic) coral tissues. The transcriptome of A. cervicornis was assembled de novo from A-tail selected Illumina mRNA-seq data from whole coral tissues, and parsed bioinformatically into coral and non-coral transcripts using existing Acropora genomes in order to identify putative coral transcripts. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified in the coral and non-coral datasets to identify genes that were up- and down-regulated due to disease infection. RNA-seq analyses indicate that infected corals exhibited significant changes in gene expression across 4% (1,805 out of 47,748 transcripts) of the coral transcriptome. The primary response to infection included transcripts involved in macrophage-mediated pathogen recognition and ROS production, two hallmarks of phagocytosis, as well as key mediators of apoptosis and calcium homeostasis. The strong up-regulation of the enzyme allene oxide synthase-lipoxygenase suggests a key role of the allene oxide pathway in coral immunity. Interestingly, none of the three primary innate immune pathways--Toll-like receptors (TLR), Complement, and prophenoloxydase pathways, were strongly associated with the response of A. cervicornis to infection. Five-hundred and fifty differentially expressed non-coral transcripts were classified as metazoan (n = 84), algal or plant (n = 52), fungi (n = 24) and protozoans (n = 13). None of the 52 putative Symbiodinium or algal transcript had any clear immune functions indicating that the immune response is driven by the coral host, and not its algal

  2. RNA-seq profiles of immune related genes in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis infected with white band disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia Libro

    Full Text Available Coral diseases are among the most serious threats to coral reefs worldwide, yet most coral diseases remain poorly understood. How the coral host responds to pathogen infection is an area where very little is known. Here we used next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq to produce a transcriptome-wide profile of the immune response of the Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis to White Band Disease (WBD by comparing infected versus healthy (asymptomatic coral tissues. The transcriptome of A. cervicornis was assembled de novo from A-tail selected Illumina mRNA-seq data from whole coral tissues, and parsed bioinformatically into coral and non-coral transcripts using existing Acropora genomes in order to identify putative coral transcripts. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified in the coral and non-coral datasets to identify genes that were up- and down-regulated due to disease infection. RNA-seq analyses indicate that infected corals exhibited significant changes in gene expression across 4% (1,805 out of 47,748 transcripts of the coral transcriptome. The primary response to infection included transcripts involved in macrophage-mediated pathogen recognition and ROS production, two hallmarks of phagocytosis, as well as key mediators of apoptosis and calcium homeostasis. The strong up-regulation of the enzyme allene oxide synthase-lipoxygenase suggests a key role of the allene oxide pathway in coral immunity. Interestingly, none of the three primary innate immune pathways--Toll-like receptors (TLR, Complement, and prophenoloxydase pathways, were strongly associated with the response of A. cervicornis to infection. Five-hundred and fifty differentially expressed non-coral transcripts were classified as metazoan (n = 84, algal or plant (n = 52, fungi (n = 24 and protozoans (n = 13. None of the 52 putative Symbiodinium or algal transcript had any clear immune functions indicating that the immune response is driven by the coral host, and not

  3. 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.

  4. Endosymbiotic flexibility associates with environmental sensitivity in scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Putnam, Hollie M; Stat, Michael; Pochon, Xavier; Gates, Ruth D

    2012-11-07

    Flexibility in biological systems is seen as an important driver of macro-ecosystem function and stability. Spatially constrained endosymbiotic settings, however, are less studied, although environmental thresholds of symbiotic corals are linked to the function of their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities. Symbiotic flexibility is a hypothesized mechanism that corals may exploit to adapt to climate change. This study explores the flexibility of the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis through quantification of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in a range of coral species and genera. Sequence assemblages are expressed as an index of flexibility incorporating phylogenetic divergence and relative abundance of Symbiodinium sequences recovered from the host. This comparative analysis reveals profound differences in the flexibility of corals for Symbiodinium, thereby classifying corals as generalists or specifists. Generalists such as Acropora and Pocillopora exhibit high intra- and inter-species flexibility in their Symbiodinium assemblages and are some of the most environmentally sensitive corals. Conversely, specifists such as massive Porites colonies exhibit low flexibility, harbour taxonomically narrow Symbiodinium assemblages, and are environmentally resistant corals. Collectively, these findings challenge the paradigm that symbiotic flexibility enhances holobiont resilience. This underscores the need for a deeper examination of the extent and duration of the functional benefits associated with endosymbiotic diversity and flexibility under environmental stress.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

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    Pim Bongaerts

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

  9. 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.

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

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    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.

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

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    Gareth J Williams

    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

  12. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Schots, P.; Onselen, van E.; Karruppannan, E.W.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Osinga, R.

    2013-01-01

    Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton

  13. The Microbial Signature Provides Insight into the Mechanistic Basis of Coral Success across Reef Habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leggat, William; Bongaerts, Pim

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT For ecosystems vulnerable to environmental change, understanding the spatiotemporal stability of functionally crucial symbioses is fundamental to determining the mechanisms by which these ecosystems may persist. The coral Pachyseris speciosa is a successful environmental generalist that succeeds in diverse reef habitats. The generalist nature of this coral suggests it may have the capacity to form functionally significant microbial partnerships to facilitate access to a range of nutritional sources within different habitats. Here, we propose that coral is a metaorganism hosting three functionally distinct microbial interactions: a ubiquitous core microbiome of very few symbiotic host-selected bacteria, a microbiome of spatially and/or regionally explicit core microbes filling functional niches (100,000 phylotypes). We find that this coral hosts upwards of 170,000 distinct phylotypes and provide evidence for the persistence of a select group of bacteria in corals across environmental habitats of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. We further show that a higher number of bacteria are consistently associated with corals on mesophotic reefs than on shallow reefs. An increase in microbial diversity with depth suggests reliance by this coral on bacteria for nutrient acquisition on reefs exposed to nutrient upwelling. Understanding the complex microbial communities of host organisms across broad biotic and abiotic environments as functionally distinct microbiomes can provide insight into those interactions that are ubiquitous niche symbioses and those that provide competitive advantage within the hosts’ environment. PMID:27460792

  14. The Microbial Signature Provides Insight into the Mechanistic Basis of Coral Success across Reef Habitats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandra Hernandez-Agreda

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available For ecosystems vulnerable to environmental change, understanding the spatiotemporal stability of functionally crucial symbioses is fundamental to determining the mechanisms by which these ecosystems may persist. The coral Pachyseris speciosa is a successful environmental generalist that succeeds in diverse reef habitats. The generalist nature of this coral suggests it may have the capacity to form functionally significant microbial partnerships to facilitate access to a range of nutritional sources within different habitats. Here, we propose that coral is a metaorganism hosting three functionally distinct microbial interactions: a ubiquitous core microbiome of very few symbiotic host-selected bacteria, a microbiome of spatially and/or regionally explicit core microbes filling functional niches (100,000 phylotypes. We find that this coral hosts upwards of 170,000 distinct phylotypes and provide evidence for the persistence of a select group of bacteria in corals across environmental habitats of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. We further show that a higher number of bacteria are consistently associated with corals on mesophotic reefs than on shallow reefs. An increase in microbial diversity with depth suggests reliance by this coral on bacteria for nutrient acquisition on reefs exposed to nutrient upwelling. Understanding the complex microbial communities of host organisms across broad biotic and abiotic environments as functionally distinct microbiomes can provide insight into those interactions that are ubiquitous niche symbioses and those that provide competitive advantage within the hosts’ environment.

  15. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

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

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    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.

  20. Highly infectious symbiont dominates initial uptake in coral juveniles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abrego, David; VAN Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2009-08-01

    The majority of reef-building corals acquire their obligate algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) from the environment. However, factors shaping the initial establishment of coral-algal symbioses, including parental effects, local environmental conditions and local availability of symbionts, are not well understood. This study monitored the uptake and maintenance of Symbiodinium in juveniles of two common corals, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora, that were reciprocally explanted between sites where adult colonies host different types of Symbiodinium. We found that coral juveniles were rapidly dominated by type D Symbiodinium, even though this type is not found in adult colonies (including the parental colonies) in four out of the five study populations. Furthermore, type D Symbiodinium was found in less than one-third of a wide range of coral species (n > 50) sampled at the two main study sites, suggesting that its dominance in the acroporid juveniles is not because it is the most abundant local endosymbiotic type. Moreover, dominance by type D was observed irrespective of the light intensity to which juveniles were exposed in a field study. In summary, despite its relatively low abundance in coral assemblages at the study sites and irrespective of the surrounding light environment, type D Symbiodinium is the main symbiont type initially acquired by juveniles of A. millepora and A. tenuis. We conclude that during early ontogeny in these corals, there are few barriers to the uptake of Symbiodinium types which differ from those found in parental colonies, resulting in dominance by a highly infectious and potentially opportunistic symbiont.

  1. Historical temperature variability affects coral response to heat stress.

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    Jessica Carilli

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching is the breakdown of symbiosis between coral animal hosts and their dinoflagellate algae symbionts in response to environmental stress. On large spatial scales, heat stress is the most common factor causing bleaching, which is predicted to increase in frequency and severity as the climate warms. There is evidence that the temperature threshold at which bleaching occurs varies with local environmental conditions and background climate conditions. We investigated the influence of past temperature variability on coral susceptibility to bleaching, using the natural gradient in peak temperature variability in the Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati. The spatial pattern in skeletal growth rates and partial mortality scars found in massive Porites sp. across the central and northern islands suggests that corals subject to larger year-to-year fluctuations in maximum ocean temperature were more resistant to a 2004 warm-water event. In addition, a subsequent 2009 warm event had a disproportionately larger impact on those corals from the island with lower historical heat stress, as indicated by lower concentrations of triacylglycerol, a lipid utilized for energy, as well as thinner tissue in those corals. This study indicates that coral reefs in locations with more frequent warm events may be more resilient to future warming, and protection measures may be more effective in these regions.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 O2 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.

  4. 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 O2 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. PMID:28174567

  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 (Pcoral tissue, but not in the zooxanthellae. 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 (Pcoral tissue (∼75% loss) and zooxanthellae numbers declined in response to chilling alone (Pcoral against tissue loss after 45min of cryoprotectant exposure (P>0.05, ANOVA), but it did not protect against the loss of zooxanthellae (Pcoral fragment complex and future cryopreservation protocols must be guided by their greater sensitivity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Multisensor and multitemporal data from Landsat images to detect damage to coral reefs, small islands in the Spermonde archipelago, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Agus; Akbar AS, M.; Djalil, Abdul Rasyid; Amri, Khairul

    2015-06-01

    Coral reefs are important because of their high biodiversity and their key role in the tropical marine biosphere. Furthermore, coral reefs are very valuable as a socioeconomic resource as they make important contributions to the gross domestic product of many countries. Thus, it is very important to monitor dynamic spatial distributions of coral reefs and related habitats dominated by coral rubble, dead coral, and bleached corals. Despite these natural and socio-economic advantages, many factors are threatening coral reefs. The study site was selected in Spermonde archipelago, South Sulawesi, Indonesia because this area is included in the Coral Triangle, recognized as the epicenter of coral diversity and a priority for conservation. Images of Landsat MSS, Landsat TM, Landsat ETM, Landsat ETM+, and Landsat 8 data were used to examine changes in the coral reefs of Suranti Island in the Spermonde Archipelago during forty one years from 1972 to 2013. The image processing includes gap fills, atmospheric corrections, geometric corrections, image composites, water column corrections, unsupervised classifications, and reclassifications. Fill Gap processing was done on Landsat ETM+ SLC-off. Subsequently, a multi-component change detection procedure was applied to define changes. Shallow water bottom types classification was divided into live coral, rubble and sand habitats, dead coral with algae, rubble, and sand. Preliminary results showed significant changes during the period 1972-2013 as well as changes in coral reefs, likely explained partly by destructive fishing practices.

  9. Cohabitation promotes high diversity of clownfishes in the Coral Triangle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Emma F; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; De Brauwer, Maarten; Dumbrell, Alex J; Smith, David J

    2016-03-30

    Global marine biodiversity peaks within the Coral Triangle, and understanding how such high diversity is maintained is a central question in marine ecology. We investigated broad-scale patterns in the diversity of clownfishes and their host sea anemones by conducting 981 belt-transects at 20 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific. Of the 1508 clownfishes encountered, 377 fish occurred in interspecific cohabiting groups and cohabitation was almost entirely restricted to the Coral Triangle. Neither the diversity nor density of host anemone or clownfish species alone influenced rates of interspecific cohabitation. Rather cohabitation occurred in areas where the number of clownfish species exceeds the number of host anemone species. In the Coral Triangle, cohabiting individuals were observed to finely partition their host anemone, with the subordinate species inhabiting the periphery. Furthermore, aggression did not increase in interspecific cohabiting groups, instead dominant species were accepting of subordinate species. Various combinations of clownfish species were observed cohabiting (independent of body size, phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary age, dentition, level of specialization) in a range of anemone species, thereby ensuring that each clownfish species had dominant reproductive individuals in some cohabiting groups. Clownfishes are obligate commensals, thus cohabitation is an important process in maintaining biodiversity in high diversity systems because it supports the persistence of many species when host availability is limiting. Cohabitation is a likely explanation for high species richness in other obligate commensals within the Coral Triangle, and highlights the importance of protecting these habitats in order to conserve unique marine biodiversity.

  10. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Structure and temporal dynamics of the bacterial communities associated to microhabitats of the coral Oculina patagonica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubio-Portillo, Esther; Santos, Fernando; Martínez-García, Manuel; de Los Ríos, Asunción; Ascaso, Carmen; Souza-Egipsy, Virginia; Ramos-Esplá, Alfonso A; Anton, Josefa

    2016-12-01

    Corals are known to contain a diverse microbiota that plays a paramount role in the physiology and health of holobiont. However, few studies have addressed the variability of bacterial communities within the coral host. In this study, bacterial community composition from the mucus, tissue and skeleton of the scleractinian coral Oculina patagonica were investigated seasonally at two locations in the Western Mediterranean Sea, to further understand how environmental conditions and the coral microbiome structure are related. We used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis in combination with next-generation sequencing and electron microscopy to characterize the bacterial community. The bacterial communities were significantly different among coral compartments, and coral tissue displayed the greatest changes related to environmental conditions and coral health status. Species belonging to the Rhodobacteraceae and Vibrionaceae families form part of O. patagonica tissues core microbiome and may play significant roles in the nitrogen cycle. Furthermore, sequences related to the coral pathogens, Vibrio mediterranei and Vibrio coralliilyticus, were detected not only in bleached corals but also in healthy ones, even during cold months. This fact opens a new view onto unveiling the role of pathogens in the development of coral diseases in the future. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. 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.

  14. Using the Acropora digitifera genome to understand coral responses to environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Shoguchi, Eiichi; Kawashima, Takeshi; Hamada, Mayuko; Hisata, Kanako; Tanaka, Makiko; Fujie, Manabu; Fujiwara, Mayuki; Koyanagi, Ryo; Ikuta, Tetsuro; Fujiyama, Asao; Miller, David J; Satoh, Nori

    2011-07-24

    Despite the enormous ecological and economic importance of coral reefs, the keystone organisms in their establishment, the scleractinian corals, increasingly face a range of anthropogenic challenges including ocean acidification and seawater temperature rise. To understand better the molecular mechanisms underlying coral biology, here we decoded the approximately 420-megabase genome of Acropora digitifera using next-generation sequencing technology. This genome contains approximately 23,700 gene models. Molecular phylogenetics indicate that the coral and the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis diverged approximately 500 million years ago, considerably earlier than the time over which modern corals are represented in the fossil record (∼240 million years ago). Despite the long evolutionary history of the endosymbiosis, no evidence was found for horizontal transfer of genes from symbiont to host. However, unlike several other corals, Acropora seems to lack an enzyme essential for cysteine biosynthesis, implying dependency of this coral on its symbionts for this amino acid. Corals inhabit environments where they are frequently exposed to high levels of solar radiation, and analysis of the Acropora genome data indicates that the coral host can independently carry out de novo synthesis of mycosporine-like amino acids, which are potent ultraviolet-protective compounds. In addition, the coral innate immunity repertoire is notably more complex than that of the sea anemone, indicating that some of these genes may have roles in symbiosis or coloniality. A number of genes with putative roles in calcification were identified, and several of these are restricted to corals. The coral genome provides a platform for understanding the molecular basis of symbiosis and responses to environmental changes.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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....

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian, R.

    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...

  1. Effects of predation and nutrient enrichment on the success and microbiome of a foundational coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaver, Elizabeth C; Shantz, Andrew A; McMinds, Ryan; Burkepile, Deron E; Vega Thurber, Rebecca L; Silliman, Brian R

    2017-03-01

    By inflicting damage to prey tissues, consumer species may increase stress in prey hosts and reduce overall fitness (i.e., primary effects, such as growth or reproduction) or cause secondary effects by affecting prey interactions with other species such as microbes. However, little is known about how abiotic conditions affect the outcomes of these biotic interactions. In coral reef communities, both nutrient enrichment and predation have been linked to reduced fitness and disease facilitation in corals, yet no study to date has tested their combined effects on corals or their associated microbial communities (i.e., microbiomes). Here, we assess the effects of grazing by a prevalent coral predator (the short coral snail, Coralliophila abbreviata) and nutrient enrichment on staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, and its microbiomes using a factorial experiment and high-throughput DNA sequencing. We found that predation, but not nutrients, significantly reduced coral growth and increased mortality, tissue loss, and turf algae colonization. Partial predation and nutrient enrichment both independently altered coral microbiomes such that one bacterial genus came to dominate the microbial community. Nutrient-enriched corals were associated with significant increases in Rickettsia-like organisms, which are currently one of several microbial groups being investigated as a disease agent in this coral species. However, we found no effects of nutrient enrichment on coral health, disease, or their predators. This research suggests that in the several months following coral transplantation (i.e., restoration) or disturbance (i.e., recovery), Caribbean acroporid corals appear to be highly susceptible to negative effects caused by predators, but not or not yet susceptible to nutrient enrichment despite changes to their microbial communities.

  2. A coral-eating barnacle, revisited (Cirripedia, Pyrgomatidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ross, Arnold; Newman, William A.

    1995-01-01

    The coral-eating barnacle Hoekia monticulariae (Gray, 1831), the only internal parasite among the Thoracica described to this day, is characterized by an irregularly-shaped shell nestled cryptically between the polyps of the hermatypic coral Hydnophora Fischer, 1807, which occurs throughout most of

  3. Rose Atoll Coral Monitoring Narrative

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Narrative report summarizes the results of coral monitoring at 11 georeferenced sites at Rose Atoll, American Samoa, undertaken by Dr. James Maragos, USFWS Coral...

