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Sample records for coral pathogens identified

  1. Coral pathogens identified for White Syndrome (WS epizootics in the Indo-Pacific.

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    Meir Sussman

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: White Syndrome (WS, a general term for scleractinian coral diseases with acute signs of advancing tissue lesions often resulting in total colony mortality, has been reported from numerous locations throughout the Indo-Pacific, constituting a growing threat to coral reef ecosystems. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Bacterial isolates were obtained from corals displaying disease signs at three ws outbreak sites: Nikko Bay in the Republic of Palau, Nelly Bay in the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR and Majuro Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and used in laboratory-based infection trials to satisfy Henle-Koch's postulates, Evan's rules and Hill's criteria for establishing causality. Infected colonies produced similar signs to those observed in the field following exposure to bacterial concentrations of 1x10(6 cells ml(-1. Phylogenetic 16S rRNA gene analysis demonstrated that all six pathogens identified in this study were members of the gamma-Proteobacteria family Vibrionacae, each with greater than 98% sequence identity with the previously characterized coral bleaching pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus. Screening for proteolytic activity of more than 150 coral derived bacterial isolates by a biochemical assay and specific primers for a Vibrio family zinc-metalloprotease demonstrated a significant association between the presence of isolates capable of proteolytic activity and observed disease signs. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study to provide evidence for the involvement of a unique taxonomic group of bacterial pathogens in the aetiology of Indo-Pacific coral diseases affecting multiple coral species at multiple locations. Results from this study strongly suggest the need for further investigation of bacterial proteolytic enzymes as possible virulence factors involved in Vibrio associated acute coral infections.

  2. Algae as reservoirs for coral pathogens.

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    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

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

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    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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    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.

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

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    Kathryn Patterson Sutherland

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

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

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

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

    2014-08-07

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

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

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

    2013-05-01

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

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

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

    2014-06-01

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

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

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

    2009-06-01

    In recent years, diseases of corals caused by opportunistic pathogens have become widespread. How opportunistic pathogens establish on coral surfaces, interact with native microbiota, and cause disease is not yet clear. This study compared the utilization of coral mucus by coral-associated commensal bacteria ("Photobacterium mandapamensis" and Halomonas meridiana) and by opportunistic Serratia marcescens pathogens. S. marcescens PDL100 (a pathogen associated with white pox disease of Acroporid corals) grew to higher population densities on components of mucus from the host coral. In an in vitro coculture on mucus from Acropora palmata, S. marcescens PDL100 isolates outgrew coral isolates. The white pox pathogen did not differ from other bacteria in growth on mucus from a nonhost coral, Montastraea faveolata. The ability of S. marcescens to cause disease in acroporid corals may be due, at least in part, to the ability of strain PDL100 to build to higher population numbers within the mucus surface layer of its acroporid host. During growth on mucus from A. palmata, similar glycosidase activities were present in coral commensal bacteria, in S. marcescens PDL100, and in environmental and human isolates of S. marcescens. The temporal regulation of these activities during growth on mucus, however, was distinct in the isolates. During early stages of growth on mucus, enzymatic activities in S. marcescens PDL100 were most similar to those in coral commensals. After overnight incubation on mucus, enzymatic activities in a white pox pathogen were most similar to those in pathogenic Serratia strains isolated from human mucosal surfaces.

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

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

    2009-01-01

    In recent years, diseases of corals caused by opportunistic pathogens have become widespread. How opportunistic pathogens establish on coral surfaces, interact with native microbiota, and cause disease is not yet clear. This study compared the utilization of coral mucus by coral-associated commensal bacteria (“Photobacterium mandapamensis” and Halomonas meridiana) and by opportunistic Serratia marcescens pathogens. S. marcescens PDL100 (a pathogen associated with white pox disease of Acroporid corals) grew to higher population densities on components of mucus from the host coral. In an in vitro coculture on mucus from Acropora palmata, S. marcescens PDL100 isolates outgrew coral isolates. The white pox pathogen did not differ from other bacteria in growth on mucus from a nonhost coral, Montastraea faveolata. The ability of S. marcescens to cause disease in acroporid corals may be due, at least in part, to the ability of strain PDL100 to build to higher population numbers within the mucus surface layer of its acroporid host. During growth on mucus from A. palmata, similar glycosidase activities were present in coral commensal bacteria, in S. marcescens PDL100, and in environmental and human isolates of S. marcescens. The temporal regulation of these activities during growth on mucus, however, was distinct in the isolates. During early stages of growth on mucus, enzymatic activities in S. marcescens PDL100 were most similar to those in coral commensals. After overnight incubation on mucus, enzymatic activities in a white pox pathogen were most similar to those in pathogenic Serratia strains isolated from human mucosal surfaces. PMID:19395569

  12. Temperature-dependent inhibition of opportunistic Vibrio pathogens by native coral commensal bacteria.

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    Frydenborg, Beck R; Krediet, Cory J; Teplitski, Max; Ritchie, Kim B

    2014-02-01

    Bacteria living within the surface mucus layer of corals compete for nutrients and space. A number of stresses affect the outcome of this competition. The interactions between native microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens largely determine the coral holobiont's overall health and fitness. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that commensal bacteria isolated from the mucus layer of a healthy elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are capable of inhibition of opportunistic pathogens, Vibrio shiloi AK1 and Vibrio coralliilyticus. These vibrios are known to cause disease in corals and their virulence is temperature dependent. Elevated temperature (30 °C) increased the cell numbers of one commensal and both Vibrio pathogens in monocultures. We further tested the hypothesis that elevated temperature favors pathogenic organisms by simultaneously increasing the fitness of vibrios and decreasing the fitness of commensals by measuring growth of each species within a co-culture over the course of 1 week. In competition experiments between vibrios and commensals, the proportion of Vibrio spp. increased significantly under elevated temperature. We finished by investigating several temperature-dependent mechanisms that could influence co-culture differences via changes in competitive fitness. The ability of Vibrio spp. to utilize glycoproteins found in A. palmata mucus increased or remained stable when exposed to elevated temperature, while commensals' tended to decrease utilization. In both vibrios and commensals, protease activity increased at 30 °C, while chiA expression increased under elevated temperatures for Vibrio spp. These results provide insight into potential mechanisms through which elevated temperature may select for pathogenic bacterial dominance and lead to disease or a decrease in coral fitness.

  13. Cellular responses in sea fan corals: granular amoebocytes react to pathogen and climate stressors.

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    Laura D Mydlarz

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Climate warming is causing environmental change making both marine and terrestrial organisms, and even humans, more susceptible to emerging diseases. Coral reefs are among the most impacted ecosystems by climate stress, and immunity of corals, the most ancient of metazoans, is poorly known. Although coral mortality due to infectious diseases and temperature-related stress is on the rise, the immune effector mechanisms that contribute to the resistance of corals to such events remain elusive. In the Caribbean sea fan corals (Anthozoa, Alcyonacea: Gorgoniidae, the cell-based immune defenses are granular acidophilic amoebocytes, which are known to be involved in wound repair and histocompatibility. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrate for the first time in corals that these cells are involved in the organismal response to pathogenic and temperature stress. In sea fans with both naturally occurring infections and experimental inoculations with the fungal pathogen Aspergillus sydowii, an inflammatory response, characterized by a massive increase of amoebocytes, was evident near infections. Melanosomes were detected in amoebocytes adjacent to protective melanin bands in infected sea fans; neither was present in uninfected fans. In naturally infected sea fans a concurrent increase in prophenoloxidase activity was detected in infected tissues with dense amoebocytes. Sea fans sampled in the field during the 2005 Caribbean Bleaching Event (a once-in-hundred-year climate event responded to heat stress with a systemic increase in amoebocytes and amoebocyte densities were also increased by elevated temperature stress in lab experiments. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The observed amoebocyte responses indicate that sea fan corals use cellular defenses to combat fungal infection and temperature stress. The ability to mount an inflammatory response may be a contributing factor that allowed the survival of even infected sea fan corals during a

  14. Anti-Pathogenic Activity of Coral Bacteria Againts White Plaque Disease of Coral Dipsastraea from Tengah Island, Karimunjawa

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    Imam Muchlissin, Sakti; Sabdono, Agus; Permata W, Diah

    2018-02-01

    Coral disease is main factor of degrading coral reefs, such as White Plaque (WP) disease that cause loss of epidermal tissue of corals. The purposes of this research were to identify the bacteria associated with White Plaque Disease of coral Dipsastraea and to investigate coral bacteria that have antipathogenic potency against White Plaque Disease by Coral Dipsastraea. Sampling was carried out by purposive method in Tengah Island, Karimunjawa on March 2015. Streak method was used to isolate and purify coral bacteria, while overlay and agar diffusion method were used to test antibacterial activity. Identification of selected bacteria was conducted by biochemical and molecular methods. Polyphasic identification of bacteria associated with diseased coral White Plague of Dipsastraea. It is found that TFWP1, TFWP2, TFWP3 and TFWP4 were closely related to Bacillus antracis, Virgibacillus olivae, Virgibacillus salarius and Bacillus mojavensis, respectively. While antipathogen activity bacterial isolates, NM1.3, NM1.8 and NM2.3 were closely related to Pseudoalteromonas flavipulchra, Pseudoalteromonas piscicida, and Vibrio azureus, respectively. Phylogenetic data on microbial community composition in coral will help with the knowledge in the biological control of coral diseases.

  15. Antibacterial Activity of Hawaiian Corals: Possible Protection from Disease?

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    Gochfeld, D. J.; Aeby, G. S.; Miller, J. D.

    2006-12-01

    Reports of coral diseases in the Caribbean have appeared with increasing frequency over the past two decades; however, records of coral diseases in the Pacific have lagged far behind. Recent surveys of coral disease in the Hawaiian Islands indicate relatively low, but consistent, levels of disease throughout the inhabited Main and uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and demonstrate variation in levels of disease among the major genera of Hawaiian corals. Although little is known about immune defense to disease in corals, one potential mechanism of defense is the production of antimicrobial compounds that protect corals from pathogens. A preliminary survey of antibacterial chemical defenses among three dominant species of Hawaiian corals was undertaken. Crude aqueous extracts of Porites lobata, Pocillopora meandrina and Montipora capitata were tested against nine strains of bacteria in a growth inhibition assay. Inhibitory extracts were further tested to determine whether their effects were cytostatic or cytotoxic. The bacteria selected included known coral pathogens, potential marine pathogens found in human waste and strains previously identified from the surfaces of Hawaiian corals. Extracts from all three species of coral exhibited a high degree of antibacterial activity, but also a high degree of selectivity against different bacterial strains. In addition, some extracts were stimulatory to some bacteria. In addition to interspecific variability, extracts also exhibited intraspecific variability, both within and between sites. Hawaiian corals have significant antibacterial activity, which may explain the relatively low prevalence of disease in these corals; however, further characterization of pathogens specifically responsible for disease in Hawaiian corals is necessary before we can conclude that antibacterial activity protects Hawaiian corals from disease.

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

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

    2018-03-27

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

  17. Antibacterial Property of a Coral-Associated Bacterium Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea Against Shrimp Pathogenic Vibrio harveyi (In Vitro Study)

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    OCKY KARNA RADJASA; TORBEN MARTENS; HANS-PETER GROSSART; AGUS SABDONO; MEINHARD SIMON; TONNY BACHTIAR

    2005-01-01

    A coral-associated bacterium was successfully screened for secondary metabolites production based on PCR amplification of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene and was identified as closely related to Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea based on its 16S rDNA. The bacterium was found to inhibit the growth of shrimp pathogenic bacterium tested, Vibrio harveyi. To characterize the inhibiting metabolite, a 279 bp long DNA fragment was obtained and the deduced amino acid sequence showed conserved s...

  18. Ballast water as a vector of coral pathogens in the Gulf of Mexico: the case of the Cayo Arcas coral reef.

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    Aguirre-Macedo, M Leopoldina; Vidal-Martinez, Victor M; Herrera-Silveira, Jorge A; Valdés-Lozano, David S; Herrera-Rodríguez, Miguel; Olvera-Novoa, Miguel A

    2008-09-01

    The discharge of nutrients, phytoplankton and pathogenic bacteria through ballast water may threaten the Cayo Arcas reef system. To assess this threat, the quality of ballast water and presence of coral reef pathogenic bacteria in 30 oil tankers loaded at the PEMEX Cayo Arcas crude oil terminal were determined. The water transported in the ships originated from coastal, oceanic or riverine regions. Statistical associations among quality parameters and bacteria were tested using redundancy analysis (RDA). In contrast with coastal or oceanic water, the riverine water had high concentrations of coliforms, including Vibrio cholerae 01 and, Serratia marcescens and Sphingomona spp., which are frequently associated with "white pox" and "white plague type II" coral diseases. There were also high nutrient concentrations and low water quality index values (WQI and TRIX). The presence of V. cholerae 01 highlights the need for testing ballast water coming from endemic regions into Mexican ports.

  19. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

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

  20. Allelochemicals Produced by Brown Macroalgae of the Lobophora Genus Are Active against Coral Larvae and Associated Bacteria, Supporting Pathogenic Shifts to Vibrio Dominance.

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    Morrow, Kathleen M; Bromhall, Katrina; Motti, Cherie A; Munn, Colin B; Bourne, David G

    2017-01-01

    Pervasive environmental stressors on coral reefs are attributed with shifting the competitive balance in favor of alternative dominants, such as macroalgae. Previous studies have demonstrated that macroalgae compete with corals via a number of mechanisms, including the production of potent primary and secondary metabolites that can influence coral-associated microbial communities. The present study investigates the effects of the Pacific brown macroalga Lobophora sp. (due to the shifting nature of the Lobophora species complex, it will be referred to here as Lobophora sp.) on coral bacterial isolates, coral larvae, and the microbiome associated with the coral Porites cylindrica. Crude aqueous and organic macroalgal extracts were found to inhibit the growth of coral-associated bacteria. Extracts and fractions were also shown to inhibit coral larval settlement and cause mortality at concentrations lower (pathogenic. Macroalgae (e.g., seaweeds) can physically and chemically interact with corals, causing abrasion, bleaching, and overall stress. This study contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that macroalgae play a critical role in shifting the coral holobiont equilibrium, which may promote the invasion of opportunistic pathogens and cause coral mortality, facilitating additional macroalgal growth and invasion in the reef. Thus, macroalgae not only contribute to a decline in coral fitness but also influence coral reef ecosystem structure. © Crown copyright 2016.

  1. Inhibition of photosynthesis and bleaching of zooxanthellae by the coral pathogen Vibrio shiloi.

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    Ben-Haim, Y; Banim, E; Kushmaro, A; Loya, Y; Rosenberg, E

    1999-06-01

    Vibrio shiloi is the causative agent of bleaching (loss of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae) of the coral Oculina patagonica in the Mediterranean Sea. To obtain information on the mechanism of bleaching, we examined the effect of secreted material (AK1-S) produced by V. shiloi on zooxanthellae isolated from corals. AK1-S caused a rapid inhibition of photosynthesis of the algae, as measured with a Mini-PAM fluorometer. The inhibition of photosynthesis was caused by (i) ammonia produced during the growth of V. shiloi on protein-containing media and (ii) a non-dialysable heat-resistant factor. This latter material did not inhibit photosynthesis of the algae by itself but, when added to different concentrations of NH4Cl, enhanced the inhibition approximately two- to threefold. Ammonia and the enhancer were effective to different degrees on zooxanthellae isolated from four species of coral examined. In addition to the rapid inhibition of photosynthesis, AK1-S caused bleaching (loss of pigmentation) and lysis of zooxanthellae. Bleaching was more rapid than lysis, reaching a peak (25% bleached algae) after 6 h. The factors in AK1-S responsible for bleaching and lysis were different from those responsible for the inhibition of photosynthesis, because they were heat sensitive, non-dialysable and active in the dark. Thus, the coral pathogen V. shiloi produces an array of extracellular materials that can inhibit photosynthesis, bleach and lyse zooxanthellae.

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

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

    2010-09-01

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

  3. Temporal Sampling of White Band Disease Infected Corals Reveals Complex and Dynamic Bacterial Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, S.; Vollmer, S. V.; Aronson, F. M.

    2016-02-01

    dominated by Endozoicomonas at time one, we saw a decrease of Endozoicomonas in diseased corals, indicating that Endozoicomonas may be beneficial symbionts and/or antagonists of the pathogen(s). We also identified a clade of Pasteurella found in the disease dose and diseased corals at times two and three that is likely important in the WBD etiology.

  4. Antibacterial Property of a Coral-Associated Bacterium Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea Against Shrimp Pathogenic Vibrio harveyi (In Vitro Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    OCKY KARNA RADJASA

    2005-06-01

    Full Text Available A coral-associated bacterium was successfully screened for secondary metabolites production based on PCR amplification of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene and was identified as closely related to Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea based on its 16S rDNA.The bacterium was found to inhibit the growth of shrimp pathogenic bacterium tested, Vibrio harveyi. To characterize the inhibiting metabolite, a 279 bp long DNA fragment was obtained and the deduced amino acid sequence showed conserved signature regions for peptide synthetases and revealed a high similarity to NosD (40% identity, a multifunctional peptide synthetase from Nostoc sp. GSV224, and NdaB (44% identity, a peptide synthetase module of Nodularia spumigena.

  5. Antibacterial Property of a Coral-Associated Bacterium Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea Against Shrimp Pathogenic Vibrio harveyi (In Vitro Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    OCKY KARNA RADJASA

    2005-06-01

    Full Text Available A coral-associated bacterium was successfully screened for secondary metabolites production based on PCR amplification of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene and was identified as closely related to Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea based on its 16S rDNA. The bacterium was found to inhibit the growth of shrimp pathogenic bacterium tested, Vibrio harveyi. To characterize the inhibiting metabolite, a 279 bp long DNA fragment was obtained and the deduced amino acid sequence showed conserved signature regions for peptide synthetases and revealed a high similarity to NosD (40% identity, a multifunctional peptide synthetase from Nostoc sp. GSV224, and NdaB (44% identity, a peptide synthetase module of Nodularia spumigena

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-11-16

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

  7. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.

    2013-07-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/Persian Gulf (thereafter \\'Gulf\\') coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

  8. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feary, David A.; Burt, John A.; Bauman, Andrew G.; Al Hazeem, Shaker; Abdel-Moati, Mohamed A.; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa A.; Anderson, Donald M.; Amos, Carl; Baker, Andrew; Bartholomew, Aaron; Bento, Rita; Cavalcante, Geórgenes H.; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Coles, Steve L.; Dab, Koosha; Fowler, Ashley M.; George, David; Grandcourt, Edwin; Hill, Ross; John, David M.; Jones, David A.; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Mahmoud, Huda; Moradi Och Tapeh, Mahdi; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Naser, Humood; Pichon, Michel; Purkis, Sam; Riegl, Bernhard; Samimi-Namin, Kaveh; Sheppard, Charles; Vajed Samiei, Jahangir; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Joerg

    2014-01-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/ Persian Gulf (thereafter ‘Gulf’) coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. PMID:23643407

  9. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.; Burt, John A.; Bauman, Andrew G.; Al Hazeem, Shaker; Abdel-Moati, Mohamed A R; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa A.; Anderson, Donald M.; Amos, Carl L.; Baker, Andrew C.; Bartholomew, Aaron; Bento, Rita; Cavalcante, Geó rgenes H.; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Coles, Steve L.; Dab, Koosha; Fowler, Ashley M.; George, David Glen; Grandcourt, Edwin Mark; Hill, Ross; John, David Michael; Jones, David Alan; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Mahmoud, Huda M A; Moradi Och Tapeh, Mahdi; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Naser, Humood A.; Pichon, Michel; Purkis, Sam J.; Riegl, Bernhard M.; Samimi-Namin, Kaveh; Sheppard, Charles R C; Vajed Samiei, Jahangir; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Jö rg

    2013-01-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/Persian Gulf (thereafter 'Gulf') coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

  10. Exploration of Fungal Association From Hard Coral Against Pathogen MDR Staphylococcus haemolyticus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cristianawati, O.; Radjasa, O. K.; Sabdono, A.; Trianto, A.; Sabdaningsih, A.; Sibero, M. T.; Nuryadi, H.

    2017-02-01

    Staphylococcus haemolyticus are opportunistic bacteria and as the second leading cause of nosocomial infections. It is a disease causing septicemia, peritonitis, otitis, and urinary tract infections and infections of the eye. It also a phenotype resistant to multiple antibiotics commercial. There is now an urgency to find an alternative antibiotics to combat this bacteria. It has been widely reported that many bioactive marine natural products from marine invertebrate have striking similarities to metabolites of their associated microorganisms including fungi. Hard coral associated microorganisms are among of the most interesting and promising marine natural product sources, which produce with various biological activities. The proposed work focused on the discovery of bioactive compounds and also estimated the phylogenetic diversity from fungal association of hard coral against pathogen MDR Staphylococcus haemolyticus. A total of 32 fungal association, FHP 7 which were isolated from Favia sp. capable of inhibiting the growth MDR. Molecular identification based on 18S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the active fungal association belonged 100% to the members from one of the genera Trichoderma longibrachiatum. Accession Number LC185084.1.

  11. Potential role of viruses in white plague coral disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soffer, Nitzan; Brandt, Marilyn E; Correa, Adrienne M S; Smith, Tyler B; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2014-02-01

    White plague (WP)-like diseases of tropical corals are implicated in reef decline worldwide, although their etiological cause is generally unknown. Studies thus far have focused on bacterial or eukaryotic pathogens as the source of these diseases; no studies have examined the role of viruses. Using a combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and 454 pyrosequencing, we compared 24 viral metagenomes generated from Montastraea annularis corals showing signs of WP-like disease and/or bleaching, control conspecific corals, and adjacent seawater. TEM was used for visual inspection of diseased coral tissue. No bacteria were visually identified within diseased coral tissues, but viral particles and sequence similarities to eukaryotic circular Rep-encoding single-stranded DNA viruses and their associated satellites (SCSDVs) were abundant in WP diseased tissues. In contrast, sequence similarities to SCSDVs were not found in any healthy coral tissues, suggesting SCSDVs might have a role in WP disease. Furthermore, Herpesviridae gene signatures dominated healthy tissues, corroborating reports that herpes-like viruses infect all corals. Nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) sequences, similar to those recently identified in cultures of Symbiodinium (the algal symbionts of corals), were most common in bleached corals. This finding further implicates that these NCLDV viruses may have a role in bleaching, as suggested in previous studies. This study determined that a specific group of viruses is associated with diseased Caribbean corals and highlights the potential for viral disease in regional coral reef decline.

  12. Genome-Wide Mutation Rate Response to pH Change in the Coral Reef Pathogen Vibrio shilonii AK1.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, Chloe; Long, Hongan; Patterson, Caitlyn E; Te, Ronald; Lynch, Michael

    2017-08-22

    Recent application of mutation accumulation techniques combined with whole-genome sequencing (MA/WGS) has greatly promoted studies of spontaneous mutation. However, such explorations have rarely been conducted on marine organisms, and it is unclear how marine habitats have influenced genome stability. This report resolves the mutation rate and spectrum of the coral reef pathogen Vibrio shilonii , which causes coral bleaching and endangers the biodiversity maintained by coral reefs. We found that its mutation rate and spectrum are highly similar to those of other studied bacteria from various habitats, despite the saline environment. The mutational properties of this marine bacterium are thus controlled by other general evolutionary forces such as natural selection and genetic drift. We also found that as pH drops, the mutation rate decreases and the mutation spectrum is biased in the direction of generating G/C nucleotides. This implies that evolutionary features of this organism and perhaps other marine microbes might be altered by the increasingly acidic ocean water caused by excess CO 2 emission. Nonetheless, further exploration is needed as the pH range tested in this study was rather narrow and many other possible mutation determinants, such as carbonate increase, are associated with ocean acidification. IMPORTANCE This study explored the pH dependence of a bacterial genome-wide mutation rate. We discovered that the genome-wide rates of appearance of most mutation types decrease linearly and that the mutation spectrum is biased in generating more G/C nucleotides with pH drop in the coral reef pathogen V. shilonii . Copyright © 2017 Strauss et al.

  13. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin Mao-Jones

    2010-03-01

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

  14. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-30

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

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

  18. Big Data Approaches To Coral-Microbe Symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  19. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-25

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

  20. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    The health and existence of coral reefs are in danger by an increasing range of environmental and anthropogenic impacts. The causes of coral reef decline include worldwide climate change, shoreline development, habitat destruction, pollution, sedimentation and overexploitation. These disasters have contributed to an estimated loss of 27% of the reefs. If the current pressure continues unabated, the estimated loss of coral reef will be about 60% by the year 2030. Therefore, the present study was aimed to analyze the enzymes involved in stress induced by coral pathogen and its resistance. We focused on the enzymes involved in melanin synthesis pathway (phenoloxidase (PO) and peroxidases (POD)) and free radical scavenging enzymes (super oxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT)) and glutathione peroxidase (Gpx) in selected scleractinian corals such as Acropora formosa, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia favus, Favites halicora, Porites sp., and Anacropora forbesi. Overall, PO activity of coral was significantly lower than that of zooxanthellae except for Favia favus. Coral colonies with lower PO and POD activities are prone to disease. Maximum antioxidant defensive enzymes were observed in Favia favus followed by Echinopora lamellose. It is concluded that assay of these enzymes can be used as biomarkers for identifying the susceptibility of corals towards coral bleaching induced by pathogen. PMID:25215288

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Anithajothi

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Identification of Antipathogenic Bacterial Coral Symbionts Against Porites Ulcerative White Spots Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sa'adah, Nor; Sabdono, Agus; Diah Permata Wijayanti, dan

    2018-02-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are ecosystems that are vulnerable and susceptible to damage due to the exploitation of ocean resources. One of the factors that cause coral damage is the disease that attacks the coral. Porites Ulcerative White Spots (PUWS) is a coral disease found in Indonesia and attacks the coral genera Porites allegedly caused by pathogenic microbial attacks. The purpose of this study was to identify the symbiotic bacteria on healthy coral that have antipatogenic potency against PUWS. The method used in this research was descriptive explorative. Sampling was done in Kemujan Island, Karimunjawa. Bacteria were isolated from healthy coral and coral affected by PUWS disease. Streak method was used to purify coral bacteria, while overlay and agar diffusion were used to test antipathogenic activity. Bacterial identification was carried out based on polyphasic approach. The results of this study showed that coral bacterial symbionts have antipathogenic activity against PUWS disease. The selected bacteria NM 1.2, NM 1.3 and KPSH 5. NM1.2 were closely related to Pseudoalteromonas piscicida, Pseudoalteromonas flavipulchra and Bacillus flexus, respectively.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-05-15

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

  6. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-01

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

  8. Identifying the ichthyoplankton of a coral reef using DNA barcodes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubert, Nicolas; Espiau, Benoit; Meyer, Christopher; Planes, Serge

    2015-01-01

    Marine fishes exhibit spectacular phenotypic changes during their ontogeny, and the identification of their early stages is challenging due to the paucity of diagnostic morphological characters at the species level. Meanwhile, the importance of early life stages in dispersal and connectivity has recently experienced an increasing interest in conservation programmes for coral reef fishes. This study aims at assessing the effectiveness of DNA barcoding for the automated identification of coral reef fish larvae through large-scale ecosystemic sampling. Fish larvae were mainly collected using bongo nets and light traps around Moorea between September 2008 and August 2010 in 10 sites distributed in open waters. Fish larvae ranged from 2 to 100 mm of total length, with the most abundant individuals being <5 mm. Among the 505 individuals DNA barcoded, 373 larvae (i.e. 75%) were identified to the species level. A total of 106 species were detected, among which 11 corresponded to pelagic and bathypelagic species, while 95 corresponded to species observed at the adult stage on neighbouring reefs. This study highlights the benefits and pitfalls of using standardized molecular systems for species identification and illustrates the new possibilities enabled by DNA barcoding for future work on coral reef fish larval ecology. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Dual recognition activity of a rhamnose-binding lectin to pathogenic bacteria and zooxanthellae in stony coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhi; Yu, Xiaopeng; Tang, Jia; Zhu, Yunjie; Chen, Guangmei; Guo, Liping; Huang, Bo

    2017-05-01

    Rhamnose-binding lectin (RBL) is a type of Ca 2+ -independent lectin with tandem repeat carbohydrate-recognition domain, and is crucial for the innate immunity in many invertebrates. In this study, the cDNA sequence encoding RBL in coral Pocillopora damicornis (PdRBL-1) was cloned. The PdRBL-1 protein shared highest amino acid sequence similarity (55%) with the polyp of Hydra vulgaris, and contained a signal peptide and two tandem carbohydrate-recognition domains in which all cysteine residues were conserved. Surface plasmon resonance method revealed that the recombinant PdRBL-1 protein bound to LPS and Lipid A, but not to LTA, β-glucan, mannose and Poly (I:C). Results also showed that it bonded with zooxanthellae using western blotting method, and that the bound protein was detectable only at concentrations higher than 10 2 zooxanthellae cell mL -1 . When recombinant PdRBL-1 protein was preincubated with LPS, lower amounts of protein bound to zooxanthellae compared to cells not preincubated with LPS. Furthermore, PdRBL-1 mRNA expression increased significantly at 12 h, and declined to the baseline at 24 h after heat stress at 31 °C. These results collectively suggest that PdRBL-1 could recognize not only pathogenic bacteria but also symbiotic zooxanthellae, and that the recognition of zooxanthellae by PdRBL-1 could be repressed by pathogenic bacteria through competitive binding. This information allows us to gain new insights in the mechanisms influencing the establishment and maintenance of coral-zooxanthella symbiosis in coral P. damicornis. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E Charlotte E Kvennefors

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

  11. A multi-indicator approach for identifying shoreline sewage pollution hotspots adjacent to coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abaya, Leilani M; Wiegner, Tracy N; Colbert, Steven L; Beets, James P; Carlson, Kaile'a M; Kramer, K Lindsey; Most, Rebecca; Couch, Courtney S

    2018-04-01

    Sewage pollution is contributing to the global decline of coral reefs. Identifying locations where it is entering waters near reefs is therefore a management priority. Our study documented shoreline sewage pollution hotspots in a coastal community with a fringing coral reef (Puakō, Hawai'i) using dye tracer studies, sewage indicator measurements, and a pollution scoring tool. Sewage reached shoreline waters within 9 h to 3 d. Fecal indicator bacteria concentrations were high and variable, and δ 15 N macroalgal values were indicative of sewage at many stations. Shoreline nutrient concentrations were two times higher than those in upland groundwater. Pollution hotspots were identified with a scoring tool using three sewage indicators. It confirmed known locations of sewage pollution from dye tracer studies. Our study highlights the need for a multi-indicator approach and scoring tool to identify sewage pollution hotspots. This approach will be useful for other coastal communities grappling with sewage pollution. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Vibrio harveyi as a causative agent of the White Syndrome in tropical stony corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luna, Gian Marco; Bongiorni, Lucia; Gili, Claudia; Biavasco, Francesca; Danovaro, Roberto

    2010-02-01

    We investigated bacterial assemblages associated with corals displaying symptoms of the 'White Syndrome' (WS), a general term used for indicating the appearance of bands, spots or patches of tissue loss, which is devastating wide areas of tropical ecosystems worldwide. We collected WS-diseased (n = 15) and healthy (n = 15) corals from the natural reef (Indonesia, Indian Ocean) and from four large public aquaria. By using culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques, we found that a large fraction (73%) of the investigated WS events was associated with the presence of a high bacterial abundance and, specifically, of Vibrio spp. Vibrio harveyi, a pathogen of many marine organisms and recently involved in coral Yellow Band disease, was the most represented species, being recovered from five out of 15 diseased corals. In experimental infection assays, two V. harveyi strains, isolated from diseased corals, were inoculated on a total of 62 healthy colonies of Pocillopora damicornis. WS signs appeared in 57 corals, confirming the ability of V. harveyi strains to induce the disease. We conclude that V. harveyi is one of the coral pathogens involved in the appearance of WS. However, not all of the investigated WSs were associated to V. harveyi detection, nor to other Vibrio species (such as V. coralliilyticus), which supports the hypothesis that WS is not caused exclusively by Vibrio spp., but rather can have a multifactorial aetiology, or can represent a group of diseases caused by a variety of agents. Further investigations to identify specific virulence traits will contribute to the understanding of the role of V. harveyi in WS pathogenesis. © 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  13. The potential roles of bacterial communities in coral defence: A case study at Talang-talang reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuek, Felicity W. I.; Lim, Li-Fang; Ngu, Lin-Hui; Mujahid, Aazani; Lim, Po-Teen; Leaw, Chui-Pin; Müller, Moritz

    2015-06-01

    Complex microbial communities are known to exert significant influence over coral reef ecosystems. The Talang- Satang National Park is situated off the coast of Sematan and is one of the most diverse ecosystems found off-Sarawak. Interestingly, the Talang-talang reef thrives at above-average temperatures of 28- 30°C throughout the year. Through isolation and identification (16S rRNA) of native microbes from the coral, the surface mucus layer (SML), as well as the surrounding sediment and waters, we were able to determine the species composition and abundance of the culturable bacteria in the coral reef ecosystem. Isolates found attached to the coral are related mostly to Vibrio spp., presumably attached to the mucus from the water column and surrounding sediment. Pathogenic Vibrio spp. and Bacillus spp. were dominant amongst the isolates from the water column and sediment, while known coral pathogens responsible for coral bleaching, Vibrio coralliilyticus and Vibrio shiloi, were isolated from the coral SML and sediment samples respectively. Coral SML isolates were found to be closely related to known nitrogen fixers and antibiotic producers with tolerance towards elevated temperatures and heavy metal contamination, offering a possible explanation why the local corals are able to thrive in higher than usual temperatures. This specialized microbiota may be important for protecting the corals from pathogens by occupying entry niches and/or through the production of secondary metabolites such as antibiotics. The communities from the coral SML were tested against each other at 28, 30 and 32°C, and were also assessed for the presence of type I modular polyketides synthase (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes which are both involved in the production of antibiotic compounds. The bacterial community from the SML exhibited antimicrobial properties under normal temperatures while pathogenic strains appeared toxic at elevated temperatures and our results

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Camille eDaniels

    2015-09-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Sewage pollution: mitigation is key for coral reef stewardship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wear, Stephanie L; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2015-10-01

    Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and land-derived sources of pollution, including sewage, are a major force driving that deterioration. This review presents evidence that sewage discharge occurs in waters surrounding at least 104 of 112 reef geographies. Studies often refer to sewage as a single stressor. However, we show that it is more accurately characterized as a multiple stressor. Many of the individual agents found within sewage, specifically freshwater, inorganic nutrients, pathogens, endocrine disrupters, suspended solids, sediments, and heavy metals, can severely impair coral growth and/or reproduction. These components of sewage may interact with each other to create as-yet poorly understood synergisms (e.g., nutrients facilitate pathogen growth), and escalate impacts of other, non-sewage-based stressors. Surprisingly few published studies have examined impacts of sewage in the field, but those that have suggest negative effects on coral reefs. Because sewage discharge proximal to sensitive coral reefs is widespread across the tropics, it is imperative for coral reef-focused institutions to increase investment in threat-abatement strategies for mitigating sewage pollution. © 2015 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of The New York Academy of Sciences.

