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Sample records for coral montastraea faveolata

  1. Effects of temperature on gene expression in embryos of the coral Montastraea faveolata.

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.

    2009-12-23

    Coral reefs are expected to be severely impacted by rising seawater temperatures associated with climate change. This study used cDNA microarrays to investigate transcriptional effects of thermal stress in embryos of the coral Montastraea faveolata. Embryos were exposed to 27.5 degrees C, 29.0 degrees C, and 31.5 degrees C directly after fertilization. Differences in gene expression were measured after 12 and 48 hours.

  2. Differential gene expression during thermal stress and bleaching in the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata.

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    DeSalvo, M K; Voolstra, C R; Sunagawa, S; Schwarz, J A; Stillman, J H; Coffroth, M A; Szmant, A M; Medina, M

    2008-09-01

    The declining health of coral reefs worldwide is likely to intensify in response to continued anthropogenic disturbance from coastal development, pollution, and climate change. In response to these stresses, reef-building corals may exhibit bleaching, which marks the breakdown in symbiosis between coral and zooxanthellae. Mass coral bleaching due to elevated water temperature can devastate coral reefs on a large geographical scale. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of bleaching in corals, we have measured gene expression changes associated with thermal stress and bleaching using a complementary DNA microarray containing 1310 genes of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. In a first experiment, we identified differentially expressed genes by comparing experimentally bleached M. faveolata fragments to control non-heat-stressed fragments. In a second experiment, we identified differentially expressed genes during a time course experiment with four time points across 9 days. Results suggest that thermal stress and bleaching in M. faveolata affect the following processes: oxidative stress, Ca(2+) homeostasis, cytoskeletal organization, cell death, calcification, metabolism, protein synthesis, heat shock protein activity, and transposon activity. These results represent the first medium-scale transcriptomic study focused on revealing the cellular foundation of thermal stress-induced coral bleaching. We postulate that oxidative stress in thermal-stressed corals causes a disruption of Ca(2+) homeostasis, which in turn leads to cytoskeletal and cell adhesion changes, decreased calcification, and the initiation of cell death via apoptosis and necrosis.

  3. Reproducibility of geochemical and climatic signals in the Atlantic coral Montastraea faveolata

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    Smith, Jennifer M.; Quinn, Terrence M.; Helmle, Kevin P.; Halley, Robert B.

    2006-03-01

    Monthly resolved, 41-year-long stable isotopic and elemental ratio time series were generated from two separate heads of Montastraea faveolata from Looe Key, Florida, to assess the fidelity of using geochemical variations in Montastraea, the dominant reef-building coral of the Atlantic, to reconstruct sea surface environmental conditions at this site. The stable isotope time series of the two corals replicate well; mean values of δ18O and δ13C are indistinguishable between cores (compare 0.70‰ versus 0.68‰ for δ13C and -3.90‰ versus -3.94‰ for δ18O). Mean values from the Sr/Ca time series differ by 0.037 mmol/mol, which is outside of analytical error and indicates that nonenvironmental factors are influencing the coral Sr/Ca records at Looe Key. We have generated significant δ18O-sea surface temperature (SST) (R = -0.84) and Sr/Ca-SST (R = -0.86) calibration equations at Looe Key; however, these equations are different from previously published equations for Montastraea. Variations in growth parameters or kinetic effects are not sufficient to explain either the observed differences in the mean offset between Sr/Ca time series or the disagreement between previous calibrations and our calculated δ18O-SST and Sr/Ca-SST relationships. Calibration differences are most likely due to variations in seawater chemistry in the continentally influenced waters at Looe Key. Additional geochemical replication studies of Montastraea are needed and should include multiple coral heads from open ocean localities complemented whenever possible by seawater chemistry determinations.

  4. Effects of temperature on gene expression in embryos of the coral Montastraea faveolata

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    Randall Carly J

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs are expected to be severely impacted by rising seawater temperatures associated with climate change. This study used cDNA microarrays to investigate transcriptional effects of thermal stress in embryos of the coral Montastraea faveolata. Embryos were exposed to 27.5°C, 29.0°C, and 31.5°C directly after fertilization. Differences in gene expression were measured after 12 and 48 hours. Results Analysis of differentially expressed genes indicated that increased temperatures may lead to oxidative stress, apoptosis, and a structural reconfiguration of the cytoskeletal network. Metabolic processes were downregulated, and the action of histones and zinc finger-containing proteins may have played a role in the long-term regulation upon heat stress. Conclusions Embryos responded differently depending on exposure time and temperature level. Embryos showed expression of stress-related genes already at a temperature of 29.0°C, but seemed to be able to counteract the initial response over time. By contrast, embryos at 31.5°C displayed continuous expression of stress genes. The genes that played a role in the response to elevated temperatures consisted of both highly conserved and coral-specific genes. These genes might serve as a basis for research into coral-specific adaptations to stress responses and global climate change.

  5. Development of a coral cDNA array to examine gene expression profiles in Montastraea faveolata exposed to environmental stress.

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    Edge, Sara E; Morgan, Michael B; Gleason, Daniel F; Snell, Terry W

    2005-01-01

    The development of a cDNA array of coral genes and its application to investigate changes in coral gene expression associated with stressful conditions is described. The array includes both well-characterized and previously unidentified coral genes from Acropora cervicornis and Montastraea faveolata. Corals were exposed to either natural or anthropogenic stressors to elicit the expression of stress genes for isolation and incorporation onto the array. A total of 32 genes involved in protein synthesis, apoptosis, cell signaling, metabolism, cellular defense and inflammation were included on the array. Labeled cDNA from coral (Montastraea faveolata) exposed to elevated seawater temperature, salinity and ultraviolet light was tested against the microarray to determine patterns of gene expression associated with each stressor. Carbonic anhydrase, thioredoxin, a urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and three ribosomal genes demonstrated differential expression across all replicates on the array and between replicate colonies. Specific gene expression patterns produced in response to different stressors demonstrate the potential for gene expression profiling in characterizing the coral stress response.

  6. Effects of titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) nanoparticles on caribbean reef-building coral (Montastraea faveolata).

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    Jovanović, Boris; Guzmán, Héctor M

    2014-06-01

    Increased use of manufactured titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2 ) is causing a rise in their concentration in the aquatic environment, including coral reef ecosystems. Caribbean mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata) has frequently been used as a model species to study gene expression during stress and bleaching events. Specimens of M. faveolata were collected in Panama and exposed for 17 d to nano-TiO2 suspensions (0.1 mg L(-1) and 10 mg L(-1) ). Exposure to nano-TiO2 caused significant zooxanthellae expulsion in all the colonies, without mortality. Induction of the gene for heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) was observed during an early stage of exposure (day 2), indicating acute stress. However, there was no statistical difference in HSP70 expression on day 7 or 17, indicating possible coral acclimation and recovery from stress. No other genes were significantly upregulated. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis revealed that nano-TiO2 was predominantly trapped and stored within the posterior layer of the coral fragment (burrowing sponges, bacterial and fungal mats). The bioconcentration factor in the posterior layer was close to 600 after exposure to 10 mg L(-1) of nano-TiO2 for 17 d. The transient increase in HSP70, expulsion of zooxanthellae, and bioaccumulation of nano-TiO2 in the microflora of the coral colony indicate the potential of such exposure to induce stress and possibly contribute to an overall decrease in coral populations.

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

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    Nicholas R Polato

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

  8. Yellow band disease compromises the reproductive output of the Caribbean reef-building coral Montastraea faveolata (Anthozoa, Scleractinia).

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    Weil, Ernesto; Cróquer, Aldo; Urreiztieta, Isabel

    2009-11-16

    Sexual reproduction is critical to coral population dynamics and the long-term regeneration of coral reefs. Bleaching, disease, and/or anthropogenic-induced tissue/colony loss reduce reproductive output. This is the first attempt to explore the effect of a biotic disease on the reproduction of scleractinian corals. The study aimed to assess the effect of yellow band disease (YBD) on the reproduction of the important Caribbean reef-builder Montastraea faveolata. Tissue samples were collected from diseased, transition, and healthy-looking areas in each of 5 infected colonies and from 5 healthy controls in southwest Puerto Rico. The effect of disease-induced mortality was assessed by collecting samples from the edge and center of surviving small and large, healthy-looking tissue patches from large, previously infected tagged colonies. Fecundity was significantly lower in disease lesions compared to transition and healthy-looking tissues and the controls (99% fewer eggs). Fecundity in transition areas was significantly lower (50%) than in healthy-looking tissues in diseased colonies, which had 23% lower fecundity than control tissues. Although this fecundity drop was not statistically significant, it could indicate a systemic effect of YBD across the colony. Large and small patches had 64 and 84% fewer eggs than controls, respectively, and edge polyps had 97% fewer eggs than those in central control areas. Field observations of the spawning behavior of each tissue area corroborated the histological results. Our results indicate that YBD significantly compromises the reproductive output of M. faveolata, potentially reducing the fitness and consequently, the recovery of this important reef-building species on Caribbean coral reefs.

  9. A spatial and vertical comparison of coral Sr/Ca variations and growth rates in Montastraea faveolata colonies in Veracruz, Mexico

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    Cobb, R. M.; DeLong, K. L.; Richey, J. N.; Flannery, J. A.; Kilbourne, K. H.; Smith, J. M.; Quinn, T. M.; Hudson, J. H.

    2013-12-01

    The massive coral genera Montastraea spp. is ubiquitous in modern and fossil coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea making this genus a potential archive for paleoclimate reconstructions. Interpretation of modern and fossil coral records requires understanding the origins of variability in coral geochemical variations on scales ranging from intracolony to regional as well as differing water depths. In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey recovered cores from five Montastraea faveolata colonies offshore of Veracruz, Mexico (19.06°N, 96.93°W) in water depths from 2.7 m to 12.2 m. The average linear extension per year based on x-radiograph analysis is similar (8.1 and 8.6, ×1.9 mm/yr, 1σ; n=31) for colonies at water depths of 2.7 and 4.3 m, respectively, for the interval from 1963 to 1991. Progressively slower extension rates are observed for deeper colonies (7.6 × 1.8, 7.5 × 1.9, and 4.5 × 1.5 mm/yr, 1σ; n=31) for 5.8, 6.1 and 12.2 m, respectively. Correlation coefficients among annual linear extension records vary between 0.00 and 0.40 (n=31) with the lowest correlation between colonies in close proximity (~1 km) and highest between colonies furthest apart (~250 km). We analyzed coral Sr/Ca at approximately 18 samples per year (0.5 mm/sample) along corallite thecal walls parallel to the slab surface for the interval from 1982 to 1991. This geochemical proxy for SST reveals seasonal variations within the coral skeleton that correspond to the high- and low-density bands in the coral slab, which represent one year of growth. Our linear regression of coral Sr/Ca from a single core (5.8 m water depth) to the Optimum Interpolation sea surface temperature (OISST; Reynolds et al., 2002) results in a slope of -0.049 (×0.024 mmol/mol/°C, 1σ; n=100; r2=0.52), which is slightly greater than the slope of other published Montastraea calibrations, but less than those reported for Porites spp. An alternative calibration method is to examine mean coral Sr/Ca with

  10. Fast repetition rate (FRR) fluorometry: variability of chlorophyll a fluorescence yields in colonies of the corals, Montastraea faveolata (w.) and Diploria labyrinthiformes (h.) recovering from bleaching.

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    Lombardi; Lesser; Gorbunov

    2000-09-05

    Recently, an underwater version of a fast repetition rate fluorometer (FRRF) was developed for the non-destructive study of fluorescence yields in benthic photoautotrophs. We used an FRRF to study bleached colonies of the corals, Montastraea faveolata and Diploria labyrinthiformes at sites surrounding Lee Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas, to assess their recovery from bleaching ( approximately 1 year after the initial bleaching event) induced by elevated temperatures. The steady state quantum yields of chlorophyll a fluorescence (DeltaF'/F'(m)) from photosystem II (PSII) within coral colonies were separated into three categories representing visibly distinct degrees of bleaching ranging from no bleaching to completely bleached areas. Differences in DeltaF'/F'(m) were significantly different from bleached to unbleached regions within colonies. Dark, unbleached regions within colonies exhibited significantly higher DeltaF'/F'(m) values (0.438+/-0.019; mean+/-S.D.) when compared to lighter regions, and occupied a majority of the colonies' surface area (46-73%). Bleached regions exhibited significantly lower DeltaF'/F'(m) (0.337+/-0.014) and covered only 7-25% of the colonies' surface area. The observations from this study suggest that zooxanthellae in bleached regions of a colony exhibit reduced photosynthetic activity as long as one year after a bleaching event and that in situ fluorescence techniques such as FRRF are an effective means of studying coral responses and recovery from natural or anthropogenic stress in a non-destructive manner.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Polato, Nicholas R

    2010-06-23

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

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

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

    2014-03-01

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

  13. The recent decline of Montastraea annularis (complex coral populations in western Curaçao: a cause for concern?

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    A. W Bruckner

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Shallow leeward reefs off the western end of Curaçao are dominated by extensive populations of M. annularis (complex. These species are larger in size (mean= 66 cm diameter than all other species, with few small colonies (10 cm observed within transects, and most exhibited low levels of partial mortality (mean= 22.5%. These species were less abundant (38% of all colonies in 2005. Partial mortality among live colonies of M. annularis and M. faveolata increased by 85% (mean = 42% partial mortality and numerous dead colonies of M. faveolata and M. annularis were observed; M. franksi colonies were generally in excellent condition (14% partial tissue mortality. A high prevalence of coral diseases (3-30% was documented among M. annularis and M. faveolata, while all other species were less frequently affected. Yellow band disease (YBD emerged shortly after the 1995 bleaching event, and rapidly spread throughout all depths, with the highest prevalence between 1997-1999. YBD caused slow rates of mortality (=1 cm/month, but multiple focal lesions appeared on individual colonies, and these progressively radiated outward as they killed the colonies. By 2005, 44% of the tagged corals were dead; the remainder exhibited active YBD infections (21% or were in remission (31.6% but were missing on average >90% of their tissue. Although the incidence of YBD has declined since 2000, white plague (WP prevalence was unusually high (4-12% in 2001 and 2005, with affected colonies exhibiting recent mortality of up to 70%. Dead Montastraea spp. surfaces are being colonized by other corals, including poritids, agaricids, and other faviids, while recruits of M. annularis (complex are absent. If diseases and other biotic stressors persist on these reefs, M. annularis and M. faveolata populations may undergo a decline similar to that observed in the 1980s among Caribbean acroporids. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3: 45- 58. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.

  14. The recent decline of Montastraea annularis (complex coral populations in western Curaçao: a cause for concern?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. W Bruckner

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Shallow leeward reefs off the western end of Curaçao are dominated by extensive populations of M. annularis (complex. These species are larger in size (mean= 66 cm diameter than all other species, with few small colonies (10 cm observed within transects, and most exhibited low levels of partial mortality (mean= 22.5%. These species were less abundant (38% of all colonies in 2005. Partial mortality among live colonies of M. annularis and M. faveolata increased by 85% (mean = 42% partial mortality and numerous dead colonies of M. faveolata and M. annularis were observed; M. franksi colonies were generally in excellent condition (14% partial tissue mortality. A high prevalence of coral diseases (3-30% was documented among M. annularis and M. faveolata, while all other species were less frequently affected. Yellow band disease (YBD emerged shortly after the 1995 bleaching event, and rapidly spread throughout all depths, with the highest prevalence between 1997-1999. YBD caused slow rates of mortality (=1 cm/month, but multiple focal lesions appeared on individual colonies, and these progressively radiated outward as they killed the colonies. By 2005, 44% of the tagged corals were dead; the remainder exhibited active YBD infections (21% or were in remission (31.6% but were missing on average >90% of their tissue. Although the incidence of YBD has declined since 2000, white plague (WP prevalence was unusually high (4-12% in 2001 and 2005, with affected colonies exhibiting recent mortality of up to 70%. Dead Montastraea spp. surfaces are being colonized by other corals, including poritids, agaricids, and other faviids, while recruits of M. annularis (complex are absent. If diseases and other biotic stressors persist on these reefs, M. annularis and M. faveolata populations may undergo a decline similar to that observed in the 1980s among Caribbean acroporids. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3: 45- 58. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.Los arrecifes someros a sotavento

  15. 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.

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

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    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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

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

  18. Multi-species Coral Sr/Ca Based Sea-Surface Temperature (SST) Reconstruction Data Using Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea from Dry Tortugas National Park, FL

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    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — This data release includes new sub annual and mean annual Sr/Ca records from two species of massive coral, Orbicella faveolata (coral B3) and Siderastrea siderea...

  19. 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.

  20. Aposematic coloration does not deter corallivory by fish on the coral Montastraea cavernosa

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    Jarett, J. K.; Gochfeld, D. J.; Lesser, M. P.

    2016-09-01

    Predation on corals by visual predators is a significant source of partial or total mortality on coral reefs, and corals have evolved strategies, including chemical defenses, to deter predation. One mechanism that organisms use to communicate the presence of chemical defenses is aposematic coloration, or the display of bright coloration as a warning to visual predators such as fish. Corals exhibit multiple colors, and it has been hypothesized that one role for this variability in coloration is as an aposematic warning of adverse palatability. Here, we test green and orange color morphs of the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa for the presence of chemical defenses and whether their differences in coloration elicited different feeding responses. While M. cavernosa is chemically defended, there is no difference in feeding deterrence between color morphs; thus, the different color morphs of this coral species do not appear to represent an example of aposematic coloration.

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

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

    2015-06-01

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

  2. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae.

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    Barott, Katie L; Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran; Youle, Merry; Marhaver, Kristen L; Vermeij, Mark J A; Smith, Jennifer E; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-04-22

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and four types of benthic algae. The macroalgae Dictyota bartayresiana and Halimeda opuntia, as well as a mixed consortium of turf algae, caused hypoxia on the adjacent coral tissue. Turf algae were also associated with major shifts in the bacterial communities at the interaction zones, including more pathogens and virulence genes. In contrast to turf algae, interactions with crustose coralline algae (CCA) and M. annularis did not appear to be antagonistic at any scale. These zones were not hypoxic, the microbes were not pathogen-like and the abundance of coral-CCA interactions was positively correlated with per cent coral cover. We propose a model in which fleshy algae (i.e. some species of turf and fleshy macroalgae) alter benthic competition dynamics by stimulating bacterial respiration and promoting invasion of virulent bacteria on corals. This gives fleshy algae a competitive advantage over corals when human activities, such as overfishing and eutrophication, remove controls on algal abundance. Together, these results demonstrate the intricate connections and mechanisms that structure coral reefs.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A. Anderson

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Sexual vs. asexual reproduction in an ecosystem engineer: the massive coral Montastraea annularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Nicola L; Baums, Iliana B; Mumby, Peter J

    2007-03-01

    1. Long-lived sedentary organisms with a massive morphology are often assumed to utilize a storage effect whereby the persistence of a small group of adults can maintain the population when sexual recruitment fails. However, employing storage effects could prove catastrophic if, under changing climatic conditions, the time period between favourable conditions becomes so prolonged that the population cannot be sustained solely be sexual recruitment. When a species has multiple reproductive options, a rapidly changing environment may favour alternative asexual means of propagation. 2. Here, we revisit the importance of asexual dispersal in a massive coral subject to severe climate-induced disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a major framework-builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the increasing cover of macroalgae that prevents settlement of coral larvae. 3. To estimate levels of asexual recruitment within populations of M. annularis, samples from three sites in Honduras were genotyped using four, polymorphic microsatellite loci. 4. A total of 114 unique genets were identified with 8% consisting of two or more colonies and an exceptionally large genet at the third site comprising 14 colonies. 5. At least 70% of multicolony genets observed were formed by physical breakage, consistent with storm damage. 6. Our results reveal that long-lived massive corals can propagate using asexual methods even though sexual strategies predominate.

  6. Biological responses of the coral Montastraea annularis to the removal of filamentous turf algae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neidy P Cetz-Navarro

    Full Text Available Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month and long (10 month periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT, zooxanthellae density (ZD, mitotic index (MI, and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm(-2, and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm(-2 and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected.

  7. Biological responses of the coral Montastraea annularis to the removal of filamentous turf algae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cetz-Navarro, Neidy P; Espinoza-Avalos, Julio; Hernández-Arana, Héctor A; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA) and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month) and long (10 month) periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT), zooxanthellae density (ZD), mitotic index (MI), and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a) in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony) consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA) were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm(-2), and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm(-2) and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA) in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected.

  8. 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.

  9. Hurricane-driven patterns of clonality in an ecosystem engineer: the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Nicola L; Baums, Iliana B; Sanchez, Juan A; Paris, Claire B; Chollett, Iliana; Agudelo, Claudia L; Vermeij, Mark J A; Mumby, Peter J

    2013-01-01

    K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if the availability of favourable conditions for sexual recruitment decline under rising anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Here, we test the hypotheses that asexual dispersal is an integral life history strategy not only in branching corals, as previously reported, but also in a columnar, 'K-selected' coral species, and that its prevalence is driven by the frequency of severe hurricane disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a long-lived major frame-work builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the consequences of climate induced disturbance, such as bleaching, ocean acidification and increased prevalence of disease. 700 M. annularis samples from 18 reefs within the Caribbean were genotyped using six polymorphic microsatellite loci. We demonstrate that asexual reproduction occurs at varying frequency across the species-range and significantly contributes to the local abundance of M. annularis, with its contribution increasing in areas with greater hurricane frequency. We tested several competing hypotheses that might explain the observed pattern of genotypic diversity. 64% of the variation in genotypic diversity among the sites was explained by hurricane incidence and reef slope, demonstrating that large-scale disturbances combine with local habitat characteristics to shape the balance between sexual and asexual reproduction in populations of M. annularis.

  10. Hurricane-Driven Patterns of Clonality in an Ecosystem Engineer: The Caribbean Coral Montastraea annularis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Nicola L.; Baums, Iliana B.; Sanchez, Juan A.; Paris, Claire B.; Chollett, Iliana; Agudelo, Claudia L.; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if the availability of favourable conditions for sexual recruitment decline under rising anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Here, we test the hypotheses that asexual dispersal is an integral life history strategy not only in branching corals, as previously reported, but also in a columnar, ‘K-selected’ coral species, and that its prevalence is driven by the frequency of severe hurricane disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a long-lived major frame-work builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the consequences of climate induced disturbance, such as bleaching, ocean acidification and increased prevalence of disease. 700 M. annularis samples from 18 reefs within the Caribbean were genotyped using six polymorphic microsatellite loci. We demonstrate that asexual reproduction occurs at varying frequency across the species-range and significantly contributes to the local abundance of M. annularis, with its contribution increasing in areas with greater hurricane frequency. We tested several competing hypotheses that might explain the observed pattern of genotypic diversity. 64% of the variation in genotypic diversity among the sites was explained by hurricane incidence and reef slope, demonstrating that large-scale disturbances combine with local habitat characteristics to shape the balance between sexual and asexual reproduction in populations of M. annularis. PMID:23308185

  11. Hurricane-driven patterns of clonality in an ecosystem engineer: the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicola L Foster

    Full Text Available K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if the availability of favourable conditions for sexual recruitment decline under rising anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Here, we test the hypotheses that asexual dispersal is an integral life history strategy not only in branching corals, as previously reported, but also in a columnar, 'K-selected' coral species, and that its prevalence is driven by the frequency of severe hurricane disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a long-lived major frame-work builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the consequences of climate induced disturbance, such as bleaching, ocean acidification and increased prevalence of disease. 700 M. annularis samples from 18 reefs within the Caribbean were genotyped using six polymorphic microsatellite loci. We demonstrate that asexual reproduction occurs at varying frequency across the species-range and significantly contributes to the local abundance of M. annularis, with its contribution increasing in areas with greater hurricane frequency. We tested several competing hypotheses that might explain the observed pattern of genotypic diversity. 64% of the variation in genotypic diversity among the sites was explained by hurricane incidence and reef slope, demonstrating that large-scale disturbances combine with local habitat characteristics to shape the balance between sexual and asexual reproduction in populations of M. annularis.

  12. Genetic structure in the coral, Montastraea cavernosa: assessing genetic differentiation among and within Mesophotic reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel A Brazeau

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral reefs (30-150 m have recently received increased attention as a potential source of larvae (e.g., the refugia hypothesis to repopulate a select subset of the shallow water (<30 m coral fauna. To test the refugia hypothesis we used highly polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP markers as a means to assess small-scale genetic heterogeneity between geographic locations and across depth clines in the Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa. Zooxanthellae-free DNA extracts of coral samples (N = 105 were analyzed from four depths, shallow (3-10 m, medium (15-25 m, deep (30-50 m and very deep (60-90 m from Little Cayman Island (LCI, Lee Stocking Island (LSI, Bahamas and San Salvador (SS, Bahamas which range in distance from 170 to 1,600 km apart. Using AMOVA analysis there were significant differences in ΦST values in pair wise comparisons between LCI and LSI. Among depths at LCI, there was significant genetic differentiation between shallow and medium versus deep and very deep depths in contrast there were no significant differences in ΦST values among depths at LSI. The assignment program AFLPOP, however, correctly assigned 95.7% of the LCI and LSI samples to the depths from which they were collected, differentiating among populations as little as 10 to 20 m in depth from one another. Discriminant function analysis of the data showed significant differentiation among samples when categorized by collection site as well as collection depth. FST outlier analyses identified 2 loci under positive selection and 3 under balancing selection at LCI. At LSI 2 loci were identified, both showing balancing selection. This data shows that adult populations of M. cavernosa separated by depths of tens of meters exhibits significant genetic structure, indicative of low population connectivity among and within sites and are not supplying successful recruits to adjacent coral reefs less than 30 m in depth.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-05-01

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

  14. A Record of Environmental Change in Caribbean Coral Reefs: Sclerochronology and Geochemistry of O. faveolata as a Paleoclimate Proxy at Coral Gardens and Rocky Point, Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeCorte, I. A.; Greer, L.; Wirth, K. R.; Flowers Falls, E.; Lescinsky, H.; Doss, W. C.

    2015-12-01

    Over the last several decades, Acropora cervicornis has seen a massive die-off in the Caribbean. (Aronson and Precht 2001; Gardner et al., 2003; Greer et al., 2009). The potential causes of decline in A. cervicornis in the Caribbean include: extremes in sea surface temperatures (SST), ocean acidification, eutrophication, white-band disease, storm disturbances, and other anthropogenic disturbances. Contrary to the regional decline in A. cervicornis, Coral Gardens on the Belize Barrier Reef has an Acropora sp. population that appears to be thriving. Through a combination of sclerochronology, stable isotope analysis, and in situ sensor data, this work capitilizes on the opportunity to study reef conditions in a site where micro-environmental conditions appear to be favorable for healthy A. cervicornis coral growth. We use cores from two Orbicella faveolata colonies located within Acropora stands, as A. cervicornis does not reveal annual banding. We compare two cores from one O. faveolata colony at Coral Gardens, first cored in 2011 and again in 2014, to one O. faveolata core at near-by Rocky Point, where A. cervicornis is much less abundant. These cores were x-radiographed in order to expose the annual banding and sampled for stable oxygen and carbon isotope analysis (10-15 samples/cm). We show that, although there are no significant differences in the range of the δ18O and δ13C signature between Rocky Point and Coral Gardens, there is a clear difference in the stress histories at these locations as inferred from linear extension rates (LER's) and annual banding patterns. Rocky Point averages a LER of 10.5±1.4 mm/year (n = 29) over a 30 year record and Coral Gardens averages 9.1±1.2 mm/year (n = 70) from ~1953 - 2001, and averages 6.2±1.6 mm/year (n = 36) from coral years 2001-2014 after an inferred stress-banding event. This is in contrast to the observed overall health of A. cervicornis at the two locations. The inferred stress-banding event is currently

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, David A; Armstrong, Roy A; Weil, Ernesto

    2013-01-01

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

  16. Caribbean yellow band disease compromises the activity of catalase and glutathione S-transferase in the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata exposed to anthracene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montilla, Luis Miguel; Ramos, Ruth; García, Elia; Cróquer, Aldo

    2016-05-03

    Healthy and diseased corals are threatened by different anthropogenic sources, such as pollution, a problem expected to become more severe in the near future. Despite the fact that coastal pollution and coral diseases might represent a serious threat to coral reef health, there is a paucity of controlled experiments showing whether the response of diseased and healthy corals to xenobiotics differs. In this study, we exposed healthy and Caribbean yellow band disease (CYBD)-affected Orbicella faveolata colonies to 3 sublethal concentrations of anthracene to test if enzymatic responses to this hydrocarbon were compromised in CYBD-affected tissues. For this, a 2-factorial fully orthogonal design was used in a controlled laboratory bioassay, using tissue condition (2 levels: apparently healthy and diseased) and pollutant concentration (4 levels: experimental control, 10, 30 and 100 ppb concentration) as fixed factors. A permutation-based ANOVA (PERMANOVA) was used to test the effects of condition and concentration on the specific activity of 3 enzymatic biomarkers: catalase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase. We found a significant interaction between the concentration of anthracene and the colony condition for catalase (Pseudo-F = 3.84, df = 3, p anthracene in CYBD-affected tissues was compromised, as the activity of these enzymes decreased 3- to 4-fold compared to healthy tissues. These results suggest that under a potential scenario of increasing hydrocarbon coastal pollution, colonies of O. faveolata affected with CYBD might become more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of chemical pollution.

  17. 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.

  18. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barott, K.L.; Rodriguez-Mueller, B; Youle, M.; Marhaver, K.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Rohwer, F.L.

    2012-01-01

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the

  19. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barott, K.L.; Rodriguez-Mueller, B; Youle, M.; Marhaver, K.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Rohwer, F.L.

    2012-01-01

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the reef-buil

  20. P-glycoprotein (multi-xenobiotic resistance) and heat shock protein gene expression in the reef coral Montastraea franksi in response to environmental toxicants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Venn, Alexander A; Quinn, Jennifer; Jones, Ross; Bodnar, Andrea

    2009-07-26

    The deleterious impacts of marine pollutants on reef corals and their symbiotic algae are an important element of global coral reef decline. In the current study we examined the impacts of toxicants on the reef coral Montastraea franksi by analysing the expression of three stress-related genes belonging to the coral host, using Taqman real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Gene expression profiles of P-glycoprotein (or multi-xenobiotic resistance protein) (P-gp); heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) were examined following 4 and 8h exposures to the heavy metal copper (3, 10, 30 and 100 microgL(-1)) or the third generation oil dispersant Corexit9527 (1, 5, 10 and 50 ppm). Additionally, the expression of P-gp was examined following exposure to 0.5 and 5 microM concentrations of the chemotherapeutic drug vinblastine, a classic substrate of P-gp. The expression of P-gp increased significantly in corals treated with vinblastine and also increased following exposure to copper and Corexit9527. Hsp70, and to a lesser extent Hsp90 expression increased following exposure to copper and Corexit9527 indicating a general cellular stress response. Densities of symbiotic algae in the tissues of the corals did not change significantly during the experiments, nor was any loss or paling of coral tissues observed. These findings provide important insight into how corals defend themselves against pollution and complement ongoing initiatives developing molecular biomarkers of stress in reef-building corals.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  2. Multi-species coral Sr/Ca-based sea-surface temperature reconstruction using Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea from the Florida Straits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flannery, Jennifer A.; Richey, Julie N.; Thirumalai, Kaustubh; Poore, Richard Z.; DeLong, Kristine L.