  4. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

    An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362

  5. Investigating coral hyperspectral properties across coral species and coral state using hyperspectral imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mehrubeoglu, Mehrube; Smith, Dustin K.; Smith, Shane W.; Strychar, Kevin B.; McLauchlan, Lifford

    2013-09-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems in the world. Corals worldwide are at risk, and in many instances, dying due to factors that affect their environment resulting in deteriorating environmental conditions. Because corals respond quickly to the quality of the environment that surrounds them, corals have been identified as bioindicators of water quality and marine environmental health. The hyperspectral imaging system is proposed as a noninvasive tool to monitor different species of corals as well as coral state over time. This in turn can be used as a quick and non-invasive method to monitor environmental health that can later be extended to climate conditions. In this project, a laboratory-based hyperspectral imaging system is used to collect spectral and spatial information of corals. In the work presented here, MATLAB and ENVI software tools are used to view and process spatial information and coral spectral signatures to identify differences among the coral data. The results support the hypothesis that hyperspectral properties of corals vary among different coral species, and coral state over time, and hyperspectral imaging can be a used as a tool to document changes in coral species and state.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia Fontana

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

  7. Effect of Inorganic Nutrient Enrichment and Water Temperature Increment on the Zooxanthellae Density in the Scleractinian Coral Tissues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taihun Kim

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The coral symbiotic algae zooxanthellae is often expelled from the host as the host coral is under physiological stress, causing the coral to turn completely white. Such coral bleaching events are occurring more frequently with the increase in the global warming, ocean acidification and increased level of anthropogenic impacts such as eutrophication. In the present study, we investigated the effects of inorganic nutrients including ammonium, nitrate, phosphate and elevated water temperature on the symbiotic zooxanthellae density in the fragment of branching coral Acropora nobilis. Zooxanthellae density in the host coral decreased 8 hrs after the experiment at a given elevated water temperature (32oC, p < 0.05. In contrast, no clear coral bleaching or decrease in the symbiotic algae density was observed from the branching coral exposed to a normal water temperature of 30oC and high levels of nutrients such as 20 μM of NH4Cl, 20 μM of NaNO3 and, 10 μM KH2PO4. Accordingly, the data indicated high water temperature is one of the stressful factors to cause bleaching in A. nobilis, whereas the high levels of nutrients is not a factor. It is believed that the results obtained in the present study are useful as baseline information in the management of the coral reefs.

  8. 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

  9. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

    The concept of bioindication in the sense of the use of organisms for detecting environmental stress has been employed in coral reef conservation and management for the past several years. Important tools are coral growth rates and various community parameters, notably hard coral cover. The present need is the optimal coordination of international efforts for the earliest possible institution of an effective monitoring system.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Coral-associated Actinobacteria from the Arabian Gulf: diversity, abundance and biotechnological potentials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Huda Mahmoud Mahmoud

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Actinobacteria are widely distributed in terrestrial environments, where they are considered a significant source of bioactive compounds, mainly antibiotics. Marine Actinobacteria, particularly coral-associated Actinobacteria, have attracted attention recently. In this study, the abundance and diversity of Actinobacteria associated with Coscinaraea columna, Platygyra daedalea and Porites harrisoni, north of the Arabian Gulf were investigated. The corals of the Arabian Gulf, one of the world’s hottest seas, are thriving under extreme water temperatures that exceed 39°C during the summer. Similar water temperatures cause coral bleaching and death in other water bodies. For this reason, the corals of the Gulf are living models for investigating how corals in other settings may survive at the end of the current century.Different coral hosts 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

  13. 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.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21246044

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Stat

    Full Text Available 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

    This article reports on the crisis facing reefs throughout the world and the struggle to save them. Coral reefs, one of the biological wonders of the world, are among the largest and oldest living communities of plants and animals on earth, having been evolved between 200 and 450 million years ago. Located mostly in the Pacific region, most established coral reefs are now dead and only the upper layer is covered by a thin changeable skin of living coral. Reefs, over the years, have been the main source of animal protein for over 1 billion people in Asia. Countries near the coastlines, which relied on the seas, have resorted to dynamite fishing, poisoning and other illegal and dangerous techniques. Overpopulation and pollution has caused the deteriorating conditions of the 600,000 sq. km of coral reefs worldwide. Despite these conditions, the government has ignored this problem as they struggle to develop their economies at the expense of common resources. In addition, this article narrates the efforts that are exerted by governments in promoting coral reef protection and management of these coastal resources, setting the Apo Island in the Philippines as an example of good management and sustainability.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janelle Renee Thompson

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-02

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

  1. 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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25621279

  2. What are the physiological and immunological responses of coral to climate warming and disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mydlarz, Laura D; McGinty, Elizabeth S; Harvell, C Drew

    2010-03-15

    Coral mortality due to climate-associated stress is likely to increase as the oceans get warmer and more acidic. Coral bleaching and an increase in infectious disease are linked to above average sea surface temperatures. Despite the uncertain future for corals, recent studies have revealed physiological mechanisms that improve coral resilience to the effects of climate change. Some taxa of bleached corals can increase heterotrophic food intake and exchange symbionts for more thermally tolerant clades; this plasticity can increase the probability of surviving lethal thermal stress. Corals can fight invading pathogens with a suite of innate immune responses that slow and even arrest pathogen growth and reduce further tissue damage. Several of these responses, such as the melanin cascade, circulating amoebocytes and antioxidants, are induced in coral hosts during pathogen invasion or disease. Some components of immunity show thermal resilience and are enhanced during temperature stress and even in bleached corals. These examples suggest some plasticity and resilience to cope with environmental change and even the potential for evolution of resistance to disease. However, there is huge variability in responses among coral species, and the rate of climate change is projected to be so rapid that only extremely hardy taxa are likely to survive the projected changes in climate stressors.

  3. 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.

  4. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    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... explain the low species diversity and the absence of branching corals in the intertidal regions. H.aised fossil reefs, proba bly as a result of local upheavals, arc found in Minicoy island (Gardiner 1903), in Ramanalhapuram district in Tamil Nadu...

  5. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cole, A. J.; Lawton, R. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Wilson, S. K.

    2011-03-01

    Interactions between predators and prey organisms are of fundamental importance to ecological communities. While the ecological impact that grazing predators can have in terrestrial and temperate marine systems are well established, the importance of coral grazers on tropical reefs has rarely been considered. In this study, we estimate the biomass of coral tissue consumed by four prominent species of corallivorous butterflyfishes. Sub-adult butterflyfishes (60-70 mm, 6-11 g) remove between 0.6 and 0.9 g of live coral tissue per day, while larger adults (>110 mm, ~40-50 g) remove between 1.5 and 3 g of coral tissue each day. These individual consumption rates correspond to the population of coral-feeding butterflyfishes at three exposed reef crest habitats at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, consuming between 14.6 g (±2.0) and 19.6 g (±3.9) .200 m-2 day-1 of coral tissue. When standardised to the biomass of butterflyfishes present, a combined reefwide removal rate of 4.2 g (±1.2) of coral tissue is consumed per 200 m-2 kg-1 of coral-feeding butterflyfishes. The quantity of coral tissue removed by these predators is considerably larger than previously expected and indicates that coral grazers are likely to play an important role in the transfer of energy fixed by corals to higher consumers. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes is expected to exact a large energetic cost upon prey corals and contribute to an increased rate of coral loss on reefs already threatened by anthropogenic pressure and ongoing climate change.

  6. 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.

  7. Corals from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

    The goal of this research is to monitor the health and vigor of coral reef ecosystems, and their sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic climate changes. To achieve these lofty goals, this research is investigating the feasibility of using spaceborne high-resolution spectrometers (on the US Landsat, French Systeme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre [SPOT] and/or the Indian Resources Satellite [IRS 1C & 1D] spacecraft) to first map the aerial extent of coral reef systems, and second separate the amount of particular corals. If this is successful, we could potentially provide a quantum leap in our understanding of coral reef systems, as well as provide much needed baseline data to measure future changes in global coral reef ecosystems. In collaboration with Tomas Tomascik, Yann Morel, and other colleagues, a series of experiments were planned to coordinate in situ coral observations, high-resolution spaceborne imagery (from Landsat, SPOT, and, possibly, IRS IC spacecraft), and NASA Space Shuttle photographs and digital images. Our eventual goal is to develop "coral health algorithms" that can be used to assess time series of imagery collected from satellite sensors (Landsat since 1972, SPOT since 1986) in concert with in situ observations. The bad news from last year was that from 1997 to mid- 1998, the extreme cloudiness over southeast Asia due to prolonged smoke from El Nino-related fires and the economic chaos in this region frustrated both our space and reef-based data collection activities. When this volatile situation stabilizes, we will restart these activities. The good news was that in collaboration with Al Strong at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we had an exciting year operationally using the NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer sensor derived sea surface temperature products to warn of coral "bleaching" at many locations throughout the tropics. Data from NOAA's satellites showed that during the El Nino of

  8. Occurrence patterns of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae over depth intervals in the Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaj M. van Tienderen

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Coral-associated invertebrates form a major part of the diversity on reefs, but their distribution and occurrence patterns are virtually unstudied. For associated taxa data are lacking on their distribution across shelves and environmental gradients, but also over various depths. Off Curaçao we studied the prevalence and density of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae, obligate symbionts of stony corals. Belt transects (10 × 0.5m2 were laid out at 6, 12 and 18 m depth intervals at 27 localities. Twenty-one known host coral species were surveyed, measured, and the number of crab dwellings was recorded to study the influence of host occurrence, depth distribution, and colony size on the occurrence rates of three Atlantic gall crab species: Opecarcinus hypostegus, Troglocarcinus corallicola and Kroppcarcinus siderastreicola. The overall gall crab prevalence rate was 20.3% across all available host corals at all depths. The agariciid-associated species O. hypostegus was found to mostly inhabit Agaricia lamarcki and its prevalence was highest at deeper depths, following the depth distribution of its host. Kroppcarcinus siderastreicola, associated with Siderastrea and Stephanocoenia, inhabited shallower depths despite higher host availability at deeper depths. The generalist species T. corallicola showed no clear host or depth specialisation. These results show that the primary factors affecting the distribution and occurrence rates over depth intervals differed between each of the three Atlantic cryptochirid species, which in turn influences their vulnerability to reef degradation.

  9. coral Software: QSAR for Anticancer Agents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benfenati, Emilio; Toropov, Andrey A; Toropova, Alla P; Manganaro, Alberto; Gonella Diaza, Rodolfo

    2011-06-01

    CORrelations And Logic (coral at http://www.insilico.eu/coral) is freeware aimed at establishing a quantitative structure - property/activity relationships (QSPR/QSAR). Simplified molecular input line entry system (SMILES) is used to represent the molecular structure. In fact, symbols in SMILES nomenclatures are indicators of the presence of defined molecular fragments. By means of the calculation with Monte Carlo optimization of the so called correlation weights (contributions) for the above-mentioned molecular fragments, one can define optimal SMILES-based descriptors, which are correlated with an endpoint for the training set. The predictability of these descriptors for an external validation set can be estimated. A collection of SMILES-based models of anticancer activity of 1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-1-(2-thiazolyl)-1,8-naphthyridines for different splits into training and validation set which are calculated with the coral are examined and discussed. Good performance has been obtained for three splits: the r(2) ranged between 0.778 and 0.829 for the sub-training set, between 0.828 and 0.933 for the calibration set, and between 0.807 and 0.931 for the validation set. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  10. 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 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.

  11. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in Puerto Rico using the Coral Demographics method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Demographic method is one of two benthic surveys conducted in Puerto Rico as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The coral...

  12. Intraspecific Diversity and Ecological Zonation in Coral-Algal Symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowan, Rob; Knowlton, Nancy

    1995-03-01

    All reef-building corals are obligately associated with photosynthetic microalgal endosymbionts called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthella taxonomy has emphasized differences between species of hosts, but the possibility of ecologically significant zooxanthella diversity within hosts has been the subject of speculation for decades. Analysis of two dominant Caribbean corals showed that each associates with three taxa of zooxanthellae that exhibit zonation with depth-the primary environmental gradient for light-dependent marine organisms. Some colonies apparently host two taxa of symbionts in proportions that can vary across the colony. This common occurrence of polymorphic, habitat-specific symbioses challenges conventional understanding of the units of biodiversity but also illuminates many distinctive aspects of marine animal-algal associations. Habitat specificity provides ecological explanations for the previously documented poor concordance between host and symbiont phylogenies and the otherwise surprising lack of direct, maternal transmission of symbionts in many species of hosts. Polymorphic symbioses may underlie the conspicuous and enigmatic variability characteristic of responses to environmental stress (e.g., coral "bleaching") and contribute importantly to the phenomenon of photoadaptation.

  13. 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....

  14. Coral reefs at risk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Eighty-eight percent of Southeast Asia's reefs are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing, and sedimentation and pollution from inland activities, according to a new report by 35 regional scientists published by the World Resources Institute.Nearly 100,000 square kilometers of coral reefs—34% of the world's total—are located in Southeast Asia.

  15. 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...

  16. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Line K Bay

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

  19. 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.

  20. Ecological variables, including physiognomic-structural attributes, and classification of Indonesian coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bak, R. P. M.; Povel, G. D. E.

    Communities are distinguished by biological and physical features, such as size and shape of organisms and dead substrata, which are characteristic expressions of the organizing forces in the community. We measured 87 of such features in 39 transects on seaward-facing reef slopes in the eastern Indonesian archipelago, but did not identify coral species. We aimed to identify the basic variables that are indispensable to classify coral reef communities. This would give ecological information on variation in reef communities and show exactly which data must be recorded in the field. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the data matrix showed the following variables to be important in the ordination of transects along the axes: coral colony shape, loose fragments, bare bottom, coral tissue wounds, rubble, sediment/rubble, crustose coralline algae, excavating sponge, miscellaneous organisms, coral overgrowth, interaction coral/non-coral, Acanthaster, maximum size coral colonies, tabular Acropora, massive Porites, fungiids, angle slope, and crevices. We used the transect data to define four groups of environmental conditions: 'sheltered', 'exposed' (to water movement), 'biologically disturbed' and 'physically disturbed'. Discriminant Analysis was employed to classify additional transects. It appeared that a minimum of 9 variables has to be measured in the field (rubble, thick branching corals, fungiids, sediment/rubble, two largest-colonies diameters, massive Porites, angle slope, Acanthaster) to assign transects to one of those groups (P Discriminant Analysis.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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, the Janzen-Connell model has never been proposed as an explanation for high diversity in these ecosystems. We tested the central predictions of the Janzen-Connell model in a coral reef, using swimming larvae and settled polyps of the common Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. In a field experiment to test for distance- or density-dependent mortality, coral settler mortality was higher and more strongly density dependent in locations down-current from adult corals. Survival did not increase monotoilically with distance, however, revealing the influence of fluid dynamics around adult corals in structuring spatial patterns of mortality. Complementary microbial profiles around adult coral heads revealed that one potential cause of settler mortality, marine microbial communities, are structured at the same spatial scale. In a field experiment to test whether factors causing juvenile mortality are host specific, settler mortality was 2.3-3.0 times higher near conspecific adults vs. near adult corals of other genera or in open reef areas. In four laboratory experiments to test for distance-dependent, host-specific mortality, swimming coral larvae were exposed to water collected near conspecific adult corals, near other coral genera, and in open areas of the reef. Microbial abundance in these water samples was manipulated with filters and antibiotics to test whether the cause of mortality was biotic (i.e., microbial). Juvenile survivorship was lowest in unfiltered water collected near conspecifics, and survivorship increased when this water was filter sterilized, collected farther away, or collected near other adult coral genera. Together these results demonstrate for the

  3. 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.

  4. To understand coral disease, look at coral cells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Meteyer, Carol

    2014-01-01

    Diseases threaten corals globally, but 40 years on their causes remain mostly unknown. We hypothesize that inconsistent application of a complete diagnostic approach to coral disease has contributed to this slow progress. We quantified methods used to investigate coral disease in 492 papers published between 1965 and 2013. Field surveys were used in 65% of the papers, followed by biodetection (43%), laboratory trials (20%), microscopic pathology (21%), and field trials (9%). Of the microscopic pathology efforts, 57% involved standard histopathology at the light microscopic level (12% of the total investigations), with the remainder dedicated to electron or fluorescence microscopy. Most (74%) biodetection efforts focused on culture or molecular characterization of bacteria or fungi from corals. Molecular and immunological tools have been used to incriminate infectious agents (mainly bacteria) as the cause of coral diseases without relating the agent to specific changes in cell and tissue pathology. Of 19 papers that declared an infectious agent as a cause of disease in corals, only one (5%) used microscopic pathology, and none fulfilled all of the criteria required to satisfy Koch’s postulates as applied to animal diseases currently. Vertebrate diseases of skin and mucosal surfaces present challenges similar to corals when trying to identify a pathogen from a vast array of environmental microbes, and diagnostic approaches regularly used in these cases might provide a model for investigating coral diseases. We hope this review will encourage specialists of disease in domestic animals, wildlife, fish, shellfish, and humans to contribute to the emerging field of coral disease.

  5. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Could some coral reefs become sponge reefs as our climate changes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James J; Davy, Simon K; Jones, Timothy; Taylor, Michael W; Webster, Nicole S

    2013-09-01

    Coral reefs across the world have been seriously degraded and have a bleak future in response to predicted global warming and ocean acidification (OA). However, this is not the first time that biocalcifying organisms, including corals, have faced the threat of extinction. The end-Triassic mass extinction (200 million years ago) was the most severe biotic crisis experienced by modern marine invertebrates, which selected against biocalcifiers; this was followed by the proliferation of another invertebrate group, sponges. The duration of this sponge-dominated period far surpasses that of alternative stable-ecosystem or phase-shift states reported on modern day coral reefs and, as such, a shift to sponge-dominated reefs warrants serious consideration as one future trajectory of coral reefs. We hypothesise that some coral reefs of today may become sponge reefs in the future, as sponges and corals respond differently to changing ocean chemistry and environmental conditions. To support this hypothesis, we discuss: (i) the presence of sponge reefs in the geological record; (ii) reported shifts from coral- to sponge-dominated systems; and (iii) direct and indirect responses of the sponge holobiont and its constituent parts (host and symbionts) to changes in temperature and pH. Based on this evidence, we propose that sponges may be one group to benefit from projected climate change and ocean acidification scenarios, and that increased sponge abundance represents a possible future trajectory for some coral reefs, which would have important implications for overall reef functioning. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    OpenAIRE

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Schots, P.; Onselen, van, E.; Karruppannan, E.W.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Osinga, R.