  1. Arnfried Antonius, coral diseases, and the AMLC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurie L. Richardson

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The study of coral diseases, coral pathogens, and the effects of diseases on tropical and subtropical coral reefs are all current, high-profile research areas. This interest has grown steadily since the first report of a coral disease in 1973. The author of this report was Arnfried Antonius and the publication was an abstract in the proceedings of a scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, or AMLC (then known as the Association of Island 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

  2. The relationship between gorgonian coral (Cnidaria: Gorgonacea) diseases and African dust storms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weir-Brush, J. R.; Garrison, V.H.; Smith, G.W.; Shinn, E.A.

    2004-01-01

    The number of reports of coral diseases has increased throughout the world in the last 20 years. Aspergillosis, which primarily affects Gorgonia ventalina and G. flabellum, is one of the few diseases to be characterized. This disease is caused by Aspergillus sydowii, a terrestrial fungus with a worldwide distribution. Upon infection, colonies may lose tissue, and ultimately, mortality may occur if the infection is not sequestered. The spores of A. sydowii are African dust storms transport and deposit pathogens, we collected air samples from both dust storms and periods of nondust in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Because we focused on fungal pathogens and used A. sydowii as a model, we isolated and cultured fungi on various types of media. Fungi including Aspergillus spp. were isolated from air samples taken from dust events and non-dust events. Twenty-three separate cultures and seven genera were isolated from dust event samples whereas eight cultures from five genera were isolated from non-dust air samples. Three isolates from the Virgin Islands dust event samples morphologically identified as Aspergillus spp. produced signs of aspergillosis in seafans, and the original pathogens were re-isolated from those diseased seafans fulfilling Koch's Postulates. This research supports the hypothesis that African dust storms transport across the Atlantic Ocean and deposit potential coral pathogens in the Caribbean.

  3. Power analysis as a tool to identify statistically informative indicators for monitoring coral reef disturbances.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Wynsberge, Simon; Gilbert, Antoine; Guillemot, Nicolas; Heintz, Tom; Tremblay-Boyer, Laura

    2017-07-01

    Extensive biological field surveys are costly and time consuming. To optimize sampling and ensure regular monitoring on the long term, identifying informative indicators of anthropogenic disturbances is a priority. In this study, we used 1800 candidate indicators by combining metrics measured from coral, fish, and macro-invertebrate assemblages surveyed from 2006 to 2012 in the vicinity of an ongoing mining project in the Voh-Koné-Pouembout lagoon, New Caledonia. We performed a power analysis to identify a subset of indicators which would best discriminate temporal changes due to a simulated chronic anthropogenic impact. Only 4% of tested indicators were likely to detect a 10% annual decrease of values with sufficient power (>0.80). Corals generally exerted higher statistical power than macro-invertebrates and fishes because of lower natural variability and higher occurrence. For the same reasons, higher taxonomic ranks provided higher power than lower taxonomic ranks. Nevertheless, a number of families of common sedentary or sessile macro-invertebrates and fishes also performed well in detecting changes: Echinometridae, Isognomidae, Muricidae, Tridacninae, Arcidae, and Turbinidae for macro-invertebrates and Pomacentridae, Labridae, and Chaetodontidae for fishes. Interestingly, these families did not provide high power in all geomorphological strata, suggesting that the ability of indicators in detecting anthropogenic impacts was closely linked to reef geomorphology. This study provides a first operational step toward identifying statistically relevant indicators of anthropogenic disturbances in New Caledonia's coral reefs, which can be useful in similar tropical reef ecosystems where little information is available regarding the responses of ecological indicators to anthropogenic disturbances.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-15

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

  5. Results of Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay to Identify Urethritis Pathogens

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mehmet Sarıer

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR test applied to identify the pathogens in male patients who attended our urology clinic with a pre-diagnosis of urethritis related with sexual intercourse. Materials and Methods: In this study, we included a total of 91 male patients, who sought medical advice in our clinic between August 2015 and October 2016 due to complaints of urethral discharge, dysuria and urethral itching, having a visible urethral discharge during the physical examination or a positive leukocyte esterase test (Combur-Test®-Roche in the first urine sample. In the urethral swab samples of these patients, urethritis pathogens were searched with a multiplex PCR test. The multiplex PCR kit, which is able to identify nine pathogens and produced by PathoFinder® (Holland, was used in the process. The pathogens that could be detected by the kit were Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Gardnerella vaginalis, Trichomonas vaginalis, Treponema pallidum, and Candida albicans. Results: The average age of the subjects was 35.1 (19-57 years. Sixty one out of 91 patients (67% were found to have a pathogen in the urethral swab sample. In 45 patients (49.4%, only one pathogen, in 12 (13.1% - two different pathogens and in 4 (4.3% patients, 3 different pathogens were detected. The pathogens found were as follows: Ureaplasma urealyticum in 22 patients (27.1%, Gardnerella vaginalis in 15 (18.6%, Neisseria gonorrhoeae in 13 (16.1%, Mycoplasma genitalium (10 patients; 12.3%, Mycoplasma hominis (8 patients; 9.9%, Chlamydia trachomatis (8 patients; 9.9%, Trichomonas vaginalis (3 patients; 3.8%, and Candida albicans (2 patients; 2.4%. None of the patients were identified with Treponema pallidum. None of the pathogens were identified in 30 patients (32.9% whose samples were examined by PCR method. Conclusion

  6. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cárdenas, Anny; Neave, Matthew J; Haroon, Mohamed Fauzi; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Rädecker, Nils; Wild, Christian; Gärdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R

    2018-01-01

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  7. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

    KAUST Repository

    Cardenas, Anny

    2017-09-12

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  8. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

    KAUST Repository

    Cardenas, Anny; Neave, Matthew J.; Haroon, Mohamed; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Wild, Christian; Gä rdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Plastic waste associated with disease on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, Joleah B; Willis, Bette L; Fiorenza, Evan A; Couch, Courtney S; Howard, Robert; Rader, Douglas N; True, James D; Kelly, Lisa A; Ahmad, Awaludinnoer; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Harvell, C Drew

    2018-01-26

    Plastic waste can promote microbial colonization by pathogens implicated in outbreaks of disease in the ocean. We assessed the influence of plastic waste on disease risk in 124,000 reef-building corals from 159 reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. The likelihood of disease increases from 4% to 89% when corals are in contact with plastic. Structurally complex corals are eight times more likely to be affected by plastic, suggesting that microhabitats for reef-associated organisms and valuable fisheries will be disproportionately affected. Plastic levels on coral reefs correspond to estimates of terrestrial mismanaged plastic waste entering the ocean. We estimate that 11.1 billion plastic items are entangled on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific and project this number to increase 40% by 2025. Plastic waste management is critical for reducing diseases that threaten ecosystem health and human livelihoods. Copyright © 2018, The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christophe William Vieira

    2016-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiayuan Liang

    2017-06-01

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

  14. Metagenomic analysis indicates that stressors induce production of herpes-like viruses in the coral Porites compressa

    OpenAIRE

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca L.; Barott, Katie L.; Hall, Dana; Liu, Hong; Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran; Desnues, Christelle; Edwards, Robert A.; Haynes, Matthew; Angly, Florent E.; Wegley, Linda; Rohwer, Forest L.

    2008-01-01

    During the last several decades corals have been in decline and at least one-third of all coral species are now threatened with extinction. Coral disease has been a major contributor to this threat, but little is known about the responsible pathogens. To date most research has focused on bacterial and fungal diseases; however, viruses may also be important for coral health. Using a combination of empirical viral metagenomics and real-time PCR, we show that Porites compressa corals contain a s...

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  18. First characterization of bacterial pathogen, Vibrio alginolyticus, for Porites andrewsi White syndrome in the South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhenyu, Xie; Shaowen, Ke; Chaoqun, Hu; Zhixiong, Zhu; Shifeng, Wang; Yongcan, Zhou

    2013-01-01

    White syndrome, a term for scleractinian coral disease with progressive tissue loss, is known to cause depressed growth and increased morality of coral reefs in the major oceans around the world, and the occurrence of this disease has been frequently reported in the past few decades. Investigations during April to September in both 2010 and 2011 identified widespread Porites andrewsi White syndrome (PAWS) in Xisha Archipelago, South China Sea. However, the causes and etiology of PAWS have been unknown. A transmission experiment was performed on P. andrewsi in the Qilianyu Subgroup (QLY). The results showed that there was a significant (P ≤ 0.05) difference between test and control groups after 28 days if the invalid replicates were excluded. Rates of tissue loss ranged from 0.90-10.76 cm(2) d(-1) with a mean of 5.40 ± 3.34 cm(2) d(-1) (mean ± SD). Bacterial strains were isolated from the PAWS corals at the disease outbreak sites in QLY of the Xisha Archipelago, South China Sea, and included in laboratory-based infection trials to satisfy Koch's postulates for establishing causality. Following exposure to bacterial concentrations of 10(5) cells mL(-1), the infected colonies exhibited similar signs to those observed in the field. Using phylogenetic 16S rRNA gene analysis, classical phenotypic trait comparison, Biolog automatic identification system, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and MALDI Biotyper method, two pathogenic strains were identified as Vibrio alginolyticus . This is the first report of V. alginolyticus as a pathogenic agent of PAWS in the South China Sea. Our results point out an urgent need to develop sensitive detection methods for V. alginolyticus virulence strains and robust diagnostics for coral disease caused by this and Vibrio pathogenic bacterium in the South China Sea.

  19. Overexpression of Differentially Expressed Genes Identified in Non-pathogenic and Pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica Clones Allow Identification of New Pathogenicity Factors Involved in Amoebic Liver Abscess Formation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin Meyer

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available We here compared pathogenic (p and non-pathogenic (np isolates of Entamoeba histolytica to identify molecules involved in the ability of this parasite to induce amoebic liver abscess (ALA-like lesions in two rodent models for the disease. We performed a comprehensive analysis of 12 clones (A1-A12 derived from a non-pathogenic isolate HM-1:IMSS-A and 12 clones (B1-B12 derived from a pathogenic isolate HM-1:IMSS-B. "Non-pathogenicity" included the induction of small and quickly resolved lesions while "pathogenicity" comprised larger abscess development that overstayed day 7 post infection. All A-clones were designated as non-pathogenic, whereas 4 out of 12 B-clones lost their ability to induce ALAs in gerbils. No correlation between ALA formation and cysteine peptidase (CP activity, haemolytic activity, erythrophagocytosis, motility or cytopathic activity was found. To identify the molecular framework underlying different pathogenic phenotypes, three clones were selected for in-depth transcriptome analyses. Comparison of a non-pathogenic clone A1np with pathogenic clone B2p revealed 76 differentially expressed genes, whereas comparison of a non-pathogenic clone B8np with B2p revealed only 19 differentially expressed genes. Only six genes were found to be similarly regulated in the two non-pathogenic clones A1np and B8np in comparison with the pathogenic clone B2p. Based on these analyses, we chose 20 candidate genes and evaluated their roles in ALA formation using the respective gene-overexpressing transfectants. We conclude that different mechanisms lead to loss of pathogenicity. In total, we identified eight proteins, comprising a metallopeptidase, C2 domain proteins, alcohol dehydrogenases and hypothetical proteins, that affect the pathogenicity of E. histolytica.

  20. Overexpression of Differentially Expressed Genes Identified in Non-pathogenic and Pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica Clones Allow Identification of New Pathogenicity Factors Involved in Amoebic Liver Abscess Formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Martin; Fehling, Helena; Matthiesen, Jenny; Lorenzen, Stephan; Schuldt, Kathrin; Bernin, Hannah; Zaruba, Mareen; Lender, Corinna; Ernst, Thomas; Ittrich, Harald; Roeder, Thomas; Tannich, Egbert; Lotter, Hannelore; Bruchhaus, Iris

    2016-08-01

    We here compared pathogenic (p) and non-pathogenic (np) isolates of Entamoeba histolytica to identify molecules involved in the ability of this parasite to induce amoebic liver abscess (ALA)-like lesions in two rodent models for the disease. We performed a comprehensive analysis of 12 clones (A1-A12) derived from a non-pathogenic isolate HM-1:IMSS-A and 12 clones (B1-B12) derived from a pathogenic isolate HM-1:IMSS-B. "Non-pathogenicity" included the induction of small and quickly resolved lesions while "pathogenicity" comprised larger abscess development that overstayed day 7 post infection. All A-clones were designated as non-pathogenic, whereas 4 out of 12 B-clones lost their ability to induce ALAs in gerbils. No correlation between ALA formation and cysteine peptidase (CP) activity, haemolytic activity, erythrophagocytosis, motility or cytopathic activity was found. To identify the molecular framework underlying different pathogenic phenotypes, three clones were selected for in-depth transcriptome analyses. Comparison of a non-pathogenic clone A1np with pathogenic clone B2p revealed 76 differentially expressed genes, whereas comparison of a non-pathogenic clone B8np with B2p revealed only 19 differentially expressed genes. Only six genes were found to be similarly regulated in the two non-pathogenic clones A1np and B8np in comparison with the pathogenic clone B2p. Based on these analyses, we chose 20 candidate genes and evaluated their roles in ALA formation using the respective gene-overexpressing transfectants. We conclude that different mechanisms lead to loss of pathogenicity. In total, we identified eight proteins, comprising a metallopeptidase, C2 domain proteins, alcohol dehydrogenases and hypothetical proteins, that affect the pathogenicity of E. histolytica.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tonya L Shearer

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Overfishing and nutrient pollution interact with temperature to disrupt coral reefs down to microbial scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaneveld, Jesse R; Burkepile, Deron E; Shantz, Andrew A; Pritchard, Catharine E; McMinds, Ryan; Payet, Jérôme P; Welsh, Rory; Correa, Adrienne M S; Lemoine, Nathan P; Rosales, Stephanie; Fuchs, Corinne; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2016-06-07

    Losses of corals worldwide emphasize the need to understand what drives reef decline. Stressors such as overfishing and nutrient pollution may reduce resilience of coral reefs by increasing coral-algal competition and reducing coral recruitment, growth and survivorship. Such effects may themselves develop via several mechanisms, including disruption of coral microbiomes. Here we report the results of a 3-year field experiment simulating overfishing and nutrient pollution. These stressors increase turf and macroalgal cover, destabilizing microbiomes, elevating putative pathogen loads, increasing disease more than twofold and increasing mortality up to eightfold. Above-average temperatures exacerbate these effects, further disrupting microbiomes of unhealthy corals and concentrating 80% of mortality in the warmest seasons. Surprisingly, nutrients also increase bacterial opportunism and mortality in corals bitten by parrotfish, turning normal trophic interactions deadly for corals. Thus, overfishing and nutrient pollution impact reefs down to microbial scales, killing corals by sensitizing them to predation, above-average temperatures and bacterial opportunism.

  5. Investigating Coral Disease Spread Across the Hawaiian Archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sziklay, Jamie

    of infected coral and had fewer intact polyps than in healthy coral fragments. These results suggested that disease progression within colonies affected with chronic and acute Montipora white syndromes are highly localized rather than systemic and their bacterial pathogens directly attack the coral tissue rather than zooxanthellae. Overall, my dissertation research indicates that watershed condition and coral community configuration can facilitate and/or inhibit coral disease spread, and that disease transmission may be more spatially constrained than previously thought.

  6. Identifying the World's Most Climate Change Vulnerable Species: A Systematic Trait-Based Assessment of all Birds, Amphibians and Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foden, Wendy B.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Stuart, Simon N.; Vié, Jean-Christophe; Akçakaya, H. Resit; Angulo, Ariadne; DeVantier, Lyndon M.; Gutsche, Alexander; Turak, Emre; Cao, Long; Donner, Simon D.; Katariya, Vineet; Bernard, Rodolphe; Holland, Robert A.; Hughes, Adrian F.; O’Hanlon, Susannah E.; Garnett, Stephen T.; Şekercioğlu, Çagan H.; Mace, Georgina M.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, including increasing extinction rates. Current approaches to quantifying such impacts focus on measuring exposure to climatic change and largely ignore the biological differences between species that may significantly increase or reduce their vulnerability. To address this, we present a framework for assessing three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, namely sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity; this draws on species’ biological traits and their modeled exposure to projected climatic changes. In the largest such assessment to date, we applied this approach to each of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals (16,857 species). The resulting assessments identify the species with greatest relative vulnerability to climate change and the geographic areas in which they are concentrated, including the Amazon basin for amphibians and birds, and the central Indo-west Pacific (Coral Triangle) for corals. We found that high concentration areas for species with traits conferring highest sensitivity and lowest adaptive capacity differ from those of highly exposed species, and we identify areas where exposure-based assessments alone may over or under-estimate climate change impacts. We found that 608–851 bird (6–9%), 670–933 amphibian (11–15%), and 47–73 coral species (6–9%) are both highly climate change vulnerable and already threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List. The remaining highly climate change vulnerable species represent new priorities for conservation. Fewer species are highly climate change vulnerable under lower IPCC SRES emissions scenarios, indicating that reducing greenhouse emissions will reduce climate change driven extinctions. Our study answers the growing call for a more biologically and ecologically inclusive approach to assessing climate change vulnerability. By facilitating independent assessment of the three dimensions of climate change vulnerability

  7. Bacteria are not the primary cause of bleaching in the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainsworth, T D; Fine, M; Roff, G; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2008-01-01

    Coral bleaching occurs when the endosymbiosis between corals and their symbionts disintegrates during stress. Mass coral bleaching events have increased over the past 20 years and are directly correlated with periods of warm sea temperatures. However, some hypotheses have suggested that reef-building corals bleach due to infection by bacterial pathogens. The 'Bacterial Bleaching' hypothesis is based on laboratory studies of the Mediterranean invading coral, Oculina patagonica, and has further generated conclusions such as the coral probiotic hypothesis and coral hologenome theory of evolution. We aimed to investigate the natural microbial ecology of O. patagonica during the annual bleaching using fluorescence in situ hybridization to map bacterial populations within the coral tissue layers, and found that the coral bleaches on the temperate rocky reefs of the Israeli coastline without the presence of Vibrio shiloi or bacterial penetration of its tissue layers. Bacterial communities were found associated with the endolithic layer of bleached coral regions, and a community dominance shift from an apparent cyanobacterial-dominated endolithic layer to an algal-dominated layer was found in bleached coral samples. While bacterial communities certainly play important roles in coral stasis and health, we suggest environmental stressors, such as those documented with reef-building corals, are the primary triggers leading to bleaching of O. patagonica and suggest that bacterial involvement in patterns of bleaching is that of opportunistic colonization.

  8. Evidence for multiple stressor interactions and effects on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ban, Stephen S; Graham, Nicholas A J; Connolly, Sean R

    2014-03-01

    Concern is growing about the potential effects of interacting multiple stressors, especially as the global climate changes. We provide a comprehensive review of multiple stressor interactions in coral reef ecosystems, which are widely considered to be one of the most sensitive ecosystems to global change. First, we synthesized coral reef studies that examined interactions of two or more stressors, highlighting stressor interactions (where one stressor directly influences another) and potentially synergistic effects on response variables (where two stressors interact to produce an effect that is greater than purely additive). For stressor-stressor interactions, we found 176 studies that examined at least 2 of the 13 stressors of interest. Applying network analysis to analyze relationships between stressors, we found that pathogens were exacerbated by more costressors than any other stressor, with ca. 78% of studies reporting an enhancing effect by another stressor. Sedimentation, storms, and water temperature directly affected the largest number of other stressors. Pathogens, nutrients, and crown-of-thorns starfish were the most-influenced stressors. We found 187 studies that examined the effects of two or more stressors on a third dependent variable. The interaction of irradiance and temperature on corals has been the subject of more research (62 studies, 33% of the total) than any other combination of stressors, with many studies reporting a synergistic effect on coral symbiont photosynthetic performance (n = 19). Second, we performed a quantitative meta-analysis of existing literature on this most-studied interaction (irradiance and temperature). We found that the mean effect size of combined treatments was statistically indistinguishable from a purely additive interaction, although it should be noted that the sample size was relatively small (n = 26). Overall, although in aggregate a large body of literature examines stressor effects on coral reefs and coral

  9. Assessing coral reefs on a Pacific-wide scale using the microbialization score.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tracey McDole

    Full Text Available The majority of the world's coral reefs are in various stages of decline. While a suite of disturbances (overfishing, eutrophication, and global climate change have been identified, the mechanism(s of reef system decline remain elusive. Increased microbial and viral loading with higher percentages of opportunistic and specific microbial pathogens have been identified as potentially unifying features of coral reefs in decline. Due to their relative size and high per cell activity, a small change in microbial biomass may signal a large reallocation of available energy in an ecosystem; that is the microbialization of the coral reef. Our hypothesis was that human activities alter the energy budget of the reef system, specifically by altering the allocation of metabolic energy between microbes and macrobes. To determine if this is occurring on a regional scale, we calculated the basal metabolic rates for the fish and microbial communities at 99 sites on twenty-nine coral islands throughout the Pacific Ocean using previously established scaling relationships. From these metabolic rate predictions, we derived a new metric for assessing and comparing reef health called the microbialization score. The microbialization score represents the percentage of the combined fish and microbial predicted metabolic rate that is microbial. Our results demonstrate a strong positive correlation between reef microbialization scores and human impact. In contrast, microbialization scores did not significantly correlate with ocean net primary production, local chla concentrations, or the combined metabolic rate of the fish and microbial communities. These findings support the hypothesis that human activities are shifting energy to the microbes, at the expense of the macrobes. Regardless of oceanographic context, the microbialization score is a powerful metric for assessing the level of human impact a reef system is experiencing.

  10. Assessing coral reefs on a Pacific-wide scale using the microbialization score.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDole, Tracey; Nulton, James; Barott, Katie L; Felts, Ben; Hand, Carol; Hatay, Mark; Lee, Hochul; Nadon, Marc O; Nosrat, Bahador; Salamon, Peter; Bailey, Barbara; Sandin, Stuart A; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Youle, Merry; Zgliczynski, Brian J; Brainard, Russell E; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-01-01

    The majority of the world's coral reefs are in various stages of decline. While a suite of disturbances (overfishing, eutrophication, and global climate change) have been identified, the mechanism(s) of reef system decline remain elusive. Increased microbial and viral loading with higher percentages of opportunistic and specific microbial pathogens have been identified as potentially unifying features of coral reefs in decline. Due to their relative size and high per cell activity, a small change in microbial biomass may signal a large reallocation of available energy in an ecosystem; that is the microbialization of the coral reef. Our hypothesis was that human activities alter the energy budget of the reef system, specifically by altering the allocation of metabolic energy between microbes and macrobes. To determine if this is occurring on a regional scale, we calculated the basal metabolic rates for the fish and microbial communities at 99 sites on twenty-nine coral islands throughout the Pacific Ocean using previously established scaling relationships. From these metabolic rate predictions, we derived a new metric for assessing and comparing reef health called the microbialization score. The microbialization score represents the percentage of the combined fish and microbial predicted metabolic rate that is microbial. Our results demonstrate a strong positive correlation between reef microbialization scores and human impact. In contrast, microbialization scores did not significantly correlate with ocean net primary production, local chla concentrations, or the combined metabolic rate of the fish and microbial communities. These findings support the hypothesis that human activities are shifting energy to the microbes, at the expense of the macrobes. Regardless of oceanographic context, the microbialization score is a powerful metric for assessing the level of human impact a reef system is experiencing.

  11. Hawaiʻi Coral Disease database (HICORDIS: species-specific coral health data from across the Hawaiian archipelago

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The Hawaiʻi Coral Disease database (HICORDIS houses data on colony-level coral health condition observed across the Hawaiian archipelago, providing information to conduct future analyses on coral reef health in an era of changing environmental conditions. Colonies were identified to the lowest taxonomic classification possible (species or genera, measured and assessed for visual signs of health condition. Data were recorded for 286,071 coral colonies surveyed on 1819 transects at 660 sites between 2005 and 2015. The database contains observations for 60 species from 22 genera with 21 different health conditions. The goals of the HICORDIS database are to: i provide open access, quality controlled and validated coral health data assembled from disparate surveys conducted across Hawaiʻi; ii facilitate appropriate crediting of data; and iii encourage future analyses of coral reef health. In this article, we describe and provide data from the HICORDIS database. The data presented in this paper were used in the research article “Satellite SST-based Coral Disease Outbreak Predictions for the Hawaiian Archipelago” (Caldwell et al., 2016 [1]. Keywords: Marine biology, Coral, Reefs, Disease, Hawaii

  12. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Species-specific control of external superoxide levels by the coral holobiont during a natural bleaching event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz, Julia M.; Hansel, Colleen M.; Apprill, Amy; Brighi, Caterina; Zhang, Tong; Weber, Laura; McNally, Sean; Xun, Liping

    2016-12-01

    The reactive oxygen species superoxide (O2.-) is both beneficial and detrimental to life. Within corals, superoxide may contribute to pathogen resistance but also bleaching, the loss of essential algal symbionts. Yet, the role of superoxide in coral health and physiology is not completely understood owing to a lack of direct in situ observations. By conducting field measurements of superoxide produced by corals during a bleaching event, we show substantial species-specific variation in external superoxide levels, which reflect the balance of production and degradation processes. Extracellular superoxide concentrations are independent of light, algal symbiont abundance and bleaching status, but depend on coral species and bacterial community composition. Furthermore, coral-derived superoxide concentrations ranged from levels below bulk seawater up to ~120 nM, some of the highest superoxide concentrations observed in marine systems. Overall, these results unveil the ability of corals and/or their microbiomes to regulate superoxide in their immediate surroundings, which suggests species-specific roles of superoxide in coral health and physiology.

  14. Biogeographic Differences in the Microbiome and Pathobiome of the Coral Cladocora caespitosa in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Esther Rubio-Portillo

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available The endemic Mediterranean zooxanthellate scleractinian reef-builder Cladocora caespitosa is among the organisms most affected by warming-related mass mortality events in the Mediterranean Sea. Corals are known to contain a diverse microbiota that plays a key role in their physiology and health. Here we report the first study that examines the microbiome and pathobiome associated with C. caespitosa in three different Mediterranean locations (i.e., Genova, Columbretes Islands, and Tabarca Island. The microbial communities associated with this species showed biogeographical differences, but shared a common core microbiome that probably plays a key role in the coral holobiont. The putatively pathogenic microbial assemblage (i.e., pathobiome of C. caespitosa also seemed to depend on geographic location and the human footprint. In locations near the coast and with higher human influence, the pathobiome was entirely constituted by Vibrio species, including the well-known coral pathogens Vibrio coralliilyticus and V. mediterranei. However, in the Columbretes Islands, located off the coast and the most pristine of the analyzed locations, no changes among microbial communities associated to healthy and necrosed samples were detected. Hence, our results provide new insights into the microbiome of the temperate corals and its role in coral health status, highlighting its dependence on the local environmental conditions and the human footprint.