    2017-01-01

    We present new, monthly-resolved Sr/Ca-based sea-surface temperature (SST) records from two species of massive coral, Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea, from the Dry Tortugas National Park, FL, USA (DTNP). We combine these new records with published data from three additional S. siderea coral colonies to generate a 278-year long multi-species stacked Sr/Ca-SST record from DTNP. The composite record of mean annual Sr/Ca-SST at DTNP shows pronounced decadal-scale variability with a range of 1 to 2°C. Notable cool intervals in the Sr/Ca-derived SST lasting about a decade centered at ~1845, ~1935, and ~1965 are associated with reduced summer Sr/Ca-SST (monthly maxima < 29°C), and imply a reduction in the spatial extent of the Atlantic Warm Pool (AWP). There is significant coherence between the composite DTNP Sr/Ca-SST record and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index, with the AMO lagging Sr/Ca-SST at DTNP by 9 years. Low frequency variability in the Gulf Stream surface transport, which originates near DTNP, may provide a link for the lagged relationship between multidecadal variability at DTNP and the AMO.

  3. The last two centuries of lead pollution in the southern Gulf of Mexico recorded in the annual bands of the scleractinian coral Orbicella faveolata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horta-Puga, Guillermo; Carriquiry, José D

    2014-05-01

    Lead (Pb) pollution history (1855-2001 A.D.) of the southern Gulf of Mexico (SGM) was reconstructed from the geochemical record contained in the annual bands of the hermatypic coral Orbicella faveolata from the Veracruz Reef System, Mexico. Pb concentrations ranged from 5.5 μg/g in 1889-23.6 μg/g in 1992, with an average of 10.0 ± 4.1 μg/g. These high concentrations are evidence of a highly polluted environment. High statistical correlations were observed between the annual Pb coral time-series and both, the production of alkyl-lead gasoline in Mexico during the second half of the twentieth century (r = 0.86, p < 0.001), and the industrial production of lead in North America for the 1900-1940 years period (r = 0.73, p < 0.001). Hence, this research provides evidence that these two processes generated Pb-rich aerosols that were atmospherically transported, increasing the environmental levels of Pb in the SGM.

  4. 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.

  5. Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon source oil and the chemical dispersant, Corexit® 9500, to coral larvae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley

    Full Text Available Acute catastrophic events can cause significant damage to marine environments in a short time period and may have devastating long-term impacts. In April 2010 the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon (DWH offshore oil rig exploded, releasing an estimated 760 million liters of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This study examines the potential effects of oil spill exposure on coral larvae of the Florida Keys. Larvae of the brooding coral, Porites astreoides, and the broadcast spawning coral, Montastraea faveolata, were exposed to multiple concentrations of BP Horizon source oil (crude, weathered and WAF, oil in combination with the dispersant Corexit® 9500 (CEWAF, and dispersant alone, and analyzed for behavior, settlement, and survival. Settlement and survival of P. astreoides and M. faveolata larvae decreased with increasing concentrations of WAF, CEWAF and Corexit® 9500, however the degree of the response varied by species and solution. P. astreoides larvae experienced decreased settlement and survival following exposure to 0.62 ppm source oil, while M. faveolata larvae were negatively impacted by 0.65, 1.34 and 1.5 ppm, suggesting that P. astreoides larvae may be more tolerant to WAF exposure than M. faveolata larvae. Exposure to medium and high concentrations of CEWAF (4.28/18.56 and 30.99/35.76 ppm and dispersant Corexit® 9500 (50 and 100 ppm, significantly decreased larval settlement and survival for both species. Furthermore, exposure to Corexit® 9500 resulted in settlement failure and complete larval mortality after exposure to 50 and 100 ppm for M. faveolata and 100 ppm for P. astreoides. These results indicate that exposure of coral larvae to oil spill related contaminants, particularly the dispersant Corexit® 9500, has the potential to negatively impact coral settlement and survival, thereby affecting the resilience and recovery of coral reefs following exposure to oil and dispersants.

  6. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, Michael K.

    2010-03-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Sensitivity of calcification to thermal stress varies among genera of massive reef-building corals.

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    Juan P Carricart-Ganivet

    Full Text Available Reductions in calcification in reef-building corals occur when thermal conditions are suboptimal, but it is unclear how they vary between genera in response to the same thermal stress event. Using densitometry techniques, we investigate reductions in the calcification rate of massive Porites spp. from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, and P. astreoides, Montastraea faveolata, and M. franksi from the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (MBR, and correlate them to thermal stress associated with ocean warming. Results show that Porites spp. are more sensitive to increasing temperature than Montastraea, with calcification rates decreasing by 0.40 g cm(-2 year(-1 in Porites spp. and 0.12 g cm(-2 year(-1 in Montastraea spp. for each 1°C increase. Under similar warming trends, the predicted calcification rates at 2100 are close to zero in Porites spp. and reduced by 40% in Montastraea spp. However, these predictions do not account for ocean acidification. Although yearly mean aragonite saturation (Ω(ar at MBR sites has recently decreased, only P. astreoides at Chinchorro showed a reduction in calcification. In corals at the other sites calcification did not change, indicating there was no widespread effect of Ω(ar changes on coral calcification rate in the MBR. Even in the absence of ocean acidification, differential reductions in calcification between Porites spp. and Montastraea spp. associated with warming might be expected to have significant ecological repercussions. For instance, Porites spp. invest increased calcification in extension, and under warming scenarios it may reduce their ability to compete for space. As a consequence, shifts in taxonomic composition would be expected in Indo-Pacific reefs with uncertain repercussions for biodiversity. By contrast, Montastraea spp. use their increased calcification resources to construct denser skeletons. Reductions in calcification would therefore make them more susceptible to both physical and biological

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koty H Sharp

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-28

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

  11. Differential effects of copper on three species of scleractinian corals and their algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bielmyer, G K; Grosell, M; Bhagooli, R; Baker, A C; Langdon, C; Gillette, P; Capo, T R

    2010-04-15

    Land-based sources of pollution have been identified as significant stressors linked to the widespread declines of coral cover in coastal reef ecosystems over the last 30 years. Metal contaminants, although noted as a concern, have not been closely monitored in these sensitive ecosystems, nor have their potential impacts on coral-algal symbioses been characterized. In this study, three species of laboratory-reared scleractinian corals, Acropora cervicornis, Pocillopora damicornis, and Montastraea faveolata each containing different algal symbionts (Symbiodinium A3, C1 and D1a, respectively) were exposed to copper (ranging from 2 to 20microg/L) for 5 weeks. At the end of the exposure period, copper had accumulated in the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate ("zooxanthellae") and animal tissue of A. cervicornis and the animal tissue of M. faveolata; however, no copper accumulation was detected in the zooxanthellae or animal tissue of P. damicornis. The three coral species exhibited significantly different sensitivities to copper, with effects occurring in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis at copper concentrations as low as 4microg/L. Copper exposure affected zooxanthellae photosynthesis in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis, and carbonic anhydrase was significantly decreased in A. cervicornis and M. faveolata. Likewise, significant decreases in skeletal growth were observed in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis after copper exposure. Based on preliminary results, no changes in Symbiodinium communities were apparent in response to increasing copper concentration. These results indicate that the relationships between physiological/toxicological endpoints and copper accumulation between coral species differ, suggesting different mechanisms of toxicity and/or susceptibility. This may be driven, in part, by differences in the algal symbiont communities of the coral species in question.

  12. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jahson Berhane Alemu I

    Full Text Available Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching.

  13. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures) varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching.

  14. 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.

  15. Lesiones naturales y regeneración de tejido en ramets del coral Montastraea annularis (Scleractinia: Faviidae en un arrecife degradado del Caribe Colombiano

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    Elvira Alvarado Ch

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Las poblaciones de Montastraea annularis muestran síntomas de declinamiento y sin embargo, pocos estudios se han realizado sobre tipos, frecuencias e intensidad de lesiones naturales in situ. Durante un año, septiembre 2003 a septiembre 2004, se hizo el seguimiento anual de lesiones naturales que aparecieron en ramets sanos de una población en un arrecife degradado dentro de un Área Marina Protegida, para inferir su efecto en la estructura de talla de la población. El 94% de los ramets presentaron lesiones causadas por blanqueamiento, depredación e interacciones con algas, esponjas y bioerodadores. La depredación causó el 47% y la interacción con algas el 36%. El 85% de las lesiones eran de tallas pequeñas (60% de su tejido vivo en los meses de septiembre a noviembre, pero la recuperación fue del 100% a los tres meses. Por el contrario, las lesiones con algas (36%, mostraron menor recuperación (6.7% y una tendencia a aumentar el área de lesión con el tiempo. En general, el porcentaje de área de tejido afectada por lesiones en un ramet durante cualquier mes fue menor a 10%. Sin embargo, de mayo a septiembre el porcentaje de tejido afectado fue mayor (10-50% debido al incremento en la frecuencia y abundancia de depredación, blanqueamiento e interacción con algas, y a la menor tasa de recuperación. Al final de un año, las lesiones que no se recuperaron causaron mortalidad parcial en el 25% de los ramets. El efecto de las lesiones y la recuperación sobre el tamaño de los ramets evidenció disminución de talla a lo largo del año, y al final de este, significó que el 21% pasara a una clase de talla menor.Natural lesions and regeneration of ramets of Montastraea annularis (Scleractinia: Faviidae in a degraded reef of the Colombian Caribbean. Currently, Montastraea annularis populations are suffering from high partial mortality rates; yet few studies have determined type, frequency and intensity of natural lesions in situ. During

  16. Ten years of change to coral communities off Mona and Desecheo Islands, Puerto Rico, from disease and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruckner, Andrew W; Hill, Ronald L

    2009-11-16

    Remote reefs off southwest Puerto Rico have experienced recent losses in live coral cover of 30 to 80%, primarily due to the decline of Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata from disease and bleaching. These species were formerly the largest, oldest, and most abundant corals on these reefs, constituting over 65% of the living coral cover and 40 to 80% of the total number of colonies. From 1998 to 2001, outbreaks of yellow band disease (YBD) and white plague (WP) affected 30 to 60% of the M. annularis (complex) colonies. Disease prevalence declined beginning in 2002, and then increased immediately following the 2005 mass bleaching event. Colonies of M. annularis (complex) have been reduced in abundance by 24 to 32%, and remaining colonies are missing more than half their tissue. Both M. annularis and M. faveolata have failed to recruit, resheeting has been minimal, and exposed skeletal surfaces are being colonized by macroalgae, bioeroding sponges, and hydrozoans. Other scleractinian corals were smaller in size (mean = 28 cm diameter) and exhibited lower levels of partial mortality; these taxa were affected to a lesser extent by coral diseases and bleaching-associated tissue loss over the last decade. The numbers of small colonies (1 to 9 cm) of these species identified since 2005 also exceeded numbers of larger colonies that died. These reefs appear to be exhibiting shifts in species assemblages, with replacement of M. annularis (complex) by shorter-lived brooding species and other massive and plating corals (Agaricia, Porites, Meandrina, Eusmilia, Diploria, and Siderastrea spp.). To avoid a catastrophic and permanent loss of the dominant, slow-growing reef-building corals, the causes and effects of diseases need to be better understood, and possible control mechanisms must be developed. In particular, steps must be taken to mitigate environmental and anthropogenic stressors that increase the spread and severity of disease.

  17. 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.

  18. Disease incidence is related to bleaching extent in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandt, Marilyn E; McManus, John W

    2009-10-01

    Recent outbreaks of coral bleaching and disease have contributed to substantial declines in the abundance of reef-building coral. Significant attention has been paid to both phenomena in order to determine their effect on reef trajectories. Although each is positively correlated with high temperatures, few studies have explored the potential links between bleaching and disease. A longitudinal study of corals in the Florida Keys was therefore conducted during the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event to quantify bleaching extent and disease incidence in corals, and to determine whether they were related or if they acted as discrete phenomena. These data indicated that overall, a positive correlation exists between bleaching extent and disease incidence. However, the specific interactions between these two phenomena varied among disease bleaching combinations. Montastraea faveolata colonies with greater bleaching intensities later developed white plague (WP) infections. Meanwhile, Siderastrea siderea colonies with dark spot disease (DS) bleached more extensively than apparently healthy colonies. Finally, bleaching and black band disease (BB) co-occurred on Colpophyllia natans throughout the bleaching event. WP, BB, and bleaching are each independently capable of changing the structure of coral populations through loss of living tissue, and DS is an important indicator of reef health. Understanding the dynamics of how these mortality sources interact is critical to understanding mortality patterns and predicting how reef communities will respond to future events.

  19. Biosynthesis of 'essential' amino acids by scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzgerald, L M; Szmant, A M

    1997-02-15

    Animals rely on their diet for amino acids that they are incapable either of synthesizing or of synthesizing in sufficient quantities to meet metabolic needs. These are the so-called 'essential amino acids'. This set of amino acids is similar among the vertebrates and many of the invertebrates. Previously, no information was available for amino acid synthesis by the most primitive invertebrates, the Cnidaria. The purpose of this study was to examine amino acid synthesis by representative cnidarians within the Order Scleractinia. Three species of zooxanthellate reef coral, Montastraea faveolata, Acropora cervicornis and Porites divaricata, and two species of non-zooxanthellate coral, Tubastrea coccinea and Astrangia poculata, were incubated with 14C-labelled glucose or with the 14C-labelled amino acids glutamic acid, lysine or valine. Radiolabel tracer was followed into protein amino acids. A total of 17 amino acids, including hydroxyproline, were distinguishable by the techniques used. Of these, only threonine was not found radiolabelled in any of the samples. We could not detect tryptophan or cysteine, nor distinguish between the amino acid pairs glutamic acid and glutamine, or aspartic acid and asparagine. Eight amino acids normally considered essential for animals were made by the five corals tested, although some of them were made only in small quantities. These eight amino acids are valine, isoleucine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine histidine, methionine and lysine. The ability of cnidarians to synthesize these amino acids could be yet another indicator of a separate evolutionary history of the cnidarians from the rest of the Metazoa.

  20. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  2. Do three massive coral species from the same reef record the same SST signal? A test from the Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeLong, K.L.; Poore, R.Z.; Reich, C.D.; Flannery, J.A.; Maupin, Christopher R.; Quinn, T.M.

    2010-01-01

    Paleoclimatologists have reconstructed century-long records of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Pacific using the Sr/Ca of massive corals, whereas similar reconstructions in the Atlantic have not proceeded at the same pace. Past research in the Florida Keys has focused on Montastrea spp., an abundant and fast-growing massive coral, thus a good candidate for climate reconstructions. However, coral records from the Florida Keys are complicated by freshwater flux, which varies the Sr/Ca in seawater, thus confounding the Sr/Ca to SST signal. In this research, we compared the monthly Sr/Ca variations in three massive corals species (Montastraea faveolata, Diploria strigosa, and Siderastrea siderea) from the same reef in the nearly pristine Dry Tortugas National Park (24.70N, 82.80W) at the southwestern extent of the Florida Keys. This location is ideal for a calibration study as hourly water temperature records are available and the remote reef is far from mainland freshwater influence. These corals experienced the same environmental conditions (water depth, clarity, Sr/Ca of seawater, etc.) but differ in the mean annual growth rates (0.86 ±0.10 (1σ) cm/year M. faveolata; 0.67 ±0.04 (1σ) cm/year D. strigosa; 0.44 ±0.04 (1σ) cm/year S. siderea). The mean Sr/Ca values are not the same but decrease with mean annual growth rates (9.201 ±0.091 (1σ) mmol/mol M. faveolata; 9.177 ±0.081 (1σ) mmol/mol D. strigosa; 8.964 ±0.12 (1σ) mmol/mol S. siderea), thus supporting the “vital effect” or biological differences during calcification between coral species. The amplitude of the seasonal cycle in Sr/Ca varies with the slower growing S. sidereahaving the largest mean amplitude and D. strigosa the smallest (0.340 mmol/mol S. siderea; 0.284 mmol/mol M. faveolata; 0.238 mmol/mol D. strigosa). We confirmed our sampling methods by conducting several intracolony and intercolony coral Sr/Ca replication tests and found a high correlation in all tests (>0.95

  3. 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

  4. Differential sensitivity of coral larvae to natural levels of ultraviolet radiation during the onset of larval competence.

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2011-07-01

    Scleractinian corals are the major builders of the complex structural framework of coral reefs. They live in tropical waters around the globe where they are frequently exposed to potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The eggs and early embryonic stages of some coral species are highly buoyant and remain near the sea surface for prolonged periods of time and may therefore be the most sensitive life stages with respect to UVR. Here, we analysed gene expression changes in five developmental stages of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata to natural levels of UVR using high-density cDNA microarrays (10 930 clones). We found that larvae exhibit low sensitivity to natural levels of UVR during early development as reflected by comparatively few transcriptomic changes in response to UVR. However, we identified a time window of high UVR sensitivity that coincides with the motile planula stage and the onset of larval competence. These processes have been shown to be affected by UVR exposure, and the transcriptional changes we identified explain these observations well. Our analysis of differentially expressed genes indicates that UVR alters the expression of genes associated with stress response, the endoplasmic reticulum, Ca(2+) homoeostasis, development and apoptosis during the motile planula stage and affects the expression of neurogenesis-related genes that are linked to swimming and settlement behaviour at later stages. Taken together, our study provides further data on the impact of natural levels of UVR on coral larvae. Furthermore, our results might allow a better prediction of settlement and recruitment rates after coral spawning events if UVR climate data are taken into account.

  5. A study of the interacting effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on the skeletal growth of two Caribbean coral species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langdon, C.; Baker, A.; Jones, P.

    2011-12-01

    A study was conducted to investigate how corals may be impacted by the combination of rising temperature and declining pH. In a fully crossed experimental design two important Caribbean reef-building coral species Acropora cervicornis and Montastraea faveolata were exposed to combinations of a normal (26°C) and elevated (32°C) temperature and normal (380 ppm) and elevated (800 ppm) CO2 level. Nine colonies of each species were placed in eight tanks. Two tanks were assigned to each of the four temperature and CO2 combinations. The CO2 level was controlled by bubbling with either outside air or outside air enriched with CO2 gas to achieve the desired CO2 concentration in the tank. Corals were pre-conditioned for 39 days under 26°C and 380 ppm. The temperature and CO2 in the experimental tanks was then ramped up at a rate of 0.3°C and 30 ppm per day over a two week period. The skeletal growth of the corals was measured weekly over 62 days using an optical or laser micrometer. At the end of the high temperature and CO2 part the experiment the ability of the corals to recover from these stressful conditions was examined for 56 days. The CO2 in the high CO2 tanks was reduced to 380 ppm and the temperature in the 32°C 380 tanks was reduced to 26°C. This experiment is our second attempt to measure short term changes in skeletal growth as a function of temperature and CO2. In the first year none of the corals grew. We eventually discovered that supplemental feeding was necessary. The results of the second year's experiment are interesting but exhibit a great deal of variability. Forty-four percent of A. cervicornis colonies exhibited a decline in growth of 45% and seventy-seven percent of the M. faveolata colonies experienced a decline of 44% under 800 ppm and recovered quickly when the CO2 was lowered to 380 ppm during the recovery phase. However, the other colonies either failed to grow at all, showed no response to CO2 or seemed to grow more quickly under elevated

  6. Chronology of mercury enrichment factors in reef corals from western Venezuela.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramos, Ruth; Cipriani, Roberto; Guzman, Hector M; García, Elia

    2009-02-01

    Mining and deforestation in the early 20th century, the development of petrochemical industries during the 1950s, and the constant weathering of natural deposits of cinabrium (HgS) have made Golfo Triste, Venezuela, a region impacted by mercury (Hg). We studied the chronology of Hg in coral skeletons of Siderastrea siderea (1 colony, 1900-1996) and Montastraea faveolata (2 colonies, 1930-1999) from Parque Nacional San Esteban. Maximum values of Hg/Ca ratios and standard deviations of Hg enrichment factors occurred in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s, and matched maxima of decadal rainfall. Values from the 1950s and 1970s matched periods of abundant but constantly decreasing rainfall and hence were best explained by the combination of runoff and the sudden bioavailability of Hg in the region. This sudden availability likely was associated with activities of the chlorine-caustic soda and fertilizer plants of Morón petrochemical complex, industries that started producing large amounts of Hg in 1958.

  7. The status of coral reefs and associated fishes and invertebrates of commercial importance in Pedro Bank, Jamaica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The coral reefs located off the north coast of the Jamaican mainland are some of the best and most studied reefs in the world. Coral reefs of Pedro Bank, Jamaica were assessed in March, 2012 as part of the KSLOF Global Reef Expedition using a modified Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA protocol. The main objectives were to: 1 characterize the distribution, structure and health of coral reefs; and 2 evaluate the population status of commercially important reef fishes and invertebrates. This work was conducted to assist in characterizing coral reef habitats within and outside a proposed fishery reserve, and identify other possible conservation zones. Within 20 reefs, live coral cover ranged from 4.9% to 19.2%. Coral communities were dominated by small corals (esp. Agaricia, Porites and Siderastrea although many sites had high abundances of large colonies of Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata, and these were generally in good condition. A single area, within the proposed fishery reserve, had extensive Acropora cervicornis thickets, and several shallow locations had small, but recovering A. palmata stands. Macroalgal cover at all sites was relatively low, with only three sites having greater than 30% cover; crustose coralline algae (CCA was high, with eight sites exceeding 20% cover. Fish biomass at all sites near the Cays was low, with a dominance of herbivores (parrotfish and surgeonfish and a near absence of groupers, snappers and other commercially important species. While parrotfish were the most abundant fish, these were all extremely small (mean size= 12cm; <4% over 29cm, and they were dominated by red band parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum followed by striped parrotfish (Scarus iseri. While coral communities remain in better condition than most coastal reefs in Jamaica, intense fishing pressure using fish traps (main target species: surgeonfish and hookah/spear fishing (main target: parrotfish is of grave concern to the

  8. Akumal's reefs: stony coral communities along the developing Mexican Caribbean coastline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, Roshan E

    2004-12-01

    Fringing coral reefs along coastlines experiencing rapid development and human population growth have declined worldwide because of human activity and of natural causes. The "Mayan Riviera" in Quintana Roo, México, attracts large numbers of tourists in part because it still retains some of the natural diversity and it is important to obtain baseline information to monitor changes over time in the area. In this paper, the condition of the stony corals in the developing coastline of the Akumal-area fore reefs is characterized at the start of the new millennium at two depths, and along an inferred sedimentation gradient. Transect surveys were conducted in five fringing reefs starting at haphazardly chosen points, with respect to species composition, live cover, colony density, relative exposure to TAS mats and, for one species (Diploria strigosa, Dana, 1848), tissue regression rates in the presence of TAS mats. Fish population density and herbivory rates are also assessed. Data from line intercept transects (n=74) show that live stony coral cover, density and relative peripheral exposure of colonies to turf algal/sediment (TAS) mats were inversely related to an inferred sediment stress gradient at 13m. In 2000, live stony coral cover had decreased by 40-50% at two sites studied in 1990 by Muñoz-Chagin and de la Cruz-Agüero (1993). About half of this loss apparently occurred between 1998 and 2000 during an outbreak of white plague disease that mostly affected Montastraea faveolata, and M. annularis. At a 13 m site, where inferred sedimentation rates are relatively high, time series photography of tagged Diploria strigosa, (n=38) showed an average loss of 70 cm2 of live tissue/coral/year to encroachment by TAS mats during the same period. Whereas densities of carnivorous fishes and herbivores (echinoids, scarids, acanthurids and Microspathodon chrysurus) in 2000 were low in belt transects at 10-19 m (n=106), turf-algal gardening pomacentrids were relatively common on

  9. Quantifying cryptic Symbiodinium diversity within Orbicella faveolata and Orbicella franksi at the Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A. Green

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available The genetic composition of the resident Symbiodinium endosymbionts can strongly modulate the physiological performance of reef-building corals. Here, we used quantitative metabarcoding to investigate Symbiodinium genetic diversity in two species of mountainous star corals, Orbicella franksi and Orbicella faveolata, from two reefs separated by 19 km of deep water. We aimed to determine if the frequency of different symbiont genotypes varied with respect to coral host species or geographic location. Our results demonstrate that across the two reefs both coral species contained seven haplotypes of Symbiodinium, all identifiable as clade B and most closely related to type B1. Five of these haplotypes have not been previously described and may be endemic to the Flower Garden Banks. No significant differences in symbiont composition were detected between the two coral species. However, significant quantitative differences were detected between the east and west banks for three background haplotypes comprising 0.1%–10% of the total. The quantitative metabarcoding approach described here can help to sensitively characterize cryptic genetic diversity of Symbiodinium and potentially contribute to the understanding of physiological variations among coral populations.

  10. Short-Term Coral Bleaching Is Not Recorded by Skeletal Boron Isotopes

    OpenAIRE

    Schoepf, Verena; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Mark E. Warner; Levas, Stephen J.; Matsui,Yohei; Aschaffenburg, Matthew D.; Andréa G Grottoli

    2014-01-01

    Coral skeletal boron isotopes have been established as a proxy for seawater pH, yet it remains unclear if and how this proxy is affected by seawater temperature. Specifically, it has never been directly tested whether coral bleaching caused by high water temperatures influences coral boron isotopes. Here we report the results from a controlled bleaching experiment conducted on the Caribbean corals Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata. Stable boron (δ11B), carbon (δ1...

  11. Predicting the distribution of Montastraea reefs using wave exposure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chollett, I.; Mumby, P. J.

    2012-06-01

    In the Caribbean region, forereef habitats dominated by Montastraea spp. have the highest biodiversity and support the largest number of ecosystem processes and services. Here we show that the distribution of this species-rich habitat can be explained by one environmental predictor: wave exposure. The relationship between wave exposure and the occurrence of Montastraea reefs was modelled using logistic regression for reefs throughout the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest and most topographically complex systems in the region. The model was able to predict correctly the occurrence of Montastraea reefs with an accuracy of 81%. Consistent with historical qualitative patterns, the distribution of Montastraea reefs is constrained in environments of high exposure. This pattern is likely to be driven by high rates of chronic sediment scour that constrain recruitment. The wide range of wave exposure conditions used to parameterize the model in Belize suggest that it should be transferable throughout much of the Caribbean region, constituting a fast and inexpensive alternative to traditional habitat mapping and complementing global efforts to map reef extent.

  12. Selectividad de presas de Coralliophila abbreviata y C. caribaea en arrecifes coralinos del Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela: una aproximación experimental Selectivity of preys of Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea in coral reefs of the National Park Morrocoy, Venezuela: an experimental approximation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos del Mónaco

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Se evaluó la selectividad de presas de Coralliophila abbreviata y C. caribaea en seis arrecifes coralinos del Parque Nacional Morrocoy (PNM, Venezuela, mediante métodos descriptivos y experimentales. Se estimó la abundancia y riqueza coralina, el número de Coralliophila spp. y su presa coralina mediante cuadratas aleatorias de 1 m² en tres sitios por cada arrecife . Se utilizaron ocho jaulas de exclusión de 1 m³ en cuyo interior se colocaron cinco colonias coralinas de diferentes especies, equidistantes a 10 individuos de C. abbreviata. Se observó una estrecha relación depredador-presa entre C. abbreviata y la hexacoralina Montastraea annularis, representando el 56,8% de todas las interacciones en todas las localidades, seguida por Diploria strigosa (19,3%, Agaricia agaricites (12,2%, Colpophyllia natans (4,6% y A. tenuifolia (3,1%. C. caribaea exhibió una mayor afinidad con el octocoral Erythropodium caribaeorum (42,6% y las hexacoralinas C. natans (24,1%, Montastraea faveolata (11,1%, Porites porites (7,4% y D. strigosa (11,1%. De igual forma, el experimento mostró mayor asociación de C. abbreviata con M. annularis 53,3%, seguida por C. natans (17,8%, A. tenuifolia y D. strigosa (11,1% cada una y A. agaricites (6,7%. Según estos resultados, C. abbreviata debería generar un mayor impacto que C. caribaea sobre el PNM debido a que sus presas más frecuentes están entre las principales formadoras de arrecife mientras que C. caribaea depredó mayormente a E. caribaeorum, la cual es competidora de hexacorales.Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea are tropical gastropods of the Caribbean Sea. These gastropods have shown to be important corallivores. The objective of this work was to evaluate in situ the prey selectivity of C. abbreviata and C. caribaea in some coral reefs of Morrocoy National Park by means of experimental and descriptive methods. We used quadrats of 1 m² to estimate coral abundance and richness, number of

  13. Coralline algae disease reduces survival and settlement success of coral planulae in laboratory experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quéré, Gaëlle; Nugues, Maggy M.

    2015-09-01

    Disease outbreaks have been involved in the deterioration of coral reefs worldwide and have been particularly striking among crustose coralline algae (CCA). Although CCA represent important cues for coral settlement, the impact of CCA diseases on the survival and settlement of coral planulae is unknown. Exposing coral larvae to healthy, diseased, and recently dead crusts from three important CCA species, we show a negative effect of disease in the inductive CCA species Hydrolithon boergesenii on larval survivorship of Orbicella faveolata and settlement of O. faveolata and Diploria labyrinthiformis on the CCA surface. No effect was found with the less inductive CCA species Neogoniolithon mamillare and Paragoniolithon accretum. Additionally, a majority of planulae that settled on top of diseased H. boergesenii crusts were on healthy rather than diseased/dying tissue. Our experiments suggest that CCA diseases have the potential to reduce the survivorship and settlement of coral planulae on coral reefs.

  14. Population Structure of Montastraea cavernosa on Shallow versus Mesophotic Reefs in Bermuda.

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    Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral reef ecosystems remain largely unexplored with only limited information available on taxonomic composition, abundance and distribution. Yet, mesophotic reefs may serve as potential refugia for shallow-water species and thus understanding biodiversity, ecology and connectivity of deep reef communities is integral for resource management and conservation. The Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa, is considered a depth generalist and is commonly found at mesophotic depths. We surveyed abundance and size-frequency of M. cavernosa populations at six shallow (10m and six upper mesophotic (45m sites in Bermuda and found population structure was depth dependent. The mean surface area of colonies at mesophotic sites was significantly smaller than at shallow sites, suggesting that growth rates and maximum colony surface area are limited on mesophotic reefs. Colony density was significantly higher at mesophotic sites, however, resulting in equal contributions to overall percent cover. Size-frequency distributions between shallow and mesophotic sites were also significantly different with populations at mesophotic reefs skewed towards smaller individuals. Overall, the results of this study provide valuable baseline data on population structure, which indicate that the mesophotic reefs of Bermuda support an established population of M. cavernosa.

  15. A rock-magnetic study of coral skeletons: A record of African dust deposition in the Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nigro, P. M.; Clement, B. M.; Halley, R.; Helmle, K.; Swart, P.; Dodge, R.