    2013-01-01

    Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767) grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis reveale...

  11. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    OpenAIRE

    Tim Wijgerde; Pauke Schots; Eline Van Onselen; Max Janse; Eric Karruppannan; Verreth, Johan A. J.; Ronald Osinga

    2012-01-01

    Summary Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767) grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis...

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Gross and Microscopic Lesions in Corals from Micronesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Hughen, K A

    2016-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates.

  15. 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.

  16. Molecular delineation of species in the coral holobiont.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, Michael; Baker, Andrew C; Bourne, David G; Correa, Adrienne M S; Forsman, Zac; Huggett, Megan J; Pochon, Xavier; Skillings, Derek; Toonen, Robert J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D

    2012-01-01

    The coral holobiont is a complex assemblage of organisms spanning a diverse taxonomic range including a cnidarian host, as well as various dinoflagellate, prokaryotic and acellular symbionts. With the accumulating information on the molecular diversity of these groups, binomial species classification and a reassessment of species boundaries for the partners in the coral holobiont is a logical extension of this work and will help enhance the capacity for comparative research among studies. To aid in this endeavour, we review the current literature on species diversity for the three best studied partners of the coral holobiont (coral, Symbiodinium, prokaryotes) and provide suggestions for future work on systematics within these taxa. We advocate for an integrative approach to the delineation of species using both molecular genetics in combination with phenetic characters. We also suggest that an a priori set of criteria be developed for each taxonomic group as no one species concept or accompanying set of guidelines is appropriate for delineating all members of the coral holobiont. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    cells cmP2 (Drew 1972), it is reasonable to expect that nitrification will have to compete with assimilatory re- moval of NH,+. The relative importance of NH4+ flux in these two pathways can be evaluated with the present data on NO,- production... about the means in the es- timates, this correspondence shows that bacterial nitrification effectively competes with autotrophic uptake of NH,+ in coral- zooxanthellae symbiosis. In fact, our nitrification rates would be underestimates since losses...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Defining excellence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mehl, B

    1993-05-01

    Excellence in the pharmacy profession, particularly pharmacy management, is defined. Several factors have a significant effect on the ability to reach a given level of excellence. The first is the economic and political climate in which pharmacists practice. Stricter controls, reduced resources, and the velocity of change all necessitate nurturing of values and a work ethic to maintain excellence. Excellence must be measured by the services provided with regard to the resources available; thus, the ability to achieve excellence is a true test of leadership and innovation. Excellence is also time dependent, and today's innovation becomes tomorrow's standard. Programs that raise the level of patient care, not those that aggrandize the profession, are the most important. In addition, basic services must be practiced at a level of excellence. Quality assessment is a way to improve care and bring medical treatment to a higher plane of excellence. For such assessment to be effective and not punitive, the philosophy of the program must be known, and the goal must be clear. Excellence in practice is dependent on factors such as political and social norms, standards of practice, available resources; perceptions, time, the motivation to progress to a higher level, and the continuous innovation required to reshape the profession to meet the needs of society.

  8. 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

  9. Heterotrophic Compensation: A Possible Mechanism for Resilience of Coral Reefs to Global Warming or a Sign of Prolonged Stress?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Adam D.; Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2013-01-01

    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 may be better

  10. 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...

  11. Resilience of coral-associated bacterial communities exposed to fish farm effluent.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Raymundo, Laurie; Guest, James; Harvell, C Drew; Azam, Farooq

    2009-10-06

    The coral holobiont includes the coral animal, algal symbionts, and associated microbial community. These microbes help maintain the holobiont homeostasis; thus, sustaining robust mutualistic microbial communities is a fundamental part of long-term coral reef survival. Coastal pollution is one major threat to reefs, and intensive fish farming is a rapidly growing source of this pollution. We investigated the susceptibility and resilience of the bacterial communities associated with a common reef-building coral, Porites cylindrica, to coastal pollution by performing a clonally replicated transplantation experiment in Bolinao, Philippines adjacent to intensive fish farming. Ten fragments from each of four colonies (total of 40 fragments) were followed for 22 days across five sites: a well-flushed reference site (the original fragment source); two sites with low exposure to milkfish (Chanos chanos) aquaculture effluent; and two sites with high exposure. Elevated levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), chlorophyll a, total heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria abundance, virus like particle (VLP) abundances, and culturable Vibrio abundance characterized the high effluent sites. Based on 16S rRNA clone libraries and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis, we observed rapid, dramatic changes in the coral-associated bacterial communities within five days of high effluent exposure. The community composition on fragments at these high effluent sites shifted towards known human and coral pathogens (i.e. Arcobacter, Fusobacterium, and Desulfovibrio) without the host corals showing signs of disease. The communities shifted back towards their original composition by day 22 without reduction in effluent levels. This study reveals fish farms as a likely source of pathogens with the potential to proliferate on corals and an unexpected short-term resilience of coral-associated bacterial communities to eutrophication pressure. These data highlight a need for

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. A. Wooldridge

    2012-09-01

    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 biominerationsation 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 1900's. In concluding, I explain how the evolved capacity of the cnidarians (which now includes modern reef corals to overcome the metabolic limitation of hypoxia via skeletogenesis, may underpin 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Resilience of coral-associated bacterial communities exposed to fish farm effluent.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melissa Garren

    Full Text Available The coral holobiont includes the coral animal, algal symbionts, and associated microbial community. These microbes help maintain the holobiont homeostasis; thus, sustaining robust mutualistic microbial communities is a fundamental part of long-term coral reef survival. Coastal pollution is one major threat to reefs, and intensive fish farming is a rapidly growing source of this pollution.We investigated the susceptibility and resilience of the bacterial communities associated with a common reef-building coral, Porites cylindrica, to coastal pollution by performing a clonally replicated transplantation experiment in Bolinao, Philippines adjacent to intensive fish farming. Ten fragments from each of four colonies (total of 40 fragments were followed for 22 days across five sites: a well-flushed reference site (the original fragment source; two sites with low exposure to milkfish (Chanos chanos aquaculture effluent; and two sites with high exposure. Elevated levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC, chlorophyll a, total heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria abundance, virus like particle (VLP abundances, and culturable Vibrio abundance characterized the high effluent sites. Based on 16S rRNA clone libraries and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE analysis, we observed rapid, dramatic changes in the coral-associated bacterial communities within five days of high effluent exposure. The community composition on fragments at these high effluent sites shifted towards known human and coral pathogens (i.e. Arcobacter, Fusobacterium, and Desulfovibrio without the host corals showing signs of disease. The communities shifted back towards their original composition by day 22 without reduction in effluent levels.This study reveals fish farms as a likely source of pathogens with the potential to proliferate on corals and an unexpected short-term resilience of coral-associated bacterial communities to eutrophication pressure. These data highlight a

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida

    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.

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. K. Yates

    2014-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-08-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business-as-usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality, and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove-shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. Over 30 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR) from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies were living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies were bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies were bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeneity, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  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

    2011-12-01

    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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-10

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

  7. 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

  8. Molecular phylogeny and shell microstructure of Fungiacava eilatensis Goreau et al. 1968, boring into mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae), in relation to other mussels (Bivalvia: Mytilidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Owada, M.; Hoeksema, B.W.

    2011-01-01

    Research on the evolution of the symbiosis between the boring mussel Fungiacava eilatensis (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) and its mushroom coral hosts (Scleractinia: Fungiidae), which requires phylogenetic reconstructions of both the Mytilidae and the Fungiidae, contributes to the understanding of the comple

  9. Metabolomics of reef benthic interactions reveals a bioactive lipid involved in coral defence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quinn, Robert A; Vermeij, Mark J A; Hartmann, Aaron C; Galtier d'Auriac, Ines; Benler, Sean; Haas, Andreas; Quistad, Steven D; Lim, Yan Wei; Little, Mark; Sandin, Stuart; Smith, Jennifer E; Dorrestein, Pieter C; Rohwer, Forest

    2016-04-27

    Holobionts are assemblages of microbial symbionts and their macrobial host. As extant representatives of some of the oldest macro-organisms, corals and algae are important for understanding how holobionts develop and interact with one another. Using untargeted metabolomics, we show that non-self interactions altered the coral metabolome more than self-interactions (i.e. different or same genus, respectively). Platelet activating factor (PAF) and Lyso-PAF, central inflammatory modulators in mammals, were major lipid components of the coral holobionts. When corals were damaged during competitive interactions with algae, PAF increased along with expression of the gene encoding Lyso-PAF acetyltransferase; the protein responsible for converting Lyso-PAF to PAF. This shows that self and non-self recognition among some of the oldest extant holobionts involve bioactive lipids identical to those in highly derived taxa like humans. This further strengthens the hypothesis that major players of the immune response evolved during the pre-Cambrian.

  10. 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 recruit

  11. 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

  12. Symbiont acquisition strategy drives host-symbiont associations in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, M.; Loh, W. K. W.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Carter, D. A.

    2008-12-01

    Coral larvae acquire populations of the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium from the external environment (horizontal acquisition) or inherit their symbionts from the parent colony (maternal or vertical acquisition). The effect of the symbiont acquisition strategy on Symbiodinium-host associations has not been fully resolved. Previous studies have provided mixed results, probably due to factors such as low sample replication of Symbiodinium from a single coral host, biogeographic differences in Symbiodinium diversity, and the presence of some apparently host-specific symbiont lineages in coral with either symbiont acquisition strategies. This study set out to assess the effect of the symbiont acquisition strategy by sampling Symbiodinium from 10 coral species (five with a horizontal and five with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy) across two adjacent reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Symbiodinium diversity was assessed using single-stranded conformational polymorphism of partial nuclear large subunit rDNA and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region. The Symbiodinium population in hosts with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy partitioned according to coral species, while hosts with a horizontal symbiont acquisition strategy shared a common symbiont type across the two reef environments. Comparative analysis of existing data from the southern Great Barrier Reef found that the majority of corals with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy associated with distinct species- or genus-specific Symbiodinium lineages, but some could also associate with symbiont types that were more commonly found in hosts with a horizontal symbiont acquisition strategy.

  13. 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

  14. Metaproteomics reveals metabolic transitions between healthy and diseased stony coral Mussismilia braziliensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, Gizele D; Santos, Eidy de O; Sousa, Gabriele V; Zingali, Russolina B; Thompson, Cristiane C; Thompson, Fabiano L

    2016-09-01

    Infectious diseases such as white plague syndrome (WPS) and black band disease (BBD) have caused massive coral loss worldwide. We performed a metaproteomic study on the Abrolhos coral Mussismilia braziliensis to define the types of proteins expressed in healthy corals compared to WPS- and BBD-affected corals. A total of 6363 MS/MS spectra were identified as 361 different proteins. Healthy corals had a set of proteins that may be considered markers of holobiont homoeostasis, including tubulin, histone, Rab family, ribosomal, peridinin-chlorophyll a-binding protein, F0F1-type ATP synthase, alpha-iG protein, calmodulin and ADP-ribosylation factor. Cnidaria proteins found in healthy M. braziliensis were associated with Cnidaria-Symbiodinium endosymbiosis and included chaperones (hsp70, hsp90 and calreticulin), structural and membrane modelling proteins (actin) and proteins with functions related to intracellular vesicular traffic (Rab7 and ADP-ribosylation factor 1) and signal transduction (14-3-3 protein and calmodulin). WPS resulted in a clear shift in the predominance of proteins, from those related to aerobic nitrogen-fixing bacteria (i.e. Rhizobiales, Sphingomonadales and Actinomycetales) in healthy corals to those produced by facultative/anaerobic sulphate-reducing bacteria (i.e. Enterobacteriales, Alteromonadales, Clostridiales and Bacteroidetes) in WPS corals. BBD corals developed a diverse community dominated by cyanobacteria and sulphur cycle bacteria. Hsp60, hsp90 and adenosylhomocysteinase proteins were produced mainly by cyanobacteria in BBD corals, which is consistent with elevated oxidative stress in hydrogen sulphide- and cyanotoxin-rich environments. This study demonstrates the usefulness of metaproteomics for gaining better comprehension of coral metabolic status in health and disease, especially in reef systems such as the Abrolhos that are suffering from the increase in global and local threatening events.

  15. 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.

  16. Deep Coral Oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bo, Marzia; Canese, Simonepietro; Spaggiari, Costanza; Pusceddu, Antonio; Bertolino, Marco; Angiolillo, Michela; Giusti, Michela; Loreto, Maria Filomena; Salvati, Eva; Greco, Silvestro; Bavestrello, Giorgio

    2012-01-01

    A Mediterranean “roche du large” ecosystem, represented by four rocky shoals, located a few miles apart on a muddy bottom at 70–130 m depth in the gulf of St. Eufemia (Calabria, South Tyrrhenian Sea), was studied by means of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) photo imaging. The shoals host highly diversified coral communities, mainly composed of arborescent colonies of gorgonians (Callogorgia verticillata, Paramuricea clavata, Paramuricea macrospina, Bebryce mollis, Villogorgia bebrycoides, Corallium rubrum, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa), and antipatharians (Antipathella subpinnata, Antipathes dichotoma and Parantipathes larix). The coral colonies reach high densities (up to ca. 17 colonies m−2) and large sizes, such as the over 1.5 m wide antipatharian colonies. We hypothesized that the abundance and composition of the coral assemblages differed significantly among the rocky shoals and with respect to the surrounding soft bottoms. Various environmental variables were tested as possible explanatory factors of the observed differences. Moreover, due to their off-coast localization, we report here that these unique ecosystems are potentially subjected to a strong pressure from the local fishing activities, which were tentatively characterized. The recorded coral β-diversity among the shoals supports the hypothesis that these habitats behave like small oases of hard substrata interspersed in a muddy bottom. Because of their intrinsic beauty and rarity and their biological and ecological value, we stress the need of specific actions aimed at the urgent protection of these oases of biodiversity. PMID:23185468

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  18. Deep coral oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marzia Bo

    Full Text Available A Mediterranean "roche du large" ecosystem, represented by four rocky shoals, located a few miles apart on a muddy bottom at 70-130 m depth in the gulf of St. Eufemia (Calabria, South Tyrrhenian Sea, was studied by means of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV photo imaging. The shoals host highly diversified coral communities, mainly composed of arborescent colonies of gorgonians (Callogorgia verticillata, Paramuricea clavata, Paramuricea macrospina, Bebryce mollis, Villogorgia bebrycoides, Corallium rubrum, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa, and antipatharians (Antipathella subpinnata, Antipathes dichotoma and Parantipathes larix. The coral colonies reach high densities (up to ca. 17 colonies m(-2 and large sizes, such as the over 1.5 m wide antipatharian colonies. We hypothesized that the abundance and composition of the coral assemblages differed significantly among the rocky shoals and with respect to the surrounding soft bottoms. Various environmental variables were tested as possible explanatory factors of the observed differences. Moreover, due to their off-coast localization, we report here that these unique ecosystems are potentially subjected to a strong pressure from the local fishing activities, which were tentatively characterized. The recorded coral β-diversity among the shoals supports the hypothesis that these habitats behave like small oases of hard substrata interspersed in a muddy bottom. Because of their intrinsic beauty and rarity and their biological and ecological value, we stress the need of specific actions aimed at the urgent protection of these oases of biodiversity.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve and Reef Recovery. Abstract—In 2003 ... from sources of coral larvae from reefs in the south, and are seasonally influenced by nutrient-rich, cooler water due ..... Marine Pollution Bulletin. 42, 1264- ...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, Melissa S; Deheyn, Dimitri D

    2013-01-01

    Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals.

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

    to colourful, hard and soft corals, sponges, a diverse population of fishes, holothurians, calciferous algae and other myriad communities (Connell 1978). They support tourism, food production and coastal protection from natural hazards. Corals fall in two... in the French Polynesia (Golubic et al. 2005). Bak and Laane (1987) observed a dark mycelial fungus with perithecia, probably belonging to Ascomycetes in black bands of Porites species in the eastern part of the Indonesian Archipelago. Partial dissolution...

  4. Eukarya associated with the stony coral Oculina patagonica from the Mediterranean Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubio-Portillo, Esther; Souza-Egipsy, Virginia; Ascaso, Carmen; de Los Rios Murillo, Asunción; Ramos-Esplá, Alfonso A; Antón, Josefa

    2014-10-01

    Oculina patagonica is a putative alien scleractinian coral from the Southwest Atlantic that inhabits across the Mediterranean Sea. Here, we have addressed the diversity of Eukarya associated with this coral and its changes related to the environmental conditions and coral status. A total of 46 colonies of O. patagonica were taken from Alicante coast (Spain) and Pietra Ligure coast (Italy) and analyzed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the small-subunit 18S rRNA and 16S plastid rRNA genes, internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS 2) analyses, and electron microscopy. Our results show that Eukarya and plastid community associated to O. patagonica change with environmental conditions and coral status. Cryptic species, which can be difficult to identify by optical methods, were distinguished by 18S rRNA gene DGGE: the barnacle Megatrema anglicum, which was detected at two locations, and two boring sponges related to Cliona sp. and Siphonodictyon coralliphagum detected in samples from Tabarca and Alicante Harbour, respectively. Eukaryotic phototrophic community from the skeletal matrix of healthy corals was dominated by Ochrosphaera sp. while bleached corals from the Harbour and Tabarca were associated to different uncultured phototrophic organism. Differences in ultrastructural morphologies of the zooxanthellae between healthy and bleached corals were observed. Nevertheless, no differences were found in Symbiodinium community among time, environments, coral status and location, showing that O. patagonica hosted only one genotype of Symbiodinium belonging to clade B2. The fact that this clade has not been previously detected in other Mediterranean corals and is more frequent in the tropical Western Atlantic, is a new evidence that O. patagonica is an alien species in the Mediterranean Sea.