  15. Identifying Suitable Locations for Mesophotic Hard Corals Offshore of Maui, Hawai'i.

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    Bryan Costa

    Full Text Available Mesophotic hard corals (MHC are increasingly threatened by a growing number of anthropogenic stressors, including impacts from fishing, land-based sources of pollution, and ocean acidification. However, little is known about their geographic distributions (particularly around the Pacific islands because it is logistically challenging and expensive to gather data in the 30 to 150 meter depth range where these organisms typically live. The goal of this study was to begin to fill this knowledge gap by modelling and predicting the spatial distribution of three genera of mesophotic hard corals offshore of Maui in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Maximum Entropy modeling software was used to create separate maps of predicted probability of occurrence and uncertainty for: (1 Leptoseris, (2 Montipora, and (3 Porites. Genera prevalence was derived from the in situ presence/absence data, and used to convert relative habitat suitability to probability of occurrence values. Approximately 1,300 georeferenced records of the occurrence of MHC, and 34 environmental predictors were used to train the model ensembles. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC Area Under the Curve (AUC values were between 0.89 and 0.97, indicating excellent overall model performance. Mean uncertainty and mean absolute error for the spatial predictions ranged from 0.006% to 0.05% and 3.73% to 17.6%, respectively. Depth, distance from shore, euphotic depth (mean and standard deviation and sea surface temperature (mean and standard deviation were identified as the six most influential predictor variables for partitioning habitats among the three genera. MHC were concentrated between Hanaka'ō'ō and Papawai Points offshore of western Maui most likely because this area hosts warmer, clearer and calmer water conditions almost year round. While these predictions helped to fill some knowledge gaps offshore of Maui, many information gaps remain in the Hawaiian Archipelago and Pacific Islands. This

  16. Bacterial communities associated with Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS) on three western Indian Ocean (WIO) coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Porites lutea, an important reef-building coral on western Indian Ocean reefs (WIO), is affected by a newly-reported white syndrome (WS) the Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Histopathology and culture-independent molecular techniques were used to characterise the microbial communities associated with this emerging disease. Microscopy showed extensive tissue fragmentation generally associated with ovoid basophilic bodies resembling bacterial aggregates. Results of 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed a high variability between bacterial communities associated with PWPS-infected and healthy tissues in P. lutea, a pattern previously reported in other coral diseases such as black band disease (BBD), white band disease (WBD) and white plague diseases (WPD). Furthermore, substantial variations in bacterial communities were observed at the different sampling locations, suggesting that there is no strong bacterial association in Porites lutea on WIO reefs. Several sequences affiliated with potential pathogens belonging to the Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae were identified, mainly in PWPS-infected coral tissues. Among them, only two ribotypes affiliated to Shimia marina (NR043300.1) and Vibrio hepatarius (NR025575.1) were consistently found in diseased tissues from the three geographically distant sampling localities. The role of these bacterial species in PWPS needs to be tested experimentally.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  18. Identifying pathogenicity of human variants via paralog-based yeast complementation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fan Yang

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available To better understand the health implications of personal genomes, we now face a largely unmet challenge to identify functional variants within disease-associated genes. Functional variants can be identified by trans-species complementation, e.g., by failure to rescue a yeast strain bearing a mutation in an orthologous human gene. Although orthologous complementation assays are powerful predictors of pathogenic variation, they are available for only a few percent of human disease genes. Here we systematically examine the question of whether complementation assays based on paralogy relationships can expand the number of human disease genes with functional variant detection assays. We tested over 1,000 paralogous human-yeast gene pairs for complementation, yielding 34 complementation relationships, of which 33 (97% were novel. We found that paralog-based assays identified disease variants with success on par with that of orthology-based assays. Combining all homology-based assay results, we found that complementation can often identify pathogenic variants outside the homologous sequence region, presumably because of global effects on protein folding or stability. Within our search space, paralogy-based complementation more than doubled the number of human disease genes with a yeast-based complementation assay for disease variation.

  19. 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.

  20. Global habitat suitability for framework-forming cold-water corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew J Davies

    Full Text Available Predictive habitat models are increasingly being used by conservationists, researchers and governmental bodies to identify vulnerable ecosystems and species' distributions in areas that have not been sampled. However, in the deep sea, several limitations have restricted the widespread utilisation of this approach. These range from issues with the accuracy of species presences, the lack of reliable absence data and the limited spatial resolution of environmental factors known or thought to control deep-sea species' distributions. To address these problems, global habitat suitability models have been generated for five species of framework-forming scleractinian corals by taking the best available data and using a novel approach to generate high resolution maps of seafloor conditions. High-resolution global bathymetry was used to resample gridded data from sources such as World Ocean Atlas to produce continuous 30-arc second (∼1 km(2 global grids for environmental, chemical and physical data of the world's oceans. The increased area and resolution of the environmental variables resulted in a greater number of coral presence records being incorporated into habitat models and higher accuracy of model predictions. The most important factors in determining cold-water coral habitat suitability were depth, temperature, aragonite saturation state and salinity. Model outputs indicated the majority of suitable coral habitat is likely to occur on the continental shelves and slopes of the Atlantic, South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The North Pacific has very little suitable scleractinian coral habitat. Numerous small scale features (i.e., seamounts, which have not been sampled or identified as having a high probability of supporting cold-water coral habitat were identified in all ocean basins. Field validation of newly identified areas is needed to determine the accuracy of model results, assess the utility of modelling efforts to identify vulnerable marine

  1. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

    study identified bottlenecks to recovery of coral assemblages that varied depending on post-disturbance habitat condition.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gareth J Williams

    2010-02-01

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

  3. Genetic screens to identify pathogenic gene variants in the common cancer predisposition Lynch syndrome

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Drost, Mark; Lützen, Anne; van Hees, Sandrine

    2013-01-01

    In many individuals suspected of the common cancer predisposition Lynch syndrome, variants of unclear significance (VUS), rather than an obviously pathogenic mutations, are identified in one of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. The uncertainty of whether such VUS inactivate MMR, and therefore...... function. When a residue identified as mutated in an individual suspected of Lynch syndrome is listed as critical in such a reverse diagnosis catalog, there is a high probability that the corresponding human VUS is pathogenic. To investigate the applicability of this approach, we have generated....... Nearly half of these critical residues match with VUS previously identified in individuals suspected of Lynch syndrome. This aids in the assignment of pathogenicity to these human VUS and validates the approach described here as a diagnostic tool. In a wider perspective, this work provides a model...

  4. Linking Ecological and Perceptual Assessments for Environmental Management: a Coral Reef Case Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A. Dinsdale

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Integrating information from a range of community members in environmental management provides a more complete assessment of the problem and a diversification of management options, but is difficult to achieve. To investigate the relationship between different environmental interpretations, I compared three distinct measures of anchor damage on coral reefs: ecological measures, perceptual meanings, and subjective health judgments. The ecological measures identified an increase in the number of overturned corals and a reduction in coral cover, the perceptual meanings identified a loss of visual quality, and the health judgments identified a reduction in the health of the coral reef sites associated with high levels of anchoring. Combining the perceptual meanings and health judgments identified that the judgment of environmental health was a key feature that both scientific and lay participants used to describe the environment. Some participants in the survey were familiar with the coral reef environment, and others were not. However, they provided consistent judgment of a healthy coral reef, suggesting that these judgments were not linked to present-day experiences. By combining subjective judgments and ecological measures, the point at which the environment is deemed to lose visual quality was identified; for these coral reefs, if the level of damage rose above 10.3% and the cover of branching corals dropped below 17.1%, the reefs were described as unhealthy. Therefore, by combining the information, a management agency can involve the community in identifying when remedial action is required or when management policies are effectively maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

  5. The presence of the cyanobacterial toxin microcystin in black band disease of corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Laurie L; Sekar, Raju; Myers, Jamie L; Gantar, Miroslav; Voss, Joshua D; Kaczmarsky, Longin; Remily, Elizabeth R; Boyer, Gregory L; Zimba, Paul V

    2007-07-01

    Black band disease (BBD) is a migrating, cyanobacterial dominated, sulfide-rich microbial mat that moves across coral colonies lysing coral tissue. While it is known that BBD sulfate-reducing bacteria contribute to BBD pathogenicity by production of sulfide, additional mechanisms of toxicity may be involved. Using HPLC/MS, the cyanotoxin microcystin was detected in 22 field samples of BBD collected from five coral species on nine reefs of the wider Caribbean (Florida Keys and Bahamas). Two cyanobacterial cultures isolated from BBD, Geitlerinema and Leptolyngbya sp. contained microcystin based on HPLC/MS, with toxic activity confirmed using the protein phosphatase inhibition assay. The gene mcyA from the microcystin synthesis complex was detected in two field samples and from both BBD cyanobacterial cultures. Microcystin was not detected in six BBD samples from a different area of the Caribbean (St Croix, USVI) and the Philippines, suggesting regional specificity for BBD microcystin. This is the first report of the presence of microcystin in a coral disease.

  6. Climate-change refugia: shading reef corals by turbidity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cacciapaglia, Chris; van Woesik, Robert

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs have recently experienced an unprecedented decline as the world's oceans continue to warm. Yet global climate models reveal a heterogeneously warming ocean, which has initiated a search for refuges, where corals may survive in the near future. We hypothesized that some turbid nearshore environments may act as climate-change refuges, shading corals from the harmful interaction between high sea-surface temperatures and high irradiance. We took a hierarchical Bayesian approach to determine the expected distribution of 12 coral species in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between the latitudes 37°N and 37°S, under representative concentration pathway 8.5 (W m(-2) ) by 2100. The turbid nearshore refuges identified in this study were located between latitudes 20-30°N and 15-25°S, where there was a strong coupling between turbidity and tidal fluctuations. Our model predicts that turbidity will mitigate high temperature bleaching for 9% of shallow reef habitat (to 30 m depth) - habitat that was previously considered inhospitable under ocean warming. Our model also predicted that turbidity will protect some coral species more than others from climate-change-associated thermal stress. We also identified locations where consistently high turbidity will likely reduce irradiance to turbid nearshore refuges identified in this study, particularly in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the northern Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands (Japan), eastern Vietnam, western and eastern Australia, New Caledonia, the northern Red Sea, and the Arabian Gulf, should become part of a judicious global strategy for reef-coral persistence under climate change. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. CORAL CONDITION: HOW TO FATHOM THE DECLINE OF CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have experienced unprecedented levels of bleaching, disease and mortality during the last three decades. The goal of EPA-ORD research is to identify the culpable stressors in different species, reefs and regions using integrated field and laboratory studies.

  8. 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

  9. Workshop on Biological Integrity of Coral Reefs August 21-22, 2012, Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, Isla Magueyes, La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    This report summarizes an EPA-sponsored workshop on coral reef biological integrity held at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico on August 21-22, 2012. The goals of this workshop were to:• Identify key qualitative and quantitative ecological characterist...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

  11. Metagenomic analysis indicates that stressors induce production of herpes-like viruses in the coral Porites compressa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca L.; Barott, Katie L.; Hall, Dana; Liu, Hong; Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran; Desnues, Christelle; Edwards, Robert A.; Haynes, Matthew; Angly, Florent E.; Wegley, Linda; Rohwer, Forest L.

    2008-01-01

    During the last several decades corals have been in decline and at least one-third of all coral species are now threatened with extinction. Coral disease has been a major contributor to this threat, but little is known about the responsible pathogens. To date most research has focused on bacterial and fungal diseases; however, viruses may also be important for coral health. Using a combination of empirical viral metagenomics and real-time PCR, we show that Porites compressa corals contain a suite of eukaryotic viruses, many related to the Herpesviridae. This coral-associated viral consortium was found to shift in response to abiotic stressors. In particular, when exposed to reduced pH, elevated nutrients, and thermal stress, the abundance of herpes-like viral sequences rapidly increased in 2 separate experiments. Herpes-like viral sequences were rarely detected in apparently healthy corals, but were abundant in a majority of stressed samples. In addition, surveys of the Nematostella and Hydra genomic projects demonstrate that even distantly related Cnidarians contain numerous herpes-like viral genes, likely as a result of latent or endogenous viral infection. These data support the hypotheses that corals experience viral infections, which are exacerbated by stress, and that herpes-like viruses are common in Cnidarians. PMID:19017800

  12. The FUN of identifying gene function in bacterial pathogens; insights from Salmonella functional genomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hammarlöf, Disa L; Canals, Rocío; Hinton, Jay C D

    2013-10-01

    The availability of thousands of genome sequences of bacterial pathogens poses a particular challenge because each genome contains hundreds of genes of unknown function (FUN). How can we easily discover which FUN genes encode important virulence factors? One solution is to combine two different functional genomic approaches. First, transcriptomics identifies bacterial FUN genes that show differential expression during the process of mammalian infection. Second, global mutagenesis identifies individual FUN genes that the pathogen requires to cause disease. The intersection of these datasets can reveal a small set of candidate genes most likely to encode novel virulence attributes. We demonstrate this approach with the Salmonella infection model, and propose that a similar strategy could be used for other bacterial pathogens. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Proline-rich peptide from the coral pathogen Vibrio shiloi that inhibits photosynthesis of Zooxanthellae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banin, E; Khare, S K; Naider, F; Rosenberg, E

    2001-04-01

    The coral-bleaching bacterium Vibrio shiloi biosynthesizes and secretes an extracellular peptide, referred to as toxin P, which inhibits photosynthesis of coral symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). Toxin P was produced during the stationary phase when the bacterium was grown on peptone or Casamino Acids media at 29 degrees C. Glycerol inhibited the production of toxin P. Toxin P was purified to homogeneity, yielding the following 12-residue peptide: PYPVYAPPPVVP (molecular weight, 1,295.54). The structure of toxin P was confirmed by chemical synthesis. In the presence of 12.5 mM NH(4)Cl, pure natural or synthetic toxin P (10 microM) caused a 64% decrease in the photosynthetic quantum yield of zooxanthellae within 5 min. The inhibition was proportional to the toxin P concentration. Toxin P bound avidly to zooxanthellae, such that subsequent addition of NH(4)Cl resulted in rapid inhibition of photosynthesis. When zooxanthellae were incubated in the presence of NH(4)Cl and toxin P, there was a rapid decrease in the pH (pH 7.8 to 7.2) of the bulk liquid, suggesting that toxin P facilitates transport of NH(3) into the cell. It is known that uptake of NH(3) into cells can destroy the pH gradient and block photosynthesis. This mode of action of toxin P can help explain the mechanism of coral bleaching by V. shiloi.

  14. Microbial ecology of four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A Dinsdale

    Full Text Available Microbes are key players in both healthy and degraded coral reefs. A combination of metagenomics, microscopy, culturing, and water chemistry were used to characterize microbial communities on four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands, central Pacific. Kingman, a small uninhabited atoll which lies most northerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of an open ocean ecosystem. On this atoll the microbial community was equally divided between autotrophs (mostly Prochlorococcus spp. and heterotrophs. In contrast, Kiritimati, a large and populated ( approximately 5500 people atoll, which is most southerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of a near-shore environment. On Kiritimati, there were 10 times more microbial cells and virus-like particles in the water column and these microbes were dominated by heterotrophs, including a large percentage of potential pathogens. Culturable Vibrios were common only on Kiritimati. The benthic community on Kiritimati had the highest prevalence of coral disease and lowest coral cover. The middle atolls, Palmyra and Tabuaeran, had intermediate densities of microbes and viruses and higher percentages of autotrophic microbes than either Kingman or Kiritimati. The differences in microbial communities across atolls could reflect variation in 1 oceaonographic and/or hydrographic conditions or 2 human impacts associated with land-use and fishing. The fact that historically Kingman and Kiritimati did not differ strongly in their fish or benthic communities (both had large numbers of sharks and high coral cover suggest an anthropogenic component in the differences in the microbial communities. Kingman is one of the world's most pristine coral reefs, and this dataset should serve as a baseline for future studies of coral reef microbes. Obtaining the microbial data set, from atolls is particularly important given the association of microbes in the ongoing degradation

  15. Microbial Ecology of Four Coral Atolls in the Northern Line Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smriga, Steven; Edwards, Robert A.; Angly, Florent; Wegley, Linda; Hatay, Mark; Hall, Dana; Brown, Elysa; Haynes, Matthew; Krause, Lutz; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A.; Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Willis, Bette L.; Azam, Farooq; Knowlton, Nancy; Rohwer, Forest

    2008-01-01

    Microbes are key players in both healthy and degraded coral reefs. A combination of metagenomics, microscopy, culturing, and water chemistry were used to characterize microbial communities on four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands, central Pacific. Kingman, a small uninhabited atoll which lies most northerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of an open ocean ecosystem. On this atoll the microbial community was equally divided between autotrophs (mostly Prochlorococcus spp.) and heterotrophs. In contrast, Kiritimati, a large and populated (∼5500 people) atoll, which is most southerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of a near-shore environment. On Kiritimati, there were 10 times more microbial cells and virus-like particles in the water column and these microbes were dominated by heterotrophs, including a large percentage of potential pathogens. Culturable Vibrios were common only on Kiritimati. The benthic community on Kiritimati had the highest prevalence of coral disease and lowest coral cover. The middle atolls, Palmyra and Tabuaeran, had intermediate densities of microbes and viruses and higher percentages of autotrophic microbes than either Kingman or Kiritimati. The differences in microbial communities across atolls could reflect variation in 1) oceaonographic and/or hydrographic conditions or 2) human impacts associated with land-use and fishing. The fact that historically Kingman and Kiritimati did not differ strongly in their fish or benthic communities (both had large numbers of sharks and high coral cover) suggest an anthropogenic component in the differences in the microbial communities. Kingman is one of the world's most pristine coral reefs, and this dataset should serve as a baseline for future studies of coral reef microbes. Obtaining the microbial data set, from atolls is particularly important given the association of microbes in the ongoing degradation of coral reef ecosystems

  16. Coral Reef Resilience, Tipping Points and the Strength of Herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J

    2016-11-02

    Coral reefs increasingly are undergoing transitions from coral to macroalgal dominance. Although the functional roles of reef herbivores in controlling algae are becoming better understood, identifying possible tipping points in the herbivory-macroalgae relationships has remained a challenge. Assessment of where any coral reef ecosystem lies in relation to the coral-to-macroalgae tipping point is fundamental to understanding resilience properties, forecasting state shifts, and developing effective management practices. We conducted a multi-year field experiment in Moorea, French Polynesia to estimate these properties. While we found a sharp herbivory threshold where macroalgae escape control, ambient levels of herbivory by reef fishes were well above that needed to prevent proliferation of macroalgae. These findings are consistent with previously observed high resilience of the fore reef in Moorea. Our approach can identify vulnerable coral reef systems in urgent need of management action to both forestall shifts to macroalgae and preserve properties essential for resilience.

  17. Predicting Heat Stress to Inform Reef Management: NOAA Coral Reef Watch's 4-Month Coral Bleaching Outlook

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gang Liu

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW operates a global 4-Month Coral Bleaching Outlook system for shallow-water coral reefs in collaboration with NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP. The Outlooks are generated by applying the algorithm used in CRW's operational satellite coral bleaching heat stress monitoring, with slight modifications, to the sea surface temperature (SST predictions from NCEP's operational Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2. Once a week, the probability of heat stress capable of causing mass coral bleaching is predicted for 4-months in advance. Each day, CFSv2 generates an ensemble of 16 forecasts, with nine runs out to 45-days, three runs out to 3-months, and four runs out to 9-months. This results in 28–112 ensemble members produced each week. A composite for each predicted week is derived from daily predictions within each ensemble member. The probability of each of four heat stress ranges (Watch and higher, Warning and higher, Alert Level 1 and higher, and Alert Level 2 is determined from all the available ensemble members for the week to form the weekly probabilistic Outlook. The probabilistic 4-Month Outlook is the highest weekly probability predicted among all the weekly Outlooks during a 4-month period for each of the stress ranges. An initial qualitative skill analysis of the Outlooks for 2011–2015, compared with CRW's satellite-based coral bleaching heat stress products, indicated the Outlook has performed well with high hit rates and low miss rates for most coral reef areas. Regions identified with high false alarm rates will guide future improvements. This Outlook system, as the first and only freely available global coral bleaching prediction system, has been providing critical early warning to marine resource managers, scientists, and decision makers around the world to guide management, protection, and monitoring of coral reefs

  18. The giant Mauritanian cold-water coral mound province: Oxygen control on coral mound formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wienberg, Claudia; Titschack, Jürgen; Freiwald, André; Frank, Norbert; Lundälv, Tomas; Taviani, Marco; Beuck, Lydia; Schröder-Ritzrau, Andrea; Krengel, Thomas; Hebbeln, Dierk

    2018-04-01

    The largest coherent cold-water coral (CWC) mound province in the Atlantic Ocean exists along the Mauritanian margin, where up to 100 m high mounds extend over a distance of ∼400 km, arranged in two slope-parallel chains in 400-550 m water depth. Additionally, CWCs are present in the numerous submarine canyons with isolated coral mounds being developed on some canyon flanks. Seventy-seven Uranium-series coral ages were assessed to elucidate the timing of CWC colonisation and coral mound development along the Mauritanian margin for the last ∼120,000 years. Our results show that CWCs were present on the mounds during the Last Interglacial, though in low numbers corresponding to coral mound aggradation rates of 16 cm kyr-1. Most prolific periods for CWC growth are identified for the last glacial and deglaciation, resulting in enhanced mound aggradation (>1000 cm kyr-1), before mound formation stagnated along the entire margin with the onset of the Holocene. Until today, the Mauritanian mounds are in a dormant state with only scarce CWC growth. In the canyons, live CWCs are abundant since the Late Holocene at least. Thus, the canyons may serve as a refuge to CWCs potentially enabling the observed modest re-colonisation pulse on the mounds along the open slope. The timing and rate of the pre-Holocene coral mound aggradation, and the cessation of mound formation varied between the individual mounds, which was likely the consequence of vertical/lateral changes in water mass structure that placed the mounds near or out of oxygen-depleted waters, respectively.

  19. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

  20. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004 from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7% and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5% and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP, recovering pre-disturbance (1979 levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (<6% reduction. Despite

  1. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific) coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zapata, Fernando A; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Caro-Zambrano, Carlos; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC) was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004) from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7%) and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5%) and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP), recovering pre-disturbance (1979) levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (< 6% reduction). Despite recurrent

  2. 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).

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-21

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

  5. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Linda Wegley; Barott, Katie L; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Friedlander, Alan M; Nosrat, Bahador; Obura, David; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A; Smith, Jennifer E; Vermeij, Mark J A; Williams, Gareth J; Willner, Dana; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-03-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the shipwreck debris are characterized by high benthic cover of turf algae, macroalgae, cyanobacterial mats and corallimorphs, as well as particulate-laden, cloudy water. These sites also have very low coral and crustose coralline algal cover and are call black reefs because of the dark-colored benthic community and reduced clarity of the overlying water column. Here we use a combination of benthic surveys, chemistry, metagenomics and microcosms to investigate if and how shipwrecks initiate and maintain black reefs. Comparative surveys show that the live coral cover was reduced from 40 to 60% to reefs on Millennium, Tabuaeran and Kingman. These three sites are relatively large (>0.75 km(2)). The phase shift occurs rapidly; the Kingman black reef formed within 3 years of the ship grounding. Iron concentrations in algae tissue from the Millennium black reef site were six times higher than in algae collected from reference sites. Metagenomic sequencing of the Millennium Atoll black reef-associated microbial community was enriched in iron-associated virulence genes and known pathogens. Microcosm experiments showed that corals were killed by black reef rubble through microbial activity. Together these results demonstrate that shipwrecks and their associated iron pose significant threats to coral reefs in iron-limited regions.

  6. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lobel, Lisa

    2000-01-01

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

  7. Deep-sea coral research and technology program: Alaska deep-sea coral and sponge initiative final report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rooper, Chris; Stone, Robert P.; Etnoyer, Peter; Conrath, Christina; Reynolds, Jennifer; Greene, H. Gary; Williams, Branwen; Salgado, Enrique; Morrison, Cheryl L.; Waller, Rhian G.; Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.

    2017-01-01

    Deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems are widespread throughout most of Alaska’s marine waters. In some places, such as the central and western Aleutian Islands, deep-sea coral and sponge resources can be extremely diverse and may rank among the most abundant deep-sea coral and sponge communities in the world. Many different species of fishes and invertebrates are associated with deep-sea coral and sponge communities in Alaska. Because of their biology, these benthic invertebrates are potentially impacted by climate change and ocean acidification. Deepsea coral and sponge ecosystems are also vulnerable to the effects of commercial fishing activities. Because of the size and scope of Alaska’s continental shelf and slope, the vast majority of the area has not been visually surveyed for deep-sea corals and sponges. NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP) sponsored a field research program in the Alaska region between 2012–2015, referred to hereafter as the Alaska Initiative. The priorities for Alaska were derived from ongoing data needs and objectives identified by the DSCRTP, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), and Essential Fish Habitat-Environmental Impact Statement (EFH-EIS) process.This report presents the results of 15 projects conducted using DSCRTP funds from 2012-2015. Three of the projects conducted as part of the Alaska deep-sea coral and sponge initiative included dedicated at-sea cruises and fieldwork spread across multiple years. These projects were the eastern Gulf of Alaska Primnoa pacifica study, the Aleutian Islands mapping study, and the Gulf of Alaska fish productivity study. In all, there were nine separate research cruises carried out with a total of 109 at-sea days conducting research. The remaining projects either used data and samples collected by the three major fieldwork projects or were piggy-backed onto existing research programs at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC).

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

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

  10. 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

  11. SPECTRAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SELECTED HERMATYPIC CORALS FROM GULF OF KACHCHH, INDIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Ray Chaudhury

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Hermatypic, scleractinian corals are the most important benthic substrates in a coral reef ecosystem. The existing, high (spatial resolution, broad-band, multi-spectral, space-borne sensors have limited capability to spatially detect and spectrally discriminate coral substrates. In situ hyperspectral signatures of eight coral targets were collected with the help of Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec spectroradiometer from Paga and Laku Point reefs of Gulf of Kachchh, India to study the spectral behaviour of corals. The eight coral targets consisted of seven live corals representing four distinct colony morphologies and one bleached coral target. The coral spectra were studied over a continuous range of 350 to 1350 nm. The corals strongly reflected in the NIR and MIR regions with regional central maximas located at 820 and 1070 nm respectively. In the visible region the live coral spectra conformed to "brown mode" of coral reflectance with triple-peaked pattern at 575, 600 and 650 nm. All coral spectra are characterized with two distinct absorption features: chlorophyll absorption at 675 nm and water absorption at 975 nm. The live and the bleached corals get distinguished in the visible region over 400 to 600 nm region. Water column over the targets modifies the spectral shape and magnitude. First and second-order derivatives help in identifying spectral windows to distinguish live and bleached corals.

  12. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

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

  13. Presence of Aspergillus sydowii, a pathogen of gorgonian sea fans in the marine sponge Spongia obscura.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ein-Gil, Neta; Ilan, Micha; Carmeli, Shmuel; Smith, Garriet W; Pawlik, Joseph R; Yarden, Oded

    2009-06-01

    The fungus Aspergillus sydowii is the causative agent of epidemics that affect gorgonian corals (sea fans) and has significantly affected their populations in the Caribbean Sea. We have isolated a strain of A. sydowii from healthy marine sponges (Spongia obscura) collected in Bahamian inshore waters. After its identification on the basis of morphology, molecular markers and chemical profiling followed by pathogenicity tests, we found this strain to be highly similar to a strain isolated from diseased coral, and have shown the capacity of this fungus to persist in sponge environment. Our findings suggest that sponges have the possibility of being reservoirs of a potential marine pathogen.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-17

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

  16. What's the risk? Identifying potential human pathogens within grey-headed flying foxes faeces.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebekah Henry

    Full Text Available Pteropus poliocephalus (grey-headed flying foxes are recognised vectors for a range of potentially fatal human pathogens. However, to date research has primarily focused on viral disease carriage, overlooking bacterial pathogens, which also represent a significant human disease risk. The current study applied 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, community analysis and a multi-tiered database OTU picking approach to identify faecal-derived zoonotic bacteria within two colonies of P. poliocephalus from Victoria, Australia. Our data show that sequences associated with Enterobacteriaceae (62.8% ± 24.7%, Pasteurellaceae (19.9% ± 25.7% and Moraxellaceae (9.4% ± 11.8% dominate flying fox faeces. Further colony specific differences in bacterial faecal colonisation patterns were also identified. In total, 34 potential pathogens, representing 15 genera, were identified. However, species level definition was only possible for Clostridium perfringens, which likely represents a low infectious risk due to the low proportion observed within the faeces and high infectious dose required for transmission. In contrast, sequences associated with other pathogenic species clusters such as Haemophilus haemolyticus-H. influenzae and Salmonella bongori-S. enterica, were present at high proportions in the faeces, and due to their relatively low infectious doses and modes of transmissions, represent a greater potential human disease risk. These analyses of the microbial community composition of Pteropus poliocephalus have significantly advanced our understanding of the potential bacterial disease risk associated with flying foxes and should direct future epidemiological and quantitative microbial risk assessments to further define the health risks presented by these animals.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tong Zhang

    2016-11-01

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

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

    CERN Document Server

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:24400078

  1. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

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

  3. Identifying pathogenicity genes in the rubber tree anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides through random insertional mutagenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cai, Zhiying; Li, Guohua; Lin, Chunhua; Shi, Tao; Zhai, Ligang; Chen, Yipeng; Huang, Guixiu

    2013-07-19

    To gain more insight into the molecular mechanisms of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides pathogenesis, Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) was used to identify mutants of C. gloeosporioides impaired in pathogenicity. An ATMT library of 4128 C. gloeosporioides transformants was generated. Transformants were screened for defects in pathogenicity with a detached copper brown leaf assay. 32 mutants showing reproducible pathogenicity defects were obtained. Southern blot analysis showed 60.4% of the transformants had single-site T-DNA integrations. 16 Genomic sequences flanking T-DNA were recovered from mutants by thermal asymmetric interlaced PCR, and were used to isolate the tagged genes from the genome sequence of wild-type C. gloeosporioides by Basic Local Alignment Search Tool searches against the local genome database of the wild-type C. gloeosporioides. One potential pathogenicity genes encoded calcium-translocating P-type ATPase. Six potential pathogenicity genes had no known homologs in filamentous fungi and were likely to be novel fungal virulence factors. Two putative genes encoded Glycosyltransferase family 28 domain-containing protein and Mov34/MPN/PAD-1 family protein, respectively. Five potential pathogenicity genes had putative function matched with putative protein of other Colletotrichum species. Two known C. gloeosporioides pathogenicity genes were also identified, the encoding Glomerella cingulata hard-surface induced protein and C. gloeosporioides regulatory subunit of protein kinase A gene involved in cAMP-dependent PKA signal transduction pathway. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

    The rise of coral diseases has triggered a surge of interest in coral microbial communities. But to fully understand how the coral microbiome may cause or respond to disease, we must first understand structure and variation in the healthy coral microbiome. We used 16S rRNA sequencing to characterize the microbiomes of 100 healthy coral colonies from six Caribbean coral species (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Diploria strigosa, Porites astreoides and P. furcata) across four reefs and three time points over 1 year. We found host species to be the strongest driver of coral microbiome structure across site and time. Analysis of the core microbiome revealed remarkable similarity in the bacterial taxa represented across coral hosts and many bacterial phylotypes shared across all corals sampled. Some of these widespread bacterial taxa have been identified in Pacific corals, indicating that a core coral microbiome may extend across oceans. Core bacterial phylotypes that were unique to each coral were taxonomically diverse, suggesting that different coral hosts provide persistent, divergent niches for bacteria. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. 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.