    2008-05-01

    Aeolian African dust from the Saharan-Sahel deserts significantly influences the climate and ecology of the Caribbean region. Large summer dust storms produce mass quantities of air-born, clay-rich material (containing significant iron-oxide components), that are transported over the Atlantic Ocean and deposited in the Caribbean. We present here the results of a rock magnetic study of cores of Scleractinian corals, including a Montastraea annularis collected in Culebra, Puerto Rico on July of 1991, a M. faveolata collected off the coast of St. Vincent (Bequia) on November of 2002, and a Siderastrea radians collected off the coast of Cape Verde on July of 2002. Thin slabs (~5mm) were cut from these cores and x-rayed to reveal annual density banding. Small samples centered over each annual high-density band were cut from the slabs. These samples were then subjected to a series of standard rock magnetic experiments, including Anhysteretic Remanent Magnetization (ARM) acquisition and demagnetization, and Isothermal Remanent Magnetization (IRM) acquisition and demagnetization. Records of both ARMs and IRMs reveal coherent signals that vary with coral age. The IRM acquisition curves demonstrate the presence of two carriers of magnetization in most samples; a low-coercivity component consistent with the presence of magnetite or maghemite and a high-coercivity component consistent with the presence of hematite. Unmixing the IRM acquisition curves differentiates the magnetic components and yields a record of high-coercivity input that we interpret as a record of African dust. Preliminary data from the M. annularis core show a link between high and low variability in the high-coercivity component when compared with the historical record of dust flux to the Caribbean and with the Soudano-Sahel Precipitation Index (SSPI) over a time period of fifty years (1941-1990). High variability is displayed from 1941 through 1950 and 1965 through 1990 whereas low variability is displayed

  16. Negative indirect effects of neighbors on imperiled scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Lyza; Miller, M. W.

    2014-12-01

    Predation pressure on an individual may be influenced by spatial associations with other organisms. In the case of rare and imperiled species, such indirect interactions may affect the persistence and recovery of local populations. This study examined the effects of coral neighborhood composition on the foraging behavior and impact of the corallivorous gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata. We conducted a manipulative field experiment in which focal colonies of the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora cervicornis had no neighbors, conspecific neighbors, alternative prey ( Orbicella faveolata) neighbors, or non-prey ( Porites asteroides) neighbors. Individually tagged C. abbreviata were then seeded into the study area and allowed to colonize the experimental plots. Initial colonization was significantly affected by the species of neighboring corals and snail abundance after colonization was negatively correlated with focal colony growth. Snails exhibited a strong prey preference for A. cervicornis over O. faveolata and responded numerically to neighborhood quality (i.e., relative preference for neighboring corals). Thus, conspecific neighbors had the greatest predator-mediated negative effect on focal colony performance followed by O. faveolata neighbors. The results suggest that C. abbreviata mediate apparent competition between O. faveolata and A. cervicornis as both species contributed to the local abundance of their shared predator. Additionally, home range estimates for tagged C. abbreviata were calculated, compared among sexes, and found to be significantly greater for males than for females. Overall, this study sheds light on the foraging behavior of an important coral predator and highlights the potential importance of consumer-mediated indirect interactions in the dynamics of severely reduced populations. The results also have direct implications for conservation and population enhancement efforts.

  17. 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.

  18. Decade-Scale Trend in Sea Water Salinity Revealed through d18O Analysis of Montastraea Annularis Annual Growth Bands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halley, Robert B.; Swart, Peter K.; Dodge, Richard E.; Hudson, J. Harold

    1994-01-01

    Stable oxygen isotope ratios (18O) of coral skeletons are influenced by ambient water temperature and by the oxygen isotope ratio in the surrounding sea water, which, in turn, is linked to evaporation (salinity) and precipitation. To investigate this relationship more thoroughly, we collected hourly temperature data from the Hen and Chickens Reef in the Florida Keys between 1975 and 1988 and compared them to the 18O of Montastraea annularis skeleton that grew during the same interval. To ensure that we obtained the correct oxygen isotopic range in the skeleton we typically sampled the coral at a resolution of 20-30 samples in 1 year; in 1 year we sampled the coral at a resolution of 70 samples x year-1. Despite our high-resolution sampling, we were unable to obtain the full temperature-induced 18O range in the skeleton. Our data suggest that, during the summer, evaporation causes isotopic enrichment in the water, partially masking the temperature-induced signal. Our data also show that oxygen isotopic composition of seawater at the reef has increased since 1981. This increase indicates that salinity has increased slightly during the past decade, perhaps as a result of increased evaporation in waters of Florida Bay and the Keys. This phenomenon is probably not caused by a decrease in the outflow of freshwater into Florida Bay from the Everglades but may be related to the measured deficit in precipitation that has occurred over the past decade.

  19. Massive bleaching of coral reefs induced by the 2010 ENSO, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos del Mónaco

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO has generated global coral massive bleaching. The aim of this work was to evaluate the massive bleaching of coral reefs in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela derived from ENSO 2010. We evaluated the bleaching of reefs at five localities both at three and five meter depth. The coral cover and densities of colonies were estimated. We recorded living coral cover, number and diameter of bleached and nonbleached colonies of each coral species. The colonies were classified according to the proportion of bleached area. Satellite images (Modis Scar were analyzed for chlorophyll-a concentration and temperature in August, September, October and November from 2008-2010. Precipitation, wind speed and air temperature information was evaluated in meteorological data for 2009 and 2010. A total of 58.3% of colonies, belonging to 11 hexacoral species, were affected and the greatest responses were observed in Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea annularis and Montastraea faveolata. The most affected localities were closer to the mainland and had a bleached proportion up to 62.73±36.55%, with the highest proportion of affected colonies, whereas the farthest locality showed 20.25±14.00% bleached and the smallest proportion. The salinity in situ varied between 30 and 33ppm and high levels of turbidity were observed. According to the satellite images, in 2010 the surface water temperatura reached 31ºC in August, September and October, and resulted higher than those registered in 2008 and 2009. Regionally, chlorophyll values were higher in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. The meteorological data indicated that precipitation in November 2010 was three times higher than in November 2009. Massive coral bleaching occurred due to a three month period of high temperatures followed by one month of intense ENSO-associated precipitation. However, this latter factor was likely the trigger because of the bleaching gradient observed. Rev. Biol. Trop. 60 (2

  20. Bioindication potential of carbonic anhydrase activity in anemones and corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, A L; Guzmán, H M

    2001-09-01

    Activity levels of carbonic anhydrase (CA) were assessed in anemones Condylactis gigantea and Stichodactyla helianthus with laboratory exposures to copper, nickel, lead, and vanadium, and also in animals collected from polluted vs pristine field sites. CA activity was found to be decreased with increase in metal concentration and also in animals collected from the polluted field site. Preliminary assessments to adapt the CA assay for use in the widespread coral Montastraea cavernosa show decreased CA activity in specimens from the polluted field site and provide an avenue for future research aimed at more thoroughly describing coral CA activity for potential application in bioindication.

  1. Annual coral bleaching and the long-term recovery capacity of coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-22

    Mass bleaching events are predicted to occur annually later this century. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether corals will be able to recover between annual bleaching events. Using a combined tank and field experiment, we simulated annual bleaching by exposing three Caribbean coral species (Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides and Orbicella faveolata) to elevated temperatures for 2.5 weeks in 2 consecutive years. The impact of annual bleaching stress on chlorophyll a, energy reserves, calcification, and tissue C and N isotopes was assessed immediately after the second bleaching and after both short- and long-term recovery on the reef (1.5 and 11 months, respectively). While P. divaricata and O. faveolata were able to recover from repeat bleaching within 1 year, P. astreoides experienced cumulative damage that prevented full recovery within this time frame, suggesting that repeat bleaching had diminished its recovery capacity. Specifically, P. astreoides was not able to recover protein and carbohydrate concentrations. As energy reserves promote bleaching resistance, failure to recover from annual bleaching within 1 year will likely result in the future demise of heat-sensitive coral species.

  2. Hurricane-driven patterns of clonality in an ecosystem engineer: The Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Foster, N.L.; Baums, I.B.; Sanchez, J.A.; Paris, C.B.; Chollett, I.; Agudelo, C.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Mumby, P.J.

    2013-01-01

    K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if

  3. Hurricane-driven patterns of clonality in an ecosystem engineer: The Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Foster, N.L.; Baums, I.B.; Sanchez, J.A.; Paris, C.B.; Chollett, I.; Agudelo, C.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Mumby, P.J.

    2013-01-01

    K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if

  4. Synchronous changes in coral chromatophore tissue density and skeletal banding as an adaptive response to environmental change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ardisana, R. N.; Miller, C. A.; Sivaguru, M.; Fouke, B. W.

    2013-12-01

    Corals are a key reservoir of biodiversity in coastal, shallow water tropical marine environments, and density banding in their aragonite skeletons is used as a sensitive record of paleoclimate. Therefore, the cellular response of corals to environmental change and its expression in skeletal structure is of significant importance. Chromatophores, pigment-bearing cells within the ectoderm of hermatypic corals, serve to both enhance the photosynthetic activity of zooxanthellae symbionts, as well as protect the coral animal from harmful UV radiation. Yet connections have not previously been drawn between chromatophore tissue density and the development of skeletal density bands. A histological analysis of the coral Montastrea faveolata has therefore been conducted across a bathymetric gradient of 1-20 m on the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao. A combination of field and laboratory photography, serial block face imaging (SBFI), two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM), and 3D image analysis has been applied to test whether M. faveolata adapts to increasing water depth and decreasing photosynthetically active radiation by shifting toward a more heterotrophic lifestyle (decreasing zooxanthellae tissue density, increasing mucocyte tissue density, and decreasing chromatophores density). This study is among the first to collect and evaluate histological data in the spatial context of an entire unprocessed coral polyp. TPLSM was used to optically thin section unprocessed tissue biopsies with quantitative image analysis to yield a nanometer-scale three-dimensional map of the quantity and distribution of the symbionts (zooxanthellae) and a host fluorescent pigments (chromatophores), which is thought to have photoprotective properties, within the context of an entire coral polyp. Preliminary results have offered new insight regarding the three-dimensional distribution and abundance of chromatophores and have identified: (1) M. faveolata tissue collected from 8M SWD do

  5. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Dulvy, Nicholas K; Côte, Isabelle M; Watkinson, Andrew R; Gill, Jennifer A

    2011-09-01

    The architectural complexity of ecosystems can greatly influence their capacity to support biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. Understanding the components underlying this complexity can aid the development of effective strategies for ecosystem conservation. Caribbean coral reefs support and protect millions of livelihoods, but recent anthropogenic change is shifting communities toward reefs dominated by stress-resistant coral species, which are often less architecturally complex. With the regionwide decline in reef fish abundance, it is becoming increasingly important to understand changes in coral reef community structure and function. We quantify the influence of coral composition, diversity, and morpho-functional traits on the architectural complexity of reefs across 91 sites at Cozumel, Mexico. Although reef architectural complexity increases with coral cover and species richness, it is highest on sites that are low in taxonomic evenness and dominated by morpho-functionally important, reef-building coral genera, particularly Montastraea. Sites with similar coral community composition also tend to occur on reefs with very similar architectural complexity, suggesting that reef structure tends to be determined by the same key species across sites. Our findings provide support for prioritizing and protecting particular reef types, especially those dominated by key reef-building corals, in order to enhance reef complexity.

  6. Rapid phase-shift reversal on a Jamaican coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idjadi, Joshua A.; Lee, Sarah C.; Bruno, John F.; Precht, William F.; Allen-Requa, Laurie; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2006-05-01

    Many Caribbean reefs have experienced a phase-shift in community structure, the principle features being a decline in coral cover and an increase in macroalgal biomass. However, one Jamaican reef—Dairy Bull on the north shore near Discovery Bay—is once again dominated by scleractinian corals and several key species have returned. Living coral cover at 6 8 m depth at Dairy Bull has doubled over the past 9 years and is now ~54%. The absolute cover of Acropora cervicornis was <1% in 1995, but increased to ~11% by January 2004. During this time the cover of macroalgae decreased by 90%, from 45 to 6%. We speculate that long-lived colonies of Montastraea annularis may have facilitated the recovery of this reef by providing structural refugia.

  7. Growing coral larger and faster: micro-colony-fusion as a strategy for accelerating coral cover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forsman, Zac H; Page, Christopher A; Toonen, Robert J; Vaughan, David

    2015-01-01

    Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1-3 cm(2)) fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month) followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm(2) per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration.

  8. Growing coral larger and faster: micro-colony-fusion as a strategy for accelerating coral cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zac H. Forsman

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1–3 cm2 fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm2 per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Collection methods and descriptions of coral cores extracted from massive corals in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinzierl, Michael S.; Reich, Christopher D.; Hickey, T. Donald; Bartlett, Lucy A.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-11-29

    Cores from living coral colonies were collected from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A., to obtain skeletal records of past coral growth and allow geochemical reconstruction of environmental variables during the corals’ centuries-long lifespans. The samples were collected as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http:/coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest) that provides science to assist resource managers tasked with the stewardship of coral reef resources. Three colonies each of the coral species Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were collected in May 2012 using the methods described herein and as approved under National Park Service scientific collecting permit number DRTO-2012-SCI-0001 and are cataloged under accession number DRTO-353. These coral samples can be used to retroactively construct environmental parameters, including sea-surface temperature, by measuring the elemental composition of the coral skeleton. The cores described here, and others (see http://olga.er.usgs.gov/coreviewer/), can be requested, on loan, for scientific study. Photographic images for each coral in its ocean environment, the coral cores as curated and slabbed, and the X-rays of the slabs can be found in an associated U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.

  13. A 107-year-old coral from Florida Bay: barometer of natural and man- induced catastrophes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudson, J.H.; Powell, G.V.N.; Robblee, M.B.; Smith, T. J.

    1989-01-01

    The 107-yr growth history of a massive coral Solenastrea bournoni from Florida Bay was reconstructed with X-ray imagery from a single 4 in. diameter (10 cm) core that penetrated the exact epicenter of the 95.3 cm high colony. Growth increments totalled 952.9 mm, averaging 8.9 mm/yr over the life of the coral. Growth rate trends in the Florida Bay coral were compared to those in a Montastraea annularis of similar age from a nearby patch reef on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Keys. It was concluded that growth rate, at least in these specimens, is a questionable indicator of past hurricanes and freezes. There does appear to be, however, a possible cause-and-effect relationship between major man-induced environmental perturbations and a prolonged reduction in growth rate in each coral's growth record. -from Authors

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandra Verde

    2016-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verde, Alejandra; Bastidas, Carolina; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Coral diseases near Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas: patterns and potential drivers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voss, Joshua D; Richardson, Laurie L

    2006-03-23

    The number of coral diseases, coral species they infect, number of reported cases, and range over which these diseases are distributed have all increased dramatically in the past 3 decades, posing a serious threat to coral reef ecosystems worldwide. While some published studies provide data on the distribution of coral diseases at local and regional levels, few studies have addressed the factors that may drive these distributions. We recorded coral disease occurrence, prevalence, and severity along with temperature, sedimentation, and coral population data (species abundance and colony size) over 2 consecutive summers on reefs near Lee Stocking Island (LSI) in the Bahamas' Exuma Chain. In 2002 a total of 11092 coral colonies (all species present) were examined within a survey area of 9420 m2, and 13 973 colonies within 10 362 m2 in 2003. Similar to other reports, relatively large, framework species including Siderastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, and Montastraea annularis, along with the smaller Dichocoenia stokesi, were the species most susceptible to coral disease. Recurring infections were observed on individual colonies from 2002 to 2003, and were more likely for black band disease (BBD) than for either white plague (WP) or dark spots syndrome (DS). In 2002, WP and DS demonstrated clumped distributions, while BBD was randomly distributed. However, in 2003 BBD and WP were clumped. This is the first study, to our knowledge, that quantitatively documents coral disease dynamics on reefs surrounding LSI.

  18. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aranda Manuel

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs belong to the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems on our planet. Yet, they are under steady decline worldwide due to rising sea surface temperatures, disease, and pollution. Understanding the molecular impact of these stressors on different coral species is imperative in order to predict how coral populations will respond to this continued disturbance. The use of molecular tools such as microarrays has provided deep insight into the molecular stress response of corals. Here, we have performed comparative genomic hybridizations (CGH with different coral species to an Acropora palmata microarray platform containing 13,546 cDNA clones in order to identify potentially rapidly evolving genes and to determine the suitability of existing microarray platforms for use in gene expression studies (via heterologous hybridization. Results Our results showed that the current microarray platform for A. palmata is able to provide biological relevant information for a wide variety of coral species covering both the complex clade as well the robust clade. Analysis of the fraction of highly diverged genes showed a significantly higher amount of genes without annotation corroborating previous findings that point towards a higher rate of divergence for taxonomically restricted genes. Among the genes with annotation, we found many mitochondrial genes to be highly diverged in M. faveolata when compared to A. palmata, while the majority of nuclear encoded genes maintained an average divergence rate. Conclusions The use of present microarray platforms for transcriptional analyses in different coral species will greatly enhance the understanding of the molecular basis of stress and health and highlight evolutionary differences between scleractinian coral species. On a genomic basis, we show that cDNA arrays can be used to identify patterns of divergence. Mitochondrion-encoded genes seem to have diverged faster than

  19. Ingestion of Microplastics and Their Impact on Calcification in Reef-Building Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zink, C. P.; Smith, R. T.

    2016-02-01

    Since the early 1970's, researchers began identifying plastics and other sources of litter as harmful to ecosystems. In recent years, there's been a growing concern about microscopic plastic debris (microplastics) and its impact on marine organisms. Likewise, microplastics are currently and continuously being documented from environmental samples on a global scale. The ecosystems most likely affected by their presence are shallow marine habitats, such as near-shore coral reefs. One concern is that microplastics may be ingested by reef-building corals and negatively impact their physiology. In this study, two species of Caribbean reef-building corals, Orbicella faveolata and Porites porites were investigated for rates of ingesting microplastics. Coral samples were incubated with 100μm micro-beads manufactured with a fluorescent label to aid in recovery and quantification from the coral tissue. Following the consumption of plastic, we measured instantaneous rates of calcification as a proxy for physiological performance compared to controls. Our results indicate that corals ingest microplastic particles and maintain them internally for at least 24 hours. Our initial findings suggest that the ingestion of ≥ 3 microplastic particles cm-2 may negatively impact rates of coral calcification. In light of these preliminary findings, further investigations should examine the long-term effect of environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastics on reef corals and its potential detriment to reef building capacity.

  20. Spatial variation of hermatypic coral assemblages in Cayos Cochinos Archipelago, Honduras Variación espacial de los ensamblajes de corales hermatípicos en el archipiélago Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabián A Rodríguez-Zaragoza

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Spatial variations of hermatypic coral assemblages were evaluated at five sites in Cayos Cochinos Archipelago, Honduras, in February 2008. Richness and coverage of corals and other benthic morpho-functional groups were estimated using 56 videotransects. Topographic complexity and depth were also measured by transect. Twenty-two coral taxa were recorded for Cayos Cochinos. Total species richness was similar (16 and 17 taxa at all sites, whereas species richness by transect was different among sites (6-12 taxa. Shannon diversity showed weak differences among sites (1.46-2.13, whereas Pielou evenness was not different among sites. Simpson dominance was low with weak differences among sites (0.15-0.27. The total cover of hermatypic coral was 16.5% at Roatan Bank, 10.5% at Salamandinga, 9.7% at Punta Pelicanos, 7.6% at La Grupera, and 6.9% at Mariposales. The ANOSIM revealed assemblages of different corals between sites, except between La Grupera, Punta Pelicanos, and Salamandinga. The NMDS associated La Grupera, Punta Pelicanos, and Salamandinga given the greater contribution of Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites, and Montastraea annularis; whereas the NMDS differentiated Mariposales and Roatan Bank, which had more dissimilar assemblages with a greater predominance of Montastraea cavernosa, Agaricia agaricites, and Diploria labyrinthiformis. According to the BIO-ENV method, coral composition and abundance were correlated with the cover of articulated calcareous algae, sandy substrate, total hermatypic corals, rocky-calcareous substrate, fleshy macroalgae, and hydrocorals. In general, the differences found in the coral assemblages of Cayos Cochinos could be due to geomorphological characteristics as well as the effects of human activities in the study area.La variación espacial del ensamblaje de corales hermatípicos se evaluó en cinco sitios del archipiélago Cayo Cochinos, Honduras, durante febrero 2008. La riqueza y cobertura de corales y

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.

    2012-01-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel J Thornhill

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thornhill, Daniel J; Rotjan, Randi D; Todd, Brian D; Chilcoat, Geoff C; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Kemp, Dustin W; LaJeunesse, Todd C; Reynolds, Jennifer McCabe; Schmidt, Gregory W; Shannon, Thomas; Warner, Mark E; Fitt, William K

    2011-01-01

    Increased sea-surface temperatures linked to warming climate threaten coral reef ecosystems globally. To better understand how corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) respond to environmental change, tissue biomass and Symbiodinium density of seven coral species were measured on various reefs approximately every four months for up to thirteen years in the Upper Florida Keys, United States (1994-2007), eleven years in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas (1995-2006), and four years in Puerto Morelos, Mexico (2003-2007). For six out of seven coral species, tissue biomass correlated with Symbiodinium density. Within a particular coral species, tissue biomasses and Symbiodinium densities varied regionally according to the following trends: Mexico≥Florida Keys≥Bahamas. Average tissue biomasses and symbiont cell densities were generally higher in shallow habitats (1-4 m) compared to deeper-dwelling conspecifics (12-15 m). Most colonies that were sampled displayed seasonal fluctuations in biomass and endosymbiont density related to annual temperature variations. During the bleaching episodes of 1998 and 2005, five out of seven species that were exposed to unusually high temperatures exhibited significant decreases in symbiotic algae that, in certain cases, preceded further decreases in tissue biomass. Following bleaching, Montastraea spp. colonies with low relative biomass levels died, whereas colonies with higher biomass levels survived. Bleaching- or disease-associated mortality was also observed in Acropora cervicornis colonies; compared to A. palmata, all A. cervicornis colonies experienced low biomass values. Such patterns suggest that Montastraea spp. and possibly other coral species with relatively low biomass experience increased susceptibility to death following bleaching or other stressors than do conspecifics with higher tissue biomass levels. © 2011 Thornhill et al.

  6. Long-wavelength photosensitivity in coral planula larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Benjamin M; Cohen, Jonathan H

    2012-04-01

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

  7. 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...

  8. Investigating the causes and consequences of symbiont shuffling in a multi-partner reef coral symbiosis under environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, R; Silverstein, R N; Baker, A C

    2015-06-22

    Dynamic symbioses may critically mediate impacts of climate change on diverse organisms, with repercussions for ecosystem persistence in some cases. On coral reefs, increases in heat-tolerant symbionts after thermal bleaching can reduce coral susceptibility to future stress. However, the relevance of this adaptive response is equivocal owing to conflicting reports of symbiont stability and change. We help reconcile this conflict by showing that change in symbiont community composition (symbiont shuffling) in Orbicella faveolata depends on the disturbance severity and recovery environment. The proportion of heat-tolerant symbionts dramatically increased following severe experimental bleaching, especially in a warmer recovery environment, but tended to decrease if bleaching was less severe. These patterns can be explained by variation in symbiont performance in the changing microenvironments created by differentially bleached host tissues. Furthermore, higher proportions of heat-tolerant symbionts linearly increased bleaching resistance but reduced photochemical efficiency, suggesting that any change in community structure oppositely impacts performance and stress tolerance. Therefore, even minor symbiont shuffling can adaptively benefit corals, although fitness effects of resulting trade-offs are difficult to predict. This work helps elucidate causes and consequences of dynamism in symbiosis, which is critical to predicting responses of multi-partner symbioses such as O. faveolata to environmental change. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  9. Population Genetic Structure, Abundance, and Health Status of Two Dominant Benthic Species in the Saba Bank National Park, Caribbean Netherlands: Montastraea cavernosa and Xestospongia muta.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Didier M de Bakker

    Full Text Available Saba Bank, a submerged atoll in the Caribbean Sea with an area of 2,200 km2, has attained international conservation status due to the rich diversity of species that reside on the bank. In order to assess the role of Saba Bank as a potential reservoir of diversity for the surrounding reefs, we examined the population genetic structure, abundance and health status of two prominent benthic species, the coral Montastraea cavernosa and the sponge Xestospongia muta. Sequence data were collected from 34 colonies of M. cavernosa (nDNA ITS1-5.8S-ITS2; 892 bp and 68 X. muta sponges (mtDNA I3-M11 partition of COI; 544 bp on Saba Bank and around Saba Island, and compared with published data across the wider Caribbean. Our data indicate that there is genetic connectivity between populations on Saba Bank and the nearby Saba Island as well as multiple locations in the wider Caribbean, ranging in distance from 100s-1000s km. The genetic diversity of Saba Bank populations of M. cavernosa (π = 0.055 and X. muta (π = 0.0010 was comparable to those in other regions in the western Atlantic. Densities and health status were determined along 11 transects of 50 m2 along the south-eastern rim of Saba Bank. The densities of M. cavernosa (0.27 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.12-0.52 were average, while the densities of X. muta (0.09 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.02-0.32 were generally higher with respect to other Caribbean locations. No disease or bleaching was present in any of the specimens of the coral M. cavernosa, however, we did observe partial tissue loss (77.9% of samples as well as overgrowth (48.1%, predominantly by cyanobacteria. In contrast, the majority of observed X. muta (83.5% showed signs of presumed bleaching. The combined results of apparent gene flow among populations on Saba Bank and surrounding reefs, the high abundance and unique genetic diversity, indicate that Saba Bank could function as an important buffer for the region. Either as a natural source of larvae to

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Coral ontogeny affects early symbiont acquisition in laboratory-reared recruits

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIlroy, Shelby E.; Coffroth, Mary Alice

    2017-09-01

    In most coral species, the critical association with a subset of genetically diverse algal endosymbionts, Symbiodinium, is re-established anew each generation in early coral ontogeny. Yet little is known about the window during which these associations are established or the potential for altering symbiont associations through early exposure to non-native, and/or ecologically beneficial (e.g., stress tolerant), symbiont strains. This study examined the ontogenetic window of symbiont uptake in a restoration target species. Orbicella faveolata recruits, maintained aposymbiotic in laboratory tanks for 4 months, showed a significant decrease in symbiont acquisition upon exposure to natural seawater. Recruits initially inoculated with cultured Symbiodinium readily acquired additional strains from environmental symbiont populations upon exposure, but exogenous uptake also decreased in frequency after 4 months of laboratory rearing. Early exposure to Symbiodinium may benefit laboratory-reared recruits (e.g., enhance growth), but the potential for establishing long-term novel symbiotic associations may be limited.

  13. Reconstructing the seawater nutrient history of Biscayne National Park, FL, using phosphorus recorded in coral skeleton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harazin, K. M.; Lavigne, M.; Sherrell, R. M.; Delong, K. L.; Reich, C. D.