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eldad Saragosti

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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

  7. Coral transplantation triggers shift in microbiome and promotion of coral disease associated potential pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casey, Jordan M; Connolly, Sean R; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2015-07-06

    By cultivating turf algae and aggressively defending their territories, territorial damselfishes in the genus Stegastes play a major role in shaping coral-algal dynamics on coral reefs. The epilithic algal matrix (EAM) inside Stegastes' territories is known to harbor high abundances of potential coral disease pathogens. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on coral microbial assemblages, we established a coral transplant inside and outside of Stegastes' territories. Over the course of one year, the percent mortality of transplanted corals was monitored and coral samples were collected for microbial analysis. As compared to outside damselfish territories, Stegastes were associated with a higher rate of mortality of transplanted corals. However, 16S rDNA sequencing revealed that territorial grazers do not differentially impact the microbial assemblage of corals exposed to the EAM. Regardless of Stegastes presence or absence, coral transplantation resulted in a shift in the coral-associated microbial community and an increase in coral disease associated potential pathogens. Further, transplanted corals that suffer low to high mortality undergo a microbial transition from a microbiome similar to that of healthy corals to that resembling the EAM. These findings demonstrate that coral transplantation significantly impacts coral microbial communities, and transplantation may increase susceptibility to coral disease.

  8. A Fundamental Paradigm for Coral Reef Carbonate Sediment Dissolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas J Andersson

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available The long-term success of coral reefs depends on a positive balance of calcium carbonate production exceeding dissolution, erosion, and material export. As a result of ocean acidification, coral reefs could transition from net accretion to net erosion owing to decreasing rates of calcification and increasing rates of chemical dissolution and bioerosion. Here, I present a fundamental paradigm that aims to explain the main driver of carbonate sediment dissolution on coral reefs based on theory and a new empirical dataset of pore water carbonate chemistry from the Bermuda coral reef platform. The paradigm shows that carbonate sediment dissolution is most strongly controlled by the extent of organic matter decomposition in the sediments, but that the magnitude of dissolution is influenced by how much decomposition is required to reach pore water undersaturation with respect to the most soluble bulk carbonate mineral phase present in the sediments, a condition defined as the Carbonate Critical Threshold (CCT. Decomposition of organic matter beyond the CCT under aerobic conditions results in stoichiometric proportional dissolution of carbonate sediments. As ocean acidification proceeds over the next several decades, the extent of organic matter decomposition required to reach the CCT will decrease, carbonate dissolution will increase, and subsequently the accumulation of carbonate sediments will decrease. Since drastic reductions in anthropogenic CO2 emission are unlikely in the foreseeable future, the paradigm shows that active controls and reduction of organic matter input to coral reefs at the local scale might be an effective mitigation strategy to prevent or delay coral reefs transitioning to a state of net dissolution.

  9. Precious Coral Logbook Data Set

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This is a federally mandated logbook program for harvesting precious coral, and it is required to be mailed in to PIFSC after a fishing trip. Data is from 1999-2000....

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Fine-structural analysis of black band disease-infected coral reveals boring cyanobacteria and novel bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Aaron W; Blackwelder, Patricia; Al-Sayegh, Husain; Richardson, Laurie L

    2011-02-22

    Examination of coral fragments infected with black band disease (BBD) at the fine- and ultrastructural levels using scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed novel features of the disease. SEM images of the skeleton from the host coral investigated (Montastraea annularis species complex) revealed extensive boring underneath the BBD mat, with cyanobacterial filaments present within some of the bore holes. Cyanobacteria were observed to penetrate into the overlying coral tissue from within the skeleton and were present throughout the mesoglea between tissue layers (coral epidermis and gastrodermis). A population of novel, as yet unidentified, small filamentous bacteria was found at the leading edge of the migrating band. This population increased in number within the band and was present within degrading coral epithelium, suggesting a role in disease etiology. In coral tissue in front of the leading edge of the band, cyanobacterial filaments were observed to be emerging from bundles of sloughed-off epidermal tissue. Degraded gastrodermis that contained actively dividing zooxanthellae was observed using both TEM and SEM. The BBD mat contained cyanobacterial filaments that were twisted, characteristic of negative-tactic responses. Some evidence of boring was found in apparently healthy control coral fragments; however, unlike in BBD-infected fragments, there were no associated cyanobacteria. These results suggest the coral skeleton as a possible source of pathogenic BBD cyanobacteria. Additionally, SEM revealed the presence of a potentially important group of small, filamentous BBD-associated bacteria yet to be identified.

  13. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Helen K; Hsing, Pen-Yuan; Cho, Walter; Shank, Timothy M; Cordes, Erik E; Quattrini, Andrea M; Nelson, Robert K; Camilli, Richard; Demopoulos, Amanda W J; German, Christopher R; Brooks, James M; Roberts, Harry H; Shedd, William; Reddy, Christopher M; Fisher, Charles R

    2012-12-11

    To assess the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on offshore ecosystems, 11 sites hosting deep-water coral communities were examined 3 to 4 mo after the well was capped. Healthy coral communities were observed at all sites >20 km from the Macondo well, including seven sites previously visited in September 2009, where the corals and communities appeared unchanged. However, at one site 11 km southwest of the Macondo well, coral colonies presented widespread signs of stress, including varying degrees of tissue loss, sclerite enlargement, excess mucous production, bleached commensal ophiuroids, and covering by brown flocculent material (floc). On the basis of these criteria the level of impact to individual colonies was ranked from 0 (least impact) to 4 (greatest impact). Of the 43 corals imaged at that site, 46% exhibited evidence of impact on more than half of the colony, whereas nearly a quarter of all of the corals showed impact to >90% of the colony. Additionally, 53% of these corals' ophiuroid associates displayed abnormal color and/or attachment posture. Analysis of hopanoid petroleum biomarkers isolated from the floc provides strong evidence that this material contained oil from the Macondo well. The presence of recently damaged and deceased corals beneath the path of a previously documented plume emanating from the Macondo well provides compelling evidence that the oil impacted deep-water ecosystems. Our findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the spill in terms of its magnitude, release at depth, and impact to deep-water ecosystems.

  14. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Irrefutable evidence of coral reef degradation worldwide and increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change have led to a focus on reef resilience and a call to “manage” coral reefs for resilience. Ideally, global action to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be accompanied by local action. Effective management requires reduction of local stressors, identification of the characteristics of resilient reefs, and design of marine protected area networks that include potentially resilient reefs. Future research is needed on how stressors interact, on how climate change will affect corals, fish, and other reef organisms as well as overall biodiversity, and on basic ecological processes such as connectivity. Not all reef species and reefs will respond similarly to local and global stressors. Because reef-building corals and other organisms have some potential to adapt to environmental changes, coral reefs will likely persist in spite of the unprecedented combination of stressors currently affecting them. The biodiversity of coral reefs is the basis for their remarkable beauty and for the benefits they provide to society. The extraordinary complexity of these ecosystems makes it both more difficult to predict their future and more likely they will have a future.

  15. Coral reef destruction of Small island in 44 years and destructive fishing in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Rani, Chair; Supriadi; Fakhriyyah, Sitti; Agus

    2016-11-01

    Coral reefs are among the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet. The most commonly stated for developing coral reef remote sensing techniques is to asses and or to monitor the status of these ecosystems. The study site was selected one of small island in inner zone Spermonde archipelago, Indonesia. We used Landsat MSS, Landsat TM, Landsat ETM, and Landsat OLI data to examine changes in the coral reefs of inner zone island in the Spermonde Archipelago from 1972 to 2016. The image processing are gap fills, atmospheric correction, geometric corrections, image composites, water column corrections, unsupervised classifications, and reclassification. Some of component change detection procedure was applied to define change. The results showed significant changes in 44 years. Disturbed coral reefs are typically characterized by loss of coral cover by increase in the abundance of dead corals and rubble. Local factors such as destructive fishing is direct destruction of inner zone island. While the impact of local threats may be reduced through management action, global threats to coral reefs are likely to increase in severity in the coming years.

  16. The next step in shallow coral reef monitoring: combining remote sensing and in situ approaches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scopélitis, Julie; Andréfouët, Serge; Phinn, Stuart; Arroyo, Lara; Dalleau, Mayeul; Cros, Annick; Chabanet, Pascale

    2010-11-01

    Most current coral reef management is supported by mapping and monitoring limited in record length and spatial extent. These deficiencies were addressed in a multidisciplinary study of cyclone impacts on Aboré Reef, New-Caledonia. Local knowledge, high thematic-resolution maps, and time-series satellite imagery complemented classical in situ monitoring methods. Field survey stations were selected from examination of pre- and post-cyclone images and their post-cyclone coral communities documented in terms of substrata, coral morphologies, live coral cover, and taxonomy. Time-series maps of hierarchically defined coral communities created at spatial scales documenting the variability among communities (29-45 classes) and suggesting the processes that affected them. The increased spatial coverage and repeatability of this approach significantly improved the recognition and interpretation of coral communities' spatio-temporal variability. It identified precise locations of impacted areas and those exhibiting coral recovery and resilience. The approach provides a comprehensive suite of information on which to base reef-scale conservation actions.

  17. 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

  18. Vibrio Zinc-Metalloprotease Causes Photoinactivation of Coral Endosymbionts and Coral Tissue Lesions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sussman, Meir; Mieog, Jos C.; Doyle, Jason; Victor, Steven; Willis, Bette L.; Bourne, David G.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Coral diseases are emerging as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide. Of nine coral infectious diseases, whose pathogens have been characterized, six are caused by agents from the family Vibrionacae, raising questions as to their origin and role in coral disease aetiology.

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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 ...

  1. Vibrio Zinc-Metalloprotease Causes Photoinactivation of Coral Endosymbionts and Coral Tissue Lesions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sussman, Meir; Mieog, Jos C.; Doyle, Jason; Victor, Steven; Willis, Bette L.; Bourne, David G.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Coral diseases are emerging as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide. Of nine coral infectious diseases, whose pathogens have been characterized, six are caused by agents from the family Vibrionacae, raising questions as to their origin and role in coral disease aetiology. Methodolog

  2. Nitrate competition in a coral symbiosis varies with temperature among Symbiodinium clades.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, David M; Andras, Jason P; Jordán-Garza, Adán Guillermo; Fogel, Marilyn L

    2013-06-01

    Many reef-building corals form symbioses with dinoflagellates from the diverse genus Symbiodinium. There is increasing evidence of functional significance to Symbiodinium diversity, which affects the coral holobiont's response to changing environmental conditions. For example, corals hosting Symbiodinium from the clade D taxon exhibit greater resistance to heat-induced coral bleaching than conspecifics hosting the more common clade C. Yet, the relatively low prevalence of clade D suggests that this trait is not advantageous in non-stressful environments. Thus, clade D may only be able to out-compete other Symbiodinium types within the host habitat when conditions are chronically stressful. Previous studies have observed enhanced photosynthesis and fitness by clade C holobionts at non-stressful temperatures, relative to clade D. Yet, carbon-centered metrics cannot account for enhanced growth rates and patterns of symbiont succession to other genetic types when nitrogen often limits reef productivity. To investigate the metabolic costs of hosting thermally tolerant symbionts, we examined the assimilation and translocation of inorganic (15)N and (13)C in the coral Acropora tenuis experimentally infected with either clade C (sub-type C1) or D Symbiodinium at 28 and 30 °C. We show that at 28 °C, C1 holobionts acquired 22% more (15)N than clade D. However, at 30 °C, C1 symbionts acquired equivalent nitrogen and 16% less carbon than D. We hypothesize that C1 competitively excludes clade D in hospite via enhanced nitrogen acquisition and thus dominates coral populations despite warming oceans.

  3. 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

  4. Molecular characterization reveals the complexity of previously overlooked coral-exosymbiont interactions and the implications for coral-guild ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rouzé, H.; Leray, M.; Magalon, H.; Penin, L.; Gélin, P.; Knowlton, N.; Fauvelot, C.

    2017-01-01

    Several obligate associate crabs and shrimps species may co-occur and interact within a single coral host, leading to patterns of associations that can provide essential ecological services. However, knowledge of the dynamics of interactions in this system is limited, partly because identifying species involved in the network remains challenging. In this study, we assessed the diversity of the decapods involved in exosymbiotic assemblages for juvenile and adult Pocillopora damicornis types α and β on reefs of New Caledonia and Reunion Island. This approach revealed complex patterns of association at regional and local scales with a prevalence of assemblages involving crab-shrimp partnerships. Furthermore, the distinction of two lineages in the snapping shrimp Alpheus lottini complex, rarely recognized in ecological studies, reveals a key role for cryptic diversity in structuring communities of mutualists. The existence of partnerships between species that occurred more commonly than expected by chance suggests an increased advantage for the host or a better adaptation of associated species to local environmental conditions. The consideration of cryptic diversity helps to accurately describe the complexity of interaction webs for diverse systems such as coral reefs, as well as the functional roles of dominant associated species for the persistence of coral populations. PMID:28358026

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. AFSC/ABL: Coldwater coral growth

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Colonies of the gorgonian coral Calcigorgia spiculifera were tagged at three sites in Southeast Alaska, Little Port Walter, Tenakee Inlet, and Kelp Bay. The corals...

  8. 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,...

  9. Fisheries management: what chance on coral reefs?

    OpenAIRE

    1996-01-01

    Failures of fishery management to control fishing effort globally and how this affects the coral reef fisheries are discussed. The use of marine reserves in coral reef fisheries management is also emphasized.

  10. LEGACY - EOP Temperature data for deep corals

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Thermographs were deployed opportunistically in patches of deep coral at depths greater than 300 m. Sites included the Makapuu precious coral bed, the Cross Seamount...

  11. 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...

  12. Depth specialization in mesophotic corals (Leptoseris spp.) and associated algal symbionts in Hawai'i.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pochon, X; Forsman, Z H; Spalding, H L; Padilla-Gamiño, J L; Smith, C M; Gates, R D

    2015-02-01

    Corals at the lower limits of mesophotic habitats are likely to have unique photosynthetic adaptations that allow them to persist and dominate in these extreme low light ecosystems. We examined the host-symbiont relationships from the dominant coral genus Leptoseris in mesophotic environments from Hawai'i collected by submersibles across a depth gradient of 65-125 m. Coral and Symbiodinium genotypes were compared with three distinct molecular markers including coral (COX1-1-rRNA intron) and Symbiodinium (COI) mitochondrial markers and nuclear ITS2. The phylogenetic reconstruction clearly resolved five Leptoseris species, including one species (Leptoseris hawaiiensis) exclusively found in deeper habitats (115-125 m). The Symbiodinium mitochondrial marker resolved three unambiguous haplotypes in clade C, which were found at significantly different frequencies between host species and depths, with one haplotype exclusively found at the lower mesophotic extremes (95-125 m). These patterns of host-symbiont depth specialization indicate that there are limits to connectivity between upper and lower mesophotic zones, suggesting that niche specialization plays a critical role in host-symbiont evolution at mesophotic extremes.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Coral growth on three reefs: development of recovery benchmarks using a space for time approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Done, T. J.; Devantier, L. M.; Turak, E.; Fisk, D. A.; Wakeford, M.; van Woesik, R.

    2010-12-01

    This 14-year study (1989-2003) develops recovery benchmarks based on a period of very strong coral recovery in Acropora-dominated assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) following major setbacks from the predatory sea-star Acanthaster planci in the early 1980s. A space for time approach was used in developing the benchmarks, made possible by the choice of three study reefs (Green Island, Feather Reef and Rib Reef), spread along 3 degrees of latitude (300 km) of the GBR. The sea-star outbreaks progressed north to south, causing death of corals that reached maximum levels in the years 1980 (Green), 1982 (Feather) and 1984 (Rib). The reefs were initially surveyed in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994, which represent recovery years 5-14 in the space for time protocol. Benchmark trajectories for coral abundance, colony sizes, coral cover and diversity were plotted against nominal recovery time (years 5-14) and defined as non-linear functions. A single survey of the same three reefs was conducted in 2003, when the reefs were nominally 1, 3 and 5 years into a second recovery period, following further Acanthaster impacts and coincident coral bleaching events around the turn of the century. The 2003 coral cover was marginally above the benchmark trajectory, but colony density (colonies.m-2) was an order of magnitude lower than the benchmark, and size structure was biased toward larger colonies that survived the turn of the century disturbances. The under-representation of small size classes in 2003 suggests that mass recruitment of corals had been suppressed, reflecting low regional coral abundance and depression of coral fecundity by recent bleaching events. The marginally higher cover and large colonies of 2003 were thus indicative of a depleted and aging assemblage not yet rejuvenated by a strong cohort of recruits.