  6. Predicted deep-sea coral habitat suitability for the U.S. West coast.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John M Guinotte

    Full Text Available Regional scale habitat suitability models provide finer scale resolution and more focused predictions of where organisms may occur. Previous modelling approaches have focused primarily on local and/or global scales, while regional scale models have been relatively few. In this study, regional scale predictive habitat models are presented for deep-sea corals for the U.S. West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington. Model results are intended to aid in future research or mapping efforts and to assess potential coral habitat suitability both within and outside existing bottom trawl closures (i.e. Essential Fish Habitat (EFH and identify suitable habitat within U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS. Deep-sea coral habitat suitability was modelled at 500 m×500 m spatial resolution using a range of physical, chemical and environmental variables known or thought to influence the distribution of deep-sea corals. Using a spatial partitioning cross-validation approach, maximum entropy models identified slope, temperature, salinity and depth as important predictors for most deep-sea coral taxa. Large areas of highly suitable deep-sea coral habitat were predicted both within and outside of existing bottom trawl closures and NMS boundaries. Predicted habitat suitability over regional scales are not currently able to identify coral areas with pin point accuracy and probably overpredict actual coral distribution due to model limitations and unincorporated variables (i.e. data on distribution of hard substrate that are known to limit their distribution. Predicted habitat results should be used in conjunction with multibeam bathymetry, geological mapping and other tools to guide future research efforts to areas with the highest probability of harboring deep-sea corals. Field validation of predicted habitat is needed to quantify model accuracy, particularly in areas that have not been sampled.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rosset, Sabrina; Wiedenmann, Jörg; Reed, Adam J.; D'Angelo, Cecilia

    2017-01-01

    Enrichment of reef environments with dissolved inorganic nutrients is considered a major threat to the survival of corals living in symbiosis with dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium sp.). We argue, however, that the direct negative effects on the symbiosis are not necessarily caused by the nutrient enrichment itself but by the phosphorus starvation of the algal symbionts that can be caused by skewed nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) ratios. We exposed corals to imbalanced N:P ratios in long-term experiments and found that the undersupply of phosphate severely disturbed the symbiosis, indicated by the loss of coral biomass, malfunctioning of algal photosynthesis and bleaching of the corals. In contrast, the corals tolerated an undersupply with nitrogen at high phosphate concentrations without negative effects on symbiont photosynthesis, suggesting a better adaptation to nitrogen limitation. Transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed that the signatures of ultrastructural biomarkers represent versatile tools for the classification of nutrient stress in symbiotic algae. Notably, high N:P ratios in the water were clearly identified by the accumulation of uric acid crystals. - Highlights: • Undersupply with dissolved inorganic phosphate causes coral bleaching. • Ultrastructural biomarkers in algal symbionts identify nutrient stress in reef corals. • Uric acid crystals in zooxanthellae identify high N:P ratios in the water column. • Nitrate enrichment of the water causes phosphate deficiency in Symbiodinium. • Coral symbionts tolerate nitrogen limitation better than phosphorus limitation.

  10. Skeletal records of community-level bleaching in Porites corals from Palau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barkley, Hannah C.; Cohen, Anne L.

    2016-12-01

    Tropical Pacific sea surface temperature is projected to rise an additional 2-3 °C by the end of this century, driving an increase in the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching. With significant global coral reef cover already lost due to bleaching-induced mortality, efforts are underway to identify thermally tolerant coral communities that might survive projected warming. Massive, long-lived corals accrete skeletal bands of anomalously high density in response to episodes of thermal stress. These "stress bands" are potentially valuable proxies for thermal tolerance, but to date their application to questions of community bleaching history has been limited. Ecological surveys recorded bleaching of coral communities across the Palau archipelago during the 1998 and 2010 warm events. Between 2011 and 2015, we extracted skeletal cores from living Porites colonies at 10 sites spanning barrier reef and lagoon environments and quantified the proportion of stress bands present in each population during bleaching years. Across Palau, the prevalence of stress bands tracked the severity of thermal stress, with more stress bands occurring in 1998 (degree heating weeks = 13.57 °C-week) than during the less severe 2010 event (degree heating weeks = 4.86 °C-week). Stress band prevalence also varied by reef type, as more corals on the exposed barrier reef formed stress bands than did corals from sheltered lagoon environments. Comparison of Porites stress band prevalence with bleaching survey data revealed a strong correlation between percent community bleaching and the proportion of colonies with stress bands in each year. Conversely, annual calcification rates did not decline consistently during bleaching years nor did annually resolved calcification histories always track interannual variability in temperature. Our data suggest that stress bands in massive corals contain valuable information about spatial and temporal trends in coral reef bleaching and can aid in

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Conrad W Speed

    Full Text Available 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.

  14. Identifying Pathogenicity Islands in Bacterial Pathogenomics Using Computational Approaches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dongsheng Che

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available High-throughput sequencing technologies have made it possible to study bacteria through analyzing their genome sequences. For instance, comparative genome sequence analyses can reveal the phenomenon such as gene loss, gene gain, or gene exchange in a genome. By analyzing pathogenic bacterial genomes, we can discover that pathogenic genomic regions in many pathogenic bacteria are horizontally transferred from other bacteria, and these regions are also known as pathogenicity islands (PAIs. PAIs have some detectable properties, such as having different genomic signatures than the rest of the host genomes, and containing mobility genes so that they can be integrated into the host genome. In this review, we will discuss various pathogenicity island-associated features and current computational approaches for the identification of PAIs. Existing pathogenicity island databases and related computational resources will also be discussed, so that researchers may find it to be useful for the studies of bacterial evolution and pathogenicity mechanisms.

  15. Trophodynamics as a Tool for Understanding Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stacy L. Bierwagen

    2018-02-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  20. A Trait-Based Approach to Advance Coral Reef Science.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madin, Joshua S; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R; Darling, Emily S; Falster, Daniel S; Huang, Danwei; Keith, Sally A; Mizerek, Toni; Pandolfi, John M; Putnam, Hollie M; Baird, Andrew H

    2016-06-01

    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 hampered by a paucity of trait data for the many, often rare, species and by a reliance on nonquantitative approaches. Therefore, we propose filling data gaps by prioritizing traits that are easy to measure, estimating key traits for species with missing data, and identifying 'supertraits' that capture 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Transplantation of storm-generated coral fragments to enhance Caribbean coral reefs: A successful method but not a solution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia H. Garrison

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available In response to dramatic losses of reef-building corals and ongoing lack of recovery, a small-scale coral transplant project was initiated in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999 and was followed for 12 years. The primary objectives were to (1 identify a source of coral colonies for transplantation that would not result in damage to reefs, (2 test the feasibility of transplanting storm-generated coral fragments, and (3 develop a simple, inexpensive method for transplanting fragments that could be conducted by the local community. The ultimate goal was to enhance abundance of threatened reef-building species on local reefs. Storm-produced coral fragments of two threatened reef-building species [Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis (Acroporidae] and another fast-growing species [Porites porites (Poritidae] were collected from environments hostile to coral fragment survival and transplanted to degraded reefs. Inert nylon cable ties were used to attach transplanted coral fragments to dead coral substrate. Survival of 75 reference colonies and 60 transplants was assessed over 12 years. Only 9% of colonies were alive after 12 years: no A. cervicornis; 3% of A. palmata transplants and 18% of reference colonies; and 13% of P. porites transplants and 7% of reference colonies. Mortality rates for all species were high and were similar for transplant and reference colonies. Physical dislodgement resulted in the loss of 56% of colonies, whereas 35% died in place. Only A. palmata showed a difference between transplant and reference colony survival and that was in the first year only. Location was a factor in survival only for A. palmata reference colonies and after year 10. Even though the tested methods and concepts were proven effective in the field over the 12-year study, they do not present a solution. No coral conservation strategy will be effective until underlying intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors driving high mortality rates are understood and

  2. Relative Pigment Composition and Remote Sensing Reflectance of Caribbean Shallow-Water Corals.

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    Juan L Torres-Pérez

    Full Text Available Reef corals typically contain a number of pigments, mostly due to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. These pigments usually vary in presence and concentration and influence the spectral characteristics of corals. We studied the variations in pigment composition among seven Caribbean shallow-water Scleractinian corals by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC analysis to further resolve the discrimination of corals. We found a total of 27 different pigments among the coral species, including some alteration products of the main pigments. Additionally, pigments typically found in endolithic algae were also identified. A Principal Components Analysis and a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed the separation of coral species based on pigment composition. All the corals were collected under the same physical environmental conditions. This suggests that pigment in the coral's symbionts might be more genetically-determined than influenced by prevailing physical conditions of the reef. We further investigated the use of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs as a tool for estimating the total pigment concentration of reef corals. Depending on the coral species, the Rrs and the total symbiont pigment concentration per coral tissue area correlation showed 79.5-98.5% confidence levels demonstrating its use as a non-invasive robust technique to estimate pigment concentration in studies of coral reef biodiversity and health.

  3. Relative Pigment Composition and Remote Sensing Reflectance of Caribbean Shallow-Water Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Pérez, Juan L; Guild, Liane S; Armstrong, Roy A; Corredor, Jorge; Zuluaga-Montero, Anabella; Polanco, Ramón

    2015-01-01

    Reef corals typically contain a number of pigments, mostly due to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. These pigments usually vary in presence and concentration and influence the spectral characteristics of corals. We studied the variations in pigment composition among seven Caribbean shallow-water Scleractinian corals by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis to further resolve the discrimination of corals. We found a total of 27 different pigments among the coral species, including some alteration products of the main pigments. Additionally, pigments typically found in endolithic algae were also identified. A Principal Components Analysis and a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed the separation of coral species based on pigment composition. All the corals were collected under the same physical environmental conditions. This suggests that pigment in the coral's symbionts might be more genetically-determined than influenced by prevailing physical conditions of the reef. We further investigated the use of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) as a tool for estimating the total pigment concentration of reef corals. Depending on the coral species, the Rrs and the total symbiont pigment concentration per coral tissue area correlation showed 79.5-98.5% confidence levels demonstrating its use as a non-invasive robust technique to estimate pigment concentration in studies of coral reef biodiversity and health.

  4. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chia-Min Hsu

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. A Study Of Environmental Impacts On The Coral Resources In The Vicinity Of The Saint Martin Island Bangladesh

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaikh Sayed Ahammed

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available A study of the environmental impacts on the coral resources in the vicinity of the Saint Martin Island Bangladesh was conducted with a view to making an assessment of the current status of coral resources in the island and identifying major natural and anthropogenic environmental threats to the future sustainability of these resources. It is evident that the coral resources have been reduced significantly and currently only 41 coral species are available. The existing environmental condition assessed by pH salinity turbidity and temperature in the island is not found responsible for the survival of the corals. The study also reveals that the major anthropogenic interventions are responsible for the gradual depletion of the coral resources. The major anthropogenic threats to the coral resources are coral collection and overfishing. In addition coral extraction is identified as a potential threat to the future integrity of coral communities in the island. Environmental threats from anthropogenic activities related to sedimentation land erosion and pollution are also the concerns for the coral communities in the island. For the conservation of the coral population no coral monitoring cell has been established in this island.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-06-25

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

  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. The link between immunity and life history traits in scleractinian corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge H. Pinzón C.

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Immunity is an important biological trait that influences the survival of individuals and the fitness of a species. Immune defenses are costly and likely compete for energy with other life-history traits, such as reproduction and growth, affecting the overall fitness of a species. Competition among these traits in scleractinian corals could influence the dynamics and structural integrity of coral reef communities. Due to variability in biological traits within populations and across species, it is likely that coral colonies within population/species adjust their immune system to the available resources. In corals, the innate immune system is composed of various pathways. The immune system components can be assessed in the absence (constitutive levels and/or presence of stressors/pathogens (immune response. Comparisons of the constitutive levels of three immune pathways (melanin synthesis, antioxidant and antimicrobial of closely related species of Scleractinian corals allowed to determine the link between immunity and reproduction and colony growth. First, we explored differences in constitutive immunity among closely related coral species of the genus Meandrina with different reproductive patterns (gonochoric vs. hermaphrodite. We then compared fast-growing branching vs. slow-growing massive Porites to test co-variation between constitutive immunity and growth rates and morphology in corals. Results indicate that there seems to be a relationship between constitutive immunity and sexual pattern with gonochoric species showing significantly higher levels of immunity than hermaphrodites. Therefore, gonochoric species maybe better suited to resist infections and overcome stressors. Constitutive immunity varied in relation with growth rates and colony morphology, but each species showed contrasting trends within the studied immune pathways. Fast-growing branching species appear to invest more in relatively low cost pathways of the immune system than

  11. Rayleigh-based, multi-element coral thermometry: A biomineralization approach to developing climate proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaetani, G.A.; Cohen, A.L.; Wang, Z.; Crusius, John

    2011-01-01

    This study presents a new approach to coral thermometry that deconvolves the influence of water temperature on skeleton composition from that of “vital effects”, and has the potential to provide estimates of growth temperatures that are accurate to within a few tenths of a degree Celsius from both tropical and cold-water corals. Our results provide support for a physico-chemical model of coral biomineralization, and imply that Mg2+ substitutes directly for Ca2+ in biogenic aragonite. Recent studies have identified Rayleigh fractionation as an important influence on the elemental composition of coral skeletons. Daily, seasonal and interannual variations in the amount of aragonite precipitated by corals from each “batch” of calcifying fluid can explain why the temperature dependencies of elemental ratios in coral skeleton differ from those of abiogenic aragonites, and are highly variable among individual corals. On the basis of this new insight into the origin of “vital effects” in coral skeleton, we developed a Rayleigh-based, multi-element approach to coral thermometry. Temperature is resolved from the Rayleigh fractionation signal by combining information from multiple element ratios (e.g., Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca) to produce a mathematically over-constrained system of Rayleigh equations. Unlike conventional coral thermometers, this approach does not rely on an initial calibration of coral skeletal composition to an instrumental temperature record. Rather, considering coral skeletogenesis as a biologically mediated, physico-chemical process provides a means to extract temperature information from the skeleton composition using the Rayleigh equation and a set of experimentally determined partition coefficients. Because this approach is based on a quantitative understanding of the mechanism that produces the “vital effect” it should be possible to apply it both across scleractinian species and to corals growing in vastly different environments. Where

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. In situ Analysis of Coral Recruits Using Fluorescence Imaging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adi Zweifler

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment is a fundamental process that influences coral population dynamics as well as reef community structure. To date, coral recruitment success rates are poorly quantified because survey methods are labor-intensive and require manual interpretation. Thus, they are prone to human errors and have low repeatability—a gap we aim to bridge in this research. Since both corals and their symbiotic algae contain fluorescent pigments (chlorophyll and fluorescent proteins, we used the non-invasive Fluorescence Imaging System (FluorIS and developed a methodology to acquire daytime fluorescent photographs and identify coral recruits in them. We tested our method by monitoring 20 random quadrats at two sites in the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel. The quadrats were surveyed once a month for 8 months in order to track the settlement, mortality and survival rates of new coral recruits. We demonstrate daytime imaging using our method and identification of coral recruits as small as 1 mm in diameter, in a 20 × 20 cm quadrat. Our results show that this photographic method reduces surveyor errors and improves precision. The surveys revealed that on average, there are ~2 new coral recruit settlements (<2 cm for a quadrat (40 cm2 per month and that 83% of them survive the first month. Our study suggests a relative stability in the Gulf of Aqaba coral population during the survey period. The ability to survey recruits during the day using low-cost, easy-to-use photographic equipment has the potential to contribute significantly to the standardization of coral reef monitoring and management tools, at a time when the world's coral reefs are declining due to local and global stressors.

  16. Coral lipids and environmental stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harriott, V J

    1993-04-01

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

  17. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-21

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

  1. Using reefcheck monitoring database to develop the coral reef index of biological integrity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nguyen, Hai Yen T.; Pedersen, Ole; Ikejima, Kou

    2009-01-01

    The coral reef indices of biological integrity was constituted based on the reef check monitoring data. Seventy six minimally disturbed sites and 72 maximallv disturbed sites in shallow water and 39 minimally disturbed sites and 37 maximally disturbed sites in deep water were classified based...... on the high-end and low-end percentages and ratios of hard coral, dead coral and fieshy algae. A total of 52 candidate metrics was identified and compiled, Eight and four metrics were finally selected to constitute the shallow and deep water coral reef indices respectively. The rating curve was applied.......05) and coral damaged by other factors -0.283 (pcoral reef indices were sensitive responses to stressors and can be capable to use as the coral reef biological monitoring tool....

  2. Comparing deep-sea fish fauna between coral and non-coral "megahabitats" in the Santa Maria di Leuca cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gianfranco D'Onghia

    Full Text Available Two experimental longline surveys were carried out in the Santa Maria di Leuca (SML cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea during May-June and September-October 2010 to investigate the effect of corals on fish assemblages. Two types of "megahabitat" characterized by the virtual absence of fishing were explored. One was characterized by complex topography including mesohabitats with carbonate mounds and corals. The other type of megahabitat, although characterized by complex topographic features, lacks carbonate mounds and corals. The fishing vessel was equipped with a 3,000 m monofilament longline with 500 hooks and snoods of 2.5 m in length. A total of 9 hauls, using about 4,500 hooks, were carried out both in the coral megahabitat and in the non-coral megahabitat during each survey. The fish Leucoraja fullonica and Pteroplatytrygon violacea represent new records for the SML coral province. The coral by-catch was only obtained in the coral megahabitat in about 55% of the stations investigated in both surveys. The total catches and the abundance indices of several species were comparable between the two habitat typologies. The species contributing most to the dissimilarity between the two megahabitat fish assemblages were Pagellus bogaraveo, Galeus melastomus, Etmopterus spinax and Helicolenus dactylopterus for density and P. bogaraveo, Conger conger, Polyprion americanus and G. melastomus for biomass. P. bogaraveo was exclusively collected in the coral megahabitat, whereas C. conger, H. dactylopterus and P. americanus were found with greater abundance in the coral than in the non-coral megahabitat. Differences in the sizes between the two megahabitats were detected in E. spinax, G. melastomus, C. conger and H. dactylopterus. Although these differences most probably related to the presence-absence of corals, both megahabitats investigated play the role of attraction-refuge for deep-sea fish fauna, confirming the important role of the whole

  3. A clear human footprint in the coral reefs of the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, Camilo

    2008-04-07

    The recent degradation of coral reefs worldwide is increasingly well documented, yet the underlying causes remain debated. In this study, we used a large-scale database on the status of coral reef communities in the Caribbean and analysed it in combination with a comprehensive set of socioeconomic and environmental databases to decouple confounding factors and identify the drivers of change in coral reef communities. Our results indicated that human activities related to agricultural land use, coastal development, overfishing and climate change had created independent and overwhelming responses in fishes, corals and macroalgae. While the effective implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) increased the biomass of fish populations, coral reef builders and macroalgae followed patterns of change independent of MPAs. However, we also found significant ecological links among all these groups of organisms suggesting that the long-term stability of coral reefs as a whole requires a holistic and regional approach to the control of human-related stressors in addition to the improvement and establishment of new MPAs.

  4. Antifouling and antibacterial polyketides from marine gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bao, Jie; Sun, Yu-Lin; Zhang, Xiao-Yong; Han, Zhuang; Gao, Hai-Chun; He, Fei; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2013-04-01

    Two new polyketides, 6,8,5'6'-tetrahydroxy-3'-methylflavone (1) and paecilin C (2), together with six known analogs secalonic acid D (3), secalonic acid B (4) penicillixanthone A (5), emodin (6), citreorosein (7) and isorhodoptilometrin (8) were obtained from a broth of gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023. Compounds 1 and 6-8 had significant antifouling activity against Balanus amphitrite larvae settlement with EC50 values of 6.7, 6.1, 17.9 and 13.7 μg ml(-1), respectively, and 3-5 showed medium antibacterial activity against four tested bacterial strains. This was the first report of antibacterial activity of 3-5 against marine bacteria and antifouling activity of 6-8 against marine biofouling organism's larvae. The results indicated that gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023 strain could produce antifouling and antibacterial compounds that might aid the host gorgonian coral in protection against marine pathogen bacteria, biofouling organisms and other intruders.

  5. Transplantation of storm-generated coral fragments to enhance Caribbean coral reefs: A successful method but not a solution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrison, Virginia H.; Ward, Greg A.

    2012-01-01

    In response to dramatic losses of reef-building corals and ongoing lack of recovery, a small-scale coral transplant project was initiated in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands) in 1999 and was followed for 12 years. The primary objectives were to (1) identify a source of coral colonies for transplantation that would not result in damage to reefs, (2) test the feasibility of transplanting storm-generated coral fragments, and (3) develop a simple, inexpensive method for transplanting fragments that could be conducted by the local community.  The ultimate goal was to enhance abundance of threatened reef-building species on local reefs.  Storm-produced coral fragments of two threatened reef-building species [Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis (Acroporidae)] and another fast-growing species [Porites porites (Poritidae)] were collected from environments hostile to coral fragment survival and transplanted to degraded reefs.  Inert nylon cable ties were used to attach transplanted coral fragments to dead coral substrate.  Survival of 75 reference colonies and 60 transplants was assessed over 12 years. Only 9% of colonies were alive after 12 years: no A. cervicornis; 3% of A. palmata transplants and 18% of reference colonies; and 13% of P. porites transplants and 7% of reference colonies. Mortality rates for all species were high and were similar for transplant and reference colonies. Physical dislodgement resulted in the loss of 56% of colonies, whereas 35% died in place.  Only A. palmata showed a difference between transplant and reference colony survival and that was in the first year only.  Location was a factor in survival only for A. palmata reference colonies and after year 10.  Even though the tested methods and concepts were proven effective in the field over the 12-year study, they do not present a solution. No coral conservation strategy will be effective until underlying intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors driving high mortality rates are

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Putnam, Hollie M; Gates, Ruth D

    2015-08-01

    Coral reefs are globally threatened by climate change-related ocean warming and ocean acidification (OA). To date, slow-response mechanisms such as genetic adaptation have been considered the major determinant of coral reef persistence, with little consideration of rapid-response acclimatization mechanisms. These rapid mechanisms such as parental effects that can contribute to trans-generational acclimatization (e.g. epigenetics) have, however, been identified as important contributors to offspring response in other systems. We present the first evidence of parental effects in a cross-generational exposure to temperature and OA in reef-building corals. Here, we exposed adults to high (28.9°C, 805 µatm P(CO2)) or ambient (26.5°C, 417 µatm P(CO2)) temperature and OA treatments during the larval brooding period. Exposure to high treatment negatively affected adult performance, but their larvae exhibited size differences and metabolic acclimation when subsequently re-exposed, unlike larvae from parents exposed to ambient conditions. Understanding the innate capacity corals possess to respond to current and future climatic conditions is essential to reef protection and maintenance. Our results identify that parental effects may have an important role through (1) ameliorating the effects of stress through preconditioning and adaptive plasticity, and/or (2) amplifying the negative parental response through latent effects on future life stages. Whether the consequences of parental effects and the potential for trans-generational acclimatization are beneficial or maladaptive, our work identifies a critical need to expand currently proposed climate change outcomes for corals to further assess rapid response mechanisms that include non-genetic inheritance through parental contributions and classical epigenetic mechanisms. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  7. A coral reef refuge in the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fine, Maoz; Gildor, Hezi; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-12-01

    The stability and persistence of coral reefs in the decades to come is uncertain due to global warming and repeated bleaching events that will lead to reduced resilience of these ecological and socio-economically important ecosystems. Identifying key refugia is potentially important for future conservation actions. We suggest that the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) (Red Sea) may serve as a reef refugium due to a unique suite of environmental conditions. Our hypothesis is based on experimental detection of an exceptionally high bleaching threshold of northern Red Sea corals and on the potential dispersal of coral planulae larvae through a selective thermal barrier estimated using an ocean model. We propose that millennia of natural selection in the form of a thermal barrier at the southernmost end of the Red Sea have selected coral genotypes that are less susceptible to thermal stress in the northern Red Sea, delaying bleaching events in the GoA by at least a century. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Effects of environmental factors on C-type lectin recognition to zooxanthellae in the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhi; Zhao, Shuimiao; Ni, Junyi; Su, Yilu; Wang, Lingui; Xu, Yanlai

    2018-05-15

    C-type lectin is a superfamily of Ca 2+ -dependent carbohydrate-recognition proteins that play significant roles in nonself-recognition and pathogen clearance. In the present study, a C-type lectin (PdC-Lectin) was chosen from stony coral Pocillopora damicornis to understand its recognition characteristics to zooxanthellae. PdC-Lectin protein contained a signal peptide and a carbohydrate-recognition domain with EPN motif in Ca 2+ -binding site 2. The PdC-Lectin recombinant protein was expressed and purified in vitro. The binding of PdC-Lectin protein to zooxanthellae was determined with western blotting method, and the bound protein to 10-10 5  cell mL -1 zooxanthellae was detectable in a concentration-dependent manner. Less PdC-Lectin protein binding to zooxanthellae was observed for the incubation at 36 °C than that at 26 °C. Furthermore, the PAMP recognition spectrum of PdC-Lectin protein was tested through surface plasmon resonance method, and it bound to LPS and Lipid A, but not to LTA, β-glucan, mannose or Poly (I:C). When PdC-Lectin protein was preincubated with LPS, there was less protein binding to zooxanthellae compared with that in non-preincubation group. These results collectively suggest that PdC-Lectin could recognize zooxanthellae, and the recognition could be repressed by high temperature and pathogenic bacteria, which would help to further understand the molecular mechanism of coral bleaching and the establishment of coral-zooxanthella symbiosis in the stony coral P. damicornis. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Antibacterial Activity of Marine and Black Band Disease Cyanobacteria against Coral-Associated Bacteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gantar, Miroslav; Kaczmarsky, Longin T.; Stanić, Dina; Miller, Aaron W.; Richardson, Laurie L.

    2011-01-01

    Black band disease (BBD) of corals is a cyanobacteria-dominated polymicrobial disease that contains diverse populations of heterotrophic bacteria. It is one of the most destructive of coral diseases and is found globally on tropical and sub-tropical reefs. We assessed ten strains of BBD cyanobacteria, and ten strains of cyanobacteria isolated from other marine sources, for their antibacterial effect on growth of heterotrophic bacteria isolated from BBD, from the surface mucopolysaccharide layer (SML) of healthy corals, and three known bacterial coral pathogens. Assays were conducted using two methods: co-cultivation of cyanobacterial and bacterial isolates, and exposure of test bacteria to (hydrophilic and lipophilic) cyanobacterial cell extracts. During co-cultivation, 15 of the 20 cyanobacterial strains tested had antibacterial activity against at least one of the test bacterial strains. Inhibition was significantly higher for BBD cyanobacteria when compared to other marine cyanobacteria. Lipophilic extracts were more active than co-cultivation (extracts of 18 of the 20 strains were active) while hydrophilic extracts had very limited activity. In some cases co-cultivation resulted in stimulation of BBD and SML bacterial growth. Our results suggest that BBD cyanobacteria are involved in structuring the complex polymicrobial BBD microbial community by production of antimicrobial compounds. PMID:22073011

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. McDevitt-Irwin

    2017-08-01

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

  15. CARBONIFEROUS CORALS AND CHAETETIDS FROM EXOTIC LIMESTONE BLOCK OF THE CRIMEA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VICTOR OGAR

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available A chaetetid sponge and coral fauna from a Carboniferous exotic limestone block in the Lower Jurassic Esciorda olistostrome on the Bodrak River (Crimean Mountains are described for the first time. The Bodrak exotic block is composed of massive limestone. It contains the chaetetid Chaetetes (Boswellia sp., the tabulate coral Multithecopora sp., and poorly preserved rugose corals, including Dibunophyllum? sp., Cordibia? sp. and gen. et sp. indet. Only the fasciculate colonies of the rugose coral Lytvophyllum askynensis (Kossovaya, 2009 are confidently identified. The studied association of fossils is similar to that of the Donets Basin and the Urals and confirms the Lower Bashkirian age of the Bodrak limestone block. 

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  17. 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

  18. High throughput sequencing and proteomics to identify immunogenic proteins of a new pathogen: the dirty genome approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greub, Gilbert; Kebbi-Beghdadi, Carole; Bertelli, Claire; Collyn, François; Riederer, Beat M; Yersin, Camille; Croxatto, Antony; Raoult, Didier

    2009-12-23

    With the availability of new generation sequencing technologies, bacterial genome projects have undergone a major boost. Still, chromosome completion needs a costly and time-consuming gap closure, especially when containing highly repetitive elements. However, incomplete genome data may be sufficiently informative to derive the pursued information. For emerging pathogens, i.e. newly identified pathogens, lack of release of genome data during gap closure stage is clearly medically counterproductive. We thus investigated the feasibility of a dirty genome approach, i.e. the release of unfinished genome sequences to develop serological diagnostic tools. We showed that almost the whole genome sequence of the emerging pathogen Parachlamydia acanthamoebae was retrieved even with relatively short reads from Genome Sequencer 20 and Solexa. The bacterial proteome was analyzed to select immunogenic proteins, which were then expressed and used to elaborate the first steps of an ELISA. This work constitutes the proof of principle for a dirty genome approach, i.e. the use of unfinished genome sequences of pathogenic bacteria, coupled with proteomics to rapidly identify new immunogenic proteins useful to develop in the future specific diagnostic tests such as ELISA, immunohistochemistry and direct antigen detection. Although applied here to an emerging pathogen, this combined dirty genome sequencing/proteomic approach may be used for any pathogen for which better diagnostics are needed. These genome sequences may also be very useful to develop DNA based diagnostic tests. All these diagnostic tools will allow further evaluations of the pathogenic potential of this obligate intracellular bacterium.

  19. Histological observations in the Hawaiian reef coral, Porites compressa, affected by Porites bleaching with tissue loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sudek, M.; Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, G.S.; Davy, S.K.

    2012-01-01

    The scleractinian finger coral Porites compressa is affected by the coral disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss (PBTL). This disease initially manifests as bleaching of the coenenchyme (tissue between polyps) while the polyps remain brown with eventual tissue loss and subsequent algal overgrowth of the bare skeleton. Histopathological investigation showed a loss of symbiont and melanin-containing granular cells which was more pronounced in the coenenchyme than the polyps. Cell counts confirmed a 65% reduction in symbiont density. Tissue loss was due to tissue fragmentation and necrosis in affected areas. In addition, a reduction in putative bacterial aggregate densities was found in diseased samples but no potential pathogens were observed.