    2009-12-01

    The phosphorus to calcium ratio (P/Ca) of tropical surface coral skeleton has been proposed as a novel paleo-nutrient proxy, evidenced by a strong correlation between coralline P/Ca and ambient seawater phosphate1. Time-series coral P/Ca records have thus far been limited to modern corals from upwelling regions with high nutrient concentrations (~0.2-0.6 µmol/kg). Demonstration of P/Ca reliability on centennial timescales in low-nutrient environments would expand the applicability of this new proxy. A 10-year mean of P/Ca [9.1 ±2.6 μmol P/mol Ca] in a modern Montastrea faveolata coral from Biscayne National Park, Florida, and contemporaneous mean seawater phosphate [0.032 ±0.018 μmol/kg] plot on the low end of a global P/Ca calibration regression for Montastrea. In upwelling regions, several seawater properties covary seasonally, preventing isolation of a possible influence of secondary variables (e.g. SST) on coral P. We test the seasonal temperature dependence of skeletal P/Ca incorporation at this new site, where variations in seawater phosphate at low levels (~0.01-0.09 µmol/kg) are independent of the strong seasonal variation in SST (~15-33°C). The lack of correlation (r2=0.001) suggests that SST is not a major influence on P incorporation in Montastrea. Coral growth rates in Biscayne National Park, Florida reefs have generally declined through the last century in response to a poorly understood combination of multiple stressors2. To test whether anthropogenic nutrient loading (as traced by phosphate) could have played a role in the decline of coral growth in Biscayne National Park, we reconstructed the seawater phosphate history of the park through the last 120 y by making sub-seasonal P/Ca measurements in eight discrete (5-10 year) down-core time windows in a M. faveolata coral. Coral P/Ca values were similar to modern values (~6-16 µmol/mol P/Ca) through the entire period, indicating that phosphate concentrations at this reef location remained below

  14. Short-term coral bleaching is not recorded by skeletal boron isotopes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Verena Schoepf

    Full Text Available Coral skeletal boron isotopes have been established as a proxy for seawater pH, yet it remains unclear if and how this proxy is affected by seawater temperature. Specifically, it has never been directly tested whether coral bleaching caused by high water temperatures influences coral boron isotopes. Here we report the results from a controlled bleaching experiment conducted on the Caribbean corals Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata. Stable boron (δ11B, carbon (δ13C, oxygen (δ18O isotopes, Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca ratios, as well as chlorophyll a concentrations and calcification rates were measured on coral skeletal material corresponding to the period during and immediately after the elevated temperature treatment and again after 6 weeks of recovery on the reef. We show that under these conditions, coral bleaching did not affect the boron isotopic signature in any coral species tested, despite significant changes in coral physiology. This contradicts published findings from coral cores, where significant decreases in boron isotopes were interpreted as corresponding to times of known mass bleaching events. In contrast, δ13C and δ18O exhibited major enrichment corresponding to decreases in calcification rates associated with bleaching. Sr/Ca of bleached corals did not consistently record the 1.2°C difference in seawater temperature during the bleaching treatment, or alternatively show a consistent increase due to impaired photosynthesis and calcification. Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca were affected by coral bleaching in some of the coral species, but the observed patterns could not be satisfactorily explained by temperature dependence or changes in coral physiology. This demonstrates that coral boron isotopes do not record short-term bleaching events, and therefore cannot be used as a proxy for past bleaching events. The robustness of coral boron isotopes to changes in coral physiology, however, suggests that

  15. Short-term coral bleaching is not recorded by skeletal boron isotopes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; McCulloch, Malcolm T; Warner, Mark E; Levas, Stephen J; Matsui, Yohei; Aschaffenburg, Matthew D; Grottoli, Andréa G

    2014-01-01

    Coral skeletal boron isotopes have been established as a proxy for seawater pH, yet it remains unclear if and how this proxy is affected by seawater temperature. Specifically, it has never been directly tested whether coral bleaching caused by high water temperatures influences coral boron isotopes. Here we report the results from a controlled bleaching experiment conducted on the Caribbean corals Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata. Stable boron (δ11B), carbon (δ13C), oxygen (δ18O) isotopes, Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca ratios, as well as chlorophyll a concentrations and calcification rates were measured on coral skeletal material corresponding to the period during and immediately after the elevated temperature treatment and again after 6 weeks of recovery on the reef. We show that under these conditions, coral bleaching did not affect the boron isotopic signature in any coral species tested, despite significant changes in coral physiology. This contradicts published findings from coral cores, where significant decreases in boron isotopes were interpreted as corresponding to times of known mass bleaching events. In contrast, δ13C and δ18O exhibited major enrichment corresponding to decreases in calcification rates associated with bleaching. Sr/Ca of bleached corals did not consistently record the 1.2°C difference in seawater temperature during the bleaching treatment, or alternatively show a consistent increase due to impaired photosynthesis and calcification. Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca were affected by coral bleaching in some of the coral species, but the observed patterns could not be satisfactorily explained by temperature dependence or changes in coral physiology. This demonstrates that coral boron isotopes do not record short-term bleaching events, and therefore cannot be used as a proxy for past bleaching events. The robustness of coral boron isotopes to changes in coral physiology, however, suggests that reconstruction of

  16. Epimicrobiota associated with the decay and recovery of Orbicella corals exhibiting Dark Spot Syndrome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julie L Meyer

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS is one of the most common diseases of boulder corals in the Caribbean. It presents as sunken brown lesions in coral tissue, which can spread quickly over coral colonies. With this study, we tested the hypothesis that similar to other coral diseases, DSS is a dysbiosis characterized by global shifts in the coral microbiome. Because Black Band Disease (BBD was sometimes found following DSS lesions, we also tested the hypothesis that DSS is a precursor of BBD. To track disease initiation and progression 24 coral colonies were tagged. Of them five Orbicella annularis corals and three O. faveolata corals exhibited DSS lesions at tagging. Microbiota of lesions and apparently healthy tissues from DSS-affected corals over the course of 18 months were collected. Final visual assessment showed that five of eight corals incurred substantial tissue loss while two corals remained stable and one appeared to recover from DSS lesions. Illumina sequencing of the V6 region of bacterial 16S rRNA genes demonstrated no significant differences in bacterial community composition associated with healthy tissue or DSS lesions. The epimicrobiomes of both healthy tissue and DSS lesions contained high relative abundances of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs assigned to Halomonas, an unclassified gammaproteobacterial genus, Moritella, an unclassified Rhodobacteraceae genus, Renibacterium, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter. The relative abundance of bacterial taxa was not significantly different between samples when grouped by tissue type (healthy tissue vs. DSS lesion, coral species, collection month, or the overall outcome of DSS-affected corals (substantial tissue loss vs. stable/recovered. Two of the tagged corals with substantial tissue loss also developed BBD during the 18-month sampling period. The bacterial community of the BBD layer was distinct from both healthy tissue and DSS lesions, with high relative abundances of the presumed BBD pathogen

  17. Short-Term Coral Bleaching Is Not Recorded by Skeletal Boron Isotopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Warner, Mark E.; Levas, Stephen J.; Matsui, Yohei; Aschaffenburg, Matthew D.; Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2014-01-01

    Coral skeletal boron isotopes have been established as a proxy for seawater pH, yet it remains unclear if and how this proxy is affected by seawater temperature. Specifically, it has never been directly tested whether coral bleaching caused by high water temperatures influences coral boron isotopes. Here we report the results from a controlled bleaching experiment conducted on the Caribbean corals Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata. Stable boron (δ11B), carbon (δ13C), oxygen (δ18O) isotopes, Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca ratios, as well as chlorophyll a concentrations and calcification rates were measured on coral skeletal material corresponding to the period during and immediately after the elevated temperature treatment and again after 6 weeks of recovery on the reef. We show that under these conditions, coral bleaching did not affect the boron isotopic signature in any coral species tested, despite significant changes in coral physiology. This contradicts published findings from coral cores, where significant decreases in boron isotopes were interpreted as corresponding to times of known mass bleaching events. In contrast, δ13C and δ18O exhibited major enrichment corresponding to decreases in calcification rates associated with bleaching. Sr/Ca of bleached corals did not consistently record the 1.2°C difference in seawater temperature during the bleaching treatment, or alternatively show a consistent increase due to impaired photosynthesis and calcification. Mg/Ca, U/Ca, and Ba/Ca were affected by coral bleaching in some of the coral species, but the observed patterns could not be satisfactorily explained by temperature dependence or changes in coral physiology. This demonstrates that coral boron isotopes do not record short-term bleaching events, and therefore cannot be used as a proxy for past bleaching events. The robustness of coral boron isotopes to changes in coral physiology, however, suggests that reconstruction of

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

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

  19. White plague-like coral disease in remote reefs of the Western Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan A Sánchez

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The health of coral reef communities has been decreasing over the last 50 years, due the negative effects of human activities combined with other natural processes. We present documentation of a White Plague Disease (WPD outbreak in the Serrana Bank, an isolated Western Caribbean atoll with presumably inexistent pollutant inputs from local human settlements. In addition, this study summarizes seven years of observations on diseased corals in the nearby island of San Andrés, which in contrast is one of the most populated islands of the Caribbean. There was a massive coral mortality in the atoll lagoon (14°27’53.24", 80°14’22.27" W, and 12m depth due to WPD on May 4 of 2003. Seventeen species were found dead or largely affected by the disease. The information resulting from GPS and manta-tow transects revealed that approximately 5.8ha of reticulate Montastraea spp. patch reefs were lethally affected by the disease in the atoll. On May 8 of the same year we observed and calculated a mean coral cover of 7.03% (SD± 2.44, a mean diseased coral tissue cover of 5.5% (SD± 1.1 and a 13.4% (SD± 8.05 of recently dead coral covered with a thin filamentous algae layer; approximately 73% of mortalities caused by the disease occurred before the end of the outbreak. A rough estimate of 18.9% in recent coral cover reduction can be attributed to WPD. This represents about 82% of the total coral cover decline since 1995. Semi-enclosed environments such as atoll lagoons and the reticulate patch-reefs of Montastraea spp. seem to be particularly vulnerable to this kind of coral disease, which constitute an alert to increase the monitoring of the same kind of atoll environments. The WPD has been present in the area of the nearby island of San Andrés at a low prevalence level, with sporadic increasing peaks of disease proliferation. The peaks observed during 1999 and 2004 comprised increases of 266% and 355% respectively, suggesting an alarming progression of

  20. 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...

  1. Biological oxygen demand optode analysis of coral reef-associated microbial communities exposed to algal exudates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    AK Gregg

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Algae-derived dissolved organic matter has been hypothesized to induce mortality of reef building corals. One proposed killing mechanism is a zone of hypoxia created by rapidly growing microbes. To investigate this hypothesis, biological oxygen demand (BOD optodes were used to quantify the change in oxygen concentrations of microbial communities following exposure to exudates generated by turf algae and crustose coralline algae (CCA. BOD optodes were embedded with microbial communities cultured from Montastraea annularis and Mussismilia hispida, and respiration was measured during exposure to turf and CCA exudates. The oxygen concentrations along the optodes were visualized with a low-cost Submersible Oxygen Optode Recorder (SOOpR system. With this system we observed that exposure to exudates derived from turf algae stimulated higher oxygen drawdown by the coral-associated bacteria than CCA exudates or seawater controls. Furthermore, in both turf and CCA exudate treatments, all microbial communities (coral-, algae-associated and pelagic contributed significantly to the observed oxygen drawdown. This suggests that the driving factor for elevated oxygen consumption rates is the source of exudates rather than the initially introduced microbial community. Our results demonstrate that exudates from turf algae may contribute to hypoxia-induced coral stress in two different coral genera as a result of increased biological oxygen demand of the local microbial community. Additionally, the SOOpR system developed here can be applied to measure the BOD of any culturable microbe or microbial community.

  2. Biological oxygen demand optode analysis of coral reef-associated microbial communities exposed to algal exudates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gregg, Ak; Hatay, M; Haas, Af; Robinett, Nl; Barott, K; Vermeij, Mja; Marhaver, Kl; Meirelles, P; Thompson, F; Rohwer, F

    2013-01-01

    Algae-derived dissolved organic matter has been hypothesized to induce mortality of reef building corals. One proposed killing mechanism is a zone of hypoxia created by rapidly growing microbes. To investigate this hypothesis, biological oxygen demand (BOD) optodes were used to quantify the change in oxygen concentrations of microbial communities following exposure to exudates generated by turf algae and crustose coralline algae (CCA). BOD optodes were embedded with microbial communities cultured from Montastraea annularis and Mussismilia hispida, and respiration was measured during exposure to turf and CCA exudates. The oxygen concentrations along the optodes were visualized with a low-cost Submersible Oxygen Optode Recorder (SOOpR) system. With this system we observed that exposure to exudates derived from turf algae stimulated higher oxygen drawdown by the coral-associated bacteria than CCA exudates or seawater controls. Furthermore, in both turf and CCA exudate treatments, all microbial communities (coral-, algae-associated and pelagic) contributed significantly to the observed oxygen drawdown. This suggests that the driving factor for elevated oxygen consumption rates is the source of exudates rather than the initially introduced microbial community. Our results demonstrate that exudates from turf algae may contribute to hypoxia-induced coral stress in two different coral genera as a result of increased biological oxygen demand of the local microbial community. Additionally, the SOOpR system developed here can be applied to measure the BOD of any culturable microbe or microbial community.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Coral disease following massive bleaching in 2005 causes 60% decline in coral cover on reefs in the US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, J.; Muller, E.; Rogers, C.; Waara, R.; Atkinson, A.; Whelan, K.R.T.; Patterson, M.; Witcher, B.

    2009-01-01

    In the northeast Caribbean, doldrum-like conditions combined with elevated water temperatures in the summer/fall 2005 created the most severe coral bleaching event ever documented within this region. Video monitoring of 100 randomly chosen, permanent transects at five study sites in the US Virgin Islands revealed over 90% of the scleractinian coral cover showed signs of thermal stress by paling or becoming completely white. Lower water temperatures in October allowed some re-coloring of corals; however, a subsequent unprecedented regional outbreak of coral disease affected all sites. Five known diseases or syndromes were recorded; however, most lesions showed signs similar to white plague. Nineteen scleractinian species were affected by disease, with >90% of the disease-induced lesions occurring on the genus Montastraea. The disease outbreak peaked several months after the onset of bleaching at all sites but did not occur at the same time. The mean number of disease-induced lesions increased 51-fold and the mean area of disease-associated mortality increased 13-fold when compared with pre-bleaching disease levels. In the 12 months following the onset of bleaching, coral cover declined at all sites (average loss: 51.5%, range: 42.4-61.8%) reducing the five-site average from 21.4% before bleaching to 10.3% with most mortality caused by white plague disease, not bleaching. Continued losses through October 2007 reduced the average coral cover of the five sites to 8.3% (average 2-year loss: 61.1%, range: 53.0-79.3%). Mean cover by M. annularis (complex) decreased 51%, Colpophyllia natans 78% and Agaricia agaricites 87%. Isolated disease outbreaks have been documented before in the Virgin Islands, but never as widespread or devastating as the one that occurred after the 2005 Caribbean coral-bleaching event. This study provides insight into the effects of continued seawater warming and subsequent coral bleaching events in the Caribbean and highlights the need to

  6. NCBI nr-aa BLAST: CBRC-TTRU-01-1020 [SEVENS

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available CBRC-TTRU-01-1020 ref|YP_271950.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea faveol...ata] ref|YP_271937.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea franksi] ref|YP_271924.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastrae...a annularis] dbj|BAE16177.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|...BAE16190.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|BAE16203.1| ...NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea franksi] dbj|BAE16216.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea

  7. NCBI nr-aa BLAST: CBRC-DNOV-01-0366 [SEVENS

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available CBRC-DNOV-01-0366 ref|YP_271950.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea faveol...ata] ref|YP_271937.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea franksi] ref|YP_271924.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastrae...a annularis] dbj|BAE16177.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|...BAE16190.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|BAE16203.1| ...NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea franksi] dbj|BAE16216.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 [Montastraea

  8. NCBI nr-aa BLAST: CBRC-ETEL-01-0265 [SEVENS

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available CBRC-ETEL-01-0265 ref|YP_271953.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea faveol...ata] ref|YP_271940.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea franksi] ref|YP_271927.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastrae...a annularis] dbj|BAE16180.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|...BAE16193.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea annularis] dbj|BAE16206.1| ...NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea franksi] dbj|BAE16219.1| NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 [Montastraea

  9. 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.

  10. Implications of coral harvest and transplantation on reefs in northwestern Dominica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W Bruckner

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available In June, 2002, the government of Dominica requested assistance in evaluating the coral culture and transplantation activities being undertaken by Oceanographic Institute of Dominica (OID, a coral farm culturing both western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific corals for restoration and commercial sales. We assessed the culture facilities of OID, the condition of reefs, potential impacts of coral collection and benefits of coral transplantation. Coral reefs (9 reefs, 3-20m depth were characterized by 35 species of scleractinian corals and a live coral cover of 8-35%. Early colonizing, brooders such as Porites astreoides (14.8% of all corals, P. porites (14.8%, Meandrina meandrites (14.7% and Agaricia agaricites (9.1% were the most abundant corals, but colonies were mostly small (mean=25cm diameter. Montastraea annularis (complex was the other dominant taxa (20.8% of all corals and colonies were larger (mean=70cm. Corals (pooled species were missing an average of 20% of their tissue, with a mean of 1.4% recent mortality. Coral diseases affected 6.4% of all colonies, with the highest prevalence at Cabrits West (11.0%, Douglas Bay (12.2% and Coconut Outer reef (20.7%. White plague and yellow band disease were causing the greatest loss of tissue, especially among M. annularis (complex, with localized impacts from corallivores, overgrowth by macroalgae, storm damage and sedimentation. While the reefs appeared to be undergoing substantial decline, restoration efforts by OID were unlikely to promote recovery. No Pacific species were identified at OID restoration sites, yet species chosen for transplantation with highest survival included short-lived brooders (Agaricia and Porites that were abundant in restoration sites, as well as non-reef builders (Palythoa and Erythropodium that monopolize substrates and overgrow corals. The species of highest value for restoration (massive broadcast spawners showed low survivorship and unrestored populations of these species

  11. Coral biodiversity and bioconstruction in the northern sector of the Mesoamerican Reef system

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabian Alejandro Rodriguez-Zaragoza

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available As the impact of anthropogenic activity and climate change continue to accelerate rates of degradation on Caribbean coral reefs, conservation and restoration faces greater challenges. At at this stage, of particular importance in coral reefs, is to recognize and to understand the structural spatial patterns of benthic assemblages. We developed a field-based framework of a Caribbean reefscape benthic structure by using hermatypic corals as an indicator group of global biodiversity and bio-construction patterns in eleven reefs of the northern sector of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (nsMBRS. Four hundred and seventy four video-transects (50 m long by 0.4 m wide were performed throughout a gradient of reef complexity from north to south (∼400 km to identify coral species, families and ensembles of corals. Composition and abundance of species, families and ensembles showed differences among reefs. In the northern zone, the reefs had shallow, partial reef developments with low diversities, dominated by Acropora palmata, Siderastrea spp., Pseudodiploria strigosa and Agaricia tenuifolia. In the central and southern zones, reefs presented extensive developments, high habitat heterogeneity, and the greatest diversity and dominance of Orbicella annularis and Orbicella faveolata. These two species determined the structure and diversity of corals in the central and southern zones of the nsMBRS and their bio-construction in these zones is unique in the Caribbean. Their abundance and distribution depended on the reef habitat area, topographic complexity and species richness. Orbicella species complex were crucial for maintaining the biodiversity and bio-construction of the central and southern zones while A. palmata in the northern zones of the nsMBRS.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weber, Laura; DeForce, Emelia; Apprill, Amy

    2017-02-08

    DNA-based sequencing approaches are commonly used to identify microorganisms and their genes and document trends in microbial community diversity in environmental samples. However, extraction of microbial DNA from complex environmental samples like corals can be technically challenging, and extraction methods may impart biases on microbial community structure. We designed a two-phase study in order to propose a comprehensive and efficient method for DNA extraction from microbial cells present in corals and investigate if extraction method influences microbial community composition. During phase I, total DNA was extracted from seven coral species in a replicated experimental design using four different MO BIO Laboratories, Inc., DNA Isolation kits: PowerSoil®, PowerPlant® Pro, PowerBiofilm®, and UltraClean® Tissue & Cells (with three homogenization permutations). Technical performance of the treatments was evaluated using DNA yield and amplification efficiency of small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU ribosomal RNA (rRNA)) genes. During phase II, potential extraction biases were examined via microbial community analysis of SSU rRNA gene sequences amplified from the most successful DNA extraction treatments. In phase I of the study, the PowerSoil® and PowerPlant® Pro extracts contained low DNA concentrations, amplified poorly, and were not investigated further. Extracts from PowerBiofilm® and UltraClean® Tissue and Cells permutations were further investigated in phase II, and analysis of sequences demonstrated that overall microbial community composition was dictated by coral species and not extraction treatment. Finer pairwise comparisons of sequences obtained from Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella annularis, and Acropora humilis corals revealed subtle differences in community composition between the treatments; PowerBiofilm®-associated sequences generally had higher microbial richness and the highest coverage of dominant microbial groups in comparison to the Ultra

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Do no-take reserves benefit Florida's corals? 14 years of change and stasis in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toth, L. T.; van Woesik, R.; Murdoch, T. J. T.; Smith, S. R.; Ogden, J. C.; Precht, W. F.; Aronson, R. B.

    2014-09-01

    With coral populations in decline globally, it is critical that we tease apart the relative impacts of ecological and physical perturbations on reef ecosystems to determine the most appropriate management actions. This study compared the trajectories of benthic assemblages from 1998 to 2011 in three no-take reserves and three sites open to fishing, at 7-9 and 15-18 m depth in the Florida Keys. We evaluated temporal changes in the benthic assemblage to infer whether fisheries bans in no-take reserves could have cascading effects on the benthos in this region. Coral cover declined significantly over time at our sites and that trend was driven almost exclusively by decline of the Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) annularis species complex. Other coral taxa showed remarkable stasis and resistance to a variety of environmental perturbations. Protection status did not influence coral or macroalgal cover. The dynamics of corals and macroalgae in the 15 years since the reserves were established in 1997 suggest that although the reserves protected fish, they were of no perceptible benefit to Florida's corals.

  16. Massive bleaching of coral reefs induced by the 2010 ENSO, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.

    Science.gov (United States)

    del Mónaco, Carlos; Haiek, Gerard; Narciso, Samuel; Galindo, Miguel

    2012-06-01

    El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has generated global coral massive bleaching. The aim of this work was to evaluate the massive bleaching of coral reefs in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela derived from ENSO 2010. We evaluated the bleaching of reefs at five localities both at three and five meter depth. The coral cover and densities of colonies were estimated. We recorded living coral cover, number and diameter of bleached and non-bleached colonies of each coral species. The colonies were classified according to the proportion of bleached area. Satellite images (Modis Scar) were analyzed for chlorophyll-a concentration and temperature in August, September, October and November from 2008-2010. Precipitation, wind speed and air temperature information was evaluated in meteorological data for 2009 and 2010. A total of 58.3% of colonies, belonging to 11 hexacoral species, were affected and the greatest responses were observed in Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea annularis and Montastraeafaveolata. The most affected localities were closer to the mainland and had a bleached proportion up to 62.73+/-36.55%, with the highest proportion of affected colonies, whereas the farthest locality showed 20.25+/-14.00% bleached and the smallest proportion. The salinity in situ varied between 30 and 33ppm and high levels of turbidity were observed. According to the satellite images, in 2010 the surface water temperature reached 31 degree C in August, September and October, and resulted higher than those registered in 2008 and 2009. Regionally, chlorophyll values were higher in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. The meteorological data indicated that precipitation in November 2010 was three times higher than in November 2009. Massive coral bleaching occurred due to a three month period of high temperatures followed by one month of intense ENSO-associated precipitation. However, this latter factor was likely the trigger because of the bleaching gradient observed.

  17. Implications of isolation and low genetic diversity in peripheral populations of an amphi-Atlantic coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, F; Norris, R D; Knowlton, N

    2009-10-01

    Limited dispersal and connectivity in marine organisms can have negative fitness effects in populations that are small and isolated, but reduced genetic exchange may also promote the potential for local adaptation. Here, we compare the levels of genetic diversity and connectivity in the coral Montastraea cavernosa among both central and peripheral populations throughout its range in the Atlantic. Genetic data from one mitochondrial and two nuclear loci in 191 individuals show that M. cavernosa is subdivided into three genetically distinct regions in the Atlantic: Caribbean-North Atlantic, Western South Atlantic (Brazil) and Eastern Tropical Atlantic (West Africa). Within each region, populations have similar allele frequencies and levels of genetic diversity; indeed, no significant differentiation was found between populations separated by as much as 3000 km, suggesting that this coral species has the ability to disperse over large distances. Gene flow within regions does not, however, translate into connectivity across the entire Atlantic. Instead, substantial differences in allele frequencies across regions suggest that genetic exchange is infrequent between the Caribbean, Brazil and West Africa. Furthermore, markedly lower levels of genetic diversity are observed in the Brazilian and West African populations. Genetic diversity and connectivity may contribute to the resilience of a coral population to disturbance. Isolated peripheral populations may be more vulnerable to human impacts, disease or climate change relative to those in the genetically diverse Caribbean-North Atlantic region.

  18. Brucite microbialites in living coral skeletons: Indicators of extreme microenvironments in shallow-marine settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nothdurft, L.D.; Webb, G.E.; Buster, N.A.; Holmes, C.W.; Sorauf, J.E.; Kloprogge, J.T.

    2005-01-01

    Brucite [Mg(OH)2] microbialites occur in vacated interseptal spaces of living scleractinian coral colonies (Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites) from subtidal and intertidal settings in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and subtidal Montastraea from the Florida Keys, United States. Brucite encrusts microbial filaments of endobionts (i.e., fungi, green algae, cyanobacteria) growing under organic biofilms; the brucite distribution is patchy both within interseptal spaces and within coralla. Although brucite is undersaturated in seawater, its precipitation was apparently induced in the corals by lowered pCO 2 and increased pH within microenvironments protected by microbial biofilms. The occurrence of brucite in shallow-marine settings highlights the importance of microenvironments in the formation and early diagenesis of marine carbonates. Significantly, the brucite precipitates discovered in microenvironments in these corals show that early diagenetic products do not necessarily reflect ambient seawater chemistry. Errors in environmental interpretation may arise where unidentified precipitates occur in microenvironments in skeletal carbonates that are subsequently utilized as geochemical seawater proxies. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.

  19. Changes in Caribbean coral disease prevalence after the 2005 bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cróquer, Aldo; Weil, Ernesto

    2009-11-16

    Bleaching events and disease epizootics have increased during the past decades, suggesting a positive link between these 2 causes in producing coral mortality. However, studies to test this hypothesis, integrating a broad range of hierarchical spatial scales from habitats to distant localities, have not been conducted in the Caribbean. In this study, we examined links between bleaching intensity and disease prevalence collected from 6 countries, 2 reef sites for each country, and 3 habitats within each reef site (N = 6 x 2 x 3 = 36 site-habitat combinations) during the peak of bleaching in 2005 and a year after, in 2006. Patterns of disease prevalence and bleaching were significantly correlated (Rho = 0.58, p = 0.04). Higher variability in disease prevalence after bleaching occurred among habitats at each particular reef site, with a significant increase in prevalence recorded in 4 of the 10 site-habitats where bleaching was intense and a non-significant increase in disease prevalence in 18 out of the 26 site-habitats where bleaching was low to moderate. A significant linear correlation was found (r = 0.89, p = 0.008) between bleaching and the prevalence of 2 virulent diseases (yellow band disease and white plague) affecting the Montastraea species complex. Results of this study suggest that if bleaching events become more intense and frequent, disease-related mortality of Caribbean coral reef builders could increase, with uncertain effects on coral reef resilience.

  20. Coral Bleaching Susceptibility Is Decreased following Short-Term (1–3 Year Prior Temperature Exposure and Evolutionary History

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua A. Haslun

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral exposed to short periods of temperature stress (≥1.0°C above mean monthly maximum and/or increased frequencies of high temperatures may bolster resilience to global warming associated with climate change. We compared Montastraea cavernosa (Linnaeus, 1767; Cnidaria, Scleractinia, Faviidae from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS. Thermal stress has been reported frequently within the FKNMS; however, corals in the FGBNMS experience nominal exposures to similar stressors. Corals were exposed to three temperatures (27°C, 31°C, and 35°C for 72 h. Colonies from the FKNMS lost significantly fewer viable and necrotic zooxanthellae under conditions of acute stress (35°C than the FGBNMS colonies. This indicates that the FKNMS corals are less temperature-sensitive than those in the FGBNMS. The observed differences point to greater prior temperature exposure and adaptation in the former versus the latter site when correlated to previous years of thermal exposure.

  1. 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...

  2. Static measurements of the resilience of Caribbean coral populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2012-03-01

    dead M. annularis colonies were common, survivors were frequently reduced in size and subdivided into smaller tissue remnants, and these species exhibited higher amounts of partial mortality than all other species. A notable absence of sexual recruits and juveniles of M. annularis illustrates a progressive shift away from a Montastraea dominated system. This shift, characterized by an increasing dominance of smaller, short-lived species such as Agaricia and Porites and a reduction in size of longer-lived massive corals, is occurring throughout the Caribbean. Monitoring of the survival of recruits is necessary to determine whether Caribbean reefs will retain the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks (key signs of resilience if the losses of M. annularis (complex continue at present levels. The rapid assessment protocol utilized here allows characterization of colony size structure, partial mortality, recruitment, and whether small corals represent surviving recruits that increased in size or larger (older colonies that continue to shrink in size. This approach can help determine the history of a site and its resilience.En la actualidad se está viendo en el Caribe un cambio en la composición de los corales constructores de arrecifes, aumento en la cobertura de macroalgas y otras especies, un aumento en áreas cubiertas por escombros de corales, y una pérdida de relieve. La incorporación de principios de resiliencia en el manejo es una estrategia propuesta para revertir esta tendencia y asegurar la sobrevivencia y el adecuado funcionamiento de los arrecifes de coral bajo escenarios previstos de cambio climático. Sin embargo, todavía quedan grandes vacíos en la comprensión de los factores que promueven la resiliencia. Evaluaciones rápidas realizadas con la metodología AGRRA (Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment y con el protocolo de Evaluación de Resiliencia para arrecifes coralinos de la IUCN brindan información de línea base sobre la

  3. Coral spawn timing is a direct response to solar light cycles and is not an entrained circadian response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, A. K.; Hilton, J. D.; Vize, P. D.

    2009-09-01

    Broadcast spawning corals release gametes into the oceans with extraordinarily accurate timing. While the date of spawning is set by the lunar cycle, the hour/minute of spawning is set by the solar cycle. In this report, we describe experiments that test whether the time of spawning is regulated by an entrained biological clock or whether it is directly controlled by the solar cycle. Montastraea franksi samples were collected on the morning of the predicted spawning. Fragments from colonies were kept under three different lighting conditions and spawning monitored. The three conditions were sunset times of 0, 1 or 2 h earlier than normal. Fragments from the same colony spawned differently under these three conditions, with an early sunset causing a corresponding early shift in spawning. These results indicate that spawn timing is not controlled by a circadian rhythm and that it is directly controlled by local solar light cycle.

  4. 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

  5. Insights on Coral Adaptation from Polyp and Colony Morphology, Skeletal Density Banding and Carbonate Depositional Facies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oehlert, A. M.; Hill, C. A.; Piggot, A. M.; Fouke, B. W.

    2008-12-01

    As one of the core reservoirs of primary production in the world's oceans, tropical coral reefs support a complex ecosystem that directly impacts over ninety percent of marine organisms at some point in their life cycle. Corals themselves are highly complex organisms and exhibit a range of growth forms that range from branching to massive, foliaceous, columnar, encrusting, free living and laminar coralla. Fierce competition over scarce resources available to each individual coral species creates niche specialization. Throughout the Phanerozic geological record, this has driven speciation events and created distinct skeletal growth morphologies that have differential abilities in feeding strategy. In turn, this has presumably led to the development of niche specialization that can be quantitatively measured through hierarchical morphological differences from the micrometer to the meter scale. Porter (1976) observed significant differences in skeletal morphology between Caribbean coral species that reflects an adaptive geometry based on feeding strategy. Within the Montastraea species complex there are four major morphologies; columnar, bouldering, irregular mounding, and skirted. Each morphotype can be found forming high abundance along the bathymetric gradient of coral reefs that grow along the leeward coast of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. We have undertaken a study to determine the relative relationships amongst coral morphology, skeletal density and feeding strategy by comparing the morphometric measurements of individual polyps as well as the entire colony along spatial and bathymetric gradients. Polyp diameter, mouth size, interpolyp area, and interpolyp distance were measured from high-resolution images taken on a stereoscope, and evaluated with AxioVision image analysis software. These high-resolution optical analyses have also revealed new observations regarding folded tissue structures of the outer margin of polyps in the Montastrea complex. Skeletal

  6. Comparisons of the 1995 and 1998 coral bleaching events on the patch reefs of San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGrath, Thomas A; Smith, Garriet W

    2003-06-01

    Coral patch reefs around San Salvador Island, Bahamas have been monitored with the aid of Earthwatch volunteers three times a year since 1992. During that period two significant mass bleaching events occurred: autumn 1995, and late summer 1998. Elsewhere in 1995, bleaching was caused by higher-than-normal summer sea temperatures; in San Salvador, however, temperatures were normal. In 1998 a prolonged period of higher-than-normal sea temperatures preceded bleaching on San Salvador and worldwide. During the 1995 event, one of the monitored reefs had twice the percentage of coral colonies bleached as the other two. Bleaching was more evenly distributed among the reefs during the 1998 event. In 1995 Agaricia agaricites was significantly more affected than other coral species, with almost 50% of all its colonies showing bleaching. Bleaching was more evenly spread among coral species in 1998, with five species showing bleaching on more than 40% of their colonies. Bleaching began on Millepora as early as August during the 1998 event and progressed to other species through the remainder of the autumn. In 1995 bleaching was not seen until late autumn and appeared to impact all affected species at about the same time. Recovery from the 1995 event was complete: no coral death or damage above normal background levels were seen. In the 1998 event, all Acropora cervicornis on the monitored reefs died and A. palmata was severely damaged. Millepora sp. lost almost half of their live tissue, and Montastraea sp. showed significant tissue damage following this event. Phototransect analysis suggests that more than 20% of total live tissue on affected species died during the 1998 event. A. cervicornis has demonstrated no re-growth from 1998 to 2000 on monitored reefs. Monitoring has suggested significant differences in causes and courses in these two events.

  7. 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.

  8. Geochemical Signatures in Corals from Looe Key, Florida since 1870 A.D.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, J. M.; Quinn, T. M.; Halley, R. B.