  16. Copepods associated with scleractinian corals: a worldwide checklist and a case study of their impact on the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Pocilloporidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Yu Rong; Mayfield, Anderson B; Meng, Pei Jie; Dai, Chang Feng; Huys, Rony

    2016-10-11

    The Cnidaria have more symbiotic copepods than any other group of invertebrates, and the greatest numbers of these associates occur on hard corals. A review of the scattered literature on the diversity and taxonomic composition of scleractinian-associated copepods and their hosts revealed a total of 148 coral species, representing 66 genera and 15 families that serve as hosts to copepods. At present, 363 copepod species, representing 99 genera, 19 families and three orders, have been recorded as associates of scleractinian corals. The total included 288 cyclopoids, 68 siphonostomatoids and seven harpacticoids. Within the Cyclopoida the representation of species varied greatly among the 13 families, with a disproportionate number of species belonging to the Anchimolgidae (141 species) and Xarifiidae (92 species). Data on host utilization and geographical distribution of all copepods living symbiotically with hard corals is synthesized and host specificity patterns are highlighted.The prevalence, intensity, density, and biodiversity of copepod infection of 480 colonies of the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) from Nanwan Bay, southern Taiwan were documented between July 2007 and November 2008. It was hypothesized that certain environmental factors and physiological coral traits, such as the density of Symbiodinium, could influence these infection parameters. Analysis revealed that ectoparasitic copepods were the most likely to infect P. damicornis, and that Asteropontius minutus Kim, 2003 accounted for more than 50% of total copepod density in July-September 2007 when temperatures were high and bleaching occurred in ~75% of the sampled colonies. The data further showed that copepod virulence may be related to their life history strategies, as well as to Symbiodinium density, surface area of the host coral colonies, and concentration of nitrate and chlorophyll-a in the surrounding seawater. By tracking the abundance, diversity, and

  17. The nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of virion host shutoff RNase is enabled by pUL47 and an embedded nuclear export signal and defines the sites of degradation of AU-rich and stable cellular mRNAs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shu, Minfeng; Taddeo, Brunella; Roizman, Bernard

    2013-12-01

    The herpes simplex virus host shutoff RNase (VHS-RNase) is the major early block of host responses to infection. VHS-RNase is introduced into cells during infection and selectively degrades stable mRNAs made before infection and the normally short-lived AU-rich stress response mRNAs induced by sensors of innate immunity. Through its interactions with pUL47, another tegument protein, it spares from degradation viral mRNAs. Analyses of embedded motifs revealed that VHS-RNase contains a nuclear export signal (NES) but not a nuclear localization signal. To reconcile the potential nuclear localization with earlier studies showing that VHS-RNase degrades mRNAs in polyribosomes, we constructed a mutant in which NES was ablated. Comparison of the mutant and wild-type VHS-RNases revealed the following. (i) On infection, VHS-RNase is transported to the nucleus, but only the wild-type protein shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm. (ii) Both VHS-RNases localized in the cytoplasm following transfection. On cotransfection with pUL47, a fraction of VHS-RNase was translocated to the nucleus, suggesting that pUL47 may enable nuclear localization of VHS-RNase. (iii) In infected cells, VHS-RNase lacking NES degraded the short-lived AU-rich mRNAs but not the stable mRNAs. In transfected cells, both wild-type and NES mutant VHS-RNases effectively degraded cellular mRNAs. Our results suggest that the stable mRNAs are degraded in the cytoplasm, whereas the AU-rich mRNAs may be degraded in both cellular compartments. The selective sparing of viral mRNAs may take place during the nuclear phase in the course of interaction of pUL47, VHS-RNase, and nascent viral mRNAs.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. Dynamic regulation of partner abundance mediates response of reef coral symbioses to environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, R; Vaughan, N; Gillette, P; Capo, T R; Matté, J L; Baker, A C

    2015-05-01

    Regulating partner abunclance may allow symmotic organisms to mediate interaction outcomes, facilitating adaptive responses to environmental change. To explore the capacity for-adaptive regulation in an ecologically important endosymbiosis, we studied the population dynamics of symbiotic algae in reef-building corals under different abiotic contexts. We found high natural variability in symbiont abundance in corals across reefs, but this variability converged to different symbiont-specific abundances when colonies were maintained under constant conditions. When conditions changed seasonally, symbiont abundance readjusted to new equilibria. We explain these patterns using an a priori model of symbiotic costs and benefits to the coral host, which shows that the observed changes in symbiont abundance are consistent with the maximization of interaction benefit under different environmental conditions. These results indicate that, while regulating symbiont abundance helps hosts sustain maximum benefit in a dynamic environment, spatiotemporal variation in abiotic factors creates a broad range of symbiont abundances (and interaction outcomes) among corals that may account for observed natural variability in performance (e.g., growth rate) and stress tolerance (e.g., bleaching susceptibility). This cost or benefit framework provides a new perspective on the dynamic regulation of reef coral symbioses and illustrates that the dependence of interaction outcomes on biotic and abiotic contexts may be important in understanding how diverse mutualisms respond to environmental change.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goulet, Tamar L.; Shirur, Kartick P.; Ramsby, Blake D.; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2017-01-01

    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 symbiont, host

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Gilmour

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. How do corals make rocks?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falkowski, P. G.; Mass, T.; Drake, J.; Schaller, M. F.; Rosenthal, Y.; Schofield, O.; Sherrell, R. M.

    2014-12-01

    We have developed a three pronged approach to understanding how corals precipitate aragonite crystals and contain proxy biogeochemical information. Using proteomic and genomic approaches, we have identified 35 proteins in coral skeletons. Among these are a series of coral acidic proteins (CARPs). Based on their gene sequences, we cloned a subset of these proteins and purified them. Each of the proteins precipitate aragonite in vitro in unamended seawater. Antibodies raised against these proteins react with individual crystals of the native coral, clearly revealing that they are part of a biomineral structure. Based on the primary structure of the proteins we have developed a model of the precipitation reaction that focuses on a Lewis acid displacement of protons from bicarbonate anions by calcium ligated to the carboxyl groups on the CARPs. The reactions are highly acidic and are not manifestly influenced by pH above ca. 6. These results suggest that corals will maintain the ability to calcify in the coming centuries, despite acidification of the oceans.

  8. Speciation versus phenotypic plasticity in coral inhabiting barnacles: Darwin's observations in an ecological context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mokady, O; Loya, Y; Achituv, Y; Geffen, E; Graur, D; Rozenblatt, S; Brickner, I

    1999-09-01

    Speciation and phenotypic plasticity are two extreme strategic modes enabling a given taxon to populate a broad ecological niche. One of the organismal models which stimulated Darwin's ideas on speciation was the Cirripedia (barnacles), to which he dedicated a large monograph. In several cases, including the coral-inhabiting barnacle genera Savignium and Cantellius (formerly Pyrgoma and Creusia, respectively), Darwin assigned barnacle specimens to morphological "varieties" (as opposed to species) within a genus. Despite having been the subject of taxonomic investigations and revisions ever since, the significance of these varieties has never been examined with respect to host-associated speciation processes. Here we provide evidence from molecular (12S mt rDNA sequences) and micromorphological (SEM) studies, suggesting that these closely related barnacle genera utilize opposite strategies for populating a suite of live-coral substrates. Cantellius demonstrates a relatively low genetic variability, despite inhabiting a wide range of corals. The species C. pallidus alone was found on three coral families, belonging to distinct higher-order classification units. In contrast, Savignium barnacles exhibit large between- and within-species variations with respect to both micromorphology and DNA sequences, with S. dentatum "varieties" clustering phylogenetically according to their coral host species (all of which are members of a single family). Thus, whereas Savignium seems to have undergone intense host-associated speciation over a relatively narrow taxonomic range of hosts, Cantellius shows phenotypic plasticity over a much larger range. This dichotomy correlates with differences in life-history parameters between these barnacle taxa, including host-infestation characteristics, reproductive strategies, and larval trophic type.

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Townsend, Joseph E.; Courtney, Travis A.; Aichelman, Hannah E.; Davies, Sarah W.; Lima, Fernando P.; Castillo, Karl D.

    2016-01-01

    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 utilizing

  11. Confronting the coral reef crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, D. R.; Hughes, T. P.; Folke, C.; Nyström, M.

    2004-06-01

    The worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Confronting large-scale crises requires a major scaling-up of management efforts based on an improved understanding of the ecological processes that underlie reef resilience. Managing for improved resilience, incorporating the role of human activity in shaping ecosystems, provides a basis for coping with uncertainty, future changes and ecological surprises. Here we review the ecological roles of critical functional groups (for both corals and reef fishes) that are fundamental to understanding resilience and avoiding phase shifts from coral dominance to less desirable, degraded ecosystems. We identify striking biogeographic differences in the species richness and composition of functional groups, which highlight the vulnerability of Caribbean reef ecosystems. These findings have profound implications for restoration of degraded reefs, management of fisheries, and the focus on marine protected areas and biodiversity hotspots as priorities for conservation.

  12. Seawater transport during coral biomineralization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gagnon, Alexander C.; Adkins, Jess F.; Erez, Jonathan

    2012-05-01

    Cation transport during skeletal growth is a key process controlling metal/calcium (Me/Ca) paleoproxy behavior in coral. To characterize this transport, cultured corals were transferred into seawater enriched in the rare earth element Tb3 + as well as stable isotopes of calcium, strontium, and barium. Subsequent NanoSIMS ion images of each coral skeleton were used to follow uptake dynamics. These images show a continuous region corresponding to new growth that is homogeneously enriched in each tracer. Isotope ratio profiles across the new growth boundary transition rapidly from natural abundance ratios to a ratio matching the enriched culture solution. The location of this transition is the same for each element, within analytical resolution. The synchronous incorporation of all these cations, including the dissimilar ion terbium, which has no known biological function in coral, suggests that: (1) there is cation exchange between seawater and the calcifying fluid, and (2) these elements are influenced by similar transport mechanisms consistent with direct and rapid seawater transport to the site of calcification. Measured using isotope ratio profiles, seawater transport rates differ from place to place on the growing coral skeleton, with calcifying fluid turnover times from 30 min to 5.7 h. Despite these differences, all the elements measured in this study show the same transport dynamics at each location. Using an analytical geochemical model of biomineralization that includes direct seawater transport we constrain the role of active calcium pumping during calcification and we show that the balance between seawater transport and precipitation can explain observed Me/Ca variability in deep-sea coral.

  13. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeij, Mark J A; Marhaver, Kristen L; Huijbers, Chantal M; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Simpson, Stephen D

    2010-05-14

    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 (coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  14. Coral benchmarks in the center of biodiversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Licuanan, W Y; Robles, R; Dygico, M; Songco, A; van Woesik, R

    2017-01-30

    There is an urgent need to quantify coral reef benchmarks that assess changes and recovery rates through time and serve as goals for management. Yet, few studies have identified benchmarks for hard coral cover and diversity in the center of marine diversity. In this study, we estimated coral cover and generic diversity benchmarks on the Tubbataha reefs, the largest and best-enforced no-take marine protected area in the Philippines. The shallow (2-6m) reef slopes of Tubbataha were monitored annually, from 2012 to 2015, using hierarchical sampling. Mean coral cover was 34% (σ±1.7) and generic diversity was 18 (σ±0.9) per 75m by 25m station. The southeastern leeward slopes supported on average 56% coral cover, whereas the northeastern windward slopes supported 30%, and the western slopes supported 18% coral cover. Generic diversity was more spatially homogeneous than coral cover. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    2017-06-01

    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.

  17. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Helen K.; Hsing, Pen-Yuan; Cho, Walter; Shank, Timothy M.; Cordes, Erik E.; Quattrini, Andrea M.; Nelson, Robert K.; Camilli, Richard; Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; German, Christopher R.; Brooks, James M.; Roberts, Harry H.; Shedd, William; Reddy, Christopher M.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2012-01-01

    To assess the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on offshore ecosystems, 11 sites hosting deep-water coral communities were examined 3 to 4 mo after the well was capped. Healthy coral communities were observed at all sites >20 km from the Macondo well, including seven sites previously visited in September 2009, where the corals and communities appeared unchanged. However, at one site 11 km southwest of the Macondo well, coral colonies presented widespread signs of stress, including varying degrees of tissue loss, sclerite enlargement, excess mucous production, bleached commensal ophiuroids, and covering by brown flocculent material (floc). On the basis of these criteria the level of impact to individual colonies was ranked from 0 (least impact) to 4 (greatest impact). Of the 43 corals imaged at that site, 46% exhibited evidence of impact on more than half of the colony, whereas nearly a quarter of all of the corals showed impact to >90% of the colony. Additionally, 53% of these corals’ ophiuroid associates displayed abnormal color and/or attachment posture. Analysis of hopanoid petroleum biomarkers isolated from the floc provides strong evidence that this material contained oil from the Macondo well. The presence of recently damaged and deceased corals beneath the path of a previously documented plume emanating from the Macondo well provides compelling evidence that the oil impacted deep-water ecosystems. Our findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the spill in terms of its magnitude, release at depth, and impact to deep-water ecosystems.

  18. Limited phosphorus availability is the Achilles heel of tropical reef corals in a warming ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ezzat, Leïla; Maguer, Jean-François; Grover, Renaud; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-01-01

    During the 20th century, seawater temperatures have significantly increased, leading to profound alterations in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes. Elevated temperatures have also caused massive bleaching (symbiont/pigment loss) of autotrophic symbioses, such as in coral-dinoflagellate association. As symbionts provide most nutrients to the host, their expulsion during bleaching induces host starvation. However, with the exception of carbon, the nutritional impact of bleaching on corals is still unknown, due to the poorly understood requirements in inorganic nutrients during stress. We therefore assessed the uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphate by five coral species maintained under normal and thermal stress conditions. Our results showed that nitrogen acquisition rates were significantly reduced during thermal stress, while phosphorus uptake rates were significantly increased in most species, suggesting a key role of this nutrient. Additional experiments showed that during thermal stress, phosphorus was required to maintain symbiont density and photosynthetic rates, as well as to enhance the translocation and retention of carbon within the host tissue. These findings shed new light on the interactions existing between corals and inorganic nutrients during thermal stress, and highlight the importance of phosphorus for symbiont health. PMID:27531136

  19. Limited phosphorus availability is the Achilles heel of tropical reef corals in a warming ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ezzat, Leïla; Maguer, Jean-François; Grover, Renaud; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-08-17

    During the 20(th) century, seawater temperatures have significantly increased, leading to profound alterations in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes. Elevated temperatures have also caused massive bleaching (symbiont/pigment loss) of autotrophic symbioses, such as in coral-dinoflagellate association. As symbionts provide most nutrients to the host, their expulsion during bleaching induces host starvation. However, with the exception of carbon, the nutritional impact of bleaching on corals is still unknown, due to the poorly understood requirements in inorganic nutrients during stress. We therefore assessed the uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphate by five coral species maintained under normal and thermal stress conditions. Our results showed that nitrogen acquisition rates were significantly reduced during thermal stress, while phosphorus uptake rates were significantly increased in most species, suggesting a key role of this nutrient. Additional experiments showed that during thermal stress, phosphorus was required to maintain symbiont density and photosynthetic rates, as well as to enhance the translocation and retention of carbon within the host tissue. These findings shed new light on the interactions existing between corals and inorganic nutrients during thermal stress, and highlight the importance of phosphorus for symbiont health.

  20. Limited phosphorus availability is the Achilles heel of tropical reef corals in a warming ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ezzat, Leïla; Maguer, Jean-François; Grover, Renaud; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-08-01

    During the 20th century, seawater temperatures have significantly increased, leading to profound alterations in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes. Elevated temperatures have also caused massive bleaching (symbiont/pigment loss) of autotrophic symbioses, such as in coral-dinoflagellate association. As symbionts provide most nutrients to the host, their expulsion during bleaching induces host starvation. However, with the exception of carbon, the nutritional impact of bleaching on corals is still unknown, due to the poorly understood requirements in inorganic nutrients during stress. We therefore assessed the uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphate by five coral species maintained under normal and thermal stress conditions. Our results showed that nitrogen acquisition rates were significantly reduced during thermal stress, while phosphorus uptake rates were significantly increased in most species, suggesting a key role of this nutrient. Additional experiments showed that during thermal stress, phosphorus was required to maintain symbiont density and photosynthetic rates, as well as to enhance the translocation and retention of carbon within the host tissue. These findings shed new light on the interactions existing between corals and inorganic nutrients during thermal stress, and highlight the importance of phosphorus for symbiont health.

  1. 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.

  2. A preliminary study of corals recruitment using coral rubbles substrate in Seribu Island waters, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nur Fadli

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral recruitment is important in natural recovery and coral rehabilitation program. Here, wetested the coral rubbles as substrate for coral recruitment. The study was conducted on the first week ofSeptember 2007 until the second week of January 2008 in Panggang Island, Seribu Islands, Indonesia.The results showed that the recruited coral were settled on the substrate in both depths (6 and 10 m. Atotal of 5 families of recruited coral were recorded during the study, namely Acroporidae, Pocilloporidae,Oculinidae, Fungiidae and Poritidae. There were no differences in term of the number of recruits thatwere found in 6 and 10 m depth.

  3. 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.

  4. An updated assessment of Symbiodinium spp. that associate with common scleractinian corals from Moorea (French Polynesia) reveals high diversity among background symbionts and a novel finding of clade B.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rouzé, Héloïse; Lecellier, Gaël J; Saulnier, Denis; Planes, Serge; Gueguen, Yannick; Wirshing, Herman H; Berteaux-Lecellier, Véronique

    2017-01-01

    The adaptative bleaching hypothesis (ABH) states that, depending on the symbiotic flexibility of coral hosts (i.e., the ability of corals to "switch" or "shuffle" their algal symbionts), coral bleaching can lead to a change in the composition of their associated Symbiodinium community and, thus, contribute to the coral's overall survival. In order to determine the flexibility of corals, molecular tools are required to provide accurate species delineations and to detect low levels of coral-associated Symbiodinium. Here, we used highly sensitive quantitative (real-time) PCR (qPCR) technology to analyse five common coral species from Moorea (French Polynesia), previously screened using only traditional molecular methods, to assess the presence of low-abundance (background) Symbiodinium spp. Similar to other studies, each coral species exhibited a strong specificity to a particular clade, irrespective of the environment. In addition, however, each of the five species harboured at least one additional Symbiodinium clade, among clades A-D, at background levels. Unexpectedly, and for the first time in French Polynesia, clade B was detected as a coral symbiont. These results increase the number of known coral-Symbiodinium associations from corals found in French Polynesia, and likely indicate an underestimation of the ability of the corals in this region to associate with and/or "shuffle" different Symbiodinium clades. Altogether our data suggest that corals from French Polynesia may favor a trade-off between optimizing symbioses with a specific Symbiodinium clade(s), maintaining associations with particular background clades that may play a role in the ability of corals to respond to environmental change.

  5. Does use of tropical beaches by tourists and island residents result in damage to fringing coral reefs? A case study in Moorea French Polynesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juhasz, Allison; Ho, Ellen; Bender, Erika; Fong, Peggy

    2010-12-01

    Although coral reefs worldwide are subject to increasing global threats, humans also impact coral reefs directly through localized activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. We investigated five sites on the northern shore of Moorea, French Polynesia, and quantified the number of visitors on the beach and in shallow water. In field surveys, we measured total coral cover and colony sizes of two common genera, Porites and Acropora, a massive and branching morphology, respectively. One site, which hosted over an order of magnitude more people than the other four, had significantly less total coral cover and supported very little branching Acropora. In addition, size frequency distributions of both the branching and massive genera were skewed toward smaller colony sizes at the high use site. Our results demonstrated that the use of tropical beaches may result in less coral cover, with branching colonies rare and small.

  6. 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

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. The applicant has... Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www.coralreefresearchfoundation.org/ ). Samples would be...

  7. 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

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South... Cancer Institute ( http://www.cancer.gov/ ) and the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www...