  20. 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

  1. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-02-01

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

  2. Developing the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG), as a Tool for Describing the Condition of US Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Understanding effects of human activity on coral reefs requires knowing what characteristics constitute a high quality coral reef and identifying measurable criteria. The BCG is a conceptual model that describes how biological attributes of coral reefs change along a gradient of ...

  3. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  7. A clear human footprint in the coral reefs of the Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, Camilo

    2008-01-01

    The recent degradation of coral reefs worldwide is increasingly well documented, yet the underlying causes remain debated. In this study, we used a large-scale database on the status of coral reef communities in the Caribbean and analysed it in combination with a comprehensive set of socioeconomic and environmental databases to decouple confounding factors and identify the drivers of change in coral reef communities. Our results indicated that human activities related to agricultural land use, coastal development, overfishing and climate change had created independent and overwhelming responses in fishes, corals and macroalgae. While the effective implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) increased the biomass of fish populations, coral reef builders and macroalgae followed patterns of change independent of MPAs. However, we also found significant ecological links among all these groups of organisms suggesting that the long-term stability of coral reefs as a whole requires a holistic and regional approach to the control of human-related stressors in addition to the improvement and establishment of new MPAs. PMID:18182370

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janja Ceh

    Full Text Available Bacteria associated with three coral species, Acropora tenuis, Pocillopora damicornis and Tubastrea faulkneri, were assessed before and after coral mass spawning on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Two colonies of each species were sampled before and after the mass spawning event and two additional samples were collected for P. damicornis after planulation. A variable 470 bp region of the 16 S rRNA gene was selected for pyrosequencing to provide an understanding of potential variations in coral-associated bacterial diversity and community structure. Bacterial diversity increased for all coral species after spawning as assessed by Chao1 diversity indicators. Minimal changes in community structure were observed at the class level and data at the taxonomical level of genus incorporated into a PCA analysis indicated that despite bacterial diversity increasing after spawning, coral-associated community structure did not shift greatly with samples grouped according to species. However, interesting changes could be detected from the dataset; for example, α-Proteobacteria increased in relative abundance after coral spawning and particularly the Roseobacter clade was found to be prominent in all coral species, indicating that this group may be important in coral reproduction.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Palytoxin-Containing Aquarium Soft Corals as an Emerging Sanitary Problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marco Pelin

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Palytoxin (PLTX, one the most potent marine toxins, and/or its analogs, have been identified in different marine organisms, such as Palythoa soft corals, Ostreopsis dinoflagellates, and Trichodesmium cyanobacteria. Although the main concern for human health is PLTXs entrance in the human food chain, there is growing evidence of adverse effects associated with inhalational, cutaneous, and/or ocular exposure to aquarium soft corals contaminated by PLTXs or aquaria waters. Indeed, the number of case reports describing human poisonings after handling these cnidarians is continuously increasing. In general, the signs and symptoms involve mainly the respiratory (rhinorrhea and coughing, skeletomuscular (myalgia, weakness, spasms, cardiovascular (electrocardiogram alterations, gastrointestinal (nausea, and nervous (paresthesia, ataxia, tremors systems or apparates. The widespread phenomenon, the entity of the signs and symptoms of poisoning and the lack of control in the trade of corals as aquaria decorative elements led to consider these poisonings an emerging sanitary problem. This review summarizes literature data on human poisonings due to, or ascribed to, PLTX-containing soft corals, focusing on the different PLTX congeners identified in these organisms and their toxic potential.

  12. A Novel Prosthetic Joint Infection Pathogen, Mycoplasma salivarium, Identified by Metagenomic Shotgun Sequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thoendel, Matthew; Jeraldo, Patricio; Greenwood-Quaintance, Kerryl E; Chia, Nicholas; Abdel, Matthew P; Steckelberg, James M; Osmon, Douglas R; Patel, Robin

    2017-07-15

    Defining the microbial etiology of culture-negative prosthetic joint infection (PJI) can be challenging. Metagenomic shotgun sequencing is a new tool to identify organisms undetected by conventional methods. We present a case where metagenomics was used to identify Mycoplasma salivarium as a novel PJI pathogen in a patient with hypogammaglobulinemia. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Jennings, Simon; MacNeil, M Aaron; Mouillot, David; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-02-05

    Climate-induced coral bleaching is among the greatest current threats to coral reefs, causing widespread loss of live coral cover. Conditions under which reefs bounce back from bleaching events or shift from coral to algal dominance are unknown, making it difficult to predict and plan for differing reef responses under climate change. Here we document and predict long-term reef responses to a major climate-induced coral bleaching event that caused unprecedented region-wide mortality of Indo-Pacific corals. Following loss of >90% live coral cover, 12 of 21 reefs recovered towards pre-disturbance live coral states, while nine reefs underwent regime shifts to fleshy macroalgae. Functional diversity of associated reef fish communities shifted substantially following bleaching, returning towards pre-disturbance structure on recovering reefs, while becoming progressively altered on regime shifting reefs. We identified threshold values for a range of factors that accurately predicted ecosystem response to the bleaching event. Recovery was favoured when reefs were structurally complex and in deeper water, when density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high and when nutrient loads were low. Whether reefs were inside no-take marine reserves had no bearing on ecosystem trajectory. Although conditions governing regime shift or recovery dynamics were diverse, pre-disturbance quantification of simple factors such as structural complexity and water depth accurately predicted ecosystem trajectories. These findings foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef ecosystems in response to climate change, thus guiding improved management and adaptation.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  15. Bleaching response of coral species in the context of assemblage response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swain, Timothy D.; DuBois, Emily; Goldberg, Scott J.; Backman, Vadim; Marcelino, Luisa A.

    2017-06-01

    Caribbean coral reefs are declining due to a mosaic of local and global stresses, including climate change-induced thermal stress. Species and assemblage responses differ due to factors that are not easily identifiable or quantifiable. We calculated a novel species-specific metric of coral bleaching response, taxon- α and - β, which relates the response of a species to that of its assemblages for 16 species over 18 assemblages. By contextualizing species responses within the response of their assemblages, the effects of environmental factors are removed and intrinsic differences among taxa are revealed. Most corals experience either a saturation response, overly sensitive to weak stress ( α > 0) but under-responsive compared to assemblage bleaching ( β bleaching ( β > 1). This metric may help reveal key factors of bleaching susceptibility and identify species as targets for conservation.

  16. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

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

  17. Localised hydrodynamics influence vulnerability of coral communities to environmental disturbances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shedrawi, George; Falter, James L.; Friedman, Kim J.; Lowe, Ryan J.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Simpson, Christopher J.; Speed, Conrad W.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Zhang, Zhenlin

    2017-09-01

    The movement of water can have a significant influence on the vulnerability of hermatypic corals to environmental disturbances such as cyclone damage, heat stress and anoxia. Here, we explore the relationship between small reef-scale water circulation patterns and measured differences in the abundance, composition and vulnerability of coral assemblages over decades. Changes in coral cover and community structure within Bill's Bay (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia) over a 22-yr period, during which multiple disturbance events (including mass bleaching, anoxia, and tropical cyclones) have impacted the area, were compared with spatial variation in water residence times (WRT). We found that reef sites associated with longer water residence times (WRT >15 h) experienced higher rates of coral mortality during acute environmental disturbances compared to reef sites with shorter WRT. Shifts in coral community composition from acroporid to faviid-dominated assemblages were also more prominent at sites with long WRT compared to reef sites with shorter WRT, although shifts in community composition were also observed at sites close to shore. Interestingly, these same long-WRT sites also tended to have the fastest recovery rates so that coral cover was returned to original levels of approximately 20% over two decades. This study provides empirical evidence that spatial patterns in water circulation and flushing can influence the resilience of coral communities, thus identifying areas sensitive to emerging threats associated with global climate change.

  18. High throughput sequencing and proteomics to identify immunogenic proteins of a new pathogen: the dirty genome approach.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gilbert Greub

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: With the availability of new generation sequencing technologies, bacterial genome projects have undergone a major boost. Still, chromosome completion needs a costly and time-consuming gap closure, especially when containing highly repetitive elements. However, incomplete genome data may be sufficiently informative to derive the pursued information. For emerging pathogens, i.e. newly identified pathogens, lack of release of genome data during gap closure stage is clearly medically counterproductive. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We thus investigated the feasibility of a dirty genome approach, i.e. the release of unfinished genome sequences to develop serological diagnostic tools. We showed that almost the whole genome sequence of the emerging pathogen Parachlamydia acanthamoebae was retrieved even with relatively short reads from Genome Sequencer 20 and Solexa. The bacterial proteome was analyzed to select immunogenic proteins, which were then expressed and used to elaborate the first steps of an ELISA. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This work constitutes the proof of principle for a dirty genome approach, i.e. the use of unfinished genome sequences of pathogenic bacteria, coupled with proteomics to rapidly identify new immunogenic proteins useful to develop in the future specific diagnostic tests such as ELISA, immunohistochemistry and direct antigen detection. Although applied here to an emerging pathogen, this combined dirty genome sequencing/proteomic approach may be used for any pathogen for which better diagnostics are needed. These genome sequences may also be very useful to develop DNA based diagnostic tests. All these diagnostic tools will allow further evaluations of the pathogenic potential of this obligate intracellular bacterium.

  19. Global coral disease prevalence associated with sea temperature anomalies and local factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz-Moreno, Diego; Willis, Bette L; Page, A Cathie; Weil, Ernesto; Cróquer, Aldo; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Jordan-Garza, Adán Guillermo; Jordán-Dahlgren, Eric; Raymundo, Laurie; Harvell, C Drew

    2012-09-12

    Coral diseases are taking an increasing toll on coral reef structure and biodiversity and are important indicators of declining health in the oceans. We implemented standardized coral disease surveys to pinpoint hotspots of coral disease, reveal vulnerable coral families and test hypotheses about climate drivers from 39 locations worldwide. We analyzed a 3 yr study of coral disease prevalence to identify links between disease and a range of covariates, including thermal anomalies (from satellite data), location and coral cover, using a Generalized Linear Mixed Model. Prevalence of unhealthy corals, i.e. those with signs of known diseases or with other signs of compromised health, exceeded 10% on many reefs and ranged to over 50% on some. Disease prevalence exceeded 10% on 20% of Caribbean reefs and 2.7% of Pacific reefs surveyed. Within the same coral families across oceans, prevalence of unhealthy colonies was higher and some diseases were more common at sites in the Caribbean than those in the Pacific. The effects of high disease prevalence are potentially extensive given that the most affected coral families, the acroporids, faviids and siderastreids, are among the major reef-builders at these sites. The poritids and agaricids stood out in the Caribbean as being the most resistant to disease, even though these families were abundant in our surveys. Regional warm temperature anomalies were strongly correlated with high disease prevalence. The levels of disease reported here will provide a much-needed local reference point against which to compare future change.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dustin W Kemp

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

  1. 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 ...

  2. Aura-biomes are present in the water layer above coral reef benthic macro-organisms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin Walsh

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available As coral reef habitats decline worldwide, some reefs are transitioning from coral- to algal-dominated benthos with the exact cause for this shift remaining elusive. Increases in the abundance of microbes in the water column has been correlated with an increase in coral disease and reduction in coral cover. Here we investigated how multiple reef organisms influence microbial communities in the surrounding water column. Our study consisted of a field assessment of microbial communities above replicate patches dominated by a single macro-organism. Metagenomes were constructed from 20 L of water above distinct macro-organisms, including (1 the coral Mussismilia braziliensis, (2 fleshy macroalgae (Stypopodium, Dictota and Canistrocarpus, (3 turf algae, and (4 the zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum and were compared to the water microbes collected 3 m above the reef. Microbial genera and functional potential were annotated using MG-RAST and showed that the dominant benthic macro-organisms influence the taxa and functions of microbes in the water column surrounding them, developing a specific “aura-biome”. The coral aura-biome reflected the open water column, and was associated with Synechococcus and functions suggesting oligotrophic growth, while the fleshy macroalgae aura-biome was associated with Ruegeria, Pseudomonas, and microbial functions suggesting low oxygen conditions. The turf algae aura-biome was associated with Vibrio, Flavobacterium, and functions suggesting pathogenic activity, while zoanthids were associated with Alteromonas and functions suggesting a stressful environment. Because each benthic organism has a distinct aura-biome, a change in benthic cover will change the microbial community of the water, which may lead to either the stimulation or suppression of the recruitment of benthic organisms.

  3. Aura-biomes are present in the water layer above coral reef benthic macro-organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kevin; Haggerty, J Matthew; Doane, Michael P; Hansen, John J; Morris, Megan M; Moreira, Ana Paula B; de Oliveira, Louisi; Leomil, Luciana; Garcia, Gizele D; Thompson, Fabiano; Dinsdale, Elizabeth A

    2017-01-01

    As coral reef habitats decline worldwide, some reefs are transitioning from coral- to algal-dominated benthos with the exact cause for this shift remaining elusive. Increases in the abundance of microbes in the water column has been correlated with an increase in coral disease and reduction in coral cover. Here we investigated how multiple reef organisms influence microbial communities in the surrounding water column. Our study consisted of a field assessment of microbial communities above replicate patches dominated by a single macro-organism. Metagenomes were constructed from 20 L of water above distinct macro-organisms, including (1) the coral Mussismilia braziliensis , (2) fleshy macroalgae ( Stypopodium , Dictota and Canistrocarpus ), (3) turf algae, and (4) the zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum and were compared to the water microbes collected 3 m above the reef. Microbial genera and functional potential were annotated using MG-RAST and showed that the dominant benthic macro-organisms influence the taxa and functions of microbes in the water column surrounding them, developing a specific "aura-biome". The coral aura-biome reflected the open water column, and was associated with Synechococcus and functions suggesting oligotrophic growth, while the fleshy macroalgae aura-biome was associated with Ruegeria , Pseudomonas, and microbial functions suggesting low oxygen conditions. The turf algae aura-biome was associated with Vibrio, Flavobacterium, and functions suggesting pathogenic activity, while zoanthids were associated with Alteromonas and functions suggesting a stressful environment. Because each benthic organism has a distinct aura-biome, a change in benthic cover will change the microbial community of the water, which may lead to either the stimulation or suppression of the recruitment of benthic organisms.

  4. Identification of a molecular pH sensor in coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Barron, Megan E; Tresguerres, Martin

    2017-11-15

    Maintaining stable intracellular pH (pHi) is essential for homeostasis, and requires the ability to both sense pH changes that may result from internal and external sources, and to regulate downstream compensatory pH pathways. Here we identified the cAMP-producing enzyme soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) as the first molecular pH sensor in corals. sAC protein was detected throughout coral tissues, including those involved in symbiosis and calcification. Application of a sAC-specific inhibitor caused significant and reversible pHi acidosis in isolated coral cells under both dark and light conditions, indicating sAC is essential for sensing and regulating pHi perturbations caused by respiration and photosynthesis. Furthermore, pHi regulation during external acidification was also dependent on sAC activity. Thus, sAC is a sensor and regulator of pH disturbances from both metabolic and external origin in corals. Since sAC is present in all coral cell types, and the cAMP pathway can regulate virtually every aspect of cell physiology through post-translational modifications of proteins, sAC is likely to trigger multiple homeostatic mechanisms in response to pH disturbances. This is also the first evidence that sAC modulates pHi in any non-mammalian animal. Since corals are basal metazoans, our results indicate this function is evolutionarily conserved across animals. © 2017 The Author(s).

  5. 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.

  6. PATHOGENECITY OF GROUPER SLEEPY DISEASE IRIDOVIRUS (GSDIV: Megalocytivirus, FAMILY Iridoviridae TO CORAL TROUT GROUPER Plectrophomus leopardus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ketut Mahardika

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Grouper sleepy disease iridovirus (GSDIV, a member of the genus Megalocytivirus in the family Iridoviridae, has been known to cause large scale mortalities resulting in severe economic losses in grouper industries in south-east Asia including Indonesia. In this study, experimental infection of coral trout grouper Plectrophomus indicus with GSDIV was performed to evaluate the viral pathogenecity to this fish species. After virus exposure, the mortalities of coral trout grouper injected with primary and 10-1 dilution of spleen homogenates derived from tiger grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus were 100% and 90%, respectively. Histopathology revealed that moribund fish receiving GSDIV inoculum displayed massive formation of enlarged cells in the spleen and hematopoitic tissues. Under electron microscopy, the enlarged cells were observed as inclusion body bearing cells (IBCs and necrotic cells allowing virus propagation within an intracytoplasmic virus assembly site (VAS. GSDIV virions were 167-200 nm in size. These findings confirmed that GSDIV has severe pathogenicity to coral trout grouper and IBCs as well as necrotic cells were determined to be the pathognomonic sign of megalocytivirus-infected coral trout grouper.

  7. Water contamination reduces the tolerance of coral larvae to thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew P Negri

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are highly susceptible to climate change, with elevated sea surface temperatures (SST posing one of the main threats to coral survival. Successful recruitment of new colonies is important for the recovery of degraded reefs following mortality events. Coral larvae require relatively uncontaminated substratum on which to metamorphose into sessile polyps, and the increasing pollution of coastal waters therefore constitutes an additional threat to reef resilience. Here we develop and analyse a model of larval metamorphosis success for two common coral species to quantify the interactive effects of water pollution (copper contamination and SST. We identify thresholds of temperature and pollution that prevent larval metamorphosis, and evaluate synergistic interactions between these stressors. Our analyses show that halving the concentration of Cu can protect corals from the negative effects of a 2-3°C increase in SST. These results demonstrate that effective mitigation of local impacts can reduce negative effects of global stressors.

  8. 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.

  9. Diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from five species of the South China Sea gorgonian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Xiao-Yong; He, Fei; Wang, Guang-Hua; Bao, Jie; Xu, Xin-Ya; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2013-06-01

    This study describes the diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from five species of gorgonian corals (Echinogorgia aurantiaca, Melitodes squamata, Muricella flexuosa, Subergorgia suberosa, and Verrucella umbraculum) collected in shallow water of the South China Sea. A total of 123 actinobacterial isolates were recovered using ten different isolation media, and assigned to 11 genera, including Streptomyces and Micromonospora as the dominant genera, followed by Nocardia, Verrucosispora, Nocardiopsis, Rhodococcus, Pseudonocardia, Agrococcus, Saccharomonospora, Saccharopolyspora and Dietzia. Comparable analysis indicated that the numbers of actinobacterial genera and isolates from the five gorgonian coral species varied significantly. It was found that 72 isolates displayed antibacterial activity against at least one indicator bacterium, and the antibacterial strains isolated from different gorgonians had almost the same proportion (~50 %). These results provide direct evidence for the hypotheses that gorgonian coral species contain large and diverse communities of actinobacteria, and suggest that many gorgonian-associated actinobacteria could produce some antibacterial agents to protect their hosts against pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first report about the diversity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from gorgonian corals.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  11. Challenges for Managing Fisheries on Diverse Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas Fenner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Widespread coral reef decline has included the decline of reef fish populations, and the subsistence and artisanal fisheries that depend on them. Overfishing and destructive fishing have been identified as the greatest local threats to coral reefs, but the greatest future threats are acidification and increases in mass coral bleaching caused by global warming. Some reefs have shifted from dominance by corals to macroalgae, in what are called “phase shifts”. Depletion of herbivores including fishes has been identified as a contributor to such phase shifts, though nutrients are also involved in complex interactions with herbivory and competition. The depletion of herbivorous fishes implies a reduction of the resilience of coral reefs to the looming threat of mass coral mortality from bleaching, since mass coral deaths are likely to be followed by mass macroalgal blooms on the newly exposed dead substrates. Conventional stock assessment of each fish species would be the preferred option for understanding the status of the reef fishes, but this is far too expensive to be practical because of the high diversity of the fishery and poverty where most reefs are located. In addition, stock assessment models and fisheries in general assume density dependent populations, but a key prediction that stocks recover from fishing is not always confirmed. Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE has far too many weaknesses to be a useful method. The ratio of catch to stock and the proportion of catch that is mature depend on fish catch data, and are heavily biased toward stocks that are in good condition and incapable of finding species that are in the worst condition. Near-pristine reefs give us a reality check about just how much we have lost. Common fisheries management tools that control effort or catch are often prohibitively difficult to enforce for most coral reefs except in developed countries. Ecosystem-based management requires management of impacts of fishing

  12. Genome-Wide Analysis in Three Fusarium Pathogens Identifies Rapidly Evolving Chromosomes and Genes Associated with Pathogenicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sperschneider, Jana; Gardiner, Donald M.; Thatcher, Louise F.; Lyons, Rebecca; Singh, Karam B.; Manners, John M.; Taylor, Jennifer M.

    2015-01-01

    Pathogens and hosts are in an ongoing arms race and genes involved in host–pathogen interactions are likely to undergo diversifying selection. Fusarium plant pathogens have evolved diverse infection strategies, but how they interact with their hosts in the biotrophic infection stage remains puzzling. To address this, we analyzed the genomes of three Fusarium plant pathogens for genes that are under diversifying selection. We found a two-speed genome structure both on the chromosome and gene group level. Diversifying selection acts strongly on the dispensable chromosomes in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici and on distinct core chromosome regions in Fusarium graminearum, all of which have associations with virulence. Members of two gene groups evolve rapidly, namely those that encode proteins with an N-terminal [SG]-P-C-[KR]-P sequence motif and proteins that are conserved predominantly in pathogens. Specifically, 29 F. graminearum genes are rapidly evolving, in planta induced and encode secreted proteins, strongly pointing toward effector function. In summary, diversifying selection in Fusarium is strongly reflected as genomic footprints and can be used to predict a small gene set likely to be involved in host–pathogen interactions for experimental verification. PMID:25994930

  13. Advancing Ocean Monitoring Near Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  15. Histological observations in the Hawaiian reef coral, Porites compressa, affected by Porites bleaching with tissue loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sudek, M; Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Davy, S K

    2012-10-01

    The scleractinian finger coral Porites compressa is affected by the coral disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss (PBTL). This disease initially manifests as bleaching of the coenenchyme (tissue between polyps) while the polyps remain brown with eventual tissue loss and subsequent algal overgrowth of the bare skeleton. Histopathological investigation showed a loss of symbiont and melanin-containing granular cells which was more pronounced in the coenenchyme than the polyps. Cell counts confirmed a 65% reduction in symbiont density. Tissue loss was due to tissue fragmentation and necrosis in affected areas. In addition, a reduction in putative bacterial aggregate densities was found in diseased samples but no potential pathogens were observed. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norbert Englebert

    Full Text Available 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.

  17. Secretome Analysis Identifies Potential Pathogenicity/Virulence Factors of Tilletia indica, a Quarantined Fungal Pathogen Inciting Karnal Bunt Disease in Wheat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pandey, Vishakha; Singh, Manoj; Pandey, Dinesh; Marla, Soma; Kumar, Anil

    2018-04-01

    Tilletia indica is a smut fungus that incites Karnal bunt in wheat. It has been considered as quarantine pest in more than 70 countries. Despite its quarantine significance, there is meager knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. Moreover, various disease management strategies have proven futile. Development of effective disease management strategy requires identification of pathogenicity/virulence factors. With this aim, the present study was conducted to compare the secretomes of T. indica isolates, that is, highly (TiK) and low (TiP) virulent isolates. About 120 and 95 protein spots were detected reproducibly in TiK and TiP secretome gel images. Nineteen protein spots, which were consistently observed as upregulated/differential in the secretome of TiK isolate, were selected for their identification by MALDI-TOF/TOF. Identified proteins exhibited homology with fungal proteins playing important role in fungal adhesion, penetration, invasion, protection against host-derived reactive oxygen species, production of virulence factors, cellular signaling, and degradation of host cell wall proteins and antifungal proteins. These results were complemented with T. indica genome sequence leading to identification of candidate pathogenicity/virulence factors homologs that were further subjected to sequence- and structure-based functional annotation. Thus, present study reports the first comparative secretome analysis of T. indica for identification of pathogenicity/virulence factors. This would provide insights into pathogenic mechanisms of T. indica and aid in devising effective disease management strategies. © 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Bhattacharya, Debashish

    2016-05-24

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

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

  20. The growth of coral reef science in the Gulf: a historical perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A

    2013-07-30

    Coral reef science has grown exponentially in recent decades in the Gulf. Analysis of literature from 1950 to 2012 identified 270 publications on coral reefs in the Gulf, half of which were published in just the past decade. This paper summarizes the growth and evolution of coral reef science in the Gulf by examining when, where and how research has been conducted on Gulf reefs, who conducted that research, and what themes and taxa have dominated scientific interest. The results demonstrate that there has been significant growth in our understanding of the valuable coral reefs of the Gulf, but also highlight the fact that we are documenting an increasingly degraded ecosystem. Reef scientists must make a concerted effort to improve dialogue with regional reef management and decision-makers if we are to stem the tide of decline in coral reefs in the Gulf. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. TLR4, NOD1 and NOD2 mediate immune recognition of putative newly identified periodontal pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchesan, Julie; Jiao, Yizu; Schaff, Riley A; Hao, Jie; Morelli, Thiago; Kinney, Janet S; Gerow, Elizabeth; Sheridan, Rachel; Rodrigues, Vinicius; Paster, Bruce J; Inohara, Naohiro; Giannobile, William V

    2016-06-01

    Periodontitis is a polymicrobial inflammatory disease that results from the interaction between the oral microbiota and the host immunity. Although the innate immune response is important for disease initiation and progression, the innate immune receptors that recognize both classical and putative periodontal pathogens that elicit an immune response have not been elucidated. By using the Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray (HOMIM), we identified multiple predominant oral bacterial species in human plaque biofilm that strongly associate with severe periodontitis. Ten of the identified species were evaluated in greater depth, six being classical pathogens and four putative novel pathogens. Using human peripheral blood monocytes (HPBM) and murine bone-marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) from wild-type (WT) and Toll-like receptor (TLR)-specific and MyD88 knockouts (KOs), we demonstrated that heat-killed Campylobacter concisus, Campylobacter rectus, Selenomonas infelix, Porphyromonas endodontalis, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Tannerella forsythia mediate high immunostimulatory activity. Campylobacter concisus, C. rectus, and S. infelix exhibited robust TLR4 stimulatory activity. Studies using mesothelial cells from WT and NOD1-specific KOs and NOD2-expressing human embryonic kidney cells demonstrated that Eubacterium saphenum, Eubacterium nodatum and Filifactor alocis exhibit robust NOD1 stimulatory activity, and that Porphyromonas endodontalis and Parvimonas micra have the highest NOD2 stimulatory activity. These studies allowed us to provide important evidence on newly identified putative pathogens in periodontal disease pathogenesis showing that these bacteria exhibit different immunostimulatory activity via TLR4, NOD1, and NOD2 (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01154855). © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. TLR4, NOD1 and NOD2 Mediate Immune Recognition of Putative Newly-Identified Periodontal Pathogens

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaff, Riley A.; Hao, Jie; Morelli, Thiago; Kinney, Janet S.; Gerow, Elizabeth; Sheridan, Rachel; Rodrigues, Vinicius; Paster, Bruce J.; Inohara, Naohiro; Giannobile, William V.

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY Periodontitis is a polymicrobial inflammatory disease that results from the interaction between the oral microbiota and the host immunity. While the innate immune response is important for disease initiation and progression, the innate immune receptors that recognize both classical and putative periodontal pathogens that elicit an immune response have not been elucidated. By using the Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray (HOMIM), we identified multiple predominant oral bacterial species in human plaque biofilm that strongly associate with severe periodontitis. Ten of the identified species were evaluated in greater depth, 6 being classical pathogens and 4 putative novel pathogens. Using human peripheral blood monocytes (HPBM) and murine bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMDM) from wild-type (WT) and toll-like receptor (TLR)-specific and MyD88 knockouts (KOs), we demonstrated that heat-killed Campylobacter concisus, Campylobacter rectus, Selenomonas infelix, Porphyromonas endodontalis, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Tannerella forsythia mediate high immunostimulatory activity. C. concisus, C. rectus, and S. infelix exhibited robust TLR4 stimulatory activity. Studies using mesothelial cells from WT and NOD1-specific KOs and NOD2-expressing human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells demonstrated that Eubacterium saphenum, Eubacterium nodatum and Filifactor alocis exhibit robust NOD1 stimulatory activity, and that Porphyromonas endodontalis and Parvimonas micra have the highest NOD2-stimulatory activity. These studies allowed us to provide important evidence on newly-identified putative pathogens in periodontal disease pathogenesis showing that these bacteria exhibit different immunostimulatory activity via TLR4, NOD1, and NOD2 (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01154855). PMID:26177212

  3. 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

  4. Comparative proteomic analysis of pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains from the swine pathogen Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Klein Cátia S

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is a highly infectious swine pathogen and is the causative agent of enzootic pneumonia (EP. Following the previous report of a proteomic survey of the pathogenic 7448 strain of swine pathogen, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, we performed comparative protein profiling of three M. hyopneumoniae strains, namely the non-pathogenic J strain and the two pathogenic strains 7448 and 7422. Results In 2DE comparisons, we were able to identify differences in expression levels for 67 proteins, including the overexpression of some cytoadherence-related proteins only in the pathogenic strains. 2DE immunoblot analyses allowed the identification of differential proteolytic cleavage patterns of the P97 adhesin in the three strains. For more comprehensive protein profiling, an LC-MS/MS strategy was used. Overall, 35% of the M. hyopneumoniae genome coding capacity was covered. Partially overlapping profiles of identified proteins were observed in the strains with 81 proteins identified only in one strain and 54 proteins identified in two strains. Abundance analysis of proteins detected in more than one strain demonstrates the relative overexpression of 64 proteins, including the P97 adhesin in the pathogenic strains. Conclusions Our results indicate the physiological differences between the non-pathogenic strain, with its non-infective proliferate lifestyle, and the pathogenic strains, with its constitutive expression of adhesins, which would render the bacterium competent for adhesion and infection prior to host contact.

  5. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia Libro

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Libro, Silvia; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Cvitanovic, Christopher

    2011-01-01

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Early-phase dynamics in coral recovery following cyclone disturbance on the inshore Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sato, Yui; Bell, Sara C.; Nichols, Cassandra; Fry, Kent; Menéndez, Patricia; Bourne, David G.

    2018-06-01

    Coral recovery (the restoration of abundance and composition of coral communities) after disturbance is a key process that determines the resilience of reef ecosystems. To understand the mechanisms underlying the recovery process of coral communities, colony abundance and size distribution were followed on reefs around Pelorus Island, located in the inshore central region of the Great Barrier Reef, following a severe tropical cyclone in 2011 that caused dramatic loss of coral communities. Permanent quadrats (600 m2) were monitored biannually between 2012 and 2016, and individual coral colonies were counted, sized and categorized into morphological types. The abundance of coral recruits and coral cover were also examined using permanent quadrats and random line intercept transects, respectively. The number of colonies in the smallest size class (4-10 cm) increased substantially during the study period, driving the recovery of coral populations. The total number of coral colonies 5 yr post-cyclone reached between 73 and 122% of pre-cyclone levels though coral cover remained between 16 and 31% of pre-cyclone levels, due to the dominance of small coral colonies in the recovering communities. Temporal transitions of coral demography (i.e., colony-size distributions) illustrated that the number of recently established coral populations overtook communities of surviving colonies. Coral recruits (coral recovery. A shift in morphological composition of coral communities was also observed, with the relative abundance of encrusting corals reduced post-cyclone in contrast to their dominance prior to the disturbance. This study identifies the fine-scale processes involved in the initial recovery of coral reefs, providing insights into the dynamics of coral demography that are essential for determining coral reef resilience following major disturbance.