    2004-12-01

    Geochemical variations in modern and fossil coral skeletons (Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, δ 18O, δ 13C) are increasingly being used to reconstruct climate variability in tropical ocean-atmosphere system on interannual to centennial timescales. Sub-annually resolved, centennial-length records of climate from the Atlantic that overlap with and extend beyond the instrumental record are sparse, yet required to assess interannual climate variations over decades to centuries. We address this data gap by presenting a %\\sim132 year time series of monthly geochemical variations in Montastraea annularis (complex) corals from Looe Key reef, Florida USA (24.5\\deg N, 81.4\\deg W). We first reconstructed estimates of hydrographic and temperature variability at Looe Key using temperature calibrations developed over the decade in which we have thermistor data. Calibration-verification exercises over this interval indicate differences in mean values of 0.6\\degC Sr/Ca-SST and 0.2\\degC \\delta$18O-SST. Next we extended the calibration-verification intervals by comparing the coral geochemical variations with a SST record extracted from the HadISST 1.1 database using the appropriate 1° by 1° grid point for Looe Key. These longer-term verification exercises show a better agreement in estimation of the mean in δ 18O-SST (0.15° C) than Sr/Ca-SST (0.47° C). Comparisons of monthly Sr/Ca and δ 18O anomalies with monthly temperature anomalies over the entire record reveal weak relationships (r = -0.13, -0.10, respectively); however, there is a strong coupling between Sr/Ca and δ 18O anomalies (r = 0.51) that shares spectral power in the decadal band. The relationship between decadally smoothed geochemical values and the AMO is also weak (r = -0.13, 0.09; for Sr/Ca and δ 18O) despite a strong correlation between the AMO and SST from the Looe Key region (r = 0.72). The low correlation between SSTA/AMO and the coral proxies (Sr/Ca and δ 18O), despite the good fit between the coral proxies

  9. 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.

  10. Allelopathy in the tropical alga Lobophora variegata (Phaeophyceae): mechanistic basis for a phase shift on mesophotic coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slattery, Marc; Lesser, Michael P

    2014-06-01

    Macroalgal phase shifts on Caribbean reefs have been reported with increasing frequency, and recent reports of these changes on mesophotic coral reefs have raised questions regarding the mechanistic processes behind algal population expansions to deeper depths. The brown alga Lobophora variegata is a dominant species on many shallow and deep coral reefs of the Caribbean and Pacific, and it increased in percent cover (>50%) up to 61 m on Bahamian reefs following the invasion of the lionfish Pterois volitans. We examined the physiological and ecological constraints contributing to the spread of Lobophora on Bahamian reefs across a mesophotic depth gradient from 30 to 61 m, pre- and post-lionfish invasion. Results indicate that there were no physiological limitations to the depth distribution of Lobophora within this range prior to the lionfish invasion. Herbivory by acanthurids and scarids in algal recruitment plots at mesophotic depths was higher prior to the lionfish invasion, and Lobophora chemical defenses were ineffective against an omnivorous fish species. In contrast, Lobophora exhibited significant allelopathic activity against the coral Montastraea cavernosa and the sponge Agelas clathrodes in laboratory assays. These data indicate that when lionfish predation on herbivorous fish released Lobophora from grazing pressure at depth, Lobophora expanded its benthic cover to a depth of 61 m, where it replaced the dominant coral and sponge species. Our results suggest that this chemically defended alga may out-compete these species in situ, and that mesophotic reefs may be further impacted in the near future as Lobophora continues to expand to its compensation point. © 2013 Phycological Society of America.

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. Dynamics of coral reef benthic assemblages of the Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil: inferences on natural and anthropogenic drivers.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronaldo B Francini-Filho

    Full Text Available The Abrolhos Bank (eastern Brazil encompasses the largest and richest coral reefs of the South Atlantic. Coral reef benthic assemblages of the region were monitored from 2003 to 2008. Two habitats (pinnacles' tops and walls were sampled per site with 3-10 sites sampled within different reef areas. Different methodologies were applied in two distinct sampling periods: 2003-2005 and 2006-2008. Spatial coverage and taxonomic resolution were lower in the former than in the latter period. Benthic assemblages differed markedly in the smallest spatial scale, with greater differences recorded between habitats. Management regimes and biomass of fish functional groups (roving and territorial herbivores had minor influences on benthic assemblages. These results suggest that local environmental factors such as light, depth and substrate inclination exert a stronger influence on the structure of benthic assemblages than protection from fishing. Reef walls of unprotected coastal reefs showed highest coral cover values, with a major contribution of Montastraea cavernosa (a sediment resistant species that may benefit from low light levels. An overall negative relationship between fleshy macroalgae and slow-growing reef-building organisms (i.e. scleractinians and crustose calcareous algae was recorded, suggesting competition between these organisms. The opposite trend (i.e. positive relationships was recorded for turf algae and the two reef-building organisms, suggesting beneficial interactions and/or co-occurrence mediated by unexplored factors. Turf algae cover increased across the region between 2006 and 2008, while scleractinian cover showed no change. The need of a continued and standardized monitoring program, aimed at understanding drivers of change in community patterns, as well as to subsidize sound adaptive conservation and management measures, is highlighted.

  3. Dynamics of coral reef benthic assemblages of the Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil: inferences on natural and anthropogenic drivers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B; Coni, Ericka O C; Meirelles, Pedro M; Amado-Filho, Gilberto M; Thompson, Fabiano L; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme H; Bastos, Alex C; Abrantes, Douglas P; Ferreira, Camilo M; Gibran, Fernando Z; Güth, Arthur Z; Sumida, Paulo Y G; Oliveira, Nara L; Kaufman, Les; Minte-Vera, Carolina V; Moura, Rodrigo L

    2013-01-01

    The Abrolhos Bank (eastern Brazil) encompasses the largest and richest coral reefs of the South Atlantic. Coral reef benthic assemblages of the region were monitored from 2003 to 2008. Two habitats (pinnacles' tops and walls) were sampled per site with 3-10 sites sampled within different reef areas. Different methodologies were applied in two distinct sampling periods: 2003-2005 and 2006-2008. Spatial coverage and taxonomic resolution were lower in the former than in the latter period. Benthic assemblages differed markedly in the smallest spatial scale, with greater differences recorded between habitats. Management regimes and biomass of fish functional groups (roving and territorial herbivores) had minor influences on benthic assemblages. These results suggest that local environmental factors such as light, depth and substrate inclination exert a stronger influence on the structure of benthic assemblages than protection from fishing. Reef walls of unprotected coastal reefs showed highest coral cover values, with a major contribution of Montastraea cavernosa (a sediment resistant species that may benefit from low light levels). An overall negative relationship between fleshy macroalgae and slow-growing reef-building organisms (i.e. scleractinians and crustose calcareous algae) was recorded, suggesting competition between these organisms. The opposite trend (i.e. positive relationships) was recorded for turf algae and the two reef-building organisms, suggesting beneficial interactions and/or co-occurrence mediated by unexplored factors. Turf algae cover increased across the region between 2006 and 2008, while scleractinian cover showed no change. The need of a continued and standardized monitoring program, aimed at understanding drivers of change in community patterns, as well as to subsidize sound adaptive conservation and management measures, is highlighted.

  4. 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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Efecto de la herbivoría y coralivoría por peces en la supervivencia de corales trasplantados en el Caribe colombiano

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis Chasqui-Velasco

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Para investigar el efecto de los peces herbívoros y coralívoros en la supervivencia de colonias trasplantadas de Montastraea annularis, Diploria labyrinthiformis y Porites astreoides se encerraron colonias trasplantadas y nativas en jaulas y se compararon con colonias libres (control, mientras los efectos del encierro fueron evaluados con un tratamiento de techos. Para saber si el estrés debido al trasplante aumentó la vulnerabilidad de los corales a la depredación por peces, se comparó la intensidad de forrajeo por peces entre colonias trasplantadas y nativas. Se realizaron censos visuales para determinar las densidades de las poblaciones de peces herbívoros y coralívoros en la zona de trasplante. Los peces herbívoros móviles (Scaridae y Acanthuridae fueron los más abundantes, los peces coralívoros (principalmente Chaetodontidae fueron los más escasos. Se observó un efecto negativo de los peces herbívoros territoriales en la supervivencia de los trasplantes de M. annularis, principalmente al inicio del estudio. La presión de forrajeo fue similar en colonias trasplantadas y nativas, pero fue diferente entre especies, siendo D. labyrinthiformis la menos depredada. En los tratamientos de colonias protegidas en jaulas se observó un crecimiento acelerado de macroalgas debido a la reducción del forrajeo por peces herbívoros. Esto causó blanqueamiento parcial y mortalidad parcial en algunas colonias, principalmente de P. astreoides. En M. annularis y D. labyrinthiformis no se observaron diferencias significativas en los porcentajes de tejido sano de las colonias entre los tratamientos de jaulas y de control, pero sí en P. astreoides. Los resultados sugieren un efecto negativo de los peces herbívoros territoriales en la supervivencia de las colonias durante los primeros días del trasplante; este efecto puede variar dependiendo de las especies de peces y corales involucradas. Los resultados también indican un efecto positivo del

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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- ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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....

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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 ...

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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,...

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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...

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Arnfried Antonius, coral diseases, and the AMLC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurie L. Richardson

    2012-03-01

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

  17. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark J A Vermeij

    Full Text Available 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 observe in situ and are therefore largely unknown. Here, we show that 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.

  18. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.

    2011-08-12

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

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

  1. Key functional role of the optical properties of coral skeletons in coral ecology and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enríquez, Susana; Méndez, Eugenio R; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2017-04-26

    Multiple scattering of light on coral skeleton enhances light absorption efficiency of coral symbionts and plays a key role in the regulation of their internal diffuse light field. To understand the dependence of this enhancement on skeleton meso- and macrostructure, we analysed the scattering abilities of naked coral skeletons for 74 Indo-Pacific species. Sensitive morphotypes to thermal and light stress, flat-extraplanate and branching corals, showed the most efficient structures, while massive-robust species were less efficient. The lowest light-enhancing scattering abilities were found for the most primitive colonial growth form: phaceloid. Accordingly, the development of highly efficient light-collecting structures versus the selection of less efficient but more robust holobionts to cope with light stress may constitute a trade-off in the evolution of modern symbiotic scleractinian corals, characterizing two successful adaptive solutions. The coincidence of the most important structural modifications with epitheca decline supports the importance of the enhancement of light transmission across coral skeleton in modern scleractinian diversification, and the central role of these symbioses in the design and optimization of coral skeleton. Furthermore, the same ability that lies at the heart of the success of symbiotic corals as coral-reef-builders can also explain the 'Achilles's heel' of these symbioses in a warming ocean. © 2017 The Author(s).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tebben, Jan; Guest, James R; Sin, Tsai M; Steinberg, Peter D; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Tebben

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bramanti, Lorenzo; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

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

  5. Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A.J. Graham

    2011-08-01

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

  6. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) using the Coral Demographics method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Demographics method is one of two benthic surveys conducted in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program...

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

  9. "La revolución coral. Estudio sobre la Sociedad Coral de Bilbao y el movimiento coral europeo (1800-1936)" [Reseña

    OpenAIRE

    Olábarri-Gortázar, I. (Ignacio)

    2003-01-01

    Reseña de María Nagore-Ferrer, "La revolución coral. Estudio sobre la Sociedad Coral de Bilbao y el movimiento coral europeo (1800-1936)", Madrid, Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales, 2001, 410 pp. ISBN: 84-89457-21-2

  10. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  11. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  12. 101 questions on corals: Towards awareness

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    to nature and man-made changes, in every stakeholder, from local population through tourists to managers. This book serves such a purpose by answering most of the questions we ask everyday about corals and reefs....

  13. Coral Reef Watch, Nighttime Temperature, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides sea surface temperature (SST) products derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides...

  14. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  15. Marine biology: The coral disease triangle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F.

    2015-04-01

    The underlying causes of biodiversity loss can be numerous and difficult to identify. Now evidence suggests that disease outbreaks triggered by warming oceans are a primary cause of the disappearance of Caribbean coral reefs.

  16. Precious Coral Sales Report Data Set

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This is a federally mandated sales log which collects information on sales of raw coral, including weight and revenue. Also includes seller and buyer information....

  17. New protection initiatives announced for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Off the coasts of some of the South Pacific's most idyllic-sounding atolls, Austin Bowden-Kerby has seen first-hand the heavy damage to coral reefs from dynamite and cyanide fishing. For instance, while snorkeling near Chuuk, an island in Micronesia, he has observed craters and rubble beds of coral, which locals have told him date to World War II ordnance.A marine biologist and project scientist for the Coral Gardens Initiative of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Bowden-Kerby has also identified what he says are some public health effects related to destroyed coral reefs and their dying fisheries. These problems include protein and vitamin A deficiency and blindness, all of which may—in some instances—be linked to poor nutrition resulting from lower reef fish consumption by islanders, according to Bowden-Kerby.

  18. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    1994-01-01

    The article highlights a workshop held in Key West, Florida in November 1993 attended by a group of 35 international scientists where topics of ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs were discussed.

  19. Coral Reef Watch, Temperature Anomaly, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch distributes SST anomaly data using a combination of the POES AVHRR Global Area Coverage data, and data from a climatological database. AVHRR...

  20. Spatial refugia mediate juvenile coral survival during coral-predator interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallagher, Clare; Doropoulos, Christopher

    2017-03-01

    Coral recruitment and juvenile growth are essential processes for coral population maintenance and recovery. A growing body of research has evaluated the influence of reef microstructure on coral settlement and post-settlement survival, showing that physical refugia enhance recruitment. These studies have evaluated coral recruit morality from competition with macroalgae and indirect predation by grazing organisms, but the impact of direct predation by corallivorous piscine species on juvenile corals and how this interacts with reef microstructure is relatively unknown. This study examined whether refugia provided by micro-crevices enhance juvenile coral survival from corallivory. Juvenile corals from two different functional groups, the slow-growing massive Porites lobata and fast-growing branching Pocillopora damicornis, with average nubbin sizes of 1.4 cm × 0.3 cm and 0.5 cm × 1.0 cm (diameter × height), respectively, were attached to experimental tiles using small (1.44 cm3) and large (8.0 cm3) crevice sizes and were monitored for 29 d on a forereef in Palau. Full crevices (four sided) enhanced coral survival compared to exposed microhabitats in both coral taxa, but crevice size did not alter survival rates. Corallivores targeted recruits within crevices regardless of crevice size; dominant predators included small triggerfish (Balistidae), butterflyfish ( Chaetodon), and wrasse ( Cheilinus). Overall, Pocillopora suffered much higher rates of mortality than Porites. All Pocillopora were consumed by day 8 of the experiment, but mortality was significantly delayed in full crevices compared to exposed and partial crevice (three sided) microhabitats. In contrast, Por. lobata located in all microhabitats survived the entire experiment up to 29 d, with high survival in full (>90%) and partial crevices (70%), but only 28% survival in exposed microhabitats. These findings show the importance of crevices as spatial refugia from predators for juvenile corals and

  1. Field manual for investigating coral disease outbreaks

    OpenAIRE

    Woodley, C. M.; Bruckner, A. W.; McLenon, A.L.; Higgins, J.L.; Galloway, S.B.; Nicholson, J.H.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs throughout their circumtropical range are declining at an accelerating rate. Recent predictions indicate that 20% of the world’s reefs have been degraded, another 24% are under imminent risk of collapse, and if current estimates hold, by 2030, 26% of the world’s reefs will be lost (Wilkinson 2004). Recent changes to these ecosystems have included losses of apex predators, reductions of important herbivorous fishes and invertebrates, and precipitous declines in living coral cover, ...

  2. 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

  3. Degradation and recovery of Caribbean coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Paredes, Gustavo Adolfo

    2009-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide have been seriously impacted by human activities. The current deteriorated state of coral reef communities is the result of a long history of exploitation. The scientific community has recognized the extent of degradation, its consequences, and how little we have done to avoid further degradation only in the last two decades. Marine reserves are one of the main conservation actions that could help to reduce the impacts of human activities on the ecosystem, part...

  4. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Angela Dikou

    2010-01-01

    Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbre...

  5. Cyanobacteria in coral reef ecosystems : a review

    OpenAIRE

    Charpy, L.; Casareto, B.E.; Langlade, M. J.; Suzuki, Y.

    2012-01-01

    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 nitrog...

  6. Coral calcification in a changing ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2010-01-01

    Animals and plants that live in the ocean form skeletons and other hard parts by combining calcium ions and carbonate ions to create calcium carbonate. This process is called calcification. In tropical and subtropical oceans, the calcification of corals and other organisms creates reefs that protect islands, produce beautiful white-sand beaches, and create habitat for thousands of species that live on coral reefs.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javid Kavousi

    2014-09-01

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

  8. Behaviourally mediated phenotypic selection in a disturbed coral reef environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    Full Text Available Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitude and frequency of these perturbations are predicted to increase under climate change. Globally coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Fishes often show relatively rapid declines in abundance when corals become stressed and die, but the processes responsible are largely unknown. This study explored the mechanism by which coral bleaching may influence the levels and selective nature of mortality on a juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which associates with hard coral. Recently settled fish had a low propensity to migrate small distances (40 cm between habitat patches, even when densities were elevated to their natural maximum. Intraspecific interactions and space use differ among three habitats: live hard coral, bleached coral and dead algal-covered coral. Large fish pushed smaller fish further from the shelter of bleached and dead coral thereby exposing smaller fish to higher mortality than experienced on healthy coral. Small recruits suffered higher mortality than large recruits on bleached and dead coral. Mortality was not size selective on live coral. Survival was 3 times as high on live coral as on either bleached or dead coral. Subtle behavioural interactions between fish and their habitats influence the fundamental link between life history stages, the distribution of phenotypic traits in the local population and potentially the evolution of life history strategies.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M; Mueller, Christina E; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J; van Duyl, Fleur C; Al-Horani, Fuad A; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-07

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21-40% of the mucus carbon and 32-39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments.

  10. RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO CORAL BLEACHING: IMPLICATIONS FOR CORAL REEF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

    Science.gov (United States)

    The massive scale of the 1997-1998 El Nino-associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality. As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent ...

  11. 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

  12. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    Science.gov (United States)

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be induc...

  13. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    Science.gov (United States)

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be induc...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-03

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

  15. Arrecifes de Coral: Una Coleccion de Actividades en Espanol para Estudiantes de Escuela Intermedia (Coral Reefs: A Spanish Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book for middle school students on coral reefs is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 is the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 describes where coral reefs are found, and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 describes the…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-06-01

    Caribbean reef corals have declined precipitously since the 1980s due to regional episodes of bleaching, disease and algal overgrowth, but the extent of earlier degradation due to localised historical disturbances such as land clearing and overfishing remains unresolved. We analysed coral and molluscan fossil assemblages from reefs near Bocas del Toro, Panama to construct a timeline of ecological change from the 19th century-present. We report large changes before 1960 in coastal lagoons coincident with extensive deforestation, and after 1960 on offshore reefs. Striking changes include the demise of previously dominant staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and oyster Dendrostrea frons that lives attached to gorgonians and staghorn corals. Reductions in bivalve size and simplification of gastropod trophic structure further implicate increasing environmental stress on reefs. Our paleoecological data strongly support the hypothesis, from extensive qualitative data, that Caribbean reef degradation predates coral bleaching and disease outbreaks linked to anthropogenic climate change. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters,

  18. Calibration of Community-based Coral Reef Monitoring Protocols ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: coral reef monitoring, community-based, calibration. Abstract—Coral reef monitoring (CRM) has been recognised as an important management tool and has ..... Pollution Bulletin 40: 537-550. Wilkinson, C., Green, A., Almany, J. &.

  19. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters, ne

  20. American Samoa ESI: CASSPT (Coral Areas of Special Significance - Points)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for "Coral Areas of Special Significance" in American Samoa. Coral Areas of Special Significance were...

  1. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    valderianum, a cyanobacterium causes the PLS Histological observations showed that the tissue was destroyed in PLS The coral bleaching is the only abiotic disease known in the corals Bleaching is triggered by anomalous high water temperature during summer...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

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

  3. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

    Recent work has shown that hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic matter (OM) from algae disrupts the function of the coral holobiont and promotes the invasion of opportunistic pathogens, leading to coral morbidity and mortality. Here we refer to these dynamics as the (3)DAM [dissolved organic matter (DOM), direct contact, disease, algae and microbes] model. There is considerable complexity in coral-algae interactions; turf algae and macroalgae promote heterotrophic microbial overgrowth of coral, macroalgae also directly harm the corals via hydrophobic OM, whereas crustose coralline algae generally encourage benign microbial communities. In addition, complex flow patterns transport OM and pathogens from algae to downstream corals, and direct algal contact enhances their delivery. These invisible players (microbes, viruses, and OM) are important drivers of coral reefs because they have non-linear responses to disturbances and are the first to change in response to perturbations, providing near real-time trajectories for a coral reef, a vital metric for conservation and restoration.

  4. A trait-based approach to advance coral reef science

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madin, Joshua S.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Connolly, Sean R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are biologically diverse and ecologically complex ecosystems constructed by stony corals. Despite decades of research, basic coral population biology and community ecology questions remain. Quantifying trait variation among species can help resolve these questions, but progress has been...... a large amount of variation for a range of biological and ecological processes. Such an approach can accelerate our understanding of coral ecology and our ability to protect critically threatened global ecosystems....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

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

  6. Destruction of Pacific Corals by the Sea Star Acanthaster planci.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chesher, R H

    1969-07-18

    Acanthaster planci, a coral predator, is undergoing a population explosion in many areas of the Pacific Ocean. Data on feeding rates, population movements, and stages of infestation were collected along coral reefs of Guam and Palau. Direct observations on destruction of Guam's coral reefs indicate that narrow, fringing reefs may be killed as rapidly as 1 kilometer per month. In a 2(1/2)-year period, 90 percent of the coral was killed along 38 kilometers of Guam's shoreline.

  7. Palmyra Atoll coral reef habitat mapping completion report

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    The United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order 13089 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Current, accurate, and consistent maps greatly enhance efforts to preserve and manage coral reef ecosystems. With comprehensive maps and habitat assessments, coral reef managers can be more effective in designing and implementing a variety of conservation measures, including: • Long-term monitoring programs with ...

  8. Hyperspectral and physiological analyses of coral-algal interactions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katie Barott

    Full Text Available Space limitation leads to competition between benthic, sessile organisms on coral reefs. As a primary example, reef-building corals are in direct contact with each other and many different species and functional groups of algae. Here we characterize interactions between three coral genera and three algal functional groups using a combination of hyperspectral imaging and oxygen microprofiling. We also performed in situ interaction transects to quantify the relative occurrence of these interaction on coral reefs. These studies were conducted in the Southern Line Islands, home to some of the most remote and near-pristine reefs in the world. Our goal was to determine if different types of coral-coral and coral-algal interactions were characterized by unique fine-scale physiological signatures. This is the first report using hyperspectral imaging for characterization of marine benthic organisms at the micron scale and proved to be a valuable tool for discriminating among different photosynthetic organisms. Consistent patterns emerged in physiology across different types of competitive interactions. In cases where corals were in direct contact with turf or macroalgae, there was a zone of hypoxia and altered pigmentation on the coral. In contrast, interaction zones between corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA were not hypoxic and the coral tissue was consistent across the colony. Our results suggest that at least two main characteristic coral interaction phenotypes exist: 1 hypoxia and coral tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and fleshy turf and/or some species of macroalgae, and 2 no hypoxia or tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and some species of CCA. Hyperspectral imaging in combination with oxygen profiling provided useful information on competitive interactions between benthic reef organisms, and demonstrated that some turf and fleshy macroalgae can be a constant source of stress for corals, while

  9. Hyperspectral and physiological analyses of coral-algal interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie; Smith, Jennifer; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Hatay, Mark; Sandin, Stuart; Rohwer, Forest

    2009-11-26

    Space limitation leads to competition between benthic, sessile organisms on coral reefs. As a primary example, reef-building corals are in direct contact with each other and many different species and functional groups of algae. Here we characterize interactions between three coral genera and three algal functional groups using a combination of hyperspectral imaging and oxygen microprofiling. We also performed in situ interaction transects to quantify the relative occurrence of these interaction on coral reefs. These studies were conducted in the Southern Line Islands, home to some of the most remote and near-pristine reefs in the world. Our goal was to determine if different types of coral-coral and coral-algal interactions were characterized by unique fine-scale physiological signatures. This is the first report using hyperspectral imaging for characterization of marine benthic organisms at the micron scale and proved to be a valuable tool for discriminating among different photosynthetic organisms. Consistent patterns emerged in physiology across different types of competitive interactions. In cases where corals were in direct contact with turf or macroalgae, there was a zone of hypoxia and altered pigmentation on the coral. In contrast, interaction zones between corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA) were not hypoxic and the coral tissue was consistent across the colony. Our results suggest that at least two main characteristic coral interaction phenotypes exist: 1) hypoxia and coral tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and fleshy turf and/or some species of macroalgae, and 2) no hypoxia or tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and some species of CCA. Hyperspectral imaging in combination with oxygen profiling provided useful information on competitive interactions between benthic reef organisms, and demonstrated that some turf and fleshy macroalgae can be a constant source of stress for corals, while CCA are not.

  10. Breakage and propagation of the stony coral Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Tunnicliffe, Verena

    1981-01-01

    Populations of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, often form dense monotypic stands on shallow Caribbean reefs. This coral species has a fragile structure that results in large numbers of broken branches and toppled colonies, especially in high wave activity. Although more than 80% of the corals in the studied population were broken from their bases, most had become reanchored to regrow rapidly. There is little evidence of sexual reproduction, and it appears that this coral has come to...

  11. Benefit of pulsation in soft corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kremien, Maya; Shavit, Uri; Mass, Tali; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-05-28

    Soft corals of the family Xeniidae exhibit a unique, rhythmic pulsation of their tentacles (Movie S1), first noted by Lamarck nearly 200 y ago. However, the adaptive benefit of this perpetual, energetically costly motion is poorly understood. Using in situ underwater particle image velocimetry, we found that the pulsation motions thrust water upward and enhance mixing across the coral-water boundary layer. The induced upward motion effectively prevents refiltration of water by neighboring polyps, while the intensification of mixing, together with the upward flow, greatly enhances the coral's photosynthesis. A series of controlled laboratory experiments with the common xeniid coral Heteroxenia fuscescens showed that the net photosynthesis rate during pulsation was up to an order of magnitude higher than during the coral's resting, nonpulsating state. This enhancement diminished when the concentration of oxygen in the ambient water was artificially raised, indicating that the enhancement of photosynthesis was due to a greater efflux of oxygen from the coral tissues. By lowering the internal oxygen concentration, pulsation alleviates the problem of reduced affinity of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (RuBisCO) to CO2 under conditions of high oxygen concentrations. The photosynthesis-respiration ratio of the pulsating H. fuscescens was markedly higher than the ratios reported for nonpulsating soft and stony corals. Although pulsation is commonly used for locomotion and filtration in marine mobile animals, its occurrence in sessile (bottom-attached) species is limited to members of the ancient phylum Cnidaria, where it is used to accelerate water and enhance physiological processes.

  12. 77 FR 32572 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-01

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... South Carolina Aquarium to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and...

  13. Fluctuations in coral health of four common inshore reef corals in response to seasonal and anthropogenic changes in water quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Browne, Nicola K; Tay, Jason K L; Low, Jeffrey; Larson, Ole; Todd, Peter A

    2015-04-01

    Environmental drivers of coral condition (maximum quantum yield, symbiont density, chlorophyll a content and coral skeletal growth rates) were assessed in the equatorial inshore coastal waters of Singapore, where the amplitude of seasonal variation is low, but anthropogenic influence is relatively high. Water quality variables (sediments, nutrients, trace metals, temperature, light) explained between 52 and 83% of the variation in coral condition, with sediments and light availability as key drivers of foliose corals (Merulina ampliata, Pachyseris speciosa), and temperature exerting a greater influence on a branching coral (Pocillopora damicornis). Seasonal reductions in water quality led to high chlorophyll a concentrations and maximum quantum yields in corals, but low growth rates. These marginal coral communities are potentially vulnerable to climate change, hence, we propose water quality thresholds for coral growth with the aim of mitigating both local and global environmental impacts. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. 76 FR 41764 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-15

    ... Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY: National... artificial reefs without additional authorization. A report on the project findings is due at the end of the...

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  16. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  17. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  18. 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

  19. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  20. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  1. 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.

  2. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S. K.; Dolman, A. M.; Cheal, A. J.; Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Sweatman, H. P. A.

    2009-03-01

    Habitat perturbations play a major role in shaping community structure; however, the elements of disturbance-related habitat change that affect diversity are not always apparent. This study examined the effects of habitat disturbances on species richness of coral reef fish assemblages using annual surveys of habitat and 210 fish species from 10 reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Over a period of 11 years, major disturbances, including localised outbreaks of crown-of-thorns sea star ( Acanthaster planci), severe storms or coral bleaching, resulted in coral decline of 46-96% in all the 10 reefs. Despite declines in coral cover, structural complexity of the reef framework was retained on five and species richness of coral reef fishes maintained on nine of the disturbed reefs. Extensive loss of coral resulted in localised declines of highly specialised coral-dependent species, but this loss of diversity was more than compensated for by increases in the number of species that feed on the epilithic algal matrix (EAM). A unimodal relationship between areal coral cover and species richness indicated species richness was greatest at approximately 20% coral cover declining by 3-4 species (6-8% of average richness) at higher and lower coral cover. Results revealed that declines in coral cover on reefs may have limited short-term impact on the diversity of coral reef fishes, though there may be fundamental changes in the community structure of fishes.

  3. Terpenoids of Sinularia soft corals: chemistry and bioactivity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wen-ting Chen

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Soft corals of the genus Sinularia are one of the most widespread soft corals. They are a rich source of bioactive substances with intriguing and unique structural features. The present paper reviews the latest progress in the chemistry and pharmacological activities of terpenoids from Sinularia soft corals and provides a perspective on future areas of research interest.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Thermal tolerances of reef corals in the Gulf: a review of the potential for increasing coral survival and adaptation to climate change through assisted translocation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, Steve L; Riegl, Bernhard M

    2013-07-30

    Corals in the Gulf withstand summer temperatures up to 10 °C higher than corals elsewhere and have recovered from extreme temperature events in 10 years or less. This heat-tolerance of Gulf corals has positive implications for the world's coral populations to adapt to increasing water temperatures. However, survival of Gulf corals has been severely tested by 35-37 °C temperatures five times in the last 15 years, each time causing extensive coral bleaching and mortality. Anticipated future temperature increases may therefore challenge survival of already highly stressed Gulf corals. Previously proposed translocation of Gulf corals to introduce temperature-adapted corals outside of the Gulf is assessed and determined to be problematical, and to be considered a tool of last resort. Coral culture and transplantation within the Gulf is feasible for helping maintain coral species populations and preserving genomes and adaptive capacities of Gulf corals that are endangered by future thermal stress events.

  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. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela Dikou

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbreak while bottom-up controls have increased due to water quality degradation (increase in sediment and nutrient load and climate forcing (seawater warming and acidification leading to algal-dominated alternate benthic states of coral reefs, which are indicative of a trajectory towards ecological extinction. Management to reverse common trajectories of degradation for coral reefs necessitates a shift from optimization in marine resource use and conservation towards building socio-economic resilience into coral reef systems while attending to the most manageable human impacts (fishing and water quality and the global-scale causes (climate change.

  8. Immunity through early development of coral larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, C V; Graham, E; Baird, A H

    2012-10-01

    As a determinant of survival, immunity is likely to be significant in enabling coral larvae to disperse and successfully recruit, however, whether reef-building coral larvae have immune defenses is unknown. We investigated the potential presence and variation in immunity in the lecithotrophic larvae of Acropora tenuis through larval development. Enzymes indicative of tyrosinase and laccase-type melanin-synthesis were quantified, and the concentration of three coral fluorescent proteins was measured over six developmental stages; egg, embryo, motile planula, planula post-exposure to crustose coralline algae (CCA; settlement cue), settled, settled post-exposure to Symbiodinium (endosymbiont). Both types of melanin-synthesis pathways and the three fluorescent proteins were present in A. tenuis throughout development. Laccase-type activity and red fluorescence increased following exposure of planula to CCA, whereas tyrosinase-type activity and cyan fluorescence increased following settlement. No change was detected in the measured parameters following exposure to Symbiodinium. This study is the first to document coral larval immune responses and suggests the melanin-synthesis pathways have disparate roles-the laccase-type potentially non-immunological and the tyrosinase-type in cytotoxic defense. Our results indicate that corals have the potential to resist infection from the earliest life history phase. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Elevated Temperature and Allelopathy Impact Coral Recruitment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Ross, Cliff; Paul, Valerie J

    2016-01-01

    As climate change continues to alter seawater temperature and chemistry on a global scale, coral reefs show multiple signs of degradation. One natural process that could facilitate the recovery of reef ecosystems is coral recruitment, which can be influenced by the benthic organisms in a local habitat. We experimentally tested both a global stressor (increased seawater temperature) and a local stressor (exposure to microcolin A, a natural product from a common marine benthic cyanobacterium) to determine how these stressors impacted coral larval sublethal stress, survival and settlement. Larvae of Porites astreoides had the same survival and settlement as the controls after exposure to increased temperature alone, but elevated temperature did cause oxidative stress. When exposed to natural concentrations of microcolin A, larval survival and settlement were significantly reduced. When larvae were exposed to these two stressors sequentially there was no interactive effect; but when exposed to both stressors simultaneously, there was a synergistic reduction in larval survival and an increase in oxidative stress more than in either stressor treatment alone. Increased seawater temperatures made larvae more susceptible to a concurrent local stressor disrupting a key process of coral reef recovery and resilience. These results highlight the importance of understanding how interactive stressors of varying spatial scales can impact coral demographics.

  10. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth) of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Englebert, Norbert; Bongaerts, Pim; Muir, Paul R; Hay, Kyra B; Pichon, Michel; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m), despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60-125 m) at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60-80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213) between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

  11. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth) of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Englebert, Norbert; Bongaerts, Pim; Muir, Paul R.; Hay, Kyra B.; Pichon, Michel; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m), despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60–125 m) at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60–80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213) between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. PMID:28146574

  12. High coral cover on a mesophotic, subtropical island platform at the limits of coral reef growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linklater, Michelle; Carroll, Andrew G.; Hamylton, Sarah M.; Jordan, Alan R.; Brooke, Brendan P.; Nichol, Scott L.; Woodroffe, Colin D.

    2016-11-01

    Balls Pyramid is a volcanic monolith rising 552 m from the Tasman Sea, 24 km southeast of the Pacific Ocean's southernmost modern coral reef at Lord Howe Island. High resolution seabed mapping of the shelf surrounding Balls Pyramid has revealed an extensive submerged reef structure in 30-50 m water depth, covering an area of 87 km2. Benthic community composition analysis of high-resolution still images revealed abundant scleractinian corals on the submerged reef, extending to a maximum depth of 94 m. Scleractinian coral occurred predominantly in 30-40 m depth where it comprised 13.3% of benthic cover within this depth range. Average scleractinian coral cover for all transects was 6.7±12.2%, with the highest average transect cover of 19.4±14.3% and up to 84% cover recorded for an individual still image. The remaining substrate comprised mixed benthos with veneers of carbonate sand. Benthic data were shown to significantly relate to the underlying geomorphology. BVSTEP analyses identified depth and backscatter as the strongest correlating explanatory variables driving benthic community structure. The prevalence of scleractinian corals on the submerged reef features at Balls Pyramid, and the mesophotic depths to which these corals extend, demonstrates the important role of this subtropical island shelf as habitat for modern coral communities in the southwest Pacific Ocean. As Balls Pyramid is located beyond the known latitudinal limit of coral reef formation, these findings have important implications for potential coral reef range expansion and deep reef refugia under a changing climate.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Australian Coral as a Biomaterial: Characteristics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    In order to produce effective implants, the materials used must be biocompatible. Hydroxyapatite (HAp) is a bioactive material similar to the mineral component of teeth and bone which is often used for orbital implants and bone graft applications. HAp can be manufactured from corals via hydrothermal conversion. Coral is particularly useful as a starting material for hydroxyapatite production because of its porous nature. When a porous structure is used tissue ingrowth can occur readily and hence an excellent mechanical bond can be achieved. A large pore size and a high degree of pore interconnections are desirable implant properties. In the present paper a comparison of the properties of four different species of Australian coral has been made to determine the most favourable species to use as a starting material for hydrothermal conversion.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S Hoey

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32'S, 159°04'E, the worlds' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment, and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4% and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%. Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m(-2, however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha(-1, and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1% with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances.

  20. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2011-10-03

    Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32?S, 159°04?E), the worlds\\' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment), and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4%) and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%). Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m -2), however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha -1), and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1%) with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands\\' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances. © 2011 Hoey et al.

  1. Impact of Global Warming on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sirilak CHUMKIEW

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we review coral reef responses to climate variability and discuss the possible mechanisms by which climate impacts the coral reef ecosystem. Effects of oceanographic variables such as sea temperature, turbulence, salinity, and nutrients on the coral reef are discussed in terms of their influence on coral growth, reproduction, mortality, acclimation and adaptation. Organisms tend to be limited to specific thermal ranges with experimental findings showing that sufficient oxygen supply by ventilation and circulation only occurs within these ranges. Indirect effects of climate change on the food web are also discussed. Further integrative studies are required to improve our knowledge of the processes linking coral reef responses to future climate change scenarios.Graphical abstract► Incidence of coral reef bleaching on a worldwide scale: location of bleaching reports during 1979 - 2010. Maps are from ReefBase, www.reefbase.org: 1, Arabian Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran; 2, Red Sea; 3, east Africa; 4, southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa; 5, Madagascar; 6, Mauritius, Reunion; 7, Seychelles; 8, Chagos; 9, Maldives; 10, Sri Lanka/southern India; 11, Andaman Sea (Andamans, Thailand, Malaysia; 12, South China Sea (Vietnam, Paracel Islands; 13, Philippines; 14, Indonesia; 15, western Australia; 16, Great Barrier Reef; 17, Ryukyu Islands; 18, Mariana Islands; 19, Palau; 20, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu; 21, Fiji; 22, Samoa; 23, French Polynesia (including Moorea; 24, Hawaiian Islands; 25, Easter Island; 26, Galapagos Islands; 27, equatorial eastern Pacific (Costa Rica, Cocos Island, Panama´, Colombia, Ecuador; 28, subtropical eastern Pacific (Mexico; 29, Mesoamerican reef system (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua; 30, Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands; 31, Bahamas, Florida; 32, Bermuda; 33, Lesser Antilles; 34, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Los Roques; 35, Brazil.

  2. Microbial bioenergetics of coral-algal interactions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ty N.F. Roach

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Human impacts are causing ecosystem phase shifts from coral- to algal-dominated reef systems on a global scale. As these ecosystems undergo transition, there is an increased incidence of coral-macroalgal interactions. Mounting evidence indicates that the outcome of these interaction events is, in part, governed by microbially mediated dynamics. The allocation of available energy through different trophic levels, including the microbial food web, determines the outcome of these interactions and ultimately shapes the benthic community structure. However, little is known about the underlying thermodynamic mechanisms involved in these trophic energy transfers. This study utilizes a novel combination of methods including calorimetry, flow cytometry, and optical oxygen measurements, to provide a bioenergetic analysis of coral-macroalgal interactions in a controlled aquarium setting. We demonstrate that the energetic demands of microbial communities at the coral-algal interaction interface are higher than in the communities associated with either of the macroorganisms alone. This was evident through higher microbial power output (energy use per unit time and lower oxygen concentrations at interaction zones compared to areas distal from the interface. Increases in microbial power output and lower oxygen concentrations were significantly correlated with the ratio of heterotrophic to autotrophic microbes but not the total microbial abundance. These results suggest that coral-algal interfaces harbor higher proportions of heterotrophic microbes that are optimizing maximal power output, as opposed to yield. This yield to power shift offers a possible thermodynamic mechanism underlying the transition from coral- to algal-dominated reef ecosystems currently being observed worldwide. As changes in the power output of an ecosystem are a significant indicator of the current state of the system, this analysis provides a novel and insightful means to quantify

  3. Cold-water coral banks and submarine landslides: a review

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Mol, Ben; Huvenne, Veerle; Canals, Miquel

    2009-06-01

    This paper aims to review the relation between cold-water coral bank development and submarine landslides. Both are common features on continental margins, but so far it has not been reviewed which effect—if at all—they may have upon each other. Indirect and direct relations between coral banks and landslides are evaluated here, based on four case studies: the Magellan Mound Province in the Porcupine Seabight, where fossil coral banks appear partly on top of a buried slide deposit; the Sula Ridge Reef Complex and the Storegga landslide both off mid-Norway; and the Mauritania coral bank province, associated with the Mauritanian Slide Complex. For each of these locations, positive and negative relationships between both features are discussed, based on available datasets. Locally submarine landslides might directly favour coral bank development by creating substratum where corals can settle on, enhancing turbulence due to abrupt seabed morphological variations and, in some cases, causing fluid seepage. In turn, some of these processes may contribute to increased food availability and lower sedimentation rates. Landslides can also affect coral bank development by direct erosion of the coral banks, and by the instantaneous increase of turbidity, which may smother the corals. On the other hand, coral banks might have a stabilising function and delay or stop the headwall retrogradation of submarine landslides. Although local relationships can be deduced from these case studies, no general and direct relationship exists between submarine landslides and cold-water coral banks.

  4. Dynamic stability of coral reefs on the west Australian coast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W; Babcock, Russ C; Bancroft, Kevin P; Beckley, Lynnath E; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Depczynski, Martial; Field, Stuart N; Friedman, Kim J; Gilmour, James P; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Kobryn, Halina T; Moore, James A Y; Nutt, Christopher D; Shedrawi, George; Thomson, Damian P; Wilson, Shaun K

    2013-01-01

    Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs.

  5. 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.

  6. Corals concentrate dissolved inorganic carbon to facilitate calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allison, Nicola; Cohen, Itay; Finch, Adrian A; Erez, Jonathan; Tudhope, Alexander W

    2014-01-01

    The sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) used to produce scleractinian coral skeletons are not understood. Yet this knowledge is essential for understanding coral biomineralization and assessing the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Here we use skeletal boron geochemistry to reconstruct the DIC chemistry of the fluid used for coral calcification. We show that corals concentrate DIC at the calcification site substantially above seawater values and that bicarbonate contributes a significant amount of the DIC pool used to build the skeleton. Corals actively increase the pH of the calcification fluid, decreasing the proportion of DIC present as CO2 and creating a diffusion gradient favouring the transport of molecular CO2 from the overlying coral tissue into the calcification site. Coupling the increases in calcification fluid pH and [DIC] yields high calcification fluid [CO3(2-)] and induces high aragonite saturation states, favourable to the precipitation of the skeleton.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  8. Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book on coral reefs for middle school students is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 contains the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 discusses where coral reefs are found and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 discusses the…

  9. Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauman, Andrew G; Guest, James R; Dunshea, Glenn; Low, Jeffery; Todd, Peter A; Steinberg, Peter D

    2015-01-01

    Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world's most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m(-2) yr(-1)) relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March-May and September-November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March-April and October), while the lowest settlement occurred from December-February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12), possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%), while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure ('others'; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa) in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity of Singapore's reefs appears relatively constrained, which could lead

  10. Calcification by juvenile corals under heterotrophy and elevated CO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drenkard, E. J.; Cohen, A. L.; McCorkle, D. C.; de Putron, S. J.; Starczak, V. R.; Zicht, A. E.

    2013-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) threatens the existence of coral reefs by slowing the rate of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) production of framework-building corals thus reducing the amount of CaCO3 the reef can produce to counteract natural dissolution. Some evidence exists to suggest that elevated levels of dissolved inorganic nutrients can reduce the impact of OA on coral calcification. Here, we investigated the potential for enhanced energetic status of juvenile corals, achieved via heterotrophic feeding, to modulate the negative impact of OA on calcification. Larvae of the common Atlantic golf ball coral, Favia fragum, were collected and reared for 3 weeks under ambient (421 μatm) or significantly elevated (1,311 μatm) CO2 conditions. The metamorphosed, zooxanthellate spat were either fed brine shrimp (i.e., received nutrition from photosynthesis plus heterotrophy) or not fed (i.e., primarily autotrophic). Regardless of CO2 condition, the skeletons of fed corals exhibited accelerated development of septal cycles and were larger than those of unfed corals. At each CO2 level, fed corals accreted more CaCO3 than unfed corals, and fed corals reared under 1,311 μatm CO2 accreted as much CaCO3 as unfed corals reared under ambient CO2. However, feeding did not alter the sensitivity of calcification to increased CO2; ∆ calcification/∆Ω was comparable for fed and unfed corals. Our results suggest that calcification rates of nutritionally replete juvenile corals will decline as OA intensifies over the course of this century. Critically, however, such corals could maintain higher rates of skeletal growth and CaCO3 production under OA than those in nutritionally limited environments.

  11. Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G Bauman

    Full Text Available Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world's most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m(-2 yr(-1 relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March-May and September-November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March-April and October, while the lowest settlement occurred from December-February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12, possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%, while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae <1%. Other, unidentifiable families represented 10% of the coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure ('others'; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity

  12. The preparation of the rice coral Montipora capitata nubbins for application in coral-reef ecotoxicology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

    Securing adequate and appropriate source material for coral-reef ecotoxicology studies is a significant impediment to conducting various experiments supporting the goal of conserving coral-reef ecosystems. Collecting colonies from wild stocks may be counter to protecting coral reef populations. To address this issue the rice coral Montipora capitata was used to generate sufficient genetically identical nubbins for research purposes. Growth and survival rates of these laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins were studied over a period of 90 days. The resulting data support the conclusion that the laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins showed successful growth and survival rates and are the best solution to solve the source material issue for lab experimentation. This paper describes the laboratory method used for the preparation and maintenance of these M. capitata nubbins and discusses the benefits and difficulties of using these nubbins in ecotoxicity studies.

  13. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: Coral Reef Habitat Mapping Projects in 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Maps are a critical cornerstone of coral reef management, research and planning, with direct links to management needs in a number of forms. To accurately...

  14. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coral Colony Size and Condition Surveys since 2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Government of Guam's Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program, coordinated by the Guam Coastal Management Program until October 2013 and now coordinated by the...

  15. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 Projects Monitoring the Effects of Thermal Stress on Coral Bleaching

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Climate change impacts have been identified as one of the greatest global threats to coral reef ecosystems. As temperature rise, mass bleaching, and infectious...

  16. Why Corals Care about Ocean Acidification: Insights from Ion Microprobe Analyses of Coral Crystals (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, A. L.; McCorkle, D. C.; de Putron, S.; Gaetani, G. A.; Rose, K. A.

    2009-12-01

    Ocean acidification caused by rising levels of atmospheric CO2 is considered a major threat to the future health of coral reef ecosystems across the global tropics and subtropics. Results from laboratory experiments with corals reared under elevated CO2 conditions suggest that coral growth rates may decline by up to 80% of modern values by the end of this century. The mechanism by which ocean acidification impacts the skeletal growth of corals however, is not well-understood, limiting our ability to predict how corals might respond to climate changes outside of the laboratory. We used micro-scale imaging (SEM) and analytical (SIMS) techniques to quantify morphological and compositional changes in the first aragonite crystals accreted by young corals as they metamorphosed from non-calcifying larvae to calcifying polyps in experimental aquaria with seawater saturation states (Ω) ranging from ambient (3.71) to strongly under-saturated (0.22). Aragonite was accreted by all corals, even those reared under strongly under-saturated conditions, indicating that Ω of fluid within the calcifying compartment is maintained well above that of the external seawater environment. However, significant and progressive changes in both crystal morphology and composition with increasing acidification indicate that Ω of the coral’s calcifying fluid changed in proportion to that of the aquarium seawater. With increasing acidification, the normal skeleton of densely-packed bundles of fine aragonite needles gave way to a disordered aggregate of highly faceted rhombs. Sr/Ca ratios of the crystals increased by 13% and Mg/Ca ratios decreased by 45%. By comparing these variations in elemental ratios with results from Rayleigh fractionation calculations, we show that these changes are consistent with a >80% decrease in the amount of aragonite precipitated by the corals from each “batch” of calcifying fluid. The inability of the corals in acidified treatments to achieve the levels of

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Abundance and composition of juvenile corals reveals divergent trajectories for coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S; Baird, Andrew H; Bauman, Andrew G; Burt, John A

    2017-01-30

    Marked shifts in the composition of coral assemblages are occurring at many locations, but it is unknown whether these are permanent shifts reinforced by patterns of population replenishment. This study examined the composition of juvenile coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Densities of juvenile corals varied significantly among locations, but were highest where coral cover was highest. Juvenile coral assemblages within the Persian Gulf were dominated by Porites, while no Acropora were recorded. We expect therefore, continued declines in Acropora abundance, while observed dominance of Porites is likely to persist. In the Oman Sea, Pocillopora was the dominant juvenile coral, with Acropora and Stylophora also recorded. This study shows that taxonomic differences in replenishment are reinforcing temporal shifts in coral composition within the southern Persian Gulf, but not in the Oman Sea. Differences in environmental conditions and disturbance regimes likely explain the divergent responses between regions. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-05-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas Anthony James; Mia O Hoogenboom

    2016-01-01

    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 reef...

  2. Mine waste disposal leads to lower coral cover, reduced species richness and a predominance of simple coral growth forms on a fringing coral reef in Papua New Guinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haywood, M D E; Dennis, D; Thomson, D P; Pillans, R D

    2016-04-01

    A large gold mine has been operating at the Lihir Island Group, Papua New Guinea since 1997. The mine disposes of waste rock in nearshore waters, impacting nearby coral communities. During 2010, 2012 we conducted photographic surveys at 73 sites within 40 km of the mine to document impacts of mining operations on the hard coral communities. Coral communities close to the mine (∼2 km to the north and south of the mine) were depaurperate, but surprisingly, coral cover and community composition beyond this range appeared to be relatively similar, suggesting that the mine impacts were limited spatially. In particular, we found mining operations have resulted in a significant decrease in coral cover (4.4% 1.48 km from the disposal site c.f. 66.9% 10.36 km from the disposal site), decreased species richness and a predominance of less complex growth forms within ∼2 km to the north and south of the mine waste disposal site. In contrast to the two 'snapshot' surveys of corals performed in 2010 and 2012, long term data (1999-2012) based on visual estimates of coral cover suggested that impacts on coral communities may have been more extensive than this. With global pressures on the world's coral reefs increasing, it is vital that local, direct anthropogenic pressures are reduced, in order to help offset the impacts of climate change, disease and predation.

  3. Hurricanes and coral bleaching linked to changes in coral recruitment in Tobago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallela, J; Crabbe, M J C

    2009-10-01

    Knowledge of coral recruitment patterns helps us understand how reefs react following major disturbances and provides us with an early warning system for predicting future reef health problems. We have reconstructed and interpreted historical and modern-day recruitment patterns, using a combination of growth modelling and in situ recruitment experiments, in order to understand how hurricanes, storms and bleaching events have influenced coral recruitment on the Caribbean coastline of Tobago. Whilst Tobago does not lie within the main hurricane belt results indicate that regional hurricane events negatively impact coral recruitment patterns in the Southern Caribbean. In years following hurricanes, tropical storms and bleaching events, coral recruitment was reduced when compared to normal years (p=0.016). Following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and the 2005-2006 bleaching event, coral recruitment was markedly limited with only 2% (n=6) of colonies estimated to have recruited during 2006 and 2007. Our experimental results indicate that despite multiple large-scale disturbances corals are still recruiting on Tobago's marginal reef systems, albeit in low numbers.

  4. Coral disease and health workshop: Coral Histopathology II, July 12-14, 2005

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galloway, S.B.; Woodley, Cheryl M.; McLaughlin, S.M.; Work, T.M.; Bochsler, V.S.; Meteyer, Carol U.; Sileo, Louis; Peters, E.C.; Kramarsky-Winters, E.; Morado, J. Frank; Parnell, P.G.; Rotstein, D.S.; Harely, R.A.; Reynolds, T.L.

    2005-01-01

    The health and continued existence of coral reef ecosystems are threatened by an increasing array of environmental and anthropogenic impacts. Coral disease is one of the prominent causes of increased mortality among reefs globally, particularly in the Caribbean. Although over 40 different coral diseases and syndromes have been reported worldwide, only a few etiological agents have been confirmed; most pathogens remain unknown and the dynamics of disease transmission, pathogenicity and mortality are not understood. Causal relationships have been documented for only a few of the coral diseases, while new syndromes continue to emerge. Extensive field observations by coral biologists have provided substantial documentation of a plethora of new pathologies, but our understanding, however, has been limited to descriptions of gross lesions with names reflecting these observations (e.g., black band, white band, dark spot). To determine etiology, we must equip coral diseases scientists with basic biomedical knowledge and specialized training in areas such as histology, cell biology and pathology. Only through combining descriptive science with mechanistic science and employing the synthesis epizootiology provides will we be able to gain insight into causation and become equipped to handle the pending crisis.

  5. Modeling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Evenhuis

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems threatened by rising CO2 levels that are driving the observed increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are able to explicitly modelled by linking the rates of growth, recovery and calcification to the rates of bleaching and temperature stress induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The different characteristics of this model are also assessed against independent data to show that the model captures the observed response of corals. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles for understanding the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can reproduce much of the observed response of corals to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

  6. 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

  7. Forecasting decadal changes in sea surface temperatures and coral bleaching within a Caribbean coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Angang; Reidenbach, Matthew A.

    2014-09-01

    Elevated sea surface temperature (SST) caused by global warming is one of the major threats to coral reefs. While increased SST has been shown to negatively affect the health of coral reefs by increasing rates of coral bleaching, how changes to atmospheric heating impact SST distributions, modified by local flow environments, has been less understood. This study aimed to simulate future water flow patterns and water surface heating in response to increased air temperature within a coral reef system in Bocas del Toro, Panama, located within the Caribbean Sea. Water flow and SST were modeled using the Delft3D-FLOWcomputer simulation package. Locally measured physical parameters, including bathymetry, astronomic tidal forcing, and coral habitat distribution were input into the model and water flow, and SST was simulated over a four-month period under present day, as well as projected warming scenarios in 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s. Changes in SST, and hence the thermal stress to corals, were quantified by degree heating weeks. Results showed that present-day reported bleaching sites were consistent with localized regions of continuous high SST. Regions with highest SST were located within shallow coastal sites adjacent to the mainland or within the interior of the bay, and characterized by low currents with high water retention times. Under projected increases in SSTs, shallow reef areas in low flow regions were found to be hot spots for future bleaching.

  8. Modelling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evenhuis, C.; Lenton, A.; Cantin, N. E.; Lough, J. M.

    2015-05-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that are threatened by rising CO2 levels through increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are explicitly modelled by linking rates of growth, recovery and calcification to rates of bleaching and temperature-stress-induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, correlated up- and down-regulation of traits that are consistent with resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The performance of the model is assessed against independent data to demonstrate how it can capture the observed response of corals to stress. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles to help understand the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can give insights into how corals respond to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

  9. Modeling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evenhuis, C.; Lenton, A.; Cantin, N. E.; Lough, J. M.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems threatened by rising CO2 levels that are driving the observed increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are able to explicitly modelled by linking the rates of growth, recovery and calcification to the rates of bleaching and temperature stress induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The different characteristics of this model are also assessed against independent data to show that the model captures the observed response of corals. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles for understanding the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can reproduce much of the observed response of corals to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

  10. Modern temperate coral growth analysis in North-west Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sowa, K.; Watanabe, T.; Sakamoto, T.

    2011-12-01

    Massive coral skeletal growth parameters (skeletal density, extension and calcification rate) are one of the indexes of coral health and ecological response to the ambient environmental changes such as ocean acidification (OA) and global warming. To predict and evaluate the influence of the environment changes to the coral skeletal growth, the coral skeletal growth model (CGM) is one of the useful tools. The CGM is one of the equations consisted of the coral skeletal parameters as response variables and physical or chemical environmental factor such as sea surface temperature (SST), pH, insolation and so on as explanatory variables. The constructing of CGM is equal to the forming the equation and deciding its coefficients. However, there are no universal coral growth models. The aim of our study is to construct the GCM. It is important to analyze coral growth parameters in the past natural condition by using core of massive coral skeleton for our study. In the natural condition, high-latitude area is the best place to evaluate the influence of OA to coral skeletal growth because OA influence ocean organisms from high-latitude area where predicted to affected due to low SST and low carbonate saturation levels induced by dissolved atmospheric CO2 to the sea compared to tropical-subtropical area.This study shows recent temperate coral growth parameters collected from Kagoshima (c.a. 60years), Kochi (c.a. 25 years) and Wakayama (c.a. 30 years) in North-west Pacific, Japan and discusses the universal coral growth model. We quantified the coral growth parameters with uncertainty for the first time. The chronology was developed by δ 18O variant of coral skeletons making sure the forming time of high-low skeletal density area. To evaluate influence of annual SST, precipitation and insolation to coral calcification rate in the natural condition, we performed the regression tree and multiple regression models analysis. As the results, there were non-significances between

  11. Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca; Burkepile, Deron E; Correa, Adrienne M S; Thurber, Andrew R; Shantz, Andrew A; Welsh, Rory; Pritchard, Catharine; Rosales, Stephanie

    2012-01-01

    With the continued and unprecedented decline of coral reefs worldwide, evaluating the factors that contribute to coral demise is of critical importance. As coral cover declines, macroalgae are becoming more common on tropical reefs. Interactions between these macroalgae and corals may alter the coral microbiome, which is thought to play an important role in colony health and survival. Together, such changes in benthic macroalgae and in the coral microbiome may result in a feedback mechanism that contributes to additional coral cover loss. To determine if macroalgae alter the coral microbiome, we conducted a field-based experiment in which the coral Porites astreoides was placed in competition with five species of macroalgae. Macroalgal contact increased variance in the coral-associated microbial community, and two algal species significantly altered microbial community composition. All macroalgae caused the disappearance of a γ-proteobacterium previously hypothesized to be an important mutualist of P. astreoides. Macroalgal contact also triggered: 1) increases or 2) decreases in microbial taxa already present in corals, 3) establishment of new taxa to the coral microbiome, and 4) vectoring and growth of microbial taxa from the macroalgae to the coral. Furthermore, macroalgal competition decreased coral growth rates by an average of 36.8%. Overall, this study found that competition between corals and certain species of macroalgae leads to an altered coral microbiome, providing a potential mechanism by which macroalgae-coral interactions reduce coral health and lead to coral loss on impacted reefs.

  12. Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Vega Thurber

    Full Text Available With the continued and unprecedented decline of coral reefs worldwide, evaluating the factors that contribute to coral demise is of critical importance. As coral cover declines, macroalgae are becoming more common on tropical reefs. Interactions between these macroalgae and corals may alter the coral microbiome, which is thought to play an important role in colony health and survival. Together, such changes in benthic macroalgae and in the coral microbiome may result in a feedback mechanism that contributes to additional coral cover loss. To determine if macroalgae alter the coral microbiome, we conducted a field-based experiment in which the coral Porites astreoides was placed in competition with five species of macroalgae. Macroalgal contact increased variance in the coral-associated microbial community, and two algal species significantly altered microbial community composition. All macroalgae caused the disappearance of a γ-proteobacterium previously hypothesized to be an important mutualist of P. astreoides. Macroalgal contact also triggered: 1 increases or 2 decreases in microbial taxa already present in corals, 3 establishment of new taxa to the coral microbiome, and 4 vectoring and growth of microbial taxa from the macroalgae to the coral. Furthermore, macroalgal competition decreased coral growth rates by an average of 36.8%. Overall, this study found that competition between corals and certain species of macroalgae leads to an altered coral microbiome, providing a potential mechanism by which macroalgae-coral interactions reduce coral health and lead to coral loss on impacted reefs.

  13. The diversity of coral associated bacteria and the environmental factors affect their community variation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yan-Ying; Ling, Juan; Yang, Qing-Song; Wang, You-Shao; Sun, Cui-Ci; Sun, Hong-Yan; Feng, Jing-Bin; Jiang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Yuan-Zhou; Wu, Mei-Lin; Dong, Jun-De

    2015-10-01

    Coral associated bacterial community potentially has functions relating to coral health, nutrition and disease. Culture-free, 16S rRNA based techniques were used to compare the bacterial community of coral tissue, mucus and seawater around coral, and to investigate the relationship between the coral-associated bacterial communities and environmental variables. The diversity of coral associated bacterial communities was very high, and their composition different from seawater. Coral tissue and mucus had a coral associated bacterial community with higher abundances of Gammaproteobacteria. However, bacterial community in seawater had a higher abundance of Cyanobacteria. Different populations were also found in mucus and tissue from the same coral fragment, and the abundant bacterial species associated with coral tissue was very different from those found in coral mucus. The microbial diversity and OTUs of coral tissue were much higher than those of coral mucus. Bacterial communities of corals from more human activities site have higher diversity and evenness; and the structure of bacterial communities were significantly different from the corals collected from other sites. The composition of bacterial communities associated with same coral species varied with season's changes, geographic differences, and coastal pollution. Unique bacterial groups found in the coral samples from more human activities location were significant positively correlated to chemical oxygen demand. These coral specific bacteria lead to coral disease or adjust to form new function structure for the adaption of different surrounding needs further research.

  14. Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Ohki

    2013-04-01

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

  15. Photography of Coral Reefs from ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the uses of photography from the International Space Station (ISS) in studying Earth's coral reefs. The photographs include reefs in various oceans . The photographs have uses for science in assisting NASA mapping initiatives, distribution worldwide through ReefBase, and by biologist in the field.

  16. Coral aquaculture to support drug discovery

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Leal, M.C.; Calado, R.; Sheridan, C.; Alimonti, A.; Osinga, R.

    2013-01-01

    Marine natural products (NP) are unanimously acknowledged as the blue gold in the urgent quest for new pharmaceuticals. Although corals are among the marine organisms with the greatest diversity of secondary metabolites, growing evidence suggest that their symbiotic bacteria produce most of these

  17. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E.; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A.