  8. Coral reef fish smell leaves to find island homes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixson, Danielle L; Jones, Geoffrey P; Munday, Philip L; Planes, Serge; Pratchett, Morgan S; Srinivasan, Maya; Syms, Craig; Thorrold, Simon R

    2008-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that some coral reef fish larvae return to natal reefs, while others disperse to distant reefs. However, the sensory mechanisms used to find settlement sites are poorly understood. One hypothesis is that larvae use olfactory cues to navigate home or find other suitable reef habitats. Here we show a strong association between the clownfish Amphiprion percula and coral reefs surrounding offshore islands in Papua New Guinea. Host anemones and A. percula are particularly abundant in shallow water beneath overhanging rainforest vegetation. A series of experiments were carried out using paired-choice flumes to evaluate the potential role of water-borne olfactory cues in finding islands. Recently settled A. percula exhibited strong preferences for: (i) water from reefs with islands over water from reefs without islands; (ii) water collected near islands over water collected offshore; and (iii) water treated with either anemones or leaves from rainforest vegetation. Laboratory reared-juveniles exhibited the same positive response to anemones and rainforest vegetation, suggesting that olfactory preferences are innate rather than learned. We hypothesize that A. percula use a suite of olfactory stimuli to locate vegetated islands, which may explain the high levels of self-recruitment on island reefs. This previously unrecognized link between coral reefs and island vegetation argues for the integrated management of these pristine tropical habitats. PMID:18755672

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Optimization of DNA extraction for advancing coral microbiota investigations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weber, Laura; DeForce, Emelia; Apprill, Amy

    2017-02-08

    Clean® Tissue and Cells treatments, a result likely arising from using a combination of different beads during homogenization. Both the PowerBiofilm® and UltraClean® Tissue and Cells treatments are appropriate for large-scale analyses of coral microbiota. However, studies interested in detecting cryptic microbial members may benefit from using the PowerBiofilm® DNA treatment because of the likely enhanced lysis efficiency of microbial cells attributed to using a variety of beads during homogenization. Consideration of the methodology involved with microbial DNA extraction is particularly important for studies investigating complex host-associated microbiota.

  13. Destruction of corals and other reef animals by coral spawn slicks on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, C. J.; Cary, J. L.; Masini, R. J.

    1993-11-01

    In March 1989, most of the corals near Coral Bay, off the north-western coastline of Australia, spawned several nights earlier than usual. Flood, rather than ebb, tides at the time of spawning combined with light north-west winds and low swell conditions to restrict the dispersal of coral propagules and, as a result, large amounts of coral spawn were trapped in the bay, forming extensive slicks. Fish and other animals began to die almost immediately, and over the next few days, over 1 million fish, representing at least 80 species, were washed ashore. A survey of the benthic communities revealed extensive mortality of corals and other reef animals over an area of about 3 km2. Live coral cover in this area decreased from 42.9% to 9.4% and several large coral colonies up to 10 m in diameter were killed. The observed mortality was presumably the result of hypoxia (oxygen depletion) created initially by the respiratory demand of the coral spawn and maintained by the biological oxygen demand of the decomposing spawn slicks and dead animals. Anecdotal reports of corals and other reef animals dying in the vicinity of coral spawn slicks on other reefs in Western Australia suggest that this phenomenon may be a relatively common event on shallow coral reefs where coral mass spawning occurs. These records and observations document, for the first time, a new source of natural disturbance that has a significant influence on the community structure of some coral reefs.

  14. Sedimentation patterns on a cold-water coral mound off Mauritania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eisele, Markus; Frank, Norbert; Wienberg, Claudia; Titschack, Jürgen; Mienis, Furu; Beuck, Lydia; Tisnerat-Laborde, Nadine; Hebbeln, Dierk

    2014-01-01

    An unconformity-bound glacial sequence (135 cm thick) of a coral-bearing sediment core collected from the flank of a cold-water coral mound in the Banda Mound Province off Mauritania was analysed. In order to study the relation between coral framework growth and its filling by hemipelagic sediments, U-series dates obtained from the cold-water coral species Lophelia pertusa were compared to 14C dates of planktonic foraminifera of the surrounding matrix sediments. The coral ages, ranging from 45.1 to 32.3 ka BP, exhibit no clear depositional trend, while on the other hand the 14C dates of the matrix sediment provide ages within a much narrower time window of <3000 yrs (34.6-31.8 cal ka BP), corresponding to the latest phase of the coral growth period. In addition, high-resolution computer tomography data revealed a subdivision of the investigated sediment package into three distinct parts, defined by the portion and fragmentation of corals and associated macrofauna as well as in the density of the matrix sediments. Grain size spectra obtained on the matrix sediments show a homogeneous pattern throughout the core sediment package, with minor variations. These features are interpreted as indicators of redeposition. Based on the observed structures and the dating results, the sediments were interpreted as deposits of a mass wasting event, namely a debris flow. During this event, the sediment unit must have been entirely mixed; resulting in averaging of the foraminifera ages from the whole unit and giving randomly distributed coral ages. In this context, for the first time mass wasting is proposed to be a substantial process of mound progradation by exporting material from the mound top to the flanks. Hence, it may not only be an erosional feature but also widening the base of the mound, thus allowing further vertical mound growth.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

  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

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

  18. Low symbiont diversity as a potential adaptive strategy in a marginal non-reefal environment: a case study of corals in Hong Kong

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Tsz Yan; Ang, Put

    2016-09-01

    Symbiosis with genetically diverse Symbiodinium has been shown to affect host coral physiological responses to environmental stresses. Hong Kong, located in a subtropical region, is a marginal environment for coral growth largely due to its wide annual temperature fluctuation with low mean winter sea water temperature (~16 °C) and variable salinity conditions. The symbiont diversity in Hong Kong corals is therefore worth investigating to enrich our understanding on symbioses in marginal and fluctuating environments. Examination of 56 scleractinian coral species and five soft coral species using denaturing gel gradient electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer region 2 found only five distinct subclades of Symbiodinium with C1 the dominant type occurring in all but one scleractinian coral and all soft coral species investigated. C15 and C21 Symbiodinium were found in Porites spp. and Montipora peltiformis, respectively, both of which are vertical transmitters. D8-12 was found in Oulastrea crispata, a stress-tolerant species, and D1 in a single sample of Goniastrea aspera. No spatial differences in Symbiodinium composition were found among different regions of Hong Kong. Seasonal monitoring of tagged Platygyra acuta and Porites spp. colonies also revealed no changes in their symbiont types despite wide ranges of in situ temperature fluctuation. Hong Kong scleractinian corals hosted a remarkably low symbiont diversity compared with corals in the surrounding regions. The predominance of a single subclade, C1 Symbiodinium, suggests that this subclade is best acclimatized to local fluctuating conditions and/or low winter temperature. Forming symbiosis with the best acclimatized symbiont, instead of with a diverse group of symbionts with different physiological performances, either sequentially or simultaneously, may be a strategy used by Hong Kong corals to cope with stressful conditions.

  19. 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

  20. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijgerde, Tim; Schots, Pauke; Van Onselen, Eline; Janse, Max; Karruppannan, Eric; Verreth, Johan A J; Osinga, Ronald

    2013-01-15

    Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767) grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis revealed that flatworms inhabiting G. fascicularis belonged to the genus Waminoa (Convolutidae), which were hosted at a density of 3.6±0.4 individuals polyp(-1). Polyps hosting flatworms exhibited prey capture rates of 2.2±2.5, 3.4±4.5 and 2.7±3.4 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1) at prey concentrations of 250, 500 and 1,000 nauplii L(-1), respectively. Polyps that had their flatworms removed displayed prey capture rates of 2.7±1.6, 4.8±4.1 and 16.9±10.3 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1). Significant main and interactive effects of flatworm presence and ambient prey concentration were found, reflected by the fact that flatworms significantly impaired host feeding rates at the highest prey density of 1,000 nauplii L(-1). In addition, flatworms displayed kleptoparasitism, removing between 0.1±0.3 and 0.6±1.1 nauplii 30 min(-1) from the oral disc of their host, or 5.3±3.3 to 50.0±2.1% of prey acquired by the coral. We suggest classifying the coral-associated Waminoa sp. as an epizoic parasite, as its presence may negatively affect growth and health of the host.

  1. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim Wijgerde

    2012-10-01

    Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767 grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis revealed that flatworms inhabiting G. fascicularis belonged to the genus Waminoa (Convolutidae, which were hosted at a density of 3.6±0.4 individuals polyp−1. Polyps hosting flatworms exhibited prey capture rates of 2.2±2.5, 3.4±4.5 and 2.7±3.4 nauplii polyp−1 30 min−1 at prey concentrations of 250, 500 and 1,000 nauplii L−1, respectively. Polyps that had their flatworms removed displayed prey capture rates of 2.7±1.6, 4.8±4.1 and 16.9±10.3 nauplii polyp−1 30 min−1. Significant main and interactive effects of flatworm presence and ambient prey concentration were found, reflected by the fact that flatworms significantly impaired host feeding rates at the highest prey density of 1,000 nauplii L−1. In addition, flatworms displayed kleptoparasitism, removing between 0.1±0.3 and 0.6±1.1 nauplii 30 min−1 from the oral disc of their host, or 5.3±3.3 to 50.0±2.1% of prey acquired by the coral. We suggest classifying the coral-associated Waminoa sp. as an epizoic parasite, as its presence may negatively affect growth and health of the host.

  2. Microbial diseases of corals and global warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Ben-Haim, Yael

    2002-06-01

    Coral bleaching and other diseases of corals have increased dramatically during the last few decades. As outbreaks of these diseases are highly correlated with increased sea-water temperature, one of the consequences of global warming will probably be mass destruction of coral reefs. The causative agent(s) of a few of these diseases have been reported: bleaching of Oculina patagonica by Vibrio shiloi; black band disease by a microbial consortium; sea-fan disease (aspergillosis) by Aspergillus sydowii; and coral white plague possibly by Sphingomonas sp. In addition, we have recently discovered that Vibrio coralyticus is the aetiological agent for bleaching the coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Red Sea. In the case of coral bleaching by V. shiloi, the major effect of increasing temperature is the expression of virulence genes by the pathogen. At high summer sea-water temperatures, V. shiloi produces an adhesin that allows it to adhere to a beta-galactoside-containing receptor in the coral mucus, penetrate into the coral epidermis, multiply intracellularly, differentiate into a viable-but-not-culturable (VBNC) state and produce toxins that inhibit photosynthesis and lyse the symbiotic zooxanthellae. In black band disease, sulphide is produced at the coral-microbial biofilm interface, which is probably responsible for tissue death. Reports of newly emerging coral diseases and the lack of epidemiological and biochemical information on the known diseases indicate that this will become a fertile area of research in the interface between microbial ecology and infectious disease.

  3. The Symbiodinium kawagutii genome illuminates dinoflagellate gene expression and coral symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lin, Senjie; Cheng, Shifeng; Song, Bo

    2015-01-01

    Dinoflagellates are important components of marine ecosystems and essential coral symbionts, yet little is known about their genomes. We report here on the analysis of a high-quality assembly from the 1180-megabase genome of Symbiodinium kawagutii. We annotated protein-coding genes and identified...... Symbiodinium-specific gene families. No whole-genome duplication was observed, but instead we found active (retro) transposition and gene family expansion, especially in processes important for successful symbiosis with corals. We also documented genes potentially governing sexual reproduction and cyst...... formation, novel promoter elements, and a microRNA system potentially regulating gene expression in both symbiont and coral.We found biochemical complementarity between genomes of S. kawagutii and the anthozoan Acropora, indicative of host-symbiont coevolution, providing a resource for studying...

  4. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program... Implementation Guidelines for the Coral Reef Conservation Program. SUMMARY: This document provides NOAA's revised Grant Program Implementation Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or...

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  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. 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...

  9. 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 BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

  10. Impact of light and temperature on the uptake of algal symbionts by coral juveniles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abrego, David; Willis, Bette L; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2012-01-01

    The effects of temperature and light on the breakdown of the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis are well documented but current understanding of their roles during initial uptake and establishment of symbiosis is limited. In this study, we investigate how temperature and light affect the uptake of the algal symbionts, ITS1 types C1 and D, by juveniles of the broadcast-spawning corals Acropora tenuis and A. millepora. Elevated temperatures had a strong negative effect on Symbiodinium uptake in both coral species, with corals at 31 °C showing as little as 8% uptake compared to 87% at 28 °C. Juveniles in high light treatments (390 µmol photons m(-2) s(-1)) had lower cell counts across all temperatures, emphasizing the importance of the light environment during the initial uptake phase. The proportions of the two Symbiodinium types taken up, as quantified by a real time PCR assay using clade C- and D-specific primers, were also influenced by temperature, although variation in uptake dynamics between the two coral species indicates a host effect. At 28 °C, A. tenuis juveniles were dominated by C1 Symbiodinium, and while the number of D Symbiodinium cells increased at 31 °C, they never exceeded the number of C1 cells. In contrast, juveniles of A. millepora had approximately equal numbers of C1 and D cells at 28 °C, but were dominated by D at 30 °C and 31 °C. This study highlights the significant role that environmental factors play in the establishment of coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis and provides insights into how potentially competing Symbiodinium types take up residence in coral juveniles.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godoy-Vitorino, Filipa; Ruiz-Diaz, Claudia P; Rivera-Seda, Abigail; Ramírez-Lugo, Juan S; Toledo-Hernández, Carlos

    2017-01-01

    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. 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. 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 (Lactobacillus). Our results confirm that

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-04

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  18. Outbreak and persistence of opportunistic symbiotic dinoflagellates during the 2005 Caribbean mass coral 'bleaching' event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaJeunesse, Todd C; Smith, Robin T; Finney, Jennifer; Oxenford, Hazel

    2009-12-07

    Reef corals are sentinels for the adverse effects of rapid global warming on the planet's ecosystems. Warming sea surface temperatures have led to frequent episodes of bleaching and mortality among corals that depend on endosymbiotic micro-algae (Symbiodinium) for their survival. However, our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary response of corals to episodes of thermal stress remains inadequate. For the first time, we describe how the symbioses of major reef-building species in the Caribbean respond to severe thermal stress before, during and after a severe bleaching event. Evidence suggests that background populations of Symbiodinium trenchi (D1a) increased in prevalence and abundance, especially among corals that exhibited high sensitivity to stress. Contrary to previous hypotheses, which posit that a change in symbiont occurs subsequent to bleaching, S. trenchi increased in the weeks leading up to and during the bleaching episode and disproportionately dominated colonies that did not bleach. During the bleaching event, approximately 20 per cent of colonies surveyed harboured this symbiont at high densities (calculated at less than 1.0% only months before bleaching began). However, competitive displacement by homologous symbionts significantly reduced S. trenchi's prevalence and dominance among colonies after a 2-year period following the bleaching event. While the extended duration of thermal stress in 2005 provided an ecological opportunity for a rare host-generalist symbiont, it remains unclear to what extent the rise and fall of S. trenchi was of ecological benefit or whether its increased prevalence was an indicator of weakening coral health.

  19. Deep down on a Caribbean reef: lower mesophotic depths harbor a specialized coral-endosymbiont community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bongaerts, Pim; Frade, Pedro R; Hay, Kyra B; Englebert, Norbert; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R W; Bak, Rolf P M; Vermeij, Mark J A; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2015-01-07

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60-100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through visual submersible surveys, genotyping of coral host-endosymbiont assemblages, temperature monitoring and a growth experiment. The lower mesophotic zone harbored a specialized coral community consisting of predominantly Agaricia grahamae, Agaricia undata and a "deep-water" lineage of Madracis pharensis, with large colonies of these species observed close to their lower distribution limit of ~90 m depth. All three species associated with "deep-specialist" photosynthetic endosymbionts (Symbiodinium). Fragments of A. grahamae exhibited growth rates at 60 m similar to those observed for shallow Agaricia colonies (~2-3 cm yr(-1)), but showed bleaching and (partial) mortality when transplanted to 100 m. We propose that the strong reduction of temperature over depth (Δ5°C from 40 to 100 m depth) may play an important contributing role in determining lower depth limits of mesophotic coral communities in this region. Rather than a marginal extension of the reef slope, the lower mesophotic represents a specialized community, and as such warrants specific consideration from science and management.

  20. 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

  1. 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 nutrient

  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 nutrient

  3. 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.

  4. Estimation of internal and external nitrogen for corals with a long-term 15N-labelling experiment and subsequent model calculations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Yasuaki; Grottoli, Andréa; Matsui, Yohei; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2014-05-01

    Coral reef ecosystems maintain high primary productivity though the seawater is extremely oligotrophic. One of the hypotheses to explain this paradox is the recycling of nutrients in animal-algal symbiotic organisms such as corals. It is relatively easy to measure nutrient uptake rates by corals from seawater, but the proportion of internally circulating nutrients between the coral host and the endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) is more challenging. Here, we performed a long-term and continuous 15N-labelling experiment to quantify the proportionate contribution of seawater (external N source) and the animal host (internal N source) to the total N influx in the endosymbiotic algae. Branches from the scleractinian corals Porites cylindrica and Montipora digitata from Okinawa, Japan, were cultured for 2 months in indoor, flow-through, filtered seawater tanks with the continuous supply of 15N-labelled nitrate. At the initial and after 2, 4, and 9 weeks of the study, coral branches were collected and the algal and animal fractions were separated for isotopic analyses. In both corals, the N isotope ratio of symbiotic algae exponentially increased and the values were much higher than those of the host tissue, suggesting that the algae had a faster turnover N time than the animal host. Algal and host N biomass normalized to the coral surface area slowly decreased in both coral species over the study period. To calculate the contribution of internal and external N, a simple mixing model of algal N metabolism was designed. Using differential equations of 15N balance and N biomass balance, F1 and F2 (external and internal N fluxes to symbiotic algae, respectively) were expressed as the functions of time. The model calculations showed that F2 was much higher than F1 in P. cylindrica and the percentage of internal N to the total influx N (PIN) was >70%. On the other hand, the contribution of F1 and F2 was comparable in M. digitata and the PIN was 40-70%. These results

  5. An updated assessment of Symbiodinium spp. that associate with common scleractinian corals from Moorea (French Polynesia) reveals high diversity among background symbionts and a novel finding of clade B

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lecellier, Gaël J.; Saulnier, Denis; Planes, Serge; Gueguen, Yannick; Wirshing, Herman H.; Berteaux-Lecellier, Véronique

    2017-01-01

    The adaptative bleaching hypothesis (ABH) states that, depending on the symbiotic flexibility of coral hosts (i.e., the ability of corals to “switch” or “shuffle” their algal symbionts), coral bleaching can lead to a change in the composition of their associated Symbiodinium community and, thus, contribute to the coral’s overall survival. In order to determine the flexibility of corals, molecular tools are required to provide accurate species delineations and to detect low levels of coral-associated Symbiodinium. Here, we used highly sensitive quantitative (real-time) PCR (qPCR) technology to analyse five common coral species from Moorea (French Polynesia), previously screened using only traditional molecular methods, to assess the presence of low-abundance (background) Symbiodinium spp. Similar to other studies, each coral species exhibited a strong specificity to a particular clade, irrespective of the environment. In addition, however, each of the five species harboured at least one additional Symbiodinium clade, among clades A–D, at background levels. Unexpectedly, and for the first time in French Polynesia, clade B was detected as a coral symbiont. These results increase the number of known coral-Symbiodinium associations from corals found in French Polynesia, and likely indicate an underestimation of the ability of the corals in this region to associate with and/or “shuffle” different Symbiodinium clades. Altogether our data suggest that corals from French Polynesia may favor a trade-off between optimizing symbioses with a specific Symbiodinium clade(s), maintaining associations with particular background clades that may play a role in the ability of corals to respond to environmental change. PMID:28168100

  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. New tool to manage coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is making available a new tool for coral reef managers to monitor the cumulative thermal stress of several coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs by the Galapagos Islands, the agency announced on 25 February.The agency's "Degree Heating Weeks" product uses satellite-derived information to allow continuous monitoring of the extent and acuteness of thermal stress, which are key predictors of coral bleaching, and which contribute to coral reef degradation.