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

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    Rory M. Welsh

    2017-05-01

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

  13. No Reef Is an Island: Integrating Coral Reef Connectivity Data into the Design of Regional-Scale Marine Protected Area Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schill, Steven R; Raber, George T; Roberts, Jason J; Treml, Eric A; Brenner, Jorge; Halpin, Patrick N

    2015-01-01

    We integrated coral reef connectivity data for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into a conservation decision-making framework for designing a regional scale marine protected area (MPA) network that provides insight into ecological and political contexts. We used an ocean circulation model and regional coral reef data to simulate eight spawning events from 2008-2011, applying a maximum 30-day pelagic larval duration and 20% mortality rate. Coral larval dispersal patterns were analyzed between coral reefs across jurisdictional marine zones to identify spatial relationships between larval sources and destinations within countries and territories across the region. We applied our results in Marxan, a conservation planning software tool, to identify a regional coral reef MPA network design that meets conservation goals, minimizes underlying threats, and maintains coral reef connectivity. Our results suggest that approximately 77% of coral reefs identified as having a high regional connectivity value are not included in the existing MPA network. This research is unique because we quantify and report coral larval connectivity data by marine ecoregions and Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ) and use this information to identify gaps in the current Caribbean-wide MPA network by integrating asymmetric connectivity information in Marxan to design a regional MPA network that includes important reef network connections. The identification of important reef connectivity metrics guides the selection of priority conservation areas and supports resilience at the whole system level into the future.

  14. No Reef Is an Island: Integrating Coral Reef Connectivity Data into the Design of Regional-Scale Marine Protected Area Networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R Schill

    Full Text Available We integrated coral reef connectivity data for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into a conservation decision-making framework for designing a regional scale marine protected area (MPA network that provides insight into ecological and political contexts. We used an ocean circulation model and regional coral reef data to simulate eight spawning events from 2008-2011, applying a maximum 30-day pelagic larval duration and 20% mortality rate. Coral larval dispersal patterns were analyzed between coral reefs across jurisdictional marine zones to identify spatial relationships between larval sources and destinations within countries and territories across the region. We applied our results in Marxan, a conservation planning software tool, to identify a regional coral reef MPA network design that meets conservation goals, minimizes underlying threats, and maintains coral reef connectivity. Our results suggest that approximately 77% of coral reefs identified as having a high regional connectivity value are not included in the existing MPA network. This research is unique because we quantify and report coral larval connectivity data by marine ecoregions and Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ and use this information to identify gaps in the current Caribbean-wide MPA network by integrating asymmetric connectivity information in Marxan to design a regional MPA network that includes important reef network connections. The identification of important reef connectivity metrics guides the selection of priority conservation areas and supports resilience at the whole system level into the future.

  15. High amino acid diversity and positive selection at a putative coral immunity gene (tachylectin-2

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    Hellberg Michael E

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Genes involved in immune functions, including pathogen recognition and the activation of innate defense pathways, are among the most genetically variable known, and the proteins that they encode are often characterized by high rates of amino acid substitutions, a hallmark of positive selection. The high levels of variation characteristic of immunity genes make them useful tools for conservation genetics. To date, highly variable immunity genes have yet to be found in corals, keystone organisms of the world's most diverse marine ecosystem, the coral reef. Here, we examine variation in and selection on a putative innate immunity gene from Oculina, a coral genus previously used as a model for studies of coral disease and bleaching. Results In a survey of 244 Oculina alleles, we find high nonsynonymous variation and a signature of positive selection, consistent with a putative role in immunity. Using computational protein structure prediction, we generate a structural model of the Oculina protein that closely matches the known structure of tachylectin-2 from the Japanese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus, a protein with demonstrated function in microbial recognition and agglutination. We also demonstrate that at least three other genera of anthozoan cnidarians (Acropora, Montastrea and Nematostella possess proteins structurally similar to tachylectin-2. Conclusions Taken together, the evidence of high amino acid diversity, positive selection and structural correspondence to the horseshoe crab tachylectin-2 suggests that this protein is 1 part of Oculina's innate immunity repertoire, and 2 evolving adaptively, possibly under selective pressure from coral-associated microorganisms. Tachylectin-2 may serve as a candidate locus to screen coral populations for their capacity to respond adaptively to future environmental change.

  16. Self-recognition in corals facilitates deep-sea habitat engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hennige, Sebastian J; Morrison, Cheryl L.; Form, Armin U.; Buscher, Janina; Kamenos, Nicholas A.; Roberts, J. Murray

    2014-01-01

    The ability of coral reefs to engineer complex three-dimensional habitats is central to their success and the rich biodiversity they support. In tropical reefs, encrusting coralline algae bind together substrates and dead coral framework to make continuous reef structures, but beyond the photic zone, the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa also forms large biogenic reefs, facilitated by skeletal fusion. Skeletal fusion in tropical corals can occur in closely related or juvenile individuals as a result of non-aggressive skeletal overgrowth or allogeneic tissue fusion, but contact reactions in many species result in mortality if there is no ‘self-recognition’ on a broad species level. This study reveals areas of ‘flawless’ skeletal fusion in Lophelia pertusa, potentially facilitated by allogeneic tissue fusion, are identified as having small aragonitic crystals or low levels of crystal organisation, and strong molecular bonding. Regardless of the mechanism, the recognition of ‘self’ between adjacent L. pertusa colonies leads to no observable mortality, facilitates ecosystem engineering and reduces aggression-related energetic expenditure in an environment where energy conservation is crucial. The potential for self-recognition at a species level, and subsequent skeletal fusion in framework-forming cold-water corals is an important first step in understanding their significance as ecological engineers in deep-seas worldwide.

  17. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs | Science ...

    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 established. Developing stressor gradients presents challenges including: stressors which co-occur but operate at different or unknown spatial and temporal scales, inconsistent data availability measuring stressor levels, and unknown effects on exposed reef biota. We are developing a generalized stressor model using Puerto Rico as case study location, to represent the cumulative spatial/temporal co-occurrence of multiple anthropogenic stressors. Our approach builds on multi-stressor research in streams and rivers, and focuses on three high-priority stressors identified by coral reef experts: land-based sources of pollution (LBSP), global climate change (GCC) related temperature anomalies, and fishing pressure. Landscape development intensity index, based on land use/land cover data, estimates human impact in watersheds adjacent to coral reefs and is proxy for LBSP. NOAA’s retrospective daily thermal anomaly data is used to determine GCC thermal anomalies. Fishing pressure is modeled using gear-specific and fishery landings data. Stressor data was adjusted to a common scale or weighted for relative importance, buffered to account for diminished impact further from source, and compared wit

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-17

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

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

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    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    2009-11-01

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

  20. Modeling fine-scale coral larval dispersal and interisland connectivity to help designate mutually-supporting coral reef marine protected areas: Insights from Maui Nui, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Storlazzi, Curt; van Ormondt, Maarten; Chen, Yi-Leng; Elias, Edwin P. L.

    2017-01-01

    Connectivity among individual marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the most important considerations in the design of integrated MPA networks. To provide such information for managers in Hawaii, USA, a numerical circulation model was developed to determine the role of ocean currents in transporting coral larvae from natal reefs throughout the high volcanic islands of the Maui Nui island complex in the southeastern Hawaiian Archipelago. Spatially- and temporally-varying wind, wave, and circulation model outputs were used to drive a km-scale, 3-dimensional, physics-based circulation model for Maui Nui. The model was calibrated and validated using satellite-tracked ocean surface current drifters deployed during coral-spawning conditions, then used to simulate the movement of the larvae of the dominant reef-building coral, Porites compressa, from 17 reefs during eight spawning events in 2010–2013. These simulations make it possible to investigate not only the general dispersal patterns from individual coral reefs, but also how anomalous conditions during individual spawning events can result in large deviations from those general patterns. These data also help identify those reefs that are dominated by self-seeding and those where self-seeding is limited to determine their relative susceptibility to stressors and potential roadblocks to recovery. Overall, the numerical model results indicate that many of the coral reefs in Maui Nui seed reefs on adjacent islands, demonstrating the interconnected nature of the coral reefs in Maui Nui and providing a key component of the scientific underpinning essential for the design of a mutually supportive network of MPAs to enhance conservation of coral reefs.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuya Shinzato

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Inoue, Mayuri; Kusakabe, Makoto

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Major similarities in the bacterial communities associated with lesioned and healthy Fungiidae corals

    KAUST Repository

    Apprill, Amy; Hughen, Konrad; Mincer, Tracy

    2013-01-01

    Cultivation-based studies have demonstrated that yellow-band disease (YBD), a lesion-producing ailment affecting diverse species of coral, is caused by a consortium of Vibrio spp. This study takes the first cultivation-independent approach to examine the whole bacterial community associated with YBD-like lesioned corals. Two species of Fungiidae corals, Ctenactis crassa and Herpolitha limax, displaying YBD-like lesions were examined across diverse reefs throughout the Red Sea. Using a pyrosequencing approach targeting the V1-V3 regions of the SSU rRNA gene, no major differences in bacterial community composition or diversity were identified between healthy and lesioned corals of either species. Indicator species analysis did not find Vibrio significantly associated with the lesioned corals. However, operational taxonomic units belonging to the Ruegeria genus of Alphaproteobacteria and NS9 marine group of Flavobacteria were significantly associated with the lesioned corals. The most striking trend of this dataset was that reef location was found to be the most significant influence on the coral-bacterial community. It is possible that more pronounced lesion-specific bacterial signatures might have been concealed by the strong influence of environmental conditions on coral-bacteria. Overall, this study demonstrates inconsistencies between cultivation-independent and cultivation-based studies regarding the role of specific bacteria in coral diseases. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  4. Major similarities in the bacterial communities associated with lesioned and healthy Fungiidae corals

    KAUST Repository

    Apprill, Amy

    2013-03-21

    Cultivation-based studies have demonstrated that yellow-band disease (YBD), a lesion-producing ailment affecting diverse species of coral, is caused by a consortium of Vibrio spp. This study takes the first cultivation-independent approach to examine the whole bacterial community associated with YBD-like lesioned corals. Two species of Fungiidae corals, Ctenactis crassa and Herpolitha limax, displaying YBD-like lesions were examined across diverse reefs throughout the Red Sea. Using a pyrosequencing approach targeting the V1-V3 regions of the SSU rRNA gene, no major differences in bacterial community composition or diversity were identified between healthy and lesioned corals of either species. Indicator species analysis did not find Vibrio significantly associated with the lesioned corals. However, operational taxonomic units belonging to the Ruegeria genus of Alphaproteobacteria and NS9 marine group of Flavobacteria were significantly associated with the lesioned corals. The most striking trend of this dataset was that reef location was found to be the most significant influence on the coral-bacterial community. It is possible that more pronounced lesion-specific bacterial signatures might have been concealed by the strong influence of environmental conditions on coral-bacteria. Overall, this study demonstrates inconsistencies between cultivation-independent and cultivation-based studies regarding the role of specific bacteria in coral diseases. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  5. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

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    Steven V Vollmer

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

  6. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

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    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Neave, Matthew J.

    2016-07-08

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Temperature shapes coral-algal symbiosis in the South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tong, Haoya; Cai, Lin; Zhou, Guowei; Yuan, Tao; Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Huang, Hui; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2017-01-01

    With the increase in sea surface temperature (SST), scleractinian corals are exposed to bleaching threats but may possess certain flexibilities in terms of their associations with symbiotic algae. Previous studies have shown a close symbiosis between coral the and Symbiodinium; however, the spatial variation of the symbiosis and the attribution underlying are not well understood. In the present study, we examined coral-algal symbiosis in Galaxea fascicularis and Montipora spp. from three biogeographic regions across ~10° of latitude in the South China Sea. Analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) indicated a highly flexible coral-algal symbiosis in both G. fascicularis and Montipora spp. and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that temperature explained 83.2% and 60.1% of the explanatory subclade variations in G. fascicularis and Montipora spp., respectively, which suggested that temperature was the main environmental factor contributing to the diversity of Symbiodinium across the three regions. The geographic specificity of the Symbiodinium phylogeny was identified, revealing possible environmental selection across the three regions. These results suggest that scleractinian corals may have the ability to regulate Symbiodinium community structures under different temperatures and thus be able to adapt to gradual climate change. PMID:28084322

  10. Diverse coral communities in naturally acidified waters of a Western Pacific reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shamberger, Kathryn E. F.; Cohen, Anne L.; Golbuu, Yimnang; McCorkle, Daniel C.; Lentz, Steven J.; Barkley, Hannah C.

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying the oceans, reducing the concentration of carbonate ions ([CO32-]) that calcifying organisms need to build and cement coral reefs. To date, studies of a handful of naturally acidified reef systems reveal depauperate communities, sometimes with reduced coral cover and calcification rates, consistent with results of laboratory-based studies. Here we report the existence of highly diverse, coral-dominated reef communities under chronically low pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar). Biological and hydrographic processes change the chemistry of the seawater moving across the barrier reefs and into Palau's Rock Island bays, where levels of acidification approach those projected for the western tropical Pacific open ocean by 2100. Nevertheless, coral diversity, cover, and calcification rates are maintained across this natural acidification gradient. Identifying the combination of biological and environmental factors that enable these communities to persist could provide important insights into the future of coral reefs under anthropogenic acidification.

  11. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Colbourne John K

    2009-05-01

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

  13. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004 from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7% and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5% and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP, recovering pre-disturbance (1979 levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (A través del Sistema

  14. 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.

  15. Microbial disease and the coral holobiont

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Coral bleaching--capacity for acclimatization and adaptation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, S L; Brown, Barbara E

    2003-01-01

    Coral bleaching, i.e., loss of most of the symbiotic zooxanthellae normally found within coral tissue, has occurred with increasing frequency on coral reefs throughout the world in the last 20 years, mostly during periods of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Experiments and observations indicate that coral bleaching results primarily from elevated seawater temperatures under high light conditions, which increases rates of biochemical reactions associated with zooxanthellar photosynthesis, producing toxic forms of oxygen that interfere with cellular processes. Published projections of a baseline of increasing ocean temperature resulting from global warming have suggested that annual temperature maxima within 30 years may be at levels that will cause frequent coral bleaching and widespread mortality leading to decline of corals as dominant organisms on reefs. However, these projections have not considered the high variability in bleaching response that occurs among corals both within and among species. There is information that corals and their symbionts may be capable of acclimatization and selective adaptation to elevated temperatures that have already resulted in bleaching resistant coral populations, both locally and regionally, in various areas of the world. There are possible mechanisms that might provide resistance and protection to increased temperature and light. These include inducible heat shock proteins that act in refolding denatured cellular and structural proteins, production of oxidative enzymes that inactivate harmful oxygen radicals, fluorescent coral pigments that both reflect and dissipate light energy, and phenotypic adaptations of zooxanthellae and adaptive shifts in their populations at higher temperatures. Such mechanisms, when considered in conjunction with experimental and observational evidence for coral recovery in areas that have undergone coral bleaching, suggest an as yet undefined capacity in corals and zooxanthellae to adapt to

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M.

    2003-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M

    2003-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Variation in habitat soundscape characteristics influences settlement of a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lillis, Ashlee; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne; Peters, Jason W; Eggleston, David

    2016-01-01

    Coral populations, and the productive reef ecosystems they support, rely on successful recruitment of reef-building species, beginning with settlement of dispersing larvae into habitat favourable to survival. Many substrate cues have been identified as contributors to coral larval habitat selection; however, the potential for ambient acoustic cues to influence coral settlement responses is unknown. Using in situ settlement chambers that excluded other habitat cues, larval settlement of a dominant Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata , was compared in response to three local soundscapes, with differing acoustic and habitat properties. Differences between reef sites in the number of larvae settled in chambers isolating acoustic cues corresponded to differences in sound levels and reef characteristics, with sounds at the loudest reef generating significantly higher settlement during trials compared to the quietest site (a 29.5 % increase). These results suggest that soundscapes could be an important influence on coral settlement patterns and that acoustic cues associated with reef habitat may be related to larval settlement. This study reports an effect of soundscape variation on larval settlement for a key coral species, and adds to the growing evidence that soundscapes affect marine ecosystems by influencing early life history processes of foundational species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  5. Identification of microRNAs in the coral Stylophora pistillata.

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2014-03-21

    Coral reefs are major contributors to marine biodiversity. However, they are in rapid decline due to global environmental changes such as rising sea surface temperatures, ocean acidification, and pollution. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses have broadened our understanding of coral biology, but a study of the microRNA (miRNA) repertoire of corals is missing. miRNAs constitute a class of small non-coding RNAs of ∼22 nt in size that play crucial roles in development, metabolism, and stress response in plants and animals alike. In this study, we examined the coral Stylophora pistillata for the presence of miRNAs and the corresponding core protein machinery required for their processing and function. Based on small RNA sequencing, we present evidence for 31 bona fide microRNAs, 5 of which (miR-100, miR-2022, miR-2023, miR-2030, and miR-2036) are conserved in other metazoans. Homologues of Argonaute, Piwi, Dicer, Drosha, Pasha, and HEN1 were identified in the transcriptome of S. pistillata based on strong sequence conservation with known RNAi proteins, with additional support derived from phylogenetic trees. Examination of putative miRNA gene targets indicates potential roles in development, metabolism, immunity, and biomineralisation for several of the microRNAs. Here, we present first evidence of a functional RNAi machinery and five conserved miRNAs in S. pistillata, implying that miRNAs play a role in organismal biology of scleractinian corals. Analysis of predicted miRNA target genes in S. pistillata suggests potential roles of miRNAs in symbiosis and coral calcification. Given the importance of miRNAs in regulating gene expression in other metazoans, further expression analyses of small non-coding RNAs in transcriptional studies of corals should be informative about miRNA-affected processes and pathways.

  6. Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Colin K. C.; Bonin, Mary C.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2016-06-01

    Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species' dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by ~28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010-2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Rudi, Edi

    2012-10-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Coral reef fish predator maintains olfactory acuity in degraded coral habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Natt

    Full Text Available Coral reefs around the world are rapidly degrading due to a range of environmental stressors. Habitat degradation modifies the sensory landscape within which predator-prey interactions occur, with implications for olfactory-mediated behaviours. Predator naïve settlement-stage damselfish rely on conspecific damage-released odours (i.e., alarm odours to inform risk assessments. Yet, species such as the Ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, become unable to respond appropriately to these cues when living in dead-degraded coral habitats, leading to increased mortality through loss of vigilance. Reef fish predators also rely on odours from damaged prey to locate, assess prey quality and engage in prey-stealing, but it is unknown whether their responses are also modified by the change to dead-degraded coral habitats. Implications for prey clearly depend on how their predatory counterparts are affected, therefore the present study tested whether olfactory-mediated foraging responses in the dusky dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus, a common predator of P. amboinensis, were similarly affected by coral degradation. A y-maze was used to measure the ability of Ps. fuscus to detect and move towards odours, against different background water sources. Ps. fuscus were exposed to damage-released odours from juvenile P. amboinensis, or a control cue of seawater, against a background of seawater treated with either healthy or dead-degraded hard coral. Predators exhibited an increased time allocation to the chambers of y-mazes injected with damage-released odours, with comparable levels of response in both healthy and dead-degraded coral treated waters. In control treatments, where damage-released odours were replaced with a control seawater cue, fish showed no increased preference for either chamber of the y-maze. Our results suggest that olfactory-mediated foraging behaviours may persist in Ps. fuscus within dead-degraded coral habitats. Ps. fuscus may

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jenny Chun-Yee Ng

    2015-10-01

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

  11. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

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

  12. Transplantation of storm-generated coral fragments to enhance Caribbean coral reefs: A successful method but not a solution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia H. Garrison

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available In response to dramatic losses of reef-building corals and ongoing lack of recovery, a small-scale coral transplant project was initiated in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999 and was followed for 12 years. The primary objectives were to (1 identify a source of coral colonies for transplantation that would not result in damage to reefs, (2 test the feasibility of transplanting storm-generated coral fragments, and (3 develop a simple, inexpensive method for transplanting fragments that could be conducted by the local community. The ultimate goal was to enhance abundance of threatened reef-building species on local reefs. Storm-produced coral fragments of two threatened reef-building species [Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis (Acroporidae] and another fast-growing species [Porites porites (Poritidae] were collected from environments hostile to coral fragment survival and transplanted to degraded reefs. Inert nylon cable ties were used to attach transplanted coral fragments to dead coral substrate. Survival of 75 reference colonies and 60 transplants was assessed over 12 years. Only 9% of colonies were alive after 12 years: no A. cervicornis; 3% of A. palmata transplants and 18% of reference colonies; and 13% of P. porites transplants and 7% of reference colonies. Mortality rates for all species were high and were similar for transplant and reference colonies. Physical dislodgement resulted in the loss of 56% of colonies, whereas 35% died in place. Only A. palmata showed a difference between transplant and reference colony survival and that was in the first year only. Location was a factor in survival only for A. palmata reference colonies and after year 10. Even though the tested methods and concepts were proven effective in the field over the 12-year study, they do not present a solution. No coral conservation strategy will be effective until underlying intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors driving high mortality rates are understood and

  13. Mapping cold-water coral habitats at different scales within the Northern Ionian Sea (Central Mediterranean: an assessment of coral coverage and associated vulnerability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alessandra Savini

    Full Text Available In this study, we mapped the distribution of Cold-Water Coral (CWC habitats on the northern Ionian Margin (Mediterranean Sea, with an emphasis on assessing coral coverage at various spatial scales over an area of 2,000 km(2 between 120 and 1,400 m of water depth. Our work made use of a set of data obtained from ship-based research surveys. Multi-scale seafloor mapping data, video inspections, and previous results from sediment samples were integrated and analyzed using Geographic Information System (GIS-based tools. Results obtained from the application of spatial and textural analytical techniques to acoustic meso-scale maps (i.e. a Digital Terrain Model (DTM of the seafloor at a 40 m grid cell size and associated terrain parameters and large-scale maps (i.e. Side-Scan Sonar (SSS mosaics of 1 m in resolution ground-truthed using underwater video observations were integrated and revealed that, at the meso-scale level, the main morphological pattern (i.e. the aggregation of mound-like features associated with CWC habitat occurrences was widespread over a total area of 600 km(2. Single coral mounds were isolated from the DTM and represented the geomorphic proxies used to model coral distributions within the investigated area. Coral mounds spanned a total area of 68 km(2 where different coral facies (characterized using video analyses and mapped on SSS mosaics represent the dominant macro-habitat. We also mapped and classified anthropogenic threats that were identifiable within the examined videos, and, here, discuss their relationship to the mapped distribution of coral habitats and mounds. The combined results (from multi-scale habitat mapping and observations of the distribution of anthropogenic threats provide the first quantitative assessment of CWC coverage for a Mediterranean province and document the relevant role of seafloor geomorphology in influencing habitat vulnerability to different types of human pressures.

  14. Mapping cold-water coral habitats at different scales within the Northern Ionian Sea (Central Mediterranean): an assessment of coral coverage and associated vulnerability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savini, Alessandra; Vertino, Agostina; Marchese, Fabio; Beuck, Lydia; Freiwald, André

    2014-01-01

    In this study, we mapped the distribution of Cold-Water Coral (CWC) habitats on the northern Ionian Margin (Mediterranean Sea), with an emphasis on assessing coral coverage at various spatial scales over an area of 2,000 km(2) between 120 and 1,400 m of water depth. Our work made use of a set of data obtained from ship-based research surveys. Multi-scale seafloor mapping data, video inspections, and previous results from sediment samples were integrated and analyzed using Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools. Results obtained from the application of spatial and textural analytical techniques to acoustic meso-scale maps (i.e. a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the seafloor at a 40 m grid cell size and associated terrain parameters) and large-scale maps (i.e. Side-Scan Sonar (SSS) mosaics of 1 m in resolution ground-truthed using underwater video observations) were integrated and revealed that, at the meso-scale level, the main morphological pattern (i.e. the aggregation of mound-like features) associated with CWC habitat occurrences was widespread over a total area of 600 km(2). Single coral mounds were isolated from the DTM and represented the geomorphic proxies used to model coral distributions within the investigated area. Coral mounds spanned a total area of 68 km(2) where different coral facies (characterized using video analyses and mapped on SSS mosaics) represent the dominant macro-habitat. We also mapped and classified anthropogenic threats that were identifiable within the examined videos, and, here, discuss their relationship to the mapped distribution of coral habitats and mounds. The combined results (from multi-scale habitat mapping and observations of the distribution of anthropogenic threats) provide the first quantitative assessment of CWC coverage for a Mediterranean province and document the relevant role of seafloor geomorphology in influencing habitat vulnerability to different types of human pressures.

  15. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-15

    help to identify basic principles of coral microbiome assembly, as well as functional relationships among holobiont members.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Lauren A

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lauren A Freeman

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

  19. Coral skeletal geochemistry as a monitor of inshore water quality

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Saha, Narottam; Webb, Gregory E.; Zhao, Jian-Xin

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs maintain extraordinary biodiversity and provide protection from tsunamis and storm surge, but inshore coral reef health is degrading in many regions due to deteriorating water quality. Deconvolving natural and anthropogenic changes to water quality is hampered by the lack of long term, dated water quality data but such records are required for forward modelling of reef health to aid their management. Reef corals provide an excellent archive of high resolution geochemical (trace element) proxies that can span hundreds of years and potentially provide records used through the Holocene. Hence, geochemical proxies in corals hold great promise for understanding changes in ancient water quality that can inform broader oceanographic and climatic changes in a given region. This article reviews and highlights the use of coral-based trace metal archives, including metal transported from rivers to the ocean, incorporation of trace metals into coral skeletons and the current ‘state of the art’ in utilizing coral trace metal proxies as tools for monitoring various types of local and regional source-specific pollution (river discharge, land use changes, dredging and dumping, mining, oil spills, antifouling paints, atmospheric sources, sewage). The three most commonly used coral trace element proxies (i.e., Ba/Ca, Mn/Ca, and Y/Ca) are closely associated with river runoff in the Great Barrier Reef, but considerable uncertainty remains regarding their complex biogeochemical cycling and controlling mechanisms. However, coral-based water quality reconstructions have suffered from a lack of understanding of so-called vital effects and early marine diagenesis. The main challenge is to identify and eliminate the influence of extraneous local factors in order to allow accurate water quality reconstructions and to develop alternate proxies to monitor water pollution. Rare earth elements have great potential as they are self-referencing and reflect basic terrestrial input

  20. Coral skeletal geochemistry as a monitor of inshore water quality

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Saha, Narottam, E-mail: n.saha@uq.edu.au; Webb, Gregory E.; Zhao, Jian-Xin

    2016-10-01

    Coral reefs maintain extraordinary biodiversity and provide protection from tsunamis and storm surge, but inshore coral reef health is degrading in many regions due to deteriorating water quality. Deconvolving natural and anthropogenic changes to water quality is hampered by the lack of long term, dated water quality data but such records are required for forward modelling of reef health to aid their management. Reef corals provide an excellent archive of high resolution geochemical (trace element) proxies that can span hundreds of years and potentially provide records used through the Holocene. Hence, geochemical proxies in corals hold great promise for understanding changes in ancient water quality that can inform broader oceanographic and climatic changes in a given region. This article reviews and highlights the use of coral-based trace metal archives, including metal transported from rivers to the ocean, incorporation of trace metals into coral skeletons and the current ‘state of the art’ in utilizing coral trace metal proxies as tools for monitoring various types of local and regional source-specific pollution (river discharge, land use changes, dredging and dumping, mining, oil spills, antifouling paints, atmospheric sources, sewage). The three most commonly used coral trace element proxies (i.e., Ba/Ca, Mn/Ca, and Y/Ca) are closely associated with river runoff in the Great Barrier Reef, but considerable uncertainty remains regarding their complex biogeochemical cycling and controlling mechanisms. However, coral-based water quality reconstructions have suffered from a lack of understanding of so-called vital effects and early marine diagenesis. The main challenge is to identify and eliminate the influence of extraneous local factors in order to allow accurate water quality reconstructions and to develop alternate proxies to monitor water pollution. Rare earth elements have great potential as they are self-referencing and reflect basic terrestrial input

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  2. 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...

  3. A Possible Role for Vitamin C in Coral Calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenthal, J. J.; Roberson, L.; Vazquez, N.

    2016-02-01

    Despite the importance of coral reefs to tropical, marine ecosystems, the biological components of the calcification process are poorly understood. Because calcification must involve the delivery of organic and inorganic components across cell membranes, we postulate that it has similar features to epithelial and neuronal transport mechanisms in vertebrates. Accordingly, we are interested in identifying the specific membrane transporters underlying skeleton formation. As a model, we are using larvae from the ubiquitous Caribbean species Porites astreoides, a rapidly growing stony coral that is resistant to anthropogenic stressors. Using Illumina RNAseq, we assembled a larval transcriptome and compared gene expression between swimming larvae and recently settled ones that had just commenced the process of calcification. As expected, we identified many ion transporter, pump and channel transcripts that were upregulated in settled larvae. It was surprising, however, to find that the most upregulated transcript appeared to encode a Na-dependent Vitamin C transporter (SLC23A). In vertebrates, SLC23A transporters play a vital role in bone morphogenesis where Vitamin C is an essential cofactor for enzymes that condition collagen precursors for assembly into mature molecules. In corals, collagen has been identified as a component of the skeleton's extracellular matrix. Using in situ hybridization, we showed that the P. astreoides SLC23A messages were expressed in regions adjacent to rapid skeleton formation, on the aboral surface and septa of settled larvae. To confirm that the coral clone is indeed a Vitamin C transporter, we expressed it in Xenopus oocytes and studied its activity using voltage-clamp. Preliminary data demonstrate that it induces a current that is activated by Na and Vitamin C. This approach will help us better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying calcification and how they might respond to environmental change.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-02-25

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

  6. The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  7. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guido Bonthond

    2018-02-01

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

  9. Habitat associations of juvenile fish at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: the importance of coral and algae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaun K Wilson

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Habitat specificity plays a pivotal role in forming community patterns in coral reef fishes, yet considerable uncertainty remains as to the extent of this selectivity, particularly among newly settled recruits. Here we quantified habitat specificity of juvenile coral reef fish at three ecological levels; algal meadows vs. coral reefs, live vs. dead coral and among different coral morphologies. In total, 6979 individuals from 11 families and 56 species were censused along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Juvenile fishes exhibited divergence in habitat use and specialization among species and at all study scales. Despite the close proximity of coral reef and algal meadows (10's of metres 25 species were unique to coral reef habitats, and seven to algal meadows. Of the seven unique to algal meadows, several species are known to occupy coral reef habitat as adults, suggesting possible ontogenetic shifts in habitat use. Selectivity between live and dead coral was found to be species-specific. In particular, juvenile scarids were found predominantly on the skeletons of dead coral whereas many damsel and butterfly fishes were closely associated with live coral habitat. Among the coral dependent species, coral morphology played a key role in juvenile distribution. Corymbose corals supported a disproportionate number of coral species and individuals relative to their availability, whereas less complex shapes (i.e. massive & encrusting were rarely used by juvenile fish. Habitat specialisation by juvenile species of ecological and fisheries importance, for a variety of habitat types, argues strongly for the careful conservation and management of multiple habitat types within marine parks, and indicates that the current emphasis on planning conservation using representative habitat areas is warranted. Furthermore, the close association of many juvenile fish with corals susceptible to climate change related disturbances suggests that identifying and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael A. Magris

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal development, mining, aquaculture, shipping, and global warming. We calculated an index of the risk to cumulative impacts: (i assuming uniform sensitivity of coral reefs to stressors; and (ii using impact weights to reflect varying tolerance levels of coral reefs to each stressor. We also predicted the index in both the presence and absence of global warming. We found that 16% and 37% of coral reefs had high to very high risk of cumulative impacts, without and with information on sensitivity respectively, and 42% of reefs had low risk to cumulative impacts from both local and global stressors. Our outputs are the first comprehensive spatial dataset of cumulative impact on coral reefs in Brazil, and show that areas requiring attention mostly corresponded to those closer to population centres. We demonstrate how the relationships between risks from local and global stressors can be used to derive strategic management actions.