    2016-08-01

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.

  18. Vannisalong Coral pakub kvaliteeti soodsa hinna eest

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

    Tallinnas A. H. Tammsaare tee 116 ja Tartus Teguri 45 asuvas vannisalongis Coral pakutakse põhiliselt vanne ja saunu, kuid müügil on ka dušikabiinid, segistid, valamud, vannitoamööbel, basseinid jm

  19. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E.; Gaines, Steven D.; Caselle, Jennifer E.

    2017-01-01

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km2, which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought. PMID:28220895

  20. Vannisalong Coral pakub kvaliteeti soodsa hinna eest

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

    Tallinnas A. H. Tammsaare tee 116 ja Tartus Teguri 45 asuvas vannisalongis Coral pakutakse põhiliselt vanne ja saunu, kuid müügil on ka dušikabiinid, segistid, valamud, vannitoamööbel, basseinid jm

  1. Deep Water Coral (HB1402, EK60)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The cruise will survey and collect samples of deep-sea corals and related marine life in the canyons in the northern Gulf of Maine in U.S. and Canadian waters. The...

  2. Bathymetry (2011) for Coral Bay, St. John

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This image represents a LiDAR (Light Detection & Ranging) 0.3x0.3 meter resolution depth surface for Coral Bay, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). The...

  3. Ciliate communities consistently associated with coral diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweet, M. J.; Séré, M. G.

    2016-07-01

    Incidences of coral disease are increasing. Most studies which focus on diseases in these organisms routinely assess variations in bacterial associates. However, other microorganism groups such as viruses, fungi and protozoa are only recently starting to receive attention. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of ciliates associated with coral diseases over a wide geographical range. Here we show that a wide variety of ciliates are associated with all nine coral diseases assessed. Many of these ciliates such as Trochilia petrani and Glauconema trihymene feed on the bacteria which are likely colonizing the bare skeleton exposed by the advancing disease lesion or the necrotic tissue itself. Others such as Pseudokeronopsis and Licnophora macfarlandi are common predators of other protozoans and will be attracted by the increase in other ciliate species to the lesion interface. However, a few ciliate species (namely Varistrombidium kielum, Philaster lucinda, Philaster guamense, a Euplotes sp., a Trachelotractus sp. and a Condylostoma sp.) appear to harbor symbiotic algae, potentially from the coral themselves, a result which may indicate that they play some role in the disease pathology at the very least. Although, from this study alone we are not able to discern what roles any of these ciliates play in disease causation, the consistent presence of such communities with disease lesion interfaces warrants further investigation.

  4. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality stan...

  5. Coral aquaculture to support drug discovery

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Leal, M.C.; Calado, R.; Sheridan, C.; Alimonti, A.; Osinga, R.

    2013-01-01

    Marine natural products (NP) are unanimously acknowledged as the blue gold in the urgent quest for new pharmaceuticals. Although corals are among the marine organisms with the greatest diversity of secondary metabolites, growing evidence suggest that their symbiotic bacteria produce most of these bi

  6. Bacteria associated with the bleached and cave coral Oculina patagonica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koren, Omry; Rosenberg, Eugene

    2008-04-01

    The relative abundance of bacteria in the mucus and tissues of Oculina patagonica taken from bleached and cave (azooxanthellae) corals was determined by analyses of the 16S rRNA genes from cloned libraries of extracted DNA and from isolated colonies. The results were compared to previously published data on healthy O. patagonica. The bacterial community of bleached, cave, and healthy corals were completely different from each other. A tight cluster (>99.5% identity) of bacteria, showing 100% identity to Acinetobacter species, dominated bleached corals, comprising 25% of the 316 clones sequenced. The dominant bacterial cluster found in cave corals, representing 29% of the 97 clones sequenced, showed 98% identity to an uncultured bacterium from the Great Barrier Reef. Vibrio splendidus was the most dominant species in healthy O. patagonica. The culturable bacteria represented 0.1-1.0% of the total bacteria (SYBR Gold staining) of the corals. The most abundant culturable bacteria in bleached, cave, and healthy corals were clusters that most closely matched Microbulbifer sp., an alpha-proteobacterium previously isolated from healthy corals and an alpha-protobacterium (AB026194), respectively. Three generalizations emerge from this study on O. patagonica: (1) More bacteria are associated with coral tissue than mucus; (2) tissue and mucus populations are different; (3) bacterial populations associated with corals change dramatically when corals lack their symbiotic zooxanthellae, either as a result of the bleaching disease or when growing in the absence of light.

  7. Chemotaxis by natural populations of coral reef bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

  8. In situ oxygen dynamics in coral-algal interactions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Wangpraseurt

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs degrade globally at an alarming rate, with benthic algae often replacing corals. However, the extent to which benthic algae contribute to coral mortality, and the potential mechanisms involved, remain disputed. Recent laboratory studies suggested that algae kill corals by inducing hypoxia on the coral surface, through stimulated microbial respiration. METHODS/FINDINGS: We examined the main premise of this hypothesis by measuring in situ oxygen microenvironments at the contact interface between the massive coral Porites spp. and turf algae, and between Porites spp. and crustose coralline algae (CCA. Oxygen levels at the interface were similar to healthy coral tissue and ranged between 300-400 µM during the day. At night, the interface was hypoxic (~70 µM in coral-turf interactions and close to anoxic (~2 µM in coral-CCA interactions, but these values were not significantly different from healthy tissue. The diffusive boundary layer (DBL was about three times thicker at the interface than above healthy tissue, due to a depression in the local topography. A numerical model, developed to analyze the oxygen profiles above the irregular interface, revealed strongly reduced net photosynthesis and dark respiration rates at the coral-algal interface compared to unaffected tissue during the day and at night, respectively. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results showed that hypoxia was not a consistent feature in the microenvironment of the coral-algal interface under in situ conditions. Therefore, hypoxia alone is unlikely to be the cause of coral mortality. Due to the modified topography, the interaction zone is distinguished by a thicker diffusive boundary layer, which limits the local metabolic activity and likely promotes accumulation of potentially harmful metabolic products (e.g., allelochemicals and protons. Our study highlights the importance of mass transfer phenomena and the need for direct in situ measurements of

  9. In situ oxygen dynamics in coral-algal interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wangpraseurt, Daniel; Weber, Miriam; Røy, Hans; Polerecky, Lubos; de Beer, Dirk; Suharsono; Nugues, Maggy M

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs degrade globally at an alarming rate, with benthic algae often replacing corals. However, the extent to which benthic algae contribute to coral mortality, and the potential mechanisms involved, remain disputed. Recent laboratory studies suggested that algae kill corals by inducing hypoxia on the coral surface, through stimulated microbial respiration. We examined the main premise of this hypothesis by measuring in situ oxygen microenvironments at the contact interface between the massive coral Porites spp. and turf algae, and between Porites spp. and crustose coralline algae (CCA). Oxygen levels at the interface were similar to healthy coral tissue and ranged between 300-400 µM during the day. At night, the interface was hypoxic (~70 µM) in coral-turf interactions and close to anoxic (~2 µM) in coral-CCA interactions, but these values were not significantly different from healthy tissue. The diffusive boundary layer (DBL) was about three times thicker at the interface than above healthy tissue, due to a depression in the local topography. A numerical model, developed to analyze the oxygen profiles above the irregular interface, revealed strongly reduced net photosynthesis and dark respiration rates at the coral-algal interface compared to unaffected tissue during the day and at night, respectively. Our results showed that hypoxia was not a consistent feature in the microenvironment of the coral-algal interface under in situ conditions. Therefore, hypoxia alone is unlikely to be the cause of coral mortality. Due to the modified topography, the interaction zone is distinguished by a thicker diffusive boundary layer, which limits the local metabolic activity and likely promotes accumulation of potentially harmful metabolic products (e.g., allelochemicals and protons). Our study highlights the importance of mass transfer phenomena and the need for direct in situ measurements of microenvironmental conditions in studies on coral stress.

  10. 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

  11. CHARACTERIZING CORAL CONDITION USING ESTIMATES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL COLONY SURFACE AREA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs provide shoreline protection, biological diversity, fishery harvets, and tourism, all values that stem from the physically-complex coral infrastructure. Stony corals (scleractinianss) construct and maintain the reef through deposition of calcium carbonate. Therefore...

  12. Community structure of coral reefs on opposite sides of the isthmus of panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portfr, J W

    1974-11-08

    Competition for space amon reef corals includes interspecific destruction by extracoelenteric digestion., rapid growth. and Overtopping. No Caribbean species excela in all strategies, and on western Caribbean coral reefs there is a positive correlation between coral abudance and diversity. On eastern Pacific coral reefs, however. Pocillopora damicornis excludes other corals, and on these reefs there is an inverse relation between coral abundance and diversity, except in areas where distrubances, such as Acanthaster predation offset space monopolization.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    1999-01-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

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

  16. Lag effects in the impacts of mass coral bleaching on coral reef fish, fisheries, and ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-10-01

    Recent episodes of coral bleaching have led to wide-scale loss of reef corals and raised concerns over the effectiveness of existing conservation and management efforts. The 1998 bleaching event was most severe in the western Indian Ocean, where coral declined by up to 90% in some locations. Using fisheries-independent data, we assessed the long-term impacts of this event on fishery target species in the Seychelles, the overall size structure of the fish assemblage, and the effectiveness of two marine protected areas (MPAs) in protecting fish communities. The biomass of fished species above the size retained in fish traps changed little between 1994 and 2005, indicating no current effect on fishery yields. Biomass remained higher in MPAs, indicating they were effective in protecting fish stocks. Nevertheless, the size structure of the fish communities, as described with size-spectra analysis, changed in both fished areas and MPAs, with a decline in smaller fish (45 cm). We believe this represents a time-lag response to a reduction in reef structural complexity brought about because fishes are being lost through natural mortality and fishing, and are not being replaced by juveniles. This effect is expected to be greater in terms of fisheries productivity and, because congruent patterns are observed for herbivores, suggests that MPAs do not offer coral reefs long-term resilience to bleaching events. Corallivores and planktivores declined strikingly in abundance, particularly in MPAs, and this decline was associated with a similar pattern of decline in their preferred corals. We suggest that climate-mediated disturbances, such as coral bleaching, be at the fore of conservation planning for coral reefs.

  17. [Infrared spectroscopy and XRD studies of coral fossils].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Quan-li; Zhou, Guan-min; Yin, Zuo-wei

    2012-08-01

    Coral fossil is an old remain of multicellular animal on the earth, and formed by various geological processes. The structural characteristics and compositions of the coral fossils with different color and radial texture on the surface were studied by infrared absorption spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction analyses. The results show that the studied coral fossils mainly are composed of SiO2, and the radial microstructure characterized by the calcareous coral cross-section is preserved. It is formed by metasomatism by SiO2. The infrared absorption spectra of the coral fossil with different color and texture are essentially the same, showing typical infrared absorption spectra of the quartz jade. XRD analysis shows that the main components of the coral fossils with different color and texture are consistent and mainly composed of SiO2 with a trace amount of other minerals and without CaCO3.

  18. A comparison of proxy performance in coral biodiversity monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Zoe T.

    2013-03-01

    The productivity and health of coral reef habitat is diminishing worldwide; however, the effect that habitat declines have on coral reef biodiversity is not known. Logistical and financial constraints mean that surveys of hard coral communities rarely collect data at the species level; hence it is important to know if there are proxy metrics that can reliably predict biodiversity. Here, the performances of six proxy metrics are compared using regression analyses on survey data from a location in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Results suggest generic richness is a strong explanatory variable for spatial patterns in species richness (explaining 82 % of the variation when measured on a belt transect). The most commonly used metric of reef health, percentage live coral cover, is not positively or linearly related to hard coral species richness. This result raises doubt as to whether management actions based on such reefscape information will be effective for the conservation of coral biodiversity.

  19. The Decline of Coral Reefs: a Political Economy Approach

    OpenAIRE

    Samuel, Asumadu-Sarkodie

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs provide economic services like job, food and tourism. Yet, within the past decades, there has been an overwhelming decline in the vitality of coral reefs and their ecosystem. Scientist have not be able to set the record straight regarding their scientific argument on biodiversity and ecological wealth of natural environment. Therefore, actions to recover coral reefs from destruction have proved futile. This paper will analyze the economical values, economic valuation, socioeconomi...

  20. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Jahson Berhane Alemu I; Ysharda Clement

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision mak...

  1. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    OpenAIRE

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; D. Raingeard; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J.T.I.; P. A. Todd; T. C. Toh; McDougald, D.; Chou, L.M.; Steinberg, P D

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on:...

  2. A global protocol for monitoring of coral bleaching

    OpenAIRE

    Oliver, J.; Setiasih, N.; Marshall, P.; Hansen, L

    2004-01-01

    Coral bleaching and subsequent mortality represent a major threat to the future health and productivity of coral reefs. However a lack of reliable data on occurrence, severity and other characteristics of bleaching events hampers research on the causes and consequences of this important phenomenon. This article describes a global protocol for monitoring coral bleaching events, which addresses this problem and can be used by people with different levels of expertise and resources.

  3. Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Coral Photosynthesis and Calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higuchi, T.; Fujimura, H.; Arakaki, T.; Oomori, T.

    2007-12-01

    The widely-observed decline of coral reefs is considered to be caused by changes in the environment by natural and anthropogenic activities. As one important factor, the run-off of various matters from human activities to the coastal seawater poses stresses to the corals by degrading the quality of the seawater. In Okinawa, Japan, red- soil running off from the developed land has been a major environmental issue since 1980s. Hydrogen peroxide (HOOH), a strong active oxygen species, is one of the photochemically formed chemicals in the red-soil-polluted seawater. Recent photochemical studies of seawater showed that HOOH photo-formation was faster in the red- soil-polluted seawater than clean seawater. We studied the effects of HOOH on corals by studying the changes in coral carbon metabolisms such as photosynthesis and calcification, which are indicators of the physiological state of a coral colony. The corals were exposed to various concentrations of HOOH (0, 0.3, 3 μM). Two massive coral species of Porites sp. and Goniastrea aspera and one branch coral of Galaxea facicularis were used for the exposure experiments. The control experiments showed that when no HOOH was added, metabolisms of each coral colony were relatively stable. On the other hand, when HOOH was added to the seawater, we observed obvious changes in the coral metabolisms in all the coral species. When 0.3 μM HOOH was added, photosynthesis decreased by 14% and calcification decreased by 17% within 3 days, compared with the control. When 3 μM HOOH was added, photosynthesis decreased by 21% and calcification decreased by 41% within 3 days, compared with the control. Our study showed that higher concentrations of HOOH posed more stress to the coral colonies.

  4. Phage therapy treatment of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus

    OpenAIRE

    Cohen, Yossi; F Joseph Pollock; Rosenberg, Eugene; Bourne, David G.

    2012-01-01

    Vibrio coralliilyticus is an important coral pathogen demonstrated to cause disease outbreaks worldwide. This study investigated the feasibility of applying bacteriophage therapy to treat the coral pathogen V. coralliilyticus. A specific bacteriophage for V. coralliilyticus strain P1 (LMG23696), referred to here as bacteriophage YC, was isolated from the seawater above corals at Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the same location where the bacterium was first isola...

  5. White Band Disease transmission in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, S. A.; Marks, Christopher J.; Steven V Vollmer

    2012-01-01

    The global rise in coral diseases has severely impacted coral reef ecosystems, yet often little is known about these diseases, including how they are transmitted. White Band Disease (WBD), for example, has caused unparalleled declines in live Acropora cover, spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean by unknown means. Here we test four putative modes of WBD transmission to the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: two animal vectors (Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea) and waterborne tra...

  6. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    OpenAIRE

    Guest, J R; Low, J.; Tun, K.; B. Wilson; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; K. E. Ulstrup; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P.A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D; Chou, L.M.; P. D. Steinberg

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on:...

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

    OpenAIRE

    Carroll, Andrew G; Dalton, Steven J.

    2011-01-01

    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, extrapolate...

  8. Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O. [University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW (Australia). School of Biological Sciences

    1999-07-01

    Sea temperatures in many tropical regions have increased by almost 1{degree}C over the past 100 years, and are currently increasing at about 1-2{degree}C per century. Mass coral bleaching has occurred in association with episodes of elevated sea temperatures over the past 20 years and involves the loss of the zooxanthellae following chronic photoinhibition. Mass bleaching has resulted in significant losses of live coral in many parts of the world. This paper considers the biochemical, physiological and ecological perspectives of coral bleaching. It also uses the outputs of four runs from three models of global climate change which simulate changes in sea temperature and hence how the frequency and intensity of bleaching events will change over the next 100 years. The results suggest that the thermal tolerances of reef-building corals are likely to be exceeded every year within the next few decades. Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years. Most information suggests that the capacity for acclimation by corals has already been exceeded, and that adaptation will be too slow to avert a decline in the quality of the world's reefs.

  9. Do tabular corals constitute keystone structures for fishes on coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerry, J. T.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2015-03-01

    This study examined the changes in community composition of reef fishes by experimentally manipulating the availability of shelter provided by tabular structures on a mid-shelf reef on the Great Barrier Reef. At locations where access to tabular corals ( Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea) was excluded, a rapid and sustained reduction in the abundance of large reef fishes occurred. At locations where tabular structure was added, the abundance and diversity of large reef fishes increased and the abundance of small reef fishes tended to decrease, although over a longer time frame. Based on their response to changes in the availability of tabular structures, nine families of large reef fishes were separated into three categories; designated as obligate, facultative or non-structure users. This relationship may relate to the particular ecological demands of each family, including avoidance of predation and ultraviolet radiation, access to feeding areas and reef navigation. This study highlights the importance of tabular corals for large reef fishes in shallow reef environments and provides a possible mechanism for local changes in the abundance of reef fishes following loss of structural complexity on coral reefs. Keystone structures have a distinct structure and disproportionate effect on their ecosystem relative to their abundance, as such the result of this study suggests tabular corals may constitute keystone structures on shallow coral reefs.

  10. The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and Solutions (Coral Reefs: Values, Threats, and the Marine Aquarium Trade)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shuman, Craig S. (Reef Check, UCLA)

    2003-02-05

    Second only to tropical rainforests, coral reefs support one of the world's most diverse natural habitats. Over 350 million individuals depend on coral reef resources for food and income. Unfortunately, the Earth is in the midst of a coral reef crisis. Anthropogenic impacts including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, sedimentation and pollution, as well as global climate change, have served to disrupt the natural processes that maintain the health of these ecosystems. Until recently, however, the global extent of the coral reef crisis was unknown. Reef Check was developed in 1996 as a volunteer, community-based monitoring protocol designed to measure the health of coral reefs on a global scale. With goals of education, monitoring, and management, Reef Check has activities in over 60 countries and territories. They have not only provided scientific evidence of the global extent of the coral reef crisis, but have provided the first community based steps to alleviate this urgent situation.

  11. Changes to coral health and metabolic activity under oxygen deprivation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richmond, Robert H.

    2016-01-01

    On Hawaiian reefs, the fast-growing, invasive algae Gracilaria salicornia overgrows coral heads, restricting water flow and light, thereby smothering corals. Field data shows hypoxic conditions (dissolved oxygen (DO2) < 2 mg/L) occurring underneath algal mats at night, and concurrent bleaching and partial tissue loss of shaded corals. To analyze the impact of nighttime oxygen-deprivation on coral health, this study evaluated changes in coral metabolism through the exposure of corals to chronic hypoxic conditions and subsequent analyses of lactate, octopine, alanopine, and strombine dehydrogenase activities, critical enzymes employed through anaerobic respiration. Following treatments, lactate and octopine dehydrogenase activities were found to have no significant response in activities with treatment and time. However, corals subjected to chronic nighttime hypoxia were found to exhibit significant increases in alanopine dehydrogenase activity after three days of exposure and strombine dehydrogenase activity starting after one overnight exposure cycle. These findings provide new insights into coral metabolic shifts in extremely low-oxygen environments and point to ADH and SDH assays as tools for quantifying the impact of hypoxia on coral health. PMID:27114888

  12. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Zealandia

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  13. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Maug

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  14. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Tutuila

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  15. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Guguan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  16. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Arakane

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  17. Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, I.B.; Walters, L.J.; Becerro, M.A.; Paul, V.J.; Ritson-Williams, R.; Beach, K.S.

    2006-01-01

    Coral recruitment is a key process in the maintenance and recovery of coral reef ecosystems. While intense competition between coral and algae is often assumed on reefs that have undergone phase shifts from coral to algal dominance, data examining the competitive interactions involved, particularly during the larval and immediate post-settlement stage, are scarce. Using a series of field and outdoor seawater table experiments, we tested the hypothesis that common species of macroalgae and cyanobacteria inhibit coral recruitment. We examined the effects of Lyngbya spp., Dictyota spp., Lobophora variegata (J. V. Lamouroux) Womersley, and Chondrophycus poiteaui (J. V. Lamouroux) Nam (formerly Laurencia poiteaui) on the recruitment success of Porites astreoides larvae. All species but C. poiteaui caused either recruitment inhibition or avoidance behavior in P. astreoides larvae, while L. confervoides and D. menstrualis significantly increased mortality rates of P. astreoides recruits. We also tested the effect of some of these macrophytes on larvae of the gorgonian octocoral Briareum asbestinum. Exposure to Lyngbya majuscula reduced survival and recruitment in the octocoral larvae. Our results provide evidence that algae and cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. On reefs experiencing phase shifts or temporary algal blooms, the restocking of adult coral populations may be slowed due to recruitment inhibition, thereby perpetuating reduced coral cover and limiting coral community recovery. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  18. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Saipan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  19. Flexibility in Algal Endosymbioses Shapes Growth in Reef Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Little, Angela F.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Willis, Bette L.

    2004-06-01

    The relation between corals and their algal endosymbionts has been a key to the success of scleractinian (stony) corals as modern reef-builders, but little is known about early stages in the establishment of the symbiosis. Here, we show that initial uptake of zooxanthellae by juvenile corals during natural infection is nonspecific (a potentially adaptive trait); the association is flexible and characterized by a change in (dominant) zooxanthella strains over time; and growth rates of experimentally infected coral holobionts are partly contingent on the zooxanthella strain harbored, with clade C-infected juveniles growing two to three times as fast as those infected with clade D.

  20. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Sarigan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  1. Changes to coral health and metabolic activity under oxygen deprivation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James W.A. Murphy

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available On Hawaiian reefs, the fast-growing, invasive algae Gracilaria salicornia overgrows coral heads, restricting water flow and light, thereby smothering corals. Field data shows hypoxic conditions (dissolved oxygen (DO2 < 2 mg/L occurring underneath algal mats at night, and concurrent bleaching and partial tissue loss of shaded corals. To analyze the impact of nighttime oxygen-deprivation on coral health, this study evaluated changes in coral metabolism through the exposure of corals to chronic hypoxic conditions and subsequent analyses of lactate, octopine, alanopine, and strombine dehydrogenase activities, critical enzymes employed through anaerobic respiration. Following treatments, lactate and octopine dehydrogenase activities were found to have no significant response in activities with treatment and time. However, corals subjected to chronic nighttime hypoxia were found to exhibit significant increases in alanopine dehydrogenase activity after three days of exposure and strombine dehydrogenase activity starting after one overnight exposure cycle. These findings provide new insights into coral metabolic shifts in extremely low-oxygen environments and point to ADH and SDH assays as tools for quantifying the impact of hypoxia on coral health.

  2. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Agrihan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  3. 10th Anniversary Review: a changing climate for coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M

    2008-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are charismatic ecosystems that house a significant proportion of the world's marine biodiversity. Their valuable goods and services are fundamental to the livelihood of large coastal populations in the tropics. The health of many of the world's coral reefs, and the goods and services they provide, have already been severely compromised, largely due to over-exploitation by a range of human activities. These local-scale impacts, with the appropriate government instruments, support and management actions, can potentially be controlled and even ameliorated. Unfortunately, other human actions (largely in countries outside of the tropics), by changing global climate, have added additional global-scale threats to the continued survival of present-day coral reefs. Moderate warming of the tropical oceans has already resulted in an increase in mass coral bleaching events, affecting nearly all of the world's coral reef regions. The frequency of these events will only increase as global temperatures continue to rise. Weakening of coral reef structures will be a more insidious effect of changing ocean chemistry, as the oceans absorb part of the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. More intense tropical cyclones, changed atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns will all affect coral reef ecosystems and the many associated plants and animals. Coral reefs will not disappear but their appearance, structure and community make-up will radically change. Drastic greenhouse gas mitigation strategies are necessary to prevent the full consequences of human activities causing such alterations to coral reef ecosystems.

  4. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Anatahan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  5. Breakage and Propagation of the Stony Coral Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tunnicliffe, Verena

    1981-04-01

    Populations of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, often form dense monotypic stands on shallow Caribbean reefs. This coral species has a fragile structure that results in large numbers of broken branches and toppled colonies, especially in high wave activity. Although more than 80% of the corals in the studied population were broken from their bases, most had become reanchored to regrow rapidly. There is little evidence of sexual reproduction, and it appears that this coral has come to dominate much of the Jamaican reef community by propagation through fragmentation.

  6. Ecological complexity of coral recruitment processes: effects of invertebrate herbivores on coral recruitment and growth depends upon substratum properties and coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah W Davies

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The transition from planktonic planula to sessile adult corals occurs at low frequencies and post settlement mortality is extremely high. Herbivores promote settlement by reducing algal competition. This study investigates whether invertebrate herbivory might be modulated by other ecological factors such as substrata variations and coral species identity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The experiment was conducted at the Flower Garden Banks, one of the few Atlantic reefs not experiencing considerable degradation. Tiles of differing texture and orientation were kept in bins surrounded by reef (24 m. Controls contained no herbivores while treatment bins contained urchins (Diadema antillarum or herbivorous gastropods (Cerithium litteratum. Juvenile corals settling naturally were monitored by photography for 14 months to evaluate the effects of invertebrate herbivory and substratum properties. Herbivory reduced algae cover in urchin treatments. Two genera of brooding coral juveniles were observed, Agaricia and Porites, both of which are common but not dominant on adjacent reef. No broadcast spawning corals were observed on tiles. Overall, juveniles were more abundant in urchin treatments and on vertical, rough textured surfaces. Although more abundant, Agaricia juveniles were smaller in urchin treatments, presumably due to destructive overgrazing. Still, Agaricia growth increased with herbivory and substrata texture-orientation interactions were observed with reduced growth on rough tiles in control treatments and increased growth on vertical tiles in herbivore treatments. In contrast to Agaricia, Porites juveniles were larger on horizontal tiles, irrespective of herbivore treatment. Mortality was affected by substrata orientation with vertical surfaces increasing coral survival. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We further substantiate that invertebrate herbivores play major roles in early settlement processes of corals and highlight the need

  7. 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.

  8. Understanding coral reefs in an impacted world: Physiological responses of coral reef organisms to coastal pollution and global warming

    OpenAIRE

    Kegler, Pia

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing a multitude of anthropogenic disturbances at ever higher frequencies and magnitudes. As a consequence, these ecologically and economically important ecosystems are degrading worldwide. Reef managers lack knowledge on how fish, corals and coral larvae respond to the effects of local and global stressors. This thesis reveals the significance of chemical pollution from localized sources. Two common pollutants (diesel and a surfactant) caused metabolic changes in a fish and...

  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. Impacts of the 1998 and 2010 mass coral bleaching events on the Western Gulf of Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutthacheep, Makamas; Yucharoen, Mathinee; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Yeemin, Thamasak

    2013-11-01

    A long-term study of coral reef ecology in the Gulf of Thailand provides a good opportunity to examine the temporal variation on the impact of mass coral bleaching at those reef sites. We compared the bleaching and mortality of corals between the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 at a coral community in the Western Gulf of Thailand. The aim was to identify the coral species which were most likely to suffer from (and to be able to tolerate) changes in seawater temperature. Significant differences in the susceptibility of the coral taxa to bleaching events between the years 1998 and 2010 and among coral species were documented. Bleaching was significantly different between the most dominant corals. Diploastrea heliopora was the most resistant coral to bleaching in both years. Some coral species showed more resistance to bleaching in 2010. The coral mortality following the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 varied significantly between the years and the coral taxa. Mortality of some dominant coral taxa was also lower in 2010. Seven coral species, i.e. Astreopora myriophthalma, Pachyseris rugosa, Turbinaria mesenterina, Goniastrea pectinata, Favia pallida, F. maritima, Favites halicora, Platygyra daedalea and Galaxea fascicularis, were tolerant to the coral bleaching events. An ecosystem-based approach to managing coral reefs in the Gulf of Thailand is needed to identify appropriate marine protected area networks and to strengthen marine and coastal resource policies in order to build coral reef resilience.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

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

  12. Controlling outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish using a single injection of common household vinegar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boström-Einarsson, Lisa; Rivera-Posada, Jairo

    2016-03-01

    Outbreaks of the destructive coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, present a considerable threat to coral reefs worldwide, and mitigating their impact has proven challenging. The most effective methods to control A. planci require injecting individual starfish with lethal chemicals. While some of these are highly effective, their administration often requires permits, training and access to specialised equipment. We aimed to identify a widely available and highly efficient alternative. We discovered that common household vinegar is lethal to A. planci individuals when injected at the base of one their arms. A single injection of 25 ml vinegar induced functional mortality in coral reefs.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Microsatellite multiplex assay for the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster cf. planci

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2015-03-20

    Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.) represent one of the most significant biological disturbances on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Here, we combine 15 published and 11 newly isolated polymorphic microsatellite markers from the coral-eating starfish, A. cf. planci and describe their integration into four multiplex PCRs. All markers were polymorphic with a mean of 11.7 ± 1.9 SE alleles per locus and an average observed heterozygosity of 0.619 ± 0.049 SE across 195 genotyped individuals from the Great Barrier Reef. This multiplex assay provides an effective means of investigating the population dynamics of crown-of-thorns starfish and the initiation and spread of population outbreaks.

  16. From cholera to corals: Viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen

    KAUST Repository

    Weynberg, Karen D.

    2015-12-08

    Disease is an increasing threat to reef-building corals. One of the few identified pathogens of coral disease is the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus. In Vibrio cholerae, infection by a bacterial virus (bacteriophage) results in the conversion of non-pathogenic strains to pathogenic strains and this can lead to cholera pandemics. Pathogenicity islands encoded in the V. cholerae genome play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we analyse five whole genome sequences of V. coralliilyticus to examine whether virulence is similarly driven by horizontally acquired elements. We demonstrate that bacteriophage genomes encoding toxin genes with homology to those found in pathogenic V. cholerae are integrated in V. coralliilyticus genomes. Virulence factors located on chromosomal pathogenicity islands also exist in some strains of V. coralliilyticus. The presence of these genetic signatures indicates virulence in V. coralliilyticus is driven by prophages and other horizontally acquired elements. Screening for pathogens of coral disease should target conserved regions in these elements.

  17. From cholera to corals: Viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weynberg, Karen D.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Neave, Matthew J.; Buerger, Patrick; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2015-01-01

    Disease is an increasing threat to reef-building corals. One of the few identified pathogens of coral disease is the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus. In Vibrio cholerae, infection by a bacterial virus (bacteriophage) results in the conversion of non-pathogenic strains to pathogenic strains and this can lead to cholera pandemics. Pathogenicity islands encoded in the V. cholerae genome play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we analyse five whole genome sequences of V. coralliilyticus to examine whether virulence is similarly driven by horizontally acquired elements. We demonstrate that bacteriophage genomes encoding toxin genes with homology to those found in pathogenic V. cholerae are integrated in V. coralliilyticus genomes. Virulence factors located on chromosomal pathogenicity islands also exist in some strains of V. coralliilyticus. The presence of these genetic signatures indicates virulence in V. coralliilyticus is driven by prophages and other horizontally acquired elements. Screening for pathogens of coral disease should target conserved regions in these elements. PMID:26644037

  18. State of the Coral Triangle: Malaysia

    OpenAIRE

    Asian Development Bank

    2014-01-01

    Malaysia has made a firm commitment to sustainable management and conservation of its coastal and marine resources, helping formulate and implement the Sulu–Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Initiative and the Coral Triangle Initiative. Rapid economic growth, uncontrolled tourism development, unregulated fishing, and unsustainable use of marine resources have depleted the country’s fish stocks, lost nearly 36% of its mangrove forests, and increased the number of endangered species. Despite impressive...

  19. The COral-REef Front (COREF Project

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John A. and Katherine G. Jackson

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available The First International Workshop on the COral-REef Front (COREF project was held on 14−19 January 2007 in Okinawa-jima, southwestern Japan to discuss objectives, required laboratory analyses and techniques, potential drilling sites, and scientific proposals for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP. This article briefly introduces the project and reports the outcome of the First International Workshop on the COREF Project.

  20. Threatened Reef Corals of the World

    OpenAIRE

    Danwei Huang

    2012-01-01

    A substantial proportion of the world's living species, including one-third of the reef-building corals, are threatened with extinction and in pressing need of conservation action. In order to reduce biodiversity loss, it is important to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity along with their risk of extinction for the purpose of setting conservation priorities. Here I reconstruct the most comprehensive tree of life for the order Scleractinia (1,293 species) that includes al...

  1. Human impacts on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Hardt, Marah Justine

    2007-01-01

    Fishing is one of the oldest anthropogenic disturbances in the ocean, differing from other impacts in its direct removal of biomass from the ecosystem. Despite the centuries of fishing activities, there is much we still do not understand regarding the effects of fish removal on the benthic community. I use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the affect of human disturbance, primarily the alteration of fish communities, on major functional groups of coral reefs, over extended temporal...

  2. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, Daniel; Pochon, Xavier; Irwin, Leslie; Toonen, Robert J.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2011-01-01

    The ecological success of shallow-water reef-building corals (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia) is framed by their intimate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). In contrast, the closely related black corals (Hexacorallia: Anthipatharia) are described as azooxanthellate (lacking Symbiodinium), a trait thought to reflect their preference for low-light environments that do not support photosynthesis. We examined 14 antipatharian species collected between 10 and 396 m from Hawai'i and Johnston Atoll for the presence of Symbiodinium using molecular typing and histology. Symbiodinium internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS-2) region sequences were retrieved from 43 per cent of the antipatharian samples and 71 per cent of the examined species, and across the entire depth range. The ITS-2 sequences were identical or very similar to those commonly found in shallow-water scleractinian corals throughout the Pacific. Histological analyses revealed low densities of Symbiodinium cells inside antipatharian gastrodermal tissues (0–92 cells mm−3), suggesting that the Symbiodinium are endosymbiotic. These findings confirm that the capacity to engage in endosymbiosis with Symbiodinium is evolutionarily conserved across the cnidarian subclass Hexacorallia, and that antipatharians associate with Symbiodinium types found in shallow-water scleractinians. This study represents the deepest record for Symbiodinium to date, and suggests that some members of this dinoflagellate genus have extremely diverse habitat preferences and broad environmental ranges. PMID:20961904

  3. Climate change and coral reef connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munday, P. L.; Leis, J. M.; Lough, J. M.; Paris, C. B.; Kingsford, M. J.; Berumen, M. L.; Lambrechts, J.

    2009-06-01

    This review assesses and predicts the impacts that rapid climate change will have on population connectivity in coral reef ecosystems, using fishes as a model group. Increased ocean temperatures are expected to accelerate larval development, potentially leading to reduced pelagic durations and earlier reef-seeking behaviour. Depending on the spatial arrangement of reefs, the expectation would be a reduction in dispersal distances and the spatial scale of connectivity. Small increase in temperature might enhance the number of larvae surviving the pelagic phase, but larger increases are likely to reduce reproductive output and increase larval mortality. Changes to ocean currents could alter the dynamics of larval supply and changes to planktonic productivity could affect how many larvae survive the pelagic stage and their condition at settlement; however, these patterns are likely to vary greatly from place-to-place and projections of how oceanographic features will change in the future lack sufficient certainty and resolution to make robust predictions. Connectivity could also be compromised by the increased fragmentation of reef habitat due to the effects of coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Changes to the spatial and temporal scales of connectivity have implications for the management of coral reef ecosystems, especially the design and placement of marine-protected areas. The size and spacing of protected areas may need to be strategically adjusted if reserve networks are to retain their efficacy in the future.

  4. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, Daniel; Pochon, Xavier; Irwin, Leslie; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2011-05-07

    The ecological success of shallow-water reef-building corals (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia) is framed by their intimate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). In contrast, the closely related black corals (Hexacorallia: Anthipatharia) are described as azooxanthellate (lacking Symbiodinium), a trait thought to reflect their preference for low-light environments that do not support photosynthesis. We examined 14 antipatharian species collected between 10 and 396 m from Hawai'i and Johnston Atoll for the presence of Symbiodinium using molecular typing and histology. Symbiodinium internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS-2) region sequences were retrieved from 43 per cent of the antipatharian samples and 71 per cent of the examined species, and across the entire depth range. The ITS-2 sequences were identical or very similar to those commonly found in shallow-water scleractinian corals throughout the Pacific. Histological analyses revealed low densities of Symbiodinium cells inside antipatharian gastrodermal tissues (0-92 cells mm(-3)), suggesting that the Symbiodinium are endosymbiotic. These findings confirm that the capacity to engage in endosymbiosis with Symbiodinium is evolutionarily conserved across the cnidarian subclass Hexacorallia, and that antipatharians associate with Symbiodinium types found in shallow-water scleractinians. This study represents the deepest record for Symbiodinium to date, and suggests that some members of this dinoflagellate genus have extremely diverse habitat preferences and broad environmental ranges.

  5. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.

    2017-08-18

    Coral reefs rely on inter-habitat connectivity to maintain gene flow, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Coral reef communities of the Red Sea exhibit remarkable genetic homogeneity across most of the Arabian Peninsula coastline, with a genetic break towards the southern part of the basin. While previous studies have attributed these patterns to environmental heterogeneity, we hypothesize that they may also emerge as a result of dynamic circulation flow; yet, such linkages remain undemonstrated. Here, we integrate satellite-derived biophysical observations, particle dispersion model simulations, genetic population data and ship-borne in situ profiles to assess reef connectivity in the Red Sea. We simulated long-term (>20 yrs.) connectivity patterns driven by remotely-sensed sea surface height and evaluated results against estimates of genetic distance among populations of anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the eastern Red Sea coastline. Predicted connectivity was remarkably consistent with genetic population data, demonstrating that circulation features (eddies, surface currents) formulate physical pathways for gene flow. The southern basin has lower physical connectivity than elsewhere, agreeing with known genetic structure of coral reef organisms. The central Red Sea provides key source regions, meriting conservation priority. Our analysis demonstrates a cost-effective tool to estimate biophysical connectivity remotely, supporting coastal management in data-limited regions.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Mumby

    Full Text Available The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  9. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Harborne, Alastair R

    2010-01-11

    The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  10. Growth of Bone Marrow Derived Osteoblast-Like Cells into Coral Implant Scaffold: Preliminary Study on Malaysian Coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. A. AL-Salihi

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Problem statement: Biomaterial fabrication in Malaysia started as a consequence of the demand for cheaper implant materials. Various biomaterials have been developed utilizing local resources like Malaysian coral. Locally processed Malaysian coral need to be complemented with proper evaluation and testing including toxicology, biocompatibility, mechanical properties, physicochemical characterization and in vivo testing. The present study was carried out to assess natural coral of porites species as scaffold combined with in vitro expanded Bone Marrow Derived Osteoblast-Like cells (BM-DOL, in order to develop a tissue-engineered bone graft in a rat model. Approach: Coral was used in a block shape with a dimension of 10 mm length × 5 mm width × 5 mm thickness. BM-DOL cells were seeded into porous coral scaffold in a density of 5×106 mL-1. After 7 days of in vitro incubation in osteogenic medium, one block was processed for light (LM and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM observations while the other blocks were implanted subcutaneously in the back of 5 weeks-old Sprague-Dawely rats for 3 months. Coral blocks without cells were implanted as a control. The implants harvested and processed for gross inspection, histological and scanning electron microscopy observations. Results: Both LM and SEM showed attachment of well arrangement multilayer cells inside the pores of in vitro seeded coral scaffolds. Gross inspection of all in vivo coral-cell complexes implants revealed vascularized like bone tissue formation. Histological sections revealed mature bone formation occurred in the manner resemble intramembraneous bone formation. SEM observations revealed multi-layer cellular proliferation with abundant collagen covered the surface of coral implants. Control group showed resorbed coral block. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that Malaysian coral can be use as a suitable scaffold material for delivering bone marrow mesenchymal

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-06-01

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

  12. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.; van Melis, A.; Silva, C.I.F.; Leal, M.C.; Vogels, L.; Mutter, C.; Osinga, R.

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced

  13. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals and coral reefs of the Caribbean and through the world are deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Several stressors are believed to contrbute to this decline, including global changes in atmospheric gases and land use patterns. In particular, warmer water temperatures and...

  14. 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.

  15. Morphogenesis of the branching reef coral Madracis mirabilis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kaandorp, J.A.; Sloot, P.M.A.; Merks, R.M.H.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Maier, C.

    2005-01-01

    Understanding external deciding factors in growth and morphology of reef corals is essential to elucidate the role of corals in marine ecosystems, and to explain their susceptibility to pollution and global climate change. Here, we extend on a previously presented model for simulating the growth and

  16. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Roos, P.J.; Cadée, G.C.

    2012-01-01

    including corrigendumSpecimens of the brooding reef coral Favia fragum were found on man-made flotsam stranded on the North Sea shore of the Netherlands. Based on the associated epifauna originating from the southeast USA, we estimate that the corals must have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, transported

  17. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals and coral reefs of the Caribbean and through the world are deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Several stressors are believed to contrbute to this decline, including global changes in atmospheric gases and land use patterns. In particular, warmer water temperatures and...

  18. Growth rate determinations from radiocarbon in bamboo corals (genus Keratoisis)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Jesse R.; Robinson, Laura F.; Hönisch, Bärbel

    2015-11-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) measurements are an important tool for determining growth rates of bamboo corals, a cosmopolitan group of calcitic deep-sea corals. Published growth rate estimates for bamboo corals are highly variable, with potential environmental or ecological drivers of this variability poorly constrained. Here we systematically investigate the application of 14C for growth rate determinations in bamboo corals using 55 14C dates on the calcite and organic fractions of six bamboo corals (identified as Keratoisis sp.) from the western North Atlantic Ocean. Calcite 14C measurements on the distal surface of these corals and five previously published bamboo corals exhibit a strong one-to-one relationship with the 14C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DI14C) in ambient seawater (r2=0.98), confirming the use of Keratoisis sp. calcite 14C as a proxy for seawater 14C activity. Radial growth rates determined from 14C age-depth regressions, 14C plateau tuning and bomb 14C reference chronologies range from 12 to 78 μm y-1, in general agreement with previously published radiometric growth rates. We document potential biases to 14C growth rate determinations resulting from water mass variability, bomb radiocarbon, secondary infilling (ontogeny), and growth rate nonlinearity. Radial growth rates for Keratoisis sp. specimens do not correlate with ambient temperature, suggesting that additional biological and/or environmental factors may influence bamboo coral growth rates.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luisa F. Dueñas

    2011-12-01

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

  20. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Roos, P.J.; Cadée, G.C.

    2012-01-01

    Specimens of the brooding reef coral Favia fragum were found on man-made flotsam stranded on the North Sea shore of the Netherlands. Based on the associated epifauna originating from the southeast USA, we estimate that the corals must have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, transported by the Gulf Stream a

  1. 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.

  2. Aragonite precipitation by "proto-polyps" in coral cell cultures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tali Mass

    Full Text Available The mechanisms of coral calcification at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels are poorly understood. In this study, we examine calcium carbonate precipitation using novel coral tissue cultures that aggregate to form "proto-polyps". Our goal is to establish an experimental system in which calcification is facilitated at the cellular level, while simultaneously allowing in vitro manipulations of the calcifying fluid. This novel coral culturing technique enables us to study the mechanisms of biomineralization and their implications for geochemical proxies. Viable cell cultures of the hermatypic, zooxanthellate coral, Stylophora pistillata, have been maintained for 6 to 8 weeks. Using an enriched seawater medium with aragonite saturation state similar to open ocean surface waters (Ω(arag~4, the primary cell cultures assemble into "proto-polyps" which form an extracellular organic matrix (ECM and precipitate aragonite crystals. These extracellular aragonite crystals, about 10 µm in length, are formed on the external face of the proto-polyps and are identified by their distinctive elongated crystallography and X-ray diffraction pattern. The precipitation of aragonite is independent of photosynthesis by the zooxanthellae, and does not occur in control experiments lacking coral cells or when the coral cells are poisoned with sodium azide. Our results demonstrate that proto-polyps, aggregated from primary coral tissue culture, function (from a biomineralization perspective similarly to whole corals. This approach provides a novel tool for investigating the biophysical mechanism of calcification in these organisms.

  3. Coral-based climate records from tropical South Atlantic

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pereira, Natan S.; Sial, Alcides N.; Kikuchi, Ruy K.P.;

    2015-01-01

    Coral skeletons contain records of past environmental conditions due to their long life span and well calibrated geochemical signatures. C and O isotope records of corals are especially interesting, because they can highlight multidecadal variability of local climate conditions beyond the instrum...

  4. 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

  5. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J. R.; Low, J.; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P. A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-02-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  6. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K; Wilson, B; Ng, C; Raingeard, D; Ulstrup, K E; Tanzil, J T I; Todd, P A; Toh, T C; McDougald, D; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-02-15

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Cell cultures from the symbiotic soft coral Sinularia flexibilis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Khalesi, M.K.; Vera-Jimenez, N.I.; Aanen, D.K.; Beeftink, H.H.; Wijffels, R.H.

    2008-01-01

    The symbiotic octocoral Sinularia flexibilis is a producer of potential pharmaceuticals. Sustainable mass production of these corals as a source of such compounds demands innovative approaches, including coral cell culture. We studied various cell dissociation methodologies and the feasibility of cu

  11. CORAL RESPONSES TO CLIMATE AND LAND USE CHANGES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fisher, William S., Debbie L. Santavy, John E. Rogers and Richard G. Zepp. In press. Coral Responses to Climate and Land Use Changes (Abstract). To be presented at the SETAC Fourth World Congress, 14-18 November 2004, Portland, OR. 1 p. (ERL,GB R1019). Coral reefs have ex...

  12. First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lai, S.; Gillis, L.G.; Mueller, C.; Bouma, T.J.; Guest, J.R.; Last, K.S.; Ziegler, A.D.; Todd, P.A.

    2013-01-01

    We present the first experimental evidence of a coral (Oulastrea crispata) ingesting and assimilating seagrass material. Tropical seagrass meadows export a substantial portion of their productivity and can provide an important source of nutrients to neighbouring systems such as coral reefs; however,

  13. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.; van Melis, A.; Silva, C.I.F.; Leal, M.C.; Vogels, L.; Mutter, C.; Osinga, R.

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced o

  14. Los corales. ¿Piedras, plantas o animales?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ramón Andrés López Pérez

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available Se narra parte de la historia de los corales, y además se intenta informar acerca de este grupo de interesantes pero poco conocidos organismos que son pieza clave en la construcción de una de las estructuras naturales más complejas, diversas y poco valoradas del planeta: los arrecifes de coral.

  15. 76 FR 38618 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Coral Reef Conservation Program Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-01

    ... United States (U.S.) jurisdictions containing coral reefs. Specifically, NOAA is seeking information on... collection of social and economic data related to the communities affected by coral reef conservation programs. The Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), developed under the authority of the Coral Reef...

  16. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the designated low-use... regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef Taxa in the coral...

  17. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-01

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric... Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef... the logbooks is used to obtain fish catch/fishing effort data on coral reef fishes and invertebrates...

  18. Survival and settlement success of coral planulae: Independent and synergistic effects of macroalgae and microbes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Smith, C.M.; Vega Thurber, R.; Sandin, S.A.

    2009-01-01

    Restoration of degraded coral reef communities is dependent on successful recruitment and survival of new coral planulae. Degraded reefs are often characterized by high cover of fleshy algae and high microbial densities, complemented by low abundance of coral and coral recruits. Here, we

  19. Horizontal transmission of Symbiodinium cells between adult and juvenile corals is aided by benthic sediment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nitschke, Matthew R.; Davy, Simon K.; Ward, Selina

    2016-03-01

    Of all reef-building coral species, 80-85 % initially draw their intracellular symbionts (dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium) from the environment. Although Symbiodinium cells are crucial for the growth of corals and the formation of coral reefs, little is known about how corals first encounter free-living Symbiodinium cells. We report how the supply of free-living Symbiodinium cells to the benthos by adult corals can increase the rate of horizontal symbiont acquisition for conspecific recruits. Three species of newly settled aposymbiotic (i.e., symbiont-free) corals were maintained in an open aquarium system containing: sterilized sediment and adult coral fragments combined; adult coral fragments alone; sterilized sediment alone; or seawater at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. In all instances, the combination of an adult coral and sediment resulted in the highest symbiont acquisition rates by juvenile corals (up to five-fold greater than seawater alone). Juvenile corals exposed to individual treatments of adult coral or sediment produced an intermediate acquisition response (<52 % of recruits), and symbiont acquisition from unfiltered seawater was comparatively low (<20 % of recruits). Additionally, benthic free-living Symbiodinium cells reached their highest densities in the adult coral + sediment treatment (up to 1.2 × 104 cells mL-1). Our results suggest that corals seed microhabitats with free-living Symbiodinium cells suitable for many coral species during the process of coral recruitment.

  20. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2012-09-21

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

  2. Extreme Longevity in Proteinaceous Deep-Sea Corals

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roark, E B; Guilderson, T P; Dunbar, R B; Fallon, S J; Mucciarone, D A

    2009-02-09

    Deep-sea corals are found on hard substrates on seamounts and continental margins world-wide at depths of 300 to {approx}3000 meters. Deep-sea coral communities are hotspots of deep ocean biomass and biodiversity, providing critical habitat for fish and invertebrates. Newly applied radiocarbon age date from the deep water proteinaceous corals Gerardia sp. and Leiopathes glaberrima show that radial growth rates are as low as 4 to 35 {micro}m yr{sup -1} and that individual colony longevities are on the order of thousands of years. The management and conservation of deep sea coral communities is challenged by their commercial harvest for the jewelry trade and damage caused by deep water fishing practices. In light of their unusual longevity, a better understanding of deep sea coral ecology and their interrelationships with associated benthic communities is needed to inform coherent international conservation strategies for these important deep-sea ecosystems.

  3. Rapid adaptive responses to climate change in corals

    KAUST Repository

    Torda, Gergely

    2017-09-01

    Pivotal to projecting the fate of coral reefs is the capacity of reef-building corals to acclimatize and adapt to climate change. Transgenerational plasticity may enable some marine organisms to acclimatize over several generations and it has been hypothesized that epigenetic processes and microbial associations might facilitate adaptive responses. However, current evidence is equivocal and understanding of the underlying processes is limited. Here, we discuss prospects for observing transgenerational plasticity in corals and the mechanisms that could enable adaptive plasticity in the coral holobiont, including the potential role of epigenetics and coral-associated microbes. Well-designed and strictly controlled experiments are needed to distinguish transgenerational plasticity from other forms of plasticity, and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and their relative importance compared with genetic adaptation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-15

    Coral reefs are degrading worldwide, but little information exists on their previous conditions for most regions of the world. Since 1989, we have been studying the Maldives, collecting data before, during and after the bleaching and mass mortality event of 1998. As early as 1999, many newly settled colonies were recorded. Recruits shifted from a dominance of massive and encrusting corals in the early stages of recolonisation towards a dominance of Acropora and Pocillopora by 2009. Coral cover, which dropped to less than 10% after the bleaching, returned to pre-bleaching values of around 50% by 2013. The 2004 tsunami had comparatively little effect. In 2014, the coral community was similar to that existing before the bleaching. According to descriptors and metrics adopted, recovery of Maldivian coral reefs took between 6 and 15years, or may even be considered unachieved, as there are species that had not come back yet. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Combined ocean acidification and low temperature stressors cause coral mortality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavousi, Javid; Parkinson, John Everett; Nakamura, Takashi

    2016-09-01

    Oceans are predicted to become more acidic and experience more temperature variability—both hot and cold—as climate changes. Ocean acidification negatively impacts reef-building corals, especially when interacting with other stressors such as elevated temperature. However, the effects of combined acidification and low temperature stress have yet to be assessed. Here, we exposed nubbins of the scleractinian coral Montipora digitata to ecologically relevant acidic, cold, or combined stress for 2 weeks. Coral nubbins exhibited 100% survival in isolated acidic and cold treatments, but ~30% mortality under combined conditions. These results provide further evidence that coupled stressors have an interactive effect on coral physiology, and reveal that corals in colder environments are also susceptible to the deleterious impacts of coupled ocean acidification and thermal stress.

  6. White Band Disease transmission in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, S A; Marks, Christopher J; Vollmer, Steven V

    2012-01-01

    The global rise in coral diseases has severely impacted coral reef ecosystems, yet often little is known about these diseases, including how they are transmitted. White Band Disease (WBD), for example, has caused unparalleled declines in live Acropora cover, spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean by unknown means. Here we test four putative modes of WBD transmission to the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: two animal vectors (Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea) and waterborne transmission to intact and injured coral tissues. Using aquarium-based infection experiments, we determine that C. abbreviata, but not C. caribaea, acts as both a vector and reservoir for transmission of the WBD pathogen. We also demonstrate waterborne transmission to injured, but not intact staghorn coral tissues. The combination of transmission by both animal vectors and through the water column helps explain how WBD is spread locally and across the Caribbean.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Shifts in coral-assemblage composition do not ensure persistence of reef functionality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P; Horta-Puga, Guillermo; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2013-12-12

    Coral communities are changing rapidly worldwide through loss of coral cover and shifts in species composition. Although many reef-building corals are likely to decline, some weedy opportunistic species might increase in abundance. Here we explore whether the reshuffling of species can maintain ecosystem integrity and functioning. Using four common Caribbean reef-building coral genera we modeled rates of reef construction and complexity. We show that shifting coral assemblages result in rapid losses in coral-community calcification and reef rugosity that are independent of changes in the total abundance of reef corals. These losses are considerably higher than those recently attributed to climate change. Dominance patterns of coral assemblages seem to be the most important driver of the functioning of coral reefs and thus, the future of these ecosystems might depend not only on reductions of local and global stressors, but also on the maintenance of keystone coral species.

  10. Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.

    2012-03-25

    The dynamic nature of coral reefs offers a rare opportunity to examine the response of ecosystems to disruption due to climate change. In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching and mortality. As a result, cryptobenthic fish assemblages underwent a dramatic phase-shift. Thirteen years, and up to 96 fish generations later, the cryptobenthic fish assemblage has not returned to its pre-bleach configuration. This is despite coral abundances returning to, or exceeding, pre-bleach values. The post-bleach fish assemblage exhibits no evidence of recovery. If these short-lived fish species are a model for their longer-lived counterparts, they suggest that (1) the full effects of the 1998 bleaching event on long-lived fish populations have yet to be seen, (2) it may take decades, or more, before recovery or regeneration of these long-lived species will begin, and (3) fish assemblages may not recover to their previous composition despite the return of corals. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

  11. Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, David R; Baird, Andrew H; Depczynski, Martial; González-Cabello, Alonso; Hoey, Andrew S; Lefèvre, Carine D; Tanner, Jennifer K

    2012-10-01

    The dynamic nature of coral reefs offers a rare opportunity to examine the response of ecosystems to disruption due to climate change. In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching and mortality. As a result, cryptobenthic fish assemblages underwent a dramatic phase-shift. Thirteen years, and up to 96 fish generations later, the cryptobenthic fish assemblage has not returned to its pre-bleach configuration. This is despite coral abundances returning to, or exceeding, pre-bleach values. The post-bleach fish assemblage exhibits no evidence of recovery. If these short-lived fish species are a model for their longer-lived counterparts, they suggest that (1) the full effects of the 1998 bleaching event on long-lived fish populations have yet to be seen, (2) it may take decades, or more, before recovery or regeneration of these long-lived species will begin, and (3) fish assemblages may not recover to their previous composition despite the return of corals.

  12. 77 FR 25407 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-30

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and lobsters in Federal waters off South Carolina and North... zones, or artificial reefs without additional authorization. Additionally, NMFS prohibits the possession...

  13. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING. (R826939)

    Science.gov (United States)

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be in...

  14. The mushroom coral fauna (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) of Brunei Darussalam (South China Sea) and its relation to the Coral Triangle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Lane, D.J.W.

    2014-01-01

    Brunei Darussalam is situated on the northwest coast of Borneo, just outside the westernmost boundary of the area presently recognised as the centre of maximum marine biodiversity, the so-called Coral Triangle. This diversity is particularly quantified with regard to numbers of reef coral species.

  15. Corals through the light : phylogenetics, functional diversity and adaptive strategies of coral-symbiont associations over a large depth range

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rodrigues Frade, P.

    2009-01-01

    Light constitutes the main energy source in the coral reef ecosystem, with its intensity dramatically reduced with increasing depth over the reef slope. How do corals thrive across these acute light gradients that exist over large depth ranges? This and many more questions are addressed throughout t

  16. Reef scent: How brooded coral larvae from a tough coral smell their way to a new home

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spies, N.; Richmond, R. H.; Seneca, F.; Murphy, J.; Martinez, J.; Lyman, A.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are highly diverse marine ecosystems of ecological, economic, and cultural value. With the expected negative effects on reefs from global climate change including rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, the identification of resilient coral species has become increasingly important. Leptastrea purpurea is an encrusting coral that is found throughout the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. While most corals are broadcast spawners, releasing sperm and eggs to be fertilized in the water column, some corals brood embryos within their tissues after internal fertilization. L. purpurea appears to release planula larvae on a continuous basis from the parent colony as observed during two years of monitoring. The planula larvae show remarkable resilience under a wide range of stressful conditions including temperature, sediment, and chemical stressors, as well as the ability to successfully settle and metamorphose after 180 days in controlled laboratory conditions. Various smells were tested to identify a settlement cue for L. purpurea larvae, and our results suggest that the smell associated with other coral colonies induce larval settlement and metamorphosis. Knowledge of the settlement cues and reproductive biology of this coral is important to our understanding of coral resilience in the face of anthropogenic perturbation.

  17. The mushroom coral fauna (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) of Brunei Darussalam (South China Sea) and its relation to the Coral Triangle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Lane, D.J.W.

    2014-01-01

    Brunei Darussalam is situated on the northwest coast of Borneo, just outside the westernmost boundary of the area presently recognised as the centre of maximum marine biodiversity, the so-called Coral Triangle. This diversity is particularly quantified with regard to numbers of reef coral species. M

  18. Coral Calcification Across a Natural Gradient in Ocean Acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, A. L.; Brainard, R. E.; Young, C.; Shamberger, K. E.; McCorkle, D. C.; Feely, R. A.; Mcleod, E.; Cantin, N.; Rose, K.; Lohmann, G. P.

    2011-12-01

    Much of our understanding of the impact of ocean acidification on coral calcification comes from laboratory manipulation experiments in which corals are reared under a range of seawater pH and aragonite saturation states (μar) equivalent to those projected for the next hundred years. In general, experiments show a consistently negative impact of acidification on coral calcification, leading to predictions of mass coral reef extinctions by dissolution as natural rates of carbonate erosion exceed the rates at which corals and other reef calcifiers can replace it. The tropical oceans provide a natural laboratory within which to test hypotheses about the longer term impact and adaptive potential of corals to acidification of the reef environment. Here we report results of a study in which 3-D CT scan and imaging techniques were used to quantify annual rates of calcification by conspecifics at 12 reefs sites spanning a natural gradient in ocean acidification. In situ μar calculated from alkalinity and DIC measurements of reef seawater ranged from less than 2.7 on an eastern Pacific Reef to greater than 4.0 in the central Red Sea. No correlation between μar and calcification was observed across this range. Corals living on low μar reefs appear to be calcifying as fast, sometimes faster than conspecifics living on high μar reefs. We used total lipid and tissue thickness to index the energetic status of colonies collected at each of our study sites. Our results support the hypothesis that energetics plays a key role in the coral calcification response to ocean acidification. Indeed, the true impact of acidification on coral reefs will likely be felt as temperatures rise and the ocean becomes more stratified, depleting coral energetic reserves through bleaching and reduced nutrient delivery to oceanic reefs.

  19. A new, high-resolution global mass coral bleaching database.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donner, Simon D; Rickbeil, Gregory J M; Heron, Scott F

    2017-01-01

    Episodes of mass coral bleaching have been reported in recent decades and have raised concerns about the future of coral reefs on a warming planet. Despite the efforts to enhance and coordinate coral reef monitoring within and across countries, our knowledge of the geographic extent of mass coral bleaching over the past few decades is incomplete. Existing databases, like ReefBase, are limited by the voluntary nature of contributions, geographical biases in data collection, and the variations in the spatial scale of bleaching reports. In this study, we have developed the first-ever gridded, global-scale historical coral bleaching database. First, we conducted a targeted search for bleaching reports not included in ReefBase by personally contacting scientists and divers conducting monitoring in under-reported locations and by extracting data from the literature. This search increased the number of observed bleaching reports by 79%, from 4146 to 7429. Second, we employed spatial interpolation techniques to develop annual 0.04° × 0.04° latitude-longitude global maps of the probability that bleaching occurred for 1985 through 2010. Initial results indicate that the area of coral reefs with a more likely than not (>50%) or likely (>66%) probability of bleaching was eight times higher in the second half of the assessed time period, after the 1997/1998 El Niño. The results also indicate that annual maximum Degree Heating Weeks, a measure of thermal stress, for coral reefs with a high probability of bleaching increased over time. The database will help the scientific community more accurately assess the change in the frequency of mass coral bleaching events, validate methods of predicting mass coral bleaching, and test whether coral reefs are adjusting to rising ocean temperatures.

  20. 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