  8. The immune responses of the coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C Toledo-Hernández

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Corals are among the most ancient extant animals on earth. Currently, coral viability is threatened, due in part to the increased number of diseases affecting them in recent decades. Understanding how the innate immune systems of corals function is important if we want to predict the fate of corals and their response to the environmental and biological changes they face. In this review we discuss the latest findings regarding the innate immune systems of corals. The review is organized following the chronology of steps taken by corals from the initial encounter with a potential pathogen and recognition of threats to the orchestration of a response. We begin with the literature describing the repertory of immune-related receptors involved in the recognition of threats and the subsequent pathways leading to an immune response. We then review the effector responses that eliminate the threats described for corals. Finally, we acknowledge the literature of coral microbiology to access the potential role of microbes as an essential constituent of the coral immune system.

  9. The role of deep reefs in shallow reef recovery: an assessment of vertical connectivity in a brooding coral from west and east Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Bongaerts, Pim; Underwood, Jim N; Peplow, Lesa M; Cooper, Timothy F

    2011-04-01

    Approximately one quarter of zooxanthellate coral species have a depth distribution from shallow waters (coral bleaching. This has led to the hypothesis that deep populations may serve as refuges and a source of recruits for shallow reef habitats. The extent of vertical connectivity of reef coral species, however, is largely unquantified. Using 10 coral host microsatellite loci and sequences of the host mtDNA putative control region, as well as ribosomal DNA (rDNA) ITS2 sequences of the coral's algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium), we examine population structure, connectivity and symbiont specificity in the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix across a depth profile in both northwest (Scott Reef) and northeast Australia (Yonge Reef). Strong genetic structuring over depth was observed in both regions based on the microsatellite loci; however, Yonge Reef exhibited an additional partitioning of mtDNA lineages (associated with specific symbiont ITS2 types), whereas Scott Reef was dominated by a single mtDNA lineage (with no apparent host-symbiont specificity). Evidence for recruitment of larvae of deep water origin into shallow habitats was found at Scott Reef, suggesting that recovery of shallow water habitats may be aided by migration from deep water refuges. Conversely, no migration from the genetically divergent deep slope populations into the shallow habitats was evident at Yonge Reef, making recovery of shallow habitats from deeper waters at this location highly unlikely.

  10. Multiple symbiont acquisition strategies as an adaptive mechanism in the coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byler, Kristen A; Carmi-Veal, Maya; Fine, Maoz; Goulet, Tamar L

    2013-01-01

    In obligate symbioses, the host's survival relies on the successful acquisition and maintenance of symbionts. Symbionts can either be transferred from parent to offspring via direct inheritance (vertical transmission) or acquired anew each generation from the environment (horizontal transmission). With vertical symbiont transmission, progeny benefit by not having to search for their obligate symbionts, and, with symbiont inheritance, a mechanism exists for perpetuating advantageous symbionts. But, if the progeny encounter an environment that differs from that of their parent, they may be disadvantaged if the inherited symbionts prove suboptimal. Conversely, while in horizontal symbiont acquisition host survival hinges on an unpredictable symbiont source, an individual host may acquire genetically diverse symbionts well suited to any given environment. In horizontal acquisition, however, a potentially advantageous symbiont will not be transmitted to subsequent generations. Adaptation in obligate symbioses may require mechanisms for both novel symbiont acquisition and symbiont inheritance. Using denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis and real-time PCR, we identified the dinoflagellate symbionts (genus Symbiodinium) hosted by the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata throughout its ontogenesis and over depth. We present evidence that S. pistillata juvenile colonies may utilize both vertical and horizontal symbiont acquisition strategies. By releasing progeny with maternally derived symbionts, that are also capable of subsequent horizontal symbiont acquisition, coral colonies may acquire physiologically advantageous novel symbionts that are then perpetuated via vertical transmission to subsequent generations. With symbiont inheritance, natural selection can act upon the symbiotic variability, providing a mechanism for coral adaptation.

  11. Multiple symbiont acquisition strategies as an adaptive mechanism in the coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristen A Byler

    Full Text Available In obligate symbioses, the host's survival relies on the successful acquisition and maintenance of symbionts. Symbionts can either be transferred from parent to offspring via direct inheritance (vertical transmission or acquired anew each generation from the environment (horizontal transmission. With vertical symbiont transmission, progeny benefit by not having to search for their obligate symbionts, and, with symbiont inheritance, a mechanism exists for perpetuating advantageous symbionts. But, if the progeny encounter an environment that differs from that of their parent, they may be disadvantaged if the inherited symbionts prove suboptimal. Conversely, while in horizontal symbiont acquisition host survival hinges on an unpredictable symbiont source, an individual host may acquire genetically diverse symbionts well suited to any given environment. In horizontal acquisition, however, a potentially advantageous symbiont will not be transmitted to subsequent generations. Adaptation in obligate symbioses may require mechanisms for both novel symbiont acquisition and symbiont inheritance. Using denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis and real-time PCR, we identified the dinoflagellate symbionts (genus Symbiodinium hosted by the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata throughout its ontogenesis and over depth. We present evidence that S. pistillata juvenile colonies may utilize both vertical and horizontal symbiont acquisition strategies. By releasing progeny with maternally derived symbionts, that are also capable of subsequent horizontal symbiont acquisition, coral colonies may acquire physiologically advantageous novel symbionts that are then perpetuated via vertical transmission to subsequent generations. With symbiont inheritance, natural selection can act upon the symbiotic variability, providing a mechanism for coral adaptation.

  12. Controlling effects of irradiance and heterotrophy on carbon translocation in the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pascale Tremblay

    Full Text Available Temperate symbiotic corals, such as the Mediterranean species Cladocora caespitosa, live in seasonally changing environments, where irradiance can be ten times higher in summer than winter. These corals shift from autotrophy in summer to heterotrophy in winter in response to light limitation of the symbiont's photosynthesis. In this study, we determined the autotrophic carbon budget under different conditions of irradiance (20 and 120 µmol photons m(-2 s(-1 and feeding (fed three times a week with Artemia salina nauplii, and unfed. Corals were incubated in H(13CO(3 (--enriched seawater, and the fate of (13C was followed in the symbionts and the host tissue. The total amount of carbon fixed by photosynthesis and translocated was significantly higher at high than low irradiance (ca. 13 versus 2.5-4.5 µg cm(-2 h(-1, because the rates of photosynthesis and carbon fixation were also higher. However, the percent of carbon translocation was similar under the two irradiances, and reached more than 70% of the total fixed carbon. Host feeding induced a decrease in the percentage of carbon translocated under low irradiance (from 70 to 53%, and also a decrease in the rates of carbon translocation per symbiont cell under both irradiances. The fate of autotrophic and heterotrophic carbon differed according to irradiance. At low irradiance, autotrophic carbon was mostly respired by the host and the symbionts, and heterotrophic feeding led to an increase in host biomass. Under high irradiance, autotrophic carbon was both respired and released as particulate and dissolved organic carbon, and heterotrophic feeding led to an increase in host biomass and symbiont concentration. Overall, the maintenance of high symbiont concentration and high percentage of carbon translocation under low irradiance allow this coral species to optimize its autotrophic carbon acquisition, when irradiance conditions are not favourable to photosynthesis.

  13. Effects of nutritional history on nitrogen assimilation in congeneric temperate and tropical scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piniak, G.A.; Lipschultz, F.

    2004-01-01

    The nutritional history of corals is known to affect metabolic processes such as inorganic nutrient uptake and photosynthesis, but little is known about how it affects assimilation efficiency of ingested prey items or the partitioning of prey nitrogen between the host and symbiont. The temperate scleractinian coral Oculina arbuscula and its tropical congener Oculina diffusa were acclimated to three nutritional regimes (fed twice weekly, starved, starved with an inorganic nutrient supplement), then fed Artemia nauplii labeled with the stable isotope tracer 15N. Fed corals of both species had the lowest assimilation efficiencies (36-51% for O. arbuscula, 38-57% for O. diffusa), but were not statistically different from the other nutritional regimes. Fed and starved corals also had similar NU4+ excretion rates. This is inconsistent with decreased nitrogen excretion and reduced amino acid catabolism predicted by both the nitrogen recycling and conservation paradigms. In coral host tissue, ???90% of the ingested 15N was in the TCA-insoluble (protein and nucleic acids) and ethanol-soluble (amino acids/low molecular weight compounds) within 4 h of feeding. The TCA-insoluble pool was also the dominant repository of the label in zooxanthellae of both species (40-53% in O. arbuscula, 50-60% in O. diffusa). However, nutritional history had no effect on the distribution of prey 15N within the biochemical pools of the host or the zooxanthellae for either species. This result is consistent with the nitrogen conservation hypothesis, as preferential carbon metabolism would minimize the effects of starvation on nitrogen-containing biochemical pools. ?? Springer-Verlag 2004.

  14. Symbiophagy as a cellular mechanism for coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Downs, Craig A; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Martinez, Jon; Kushmaro, Ariel; Woodley, Cheryl M; Loya, Yossi; Ostrander, Gary K

    2009-02-01

    Coral bleaching is a major contributor to the global declines of coral reefs. This phenomenon is characterized by the loss of symbiotic algae, their pigments or both. Despite wide scientific interest, the mechanisms by which bleaching occurs are still poorly understood. Here we report that the removal of the symbiont during light and temperature stress is achieved using the host's cellular autophagic-associated machinery. Host cellular and subcellular morphologies showed increased vacuolization and appearance of autophagic membranes surrounding a variety of organelles and surrounding the symbiotic algae. Markers of autophagy (Rab 7 and LAS) corroborate these observations. Results showed that during stress the symbiont vacuolar membrane is transformed from a conduit of nutrient exchange to a digestive organelle resulting in the consumption of the symbiont, a process we term symbiophagy. We posit that during a stress event, the mechanism maintaining symbiosis is destabilized and symbiophagy is activated, ultimately resulting in the phenomenon of bleaching. Symbiophagy may have evolved from a more general primordial innate intracellular protective pathway termed xenophagy.

  15. 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.

  16. Genetic species delineation among branching Caribbean Porites corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prada, C.; DeBiasse, M. B.; Neigel, J. E.; Yednock, B.; Stake, J. L.; Forsman, Z. H.; Baums, I. B.; Hellberg, M. E.

    2014-12-01

    Coral species are difficult to discern because of their morphological plasticity, long generation times, and slow rates of mitochondrial DNA evolution. Among Caribbean representatives of the genus Porites are three named species ( P. divaricata, P. furcata, and P. porites) with branching colony morphologies whose validity as genetically isolated species has been debated. We present sequence data from the mitochondrial control region, nuclear ITS, and nine single-copy nuclear loci for the Caribbean Porites and a related eastern Pacific species. mtDNA sequences were nearly invariant among the three branching species and their crustose sister P. branneri, and ITS sequences from these four were intermingled. An information theoretic analysis provided no support for upholding the three named Caribbean branching species. Both a clustering analysis and an analysis of molecular variance showed that sequence variation from the three branching forms is partitioned more by geography than by taxonomy. Multi-locus coalescent phylogenetic analysis provided a calibrated estimate for the nuclear DNA substitution rate (0.14 % Ma-1) close to that for other corals. Because no generalities have emerged from genetic investigations of the validity of morphologically defined coral species, the use of single-copy nuclear data is likely to be important in testing problematic species designations.

  17. Symbiodinium community composition in scleractinian corals is not affected by life-long exposure to elevated carbon dioxide.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sam H C Noonan

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification (OA is expected to negatively affect coral reefs, however little is known about how OA will change the coral-algal symbiosis on which reefs ultimately depend. This study investigated whether there would be differences in coral Symbiodinium types in response to OA, potentially improving coral performance. We used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2 region of ribosomal DNA to investigate the dominant types of Symbiodinium associating with six species of scleractinian coral that were exposed to elevated partial pressures of carbon dioxide (pCO2 in situ from settlement and throughout their lives. The study was conducted at three naturally occurring volcanic CO2 seeps (pCO2 ∼500 to 900 ppm, pHTotal 7.8 - 7.9 and adjacent control areas (pCO2 ∼390 ppm, pHTotal ∼8.0 - 8.05 in Papua New Guinea. The Symbiodinium associated with corals living in an extreme seep site (pCO2 >1000 ppm were also examined. Ten clade C types and three clade D types dominated the 443 coral samples. Symbiodinium types strongly contrasted between coral species, however, no differences were observed due to CO2 exposure. Within five species, 85 - 95% of samples exhibited the same Symbiodinium type across all sites, with remaining rare types having no patterns attributable to CO2 exposure. The sixth species of coral displayed site specific differences in Symbiodinium types, unrelated to CO2 exposure. Symbiodinium types from the coral inhabiting the extreme CO2 seep site were found commonly throughout the moderate seeps and control areas. Our finding that symbiotic associations did not change in response to CO2 exposure suggest that, within the six coral hosts, none of the investigated 13 clade C and D Symbiodinium types had a selective advantage at high pCO2. Acclimatisation through changing symbiotic association therefore does not seem to be an option for Indo-Pacific corals to deal with future OA.

  18. Lithophaga (Bivalvia, Mytilidae), including a new species, boring into mushroom corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae) of South Sulawesi, Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kleemann, K.; Hoeksema, B.W.

    2002-01-01

    Bivalve species of the mytilid genus Lithophaga, including a new one, are recorded from Indonesian mushroom corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae). True associations with live hosts including L. laevigata, L. lessepsiana, L. lima, L. punctata spec. nov., and L. simplex, while specimens of L. malaccana and

  19. 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,

  20. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-11-02

    ecosystems. These reports Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico , and Pacific Ocean." For the will also serve as an awareness tool for agencies to purposes of this report...alternatives for proposed discharges of - 7 dredged or fill material into U.S or international waters, *o SECTION THi- zEE EXISTING FUNDING SOURCES FOR CORAL...facilities on several thousand acres within the Ko’olaupoko Region on O’ahu. Popu- NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO lation growth and development throughout

  1. Identification of Candidate Coral Pathogens on White Band Disease-Infected Staghorn Coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Sarah A; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial diseases affecting scleractinian corals pose an enormous threat to the health of coral reefs, yet we still have a limited understanding of the bacteria associated with coral diseases. White band disease is a bacterial disease that affects the two Caribbean acroporid corals, the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmate. Species of Vibrio and Rickettsia have both been identified as putative WBD pathogens. Here we used Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing to profile the bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased A. cervicornis collected from four field sites during two different years. We also exposed corals in tanks to diseased and healthy (control) homogenates to reduce some of the natural variation of field-collected coral bacterial communities. Using a combination of multivariate analyses, we identified community-level changes between diseased and healthy corals in both the field-collected and tank-exposed datasets. We then identified changes in the abundances of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between diseased and healthy corals. By comparing the diseased and healthy-associated bacteria in field-collected and tank-exposed corals, we were able to identify 16 healthy-associated OTUs and 106 consistently disease-associated OTUs, which are good candidates for putative WBD pathogens. A large percentage of these disease-associated OTUs belonged to the order Flavobacteriales. In addition, two of the putative pathogens identified here belong to orders previously suggested as WBD pathogens: Vibronales and Rickettsiales.

  2. Identification of Candidate Coral Pathogens on White Band Disease-Infected Staghorn Coral.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah A Gignoux-Wolfsohn

    Full Text Available Bacterial diseases affecting scleractinian corals pose an enormous threat to the health of coral reefs, yet we still have a limited understanding of the bacteria associated with coral diseases. White band disease is a bacterial disease that affects the two Caribbean acroporid corals, the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmate. Species of Vibrio and Rickettsia have both been identified as putative WBD pathogens. Here we used Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing to profile the bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased A. cervicornis collected from four field sites during two different years. We also exposed corals in tanks to diseased and healthy (control homogenates to reduce some of the natural variation of field-collected coral bacterial communities. Using a combination of multivariate analyses, we identified community-level changes between diseased and healthy corals in both the field-collected and tank-exposed datasets. We then identified changes in the abundances of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs between diseased and healthy corals. By comparing the diseased and healthy-associated bacteria in field-collected and tank-exposed corals, we were able to identify 16 healthy-associated OTUs and 106 consistently disease-associated OTUs, which are good candidates for putative WBD pathogens. A large percentage of these disease-associated OTUs belonged to the order Flavobacteriales. In addition, two of the putative pathogens identified here belong to orders previously suggested as WBD pathogens: Vibronales and Rickettsiales.

  3. Thresholds and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Hastings, Alan; Edwards, Helen J

    2007-11-01

    The deteriorating health of the world's coral reefs threatens global biodiversity, ecosystem function, and the livelihoods of millions of people living in tropical coastal regions. Reefs in the Caribbean are among the most heavily affected, having experienced mass disease-induced mortality of the herbivorous urchin Diadema antillarum in 1983 and two framework-building species of coral. Declining reef health is characterized by increases in macroalgae. A critical question is whether the observed macroalgal bloom on Caribbean reefs is easily reversible. To answer this question, we must resolve whether algal-dominated reefs are an alternative stable state of the ecosystem or simply the readily reversible result of a phase change along a gradient of some environmental or ecological parameter. Here, using a fully parameterized simulation model in combination with a simple analytical model, we show that Caribbean reefs became susceptible to alternative stable states once the urchin mortality event of 1983 confined the majority of grazing to parrotfishes. We reveal dramatic hysteresis in a natural system and define critical thresholds of grazing and coral cover beyond which resilience is lost. Most grazing thresholds lie near the upper level observed for parrotfishes in nature, suggesting that reefs are highly sensitive to parrotfish exploitation. Ecosystem thresholds can be combined with stochastic models of disturbance to identify targets for the restoration of ecosystem processes. We illustrate this principle by estimating the relationship between current reef state (coral cover and grazing) and the probability that the reef will withstand moderate hurricane intensity for two decades without becoming entrained in a shift towards a stable macroalgal-dominated state. Such targets may help reef managers face the challenge of addressing global disturbance at local scales.