  12. Variation in habitat soundscape characteristics influences settlement of a reef-building coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ashlee Lillis

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral populations, and the productive reef ecosystems they support, rely on successful recruitment of reef-building species, beginning with settlement of dispersing larvae into habitat favourable to survival. Many substrate cues have been identified as contributors to coral larval habitat selection; however, the potential for ambient acoustic cues to influence coral settlement responses is unknown. Using in situ settlement chambers that excluded other habitat cues, larval settlement of a dominant Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata, was compared in response to three local soundscapes, with differing acoustic and habitat properties. Differences between reef sites in the number of larvae settled in chambers isolating acoustic cues corresponded to differences in sound levels and reef characteristics, with sounds at the loudest reef generating significantly higher settlement during trials compared to the quietest site (a 29.5 % increase. These results suggest that soundscapes could be an important influence on coral settlement patterns and that acoustic cues associated with reef habitat may be related to larval settlement. This study reports an effect of soundscape variation on larval settlement for a key coral species, and adds to the growing evidence that soundscapes affect marine ecosystems by influencing early life history processes of foundational species.

  13. Seawater 234U/238U recorded by modern and fossil corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chutcharavan, Peter M.; Dutton, Andrea; Ellwood, Michael J.

    2018-03-01

    U-series dating of corals is a crucial tool for generating absolute chronologies of Late Quaternary sea-level change and calibrating the radiocarbon timescale. Unfortunately, coralline aragonite is susceptible to post-depositional alteration of its primary geochemistry. One screening technique used to identify unaltered corals relies on the back-calculation of initial 234U/238U activity (δ234Ui) at the time of coral growth and implicitly assumes that seawater δ234U has remained constant during the Late Quaternary. Here, we test this assumption using the most comprehensive compilation to date of coral U-series measurements. Unlike previous compilations, this study normalizes U-series measurements to the same decay constants and corrects for offsets in interlaboratory calibrations, thus reducing systematic biases between reported δ234U values. Using this approach, we reassess (a) the value of modern seawater δ234U, and (b) the evolution of seawater δ234U over the last deglaciation. Modern coral δ234U values (145.0 ± 1.5‰) agree with previous measurements of seawater and modern corals only once the data have been normalized. Additionally, fossil corals in the surface ocean display δ234Ui values that are ∼5-7‰ lower during the last glacial maximum regardless of site, taxon, or diagenetic setting. We conclude that physical weathering of U-bearing minerals exposed during ice sheet retreat drives the increase in δ234U observed in the oceans, a mechanism that is consistent with the interpretation of the seawater Pb-isotope signal over the same timescale.

  14. 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. Crown Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. White plague disease outbreak in a coral reef at Los Roques National Park, Venezuela.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Croquer, Aldo; Pauls, Sheila M; Zubillaga, Ainhoa L

    2003-06-01

    Coral diseases have been reported as a major problem affecting Caribbean coral reefs. During August 2000, a coral mortality event of White Plague Disease-II (WPD-II) was observed at Madrizqui Reef in Los Roques National Park, Venezuela. This disease was identified as the major cause of coral mortality, affecting 24% of all colonies surveyed (n = 1 439). Other diseases such as Black Band Disease (BBD), Yellow Blotch Disease (YBD), Dark Spots Disease (DSD) and White Band Disease (WBD) were also recorded, but showed a lower incidence (0.14-0.97%). Two depth intervals, D1 (5.5-6.5 m) and D2 (9-9.5 m) were surveyed with two sets of three band transects 50 x 2 m long, placed parallel to the long axis of the reef. All healthy and injured corals, along each band transect, were counted and identified to species level. Additionally, all diseases and recent mortality that were still identifiable on each colony also were recorded. The incidence of colonies affected by WPD-II ranged from 12.8 to 33% among transects, where thirteen species of scleractinian corals showed several degrees of mortality. The species most affected were Montastraea annularis (39.13%), M. faveolata (26.67%), M. franksi (9.86%), Stephanocoenia intersepta (7.25%), Colpophyllia natans (6.96%), Diploria labyrinthiformis (2.99%), Mycetophyllia aliciae (2.03%), M. cavernosa (1.74%), and D. strigosa (1.45%). WPD-II was more common in the deeper strata (9-9.5 m), where 63% of the surveyed colonies were affected, although the disease was present along the entire reef. Presently, it is imperative to determine how fast the disease is spreading across the reef, how the disease spreads across the affected colonies and what the long-term effects on the reef will be.

  16. 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.

  17. 76 FR 30110 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

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

  18. Screening Antibacterial Agent from Crude Extract of Marine-Derived Fungi Associated with Soft Corals against MDR-Staphylococcus haemolyticus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabdaningsih, A.; Cristianawati, O.; Sibero, M. T.; Nuryadi, H.; Radjasa, O. K.; Sabdono, A.; Trianto, A.

    2017-02-01

    Multidrug resistant Staphylococcus haemolyticus is a Gram-positive bacteria and member of coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS) which has the highest level of antimicrobial resistance. This nosocomial pathogen due to skin or soft tissue infections, bacteremia, septicemia, peritonitis, otitis media, meningitis and urinary tract infections. The ability to produce enterotoxins, hemolysins, biofilm, and cytotoxins could be an important characteristic for the successful of infection. Marine-derived fungi have potency as a continuous supply of bioactive compound. The aim of this research was screening antibacterial agent from crude extracts of marine-derived fungi associated with soft corals against MDR-S. haemolyticus. Among 23 isolates of marine-derived fungi isolated from 7 soft corals, there were 4 isolates active against MDR-S. haemolyticus. The screening was conducted by using agar plug diffusion method. Isolate PPSC-27-A4 had the highest antibacterial activity with diameter 23±9,6 mm. The crude extract from this isolate had been confirmed to antibacterial susceptibility test and it had the highest antibacterial activity in 12.2 mm with concentration of 300μg/ml from mycelia extract. PPSC-27-A4 had been characterized in molecular, based on the sequence analysis of 18S rRNA, PPSC-27-A4 isolate was identified as Trichoderma longibrachiatum.

  19. 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

  20. Contrasting light spectra constrain the macro and microstructures of scleractinian corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rui J M Rocha

    Full Text Available The morphological plasticity of scleractinian corals can be influenced by numerous factors in their natural environment. However, it is difficult to identify in situ the relative influence of a single biotic or abiotic factor, due to potential interactions between them. Light is considered as a major factor affecting coral skeleton morphology, due to their symbiotic relation with photosynthetic zooxanthellae. Nonetheless, most studies addressing the importance of light on coral morphological plasticity have focused on photosynthetically active radiation (PAR intensity, with the effect of light spectra remaining largely unknown. The present study evaluated how different light spectra affect the skeleton macro- and microstructures in two coral species (Acropora formosa sensu Veron (2000 and Stylophora pistillata maintained under controlled laboratory conditions. We tested the effect of three light treatments with the same PAR but with a distinct spectral emission: 1 T5 fluorescent lamps with blue emission; 2 Light Emitting Diodes (LED with predominantly blue emission; and 3 Light Emitting Plasma (LEP with full spectra emission. To exclude potential bias generated by genetic variability, the experiment was performed with clonal fragments for both species. After 6 months of experiment, it was possible to detect in coral fragments of both species exposed to different light spectra significant differences in morphometry (e.g., distance among corallites, corallite diameter, and theca thickness, as well as in the organization of their skeleton microstructure. The variability found in the skeleton macro- and microstructures of clonal organisms points to the potential pitfalls associated with the exclusive use of morphometry on coral taxonomy. Moreover, the identification of a single factor influencing the morphology of coral skeletons is relevant for coral aquaculture and can allow the optimization of reef restoration efforts.

  1. Contrasting light spectra constrain the macro and microstructures of scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocha, Rui J M; Silva, Ana M B; Fernandes, M Helena Vaz; Cruz, Igor C S; Rosa, Rui; Calado, Ricardo

    2014-01-01

    The morphological plasticity of scleractinian corals can be influenced by numerous factors in their natural environment. However, it is difficult to identify in situ the relative influence of a single biotic or abiotic factor, due to potential interactions between them. Light is considered as a major factor affecting coral skeleton morphology, due to their symbiotic relation with photosynthetic zooxanthellae. Nonetheless, most studies addressing the importance of light on coral morphological plasticity have focused on photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) intensity, with the effect of light spectra remaining largely unknown. The present study evaluated how different light spectra affect the skeleton macro- and microstructures in two coral species (Acropora formosa sensu Veron (2000) and Stylophora pistillata) maintained under controlled laboratory conditions. We tested the effect of three light treatments with the same PAR but with a distinct spectral emission: 1) T5 fluorescent lamps with blue emission; 2) Light Emitting Diodes (LED) with predominantly blue emission; and 3) Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) with full spectra emission. To exclude potential bias generated by genetic variability, the experiment was performed with clonal fragments for both species. After 6 months of experiment, it was possible to detect in coral fragments of both species exposed to different light spectra significant differences in morphometry (e.g., distance among corallites, corallite diameter, and theca thickness), as well as in the organization of their skeleton microstructure. The variability found in the skeleton macro- and microstructures of clonal organisms points to the potential pitfalls associated with the exclusive use of morphometry on coral taxonomy. Moreover, the identification of a single factor influencing the morphology of coral skeletons is relevant for coral aquaculture and can allow the optimization of reef restoration efforts.

  2. Environmental drivers of recruitment success in Caribbean corals : Applications to aid the recovery of threatened coral populations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chamberland, V.F.

    2018-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs are amongst the most threatened marine ecosystems on Earth. About one third of their reef-building coral species (Scleractinia) are currently at risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, overexploitation and climate change. The successful establishment of coral larvae,

  3. 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.

  4. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  6. Mass coral bleaching causes biotic homogenization of reef fish assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Laura E; Graham, Nicholas A J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Eurich, Jacob G; Hoey, Andrew S

    2018-04-06

    Global climate change is altering community composition across many ecosystems due to nonrandom species turnover, typically characterized by the loss of specialist species and increasing similarity of biological communities across spatial scales. As anthropogenic disturbances continue to alter species composition globally, there is a growing need to identify how species responses influence the establishment of distinct assemblages, such that management actions may be appropriately assigned. Here, we use trait-based analyses to compare temporal changes in five complementary indices of reef fish assemblage structure among six taxonomically distinct coral reef habitats exposed to a system-wide thermal stress event. Our results revealed increased taxonomic and functional similarity of previously distinct reef fish assemblages following mass coral bleaching, with changes characterized by subtle, but significant, shifts toward predominance of small-bodied, algal-farming habitat generalists. Furthermore, while the taxonomic or functional richness of fish assemblages did not change across all habitats, an increase in functional originality indicated an overall loss of functional redundancy. We also found that prebleaching coral composition better predicted changes in fish assemblage structure than the magnitude of coral loss. These results emphasize how measures of alpha diversity can mask important changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems as assemblages reorganize. Our findings also highlight the role of coral species composition in structuring communities and influencing the diversity of responses of reef fishes to disturbance. As new coral species configurations emerge, their desirability will hinge upon the composition of associated species and their capacity to maintain key ecological processes in spite of ongoing disturbances. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  11. Mesophotic coral-reef environments depress the reproduction of the coral Paramontastraea peresi in the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feldman, Bar; Shlesinger, Tom; Loya, Yossi

    2018-03-01

    With more than 450 studied species, coral reproduction is a well-known research field. However, the vast majority of coral reproduction research has focused exclusively on shallow reefs. The incentive for the present study was: (1) the recent accelerated global degradation of coral reefs; (2) the growing interest in mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30-120 m depth) and their potential to serve as a larval source for shallow reefs; and (3) the lack of information on MCE coral reproduction. Here, we compare the reproduction and ecology of the depth-generalist coral Paramontastraea peresi between shallow (5-10 m) and mesophotic (40-45 m) habitats in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea. Field surveys were conducted to assess the living cover, abundance, and size frequency distribution of P. peresi. Four to six colonies from each habitat were sampled monthly between April 2015 and January 2017, and the gametogenesis cycles, fecundity, and oocyte sizes were measured. The reproductive cycle in the MCEs was shorter than in the shallow reef. Despite having larger polyps, the mesophotic colonies contained significantly smaller and fewer oocytes per polyp. In spite of the relatively stable environmental conditions of the MCEs, which may contribute to coral survival, scarcity of sunlight is probably a major energetic impediment to investment in reproduction by P. peresi at mesophotic depths. Further intensive reproductive studies in mesophotic reefs are thus required to assess the ability of corals in this environment to reproduce and constitute a larval source for depleted shallow-water reefs.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.

    2012-01-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-03-01

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

  16. Super instrumental El Niño events recorded by a Porites coral from the South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xijie; Deng, Wenfeng; Liu, Xi; Wei, Gangjian; Chen, Xuefei; Zhao, Jian-xin; Cai, Guanqiang; Zeng, Ti

    2018-03-01

    The 2-7-year periodicities recorded in fossil coral records have been widely used to identify paleo-El Niño events. However, the reliability of this approach in the South China Sea (SCS) has not been assessed in detail. Therefore, this paper presents monthly resolution geochemical records covering the period 1978-2015 obtained from a Porites coral recovered from the SCS to test the reliability of this method. The results suggest that the SCS coral reliably recorded local seawater conditions and the super El Niño events that occurred over the past 3 decades, but does not appear to have been sensitive enough to record all the other El Niños. In detail, the Sr/Ca series distinctly documents only the two super El Niños of 1997-1998 and 2014-2016 as obvious low values, but does not match the Oceanic Niño Index well. The super El Niño of 1982-1983 was identified by the growth hiatus caused by the coral bleaching and subsequent death of the coral. Three distinct stepwise variations occur in the δ13C series that are coincident with the three super El Niños, which may be related to a substantial decline in endosymbiotic zooxanthellae density caused by the increase in temperature during an El Niño or the selective utilization of different zooxanthellaes that was required to survive in the extreme environment. The increase in rainfall and temperatures over the SCS during El Niños counteracts the effects on seawater δ18O (δ18Osw) and salinity; consequently, coral Δδ18O series can be used as a proxy for δ18Osw and salinity, but are not appropriate for identifying El Niño activity. The findings presented here suggest that the method to identify paleo-El Niño activity based on the 2-7-year periodicities preserved in the SCS coral records might not be reliable, because the SCS is on the edge of El Niño anomalies due to its great distance from the central equatorial Pacific and the imprints of weak and medium strength El Niño events may not be recorded by the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  18. Resilience and climate change: lessons from coral reefs and bleaching in the Western Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O.

    2005-05-01

    The impact of climate change through thermal stress-related coral bleaching on coral reefs of the Western Indian Ocean has been well documented and is caused by rising sea water temperatures associated with background warming trends and extreme climate events. Recent studies have identified a number of factors that may reduce the impact of coral bleaching and mortality at a reef or sub-reef level. However, there is little scientific consensus as yet, and it is unclear how well current science supports the immediate needs of management responses to climate change. This paper provides evidence from the Western Indian Ocean in support of recent hypotheses on coral and reef vulnerability to thermal stress that have been loosely termed 'resistance and resilience to bleaching'. The paper argues for a more explicit definition of terms, and identifies three concepts affecting coral-zooxanthellae holobiont and reef vulnerability to thermal stress previously termed 'resistance to bleaching': 'thermal protection', where some reefs are protected from the thermal conditions that induce bleaching and/or where local physical conditions reduce bleaching and mortality levels; 'thermal resistance', where individual corals bleach to differing degrees to the same thermal stress; and 'thermal tolerance', where individual corals suffer differing levels of mortality when exposed to the same thermal stress. 'Resilience to bleaching' is a special case of ecological resilience, where recovery following large-scale bleaching mortality varies according to ecological and other processes. These concepts apply across multiple levels of biological organization and temporal and spatial scales. Thermal resistance and tolerance are genetic properties and may interact with environmental protection properties resulting in phenotypic variation in bleaching and mortality of corals. The presence or absence of human threats and varying levels of reef management may alter the influence of the above factors

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-26

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

  2. 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...

  3. Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn E. Lohr

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Coral communities are increasingly found to populate non-reef habitats prone to high environmental variability. Such sites include seagrass meadows, which are generally not considered optimal habitats for corals as a result of limited suitable substrate for settlement and substantial diel and seasonal fluctuations in physicochemical conditions relative to neighboring reefs. Interest in understanding the ability of corals to persist in non-reef habitats has grown, however little baseline data exists on community structure and recruitment of scleractinian corals in seagrass meadows. To determine how corals populate seagrass meadows, we surveyed the established and recruited coral community over 25 months within seagrass meadows at Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. Simultaneous surveys of established and recruited coral communities at neighboring back-reef sites were conducted for comparison. To fully understand the amount of environmental variability to which corals in each habitat were exposed, we conducted complementary surveys of physicochemical conditions in both seagrass meadows and back-reefs. Despite overall higher variability in physicochemical conditions, particularly pH, compared to the back-reef, 14 coral taxa were capable of inhabiting seagrass meadows, and multiple coral families were also found to recruit to these sites. However, coral cover and species diversity, richness, and evenness were lower at sites within seagrass meadows compared to back-reef sites. Although questions remain regarding the processes governing recruitment, these results provide evidence that seagrass beds can serve as functional habitats for corals despite high levels of environmental variability and suboptimal conditions compared to neighboring reefs.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.; Baird, Andrew Hamilton; Depczynski, Martial R.; Gonzá lez-Cabello, Alonso; Hoey, Andrew; Lefé vre, Carine D.; Tanner, Jennifer K.

    2012-01-01

    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. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

  5. 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.

  6. Analytical pyrolysis-based study on intra-skeletal organic matrices from Mediterranean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adamiano, Alessio; Goffredo, Stefano; Dubinsky, Zvy; Levy, Oren; Fermani, Simona; Fabbri, Daniele; Falini, Giuseppe

    2014-09-01

    Off-line analytical pyrolysis combined with gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC–MS), directly or after trimethylsilylation, along with infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis was applied for the first time to the characterization of the intra-skeletal organic matrix (OM) extracted from four Mediterranean hard corals. They were diverse in growth form and trophic strategy namely Balanophyllia europaea and Leptopsammia pruvoti—solitary corals, only the first having zooxanthelle—and Cladocora caespitosa and Astroides calycularis—colonial corals, only the first with zooxanthelle. Pyrolysis products evolved from OM could be assigned to lipid (e.g. fatty acids, fatty alcohols, monoacylglicerols), protein (e.g. 2,5-diketopiperazines, DKPs) and polysaccharide (e.g. anhydrosugars) precursors. Their quantitative distribution showed for all the species a low protein content with respect to lipids and polysaccharides. A chemometric approach using principal component analysis (PCA) and clustering analysis was applied on OM mean amino acidic compositions. The small compositional diversity across coral species was tentatively related with coral growth form. The presence of N-acetyl glucosamine markers suggested a functional link with other calcified tissues containing chitin. The protein fraction was further investigated using novel DKP markers tentatively identified from analytical pyrolysis of model polar linear dipeptides. Again, no correlation was observed in relation to coral ecology. These analytical results revealed that the bulk structure and composition of OMs among studied corals are similar, as it is the textural organization of the skeleton mineralized units. Therefore, they suggest that coral’s biomineralization is governed by similar macromolecules, and probably mechanisms, independently from their ecology.

  7. Widespread hybridization and bidirectional introgression in sympatric species of coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2017-10-28

    Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, where numerous closely related species often coexist. How new species arise and are maintained in these high geneflow environments have been long-standing conundrums. Hybridization and patterns of introgression between sympatric species provide a unique insight into the mechanisms of speciation and the maintenance of species boundaries. In this study, we investigate the extent of hybridization between two closely related species of coral reef fish: the common coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and the bar-cheek coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus). Using a complementary set of 25 microsatellite loci, we distinguish pure genotype classes from first- and later-generation hybrids, identifying 124 interspecific hybrids from a collection of 2,991 coral trout sampled in inshore and mid-shelf reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Hybrids were ubiquitous among reefs, fertile and spanned multiple generations suggesting both ecological and evolutionary processes are acting to maintain species barriers. We elaborate on these finding to investigate the extent of genomic introgression and admixture from 2,271 SNP loci recovered from a ddRAD library of pure and hybrid individuals. An analysis of genomic clines on recovered loci indicates that 261 SNP loci deviate from a model of neutral introgression, of which 132 indicate a pattern of introgression consistent with selection favouring both hybrid and parental genotypes. Our findings indicate genome-wide, bidirectional introgression between two sympatric species of coral reef fishes and provide further support to a growing body of evidence for the role of hybridization in the evolution of coral reef fishes.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szmant Alina M

    2008-02-01

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

  9. Mapping Prevalence and Incidence of Coral Disease in reef-building corals at two Natural Reserves of the Southwest Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez Viruet, I.; Irizarry-Soto, E.; Ruiz-Valentín, I.

    2016-02-01

    Coral diseases seems to be the main cause of coral reef decline in the Caribbean. Before the bleaching event of 2005, coral reefs in Puerto Rico were dominated by the reef-building taxa: Orbicella annularis, Porites astreoides, Montastrea cavernosa, Agaricia agaracites and Colpophyllia natans. After the event, live-coral cover significantly declined and more than 90% of the scleractinian corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico showed signals of thermal stressors. The prevalence of coral diseases in five reef-building coral (Orbicella annularis, Orbicella franksi, Orbicella faveolata, Porites porites and Pseudiploria strigosa) species was assessed by tagging, photographing, and mapping all diseased and healthy colonies within 10 permanent 40m2 band transects at each inshore and mid-shelf reefs of Belvedere and Punta Guaniquilla Natural Reserves using a random stratified sampling method. Maximum and perpendicular diameter was used to assess coral size using Coral Point Count with Excel Extension. Corals were classified into three size class populations (class I: 0-50cm, class II: 50-100cm and class III: >100 cm). Data was used to develop a GIS-based map containing coral species, size and disease presence. Preliminary results of the inshore area showed a higher disease prevalence in Belvedere natural reserve and for P. strigosa (17.1%) and O. annularis (9.3%). Frequency distribution analysis showed a dominance of O. faveolata at Punta Guaniquilla and Belvedere (127 and 88 individuals respectively). Size class I dominates the distribution of each species within the natural reserves with a higher disease prevalence. Future work include continue prevalence surveys of the outer reef shelf on both natural reserves, monitoring and GIS-based mapping of incidence and resilience through time. This study will help in the assessment of the status of the coral reef of the southwest insular platform.

  10. Modeling regional coral reef responses to global warming and changes in ocean chemistry: Caribbean case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buddemeier, R.W.; Lane, D.R.; Martinich, J.A.

    2011-01-01

    Climatic change threatens the future of coral reefs in the Caribbean and the important ecosystem services they provide. We used a simulation model [Combo ("COral Mortality and Bleaching Output")] to estimate future coral cover in the part of the eastern Caribbean impacted by a massive coral bleaching event in 2005. Combo calculates impacts of future climate change on coral reefs by combining impacts from long-term changes in average sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean acidification with impacts from episodic high temperature mortality (bleaching) events. We used mortality and heat dose data from the 2005 bleaching event to select historic temperature datasets, to use as a baseline for running Combo under different future climate scenarios and sets of assumptions. Results suggest a bleak future for coral reefs in the eastern Caribbean. For three different emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; B1, A1B, and A1FI), coral cover on most Caribbean reefs is projected to drop below 5% by the year 2035, if future mortality rates are equivalent to some of those observed in the 2005 event (50%). For a scenario where corals gain an additional 1-1. 5??C of heat tolerance through a shift in the algae that live in the coral tissue, coral cover above 5% is prolonged until 2065. Additional impacts such as storms or anthropogenic damage could result in declines in coral cover even faster than those projected here. These results suggest the need to identify and preserve the locations that are likely to have a higher resiliency to bleaching to save as many remnant populations of corals as possible in the face of projected wide-spread coral loss. ?? 2011 The Author(s).

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aisling K Brady

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

  14. A change in coral extension rates and stable isotopes after El Niño-induced coral bleaching and regional stress events

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hetzinger, S.; Pfeiffer, M.; Dullo, W.-Chr.; Zinke, J.; Garbe-Schönberg, D.

    2016-09-01

    Coral reefs are biologically diverse ecosystems threatened with effective collapse under rapid climate change, in particular by recent increases in ocean temperatures. Coral bleaching has occurred during major El Niño warming events, at times leading to the die-off of entire coral reefs. Here we present records of stable isotopic composition, Sr/Ca ratios and extension rate (1940-2004) in coral aragonite from a northern Venezuelan site, where reefs were strongly impacted by bleaching following the 1997-98 El Niño. We assess the impact of past warming events on coral extension rates and geochemical proxies. A marked decrease in coral (Pseudodiploria strigosa) extension rates coincides with a baseline shift to more negative values in oxygen and carbon isotopic composition after 1997-98, while a neighboring coral (Siderastrea siderea) recovered to pre-bleaching extension rates simultaneously. However, other stressors, besides high temperature, might also have influenced coral physiology and geochemistry. Coastal Venezuelan reefs were exposed to a series of extreme environmental fluctuations since the mid-1990s, i.e. upwelling, extreme rainfall and sediment input from landslides. This work provides important new data on the potential impacts of multiple regional stress events on coral isotopic compositions and raises questions about the long-term influence on coral-based paleoclimate reconstructions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-05

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

  16. Three-dimensional spatial analysis of missense variants in RTEL1 identifies pathogenic variants in patients with Familial Interstitial Pneumonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sivley, R Michael; Sheehan, Jonathan H; Kropski, Jonathan A; Cogan, Joy; Blackwell, Timothy S; Phillips, John A; Bush, William S; Meiler, Jens; Capra, John A

    2018-01-23

    Next-generation sequencing of individuals with genetic diseases often detects candidate rare variants in numerous genes, but determining which are causal remains challenging. We hypothesized that the spatial distribution of missense variants in protein structures contains information about function and pathogenicity that can help prioritize variants of unknown significance (VUS) and elucidate the structural mechanisms leading to disease. To illustrate this approach in a clinical application, we analyzed 13 candidate missense variants in regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1 (RTEL1) identified in patients with Familial Interstitial Pneumonia (FIP). We curated pathogenic and neutral RTEL1 variants from the literature and public databases. We then used homology modeling to construct a 3D structural model of RTEL1 and mapped known variants into this structure. We next developed a pathogenicity prediction algorithm based on proximity to known disease causing and neutral variants and evaluated its performance with leave-one-out cross-validation. We further validated our predictions with segregation analyses, telomere lengths, and mutagenesis data from the homologous XPD protein. Our algorithm for classifying RTEL1 VUS based on spatial proximity to pathogenic and neutral variation accurately distinguished 7 known pathogenic from 29 neutral variants (ROC AUC = 0.85) in the N-terminal domains of RTEL1. Pathogenic proximity scores were also significantly correlated with effects on ATPase activity (Pearson r = -0.65, p = 0.0004) in XPD, a related helicase. Applying the algorithm to 13 VUS identified from sequencing of RTEL1 from patients predicted five out of six disease-segregating VUS to be pathogenic. We provide structural hypotheses regarding how these mutations may disrupt RTEL1 ATPase and helicase function. Spatial analysis of missense variation accurately classified candidate VUS in RTEL1 and suggests how such variants cause disease. Incorporating

  17. Prioritizing key resilience indicators to support coral reef management in a changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, Tim R; Donner, Simon D; Maynard, Jeffrey A; MacNeil, M Aaron; Graham, Nicholas A J; Maina, Joseph; Baker, Andrew C; Alemu I, Jahson B; Beger, Maria; Campbell, Stuart J; Darling, Emily S; Eakin, C Mark; Heron, Scott F; Jupiter, Stacy D; Lundquist, Carolyn J; McLeod, Elizabeth; Mumby, Peter J; Paddack, Michelle J; Selig, Elizabeth R; van Woesik, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Managing coral reefs for resilience to climate change is a popular concept but has been difficult to implement because the empirical scientific evidence has either not been evaluated or is sometimes unsupportive of theory, which leads to uncertainty when considering methods and identifying priority reefs. We asked experts and reviewed the scientific literature for guidance on the multiple physical and biological factors that affect the ability of coral reefs to resist and recover from climate disturbance. Eleven key factors to inform decisions based on scaling scientific evidence and the achievability of quantifying the factors were identified. Factors important to resistance and recovery, which are important components of resilience, were not strongly related, and should be assessed independently. The abundance of resistant (heat-tolerant) coral species and past temperature variability were perceived to provide the greatest resistance to climate change, while coral recruitment rates, and macroalgae abundance were most influential in the recovery process. Based on the 11 key factors, we tested an evidence-based framework for climate change resilience in an Indonesian marine protected area. The results suggest our evidence-weighted framework improved upon existing un-weighted methods in terms of characterizing resilience and distinguishing priority sites. The evaluation supports the concept that, despite high ecological complexity, relatively few strong variables can be important in influencing ecosystem dynamics. This is the first rigorous assessment of factors promoting coral reef resilience based on their perceived importance, empirical evidence, and feasibility of measurement. There were few differences between scientists' perceptions of factor importance and the scientific evidence found in journal publications but more before and after impact studies will be required to fully test the validity of all the factors. The methods here will increase the feasibility

  18. Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicity to corals: A review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Nicholas R; Renegar, D Abigail

    2017-06-30

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

  19. Reef corals bleach to resist stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O

    2009-02-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G. Carroll

    2011-09-01

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

  1. Shifting paradigms in restoration of the world's coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D; Blackall, Linda L; Cantin, Neal; Chakravarti, Leela J; Chan, Wing Y; Cormick, Craig; Crean, Angela; Damjanovic, Katarina; Epstein, Hannah; Harrison, Peter L; Jones, Thomas A; Miller, Margaret; Pears, Rachel J; Peplow, Lesa M; Raftos, David A; Schaffelke, Britta; Stewart, Kristen; Torda, Gergely; Wachenfeld, David; Weeks, Andrew R; Putnam, Hollie M

    2017-09-01

    Many ecosystems around the world are rapidly deteriorating due to both local and global pressures, and perhaps none so precipitously as coral reefs. Management of coral reefs through maintenance (e.g., marine-protected areas, catchment management to improve water quality), restoration, as well as global and national governmental agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., the 2015 Paris Agreement) is critical for the persistence of coral reefs. Despite these initiatives, the health and abundance of corals reefs are rapidly declining and other solutions will soon be required. We have recently discussed options for using assisted evolution (i.e., selective breeding, assisted gene flow, conditioning or epigenetic programming, and the manipulation of the coral microbiome) as a means to enhance environmental stress tolerance of corals and the success of coral reef restoration efforts. The 2014-2016 global coral bleaching event has sharpened the focus on such interventionist approaches. We highlight the necessity for consideration of alternative (e.g., hybrid) ecosystem states, discuss traits of resilient corals and coral reef ecosystems, and propose a decision tree for incorporating assisted evolution into restoration initiatives to enhance climate resilience of coral reefs. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Assessment of the Coral Temperature Proxies for Orbicella faveolata in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vara, M. A.; DeLong, K. L.; Herrmann, A. D.; Ouellette, G., Jr.; Richey, J. N.