  4. Coral barium incorporation: implications for proxy applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonneea, M. E.; Cohen, A. L.; Charette, M. A.

    2012-12-01

    Coral Ba/Ca ratios have been proposed as proxies for various environmental variables including sediment loading, upwelling and groundwater input. Two assumptions that underpin the application of Ba/Ca ratios as an environmental proxy is 2) that corals take up Ba/Ca in concentrations proportional to seawater concentrations and 1) that the specified forcing mechanism influences seawater [Ba]. Here we present data from laboratory experiments that demonstrates corals reared in a range of seawater [Ba] linearly incorporate this signature in their skeletal Ba/Ca ratios. Observed coral Ba/Ca perturbations above baseline typically range from 5-15 μmol/mol which is ~100-500% increase over baseline. Other factors known to influence coral Ba/Ca include the temperature dependence on the partition coefficient and mass fraction aragonite precipitated by the coral which may be linked to calcification rate. In our experiments, calcification rate increased with temperature, thus the observed coral partition coefficient is the net effect of temperature (Ba/Ca increase at lower temperature) and calcification rate (Ba/Ca increase at higher temperature). We observed that the partition coefficient for reared coral Ba/Ca increased 20% 27.7 to 22.5 C, much less than observed Ba/Ca perturbations. Thus we predict that seawater [Ba] drives coral Ba/Ca signals in many locations. We present a model framework to calculate the expected contribution from sediment input, upwelling and groundwater discharge that is needed to produce this signature in corals growing in receiving waters. Finally we apply this model to a coral record from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, recording groundwater discharge to the coastal ocean.

  5. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

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

  6. Object-based image analysis for mapping geomorphic zones of coral reefs in the Xisha Islands, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XU Jingping; ZHAO Jianhua; LI Fang; WANG Lin; SONG Derui; WEN Shiyong; WANG Fei; GAO Ning

    2016-01-01

    Mapping regional spatial patterns of coral reef geomorphology provides the primary information to understand the constructive processes in the reef ecosystem. However, this work is challenged by the pixel-based image classification method for its comparatively low accuracy. In this paper, an object-based image analysis (OBIA) method was presented to map intra-reef geomorphology of coral reefs in the Xisha Islands, China using Landsat 8 satellite imagery. Following the work of the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project, a regional reef class hierarchy with ten geomorphic classes was first defined. Then, incorporating the hierarchical concept and integrating the spectral and additional spatial information such as context, shape and contextual relationships, a large-scale geomorphic map was produced by OBIA with accuracies generally more than 80%. Although the robustness of OBIA has been validated in the applications of coral reef mapping from individual reefs to reef system in this paper, further work is still required to improve its transferability.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

    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.

  10. Endoparasites infecting the semiaquatic coral snake Micrurus surinamensis (Squamata: Elapidae) in the southern Amazonian region, Mato Grosso state, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ávila, R W; Morais, D H; Anjos, L A; Almeida, W O; Silva, R J

    2013-08-01

    A parasitological survey was conducted in specimens of the semiaquatic coral snake Micrurus surinamensis, a poorly known South American elapid. Four specimens collected at the southern Amazon region in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso were analyzed for endoparasites. Three parasite species were recovered from the snake hosts: the pentastomid Sebekia oxycephala, the nematode Physaloptera sp. and the trematode Opisthogonimus lecithonotus. This represents new locality and host record for S. oxycephala and O. lecithonotus.

  11. Endoparasites infecting the semiaquatic coral snake Micrurus surinamensis (Squamata: Elapidae in the southern amazonian region, Mato Grosso state, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    RW. Ávila

    Full Text Available A parasitological survey was conducted in specimens of the semiaquatic coral snake Micrurus surinamensis, a poorly known South American elapid. Four specimens collected at the southern Amazon region in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso were analyzed for endoparasites. Three parasite species were recovered from the snake hosts: the pentastomid Sebekia oxycephala, the nematode Physaloptera sp. and the trematode Opisthogonimus lecithonotus. This represents new locality and host record for S. oxycephala and O. lecithonotus.

  12. 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

  13. Annual cycles of solar insolation predict spawning times of Caribbean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Woesik, R; Lacharmoise, F; Köksal, S

    2006-04-01

    Seasonal increases in sea surface temperature (SST) have long been considered the trigger for mass spawning events in reef corals. We critically examined the relationship between SST and the spawning activity of broadcasting corals in the tropical western Atlantic (Caribbean). This meta-analysis examined 12 species of broadcasting corals at 25 sites spanning 22 degrees of latitude (10 degrees-32 degrees N) from Venezuela to Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean from 1986 to 2004. Sigmoidal logit regression models were used to examine the relationship between the release of reef-coral gametes and the environmental variables SST and solar insolation defined as (1) the cumulative response 7-10 months prior to spawning (integral); (2) the rate of change at the time of spawning (derivative); and (3) the average for the month of spawning. The Quasi-Newton method was used to estimate the maximum likelihood of the response function. We demonstrate that the recent history and rate of change in temperature correlate poorly with the timing of spawning, while the average temperature during the month of spawning was significant (with all corals releasing gametes 28-30 degrees C, except Montastraea annularis, which released gametes at 27-30 degrees C). In contrast, the rate of change and the cumulative response of solar insolation cycles was a better predictor of gamete release, but solar insolation intensity at the time of spawning was not. These models have important implications for predicting coral reproductive cycles in all oceans, and for examining other marine phototrophic systems beyond corals.

  14. Occurrence of the putatively heat-tolerant Symbiodinium phylotype D in high-latitudinal outlying coral communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lien, Yi-T.; Nakano, Y.; Plathong, S.; Fukami, H.; Wang, Jih-T.; Chen, C. A.

    2007-03-01

    Biogeographic investigations have suggested that coral-symbiont associations can adapt to higher temperatures by hosting a heat-tolerant Symbiodinium, phylotype D. It is hypothesized that phylotype D is absent in high latitudes due to its heat-tolerant characteristics. In this study, this hypothesis was tested by examining the symbiont diversity in a scleractinian coral, Oulastrea crispata, throughout its entire latitudinal distribution range in the West Pacific. Molecular phylotyping of the 5'-end of the nuclear large subunit of ribosomal DNA (lsu rDNA) indicated that phylotype D was the dominant Symbiodinium in O. crispata from the tropical reefs to the marginal non-reefal coral communities. Several colonies of tropical populations were associated with phylotype C, either alone or simultaneously with phylotype D. Analysis of the polymerase chain reaction products using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) detected relatively low densities of phylotype C in most of the O. crispata colonies surveyed. These results provide evidence for the occurrence of phylotype D in cold-water outlying coral communities. The dominant occurrence of phylotype C in some O. crispata colonies on tropical reefs and the relatively low densities of phylotype C identified by SSCP in subtropical and temperate populations show that the dominant symbiont type can vary in this coral species and that multiple symbionts can co-occur in the same host.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-08-01

    Acropora and Porites corals are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Bacteria associated with mucus produced by Porites spp. and Acropora spp. from Caribbean (Punta Maroma, Mexico) and Indo-Pacific (Hoga and Sampela, Indonesia) reefs were determined. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities from Caribbean corals were significantly more diverse (H', 3.18 to 4.25) than their Indonesian counterparts (H', 2.54 to 3.25). Dominant taxa were Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Cyanobacteria, which varied in relative abundance between coral genera and region. Distinct coral host-specific communities were also found; for example, Clostridiales were dominant on Acropora spp. (at Hoga and the Mexican Caribbean) compared to Porites spp. and seawater. Within the Gammproteobacteria, Halomonas spp. dominated sequence libraries from Porites spp. (49%) and Acropora spp. (5.6%) from the Mexican Caribbean, compared to the corresponding Indonesian coral libraries (<2%). Interestingly, with the exception of Porites spp. from the Mexican Caribbean, there was also a ubiquity of Psychrobacter spp., which dominated Acropora and Porites libraries from Indonesia and Acropora libraries from the Caribbean. In conclusion, there was a dominance of Halomonas spp. (associated with Acropora and Porites [Mexican Caribbean]), Firmicutes (associated with Acropora [Mexican Caribbean] and with Acropora and Porites [Hoga]), and Cyanobacteria (associated with Acropora and Porites [Hoga] and Porites [Sampela]). This is also the first report describing geographically distinct Psychrobacter spp. associated with coral mucus. In addition, the predominance of Clostridiales associated with Acropora spp. provided additional evidence for coral host-specific microorganisms.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Filipa Godoy-Vitorino

    2017-08-01

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

  17. An evaluation of the effect of recent temperature variability on the prediction of coral bleaching events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donner, Simon D

    2011-07-01

    Over the past 30 years, warm thermal disturbances have become commonplace on coral reefs worldwide. These periods of anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) can lead to coral bleaching, a breakdown of the symbiosis between the host coral and symbiotic dinoflagellates which reside in coral tissue. The onset of bleaching is typically predicted to occur when the SST exceeds a local climatological maximum by 1 degrees C for a month or more. However, recent evidence suggests that the threshold at which bleaching occurs may depend on thermal history. This study uses global SST data sets (HadISST and NOAA AVHRR) and mass coral bleaching reports (from Reefbase) to examine the effect of historical SST variability on the accuracy of bleaching prediction. Two variability-based bleaching prediction methods are developed from global analysis of seasonal and interannual SST variability. The first method employs a local bleaching threshold derived from the historical variability in maximum annual SST to account for spatial variability in past thermal disturbance frequency. The second method uses a different formula to estimate the local climatological maximum to account for the low seasonality of SST in the tropics. The new prediction methods are tested against the common globally fixed threshold method using the observed bleaching reports. The results find that estimating the bleaching threshold from local historical SST variability delivers the highest predictive power, but also a higher rate of Type I errors. The second method has the lowest predictive power globally, though regional analysis suggests that it may be applicable in equatorial regions. The historical data analysis suggests that the bleaching threshold may have appeared to be constant globally because the magnitude of interannual variability in maximum SST is similar for many of the world's coral reef ecosystems. For example, the results show that a SST anomaly of 1 degrees C is equivalent to 1.73-2.94 standard

  18. 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

  19. Corals as bioindicators of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, Eugene A.

    2008-01-01

    Potential effects of climate change and ocean acidification have energized much discussion among coral scientists, especially biologists. Will corals go extinct, lose their skeletons, or migrate pole-ward to cooler waters? No one knows, but some simple experiments, recent observations, and recent studies may shed some light on these questions. Above all they show the need for collaboration among biologists and geologists.

  20. 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 ob

  1. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef... of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task... to do so. Established by Presidential Executive Order 13089 in 1998, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force...

  2. 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 well-kno

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Characterizing Magnetic Properties in Belize Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urbalejo, A. A.; Bhattacharya, A.; Gee, J. S.; Mitra, R.; Carilli, J.; Hangsterfer, A.; Feinberg, J. M.

    2016-12-01

    Measurements of magnetic remanence and characterization of magnetic phases are widely applied to environmental and climate studies; however, magnetic tools have not been widely applied to coral studies. As such, there is a deficit in our understanding of magnetic materials and behavior in coral skeletons and consequently, of processes by which magnetic materials may get incorporated into coral skeletons. In this study, we present magnetic measurements conducted on freshly broken chips from coral cores; the cores were collected from Mesoamerican sites in Belize. Trace, minor, and major element concentration has been well studied in these two coral cores, using inductively coupled mass spectrometric techniques (ICP-MS). The goal of our current research is to determine are as follows: (a) Is there is a viable magnetic signal that can be obtained from measuring chips broken off of coral skeletons? (b) What are some of the dominant magnetic behaviors? (c) What are the carrier phases of magnetic material? (c) can we determine possible variations in the type and quantity of magnetic materials over time and ultimately, (e) can magnetic fingerprinting of corals can be used as tracers of environmental, climate or biological processes? Here, we present preliminary magnetic remanence measurements (IRM and double IRM) from the two coral cores collected from Belize and dating back to the mid 1800s. Early results using freshly broken chips from both coral cores indicate a magnetite-like soft magnetic component during IRM experiments. Double-IRM experiments on the same samples indicate uniaxial single domain behavior. Furthermore, SEM images suggest that the magnetic carrier phase could likely be magnetite. We will also present comparisons of our magnetic data with newly collected X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) data on the same coral cores. The goal is to properly characterize the type of magnetic signals and determine possible environmental and/or biological impacts on magnetic carrier

  7. 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

    ... Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY... conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters off North Carolina. The specimens... Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brandon J. Russell

    2016-02-01

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

  11. Summer hot snaps and winter conditions: modelling white syndrome outbreaks on Great Barrier Reef corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott F Heron

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under increasing pressure in a changing climate, one such threat being more frequent and destructive outbreaks of coral diseases. Thermal stress from rising temperatures has been implicated as a causal factor in disease outbreaks observed on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and elsewhere in the world. Here, we examine seasonal effects of satellite-derived temperature on the abundance of coral diseases known as white syndromes on the Great Barrier Reef, considering both warm stress during summer and deviations from mean temperatures during the preceding winter. We found a high correlation (r(2 = 0.953 between summer warm thermal anomalies (Hot Snap and disease abundance during outbreak events. Inclusion of thermal conditions during the preceding winter revealed that a significant reduction in disease outbreaks occurred following especially cold winters (Cold Snap, potentially related to a reduction in pathogen loading. Furthermore, mild winters (i.e., neither excessively cool nor warm frequently preceded disease outbreaks. In contrast, disease outbreaks did not typically occur following warm winters, potentially because of increased disease resistance of the coral host. Understanding the balance between the effects of warm and cold winters on disease outbreak will be important in a warming climate. Combining the influence of winter and summer thermal effects resulted in an algorithm that yields both a Seasonal Outlook of disease risk at the conclusion of winter and near real-time monitoring of Outbreak Risk during summer. This satellite-derived system can provide coral reef managers with an assessment of risk three-to-six months in advance of the summer season that can then be refined using near-real-time summer observations. This system can enhance the capacity of managers to prepare for and respond to possible disease outbreaks and focus research efforts to increase understanding of environmental impacts on coral disease in

  12. Alterations in dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) levels in the coral Montastraea franksi in response to copper exposure

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yost, Denise M. [University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, 1 Williams Street, P.O. Box 38, Solomons, MD 20688 (United States); Jones, Ross J. [Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), 17 Biological Lane, St Georges GE01 (Bermuda); Mitchelmore, Carys L., E-mail: mitchelmore@cbl.umces.edu [University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, 1 Williams Street, P.O. Box 38, Solomons, MD 20688 (United States)

    2010-07-15

    Symbiotic corals routinely experience hyperoxic conditions within their tissues due to the photosynthesis of the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate microalgae (Symbiodinium spp.). Symbiodinium spp. produce high intracellular levels of the osmolyte dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). It has recently been discovered in marine algae that DMSP and its enzymatic breakdown products also play a significant role in the scavenging of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). To examine this potential for DMSP in corals, we exposed the hard coral Montastraea franksi to 1, 10 and 50 {mu}g L{sup -1} (ppb) concentrations of the oxidative stressor, copper. Levels of total (DMSP{sub t}, all coral tissue) were higher than particulate DMSP{sub p} (algal component only), demonstrating partitioning of DMSP between algal symbionts and coral host. Significant changes in levels of DMSP{sub t} and DMSP{sub p} occurred in M. franksi after 48 h, demonstrating a response to copper and indicating a potential antioxidant role for DMSP. DMSP{sub t} and DMSP{sub p} levels decreased with copper dose, although at the highest copper dose DMSP{sub p} levels increased, whereas DMSP{sub t} levels did not. This observed differential response to copper between DMSP{sub t} and DMSP{sub p} demonstrates that physiological changes may be overlooked if conclusions are based upon DMSP{sub t} levels alone, which is a common measure used in coral studies. Decreases in chlorophyll a and algal cell numbers in response to elevated copper were also observed. These indices are important physiological indicators and are often used as indices to normalize DMSP levels. Our data suggest that the use of these common indices for normalizing DMSP may not always be appropriate.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Definable deduction relation

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张玉平

    1999-01-01

    The nonmonotonic deduction relation in default reasoning is defined with fixed point style, which has the many-extension property that classical logic is not possessed of. These two kinds of deductions both have boolean definability property, that is, their extensions or deductive closures can be defined by boolean formulas. A generalized form of fixed point method is employed to define a class of deduction relations, which all have the above property. Theorems on definability and atomless boolean algebras in model theory are essential in dealing with this assertion.

  19. Carbonate mound evolution and coral diagenesis viewed by U-series dating of deep water corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, N.; Ricard, E.; Blamart, D.; van der Land, C.; Colin, C.; Foubert, A.; van Rooij, D.; van Weering, T.

    2007-12-01

    U-series dating of constructional deep sea corals is a powerful tool to reconstruct the evolution of carbonate mound sediments driven by coral growth, sediment trapping and diagenesis. Here we have investigated in great detail the time framework of constructional corals such as L. pertusa and M. oculata on 5 different mounds of the eastern North Atlantic (on Rockall Bank and in Porcupine Seabight) taken at variable depth and location (610 to 880m water depth). Periods favorable for coral growth are the Holocene and prior interglacials such as marine isotope stage 5 and 7, while glacial coral growth seems inhibited or extremely reduced. Coral development is almost continuous throughout the Holocene since mound re-colonization about 10,500 years ago. Mound accumulation rates vary between 20 and 220 cm/kyr determined from the coral age - depth relationship in each core. Those changes are most likely driven by changes between horizontal and vertical mound accumulation, food supply and ocean circulation. In addition, coral dating allowed to identify an important erosional event recorded in core MD01-2455G from Rockall Bank. Here a 1m thick sediment layer containing ancient corals likely from the start of Holocene re-colonization was displaced (collapsed) from further upslope on top of younger corals of ~2500 to 3000 years age. Prior to the initiation of coral growth diagenesis occurred frequently resulting in (1) the construction of so called carbonate hardgrounds and/or (2) the dissolution of the pre-Holocene coral framework. Solely, the deepest selected core in Porcupine Seabight (MD01-2463G at 880m depth) reveals coral re-colonization on an undisturbed ancient reef structure that dates back to 250,000 years. Diagenesis of earlier coral reef generations leading to coral dissolution leads to a loss of magnetic susceptibility and open system behavior of the coral skeletons with respect to U-series dating. While the processes causing such diagenetic layers are barely

  20. 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.

  1. 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 Mari