    2017-12-01

    Coral Sr/Ca is a robust proxy of sea surface temperature (SST); however, discrepancies in the Sr/Ca-SST relationship among colonies of the same species may reduce confidence in absolute temperature reconstructions. Furthermore, terrestrial carbonate weathering can provide local sources of Sr and/or Ca to coastal waters that may disrupt the temperature-based coral Sr/Ca signal. Thus other trace metal SST proxies have been suggested to circumvent these issues (Li/Ca, Li/Mg, and Sr-U). Coral Ba/Ca has been used as a proxy for runoff and coastal upwelling, and therefore may be used to identify intervals when these processes overprint the Sr/Ca-SST signal. This study tests multiple coral SST proxies using reproducibility assessments to determine the best performing SST proxy. We conduct these assessments with cores recovered in 1991 by the U.S. Geological Survey from five Orbicella faveolata colonies from three reefs offshore of Veracruz, Mexico (19.06°N, 96.93°W) in water depths varying from 3 to 12 m. Previous studies found micromilling the complex skeletal structure of O. faveolata challenging and that monthly resolution may not recover full seasonal cycles. We use a laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer to simultaneously sample this coral's structure at weekly intervals spanning 8 years for Li/Ca, Li/Mg, Sr-U, Sr/Ca, and Ba/Ca. Here we found coral Li/Ca means and seasonal variations are similar among colonies thus this proxy may capture absolute temperature and SST variability. Similar to previous research with Porites corals, Li/Ca in these O. faveolata corals decreases with increases in SST with similar slopes and intercepts. During the last 10 years of these corals' lives, coral Sr/Ca analysis reveals a mean shift among colonies suggesting an external source could have disrupted the Sr/Ca signal, possibly seasonal runoff and/or winter upwelling common to Veracruz waters. Coral Ba/Ca analyses reveals elevated values in winters that coincide

  3. Operationalizing resilience for adaptive coral reef management under global environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anthony, Kenneth R N; Marshall, Paul A; Abdulla, Ameer; Beeden, Roger; Bergh, Chris; Black, Ryan; Eakin, C Mark; Game, Edward T; Gooch, Margaret; Graham, Nicholas A J; Green, Alison; Heron, Scott F; van Hooidonk, Ruben; Knowland, Cheryl; Mangubhai, Sangeeta; Marshall, Nadine; Maynard, Jeffrey A; McGinnity, Peter; McLeod, Elizabeth; Mumby, Peter J; Nyström, Magnus; Obura, David; Oliver, Jamie; Possingham, Hugh P; Pressey, Robert L; Rowlands, Gwilym P; Tamelander, Jerker; Wachenfeld, David; Wear, Stephanie

    2015-01-01

    Cumulative pressures from global climate and ocean change combined with multiple regional and local-scale stressors pose fundamental challenges to coral reef managers worldwide. Understanding how cumulative stressors affect coral reef vulnerability is critical for successful reef conservation now and in the future. In this review, we present the case that strategically managing for increased ecological resilience (capacity for stress resistance and recovery) can reduce coral reef vulnerability (risk of net decline) up to a point. Specifically, we propose an operational framework for identifying effective management levers to enhance resilience and support management decisions that reduce reef vulnerability. Building on a system understanding of biological and ecological processes that drive resilience of coral reefs in different environmental and socio-economic settings, we present an Adaptive Resilience-Based management (ARBM) framework and suggest a set of guidelines for how and where resilience can be enhanced via management interventions. We argue that press-type stressors (pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, ocean warming and acidification) are key threats to coral reef resilience by affecting processes underpinning resistance and recovery, while pulse-type (acute) stressors (e.g. storms, bleaching events, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks) increase the demand for resilience. We apply the framework to a set of example problems for Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reefs. A combined strategy of active risk reduction and resilience support is needed, informed by key management objectives, knowledge of reef ecosystem processes and consideration of environmental and social drivers. As climate change and ocean acidification erode the resilience and increase the vulnerability of coral reefs globally, successful adaptive management of coral reefs will become increasingly difficult. Given limited resources, on-the-ground solutions are likely to focus increasingly on

  4. Balance of constructive and destructive carbonate processes on mesophotic coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinstein, D. K.; Klaus, J. S.; Smith, T. B.; Helmle, K. P.; Marshall, D.

    2013-12-01

    Net carbonate accumulation of coral reefs is the product of both constructive and destructive processes that can ultimately influence overall reef geomorphology. Differences in these processes with depth may in part explain why the coral growth-light intensity association does no result in the traditionally theorized reef accretion decrease with depth. Until recently, physical sampling limitations had prevented the acquisition of sedimentary data needed to assess in situ carbonate accumulation in mesophotic reefs (30-150 m). Coral framework production, secondary carbonate production (calcareous encrusters), and bioerosion, the three most critical components of net carbonate accumulation, were analyzed in mesophotic reefs more than 10 km south of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands along a very gradual slope that limits sediment transport and sedimentation. Recently dead samples of the massive coral, Orbicella annularis collected from three structurally different upper mesophotic coral reef habitats (30-45 m) were cut parallel to the primary growth axis to identify density banding through standard x-radiographic techniques. Assuming annual banding, mesophotic linear extension rates were calculated on the order of 0.7-1.5 mm/yr. Weight change of experimental coral substrates exposed for 3 years indicate differing rates (1.1-17.2 g/yr) of bioerosion and secondary accretion between mesophotic sites. When correcting bioerosion rates for high mesophotic skeletal density, carbonate accumulation rates were found to vary significantly between neighboring mesophotic reefs with distinctive structures. Results imply variable rates of mesophotic reef net carbonate accretion with the potential to influence overall reef/platform morphology, including localized mesophotic reef structure.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Dalton, Steven J.; Carroll, Andrew G.

    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...

  6. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

    2008-07-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Viruses: agents of coral disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-03-23

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

  9. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till

    2017-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Analysis of the coral associated bacterial community structures in healthy and diseased corals from off-shore of southern Taiwan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiou, Shu-Fen; Kuo, Jimmy; Wong, Tit-Yee; Fan, Tung-Yung; Tew, Kwee Siong; Liu, Jong-Kang

    2010-07-01

    The methods of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing were used to analyze the ribotypes of microbial communities associated with corals. Both healthy and diseased coral of different species were collected at three locations off the southern coast of Taiwan. Ribotyping results suggested that the microbial communities were diverse. The microbial community profiles, even among the same species of corals from different geographical locations, differ significantly. The coral-associated bacterial communities contain many bacteria common to the habitants of various invertebrates. However, some bacteria were unexpected. The presence of some unusual species, such as Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Legionella, associated with corals that were likely the results of human activities. Human activities, such as thermal pollution from the nearby nuclear plant, active fishing and tourism industries in the region might have all contributed to the change in bacterial communities and the death of coral colonies around the region.

  13. Two new solid solutions in calcite-magnesite system identified in a sample from coral reefs in the northern Perth basin

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, D.Y.; O'Connor, B.H.; Zhu, Z.R.; Collins, L.B.; Hunter, B.

    1998-01-01

    Full text: Dolomite, CaMg(CO 3 ) 2 , is an economically important mineral, being of particular significance in petroleum geology. Carbonate rocks have long been a focus of investigation because these rocks contain an estimated 60 percent of the world's recoverable petroleum, and include most of the world's largest reservoirs. Correct phase identification in carbonates has concerned sedimentologists and petroleum geologists for decades. A new type of solid solution in the calcite (CaCO 3 ) - magnesite (MgCO 3 ) system has been identified at Curtin University by Rietveld XRD and neutron diffraction data analysis in a sample from late Pleistocene reefs in the northern Perth Basin. It is known that the structure of calcite (space group R3C) will be transformed to dolomite (R3), which has an ordered distribution of Ca and Mg in the structure, if 50% of its Ca atoms are substituted by Mg in terms of the Ca-Mg atomic ratio. However, the upper limit of Mg substitution for Ca in calcite under sedimentary-geological conditions without there being a change in structure to dolomite is still unknown. Two carbonates examined at Curtin showed Mg substitution for Ca in calcite under coral reef sedimentary conditions of 18.1% and 37.7%, whereas Bragg peak shifts for a 'dolomite, line for these samples were interpreted by geologists as indicative of dolomite with a certain extent of order-disorder distribution between Ca and Mg atoms. The observations have provided an opportunity to re-examine the origins of dolomite and aspects of dolomitization in a coral reef environment in the Quaternary

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-13

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

  15. DIVERSITY OF REEF FISH FUNGSIONAL GROUPS IN TERMS OF CORAL REEF RESILIENCES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isa Nagib edrus

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Infrastructure development in the particular sites of  Seribu Islands as well as those in main land of Jakarta City increased with coastal population this phenomenon is likely to increase the effects to the adjacent coral waters of Seribu Islands.  Chemical pollutants, sedimentation, and domestic wastes are the common impact and threatening, the survival of coral reef ecosystem. Coral reef resiliences naturaly remained on their processes under many influences of supporting factors. One of the major factor is the role of reef fish functional groups on controling algae growth to recolonize coral juveniles. The  aim of this study to obtain data of a herbivory and other fish functional groups of reef fishes in the Pari Islands that are resilience indicators, or that may indicate the effectiveness of management actions. A conventional scientific approach on fish diversity and abundance data gathering was conducted by the underwater visual cencus. Diversity values of the reef fish functional groups, such as the abundance of individual fish including species, were collected and tabulated by classes and weighted as a baseline to understand the resilience of coral reed based on Obura and Grimsditch (2009 techniques. The results succesfully identified several fish functional groups such as harbivores (21 species, carnivores (13 species and fish indicator (5 species occurred in the area. Regarding the aspects of fish density and its diversity, especially herbivorous fish functional group, were presumably in the state of rarely available to support the coral reef resiliences. Resilience indices ranged from 1 (low level to 3 (moderate level and averages of the quality levels ranged from 227 to 674. These levels were inadequate to support coral reef recolonization.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kahng Samuel E

    2009-09-01

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

  17. Extinction vulnerability of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chabanet, Pascale; Evans, Richard D; Jennings, Simon; Letourneur, Yves; Aaron Macneil, M; McClanahan, Tim R; Ohman, Marcus C; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Wilson, Shaun K

    2011-04-01

    With rapidly increasing rates of contemporary extinction, predicting extinction vulnerability and identifying how multiple stressors drive non-random species loss have become key challenges in ecology. These assessments are crucial for avoiding the loss of key functional groups that sustain ecosystem processes and services. We developed a novel predictive framework of species extinction vulnerability and applied it to coral reef fishes. Although relatively few coral reef fishes are at risk of global extinction from climate disturbances, a negative convex relationship between fish species locally vulnerable to climate change vs. fisheries exploitation indicates that the entire community is vulnerable on the many reefs where both stressors co-occur. Fishes involved in maintaining key ecosystem functions are more at risk from fishing than climate disturbances. This finding is encouraging as local and regional commitment to fisheries management action can maintain reef ecosystem functions pending progress towards the more complex global problem of stabilizing the climate. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  18. Permanent 'phase shifts' or reversible declines in coral cover? Lack of recovery of two coral reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs have changed dramatically in the last 3 to 4 decades, with significant loss of coral cover and increases in algae. Here we present trends in benthic cover from 1989 to 2003 at 2 reefs (Lameshur Reef and Newfound Reef) off St. John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Coral cover has declined in the fore-reef zones at both sites, and no recovery is evident. At Lameshur Reef, Hurricane Hugo (1989) caused significant physical damage and loss of coral. We suggest that macroalgae rapidly colonized new substrate made available by this storm and have hindered or prevented growth of adult corals, as well as settlement and survival of new coral recruits. Overfishing of herbivorous fishes in the USVI and loss of shelter for these fishes because of major storms has presumably reduced the levels of herbivory that formerly controlled algal abundance. Coral cover declined at Newfound Reef from 1999 to 2000, most likely because of coral diseases. The trends that we have documented, loss of coral followed by no evidence of recovery, appear similar to findings from other studies in the Caribbean. We need to focus on functional shifts in the resilience of coral reefs that result in their inability to recover from natural and human-caused stressors. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gove, Jamison M; Williams, Gareth J; McManus, Margaret A; Heron, Scott F; Sandin, Stuart A; Vetter, Oliver J; Foley, David G

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help

  2. Quantifying Climatological Ranges and Anomalies for Pacific Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gove, Jamison M.; Williams, Gareth J.; McManus, Margaret A.; Heron, Scott F.; Sandin, Stuart A.; Vetter, Oliver J.; Foley, David G.

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic–biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will

  3. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamison M Gove

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km from 85% of our study locations

  4. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Lee, O. O.

    2012-08-03

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2010-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. Fungal invasion of massive corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Raghukumar, S.

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

  11. Transcriptomes and expression profiling of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provide insight into the biology of azooxanthellate corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yum, Lauren K; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Roik, Anna; Michell, Craig; Voolstra, Christian R

    2017-07-25

    Despite the importance of deep-sea corals, our current understanding of their ecology and evolution is limited due to difficulties in sampling and studying deep-sea environments. Moreover, a recent re-evaluation of habitat limitations has been suggested after characterization of deep-sea corals in the Red Sea, where they live at temperatures of above 20 °C at low oxygen concentrations. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals, we produced reference transcriptomes and studied gene expression of three deep-sea coral species from the Red Sea, i.e. Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. Our analyses suggest that deep-sea coral employ mitochondrial hypometabolism and anaerobic glycolysis to manage low oxygen conditions present in the Red Sea. Notably, we found expression of genes related to surface cilia motion that presumably enhance small particle transport rates in the oligotrophic deep-sea environment. This is the first study to characterize transcriptomes and in situ gene expression for deep-sea corals. Our work offers several mechanisms by which deep-sea corals might cope with the distinct environmental conditions present in the Red Sea As such, our data provide direction for future research and further insight to organismal response of deep-sea coral to environmental change and ocean warming.

  12. Transcriptomes and expression profiling of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provide insight into the biology of azooxanthellate corals

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2017-07-19

    Despite the importance of deep-sea corals, our current understanding of their ecology and evolution is limited due to difficulties in sampling and studying deep-sea environments. Moreover, a recent re-evaluation of habitat limitations has been suggested after characterization of deep-sea corals in the Red Sea, where they live at temperatures of above 20 °C at low oxygen concentrations. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals, we produced reference transcriptomes and studied gene expression of three deep-sea coral species from the Red Sea, i.e. Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. Our analyses suggest that deep-sea coral employ mitochondrial hypometabolism and anaerobic glycolysis to manage low oxygen conditions present in the Red Sea. Notably, we found expression of genes related to surface cilia motion that presumably enhance small particle transport rates in the oligotrophic deep-sea environment. This is the first study to characterize transcriptomes and in situ gene expression for deep-sea corals. Our work offers several mechanisms by which deep-sea corals might cope with the distinct environmental conditions present in the Red Sea As such, our data provide direction for future research and further insight to organismal response of deep-sea coral to environmental change and ocean warming.

  13. Transcriptomes and expression profiling of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provide insight into the biology of azooxanthellate corals

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Rö thig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Michell, Craig; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Despite the importance of deep-sea corals, our current understanding of their ecology and evolution is limited due to difficulties in sampling and studying deep-sea environments. Moreover, a recent re-evaluation of habitat limitations has been suggested after characterization of deep-sea corals in the Red Sea, where they live at temperatures of above 20 °C at low oxygen concentrations. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals, we produced reference transcriptomes and studied gene expression of three deep-sea coral species from the Red Sea, i.e. Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. Our analyses suggest that deep-sea coral employ mitochondrial hypometabolism and anaerobic glycolysis to manage low oxygen conditions present in the Red Sea. Notably, we found expression of genes related to surface cilia motion that presumably enhance small particle transport rates in the oligotrophic deep-sea environment. This is the first study to characterize transcriptomes and in situ gene expression for deep-sea corals. Our work offers several mechanisms by which deep-sea corals might cope with the distinct environmental conditions present in the Red Sea As such, our data provide direction for future research and further insight to organismal response of deep-sea coral to environmental change and ocean warming.

  14. A dynamic bioenergetic model for coral-Symbiodinium symbioses and coral bleaching as an alternate stable state.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, Ross; Muller, Erik B; Gates, Ruth D; Nisbet, Roger M

    2017-10-27

    Coral reef ecosystems owe their ecological success - and vulnerability to climate change - to the symbiotic metabolism of corals and Symbiodinium spp. The urgency to understand and predict the stability and breakdown of these symbioses (i.e., coral 'bleaching') demands the development and application of theoretical tools. Here, we develop a dynamic bioenergetic model of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses that demonstrates realistic steady-state patterns in coral growth and symbiont abundance across gradients of light, nutrients, and feeding. Furthermore, by including a mechanistic treatment of photo-oxidative stress, the model displays dynamics of bleaching and recovery that can be explained as transitions between alternate stable states. These dynamics reveal that "healthy" and "bleached" states correspond broadly to nitrogen- and carbon-limitation in the system, with transitions between them occurring as integrated responses to multiple environmental factors. Indeed, a suite of complex emergent behaviors reproduced by the model (e.g., bleaching is exacerbated by nutrients and attenuated by feeding) suggests it captures many important attributes of the system; meanwhile, its modular framework and open source R code are designed to facilitate further problem-specific development. We see significant potential for this modeling framework to generate testable hypotheses and predict integrated, mechanistic responses of corals to environmental change, with important implications for understanding the performance and maintenance of symbiotic systems. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  17. Contrasting responses in the niches of two coral reef herbivores along a gradient of habitat disturbance in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah Grahm; Bednarz, Vanessa N.; Hill, Jaclyn M.

    2018-01-01

    Habitat modification of coral reefs is becoming increasingly common due to increases in coastal urban populations. Coral reef fish are highly dependent on benthic habitat; however, information on species-specific responses to habitat change, in particular with regard to trophic strategies, remains...... scarce. This study identifies variation in the trophic niches of two herbivorous coral reef fishes with contrasting trophic strategies, using Stable Isotopes Bayesian Ellipses in R, along a spatial gradient of changing coral reef habitats. In the parrotfish Chlorurus bleekeri, a roving consumer...

  18. Low coral cover in a high-CO2 world

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2005-09-01

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

  19. Comparative transcriptomics of the nematode gut identifies global shifts in feeding mode and pathogen susceptibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lightfoot, James W; Chauhan, Veeren M; Aylott, Jonathan W; Rödelsperger, Christian

    2016-03-05

    The nematode Pristionchus pacificus has been established as a model for comparative studies using the well known Caenorhabditis elegans as a reference. Despite their relatedness, previous studies have revealed highly divergent development and a number of morphological differences including the lack of a pharyngal structure, the grinder, used to physically lyse the ingested bacteria in C. elegans. To complement current knowledge about developmental and ecological differences with a better understanding of their feeding modes, we have sequenced the intestinal transcriptomes of both nematodes. In total, we found 464 intestine-enriched genes in P. pacificus and 724 in C. elegans, of which the majority (66%) has been identified by previous studies. Interestingly, only 15 genes could be identified with shared intestinal enrichment in both species, of which three genes are Hedgehog signaling molecules supporting a highly conserved role of this pathway for intestinal development across all metazoa. At the level of gene families, we find similar divergent trends with only five families displaying significant intestinal enrichment in both species. We compared our data with transcriptomic responses to various pathogens. Strikingly, C. elegans intestine-enriched genes showed highly significant overlaps with pathogen response genes whereas this was not the case for P. pacificus, indicating shifts in pathogen susceptibility that might be explained by altered feeding modes. Our study reveals first insights into the evolution of feeding systems and the associated changes in intestinal gene expression that might have facilitated nematodes of the P. pacificus lineage to colonize new environments. These findings deepen our understanding about how morphological and genomic diversity is created during the course of evolution.

  20. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

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

  1. Identifying the Achilles heel of multi-host pathogens: the concept of keystone ‘host’ species illustrated by Mycobacterium ulcerans transmission

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roche, Benjamin; Eric Benbow, M; Merritt, Richard; Kimbirauskas, Ryan; McIntosh, Mollie; Small, Pamela L C; Williamson, Heather; Guégan, Jean-François

    2013-01-01

    Pathogens that use multiple host species are an increasing public health issue due to their complex transmission, which makes them difficult to mitigate. Here, we explore the possibility of using networks of ecological interactions among potential host species to identify the particular disease-source species to target to break down transmission of such pathogens. We fit a mathematical model on prevalence data of Mycobacterium ulcerans in western Africa and we show that removing the most abundant taxa for this category of pathogen is not an optimal strategy to decrease the transmission of the mycobacterium within aquatic ecosystems. On the contrary, we reveal that the removal of some taxa, especially Oligochaeta worms, can clearly reduce rates of pathogen transmission, and these should be considered as keystone organisms for its transmission because they lead to a substantial reduction in pathogen prevalence regardless of the network topology. Besides their potential application for the understanding of M. ulcerans ecology, we discuss how networks of species interactions can modulate transmission of multi-host pathogens. (letter)

  2. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-05

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Cyanotoxins from black band disease of corals and from other coral reef environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gantar, Miroslav; Sekar, Raju; Richardson, Laurie L

    2009-11-01

    Many cyanobacteria produce cyanotoxins, which has been well documented from freshwater environments but not investigated to the same extent in marine environments. Cyanobacteria are an obligate component of the polymicrobial disease of corals known as black band disease (BBD). Cyanotoxins were previously shown to be present in field samples of BBD and in a limited number of BBD cyanobacterial cultures. These toxins were suggested as one of the mechanisms contributing to BBD-associated coral tissue lysis and death. In this work, we tested nine cyanobacterial isolates from BBD and additionally nine isolated from non-BBD marine sources for their ability to produce toxins. The presence of toxins was determined using cell extracts of laboratory grown cyanobacterial cultures using ELISA and the PP2A assay. Based on these tests, it was shown that cyanobacterial toxins belonging to the microcystin/nodularin group were produced by cyanobacteria originating from both BBD and non-BBD sources. Several environmental factors that can be encountered in the highly dynamic microenvironment of BBD were tested for their effect on both cyanobacterial growth yield and rate of toxin production using two of the BBD isolates of the genera Leptolyngbya and Geitlerinema. While toxin production was the highest under mixotrophic conditions (light and glucose) for the Leptolyngbya isolate, it was highest under photoautotrophic conditions for the Geitlerinema isolate. Our results show that toxin production among marine cyanobacteria is more widespread than previously documented, and we present data showing three marine cyanobacterial genera (Phormidium, Pseudanabaena, and Spirulina) are newly identified as cyanotoxin producers. We also show that cyanotoxin production by BBD cyanobacteria can be affected by environmental factors that are present in the microenvironment associated with this coral disease.

  6. 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.

  7. Post-bleaching coral community change on southern Maldivian reefs: is there potential for rapid recovery?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, C. T.; Morgan, K. M.

    2017-12-01

    Given the severity of the 2016 global bleaching event, there are major questions about how quickly reef communities will recover. Here, we explore the ecological and physical structural changes that occurred across five atoll interior reefs in the southern Maldives using data collected at 6 and 12 months post-bleaching. Following initial severe coral mortality, further minor coral mortality had occurred by 12 months post-bleaching, and coral cover is now low (transitions to rubble-dominated states will occur in the near future. Juvenile coral densities in shallow fore-reef habitats are also exceptionally low (<6 individuals m-2), well below those measured 9-12 months following the 1998 bleaching event, and below recovery thresholds identified on other Indian Ocean reefs. Our findings suggest that the physical structure of these reefs will need to decline further before effective recruitment and recovery can begin.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  9. Microbial ecology of corals, sponges, and algae in mesophotic coral environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olson, Julie B.; Kellogg, Christina A.

    2010-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems that occur at depths from 30 to 200 m have historically been understudied and yet appear to support a diverse biological community. The microbiology of these systems is particularly poorly understood, especially with regard to the communities associated with corals, sponges, and algae. This lack of information is partly due to the problems associated with gaining access to these environments and poor reproducibility across sampling methods. To summarize what is known about the microbiology of these ecosystems and to highlight areas where research is urgently needed, an overview of the current state of knowledge is presented. Emphasis is placed on the characterization of microbial populations, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, associated with corals, sponges, and algae and the factors that influence microbial community structure. In topic areas where virtually nothing is known from mesophotic environments, the knowledge pertaining to shallow-water ecosystems is summarized to provide a starting point for a discussion on what might be expected in the mesophotic zone.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-15

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

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  14. 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...

  15. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  16. Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  17. Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pendleton, Linwood; Comte, Adrien; Langdon, Chris; Ekstrom, Julia A; Cooley, Sarah R; Suatoni, Lisa; Beck, Michael W; Brander, Luke M; Burke, Lauretta; Cinner, Josh E; Doherty, Carolyn; Edwards, Peter E T; Gledhill, Dwight; Jiang, Li-Qing; van Hooidonk, Ruben J; Teh, Louise; Waldbusser, George G; Ritter, Jessica

    2016-01-01

    Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1) elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality), and 2) ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services. Impacts to people will be most grave where a) human dependence on coral reef ecosystems is high, b) sea surface temperature reaches critical levels soonest, and c) ocean acidification levels are most severe. Where these elements align, swift action will be needed to protect people's lives and livelihoods, but such action must be informed by data and science. Designing policies to offset potential harm to coral reef ecosystems and people requires a better understanding of where CO2-related global environmental stresses could cause the most severe impacts. Mapping indicators has been proposed as a way of combining natural and social science data to identify policy actions even when the needed science is relatively nascent. To identify where people are at risk and where more science is needed, we map indicators of biological, physical and social science factors to understand how human dependence on coral reef ecosystems will be affected by globally-driven threats to corals expected in a high-CO2 world. Western Mexico, Micronesia, Indonesia and parts of Australia have high human dependence and will likely face severe combined threats. As a region, Southeast Asia is particularly at risk. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reef ecosystems are places for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification. These areas require new data and interdisciplinary scientific research to help coral reef-dependent human communities better prepare for a high CO2 world.

  18. Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linwood Pendleton

    Full Text Available Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1 elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality, and 2 ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services. Impacts to people will be most grave where a human dependence on coral reef ecosystems is high, b sea surface temperature reaches critical levels soonest, and c ocean acidification levels are most severe. Where these elements align, swift action will be needed to protect people's lives and livelihoods, but such action must be informed by data and science.Designing policies to offset potential harm to coral reef ecosystems and people requires a better understanding of where CO2-related global environmental stresses could cause the most severe impacts. Mapping indicators has been proposed as a way of combining natural and social science data to identify policy actions even when the needed science is relatively nascent. To identify where people are at risk and where more science is needed, we map indicators of biological, physical and social science factors to understand how human dependence on coral reef ecosystems will be affected by globally-driven threats to corals expected in a high-CO2 world. Western Mexico, Micronesia, Indonesia and parts of Australia have high human dependence and will likely face severe combined threats. As a region, Southeast Asia is particularly at risk. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reef ecosystems are places for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification. These areas require new data and interdisciplinary scientific research to help coral reef-dependent human communities better prepare for a high CO2 world.

  19. 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.

  20. Coral diseases and their research in Colombian reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gil A, Diego L; Navas C, Raul; RodrIguez, Alberto; Reyes, Maria C

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful and important ecosystems in the planet. These ecosystems have existed for over 200 million years and have survived extreme episodes such as glaciation and mass extinctions during their history. Nonetheless, during the last three decades, these ecosystems have registered sudden and dramatic changes that, according to some researchers, endanger their survival and persistence. One of the major problems coral reefs are facing nowadays is the outbreak of diseases that affect corals, which constitute the basic unit of this ecosystem. There is no consensus regarding whether these disease outbreaks are recent episodes; but what seems to be true is that some of these diseases have favored unprecedented changes in coral reefs. Coral reefs in Colombia have also been affected by disease events, and since the 1980, several coral diseases have been observed and studied, and even one of them was first described in Colombian reefs. This work presents a compendium of the main coral diseases registered around the world and is meant to serve as a guide for new studies in this topic. Similarly, a summary of coral disease research carried out in Colombia is presented as well as a discussion on current perspectives for the study of this field in the country.

  1. Biodiversity of Cryptofauna (Decapods) and Their Correlation with Dead Coral Pocillopora sp. Volume at Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malik, Muhammad Danie Al; Kholilah, Nenik; Kurniasih, Eka Maya; Sembiring, Andrianus; Pertiwi, Ni Putu Dian; Ambariyanto, Ambariyanto; Munasik, Munasik; Meyer, Christopher

    2018-02-01

    Decapod is known as cryptofauna which is also important component of coral reef biodiversity. Dead corals are one of the area which usually used by decapods to live. This research aims to observe the diversity of cryptofauna (decapods) and the correlation between the number of decapods with the volume of dead corals. Ten dead corals, Pocillopora sp., were collected at 5 m depth at Bunaken Island. These dead corals were measured their volume and all decapods found were counted and identified up to family level. The richness and abundance were analyzed using ACE (Abundance-Based Coverage Estimates) and Chao 1. The results show that there were in total 474 decapods from 13 families found within all ten dead corals. Xanthidae was showed as the most abundance family among all, with 161 individual. Diversity index of decapods was found at medium category with value of 2.01. Rarefaction curve based on richness and abundance showed an estimation of 13 families. The result also indicated that the asymptote stage was reached on the 10th dead coral samples. The correlation between decapod with the volume of dead coral were showed significant positive correlation (r = 0.673, p<0.05). This result provides benefits to basic knowledge about diversity of decapod which one of cryptofauna as component fauna have a habitat on coral reef ecosystem.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitu