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Sample records for coral pocillopora damicornis

  1. New evidence shows that Pocilloporadamicornis-like’ corals in Singapore are actually Pocillopora acuta (Scleractinia: Pocilloporidae

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    Rosa Poquita-Du

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Molecular sequence data have previously revealed the existence of cryptic species associated with the Pocilloporadamicornis-like’ coral. Recently, this species complex has been reclassified into three species including the resurrected P. acuta, which appears to have a wide distribution. Morphological characteristics described for P. acuta are present in corals previously identified as Pocillopora damicornis. To determine if the Pocilloporadamicornis-like’ colonies on Singapore’s reefs are P. acuta, P. damicornis, or both, we examined a new collection of Pocillopora using mitochondrial DNA data and morphology. We also compared specimen morphologies from past collections and examined the known regional distributions of both species. Our analyses show that most Pocilloporadamicornis-like’ corals in Singapore are P. acuta instead of P. damicornis. Findings here are important for coral diversity records in Singapore and will help clarify distributional limits of morphologically similar Pocillopora species.

  2. Production of a reference transcriptome and transcriptomic database (PocilloporaBase for the cauliflower coral, Pocillopora damicornis

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    Traylor-Knowles Nikki

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Motivated by the precarious state of the world's coral reefs, there is currently a keen interest in coral transcriptomics. By identifying changes in coral gene expression that are triggered by particular environmental stressors, we can begin to characterize coral stress responses at the molecular level, which should lead to the development of more powerful diagnostic tools for evaluating the health of corals in the field. Furthermore, the identification of genetic variants that are more or less resilient in the face of particular stressors will help us to develop more reliable prognoses for particular coral populations. Toward this end, we performed deep mRNA sequencing of the cauliflower coral, Pocillopora damicornis, a geographically widespread Indo-Pacific species that exhibits a great diversity of colony forms and is able to thrive in habitats subject to a wide range of human impacts. Importantly, P. damicornis is particularly amenable to laboratory culture. We collected specimens from three geographically isolated Hawaiian populations subjected to qualitatively different levels of human impact. We isolated RNA from colony fragments ("nubbins" exposed to four environmental stressors (heat, desiccation, peroxide, and hypo-saline conditions or control conditions. The RNA was pooled and sequenced using the 454 platform. Description Both the raw reads (n = 1, 116, 551 and the assembled contigs (n = 70, 786; mean length = 836 nucleotides were deposited in a new publicly available relational database called PocilloporaBase http://www.PocilloporaBase.org. Using BLASTX, 47.2% of the contigs were found to match a sequence in the NCBI database at an E-value threshold of ≤.001; 93.6% of those contigs with matches in the NCBI database appear to be of metazoan origin and 2.3% bacterial origin, while most of the remaining 4.1% match to other eukaryotes, including algae and amoebae. Conclusions P. damicornis now joins the handful of

  3. Elevated temperature alters the lunar timing of Planulation in the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Camerron M Crowder

    Full Text Available Reproductive timing in corals is associated with environmental variables including temperature, lunar periodicity, and seasonality. Although it is clear that these variables are interrelated, it remains unknown if one variable in particular acts as the proximate signaler for gamete and or larval release. Furthermore, in an era of global warming, the degree to which increases in ocean temperatures will disrupt normal reproductive patterns in corals remains unknown. Pocillopora damicornis, a brooding coral widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific, has been the subject of multiple reproductive ecology studies that show correlations between temperature, lunar periodicity, and reproductive timing. However, to date, no study has empirically measured changes in reproductive timing associated with increased seawater temperature. In this study, the effect of increased seawater temperature on the timing of planula release was examined during the lunar cycles of March and June 2012. Twelve brooding corals were removed from Hobihu reef in Nanwan Bay, southern Taiwan and placed in 23 and 28°C controlled temperature treatment tanks. For both seasons, the timing of planulation was found to be plastic, with the high temperature treatment resulting in significantly earlier peaks of planula release compared to the low temperature treatment. This suggests that temperature alone can influence the timing of larval release in Pocillopora damicornis in Nanwan Bay. Therefore, it is expected that continued increases in ocean temperature will result in earlier timing of reproductive events in corals, which may lead to either variations in reproductive success or phenotypic acclimatization.

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

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    David J Combosch

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

  5. Assessing hidden species diversity in the coral Pocillopora damicornis from Eastern Australia

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    Schmidt-Roach, S.; Lundgren, P.; Miller, K. J.; Gerlach, G.; Noreen, A. M. E.; Andreakis, N.

    2013-03-01

    The incredible range of morphological plasticity present in scleractinian corals has confused the taxonomy of the group, prompting the introduction of "ecomorphs" to explain the observed correlation between local environmental conditions and phenotypic variation. Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) represents one of the best known examples of eco-phenotypic variation in scleractinian corals with a variety of forms and reproductive strategies reported across its global distribution range. Here, we reconstruct genealogical relationships of P. damicornis colonies collected from thirteen locations along the East Australian coast to examine the relationship between genetic and phenotypic diversity in this species. Haplotype networks computed from two mitochondrial DNA regions (CR, ORF) indicate that the range of morphotypes observed within this taxon fall into at least five genetically distinct mitochondrial lineages. Nuclear (HSP70, ITS2) haplowebs on the other hand recover sharp genetic discontinuities among three of the morphological groups. We conclude that P. damicornis from Eastern Australia constitutes a cryptic species complex. The misinterpretation of taxonomical units within P. damicornis may well explain its perceived variation in the ecology, biology and life history across its range.

  6. Effects of terrigenous sediment on settlement and survival of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis

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    Kaipo Perez III

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Survival and settlement of Pocillopora damicornis larvae on hard surfaces covered with fine (<63 µm terrigenous red clay was measured in laboratory Petri dishes. The dishes were prepared with sediment films of various thicknesses covering the bottoms. Coral larvae were incubated in the dishes for two weeks and the percent that settled on the bottom was determined. There was a statistically significant relationship between the amount of sediment and coral recruitment on the bottom, with no recruitment on surfaces having a sediment cover above 0.9 mg cm−2. Experimental conditions for the delicate coral larvae were favorable in these experiments. Total survival over the two week settlement tests expressed as the sum of coral recruits and live larvae at the end of the experiment did not show a significant decline, so the major impact of the sediment was on successful settlement rather than on mortality. Larval substrate selection behavior was the primary factor in the observed result.

  7. Effects of elevated ammonium on the transcriptome of the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Yuan, Chao; Zhou, Zhi; Zhang, Yidan; Chen, Guangmei; Yu, Xiaopeng; Ni, Xingzhen; Tang, Jia; Huang, Bo

    2017-01-15

    The survival of corals worldwide has been seriously threatened by eutrophication events concomitant with the increase in ocean pollution. In the present study, whole transcriptomes of the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis exposed to elevated ammonium were sequenced. A total of 121,366,983 pair-end reads were obtained, and 209,337 genes were assembled, including 42,399 coral-derived and 54,874 zooxanthella-derived genes. Further, a comparison of the control versus stress group revealed 6572 differentially expressed genes. For 1015 significantly upregulated genes, 24 GO terms were overrepresented, among which 3 terms related to apoptosis and cell death induction included one caspase, five bcl-2-like proteins, and two tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member genes. For 5557 significantly downregulated genes, the top 10 overrepresented terms were related to metabolism and signal transduction. These results indicate that apoptosis and cell death could be induced under elevated ammonium, suggesting that metabolic regulation and signal transduction might be involved in the reconstruction of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiotic balance in the stony coral P. damicornis. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Mixed asexual and sexual reproduction in the Indo-Pacific reef coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Combosch, David J; Vollmer, Steven V

    2013-09-01

    Pocillopora damicornis is one of the best studied reef-building corals, yet it's somewhat unique reproductive strategy remains poorly understood. Genetic studies indicate that P. damicornis larvae are produced almost exclusively parthenogenetically, and yet population genetic surveys suggest frequent sexual reproduction. Using microsatellite data from over 580 larvae from 13 colonies, we demonstrate that P. damicornis displays a mixed reproductive strategy where sexual and asexual larvae are produced simultaneously within the same colony. The majority of larvae were parthenogenetic (94%), but most colonies (10 of the 13) produced a subset of their larvae sexually. Logistic regression indicates that the proportion of sexual larvae varied significantly with colony size, cycle day, and calendar day. In particular, the decrease in sexual larvae with colony size suggests that the mixed reproductive strategy changes across the life of the coral. This unique shift in reproductive strategy leads to increasingly asexual replications of successful genotypes, which (in contrast to exclusive parthenogens) have already contributed to the recombinant gene pool.

  9. Aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of multicellular isolates from a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Domart-Coulon, I J; Elbert, D C; Scully, E P; Calimlim, P S; Ostrander, G K

    2001-10-09

    The foundation of marine coral reef ecosystems is calcium carbonate accumulated primarily by the action of hard corals (Coelenterata: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Colonial hard coral polyps cover the surface of the reef and deposit calcium carbonate as the aragonite polymorph, stabilized into a continuous calcareous skeleton. Scleractinian coral skeleton composition and architecture are well documented; however, the cellular mechanisms of calcification are poorly understood. There is little information on the nature of the coral cell types involved or their cooperation in biocalcification. We report aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis. Cells of apical coral colony fragments were isolated by spontaneous in vitro dissociation. Single dissociated cell types were separated by density in a discontinuous Percoll gradient. Primary cell cultures displayed a transient increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, to the level observed in intact corals. In adherent multicellular isolate cultures, enzyme activation was followed by precipitation of aragonite. Modification of the ionic formulation of the medium prolonged maintenance of isolates, delayed ALP activation, and delayed aragonite precipitation. These results demonstrate that in vitro crystallization of aragonite in coral cell cultures is possible, and provides an innovative approach to investigate reef-building coral calcification at the cellular level.

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

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

    2014-06-15

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

  11. Uptake and partitioning of copper and cadmium in the coral Pocillopora damicornis

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    Mitchelmore, Carys L. [University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, 1 Williams Street, P.O. Box 38, Solomons, MD 20688 (United States)], E-mail: Mitchelmore@cbl.umces.edu; Verde, E. Alan [Corning School of Ocean Studies, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME 04420 (United States); Weis, Virginia M. [Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, 3029 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331 (United States)

    2007-11-15

    Coral-reef ecosystems are increasingly being impacted by a wide variety of anthropogenic inputs, including heavy metals, which could be contributing to coral reef stress and bleaching episodes. Fragments of Pocillopora damicornis were exposed in the laboratory to cadmium (Cd) or copper (Cu) chlorides (0, 5, 50 {mu}g l{sup -1}) for 14 days and analyzed for metal content in the whole association, algal or animal fractions. Various physiological and biochemical parameters were also measured, such as, algal cell counts, mitotic index, chlorophyll content and levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Cd and Cu accumulation were observed at all time points and doses; there was no evidence of differential metal partitioning between the algal or animal fractions. No changes in algal cell density, mitotic index or chlorophyll content from the controls were observed in any of the metal treatments. GSH levels were significantly higher in the 5 {mu}g l{sup -1} Cd (Day 4) and Cu (Days 4 and 14) treatments compared with controls at the same time point. Although no evidence of a bleaching response occurred, corals in both 50 {mu}g l{sup -1} metal exposures sloughed off tissues and did not survive the duration of the exposure period. Our results demonstrate the accumulation of Cd and Cu in P. damicornis and mortality in the absence of a bleaching response.

  12. Effect of UV radiation on the expulsion of Symbiodinium from the coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Zhou, Jie; Huang, Hui; Beardall, John; Gao, Kunshan

    2017-01-01

    The variation in density of the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinum in coral is a basic indicator of coral bleaching, i.e. loss of the symbiotic algae or their photosynthetic pigments. However, in the field corals constantly release their symbiotic algae to surrounding water. To explore the underlying mechanism, the rate of expulsion of zooxanthellae from the coral Pocillopora damicornis was studied over a three-day period under ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280-400nm) stress. The results showed that the algal expulsion rate appeared 10-20% higher under exposure to UV-A (320-395nm) or UV-B (295-320nm), though the differences were not statistically significant. When corals were exposed to UV-A and UV-B radiation, the maximum expulsion of zooxanthellae occurred at noon (10:00-13:00), and this timing was 1h earlier than in the control without UVR. UVR stress led to obvious decreases in the concentrations of chl a and carotenoids in the coral nubbins after a three-day exposure. Therefore, our results suggested that although the UVR effect on algal expulsion rate was a chronic stress and was not significant within a time frame of only three days, the reduction in chl a and carotenoids may potentially enhance the possibility of coral bleaching over a longer period. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  13. Mesoscale variation in the photophysiology of the reef building coral Pocillopora damicornis along an environmental gradient

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    Cooper, Timothy F.; Ulstrup, Karin E.

    2009-06-01

    Spatial variation in the photophysiology of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis was examined along an environmental gradient in the Whitsunday Islands (Great Barrier Reef) at two depths (3 m and 6 m). Chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II (PSII) and PAR-absorptivity measurements were conducted using an Imaging-PAM (pulse-amplitude-modulation) fluorometer. Most photophysiological parameters correlated with changes in environmental conditions quantified by differences in water quality along the gradient. For example, maximum quantum yield ( Fv/ Fm) increased and PAR-absorptivity decreased as water quality improved along the gradient from nearshore reefs (low irradiance, elevated nutrients and sediments) to outer islands (high irradiance, low nutrients and sediments). For apparent photosynthetic rate (PS max) and minimum saturating irradiance ( Ek), the direction of change differed depending on sampling depth, suggesting that different mechanisms of photo-acclimatisation operated between shallow and deep corals. Deep corals conformed to typical patterns of light/shade acclimatisation whereas shallow corals exhibited reduced PS max and Ek with improving water quality coinciding with greater heat dissipation (NPQ 241). Furthermore, deep corals on nearshore reefs exhibited elevated Q241 in comparison to outer islands possibly due to effects of sedimentation and/or pollutants rather than irradiance. These results highlight the importance of mesoscale sampling to obtain useful estimates of the variability of photophysiological parameters, particularly if such measures are to be used as bioindicators of the condition of coral reefs.

  14. Temperature Dependence of Respiration in Larvae and Adult Colonies of the Corals Acropora tenuis and Pocillopora damicornis

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    Dwi Haryanti

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Although algal symbionts can become a source of reactive oxygen species under stressful conditions, symbiotic planulae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis are highly tolerant to thermal stress compared with non-symbiotic planulae of Acropora tenuis. As a first step to understand how P. damicornis planulae attain high stress tolerance, we compared the respiration rate and temperature dependence between symbiotic planulae of P. damicornis and non-symbiotic planulae of A. tenuis, as well as between larvae and adult branches within each species. Larvae and adult branches of both species had similar temperature dependency of respiration rate, with the temperature coefficient (Q10 values of about 2. Planula larvae of P. damicornis had a significantly lower respiration rate than that of A. tenuis larvae at 25–30 °C, but not at 32 °C, whereas adult branches of P. damicornis had a significantly higher respiration rate than that of A. tenuis branches at all temperatures. Thus, P. damicornis larvae appear to be capable of reducing their respiration rate to a greater extent than A. tenuis larvae, which could partly explain why P. damicornis larvae had high survivorship under thermal stress, although other antioxidant or photoprotective mechanisms should be investigated in the future.

  15. Skeletal growth dynamics linked to trace-element composition in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis

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    Brahmi, Chloe; Kopp, Christophe; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Stolarski, Jarosław; Meibom, Anders

    2012-12-01

    The micro- and ultra-structural skeletal growth dynamics of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus 1758) was studied with pulsed 86Sr-labeling and high spatial resolution NanoSIMS isotopic imaging. Average extension rates for the two basic ultra-structural components of the skeleton, Rapid Accretion Deposits (RAD) and Thickening Deposits (TD), were compared between corallite wall, spines and dissepiments. The RAD, forming the basal part of the dissepiment, were found to form extremely fast compared with RAD and TD in other parts of the skeleton. Trace element compositions (i.e., Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios) obtained for each ultra-structural component reveal the full range of chemical variation on the scale of the individual corallite. The Mg/Ca ratio was found to vary about a factor of 6, from ˜2.2 mmol/mol in slow growing ornamental spines to ˜13 mmol/mol in the fast forming dissepiment RAD. A positive relationship between Mg/Ca and inferred average extension rate was observed. Sr/Ca, on the other hand, although it varies substantially in the range between ˜6.5 and ˜9.5 mmol/mol, does not show any relationship with inferred average extension rate, nor does is correlate with the Mg/Ca ratio. Rayleigh fractionation models are not capable of explaining the trace element variations. The results presented in this study imply that the coral is capable of controlling its biomineralization activity with great temporal and spatial precision. Spatial heterogeneity in coral tissue activity should be carefully investigated in the development of biomineralization models for scleractinian corals.

  16. Reproducción sexual del coral Pocillopora damicornis al sur del Golfo de California, México

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    HE Chávez-Romo; H Reyes-Bonilla

    2007-01-01

    La especie de coral Pocillopora damicornis es una de las dominantes en sistemas arrecifales del Pacífico oriental, y se distingue por presentar variaciones geográficas en cuanto a su modo de reproducción. En el Pacífico mexicano no se ha investigado la reproducción de esta especie, lo cual es importante ya que sus poblaciones se encuentran recuperándose de las mortalidades acaecidas por el blanqueamiento coralino producto de El Niño 1997–98. En este estudio se determinó el patrón reproductivo...

  17. Temporal and spatial expression patterns of biomineralization proteins during early development in the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Mass, Tali; Putnam, Hollie M; Drake, Jeana L; Zelzion, Ehud; Gates, Ruth D; Bhattacharya, Debashish; Falkowski, Paul G

    2016-04-27

    Reef-building corals begin as non-calcifying larvae that, upon settling, rapidly begin to accrete skeleton and a protein-rich skeletal organic matrix that attach them to the reef. Here, we characterized the temporal and spatial expression pattern of a suite of biomineralization genes during three stages of larval development in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis: stage I, newly released; stage II, oral-aborally compressed and stage III, settled and calcifying spat. Transcriptome analysis revealed 3882 differentially expressed genes that clustered into four distinctly different patterns of expression change across the three developmental stages. Immunolocalization analysis further reveals the spatial arrangement of coral acid-rich proteins (CARPs) in the overall architecture of the emerging skeleton. These results provide the first analysis of the timing of the biomineralization 'toolkit' in the early life history of a stony coral. © 2016 The Author(s).

  18. The role of sexual and asexual reproduction in structuring high latitude populations of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis.

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    Miller, K J; Ayre, D J

    2004-06-01

    The genotypic composition of populations of the asexually viviparous coral Pocillopora damicornis varies in a manner that challenges classical models of the roles of sexual and asexual reproduction. On the geographically isolated Hawaiian reefs and high latitude reefs in Western Australia, P. damicornis populations are highly clonal although it has been argued that sexual reproduction via broadcast spawning generates widely dispersed colonists. In contrast, on eastern Australia's tropical Great Barrier Reef populations show little evidence of clonality. Here, we compare the genotypic diversity of adult and juvenile colonies of P. damicornis at seven sites on eastern Australia's high latitude Lord Howe Island reefs to determine if levels of clonality vary with habitat heterogeneity and age of colonies (as predicted by theory) or alternatively if clonality is again always high as for other isolated reef systems. We found 55-100% of the genotypic diversity expected for random mating at all seven sites and little evidence of asexual recruitment irrespective of habitat heterogeneity (sheltered versus wave exposed) or colony age. We found reduced levels of genetic diversity compared with tropical reefs (2.75 versus 4 alleles/locus), which supports earlier findings that Lord Howe Island is an isolated reef system. Furthermore, heterozygote deficits coupled with significant genetic subdivision among sites (FST=0.102+/-0.03) is typical of populations that have limited larval connections and are inbred. We conclude that the genetic structure of P. damicornis at Lord Howe Island reflects populations that are maintained through localised recruitment of sexually produced larvae.

  19. Increased seawater temperature increases the abundance and alters the structure of natural Vibrio populations associated with the coral Pocillopora damicornis

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    Jessica eTout

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Rising seawater temperature associated with global climate change is a significant threat to coral health and is linked to increasing coral disease and pathogen-related bleaching events. We performed heat stress experiments with the coral Pocillopora damicornis, where temperature was increased to 31°C, consistent with the 2-3°C predicted increase in summer sea surface maxima. 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing revealed a large shift in the composition of the bacterial community at 31°C, with a notable increase in Vibrio, including known coral pathogens. To investigate the dynamics of the naturally occurring Vibrio community, we performed quantitative PCR targeting (i the whole Vibrio community and (ii the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus. At 31°C, Vibrio abundance increased by 2-3 orders of magnitude and V. coralliilyticus abundance increased by 4 orders of magnitude. Using a Vibrio-specific amplicon sequencing assay, we further demonstrated that the community composition shifted dramatically as a consequence of heat stress, with significant increases in the relative abundance of known coral pathogens. Our findings provide quantitative evidence that the abundance of potential coral pathogens increases within natural communities of coral-associated microbes as a consequence of rising seawater temperature and highlight the potential negative impacts of anthropogenic climate change on coral reef ecosystems.

  20. Using demographic models to project the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals: Pocillopora damicornis as a case study

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    Bramanti, L.; Iannelli, M.; Fan, T. Y.; Edmunds, P. J.

    2015-06-01

    Using empirical analyses of the effects of global climate change (GCC) and ocean acidification (OA) on the survival and calcification of early life stages of Pocillopora damicornis, we employed a demographic approach to forecast the consequences of GCC and OA on the population dynamics of this coral. We constructed a size-based demographic model using life-history tables and transition probabilities for a population in Southern Taiwan, and projected the population structure over ~100 yr under scenarios of warming and acidification. The simulations incorporated stochastic variability of the parameters (±5 %), decline in larval survival due to increases in temperature and pCO2, modified growth rates due to rising temperature, and larval input from distant populations. In a closed population, an increase of pCO2 from 40.5 to 91.2 Pa reduces density, and an increase in temperature from 26 to 29 °C results in population extirpation within 100 yr. With a larval supply of 10 % from distant populations, the population persisted regardless of high temperature (+3 °C). These results indicate that: (1) populations of P. damicornis may be resistant to GCC and OA so long as it persists as part of a metapopulation capable of supplying larvae from spatially separated populations and (2) early life stages can regulate the population dynamics of P. damicornis.

  1. Growth and mortality of coral transplants (Pocillopora damicornis) along a range of sediment influence in Maui, Hawai'i

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    Piniak, G.A.; Brown, E.K.

    2008-01-01

    Fragments of the lace coral Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) were transplanted to four sites on the south-central coast of Maui, Hawai'i, to examine coral growth over a range of expected sediment influence. Corals remained in situ for 11 months and were recovered seasonally for growth measurements using the buoyant weight technique. Average sediment trap accumulation rates ranged from 11 to 490 mg cm-2 day-1 and were greater at the wave-exposed reef site than at the protected harbor sites. Coral growth was highest at the donor site and was higher in the summer than in the winter. A stepwise linear regression found significant effects of sediment trap accumulation and light on growth rates, but the partial correlation coefficients suggest that these factors may be only secondary controls on growth. This study did not show a clear link between coral growth and sediment load. This result may be due, in part, to covariation of sediment load with wave exposure and the inability of trap accumulation rates to integrate all sediment effects (e.g., turbidity) that can affect coral growth. ?? 2008 by University of Hawai'i Press. All rights reserved.

  2. Asexual reproduction does not produce clonal populations of the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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    Sherman, C. D. H.; Ayre, D. J.; Miller, K. J.

    2006-03-01

    We have investigated the relationship between genotypic diversity, the mode of production of brooded larvae and disturbance in a range of reef habitats, in order to resolve the disparity between the reproductive mode and population structure reported for the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis. Within 14 sites across six habitats, the ratio of the observed ( G o) to the expected ( G e) genotypic diversity ranged from 69 to 100% of that expected for random mating. At three other sites in two habitats the G o /G e ranged from 35 to 53%. Two of these sites were recently bleached, suggesting that asexual recruitment may be favoured after disturbance. Nevertheless, our data suggest that brooded larvae, from each of five habitats surveyed, were asexually produced. While clonal recruitment may be important in disturbed habitats, the lack of clonality detected, both in this and earlier surveys of 40 other sites, implies that a disturbance is normally insufficient to explain this species’ continued investment in clonal reproduction.

  3. Invertebrados asociados al coral constructor de arrecifes Pocillopora damicornis en Playa Blanca, Bahía Culebra, Costa Rica Invertebrates associated with the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis at Playa Blanca, Bahía Culebra, Costa Rica

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    Juan José Alvarado

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Los arrecifes coralinos son uno de los ecosistemas más diversos en el planeta, tanto por los organismos constructores como por aquellos que viven encima, sobre, dentro y debajo de ellos. Los corales del genero Pocillopora son reconocidos mundialmente por albergar una importante fauna de invertebrados entre sus ramas, los cuales son considerados como simbiontes obligatorios en una gran cantidad de casos. La presente investigación describe la fauna de invertebrados asociados al coral Pocillopora damicornis en Bahía Culebra, Costa Rica, describiendo sus densidades, frecuencias, riquezas y diversidades a través del tiempo. Para esto se colectaron 5 colonias cada 3-4 meses en Playa Blanca, Bahía Culebra. En total se encontraron 448 individuos en 35 especies, siendo Harpiliopsis depressa, Lithophaga aristata, Trapezia ferruginea, Alpheus lottini, Fennera chacei, y Petrolisthes haigae las especies predominantes. Noviembre fue el mes en el que se encontraron los mayores valores en los índices de riqueza, diversidad y diferenciación taxonómica, mientras que agosto fue el que presento los valores más bajos de todos. En términos generales, la época lluviosa mostro mayor riqueza de especies que la época seca. Así mismo, las especies colectados y los valores obtenidos son muy similares a otras zonas del Pacifico Oriental Tropical. Culebra ha venido sufriendo una perdida en la cobertura coralina, que podría tener consecuencias en la diversidad y abundancia de organismos asociados a corales. Estas consecuencias incluyen perdida en la fecundidad de estos organismos, una reducción en su función como limpiadores y protectores de depredadores del coral, poniendo en riesgo su diversidad, lo que puede afectar los stocks de peces depredadores que depende de ellos. Realizar monitoreos permanentes de la criptofauna asociada al coral Pocillopora va a ser determinante para cuantificar perdidas o recuperaciones en la composición de invertebrados asociados

  4. Invertebrados asociados al coral constructor de arrecifes Pocillopora damicornis en Playa Blanca, Bahía Culebra, Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan José Alvarado

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Los arrecifes coralinos son uno de los ecosistemas más diversos en el planeta, tanto por los organismos constructores como por aquellos que viven encima, sobre, dentro y debajo de ellos. Los corales del genero Pocillopora son reconocidos mundialmente por albergar una importante fauna de invertebrados entre sus ramas, los cuales son considerados como simbiontes obligatorios en una gran cantidad de casos. La presente investigación describe la fauna de invertebrados asociados al coral Pocillopora damicornis en Bahía Culebra, Costa Rica, describiendo sus densidades, frecuencias, riquezas y diversidades a través del tiempo. Para esto se colectaron 5 colonias cada 3-4 meses en Playa Blanca, Bahía Culebra. En total se encontraron 448 individuos en 35 especies, siendo Harpiliopsis depressa, Lithophaga aristata, Trapezia ferruginea, Alpheus lottini, Fennera chacei, y Petrolisthes haigae las especies predominantes. Noviembre fue el mes en el que se encontraron los mayores valores en los índices de riqueza, diversidad y diferenciación taxonómica, mientras que agosto fue el que presento los valores más bajos de todos. En términos generales, la época lluviosa mostro mayor riqueza de especies que la época seca. Así mismo, las especies colectados y los valores obtenidos son muy similares a otras zonas del Pacifico Oriental Tropical. Culebra ha venido sufriendo una perdida en la cobertura coralina, que podría tener consecuencias en la diversidad y abundancia de organismos asociados a corales. Estas consecuencias incluyen perdida en la fecundidad de estos organismos, una reducción en su función como limpiadores y protectores de depredadores del coral, poniendo en riesgo su diversidad, lo que puede afectar los stocks de peces depredadores que depende de ellos. Realizar monitoreos permanentes de la criptofauna asociada al coral Pocillopora va a ser determinante para cuantificar perdidas o recuperaciones en la composición de invertebrados asociados

  5. Effect of short-term subaerial exposure on the cauliflower coral, Pocillopora damicornis, during a simulated extreme low-tide event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castrillón-Cifuentes, Ana Lucia; Lozano-Cortés, Diego F.; Zapata, Fernando A.

    2017-06-01

    There is increased interest in understanding how stress reduces coral resistance to disturbances and how acclimatization increases the ability of corals to resist future stress. Most extreme low tides at Gorgona Island, which expose reef flats to air, do not appear to negatively affect corals because corals usually do not undergo lethal bleaching during such events. However, coral physiology and fitness may be impacted by this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether corals exposed to air have modified biological functions to resist bleaching. To test this, an extreme low-tide event was simulated in the field. Colonies of Pocillopora damicornis were exposed to air for 15 or 40 min over the course of one, two, or three consecutive days. This procedure was repeated for one to three months. Colonies of P. damicornis exposed to air had reduced fecundity, decreased zooxanthellae density, and changed color from darker to lighter. However, the growth rate of exposed corals was similar to that of non-exposed colonies. We conclude that short periods of subaerial exposure during extreme low tides are not lethal to P. damicornis, but negatively affect sexual reproduction, which might have deleterious effects at the population level. The periodic occurrence of extreme low tides in the tropical eastern Pacific may be one factor responsible for the high rate of asexual reproduction (e.g., fragmentation) in pocilloporid corals of this region.

  6. Effect of short-term subaerial exposure on the cauliflower coral, Pocillopora damicornis, during a simulated extreme low-tide event

    KAUST Repository

    Castrillón-Cifuentes, Ana Lucia

    2017-02-06

    There is increased interest in understanding how stress reduces coral resistance to disturbances and how acclimatization increases the ability of corals to resist future stress. Most extreme low tides at Gorgona Island, which expose reef flats to air, do not appear to negatively affect corals because corals usually do not undergo lethal bleaching during such events. However, coral physiology and fitness may be impacted by this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether corals exposed to air have modified biological functions to resist bleaching. To test this, an extreme low-tide event was simulated in the field. Colonies of Pocillopora damicornis were exposed to air for 15 or 40 min over the course of one, two, or three consecutive days. This procedure was repeated for one to three months. Colonies of P. damicornis exposed to air had reduced fecundity, decreased zooxanthellae density, and changed color from darker to lighter. However, the growth rate of exposed corals was similar to that of non-exposed colonies. We conclude that short periods of subaerial exposure during extreme low tides are not lethal to P. damicornis, but negatively affect sexual reproduction, which might have deleterious effects at the population level. The periodic occurrence of extreme low tides in the tropical eastern Pacific may be one factor responsible for the high rate of asexual reproduction (e.g., fragmentation) in pocilloporid corals of this region.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-10-11

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

  8. Effect of temperature on two reef-building corals Pocillopora damicornis and P. verrucosa in the Red Sea

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    Abdulmohsin A. Al-Sofyani

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available The effects of temperature on two reef building corals Pocilloporadamicornis and P. verrucosa inhabiting the Obhur Creek, a small embayment on thewestern, Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, was studied from December 2009 toNovember 2010. The overall annual range of seawater temperature in Obhur Creekwas between 24.5°C and 33°C. Zooxanthellae abundance anddiversity showed seasonal variations: the number of zooxanthellae in P. damicornis was slightly higher than in P. verrucosa, and theabundance of zooxanthellae of both species was low in summer and high duringwinter. The respiration rate of P. verrucosa did not vary between summerand winter, suggesting compensatory acclimation. In contrast, the respiratoryrate in P. damicornis was lower in winter than in summer. During thewinter season the metabolic rate was higher in both species owing to theoptimum seawater temperature (30°C. As a result of the abundance ofzooxanthellae and the optimum seawater temperature, the growth rates of theskeletons of the two coral species were higher in winter and lower in summer.In general, the results showed that P. damicornis is more flexible withrespect to temperature than P. damicornis. The difference inzooxanthellae thermal tolerances at 35°C may be due to the algalgenotypes between the two species, resulting in P. damicornis becomingbleached as the rate of metabolism exceeds the rate of photosynthesis withincreasing temperature.

  9. Superclone Expansion, Long-Distance Clonal Dispersal and Local Genetic Structuring in the Coral Pocillopora damicornis Type β in Reunion Island, South Western Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gélin, Pauline; Fauvelot, Cécile; Mehn, Vincent; Bureau, Sophie; Rouzé, Héloïse; Magalon, Hélène

    2017-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis type β is known to present a mixed reproduction mode: through sexual reproduction, new genotypes are created, while asexual reproduction insures their propagation. In order to investigate the relative proportion of each reproduction mode in P. damicornis type β populations from Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, clonal propagation along the west coast was assessed through four sampling sites with increasing geographical distance between sites. Coral colonies were sampled either exhaustively, randomly or haphazardly within each site, and genotypic diversity was assessed using 13 microsatellite loci over a total of 510 P. damicornis type β determined a posteriori from their mtDNA haplotype (a 840 bp sequenced fragment of the Open Reading Frame). Overall, 47% of all the sampled colonies presented the same multi-locus genotype (MLG), a superclone, suggesting that asexual propagation is extremely important in Reunion Island. Within each site, numerous MLGs were shared by several colonies, suggesting local clonal propagation through fragmentation. Moreover, some of these MLGs were found to be shared among several sites located 40 km apart. While asexual reproduction by fragmentation seems unlikely over long distances, our results suggest a production of parthenogenetic larvae. Despite shared MLGs, two differentiated clusters were enclosed among populations of the west coast of Reunion Island, revealing the necessity to set up appropriate managing strategies at a local scale. PMID:28068406

  10. A fluorescence-based quantitative real-time PCR assay for accurate Pocillopora damicornis species identification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Luke; Stat, Michael; Evans, Richard D.; Kennington, W. Jason

    2016-09-01

    Pocillopora damicornis is one of the most extensively studied coral species globally, but high levels of phenotypic plasticity within the genus make species identification based on morphology alone unreliable. As a result, there is a compelling need to develop cheap and time-effective molecular techniques capable of accurately distinguishing P. damicornis from other congeneric species. Here, we develop a fluorescence-based quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay to genotype a single nucleotide polymorphism that accurately distinguishes P. damicornis from other morphologically similar Pocillopora species. We trial the assay across colonies representing multiple Pocillopora species and then apply the assay to screen samples of Pocillopora spp. collected at regional scales along the coastline of Western Australia. This assay offers a cheap and time-effective alternative to Sanger sequencing and has broad applications including studies on gene flow, dispersal, recruitment and physiological thresholds of P. damicornis.

  11. Skeletal architecture and microstructure of calcifying coral pocillopora damicornis%鹿角杯形珊瑚骨骼构造和显微结构的研究

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    叶承; 黄晖; 张成龙

    2013-01-01

      Scleractinian coral skeleton is one of the central keys to determining scleractinian evolution and classification. And it is increasingly applied to reconstructing past ocean and climate histories and to predicting future impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on coral reefs. To better understand skeletogenesis and microstructure in extant scleractinian corals, we analyzed the microstructure and composition of common reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis from Sanya using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and infrared spectroscopic methods. The results revealed that the skeletons were predominantly comprised of aragonite, with limited calcite. The macro- and meso-architectures varied between colonies and corallites. There were several types of skeletons, which had distinct morphology but shared the same basic structure and growth pattern. The occurrence of cements, which combined with the secondary aragonite and brucite in the inter-septal zone, were associated with habitats and micoborings.%  石珊瑚骨骼对重建古海洋古气候环境,评估珊瑚礁对未来气候变化、海洋酸化的响应和反馈,辨识现存造礁石珊瑚种属及其演化途径有着十分重要的作用和意义。为了更好地认知造礁石珊瑚骨骼特征,在三亚海域采集了常见的造礁石珊瑚——鹿角杯形珊瑚Pocillopora damicornis,通过扫描电镜(结合EDS能谱仪)、红外分光显微镜分析其碳酸钙骨骼结构和成分的特征,结果表明鹿角杯形珊瑚骨骼主要成分为文石,少数骨骼样品的空腔中发育有极少量方解石矿物。虽然鹿角杯形珊瑚骨骼宏观架构和中观架构在群体间和单体间存在诸多差异,但不同形态的骨骼样品具有基本相同的发育模式和基础结构单元。同时,发现鹿角杯形珊瑚骨骼内部空腔存在有次生文石沉积发育现象,同时常伴生着水镁石矿物的发育,而且这与骨骼中的钻孔穴居动物有很大关联。

  12. Responses of the metabolism of the larvae of Pocillopora damicornis to ocean acidification and warming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emily B Rivest

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification and warming are expected to threaten the persistence of tropical coral reef ecosystems. As coral reefs face multiple stressors, the distribution and abundance of corals will depend on the successful dispersal and settlement of coral larvae under changing environmental conditions. To explore this scenario, we used metabolic rate, at holobiont and molecular levels, as an index for assessing the physiological plasticity of Pocillopora damicornis larvae from this site to conditions of ocean acidity and warming. Larvae were incubated for 6 hours in seawater containing combinations of CO2 concentration (450 and 950 µatm and temperature (28 and 30°C. Rates of larval oxygen consumption were higher at elevated temperatures. In contrast, high CO2 levels elicited depressed metabolic rates, especially for larvae released later in the spawning period. Rates of citrate synthase, a rate-limiting enzyme in aerobic metabolism, suggested a biochemical limit for increasing oxidative capacity in coral larvae in a warming, acidifying ocean. Biological responses were also compared between larvae released from adult colonies on the same day (cohorts. The metabolic physiology of Pocillopora damicornis larvae varied significantly by day of release. Additionally, we used environmental data collected on a reef in Moorea, French Polynesia to provide information about what adult corals and larvae may currently experience in the field. An autonomous pH sensor provided a continuous time series of pH on the natal fringing reef. In February/March, 2011, pH values averaged 8.075 ± 0.023. Our results suggest that without adaptation or acclimatization, only a portion of naïve Pocillopora damicornis larvae may have suitable metabolic phenotypes for maintaining function and fitness in an end-of-the century ocean.

  13. Responses of the metabolism of the larvae of Pocillopora damicornis to ocean acidification and warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivest, Emily B; Hofmann, Gretchen E

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification and warming are expected to threaten the persistence of tropical coral reef ecosystems. As coral reefs face multiple stressors, the distribution and abundance of corals will depend on the successful dispersal and settlement of coral larvae under changing environmental conditions. To explore this scenario, we used metabolic rate, at holobiont and molecular levels, as an index for assessing the physiological plasticity of Pocillopora damicornis larvae from this site to conditions of ocean acidity and warming. Larvae were incubated for 6 hours in seawater containing combinations of CO2 concentration (450 and 950 µatm) and temperature (28 and 30°C). Rates of larval oxygen consumption were higher at elevated temperatures. In contrast, high CO2 levels elicited depressed metabolic rates, especially for larvae released later in the spawning period. Rates of citrate synthase, a rate-limiting enzyme in aerobic metabolism, suggested a biochemical limit for increasing oxidative capacity in coral larvae in a warming, acidifying ocean. Biological responses were also compared between larvae released from adult colonies on the same day (cohorts). The metabolic physiology of Pocillopora damicornis larvae varied significantly by day of release. Additionally, we used environmental data collected on a reef in Moorea, French Polynesia to provide information about what adult corals and larvae may currently experience in the field. An autonomous pH sensor provided a continuous time series of pH on the natal fringing reef. In February/March, 2011, pH values averaged 8.075 ± 0.023. Our results suggest that without adaptation or acclimatization, only a portion of naïve Pocillopora damicornis larvae may have suitable metabolic phenotypes for maintaining function and fitness in an end-of-the century ocean.

  14. 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.

  15. Molecular identification of symbiotic dinoflagellates in Pacific corals in the genus Pocillopora

    OpenAIRE

    Magalon, Hélène; Flot, Jean-François; Baudry, Emmanuelle

    2007-01-01

    International audience; This study focused on the association between corals of the genus Pocillopora, a major constituent of Pacific reefs, and their zooxanthellae. Samples of P. meandrina, P. verrucosa, P. damicornis, P. eydouxi, P. ligulata and P. molokensis were collected from French Polynesia, Tonga, Okinawa and Hawaii. Symbiodinium diversity was explored by looking at the 28S and ITS1 regions of the ribosomal DNA. Most zooxanthellae were found to belong to clade C, sub-clade C1, with li...

  16. Investigation of Baseline Antioxidant Enzyme Expression in Pocillopora damicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, J.; Richmond, R. H.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems in the world. Vital for maintaining ecological balance in coastal tropical environments, they also stand as the foundation for enormous cultural and economic resources. However, the continued degradation of coral reefs around the world, particularly within NOAA's Hawaii Marine Sanctuary, is an alarming call for action towards the identification of stressors and subsequent rehabilitation of these national treasures. Aligned with the goals of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary to protect areas of the marine environment that are of special national significance to cultural, scientific, educational, and ecological values, this research targets addressing and standardizing antioxidant enzyme stress levels in Hawaiian coral over reproductive cycles in order to increase management aptitude and efficiency. By developing a greater understanding for biochemical biomarkers of stress in corals, specifically through the study of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase activity and expression, my research will aid in the adaptation and further development of biochemical tests to understand baseline thresholds of stress on coral reefs within Sanctuary waters. Slight, but significant variations in enzyme expression over reproductive time points alert us to modifications that must be made to consider fluctuating levels of coral susceptibility when sampling corals under stress. These findings will be applied to diagnostic tests describing the effect of different chemical pollutants on coral health in order to identify ecological issues and expand the knowledge of local communities and NOAA, so that steps can be taken to mitigate human Sanctuary impacts.

  17. 海洋酸化没有显著影响成体鹿角杯形珊瑚的钙化作用和光合能力%Ocean acidification does not significantly affect the calcification and photosynthesis capacity of hermatypic coral Pocillopora damicornis

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郑新庆; 郭富雯; 刘昕明; 林荣澄; 周治东; 施晓峰

    2015-01-01

    Since the industrial revolution,large amounts of CO2 released by human activities into the atmosphere not only produce serious greenhouse effect,but also cause ocean acidification (OA).Reef-building corals are thought to the most sensitive to ocean acidification.Ocean acidification is predicted to impact the physiology of corals and re-duce the calcification rates.In the present study,the calcification and photosynthesis capacity (Fv/Fm )of herma-typic coral Pocillopora damicornis was measured to study the physiological effect of OA by the simulation of fur-ther scenario of ocean acidification based on the gas exchange method.The experiment was conducted for 5 weeks in natural light with the seawater temperature controlled at 27.5℃ (±1℃)by the chiller.Two pH values (7.8 and 8.1,respectively)were set by pH regulation,which mediate the CO2 gas into experimental seawater.The diur-nal variation of pH during the experiment was observed,with the pH values varied from 7.69 to 7.91 for the OA treatment and from 7.99 to 8.29 for the control due to the metabolic process (mainly respiration from the organ-isms).The results showed that the calcification rate of P .damicornis ranged from 1.15%~2.09%·week-1 ,and no significant difference was found in calcification and Fv/Fm between OA treatment and the control,indicating the low sensitivity of P .damicornis to OA.Compared to those previous publications,species-specific responses were further confirmed facing to OA.It is speculated that the tolerance of P .damicornis to OA may be due to the use of HCO-3 in the light and up-regulation of pH in at their site of calcification.The capacity to up-regulate pH may be central to the resilience of P .damicornis to OA because the buffer capacity of pH can maintain relatively high the saturation of aragonite at their site of calcification and thus the calcification of corals at relatively low cost.%工业革命以来,人类活动释放的大量 CO2进入大气层,不仅产生严

  18. A rapid genetic assay for the identification of the most common Pocillopora damicornis genetic lineages on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gergely Torda

    Full Text Available Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758; Scleractinia, Pocilloporidae has recently been found to comprise at least five distinct genetic lineages in Eastern Australia, some of which likely represent cryptic species. Due to similar and plastic gross morphology of these lineages, field identification is often difficult. Here we present a quick, cost effective genetic assay as well as three novel microsatellite markers that distinguish the two most common lineages found on the Great Barrier Reef. The assay is based on PCR amplification of two regions within the mitochondrial putative control region, which show consistent and easily identifiable fragment size differences for the two genetic lineages after Alu1 restriction enzyme digestion of the amplicons.

  19. Wound repair in Pocillopora

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Villalobos, Jenny Carolina; Work, Thierry M.; Calderon-Aguileraa, Luis Eduardo

    2016-01-01

    Corals routinely lose tissue due to causes ranging from predation to disease. Tissue healing and regeneration are fundamental to the normal functioning of corals, yet we know little about this process. We described the microscopic morphology of wound repair in Pocillopora damicornis. Tissue was removed by airbrushing fragments from three healthy colonies, and these were monitored daily at the gross and microscopic level for 40 days. Grossly, corals healed by Day 30, but repigmentation was not evident at the end of the study (40 d). On histology, from Day 8 onwards, tissues at the lesion site were microscopically indistinguishable from adjacent normal tissues with evidence of zooxanthellae in gastrodermis. Inflammation was not evident. P. damicornis manifested a unique mode of regeneration involving projections of cell-covered mesoglea from the surface body wall that anastomosed to form gastrovascular canals.

  20. Broadcast spawning by Pocillopora species on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sebastian Schmidt-Roach

    Full Text Available The coral genus Pocillopora is one of the few to include some species that broadcast spawn gametes and some species that brood larvae, although reports of reproductive mode and timing vary within and among species across their range. Notably, the ubiquitous Pocillopora damicornis has been described as both a brooder and spawner, although evidence of broadcast spawning is rare. Here, we report observations of broadcast-spawning in four species of Pocillopora on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, including P. damicornis. All species spawned predictably during the early morning, two days following the full moon, and spawning was observed in multiple months over the summer period (November to February. Eggs and sperm were free-spawned concurrently. Eggs were negatively buoyant and contained Symbiodinium. This newfound knowledge on the mode, timing and regularity of broadcast spawning in Pocillopora spp. on the GBR brings us one step closer to elucidating the complex reproductive ecology of these species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portfr, J W

    1974-11-08

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

  2. Marginal coral populations: the densest known aggregation of Pocillopora in the Galápagos Archipelago is of asexual origin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Iliana B Baums

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Coral populations at distributional margins frequently experience suboptimal and variable conditions. Recurrent El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO warming events have caused extensive mortality of reef-building corals in the Eastern Pacific, and particularly impacted branching pocilloporid corals in the Galápagos Islands. Pocillopora spp. were previously more common and formed incipient reefs at several locations in the Archipelago but now occur as scattered colonies. Here, we report an unusually concentrated aggregation of colonies and evaluate their current genetic diversity. In particular we focus on a large population of 1614 live Pocillopora colonies found in a volcanic lagoon along the southern shore of Isabela Island. Forty seven colonies were sampled, primarily using a spatially explicit sampling design, and all colonies belonged to Pocillopora mitochondrial open reading frame lineage type 3a. Typing of additional Pocillopora samples (n = 40 from three other islands indicated that this stand is the only known representative of type 3a in the Galápagos Islands. The Isabela Pocillopora type 3a colonies harbored Symbiodinium ITS-2 clade C1d. Multilocus genotyping (n = 6 microsatellites capable of resolving individual clones indicated that this stand is monogenotypic and thus the high density of colonies is a result of asexual reproduction, likely via fragmentation. Colony size distribution, while imperfect, suggested the stand regrew from remnant colonies that survived the 1997/98 ENSO event but may postdate the 1982/83 ENSO. The community of Pocillopora colonies at Isabela is of particular ecological value due to its high density and support of associated organisms such as fish and benthic invertebrates. The Galapagos Pocillopora corals will continue to provide insights into the genetic structure and population dynamics of marginal coral populations.

  3. Passive scalar transport to and from the surface of a Pocillopora coral colony

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hossain, Md Monir; Staples, Anne

    2016-11-01

    Three-dimensional simulations of flow through a single Pocillopora coral colony were performed to examine the interaction between the flow conditions and scalar transport near a coral colony. With corals currently undergoing a third global bleaching event, a fuller understanding of the transport of nutrients, weak temperature gradients, and other passive scalars to and from the coral polyp tissue is more important than ever. The complex geometry of a coral colony poses a significant challenge for numerical simulation. To simplify grid generation and minimize computational cost, the immersed boundary method was implemented. Large eddy simulation was chosen as the framework to capture the turbulent flow field in the range of realistic Reynolds numbers of 5,000 to 30,000 and turbulent Schmidt numbers of up to 1,000. Both uniform and oscillatory flows through the colony were investigated. Significant differences were found between the cases when the scalar originated at the edge of the flow domain and was transported into the colony, versus when the scalar originated on the surface of the colony and was transported away from the coral. The domain-to-colony transport rates were found to be orders of magnitude higher than the colony-to-domain rates.

  4. Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evensen, Nicolas R; Edmunds, Peter J

    2017-03-15

    In densely populated communities, such as coral reefs, organisms can modify the physical and chemical environment for neighbouring individuals. We tested the hypothesis that colony density (12 colonies each placed ∼0.5 cm apart versus ∼8 cm apart) can modulate the physiological response (measured through rates of calcification, photosynthesis and respiration in the light and dark) of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa to partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2 ) treatments (∼400 μatm and ∼1200 μatm) by altering the seawater flow regimes experienced by colonies placed in aggregations within a flume at a single flow speed. While light calcification decreased 20% under elevated versus ambient PCO2  for colonies in low-density aggregations, light calcification of high-density aggregations increased 23% at elevated versus ambient PCO2 As a result, densely aggregated corals maintained calcification rates over 24 h that were comparable to those maintained under ambient PCO2 , despite a 45% decrease in dark calcification at elevated versus ambient PCO2 Additionally, densely aggregated corals experienced reduced flow speeds and higher seawater retention times between colonies owing to the formation of eddies. These results support recent indications that neighbouring organisms, such as the conspecific coral colonies in the present example, can create small-scale refugia from the negative effects of ocean acidification. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  5. Limits to physiological plasticity of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa from the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, M.

    2014-07-26

    Many coral species display changing distribution patterns across coral reef depths. While changes in the underwater light field and the ability to associate with different photosynthetic symbionts of the genus Symbiodinium explain some of the variation, the limits to physiological plasticity are unknown for most corals. In the central Red Sea, colonies of the branching coral Pocillopora verrucosa are most abundant in shallow high light environments and become less abundant in water depths below 10 m. To further understand what determines this narrow distribution, we conducted a cross-depths transplant experiment looking at physiological plasticity and acclimation in regard to depth. Colonies from 5, 10, and 20 m were collected, transplanted to all depths, and re-investigated after 30 and 210 d. All coral colonies transplanted downward from shallow to deep water displayed an increase in photosynthetic light-harvesting pigments, which resulted in higher photosynthetic efficiency. Shallow-water specimens transplanted to deeper water showed a significant decrease in total protein content after 30 and 210 d under low light conditions compared to specimens transplanted to shallow and medium depths. Stable isotope data suggest that heterotrophic input of carbon was not increased under low light, and consequently, decreasing protein levels were symptomatic of decreasing photosynthetic rates that could not be compensated for through higher light-harvesting efficiency. Our results provide insights into the physiological plasticity of P. verrucosa in changing light regimes and explain the observed depth distribution pattern. Despite its high abundance in shallow reef waters, P. verrucosa possesses limited heterotrophic acclimation potential, i.e., the ability to support its mainly photoautotrophic diet through heterotrophic feeding. We conclude that P. verrucosa might be a species vulnerable to sudden changes in underwater light fields resulting from processes such as

  6. Absence of genetic differentiation in the coral Pocillopora verrucosa along environmental gradients of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Robitzch, Vanessa S.N.

    2015-02-11

    The Red Sea is the world\\'s northernmost tropical sea. The 2000 km long, but narrow basin creates distinct environmental conditions along its latitudinal spread. The Red Sea displays a pronounced salinity gradient from 41 to 37 PSU (north to south) with an opposing temperature gradient from 21 to 27°C in the north to 27–33.8°C in the south. The Red Sea further displays a decreasing nutrient gradient from south to north that can also influence underwater light fields due to higher phytoplankton content and turbidity. Despite this strong variation in temperature, salinity, nutrients, and light conditions, the Red Sea supports large and diverse coral reef ecosystems along its nearly entire coastline. Only few studies have targeted whether these prevailing gradients affect genetic connectivity of reef organisms in the Red Sea. In this study, we sampled the abundant reef-building coral Pocillopora verrucosa from 10 reefs along a latitudinal gradient in the Red Sea covering an area of more than 850 km. We used nine Pocillopora microsatellite markers to assess the underlying population genetic structure and effective population size. To assure the exclusion of cryptic species, all analyzed specimens were chosen from a single mitochondrial lineage. Despite large distances between sampled regions covering pronounced, but smooth temperature and salinity gradients, no significant genetic population structure was found. Rather, our data indicate panmixia and considerable gene flow among regions. The absence of population subdivision driven by environmental factors and over large geographic distances suggests efficient larval dispersal and successful settlement of recruits from a wide range of reef sites. It also advocates, broadcast spawning as the main reproductive strategy of Pocillopora verrucosa in the Red Sea as reflected by the absence of clones in sampled colonies. These factors might explain the success of Pocillopora species throughout the Indo-Pacific and

  7. Physiological plasticity related to zonation affects hsp70 expression in the reef-building coral Pocillopora verrucosa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poli, Davide; Fabbri, Elena; Goffredo, Stefano; Airi, Valentina

    2017-01-01

    This study investigates for the first time the transcriptional regulation of a stress-inducible 70-kDa heat shock protein (hsp70) in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora verrucosa sampled at three locations and two depths (3 m and 12 m) in Bangka Island waters (North Sulawesi, Indonesia). Percentage of coral cover indicated reduced habitat suitability with depth and at the Tanjung Husi (TA) site, which also displayed relatively higher seawater temperatures. Expression of the P. verrucosa hsp70 transcript evaluated under field conditions followed a depth-related profile, with relatively higher expression levels in 3-m collected nubbins compared to the 12-m ones. Expression levels of metabolism-related transcripts ATP synthase and NADH dehydrogenase indicated metabolic activation of nubbins to cope with habitat conditions of the TA site at 3 m. After a 14-day acclimatization to common and fixed temperature conditions in the laboratory, corals were subjected for 7 days to an altered thermal regime, where temperature was elevated at 31°C during the light phase and returned to 28°C during the dark phase. Nubbins collected at 12 m were relatively more sensitive to thermal stress, as they significantly over-expressed the selected transcripts. Corals collected at 3 m appeared more resilient, as they showed unaffected mRNA expressions. The results indicated that local habitat conditions may influence transcription of stress-related genes in P. verrucosa. Corals exhibiting higher basal hsp70 levels may display enhanced tolerance towards environmental stressors. PMID:28199351

  8. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kegler, Pia; Baum, Gunilla; Indriana, Lisa F; Wild, Christian; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming) and local stressors (e.g. pollution) is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a) the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1), b) the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1) and c) combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C). To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16-95% after 84 h). High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81-100% after 84 h) and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming.

  9. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pia Kegler

    Full Text Available Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming and local stressors (e.g. pollution is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH; 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1, b the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1 and c combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C. To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16-95% after 84 h. High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81-100% after 84 h and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming.

  10. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kegler, Pia; Baum, Gunilla; Indriana, Lisa F.; Wild, Christian; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming) and local stressors (e.g. pollution) is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a) the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1), b) the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1) and c) combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C). To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16–95% after 84 h). High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81–100% after 84 h) and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming. PMID:26555818

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

    Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70-80% lower, macroalgal cover 4-9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5-15 fold more frequent and 23-67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae), and coral cover 51-68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa) against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals.

  12. 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.

  13. Genetic differentiation across multiple spatial scales of the Red Sea of the corals Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora verrucosa

    KAUST Repository

    Monroe, Alison

    2015-12-01

    Observing populations at different spatial scales gives greater insight into the specific processes driving genetic differentiation and population structure. Here we determined population connectivity across multiple spatial scales in the Red Sea to determine the population structures of two reef building corals Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora verrucosa. The Red sea is a 2,250 km long body of water with extremely variable latitudinal environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and microsatellite markers were used to determine distinct lineages and to look for genetic differentiation among sampling sites. No distinctive population structure across the latitudinal gradient was discovered within this study suggesting a phenotypic plasticity of both these species to various environments. Stylophora pistillata displayed a heterogeneous distribution of three distinct genetic populations on both a fine and large scale. Fst, Gst, and Dest were all significant (p-value<0.05) and showed moderate genetic differentiation between all sampling sites. However this seems to be byproduct of the heterogeneous distribution, as no distinct genetic population breaks were found. Stylophora pistillata showed greater population structure on a fine scale suggesting genetic selection based on fine scale environmental variations. However, further environmental and oceanographic data is needed to make more inferences on this structure at small spatial scales. This study highlights the deficits of knowledge of both the Red Sea and coral plasticity in regards to local environmental conditions.

  14. 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.

  15. Effect of tropical storms on sexual and asexual reproduction in coral Pocillopora verrucosa subpopulations in the Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aranceta-Garza, F.; Balart, E. F.; Reyes-Bonilla, H.; Cruz-Hernández, P.

    2012-12-01

    Pocillopora verrucosa is a branching, reef-building coral, and a simultaneous hermaphrodite that reproduces sexually and asexually by fragmentation. In the Gulf of California, local P. verrucosa populations have mixed modes of reproduction which vary in frequency by site. Sexual and asexual reproductions were assessed using multi-locus genotypes deriving from six microsatellite loci at every location. Clone frequencies varied from 0.30 at Loreto to 0.96 in the San Lorenzo Channel. Isla Espíritu Santo and the San Lorenzo Channel were mostly asexual subpopulations, presented the lowest genotypic richness ( N g / N = 0.1-0.12) and genotypic diversity ( G o / G e = 0.04), and were dominated by one or two multi-loci genotypes ( G o / N g = 0.35-0.45). Loreto, El Portugués, and Cabo Pulmo were mostly sexual with high Ng/ N (0.80-0.74) and G o / G e (0.52-0.58) and did not show domination by a single multi-locus genotype ( G o / N g = 0.70-0.74). There was a significant relationship ( P reproduction modes has different maintenance strategies at a regional and even local level among populations indicating the crucial role that storms play in population structure.

  16. Blind to morphology: Genetics identifies several widespread ecologically common species and few endemics among Indo-Pacific cauliflower corals (Pocillopora, Scleractinia)

    KAUST Repository

    Pinzón, Jorge H C

    2013-04-05

    Aim: Using high-resolution genetic markers on samples gathered from across their wide distributional range, we endeavoured to delimit species diversity in reef-building Pocillopora corals. They are common, ecologically important, and widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific, but their phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental conditions and their nearly featureless microskeletal structures confound taxonomic assignments and limit an understanding of their ecology and evolution. Location: Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, Arabian/Persian Gulf. Methods: Sequence analysis of nuclear ribosomal (internal transcribed spacer 2, ITS2) and mitochondrial (open reading frame) loci were combined with population genetic data (seven microsatellite loci) for Pocillopora samples collected throughout the Indo-Pacific, Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, in order to assess the evolutionary divergence, reproductive isolation, frequency of hybridization and geographical distributions of the genus. Results: Between five and eight genetically distinct lineages comparable to species were identified with minimal or no hybridization between them. Colony morphology was generally incongruent with genetics across the full range of sampling, and the total number of species is apparently consistent with lower estimates from competing morphologically based hypotheses (about seven or eight taxa). The most commonly occurring genetic lineages were widely distributed and exhibited high dispersal and gene flow, factors that have probably minimized allopatric speciation. Uniquely among scleractinian genera, this genus contains a monophyletic group of broadcast spawners that evolved recently from an ancestral brooder. Main conclusions: The delineation of species diversity guided by genetics fundamentally advances our understanding of Pocillopora geographical distributions, ecology and evolution. Because traditional diagnostic features of colony and branch morphology are proving to be of limited utility, the

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

    KAUST Repository

    Radecker, Nils

    2017-07-31

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

  18. Spatial patterns of coral survivorship: impacts of adult proximity versus other drivers of localized mortality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A. Gibbs

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Species-specific enemies may promote prey coexistence through negative distance- and density-dependent survival of juveniles near conspecific adults. We tested this mechanism by transplanting juvenile-sized fragments of the brooding corals Pocillopora damicornis and Seriatopora hystrix 3, 12, 24 and 182 cm up- and down-current of conspecific adults and monitoring their survival and condition over time. We also characterized the spatial distribution of P. damicornis and S. hystrix within replicate plots on three Fijian reef flats and measured the distribution of small colonies within 2 m of larger colonies of each species. Juvenile-sized transplants exhibited no differences in survivorship as a function of distance from adult P. damicornis or S. hystrix. Additionally, both P. damicornis and S. hystrix were aggregated rather than overdispersed on natural reefs. However, a pattern of juveniles being aggregated near adults while larger (and probably older colonies were not suggests that greater mortality near large adults could occur over longer periods of time or that size-dependent mortality was occurring. While we found minimal evidence of greater mortality of small colonies near adult conspecifics in our transplant experiments, we did document hot-spots of species-specific corallivory. We detected spatially localized and temporally persistent predation on P. damicornis by the territorial triggerfish Balistapus undulatus. This patchy predation did not occur for S. hystrix. This variable selective regime in an otherwise more uniform environment could be one mechanism maintaining diversity of corals on Indo-Pacific reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallagher, Clare; Doropoulos, Christopher

    2017-03-01

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

  20. Spatio-Temporal Analyses of Symbiodinium Physiology of the Coral Pocillopora verrucosa along Large-Scale Nutrient and Temperature Gradients in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne

    2014-08-19

    Algal symbionts (zooxanthellae, genus Symbiodinium) of scleractinian corals respond strongly to temperature, nutrient and light changes. These factors vary greatly along the north-south gradient in the Red Sea and include conditions, which are outside of those typically considered optimal for coral growth. Nevertheless, coral communities thrive throughout the Red Sea, suggesting that zooxanthellae have successfully acclimatized or adapted to the harsh conditions they experience particularly in the south (high temperatures and high nutrient supply). As such, the Red Sea is a region, which may help to better understand how zooxanthellae and their coral hosts successfully acclimatize or adapt to environmental change (e. g. increased temperatures and localized eutrophication). To gain further insight into the physiology of coral symbionts in the Red Sea, we examined the abundance of dominant Symbiodinium types associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa, and measured Symbiodinium physiological characteristics (i.e. photosynthetic processes, cell density, pigmentation, and protein composition) along the latitudinal gradient of the Red Sea in summer and winter. Despite the strong environmental gradients from north to south, our results demonstrate that Symbiodinium microadriaticum (type A1) was the predominant species in P. verrucosa along the latitudinal gradient. Furthermore, measured physiological characteristics were found to vary more with prevailing seasonal environmental conditions than with region-specific differences, although the measured environmental parameters displayed much higher spatial than temporal variability. We conclude that our findings might present the result of long-term acclimatization or adaptation of S. microadriaticum to regionally specific conditions within the Red Sea. Of additional note, high nutrients in the South correlated with high zooxanthellae density indicating a compensation for a temperature-driven loss of photosynthetic

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-04-15

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

  2. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-02-01

    Around the world, coral reefs are dying due to human influences, and saving habitat alone may not stop this destruction. This investigation focused on the biological processes that will provide the first steps in understanding the cryobiology of whole coral fragments. Coral fragments are a partnership of coral tissue and endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium sp., commonly called zooxanthellae. These data reflected their separate sensitivities to chilling and a cryoprotectant (dimethyl sulfoxide) for the coral Pocillopora damicornis, as measured by tissue loss and Pulse Amplitude Modulated fluorometry 3weeks post-treatment. Five cryoprotectant treatments maintained the viability of the coral tissue and zooxanthellae at control values (1M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0h exposures, and 1.5M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0 and 1.5h exposures, P>0.05, ANOVA), whereas 2M concentrations did not (Pcoral tissue, but not in the zooxanthellae. During the winter when the fragments were chilled, the coral tissue remained relatively intact (∼25% loss) post-treatment, but the zooxanthellae numbers in the tissue declined after 5min of chilling (Pcoral tissue (∼75% loss) and zooxanthellae numbers declined in response to chilling alone (Pcoral against tissue loss after 45min of cryoprotectant exposure (P>0.05, ANOVA), but it did not protect against the loss of zooxanthellae (Pcoral fragment complex and future cryopreservation protocols must be guided by their greater sensitivity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Microbial diseases of corals and global warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Ben-Haim, Yael

    2002-06-01

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

  4. [Community structure of zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) in Carrizales coral reef, Pacific coast, Mexico].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Escobosa-González, Laura Elena; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar L; Medina-Rosas, Pedro; Calderón-Aguilera, Luis E

    2013-06-01

    Coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific and notably those of the continental coastline of Colima state are still poorly studied. Fortunately, recent efforts have been carried out by researchers from different Mexican institutions to fill up these information gaps. The aim of this study was to determine the ecological structure of the rich and undisturbed coral building communities of Carrizales by using the point transect interception method (25m-long). For this, three survey expeditions were conducted between June and October 2005 and September 2006; and for comparison purposes, the reef was subdivided according to its position in the bay, and depth (0 to 5 m, and 6 to 10 m). Thirteen coral species were observed in the area, with Pocillopora verrucosa as the most abundant, contributing up to 32.8% of total cover, followed by Porites panamensis and Pocillopora capitata with 11% and 7%, respectively. Other species, Pocillopora damicornis, Pavona gigantea, Pocillopora eydouxi and Pocillopora inflata accounted for 1.5% to 2% of coral cover whereas the remaining five species had cover of less than 1%. Seven of the observed species represented new records for Colima state coastline: Pocillopora eydouxi, P inflata, P meandrina, Pavona duerdeni, P varians, Psammocora stellata and P contigua. This last species is a relevant record, because it has never been observed before in the Eastern Pacific. Although there was no significant difference (ANOVA, p = 0.478) neither in the abundance between the sides of the bay, nor between the depths considered, and the shallow zone observed the higher coral cover. Live coral cover was up to 61%, one of the highest ever reported for the Mexican Pacific, including the Gulf of California. The observed values of diversity (H' = 0.44 +/- 0.02), uniformity (J' = 0.76 +/- 0.02), and taxonomic distinctness index (delta* = 45.87 +/- 3.16), showed that currently this is the most important coral reef of Colima coastline. Currently, this region does not

  5. Gross and microscopic pathology of lesions in Pocillopora spp. from the subtropical eastern Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Villalobos, Jenny Carolina; Rocha-Olivares, Axayácatl; Work, Thierry Martin; Calderon-Aguilera, Luis Eduardo; Cáceres-Martínez, Jorge Abelardo

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are threatened by a variety of factors including diseases that have caused significant damage in some regions such as in the Caribbean. At present, no data are available on coral diseases in the Mexican Pacific where Pocillopora spp. is a dominant component of coral communities. Here, we describe gross and microscopic morphology of lesions found in pocilloporids at four sites in the Mexican Pacific. Corals were identified and their lesions photographed and quantified in the field. Tissue samples were collected from healthy and affected colonies for histopathology. We recorded seven species of pocilloporids at the study sites with Isla Isabel being the location with the highest coral diversity (H′ = 1.27). Lesions were present in 42% of the colonies and included discoloration (32%), predation-induced tissue loss (30%), unexplained tissue loss (3%) and overgrowth by sponges or algae (35%). The most affected species, P. damicornis (50%), was also one of the most common in the region. No species was more prone to a particular lesion, but there was a significant association between location and the presence of lesions. Northern Islas Marietas (61%) and Isla Isabel (41%) had the highest prevalence of lesions, followed by Manzanillo (37%) and Bahías de Huatulco (23%). Histological changes included atrophy of the surface body wall with depletion of zooxanthellae (91%) in corals with discoloration (bleaching). Ablation of tissue from mesoglea (18%) was also observed. Colonies with unexplained tissue loss showed atrophy and thinning of the epidermis (89%), characterized by cuboidal instead of pseudocolumnar cells normally found in healthy pseudocolumnar ciliated epithelium. Bacterial aggregates between the mesoglea and gastrodermis (11%) were very conspicuous in healthy and diseased corals. Lesions produced by fish bites and gastropods were associated with tissue atrophy (40%) and, in some cases, algal overgrowth near the lesion (20%). No infectious agents

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    Climate change-related coral bleaching, i.e., the visible loss of zooxanthellae from the coral host, is increasing in frequency and extent and presents a major threat to coral reefs globally. Coral bleaching has been proposed to involve accelerating light stress of their microalgal endosymbionts via a positive feedback loop of photodamage, symbiont expulsion and excess in vivo light exposure. To test this hypothesis, we used light and O2 microsensors to characterize in vivo light exposure and photosynthesis of Symbiodinium during a thermal stress experiment. We created tissue areas with different densities of Symbiodinium cells in order to understand the optical properties and light microenvironment of corals during bleaching. Our results showed that in bleached Pocillopora damicornis corals, Symbiodinium light exposure was up to fivefold enhanced relative to healthy corals, and the relationship between symbiont loss and light enhancement was well-described by a power-law function. Cell-specific rates of Symbiodinium gross photosynthesis and light respiration were enhanced in bleached P. damicornis compared to healthy corals, while areal rates of net photosynthesis decreased. Symbiodinium light exposure in Favites sp. revealed the presence of low light microniches in bleached coral tissues, suggesting that light scattering in thick coral tissues can enable photoprotection of cryptic symbionts. Our study provides evidence for the acceleration of in vivo light exposure during coral bleaching but this optical feedback mechanism differs between coral hosts. Enhanced photosynthesis in relation to accelerating light exposure shows that coral microscale optics exerts a key role on coral photophysiology and the subsequent degree of radiative stress during coral bleaching.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    Climate change-related coral bleaching, i.e., the visible loss of zooxanthellae from the coral host, is increasing in frequency and extent and presents a major threat to coral reefs globally. Coral bleaching has been proposed to involve accelerating light stress of their microalgal endosymbionts via a positive feedback loop of photodamage, symbiont expulsion and excess in vivo light exposure. To test this hypothesis, we used light and O2 microsensors to characterize in vivo light exposure and photosynthesis of Symbiodinium during a thermal stress experiment. We created tissue areas with different densities of Symbiodinium cells in order to understand the optical properties and light microenvironment of corals during bleaching. Our results showed that in bleached Pocillopora damicornis corals, Symbiodinium light exposure was up to fivefold enhanced relative to healthy corals, and the relationship between symbiont loss and light enhancement was well-described by a power-law function. Cell-specific rates of Symbiodinium gross photosynthesis and light respiration were enhanced in bleached P. damicornis compared to healthy corals, while areal rates of net photosynthesis decreased. Symbiodinium light exposure in Favites sp. revealed the presence of low light microniches in bleached coral tissues, suggesting that light scattering in thick coral tissues can enable photoprotection of cryptic symbionts. Our study provides evidence for the acceleration of in vivo light exposure during coral bleaching but this optical feedback mechanism differs between coral hosts. Enhanced photosynthesis in relation to accelerating light exposure shows that coral microscale optics exerts a key role on coral photophysiology and the subsequent degree of radiative stress during coral bleaching. PMID:28174567

  8. Perennial growth of hermatypic corals at Rottnest Island, Western Australia (32°S

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire L. Ross

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available To assess the viability of high latitude environments as coral refugia, we report measurements of seasonal changes in seawater parameters (temperature, light, and carbonate chemistry together with calcification rates for two coral species, Acropora yongei and Pocillopora damicornis from the southernmost geographical limit of these species at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island (32°S in Western Australia. Changes in buoyant weight were normalised to colony surface areas as determined from both X-ray computed tomography and geometric estimation. Extension rates for A. yongei averaged 51 ± 4 mm y−1 and were comparable to rates reported for Acroporid coral at other tropical and high latitude locations. Mean rates of calcification for both A. yongei and P. damicornis in winter were comparable to both the preceding and following summers despite a mean seasonal temperature range of ∼6 °C (18.2°–24.3 °C and more than two-fold changes in the intensity of downwelling light. Seasonal calcification rates for A. yongei (1.31–2.02 mg CaCO3 cm−2 d−1 and P. damicornis (0.34–0.90 mg CaCO3 cm−2 d−1 at Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island were comparable to rates from similar taxa in more tropical environments; however, they appeared to decline sharply once summer temperatures exceeded 23 °C. A coral bleaching event observed in December 2013 provided further evidence of how coral at Rottnest Island are still vulnerable to the deleterious effects of episodic warming despite its high latitude location. Thus, while corals at Rottnest Island can sustain robust year-round rates of coral growth, even over cool winter temperatures of 18°–19 °C, there may be limits on the extent that such environments can provide refuge against the longer term impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

  9. Excess algal symbionts increase the susceptibility of reef corals to bleaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunning, Ross; Baker, Andrew C.

    2013-03-01

    Rising ocean temperatures associated with global climate change are causing mass coral bleaching and mortality worldwide. Understanding the genetic and environmental factors that mitigate coral bleaching susceptibility may aid local management efforts to help coral reefs survive climate change. Although bleaching susceptibility depends partly on the genetic identity of a coral's algal symbionts, the effect of symbiont density, and the factors controlling it, remain poorly understood. By applying a new metric of symbiont density to study the coral Pocillopora damicornis during seasonal warming and acute bleaching, we show that symbiont cell ratio density is a function of both symbiont type and environmental conditions, and that corals with high densities are more susceptible to bleaching. Higher vulnerability of corals with more symbionts establishes a quantitative mechanistic link between symbiont density and the molecular basis for coral bleaching, and indicates that high densities do not buffer corals from thermal stress, as has been previously suggested. These results indicate that environmental conditions that increase symbiont densities, such as nutrient pollution, will exacerbate climate-change-induced coral bleaching, providing a mechanistic explanation for why local management to reduce these stressors will help coral reefs survive future warming.

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-07-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Calcification and growth rate recovery of the reef-building Pocillopora species in the northeast tropical Pacific following an ENSO disturbance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jose de Jesús A. Tortolero-Langarica

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Pocilloporids are one of the major reef-building corals in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP and also the most affected by thermal stress events, mainly those associated with El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO periods. To date, coral growth parameters have been poorly reported in Pocillopora species in the northeastern region of the tropical Pacific. Monthly and annual growth rates of the three most abundant morphospecies (P. cf. verrucosa, P. cf. capitata, and P. cf. damicornis were evaluated during two annual periods at a site on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The first annual period, 2010–2011 was considered a strong ENSO/La Niña period with cool sea surface temperatures, then followed by a non-ENSO period in 2012–2013. The linear extension rate, skeletal density, and calcification rate averaged (±SD were 2.31 ± 0.11 cm yr−1, 1.65 ± 0.18 g cm−3, 5.03 ± 0.84 g cm−2 yr-1 respectively, during the strong ENSO event. In contrast, the respective non-ENSO values were 3.50 ± 0.64 cm yr−1, 1.70 ± 0.18 g cm−3, and 6.02 ± 1.36 g cm−2 yr−1. This corresponds to 52% and 20% faster linear extension and calcification rates, respectively, during non-ENSO period. The evidence suggests that Pocillopora branching species responded positively with faster growth rates following thermal anomalies, which allow them to maintain coral communities in the region.

  15. Strong genetic structure among coral populations within a conservation priority region, the Bird's Head Seascape (Papua, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig John Starger

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Marine Protected Areas (MPAs are widely considered to be one of the best strategies available for protecting species diversity and ecosystem processes in marine environments. While data on connectivity and genetic structure of marine populations are critical to designing appropriately sized and spaced networks of MPAs, such data are rarely available. This study examines genetic structure in reef-building corals from Papua and West Papua, Indonesia, one of the most biodiverse and least disturbed coral reef regions in the world. We focused on two common reef-building corals, Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus 1758 and Seriatopora hystrix (family: Pocilloporidae, from three regions under different management regimes: Teluk Cenderawasih, Raja Ampat, and southwest Papua. Analyses of molecular variance, assignment tests, and genetical bandwidth mapping based on microsatellite variation revealed significant genetic structure in both species, although there were no clear regional filters to gene flow among regions. Overall, P. damicornis populations were less structured (FST = 0.139, p < 0.00001 than S. hystrix (FST = 0.357, p < 0.00001. Despite occurring in one of the most pristine marine habitats in Indonesia, populations of both species showed evidence of recent declines. Furthermore, exclusion of individual populations from connectivity analyses resulted in marked increases in self-recruitment. Maintaining connectivity within and among regions of Eastern Indonesia will require coral conservation on the local scales and regional networks of MPAs. 

  16. Nickel and ocean warming affect scleractinian coral growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biscéré, T; Lorrain, A; Rodolfo-Metalpa, R; Gilbert, A; Wright, A; Devissi, C; Peignon, C; Farman, R; Duvieilbourg, E; Payri, C; Houlbrèque, F

    2017-07-15

    The sensitivity of corals and their Symbiodinium to warming has been extensively documented; however very few studies considered that anthropogenic inputs such as metal pollution have already an impact on many fringing reefs. Thus, today, nickel releases are common in coastal ecosystems. In this study, two major reef-building species Acropora muricata and Pocillopora damicornis were exposed in situ to ambient and moderate nickel concentrations on a short-term period (1h) using benthic chamber experiments. Simultaneously, we tested in laboratory conditions the combined effects of a chronic exposure (8weeks) to moderate nickel concentrations and ocean warming on A. muricata. The in situ experiment highlighted that nickel enrichment, at ambient temperature, stimulated by 27 to 47% the calcification rates of both species but not their photosynthetic performances. In contrast, an exposure to higher nickel concentration, in combination with elevated temperature simulated in aquaria, severely depressed by 30% the growth of A. muricata. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-07-01

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

  18. The effects of four transplantation methods on five coral species at the Sanya Bay

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Yuyang; HUANG Hui; HUANG Jieying; YOU Feng; LIAN Jiansheng; YANG Jianhui; WEN Colin K C

    2016-01-01

    Coral transplantation is considered as one of the major tools to increase coral abundance for degraded coral reefs. To investigate the effects of various methods and coral species in transplantation, coral fragments (n=902) of five coral species were transplanted by four methods at Luhuitou, the Sanya Bay, Hainan Province, China, where the reef has been over-exploited and is still threatened by human activities and natural disasters. Ten months after the transplant, the average survivorship of the transplanted corals was 45.5%. Methodologies had different effects on the transplanted corals, but none of them was efficacious for all coral species. Methodology could not change the decreasing trend for Montipora foliosa and Acropora hyacinthus, although it did slow down their decline. All transplants of A. hyacinthus and M. foliosa had high mortalities and significant decrease on survival area, while Porites andrewsi and Galaxea fascicularis had lower mortalities and partial mortalities. Only one method had significant effect on increasing survival area of G. fascicularis, same as P. andrewsi. Out of the five transplanted coral species, Pocillopora damicornis was the only species that had living tissue area increase in all applied methods, while the others had decreased live tissue area in one or more methods. The results of this study suggested that performing coral transplantation in a highly threatened area was not efficient unless the threats were diminished or erased. Moreover, proper species selection for coral transplantation is crucial, especially in a disturbed environment. Methodology, although having limited effects on improving results of coral transplantation, cannot compensate the maladjustment of vulnerable species to the stresses on the Luhuitou Reef. Coral transplantation on Luhuitou Reef should not be performed unless the stresses are under controlled, and corals with good tolerance to the environment should be considered first.

  19. Are G-protein-coupled receptors involved in mediating larval settlement and metamorphosis of coral planulae?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tran, Cawa; Hadfield, Michael G

    2012-04-01

    Larvae of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis are induced to settle and metamorphose by the presence of marine bacterial biofilms, and the larvae of Montipora capitata respond to a combination of filamentous and crustose coralline algae. The primary goal of this study was to better understand metamorphosis of cnidarian larvae by determining what types of receptors and signal-transduction pathways are involved during stimulation of metamorphosis of P. damicornis and M. capitata. Evidence from studies on larvae of hydrozoans suggests that G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are good candidates. Settlement experiments were conducted in which competent larvae were exposed to neuropharmacological agents that affect GPCRs and their associated signal-transduction pathways, AC/cAMP and PI/DAG/PKC. On the basis of the results of these experiments, we conclude that GPCRs and these pathways do not mediate settlement and metamorphosis in either coral species. Two compounds that had an effect on both species, forskolin and phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (TPA), may be acting on other cellular processes not related to GPCRs. This study strengthens our understanding of the underlying physiological mechanisms that regulate metamorphosis in coral larvae.

  20. Estructura comunitaria de corales zooxantelados (Anthozoa: Scleractinia en el arrecife coralino de Carrizales, Pacífico Mexicano Community structure of zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia in Carrizales coral reef, Pacific coast, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Héctor Reyes-Bonilla

    2013-06-01

    area, with Pocillopora verrucosa as the most abundant, contributing up to 32.8% of total cover, followed by Porites panamensis and Pocillopora capitata with 11% and 7%, respectively. Other species, Pocillopora damicornis, Pavona gigantea, Pocillopora eydouxi and Pocillopora inflata accounted for 1.5% to 2% of coral cover whereas the remaining five species had cover of less than 1%. Seven of the observed species represented new records for Colima state coast- line: Pocillopora eydouxi, P. inflata, P. meandrina, Pavona duerdeni, P. varians, Psammocora stellata and P. contigua. This last species is a relevant record, because it has never been observed before in the Eastern Pacific. Although there was no significant difference (ANOVA, p=0.478 neither in the abundance between the sides of the bay, nor between the depths considered, and the shallow zone observed the higher coral cover. Live coral cover was up to 61%, one of the highest ever reported for the Mexican Pacific, including the Gulf of California. The observed values of diversity (H´=0.44±0.02, uniformity (J´=0.76±0.02, and taxonomic distinctness index (Δ*=45.87±3.16, showed that currently this is the most important coral reef of Colima coastline. Currently, this region does not show any disturbance effects, but the increasing economic development of Manzanillo, as one of the main commercial ports of Mexico, its proximity to the reef, and the burgeoning number of tourists, may have some ecosystem impacts, for which management and conservation plans for Colima coastline are highly recommended.

  1. Dongsha Atoll: A potential thermal refuge for reef-building corals in the South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S; Soong, Keryea

    2017-06-01

    Dongsha Atoll (also known as the Pratas Islands), the northernmost atoll in the South China Sea, experiences two contrasting physical phenomena: repetitive anomalies of the sea surface temperature exceeding the coral bleaching threshold and regular effects of the world's strongest internal waves resulting in the rhythmic upwelling of cold deep waters at the outer reef slopes of the atoll. This unique combination may result in significant differences in coral species composition and structure between the lagoon and forereef. Surveys conducted in August-September 2016 at 12 study sites in the 2-15 m depth range at Dongsha Atoll revealed a clear spatial separation between 'thermally-susceptible' stony coral genera, including Acropora, Pocillopora and Montipora, which mainly inhabited the forereef, and 'thermally-resistant' genera, including massive Porites, foliaceous Echinopora, Pavona and Turbinaria, which mainly resided in the lagoon. The mean coral cover and species richness on the forereef were respectively 1.8 and 1.4 times higher than those in the lagoon (61.3% and 98 species on the forereef vs. 34.2% and 69 species in the lagoon). Coral mortality rates, expressed as the ratio of dead to live stony corals, showed the same pattern (0.4 in the lagoon vs. 0.009 on the forereef). Furthermore, in a laboratory experiment, 'thermally-susceptible' taxa from the lagoon, (e.g. Pocillopora verrucosa and P. damicornis), exhibited higher resistance to bleaching than did their counterparts from the forereef. The present findings indicate that Dongsha Atoll is a potential thermal refuge for reef-building corals in the northern South China Sea and reveal the development of resilience and resistance to bleaching in coral communities of the lagoon. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  3. The effects of ultraviolet radiation on growth and bleaching in three species of Hawaiian coral

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Goodman, G.D. (California State Univ., Long Beach (United States))

    1990-01-09

    Long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation is harmful to many organisms, including hermatypic corals, which obtain much of their nutrition from photosynthetic zooxanthellae. Therefore, increased UV radiation from atmospheric ozone depletion could inhibit growth of such corals. Moreover, coral bleaching, which has been attributed to loss of pigment and/or expulsion of zooxanthellae, may be a specific response to UV light. Does UV-A reduce skeletal growth or influence population density and pigment content of zooxanthellae In addition, do zooxanthellae migrate to shaded areas of the colony to avoid ultraviolet light Using alizarin red stain and suitable filters, I compared the stain and suitable filters, I compared the effects of UV-A (320-400nm) and full-spectrum UV (280-400nm) on the skeletal growth of two Hawaiian corals, Montipora verrucosa, Pocillopora damicornis, in situ. In the perforate corals, M. Verrucosa and Porites compressa, I measured concentration of zooxanthellae and their chlorophyll content to quantify bleaching in response to UV light. Reduction in skeletal growth by the two corals in response to different ranges of UV light appears to be species specific. Bleaching by UV appears to be characterized by an initial loss of pigment followed by the expulsion and migration of the zooxanthellae to shaded areas of the colony. Differences in tolerance and adaptation to decreasing ozone levels and increasing UV light should confer a competitive advantage on various species and morphologies of reef-building corals.

  4. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

  5. The effects of habitat on coral bleaching responses in Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grimsditch, Gabriel; Mwaura, Jelvas M; Kilonzo, Joseph; Amiyo, Nassir

    2010-06-01

    This study examines the bleaching responses of scleractinian corals at four sites in Kenya (Kanamai, Vipingo, Mombasa and Nyali) representing two distinct lagoon habitats (relatively shallow and relatively deep). Bleaching incidence was monitored for the whole coral community, while zooxanthellae densities and chlorophyll levels were monitored for target species (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lutea, and Porites cylindrica) during a non-bleaching year (2006) and a year of mild-bleaching (2007). Differences in bleaching responses between habitats were observed, with shallower sites Kanamai and Vipingo exhibiting lower bleaching incidence than deeper sites Nyali and Mombasa. These shallower lagoons display more fluctuating thermal and light environments than the deeper sites, suggesting that corals in the shallower lagoons have acclimatized and/or adapted to the fluctuating environmental conditions they endure on a daily basis and have become more resistant to bleaching stress. In deeper sites that did exhibit higher bleaching (Mombasa and Nyali), it was found that coral recovery occurred more quickly in the protected area than in the non-protected area.

  6. Augmenting the post-transplantation growth and survivorship of juvenile scleractinian corals via nutritional enhancement.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tai Chong Toh

    Full Text Available Size-dependent mortality influences the recolonization success of juvenile corals transplanted for reef restoration and assisting juvenile corals attain a refuge size would thus improve post-transplantation survivorship. To explore colony size augmentation strategies, recruits of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis were fed with live Artemia salina nauplii twice a week for 24 weeks in an ex situ coral nursery. Fed recruits grew significantly faster than unfed ones, with corals in the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 (control nauplii/L groups exhibiting volumetric growth rates of 10.65 ± 1.46, 4.69 ± 0.9, 3.64 ± 0.55 and 1.18 ± 0.37 mm3/week, respectively. Corals supplied with the highest density of nauplii increased their ecological volume by more than 74 times their initial size, achieving a mean final volume of 248.38 ± 33.44 mm3. The benefits of feeding were apparent even after transplantation to the reef. The corals in the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 nauplii/L groups grew to final sizes of 4875 ± 260 mm3, 2036 ± 627 mm3, 1066 ± 70 mm3 and 512 ± 116 mm3, respectively. The fed corals had significantly higher survival rates than the unfed ones after transplantation (63%, 59%, 56% and 38% for the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 nauplii/L treatments respectively. Additionally, cost-effectiveness analysis revealed that the costs per unit volumetric growth were drastically reduced with increasing feed densities. Corals fed with the highest density of nauplii were the most cost-effective (US$0.02/mm3, and were more than 12 times cheaper than the controls. This study demonstrated that nutrition enhancement can augment coral growth and post-transplantation survival, and is a biologically and economically viable option that can be used to supplement existing coral mariculture procedures and enhance reef restoration outcomes.

  7. To which extent do Scleractinian coral recruits control the early stages of their biomineralization?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilis, M.; Meibom, A.; Domart-Coulon, I.; Stolarski, J.; Hignette, M.; Grauby, O.; Baronnet, A.

    2013-12-01

    Scleractinian corals produce a calcium carbonate skeleton constituting the basis of coral reefs. The structure of their skeletons and their mineralizing tissue has been studied in detail in several stony corals species. It is generally accepted that the formation of specifically shaped skeletal structures by both recruits and adult scleractinian corals relies on biologically controlled mineralization processes. However, the extent to which the surrounding seawater may or may not interact with these endogenous mechanisms is still debated. In the present work, we conducted a multi-scale mineralogical study on each skeletal elements deposited by Pocillopora damicornis recruits, from 12 hours to 22 days after their settlement on a flat (artificial) substrate. High resolution scanning electron microscopy (HR-SEM) allowed characterizing these elements from their sub-micron structure to their hierarchical assembly into micro and macro-structures revealing the interplay with a highly organized nano-scale organic material. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron diffraction analysis (SAED) on ion-milled lamella extracted from two different skeletal elements produced by 2 days-old recruits brought further information on their internal organization and local crystallography. Our ultrastructural and analytical observations are discussed in light of the recently reported calcium carbonate structures obtained in in vitro and in vivo experimental crystallization studies, suggesting that both biologically-induced and controlled mechanisms might be involved in the initial stages of coral biomineralization.

  8. Large scale patterns of antimicrofouling defenses in the hard coral Pocillopora verrucosa in an environmental gradient along the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin Wahl

    Full Text Available Large scale patterns of ecologically relevant traits may help identify drivers of their variability and conditions beneficial or adverse to the expression of these traits. Antimicrofouling defenses in scleractinian corals regulate the establishment of the associated biofilm as well as the risks of infection. The Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast features a pronounced thermal and nutritional gradient including regions and seasons with potentially stressful conditions to corals. Assessing the patterns of antimicrofouling defenses across the Red Sea may hint at the susceptibility of corals to global change. We investigated microfouling pressure as well as the relative strength of 2 alternative antimicrofouling defenses (chemical antisettlement activity, mucus release along the pronounced environmental gradient along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast in 2 successive years. Microfouling pressure was exceptionally low along most of the coast but sharply increased at the southernmost sites. Mucus release correlated with temperature. Chemical defense tended to anti-correlate with mucus release. As a result, the combined action of mucus release and chemical antimicrofouling defense seemed to warrant sufficient defense against microbes along the entire coast. In the future, however, we expect enhanced energetic strain on corals when warming and/or eutrophication lead to higher bacterial fouling pressure and a shift towards putatively more costly defense by mucus release.

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; Grottoli, Andréa G; Warner, Mark E; Cai, Wei-Jun; Melman, Todd F; Hoadley, Kenneth D; Pettay, D Tye; Hu, Xinping; Li, Qian; Xu, Hui; Wang, Yongchen; Matsui, Yohei; Baumann, Justin H

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Verena Schoepf

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  13. Metabolic rates and tissue composition of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa over 12 latitudes in the Red Sea characterized by strong temperature and nutrient gradient, supplement to: Sawall, Yvonne; Al-Sofyani, A; Hohn, S; Banguera-Hinestroza, E; Voolstra, Christian R; Wahl, Martin (2015): Extensive phenotypic plasticity of a Red Sea coral over a strong latitudinal temperature gradient suggests limited acclimatization potential to warming. Scientific Reports, 5, 8940

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Photosystem II recovery in the presence and absence of chloroplast protein repair in the symbionts of corals exposed to bleaching conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, R.; Takahashi, S.

    2014-12-01

    Increased seawater temperature causes photoinhibition due to accumulation of photodamaged photosystem II (PSII) in symbiotic algae (genus Symbiodinium) within corals, and it is assumed to be associated with coral bleaching. To avoid photoinhibition, photosynthetic organisms repair the photodamaged PSII through replacing the PSII proteins, primarily the D1 protein, with newly synthesised proteins. However, in experiments using cultured Symbiodinium strains, the PSII repair of Symbiodinium has been suggested not to be related to the synthesis of the D1 protein. In this study, we examined the relationship between the recovery of PSII photochemical efficiency ( F V/ F M) and the content of D1 protein after high-light and high-temperature treatments using the bleaching-sensitive coral species, Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora millepora, and the bleaching-tolerant coral species, Montipora digitata and Pavona decussata. When corals were exposed to strong light (600 µmol photons m-2 s-1) at elevated temperature (32 °C) for 8 h, significant bleaching occurred in bleaching-sensitive coral species although an almost similar extent of reduced PSII function was found across all coral species tested. During a subsequent 15-h recovery under low light (10 µmol photons m-2 s-1) at optimal temperature (22 °C), the reduced F V/ F M recovered close to initial levels in all coral species, but the reduced D1 content recovered only in one coral species ( Pavona decussata). D1 content was therefore not strongly linked to chloroplast protein synthesis-dependent PSII repair. These results demonstrate that the recovery of photodamaged PSII does not always correspond with the recovery of D1 protein content in Symbiodinium within corals, suggesting that photodamaged PSII can be repaired by a unique mechanism in Symbiodinium within corals.

  15. Intraspecific variation in physiological condition of reef-building corals associated with differential levels of chronic disturbance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis, subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -121255, p = 0.03 and total lipid content increased (r2 = 14, df = 5,42, p = 0.01, B = 0.9, p = 0.01 with increasing distance from exposed crests. Moreover, zooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -7386077, p = 0.01. Conversely, P. damicornis exhibited very limited intraspecific variation in physiological condition, despite marked differences in levels of partial mortality. This is the first study to relate intraspecific variation in the condition of corals to localized differences in chronic disturbance regimes. The next step is to ascertain whether these differences have further ramifications for susceptibility to periodic acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching.

  16. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries, in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91% and Montipora encrusting (85% and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart. Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21% but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Diversity and distribution of symbiodinium associated with seven common coral species in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

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    Sung-Yin Yang

    Full Text Available The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with scleractinian corals in five atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, spread over 10,000 km(2. Symbiodinium clade diversity in 262 samples of seven common coral species, Acropora muricata, Isopora palifera, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, P. eydouxi, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata were determined using PCR-SSCP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1, PCR-DDGE of ITS2, and phylogenetic analyses. The results indicated that Symbiodinium in clade C were the dominant symbiont group in the seven coral species. Our analysis revealed types of Symbiodinium clade C specific to coral species. Types C1 and C3 (with C3z and C3i variants were dominant in Acroporidae and C1 and C1c were the dominant types in Pocilloporidae. We also found 2 novel ITS2 types in S. hystrix and 1 novel ITS2 type of Symbiodinium in A. muricata. Some colonies of A. muricata and I. palifera were also associated with Symbiodinium A1. These results suggest that corals in the Chagos Archipelago host different assemblages of Symbiodinium types then their conspecifics from other locations in the Indian Ocean; and that future research will show whether these patterns in Symbiodinium genotypes may be due to local adaptation to specific conditions in the Chagos.

  19. 在细胞水平上对高温珊瑚白化的初步研究%Preliminary study of coral bleaching at cellular level under thermal stress

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李淑; 余克服; 陈天然; 施祺

    2011-01-01

    Global warming and abnormal high temperature cause coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis collapse and significant loss of zooxanthellae (coral bleaching), and further lead to degradation of coral reef ecosystems. In this study, the authors collected six species of corals from the Luhuitou fringing reef in Sanya, and designed a mesocosm experiment that those corals were cultured under a high temperature stress, for investigating the diversity of tolerance among different coral symbiosis at cellular level. The results are as follows. The diversity of tolerance among different coral species under acute thermal stresses was related to their morphologies: branching corals showed the lowest tolerance in thermal stress, while the foliose and massive corals showed stronger tolerance, which was similar to the result in the field monitoring. Different coral species showed different ways of zooxanthellae loss under thermal stresses: zooxanthellae discharging continuously, like Pocillopora damicornis; zooxanthellae discharging partly and followed by coral tissues containing zooxanthellae separating from skeletons,like Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora brueggemanni; the residual zooxauthellae in coral tissues using mitotic proliferation to replenish their numbers quickly, like Pavona decussate; cell necrosis of zooxanthellae in coral tissues, like Porites lutea. This study confirmed that the role of coral host and zooxanthellae should be considered simultaneously in further studies of coral responses to global warming.%全球变暖背景下的异常高温能够导致珊瑚及其虫黄藻组成的共生体系崩溃,虫黄藻大量损失,出现珊瑚白化,并可能进一步导致珊瑚礁生态系统退化.文章通过对6种造礁石珊瑚的急性高温胁迫实验,分析不同种属的石珊瑚虫黄藻共生体系对高温的耐受性差异,为全球变暖背景下珊瑚群落演替趋势提供理论依据.结果显示:1)在急性高温胁迫下,石珊瑚耐受的差异性与其

  20. The role of light in mediating the effects of ocean acidification on coral calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dufault, Aaron M; Ninokawa, Aaron; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Cumbo, Vivian R; Fan, Tung-Yung; Edmunds, Peter J

    2013-05-01

    We tested the effect of light and PCO2 on the calcification and survival of Pocillopora damicornis recruits settled from larvae released in southern Taiwan. In March 2011, recruits were incubated at 31, 41, 70, 122 and 226 μmol photons m(-2) s(-1) under ambient (493 μatm) and high PCO2 (878 μatm). After 5 days, calcification was measured gravimetrically and survivorship estimated as the number of living recruits. Calcification was affected by the interaction of PCO2 with light, and at 493 μatm PCO2 the response to light intensity resembled a positive parabola. At 878 μatm PCO2, the effect of light on calcification differed from that observed at 493 μatm PCO2, with the result that there were large differences in calcification between 493 μatm and 878 μatm PCO2 at intermediate light intensities (ca. 70 μmol photons m(-2) s(-1)), but similar rates of calcification at the highest and lowest light intensities. Survivorship was affected by light and PCO2, and was highest at 122 μmol photons m(-2) s(-1) in both PCO2 treatments, but was unrelated to calcification. In June 2012 the experiment was repeated, and again the results suggested that exposure to high PCO2 decreased calcification of P. damicornis recruits at intermediate light intensities, but not at lower or higher intensities. Together, our findings demonstrate that the effect of PCO2 on coral recruits can be light dependent, with inhibitory effects of high PCO2 on calcification at intermediate light intensities that disappear at both higher and lower light intensities.

  1. The effect of sub-lethal increases in temperature on the growth and population trajectories of three scleractinian corals on the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edmunds, Peter J

    2005-12-01

    To date, coral death has been the most conspicuous outcome of warming tropical seas, but as temperatures stabilize at higher values, the consequences for the corals remaining will be mediated by their demographic responses to the sub-lethal effects of temperature. To gain insight into the nature of these responses, here I develop a model to test the effect of increased temperature on populations of three pocilloporid corals at One Tree Island, near the southern extreme of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Using Seriatopora hystrix, S. caliendrum and Pocillopora damicornis as study species, the effects of temperature on growth were determined empirically, and the dynamics of their populations determined under natural temperatures over a 6-month period between 1999 and 2000 [defined as the study year (SY)]. The two data sets were combined in a demographic test of the possibility that the thermal regime projected for the southern GBR in the next 55-83 years--warmer by 3 degrees C than the study year (the SY+3 regime), which is equivalent to 1.4 degrees C warmer than the recent warm year of 1998--would alter coral population trajectories through the effects on coral growth alone; the analyses first were completed by species, then by family after pooling among species. Laboratory experiments showed that growth rates (i.e., calcification) varied significantly among species and temperatures, and displayed curvilinear thermal responses with growth maxima at approximately 27.1 degrees C. Based on these temperature-growth responses, the SY+3 regime is projected to: (1) increase annualized growth rates of all taxa by 24-39%, and defer the timing of peak growth from the summer to the autumn and spring, (2) alter the intrinsic rate of population growth (lambda) for S. hystrix (lambda decreases 26%) and S. caliendrum (lambda increases 5%), but not for P. damicornis, and (3) have a minor effect on lambda (a 0.3% increase) for the Pocilloporidae, largely because lambda varies more

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Hagedorn

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

  3. Annual Reproductive Cycle and Unusual Embryogenesis of a Temperate Coral in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Marchini

    Full Text Available The variety of reproductive processes and modes among coral species reflects their extraordinary regeneration ability. Scleractinians are an established example of clonal animals that can exhibit a mixed strategy of sexual and asexual reproduction to maintain their populations. This study provides the first description of the annual reproductive cycle and embryogenesis of the temperate species Caryophyllia inornata. Cytometric analyses were used to define the annual development of germ cells and embryogenesis. The species was gonochoric with three times more male polyps than female. Polyps were sexually mature from 6 to 8 mm length. Not only females, but also sexually inactive individuals (without germ cells and males were found to brood their embryos. Spermaries required 12 months to reach maturity, while oogenesis seemed to occur more rapidly (5-6 months. Female polyps were found only during spring and summer. Furthermore, the rate of gamete development in both females and males increased significantly from March to May and fertilization was estimated to occur from April to July, when mature germ cells disappeared. Gametogenesis showed a strong seasonal influence, while embryos were found throughout the year in males and in sexually inactive individuals without a defined trend. This unusual embryogenesis suggests the possibility of agamic reproduction, which combined with sexual reproduction results in high fertility. This mechanism is uncommon and only four other scleractinians (Pocillopora damicornis, Tubastraea diaphana, T. coccinea and Oulastrea crispata have been shown to generate their broods asexually. The precise nature of this process is still unknown.

  4. Nitrogen uptake kinetics of freshly isolated zooxanthellae

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.; Rajkumar, R.

    Zooxanthellae freshly isolated from the coral host Pocillopora damicornis exhibited substrate-saturable uptake kinetics for ammonium, nitrate and urea. Maximum uptake velocity for ammonium [10.1 nmol. ( mu chl-a)./1h/1] was greater than...

  5. Concentración de clorofila a en colonias de Pocillopora verrucosa (Sderactina) durante un blanqueamiento coralino en el Golfo de California, México (1997)

    OpenAIRE

    Munguía-Vega, Adrián; Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor

    2015-01-01

    El Niño-Southern Oscillation 1997-98 significantly elevated sea temperatures in the Gulf of California and caused widespread coral bleaching starting in july 1997. Changes in chlorphyll a concentration by unit of area (cm2) among normal, discolored and totally bleached colonies of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa (=P. elegans) were determined in 27 colonies collected in october, 1997 al Ensenada de Muertos. Baja California peninsula, México (240 03' N), by spectrophotometric determinations. Me...

  6. Improving the ecological relevance of toxicity tests on scleractinian corals: Influence of season, life stage, and seawater temperature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedouin, Laetitia; Wolf, Ruth E.; Phillips, Jeff; Gates, Ruth D.

    2016-01-01

    Metal pollutants in marine systems are broadly acknowledged as deleterious: however, very little data exist for tropical scleractinian corals. We address this gap by investigating how life-history stage, season and thermal stress influence the toxicity of copper (Cu) and lead (Pb) in the coral Pocillopora damicornis. Our results show that under ambient temperature, adults and larvae appear to tolerate exposure to unusually high levels of copper (96 h-LC50 ranging from 167 to 251 μg Cu L−1) and lead (from 477 to 742 μg Pb L−1). Our work also highlights that warmer conditions (seasonal and experimentally manipulated) reduce the tolerance of adults and larvae to Cu toxicity. Despite a similar trend observed for the response of larvae to Pb toxicity to experimentally induced increase in temperature, surprisingly adults were more resistant in warmer condition to Pb toxicity. In the summer adults were less resistant to Cu toxicity (96 h-LC50 = 175 μg L−1) than in the winter (251 μg L−1). An opposite trend was observed for the Pb toxicity on adults between summer and winter (96 h-LC50 of 742 vs 471 μg L−1, respectively). Larvae displayed a slightly higher sensitivity to Cu and Pb than adults. An experimentally induced 3 °C increase in temperature above ambient decreased larval resistance to Cu and Pb toxicity by 23–30% (96 h-LC50 of 167 vs 129 μg Cu L−1 and 681 vs 462 μg Pb L−1).

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tambutte Sylvie

    2009-08-01

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

  8. Contrasting clonal structure among Pocillopora (Scleractinia) communities at two environmentally distinct sites in the Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinzón, J. H.; Reyes-Bonilla, H.; Baums, I. B.; LaJeunesse, T. C.

    2012-09-01

    The contributions of sexual versus asexual reproduction are thought to play an important role in the abundance and ecological success of corals, especially in marginal habitats. Pocillopora corals are distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific and dominate shallow hard-bottom communities in the eastern Pacific where broad seasonal fluctuations in temperature and water turbidity create suboptimal conditions for reef community development. Previous work had revealed three genetic clades in the eastern Pacific that show little correspondence with colony morphology; the broad distribution of type 1 extends into the subtropical southern Gulf of California. Here we examine genetic and clonal structure of two type 1 communities separated by 10 km with microsatellite data. Samples were collected randomly in six 10 m radius circular plots (20 colonies per plot, 3 plots per site). Sites differed in their relative clonality because clonemates (ramets) from a single clone (genet) dominated a large portion (90.9 m long) of the protected leeward side of Gaviota Island (Number of genets/Number of samples = 0.35; observed Genotypic diversity/expected Genotypic diversity = 0.087), while an exposed community at the entrance to La Paz Bay, Punta Galeras, exhibited high genotypic diversity ( N g / N = 0.85; G o / G e = 0.714). Gene flow was unrestricted between sites indicating these communities comprised a single population. The relative proportion of asexual colonies found between community aggregations of Pocillopora in the Gulf of California differed significantly and suggests factors at local, not regional, scales affect these patterns. The possibility that heterogeneity in clonal structure is common throughout the eastern Pacific and across the west Indo-Pacific requires further study. Finally, since morphological variation in Pocillopora has been underappreciated and is in need of taxonomic revision, the use of a consistent field-sampling protocol and high-resolution makers will

  9. Seasonal variation in the photo-physiology of homogeneous and heterogeneous Symbiodinium consortia in two scleractinian corals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Hill, R.; Van Oppen, M. J. H.

    2008-01-01

    cycling was greater in P. damicornis than A. valida, irrespective of branch position and sampling time; this may be a mechanism by which P. damicornis compensates for its fidelity to Symbiodinium C1. Furthermore, xanthophyll de-epoxidation in P. damicornis symbionts was greater in sun-adapted than shade...... members of both clades A and C. The relative abundances of Symbiodinium types varied over time. A significant decline in symbiont densities in both coral species during the summer of 2005 coincided with a NOAA ‘hotspot' warning for Heron Island. This also coincided with a relative increase in the presence...... and dominance of clade A in A. valida, particularly in sun-adapted surfaces. The effective quantum yield of Photosystem II (FPSII) suggested that sun-adapted surfaces of P. damicornis are more sensitive than shade-adapted surfaces to combined effects of higher temperature and irradiance in summer. Xanthophyll...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2015-11-03

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-30

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

  13. Acanthaster: effect on coral reef growth in panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P W

    1973-05-04

    Analysis of data on coral abundance and growth, and the population size (26 individuals per hectare) and feeding rate of Acanthaster indicates that Pocillopora reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama are undergoing vigorous growth in the presence of this predator. Prediction of the effects of a population increase in Acanthaster to plague proportions (2.5 times that presently observed) suggests that reefs could still maintain a positive growth. However, Acanthaster at ten times the present population density would lead to rapid destruction of reefs. It is argued that coral destruction due to Acanthaster represents only one of several factors affecting coral reef progression.

  14. The Construction of a Coral Implantation Base and the Proof Experiment by Electrodeposition Method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshitake, Masami; Nojima, Satoshi; Tokuyama, Hidekazu; Haraguchi, Satoru; Kadomoto, Yukio; Yoshida, Kazuo

    In recent years, we are facing a decline of coral reefs by bleaching and death of coral colonies, which is casued by rising of ocean temperatures presumably due to global warming and pollution due to human activity. It is our urgent issue to protect and reproduce coral reefs in a global scale. We propose an electrodeposition method using calcium and magnesium contained in natural seawater as a effective and way to revive coral reefs, because a product of electrodeposition characterized by porous texture provides suitable holes for implantation of coral larvae. We expect that the method creates a diverse coral reefs community similar to natural one comparing with other growth method. Since 2008, we have conducted coral growth experiments using electrodeposition in Yoronjima. As a result, Acropora sp., Porites sp. and Pocillopora sp. are observed, such as implantation of several types of coral larvae, and confirmed a growth of coral larvae.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2010-09-19

    Coral reefs are often subject to disturbances that can cause enduring changes in community structure and abundance of coral reef organisms. In Moorea, French Polynesia, frequent disturbances between 1979 and 2003 caused marked shifts in taxonomic composition of coral assemblages. This study explores recent changes in live cover and taxonomic structure of coral communities on the north coast of Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess whether coral assemblages are recovering (returning to a previous Acropora-dominated state) or continuing to move towards an alternative community structure. Coral cover declined by 29.7% between July 2003 and March 2009, mostly due to loss of Acropora and Montipora spp. Coral mortality varied among habitats, with highest levels of coral loss on the outer reef slope (7-20 m depth). In contrast, there was limited change in coral cover within the lagoon, and coral cover actually increased on the reef crest. Observed changes in coral cover and composition correspond closely with the known feeding preferences and observed spatial patterns of Acanthaster planci L., though observed coral loss also coincided with at least one episode of coral bleaching, as well as persistent populations of the corallivorous starfish Culcita novaeguineae Muller & Troschel. While climate change poses an important and significant threat to the future structure and dynamics coral reef communities, outbreaks of A. planci remain a significant cause of coral loss in Moorea. More importantly, these recent disturbances have followed long-term shifts in the structure of coral assemblages, and the relative abundance of both Pocillopora and Porites continue to increase due to disproportionate losses of Acropora and Montipora. Moreover, Pocillopora and Porites dominate assemblages of juvenile corals, suggesting that there is limited potential for a return to an Acropora-dominated state, last recorded in 1979. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, M. S.; Trapon, M.; Berumen, M. L.; Chong-Seng, K.

    2011-03-01

    Coral reefs are often subject to disturbances that can cause enduring changes in community structure and abundance of coral reef organisms. In Moorea, French Polynesia, frequent disturbances between 1979 and 2003 caused marked shifts in taxonomic composition of coral assemblages. This study explores recent changes in live cover and taxonomic structure of coral communities on the north coast of Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess whether coral assemblages are recovering (returning to a previous Acropora-dominated state) or continuing to move towards an alternative community structure. Coral cover declined by 29.7% between July 2003 and March 2009, mostly due to loss of Acropora and Montipora spp. Coral mortality varied among habitats, with highest levels of coral loss on the outer reef slope (7-20 m depth). In contrast, there was limited change in coral cover within the lagoon, and coral cover actually increased on the reef crest. Observed changes in coral cover and composition correspond closely with the known feeding preferences and observed spatial patterns of Acanthaster planci L., though observed coral loss also coincided with at least one episode of coral bleaching, as well as persistent populations of the corallivorous starfish Culcita novaeguineae Muller & Troschel. While climate change poses an important and significant threat to the future structure and dynamics coral reef communities, outbreaks of A. planci remain a significant cause of coral loss in Moorea. More importantly, these recent disturbances have followed long-term shifts in the structure of coral assemblages, and the relative abundance of both Pocillopora and Porites continue to increase due to disproportionate losses of Acropora and Montipora. Moreover, Pocillopora and Porites dominate assemblages of juvenile corals, suggesting that there is limited potential for a return to an Acropora-dominated state, last recorded in 1979.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2016-01-04

    Coral-associated bacteria play an increasingly recognized part in coral health. We investigated the effect of local anthropogenic impacts on coral microbial communities on reefs near Jeddah, the largest city on the Saudi Arabian coast of the central Red Sea. We analyzed the bacterial community structure of water and corals (Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hemprichii) at sites that were relatively unimpacted, exposed to sedimentation & local sewage, or in the discharge area of municipal wastewaters. Coral microbial communities were significantly different at impacted sites: in both corals the main symbiotic taxon decreased in abundance. In contrast, opportunistic bacterial families, such as e.g. Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, were more abundant in corals at impacted sites. In conclusion, microbial community response revealed a measurable footprint of anthropogenic impacts to coral ecosystems close to Jeddah, even though the corals appeared visually healthy.

  18. Concentración de clorofila a en colonias de Pocillopora verrucosa (Scleractina durante un blanqueamiento coralino en el Golfo de California, México (1997

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrián Munguía-Vega

    1999-12-01

    Full Text Available El Niño-Southern Oscillation 1997-98 significantly elevated sea temperatures in the Gulf of California and caused widespread coral bleaching starting in july 1997. Changes in chlorphyll a concentration by unit of area (cm² among normal, discolored and totally bleached colonies of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa (=P. elegans were determined in 27 colonies collected in october, 1997 at Ensenada de Muertos, Baja California peninsula, México (24° 03’ N, by spectrophotometric determinations. Mean pigment values varied from 2.06 µg/cm2 to 1.12 µg/cm2 and 0.09 µg/cm² among normal, decolorated and totally bleached colonies, respectively, although statistically significant differences only appeared between completely bleached and normal corals. The low chlorophyll concentration of the healthy-looking ("normal" corals and the lack of differences in pigment concentrations between these and partially bleached corals, indicated that the former had actually suffered a previous loss of pigmentation and may have been recovering when sampled.

  19. With eyes wide open: a revision of species within and closely related to the Pocillopora damicornis species complex (Scleractinia; Pocilloporidae) using morphology and genetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Schmidt‐Roach, Sebastian; Miller, Karen J; Lundgren, Petra; Andreakis, Nikos

    2014-01-01

    ...‐morphology, therefore reflecting species‐level differentiation. However, high levels of gross morphological plasticity and shared morphological characteristics mask clear separation for some groups. Fine...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bramanti, Lorenzo; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-15

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

  3. Ultrastructure of oogenesis of two oviparous demosponges: Axinella damicornis and Raspaciona aculeata (Porifera).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riesgo, Ana; Maldonado, Manuel

    2009-02-01

    We investigated the cytology of the oogenic cycle in two oviparous demosponges, Axinella damicornis and Raspaciona aculeata, during 2 consecutive years both by light and electron microscopy. Oocytes of both species were similar in their basic morphological features but differences were noticed in time required to complete oocyte maturation and mechanisms of acquisition of nutritional reserves. The oogenic cycle of A. damicornis extended for 7-8 months in autumn-spring, while that of R. aculeata did it for 3-5 months in summer-autumn. Yolk of A. damicornis was predominantly formed by autosynthesis. Oocytes endocytosed bacteria individually and stored them in groups in large vesicles. Bacteria were digested and lipidic material was added to the vesicles to produce a peculiar granular yolk hitherto unknown in sponges. Scarce cells carrying heterogeneous inclusions were observed in the perioocytic space, and were interpreted as putative nurse cells. Such cells were presumably releasing lipid granules to the perioocytic space. In contrast, large numbers of nurse cells were found surrounding the oocytes of R. aculeata. They transported both lipid granules and heterogeneous yolk bodies to the oocytes. R. aculeata also produced some of their yolk by autosynthesis. The involvement of nurse cells in the vitellogenesis of R. aculeata shortened the oocyte maturation, whereas a largely autosynthetic vitellogenesis in A. damicornis prolonged the duration of oogenesis.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-10-03

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-11-07

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Morgan S Pratchett

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems, mostly because of the sensitivities of key habitat-forming corals to increasing temperature. However, susceptibility to bleaching varies greatly among coral genera and there are likely to be major changes in the relative abundance of different corals, even if the wholesale loss of corals does not occur for several decades. Here we document variation in bleaching susceptibility among key genera of reef-building corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, and compare bleaching incidence during mass-bleaching events documented in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2007. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study compared the proportion of colonies that bleached for four major genera of reef-building corals (Acropora, Montipora, Pocillopora and Porites, during each of four well-documented bleaching events from 1991 to 2007. Acropora and Montipora consistently bleached in far greater proportions (up to 98% than Pocillopora and Porites. However, there was an apparent and sustained decline in the proportion of colonies that bleached during successive bleaching events, especially for Acropora and Montipora. In 2007, only 77% of Acropora colonies bleached compared with 98% in 1991. Temporal variation in the proportion of coral colonies bleached may be attributable to differences in environmental conditions among years. Alternately, the sustained declines in bleaching incidence among highly susceptible corals may be indicative of acclimation or adaptation. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Coral genera that are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, and especially Acropora and Montipora, exhibit temporal declines in their susceptibility to thermal anomalies at Moorea, French Polynesia. One possible explanation for these findings is that gradual removal of highly susceptible genotypes (through selective mortality of individuals, populations, and/or species is producing a coral assemblage that is

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems, mostly because of the sensitivities of key habitat-forming corals to increasing temperature. However, susceptibility to bleaching varies greatly among coral genera and there are likely to be major changes in the relative abundance of different corals, even if the wholesale loss of corals does not occur for several decades. Here we document variation in bleaching susceptibility among key genera of reef-building corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, and compare bleaching incidence during mass-bleaching events documented in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2007. This study compared the proportion of colonies that bleached for four major genera of reef-building corals (Acropora, Montipora, Pocillopora and Porites), during each of four well-documented bleaching events from 1991 to 2007. Acropora and Montipora consistently bleached in far greater proportions (up to 98%) than Pocillopora and Porites. However, there was an apparent and sustained decline in the proportion of colonies that bleached during successive bleaching events, especially for Acropora and Montipora. In 2007, only 77% of Acropora colonies bleached compared with 98% in 1991. Temporal variation in the proportion of coral colonies bleached may be attributable to differences in environmental conditions among years. Alternately, the sustained declines in bleaching incidence among highly susceptible corals may be indicative of acclimation or adaptation. Coral genera that are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, and especially Acropora and Montipora, exhibit temporal declines in their susceptibility to thermal anomalies at Moorea, French Polynesia. One possible explanation for these findings is that gradual removal of highly susceptible genotypes (through selective mortality of individuals, populations, and/or species) is producing a coral assemblage that is more resistant to sustained and ongoing ocean warming.

  9. Metabolite Profiling of Red Sea Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Ortega, Jovhana Alejandra

    2016-12-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Coral microbiology

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  12. Molecular identification of symbiotic dinoflagellates in Pacific corals in the genus Pocillopora (erratum)

    OpenAIRE

    Magalon, Hélène; Flot, Jean-François; Baudry, Emmanuelle

    2008-01-01

    International audience; The authors regret that they made an error in reporting the primers used to amplify and sequence the ITS1 region, mentioned in the Material and methods section. The primer ITSint-rev was incorrectly reported and an internal primer which was incorrectly omitted has been added below. Materials and methods PCR amplifications of zooxanthellae nrDNA [The second paragraph of this section should be replaced with the following text] To investigate zooxanthella diversity in mor...

  13. Explained and unexplained tissue loss in corals from the Tropical Eastern Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez-Villalobos, Jenny Carolina; Work, Thierry M.; Calderon-Aguilera, Luis Eduardo; Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Hernández, Luis

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs rival rainforest in biodiversity, but are declining in part because of disease. Tissue loss lesions, a manifestation of disease, are present in dominant Pocillopora along the Pacific coast of Mexico. We characterized tissue loss in 7 species of Pocillopora from 9 locations (44 sites) spanning southern to northern Mexico. Corals were identified to species, and tissue loss lesions were photographed and classified as those explainable by predation and those that were unexplained. A focal predation study was done concurrently at 3 locations to confirm origin of explained lesions. Of 1054 cases of tissue loss in 7 species of corals, 84% were associated with predation (fish, snails, or seastar) and the remainder were unexplained. Types of tissue loss were not related to coral density; however there was significant geographic heterogeneity in type of lesion; one site in particular (Cabo Pulmo) had the highest prevalence of predator-induced tissue loss (mainly pufferfish predation). Crown-of-thorns starfish, pufferfish, and snails were the most common predators and preferred P. verrucosa, P. meandrina, and P. capitata, respectively. Of the 9 locations, 4 had unexplained tissue loss with prevalence ranging from 1 to 3% with no species predilection. Unexplained tissue loss was similar to white syndrome (WS) in morphology, indicating additional study is necessary to clarify the cause(s) of the lesions and the potential impacts to dominant corals along the Pacific coast of Mexico.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2006-01-01

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

  16. Comparative Effects of Different Disturbances in Coral Reef Habitats in Moorea, French Polynesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mélanie L. Trapon

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Degradation and loss of critical coastal habitats has significant ramifications for marine fisheries, such that knowledge of changes in habitat quality and quantity are fundamental to effective ecosystem management. This study explores changes in the structure of coral reef habitats, specifically changes in coral cover and composition, in Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess the independent and combined effects of different disturbances since 1979. During this period, reefs on the north coast have been subject to coral bleaching, severe tropical storms, as well as outbreaks of Acanthaster. Coral cover varied significantly among years, showing marked declines during some, but not all, disturbances. The greatest rates of coral loss coincided with outbreaks of A. planci. Moreover, successive disturbances have had differential effects among coral genera, leading to strong directional shifts in coral composition. Acropora is declining in abundance and coral assemblages are becoming increasingly dominated by Pocillopora and Porites. Observed changes in the cover and composition of corals are likely to have further significant impacts on the reef fish assemblages. Given that significant disturbances have been mostly associated with outbreaks of A. planci, rather than climate change, effective ecosystem management may reduce and/or delay impending effects of climate change.

  17. Interspecies and spatial diversity in the symbiotic zooxanthellae density in corals from northern South China Sea and its relationship to coral reef bleaching

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    Coral reef bleaching is usually characterized by expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae, loss of zooxanthellae pigmentation, or both. We collected 128 samples comprising 39 species of 21 genera of reef-building corals from Luhuitou and Xiaodonghai in Sanya of Hainan Island and Daya Bay of Guangdong Province, respectively, and analyzed the symbiotic zooxanthellae population density. The results show that: (1) the symbiotic zooxanthella density varies from 0.67×106 to 8.48×106 cell/cr2, displaying significant interspecies variability, with branch corals usually having relatively less zooxanthellae (ranging from 0.67×106 to 2.47×106 cell/cm2) than massive species (from 1.0×106 to 8.48×106 cell/cm2); (2) corals inhabiting within 4 m water depth have higher levels of symbiotic zooxanthellae than those living at the bottom (~7 m depth) of the reef area; (3) there is no discernable difference in the zooxanthellae density between corals from relatively high latitude Daya Bay (~22°N)and those from relatively Iow latitude Sanya (~18°N) at comparable sea surface temperatures (SST); (4)in partially-bleached corals, the density of zooxanthellae shows the following order: healthy-looking part> semi-bleached part > bleached part. Based on the above results, we suggest that (1) the zooxanthellae density difference between branching and massive coral species is the main cause that branching corals are more vulnerable to bleaching than massive corals. For example, symbiotic zooxanthellae levels are low in branching Acropora and Pocillopora corals and thus these corals are more susceptible to bleaching and mortality; (2) symbiotic zooxanthellae density can also be affected by environmental conditions, such as sediment loads, diving-related turbidity, and aquaculture-related nitrate and phosphate input, and their increase may reduce symbiotic zooxanthellae density in corals.

  18. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

  19. 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 mm2) 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. PMID:25211345

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roik, Anna; Roder, Cornelia; Röthig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-06-01

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2015-12-14

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

  2. Temporal consistency in background mortality of four dominant coral taxa along Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, C.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on the population and community dynamics of scleractinian corals typically focus on catastrophic mortality associated with acute disturbances (e.g., coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish), though corals are subject to high levels of background mortality and injuries caused by routine and chronic processes. This study quantified prevalence (proportion of colonies with injuries) and severity (areal extent of injuries on individual colonies) of background mortality and injuries for four common coral taxa (massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and branching Pocillopora) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Sampling was conducted over three consecutive years during which there were no major acute disturbances. A total of 2276 adult colonies were surveyed across 27 sites, within nine reefs and three distinct latitudinal sectors. The prevalence of injuries was very high (>83%) across all four taxa, but highest for Porites (91%) and Montipora (85%). For these taxa ( Montipora and Pocillopora), there was also significant temporal and spatial variation in prevalence of partial mortality. The severity of injuries ranged from 3% to more than 80% and varied among coral taxa, but was fairly constant spatially and temporally. This shows that some injuries have considerable longevity and that corals may invest relatively little in regenerating tissue over sites of previous injuries. Inter-colony variation in the severity of injury also had no apparent effect on the realized growth of individual colonies, suggesting that energy diverted to regeneration has a limited bearing on overall energetic allocation, or impacts on other life-history processes (e.g., reproduction) rather than growth. Establishing background levels of injury and regeneration is important for understanding energy investment and life-history consequences for reef-building corals as well as for predicting susceptibility to, and capacity to recover from, acute

  3. 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.

  4. Coral choreography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

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

  5. Coral associations of the Pleistocene Ironshore Formation, Grand Cayman

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, I. G.; Jones, B.

    1996-11-01

    The 125-ka sea level, which was approximately 6 m above present-day sea level, led to the partial flooding of many Caribbean islands. On Grand. Cayman, this event led to the formation of the large Ironshore Lagoon that covered most of the western half of the island and numerous, small embayments along the south, east, and north coasts. At that time, at least 33 coral species grew in waters around Grand Cayman. This fauna, like the modern coral fauna of Grand Cayman, was dominated by Montastrea annularis, Porites porites, Acropora polmata, and A. cervicornis. Scolymia cubensis and Mycetophyllia ferox, not previously identified from the Late Pleistocene, are found in the Pleistocene patch reefs. Madracis mirabilis, Colpophyllia breviserialis, Agaricia tenuifolia, A. lamarcki, A. undata, Millepora spp., Mycetophyllia reesi, M. aliciae, and M. danaana, found on modern reefs, have not been identified from the Late Pleistocene reefs. Conversely, Pocillopora sp. cf. P. palmata, which is found in Late Pleistocene reefs, is absent on the modern reefs around Grand Cayman. The corals in the Ironshore Formation of Grand Cayman have been divided into 10 associations according to their dominant species, overall composition, and faunal diversity. Many of these associations are similar to the modern associations around Grand Cayman. Each of the Pleistocene coral associations, which can be accurately located on the known Late Pleistocene paleogeography of Grand Cayman, developed in distinct environmental settings. Overall trends identified in the modern settings are also apparent in the Late Pleistocene faunas. Thus, the diversity of the coral faunas increased from the interior of the Ironshore Lagoon to the reef crest. Similarly, the coral diversity in the Pleistocene patch reefs was related to the size of the reefs and their position relative to breaks in the barrier reef. The barrier reef included corals that are incapable of sediment rejection; whereas the patch reefs lacked

  6. Differential Response of Coral Assemblages to Thermal Stress Underscores the Complexity in Predicting Bleaching Susceptibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chou, Loke Ming; Toh, Tai Chong; Toh, Kok Ben; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Cabaitan, Patrick; Tun, Karenne; Goh, Eugene; Afiq-Rosli, Lutfi; Taira, Daisuke; Du, Rosa Celia Poquita; Loke, Hai Xin; Khalis, Aizat; Li, Jinghan; Song, Tiancheng

    2016-01-01

    Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera-Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached). The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site) provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2017-06-28

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

  8. Differential Response of Coral Assemblages to Thermal Stress Underscores the Complexity in Predicting Bleaching Susceptibility.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Loke Ming Chou

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera-Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached. The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change.

  9. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

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

  10. Clipperton Atoll (eastern Pacific): oceanography, geomorphology, reef-building coral ecology and biogeography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.; Veron, J. E. N.; Wellington, G. M.

    1996-06-01

    Coral reef geomorphology and community composition were investigated in the tropical northeastern Pacific during April 1994. Three areas were surveyed in the Revillagigedo Islands (Mexico), and an intensive study was conducted on Clipperton Atoll (1,300 km SW of Acapulco), including macro-scale surface circulation, sea surface temperature (SST) climatology, geomorphology, coral community structure, zonation, and biogeography. Satellite-tracked drifter buoys from 1979 1993 demonstrated complex patterns of surface circulation with dominantly easterly flow (North Equatorial Counter Current, NECC), but also westerly currents (South Equatorial Current, SEC) that could transport propagules to Clipperton from both central and eastern Pacific regions. The northernmost latitude reached by the NECC is not influenced by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, but easterly flow velocity evidently is accelerated at such times. Maximum NECC flow rates indicate that the eastern Pacific barrier can be bridged in 60 to 120 days. SST anomalies at Clipperton occur during ENSO events and were greater at Clipperton in 1987 than during 1982 1983. Shallow (15 18 m)and deep (50 58 m) terraces are present around most of Clipperton, probably representing Modern and late Pleistocene sea level stands. Although Clipperton is a well developed atoll with high coral cover, the reef-building fauna is depauperate, consisting of only 7 species of scleractinian corals belonging to the genera Pocillopora, Porites, Pavona and Leptoseris, and 1 species of hydrocoral in the genus Millepora. The identities of the one Pocilpopora species and one of the two Porites species are still unknown. Two of the remaining scleractinians ( Pavona minuta, Leptoseris scabra) and the hydrocoral ( Millepora exaesa), all formerly known from central and western Pacific localities, represent new eastern Pacific records. Scleractinian corals predominate (10 100% cover) over insular shelf depths of 8 to 60m, and crustose

  11. Fish corallivory on a pocilloporid reef and experimental coral responses to predation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palacios, M. M.; Muñoz, C. G.; Zapata, F. A.

    2014-09-01

    This study examined the effects of the Guineafowl pufferfish ( Arothron meleagris), a major corallivore in the Eastern Pacific, on pocilloporid corals on a reef at Gorgona Island, Colombia. Pufferfish occurred at a density of 171.2 individuals ha-1 and fed at a rate of 1.8 bites min-1, which produced a standing bite density of 366.2 bites m-2. We estimate that approximately 15.6 % of the annual pocilloporid carbonate production is removed by the pufferfish population. Examination of the predation effect on individual pocilloporid colonies revealed that although nubbins exposed to corallivory had lower linear growth, they gained similar weight and became thicker than those protected from it. Additionally, colonies with simulated predation injuries (on up to 75 % of branch tips) healed successfully and maintained growth rates similar to those of uninjured colonies. Despite the high corallivore pressure exerted by pufferfish on this reef, we conclude that they have a low destructive impact on Pocillopora colonies as corals can maintain their carbonate production rate while effectively recovering from partial predation. Due to its influence on colony morphology, pufferfish predation may increase environmentally induced morphological variability in Pocillopora.

  12. Coral reef recovery in the Galápagos Islands: the northernmost islands (Darwin and Wenman)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, Peter W.; Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Samuel; Kerr, Jeremy M.; Smith, Tyler B.

    2015-06-01

    The remote northernmost Galápagos Islands, Darwin and Wenman, exhibited well-developed coral communities in 1975, which were severely degraded during the 1982-1983 El Niño warming event. Mapping of the coral reef at Darwin, herein Wellington Reef, shows it presently to be the largest known structural reef in the Galápagos. It consists of numerous 1- to 3-m-high Porites framework towers or stacks and overlies a carbonate (coral/calcareous sediments) basement. Pre-disturbance Wellington Reef was constructed chiefly by Porites lobata and Pocillopora elegans, and Wenman coral cover was dominated by Pavona clavus and Porites lobata. Subsequent surveys in 2012 have demonstrated robust recovery in spite of ENSO thermal shock events, involving both high and low stressful temperatures that have caused tissue bleaching and mortality. No losses of coral species have been observed. Radiocarbon dating of 1- to 3-m-high poritid framework stacks, from their peaks to bases, revealed modern ages of up to 690 yr. Incremental stack growth rates ranged from 0.15-0.39 to 1.04-2.40 cm yr-1. The former are equivalent to framework accretion rates of 1.5-3.9 m Kyr-1, the latter to coral skeletal growth rates of 1.0-2.4 cm yr-1. Coral recovery in the central and southern Galápagos has been nonexistent to low compared with the northern islands, due chiefly to much higher population densities and destructive grazing pressure of the echinoid Eucidaris galapagensis. Thus, coral reef resistance to ENSO perturbations and recovery potential in the Galápagos are influenced by echinoid bioerosion that varies significantly among islands.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2015-08-06

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

  14. Contrasting patterns of coral bleaching susceptibility in 2010 suggest an adaptive response to thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James R Guest

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral bleaching events vary in severity, however, to date, the hierarchy of susceptibility to bleaching among coral taxa has been consistent over a broad geographic range and among bleaching episodes. Here we examine the extent of spatial and temporal variation in thermal tolerance among scleractinian coral taxa and between locations during the 2010 thermally induced, large-scale bleaching event in South East Asia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Surveys to estimate the bleaching and mortality indices of coral genera were carried out at three locations with contrasting thermal and bleaching histories. Despite the magnitude of thermal stress being similar among locations in 2010, there was a remarkable contrast in the patterns of bleaching susceptibility. Comparisons of bleaching susceptibility within coral taxa and among locations revealed no significant differences between locations with similar thermal histories, but significant differences between locations with contrasting thermal histories (Friedman = 34.97; p<0.001. Bleaching was much less severe at locations that bleached during 1998, that had greater historical temperature variability and lower rates of warming. Remarkably, Acropora and Pocillopora, taxa that are typically highly susceptible, although among the most susceptible in Pulau Weh (Sumatra, Indonesia where respectively, 94% and 87% of colonies died, were among the least susceptible in Singapore, where only 5% and 12% of colonies died. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The pattern of susceptibility among coral genera documented here is unprecedented. A parsimonious explanation for these results is that coral populations that bleached during the last major warming event in 1998 have adapted and/or acclimatised to thermal stress. These data also lend support to the hypothesis that corals in regions subject to more variable temperature regimes are more resistant to thermal stress than those in less variable environments.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne

    2015-03-10

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  17. Upwelling increases net primary production of corals and reef-wide gross primary production along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ines eStuhldreier

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Photosynthetic production is a key ecosystem service provided by tropical coral reefs, but knowledge about the contribution of corals and other reef-associated organisms and the controlling environmental factors is scarce. Locations with occurrence of upwelling events can serve as in-situ laboratories to investigate the impact of environmental variability on production rates of reef-associated organisms. This study investigated individual and reef-wide net (Pn and gross primary production (Pg for the dominant autotrophic benthic organisms (hard corals Pocillopora spp., crustose coralline algae (CCA, turf algae, and the macroalga Caulerpa sertularioides associated with a coral reef along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Oxygen fluxes by these organisms were measured at a weekly to monthly resolution over one year (May 2013 - April 2014 via in-situ chamber incubations. The influence of simultaneously measured environmental parameters (temperature, light, inorganic nutrient concentrations, dissolved and particulate organic matter concentrations on Pn of the different taxa were tested via linear model fitting. Turf algae showed highest individual Pn and Pg rates per organism surface area (35 and 49 mmol O2 m-² h-1, followed by Pocillopora spp. (16 and 25 mmol O2 m-² h-1, CCA (9 and 15 mmol O2 m-² h-1 and C. sertularioides (8 and 11 mmol O2 m-² h-1. Under upwelling conditions (February – April 2014, Pn rates of all algal taxa remained relatively uniform despite high nutrient availability, Pn of corals increased by 70 %. On an ecosystem level, corals on average contributed 60 % of total Pn and Pg per reef area (73 and 98 mmol O2 m-² h-1, respectively due to high benthic coverage, followed by turf algae (25 %. Under upwelling conditions, reef-wide Pg increased by >40 %, indicating acclimatization of local reef communities to upwelling conditions.

  18. Coral contact dermatitis

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Coral contact dermatitis.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-16

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

  20. CARACTERIZACIÓN ESTRUCTURAL DE FORMACIONES CORALINAS EN LA ENSENADA DE UTRÍA, PARQUE NACIONAL NATURAL DE UTRÍA, PACÍFICO – COLOMBIA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VARGAS OCHOA, ANDRÉS FELIPE

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available En julio de 2006, se evaluó la estructura de la formación coralina de la Ensenada de Utría, siguiendo el método de intersección continua para organismos sésiles del Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo de Arrecifes Coralinos en Colombia (SIMAC. En Punta Diego, se estableció una estación en un nivel somero; en el Coral de la Aguada, se establecieron tres estaciones con dos niveles de profundidad: somero y medio. Se registraron cinco especies de coral, Pocillopora damicornis, Pocillopora capitata, Pavona varians, Pavona gigantea y Psammocora stellata. Pocillopora damicornis fue la especie con mayor cobertura. En Punta Diego, se estableció un estado de mediana cobertura de coral vivo (hasta de 15.10% y el Coral de la Aguada se encontró en un estado de buena cobertura de coral vivo (hasta de 56.44%. Sin embargo se registraron altos valores de cobertura de algas tapetes, 76.11% y 83.90% respectivamente para Punta Diego y Coral de la Aguada, una evidente reducción de la cobertura de coral vivo. Esto indica que puede haber factores como eutroficación, altas tasas de sedimentación y sobrepesca que están afectando la estructura y la función de los arrecifes coralinos. Sin embargo no se hallaron diferencias significativas entre los sitios de muestreo, los niveles de profundidad y los componentes del sustrato.

  1. Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: A sensitivity analysis

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard

    2013-03-07

    Coral reefs distant from human population were sampled in the Red Sea and one-third showed degradation by predator outbreaks (crown-of-thorns-starfish=COTS observed in all regions in all years) or bleaching (1998, 2010). Models were built to assess future trajectories. They assumed variable coral types (slow/fast growing), disturbance frequencies (5,10,20years), mortality (equal or not), and connectivity (un/connected to un/disturbed community). Known disturbances were used to parameterize models. Present and future disturbances were estimated from remote-sensing chlorophyll and temperature data. Simulations and sensitivity analysis suggest community resilience at >20-year disturbance frequency, but degradation at higher frequency. Trajectories move from fast-grower to slow-grower dominance at intermediate disturbance frequency, then again to fast-grower dominance. A similar succession was observed in the field: Acropora to Porites to Stylophora/Pocillopora dominance on shallow reefs, and a transition from large poritids to small faviids on deep reefs. Synthesis and application: Even distant reefs are impacted by global changes. COTS impacts and bleaching were key driver of coral degradation, coral population decline could be reduced if these outbreaks and bleaching susceptibility were managed by maintaining water quality and by other interventions. Just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option. 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.

  2. Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: a sensitivity analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, Bernhard; Berumen, Michael; Bruckner, Andrew

    2013-04-01

    Coral reefs distant from human population were sampled in the Red Sea and one-third showed degradation by predator outbreaks (crown-of-thorns-starfish = COTS observed in all regions in all years) or bleaching (1998, 2010). Models were built to assess future trajectories. They assumed variable coral types (slow/fast growing), disturbance frequencies (5,10,20 years), mortality (equal or not), and connectivity (un/connected to un/disturbed community). Known disturbances were used to parameterize models. Present and future disturbances were estimated from remote-sensing chlorophyll and temperature data. Simulations and sensitivity analysis suggest community resilience at >20-year disturbance frequency, but degradation at higher frequency. Trajectories move from fast-grower to slow-grower dominance at intermediate disturbance frequency, then again to fast-grower dominance. A similar succession was observed in the field: Acropora to Porites to Stylophora/Pocillopora dominance on shallow reefs, and a transition from large poritids to small faviids on deep reefs. Synthesis and application: Even distant reefs are impacted by global changes. COTS impacts and bleaching were key driver of coral degradation, coral population decline could be reduced if these outbreaks and bleaching susceptibility were managed by maintaining water quality and by other interventions. Just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option.

  3. Response of the coral reef benthos and herbivory to fishery closure management and the 1998 ENSO disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, T R

    2008-02-01

    The hypothesis that herbivory is higher in areas without fishing and will increase the rate at which hard coral communities return to pre-disturbance conditions was tested in and out of the marine protected areas (MPA) of Kenya after the 1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Herbivory was estimated by assay and biomass methods, and both methods indicated higher herbivory in fishery closures. Despite higher herbivory, the effect of the ENSO disturbance was larger within these closures, with reefs undergoing a temporary transition from dominance by hard and soft coral to a temporary dominance of turf and erect algae that ended in the dominance of calcifying algae, massive Porites, Pocillopora and a few faviids six years after the disturbance. The fished reefs changed the least but had a greater cover of turf and erect algae and sponge shortly after the disturbance. Higher herbivory in the fishery closures reduced the abundance and persistence of herbivore-susceptible erect algae and created space and appropriate substratum for recruiting corals. Nonetheless, other post-settlement processes may have had strong influences such that annual rates of coral recovery were low ( approximately 2%) and not different between the management regimes. Recovery, as defined as and measured by the return to pre-disturbance coral cover and the dominant taxa, was slower in fishery closures than unmanaged reefs.

  4. Nutritional Basis of Butterflyfish Corallivory in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Masterman, Jessica

    2012-12-01

    The overall goal of this study was to elucidate the relationship between coral nutrition and the observed prey preferences exhibited by corallivorous butterflyfishes. Fifteen species of coral (thirteen hard, two soft) and stomach/hindgut contents from six species of butterflyfish were analyzed in this study, all collected from the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. All samples were analyzed for lipid, total-nitrogen (proxy for protein), and ash (proxy for minerals and when combined with lipid data, allows for calculation of carbohydrate). Unfortunately, substantial errors were encountered in the experimental lipid data, precluding the use of this data set. Using the value of (protein/ash) as a proxy for potential nutritional quality, it was determined that Pocillopora cf. verrucosa and P. damicornis have the highest nutritional quality, while Acropora hyacinthus and Stylophora pistillata have intermediate nutritional quality, and all remaining 11 species have low nutritional quality. This suggests that the high nutritional quality of Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora hyacinthus may be the cause of the well documented predator preferences for these two species. Fish gut content samples were, on average, twice as rich in protein and half as rich in minerals as the coral tissue samples, suggesting either selective consumption of especially rich parts of the coral colony, or consumption of other food sources (facultative corallivores). In all six butterflyfish species, stomach content samples were consistently richer in protein and poorer in mineral content than the hindgut content samples; this suggests significant and measureable uptake of protein in the butterflyfish digestion process.

  5. Seaweed allelopathy to corals: are active compounds on, or in, seaweeds?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longo, G. O.; Hay, M. E.

    2017-03-01

    Numerous seaweeds produce secondary metabolites that are allelopathic to corals. To date, most of the compounds identified in this interaction are lipid-soluble instead of water-soluble. Thus, understanding whether these compounds are stored internally where they would not contact corals, or occur on external surfaces where they could be transferred to corals, is critical to understanding seaweed-coral interactions and to informing realistic experiments on chemically mediated interactions. We conducted field experiments assessing the effects of lipid-soluble extracts from macroalgal surfaces alone versus total lipid-soluble extracts from both internal and external tissues on the coral Pocillopora verrucosa. Extracts of the red algae Amansia rhodantha and Asparagopsis taxiformis, the green alga Chlorodesmis fastigiata, and the brown alga Dictyota bartayresiana suppressed coral photochemical efficiency; in these bioactive species, the total lipid-soluble extracts were not more potent than surface-only extracts despite the concentration of total extracts being many times greater than surface-only extracts. This suggests that previous assays with total extracts may be ecologically meaningful, but also that future assays should be conducted with the simpler, less concentrated, and more ecologically relevant surface extracts. Allelopathic effects of As. taxiformis and C. fastigiata were significantly greater than the effect of D. bartayresiana, with effects of Am. rhodantha intermediate between these groups. Neither surface-only nor total lipid-soluble extracts of the seaweed Turbinaria ornata were allelopathic, and its lack of potency differed significantly from all other species. Our results suggest that lipid-soluble, allelopathic compounds are usually deployed on seaweed surfaces where they can be effective in surface-mediated interactions against other species.

  6. 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...

  7. Chemical and mechanical bioerosion of boring sponges from Mexican Pacific coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nava, Héctor; Carballo, José Luis

    2008-09-01

    Species richness (S) and frequency of invasion (IF) by boring sponges on living colonies of Pocillopora spp. from National Park Isla Isabel (México, East Pacific Ocean) are presented. Twelve species belonging to the genera Aka, Cliona, Pione, Thoosa and Spheciospongia were found, and 56% of coral colonies were invaded by boring sponges, with Cliona vermifera Hancock 1867 being the most abundant species (30%). Carbonate dissolution rate and sediment production were quantified for C. vermifera and Cliona flavifodina Rützler 1974. Both species exhibited similar rates of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution (1.2+/-0.4 and 0.5+/-0.2 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1), respectively, mean +/- s.e.m.), and sediment production (3.3+/-0.6 and 4.6+/-0.5 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1)), resulting in mean bioerosion rates of 4.5+/-0.9 and 5.1+/-0.5 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1), respectively. These bioerosion rates are close to previous records of coral calcification per unit of area, suggesting that sponge bioerosion alone can promote disequilibrium in the reef accretion/destruction ratio in localities that are heavily invaded by boring sponges. The proportion of dissolved material by C. vermifera and C. flavifodina (27 and 10.2%, respectively) confirms that chemical bioerosion plays an important role in sponge bioerosion and in the CaCO3 cycle in coral reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  9. Estructura comunitaria de corales zooxantelados (Anthozoa: Scleractinia en el arrecife coralino de Carrizales, Pacífico Mexicano

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Héctor Reyes-Bonilla

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available El conocimiento ecológico de corales arrecifales en el Pacífico mexicano es escaso, por lo que el objetivo de este trabajo fue determinar la estructura de la comunidad de corales hermatípicos en el arrecife de Carrizales, Colima, mediante el uso de transectos y buceo autónomo (junio y octubre 2005, septiembre 2006. De las 13 especies de corales encontradas, Pocillopora verrucosa fue la más abundante y siete representan nuevos registros, sobresaliendo Psammocora contigua, primer registro para el Pacífico Oriental. No hubo diferencias significativas de abundancia entre profundidades, pero la zona somera presenta una mayor cobertura. Este sitio presenta una de las riquezas y cobertura de coral más alta (61% en el Pacífico Mexicano y valores de diversidad (H´=0.44±0.02, uniformidad (J´=0.76±0.02, y de diferenciación taxonómica (Δ*=45.87±3.16 relativamente altos. Actualmente la región no presenta grandes perturbaciones pero el creciente desarrollo económico de Manzanillo, uno de los principales puertos comerciales del país, además del creciente número de turistas, podrían afectar al arrecife, por lo que se sugiere implementar medidas de protección con el fin de mantener al arrecife más importante del litoral de Colima.

  10. Phage therapy for Florida corals?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2007-01-01

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

  11. Effects of the 1991-92 El Niño on scleractinian corals of the Costa Rican central Pacific coast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiménez, C; Cortés, J

    2001-12-01

    Coral communities on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica were affected during the 1991-92 El Niño warming event. More than 57% of all observed colonies at three localities (Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Punta Cambutal, and Parque Marino Ballena) were bleached. Mortality during this El Niño was much lower (approximately 9%) than in previous events. Psammocora spp. accounted for approximately 66% of dead corals, while massive (Porites lobota, Pavona spp.) and branching (Pocillopora spp.) for approximately 34%. Our results suggest that the observed bleaching in P. lobata was related to zooxanthellar densities and not to changes in pigment concentrations: only chlorophyll a varied between normally pigmented and bleached colonies at one locality (Ballena). Site differences in zooxanthellar densities or their pigment concentrations, may not be the result of the bleaching event itself, because a percentage of dead corals and zooxanthellar densities of bleached colonies seems to follow a trend with the exposure to tidal regimes and currents at each site. Local oceanographic conditions can be influencing the zooxanthellar densities and their response to the warming, together with intrinsic differences between colonies as well. The impact of this event can be considered serious given the short period of time that elapsed between El Niño related mortalities and the slow reefs recovery, the mode of reproduction of reef building species, and the anthropogenic-originated disturbances which affect the coral communities and reefs of the Costa Rican central Pacific coast.

  12. Benthic communities at two remote Pacific coral reefs: effects of reef habitat, depth, and wave energy gradients on spatial patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gareth J. Williams

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific are among the most remote coral reefs on the planet. Here we describe spatial patterns in their benthic communities across reef habitats and depths, and consider these in the context of oceanographic gradients. Benthic communities at both locations were dominated by calcifying organisms (54–86% cover, namely hard corals (20–74% and crustose coralline algae (CCA (10–36%. While turf algae were relatively common at both locations (8–22%, larger fleshy macroalgae were virtually absent at Kingman (<1% and rare at Palmyra (0.7–9.3%. Hard coral cover was higher, but with low diversity, in more sheltered habitats such as Palmyra’s backreef and Kingman’s patch reefs. Almost exclusive dominance by slow-growing Porites on Kingman’s patch reefs provides indirect evidence of competitive exclusion, probably late in a successional sequence. In contrast, the more exposed forereef habitats at both Kingman and Palmyra had higher coral diversity and were characterized by fast-growing corals (e.g., Acropora and Pocillopora, indicative of more dynamic environments. In general at both locations, soft coral cover increased with depth, likely reflecting increasingly efficient heterotrophic abilities. CCA and fleshy macroalgae cover decreased with depth, likely due to reduced light. Cover of other calcified macroalgae, predominantly Halimeda, increased with depth. This likely reflects the ability of many calcifying macroalgae to efficiently harvest light at deeper depths, in combination with an increased nutrient supply from upwelling promoting growth. At Palmyra, patterns of hard coral cover with depth were inconsistent, but cover peaked at mid-depths at Kingman. On Kingman’s forereef, benthic community composition was strongly related to wave energy, with hard coral cover decreasing and becoming more spatially clustered with increased wave energy, likely as a result of physical damage leading to

  13. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  14. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  15. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian, R.

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ross, Arnold; Newman, William A.

    1995-01-01

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

  17. Rose Atoll Coral Monitoring Narrative

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  18. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  20. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

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

  1. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

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

  2. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    communication). Fossil reefs, drowned as a result of the Holocene sea level rise, occur at 92, 85, 75 and 55 m depth along .. ~ !! ":2 0. ~ Figure 3.1 Graphical Representation of the SO-Box Model of a Caribbean Coral Reef Key: 1. Benthic producers. 2. Detritus... explain the low species diversity and the absence of branching corals in the intertidal regions. H.aised fossil reefs, proba bly as a result of local upheavals, arc found in Minicoy island (Gardiner 1903), in Ramanalhapuram district in Tamil Nadu...

  3. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-03-01

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

  4. Boron Isotopic Fractionation and Trace Element Incorporation in Various Species of Modern Corals in Sanya Bay, South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Haizhen Wei; Shaoyong Jiang; Yingkai Xiao; N Gary Hemming

    2014-01-01

    The boron isotope paleo-pH proxy has been extensively studied due to its potential for understanding past climate change, and further calibrations were considered for accurate applications of the proxy because of significant variability related to biocarbonate microstructure. In this work, we studied the boron isotopic fractionation between modern marine corals and their coexisting seawater collected along shallow area in Sanya Bay, South China Sea. The apparent partition coefficient of boron (KD) ranged from 0.83×10-3 to 1.69×10-3, which are in good agreement with previous studies. As the an-alyzed coral skeleton (~5 g) spanned the growth time period of 1-2 years, we discussed the boron iso-topic fractionation between pristine corals and modern seawater using the annual mean seawater pH of 8.12 in this sea area. Without taking the vital effect into account, (11B/10B)coral values of all living corals spread over the curves of (11B/10B)borate vs. (11B/10B)sw with theα4-3 values ranging from 0.974 to 0.982. After calibrating the biological effect on the calcifying fluid pH, the field-based calcification on calcify-ing fluid pH (i.e.,Δ(pHbiol-pHsw)) for coral species of Acropora, Pavona, Pocillopora, Faviidae, and others including Proites are 0.42, 0.33, 0.36, 0.19, respectively, and it is necessary to be validated by coral cul-turing experiment in the future. Correlations in B/Ca vs. Sr/Ca and B/Ca vs. pHbiol approve tempera-ture and calcifying fluid pH influence on skeletal B/Ca. Fundamental understanding of the thermody-namic basis of the boron isotopes in marine carbonates and seawater will strengthen the confidence in the use of paleo-pH proxy as a powerful tool to monitor atmospheric CO2 variations in the past.

  5. Corals from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  7. Coral reefs at risk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

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

  8. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  9. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, Helen T.

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

  10. Raiding the Coral Nurseries?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-08-01

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

  11. To understand coral disease, look at coral cells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Meteyer, Carol

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  14. Betaines and dimethylsulfoniopropionate as major osmolytes in cnidaria with endosymbiotic dinoflagellates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yancey, Paul H; Heppenstall, Marina; Ly, Steven; Andrell, Raymond M; Gates, Ruth D; Carter, Virginia L; Hagedorn, Mary

    2010-01-01

    Most marine invertebrates and algae are osmoconformers whose cells accumulate organic osmolytes that provide half or more of cellular osmotic pressure. These solutes are primarily free amino acids and glycine betaine in most invertebrates and small carbohydrates and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in many algae. Corals with endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) have been reported to obtain from the symbionts potential organic osmolytes such as glycerol, amino acids, and DMSP. However, corals and their endosymbionts have not been fully analyzed for osmolytes. We quantified small carbohydrates, free amino acids, methylamines, and DMSP in tissues of the corals Fungia scutaria, Pocillopora damicornis, Pocillopora meandrina, Montipora capitata, Porites compressa, and Porites lobata (all with symbionts) plus Tubastrea aurea (asymbiotic) from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu (Hawaii). Glycine betaine, at 33-69 mmol/kg wet mass, was found to constitute 90% or more of the measured organic solutes in all except the Porites species. Those were dominated by proline betaine and dimethyltaurine. DMSP was found at 0.5-3 mmol/kg in all species with endosymbionts. Freshly isolated Symbiodinium from Fungia, P. damicornis, and P. compressa were also analyzed. DMSP and glycine betaine dominated in the first two; Porites endosymbionts had DMSP, proline betaine, and dimethyltaurine. In all specimens, glycerol and glucose were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography only at 0-1 mmol/kg wet mass. An enzymatic assay for glycerol plus glycerol 3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone phosphate yielded 1-10 mmol/kg. Cassiopeia andromeda (upside-down jelly; Scyphozoan) and Aiptasia puchella (solitary anemone; Anthozoan) were also analyzed; both have endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. In both, glycine betaine, taurine, and DMSP were the dominant osmolytes. In summary, methylated osmolytes dominate in many Cnidaria; in those with algal symbionts, host and symbiont have similar methylated amino

  15. 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

  16. 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...

  17. Dynamics in benthic community composition and influencing factors in an upwelling-exposed coral reef on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ines Stuhldreier

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Seasonal upwelling at the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers the opportunity to investigate the effects of pronounced changes in key water parameters on fine-scale dynamics of local coral reef communities. This study monitored benthic community composition at Matapalo reef (10.539°N, 85.766°W by weekly observations of permanent benthic quadrats from April 2013 to April 2014. Monitoring was accompanied by surveys of herbivore abundance and biomass and measurements of water temperature and inorganic nutrient concentrations. Findings revealed that the reef-building corals Pocillopora spp. exhibited an exceptional rapid increase from 22 to 51% relative benthic cover. By contrast, turf algae cover decreased from 63 to 24%, resulting in a corresponding increase in crustose coralline algae cover. The macroalga Caulerpa sertularioides covered up to 15% of the reef in April 2013, disappeared after synchronized gamete release in May, and subsequently exhibited slow regrowth. Parallel monitoring of influencing factors suggest that C. sertularioides cover was mainly regulated by their reproductive cycle, while that of turf algae was likely controlled by high abundances of herbivores. Upwelling events in February and March 2014 decreased mean daily seawater temperatures by up to 7 °C and increased nutrient concentrations up to 5- (phosphate and 16-fold (nitrate compared to mean values during the rest of the year. Changes in benthic community composition did not appear to correspond to the strong environmental changes, but rather shifted from turf algae to hard coral dominance over the entire year of observation. The exceptional high dynamic over the annual observation period encourages further research on the adaptation potential of coral reefs to environmental variability.

  18. Dynamics in benthic community composition and influencing factors in an upwelling-exposed coral reef on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuhldreier, Ines; Sánchez-Noguera, Celeste; Roth, Florian; Jiménez, Carlos; Rixen, Tim; Cortés, Jorge; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Seasonal upwelling at the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers the opportunity to investigate the effects of pronounced changes in key water parameters on fine-scale dynamics of local coral reef communities. This study monitored benthic community composition at Matapalo reef (10.539°N, 85.766°W) by weekly observations of permanent benthic quadrats from April 2013 to April 2014. Monitoring was accompanied by surveys of herbivore abundance and biomass and measurements of water temperature and inorganic nutrient concentrations. Findings revealed that the reef-building corals Pocillopora spp. exhibited an exceptional rapid increase from 22 to 51% relative benthic cover. By contrast, turf algae cover decreased from 63 to 24%, resulting in a corresponding increase in crustose coralline algae cover. The macroalga Caulerpa sertularioides covered up to 15% of the reef in April 2013, disappeared after synchronized gamete release in May, and subsequently exhibited slow regrowth. Parallel monitoring of influencing factors suggest that C. sertularioides cover was mainly regulated by their reproductive cycle, while that of turf algae was likely controlled by high abundances of herbivores. Upwelling events in February and March 2014 decreased mean daily seawater temperatures by up to 7 °C and increased nutrient concentrations up to 5- (phosphate) and 16-fold (nitrate) compared to mean values during the rest of the year. Changes in benthic community composition did not appear to correspond to the strong environmental changes, but rather shifted from turf algae to hard coral dominance over the entire year of observation. The exceptional high dynamic over the annual observation period encourages further research on the adaptation potential of coral reefs to environmental variability.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. An Indo-West Pacific `zooxanthella' invasive to the western Atlantic finds its way to the Eastern Pacific via an introduced Caribbean coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaJeunesse, Todd C.; Forsman, Zac H.; Wham, Drew C.

    2016-06-01

    Phylogenetic evidence indicates that Siderastrea glynni, a species of coral thought to be endemic to the Eastern Pacific, is actually more likely to be Si. siderea introduced from the Atlantic. Our analyses of the endosymbionts of Si. glynni ( Symbiodinium) substantiate this as an introduced species; attempts to conserve and list Si. glynni as an endangered species are probably unwarranted. The specimens we examined harbored Symbiodinium trenchii and some also contained Sy. goreaui, symbionts that occur with Si. siderea in the Atlantic. Moreover, the genotype of Sy. trenchii (a single strain defined by ten diallelic microsatellite loci) was genetically distinct from genotypes of Sy. ` glynni,' also in Clade D, found abundantly in colonies of Pocillopora throughout the region. Furthermore, the strain of Sy. trenchii grouped with genotypes from the Greater Caribbean, an inbred population that was recently introduced from the Indo-West Pacific. This secondary introduction suggests that strains of Caribbean Sy. trenchii are capable of dispersal into new reef coral communities where this symbiont does not presently exist.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, Melissa S; Deheyn, Dimitri D

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-06

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

  9. Precious Coral Logbook Data Set

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  10. Coral bleaching: the role of the host.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

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

  13. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vollmer, Steven V; Kline, David I

    2008-01-01

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

  14. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven V Vollmer

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

  15. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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 ...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  20. 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...

  1. Coral Reef Ecosystems Monitoring Feature Service

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  2. AFSC/ABL: Coldwater coral growth

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) as designated by 73 FR 72210, November 26, 2008,...

  4. Fisheries management: what chance on coral reefs?

    OpenAIRE

    1996-01-01

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

  5. LEGACY - EOP Temperature data for deep corals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  6. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  7. 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...

  8. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Gilmour

    2016-05-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. How do corals make rocks?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  11. Confronting the coral reef crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-06-01

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

  12. Seawater transport during coral biomineralization

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-14

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  15. Coral benchmarks in the center of biodiversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-30

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

  16. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  17. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nur Fadli

    2013-05-01

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

  19. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

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

  20. 76 FR 30110 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

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

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-11-01

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

  3. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. 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...

  7. Pacific-wide contrast highlights resistance of reef calcifiers to ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Comeau, S; Carpenter, R C; Nojiri, Y; Putnam, H M; Sakai, K; Edmunds, P J

    2014-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) and its associated decline in calcium carbonate saturation states is one of the major threats that tropical coral reefs face this century. Previous studies of the effect of OA on coral reef calcifiers have described a wide variety of outcomes for studies using comparable partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) ranges, suggesting that key questions remain unresolved. One unresolved hypothesis posits that heterogeneity in the response of reef calcifiers to high pCO2 is a result of regional-scale variation in the responses to OA. To test this hypothesis, we incubated two coral taxa (Pocillopora damicornis and massive Porites) and two calcified algae (Porolithon onkodes and Halimeda macroloba) under 400, 700 and 1000 μatm pCO2 levels in experiments in Moorea (French Polynesia), Hawaii (USA) and Okinawa (Japan), where environmental conditions differ. Both corals and H. macroloba were insensitive to OA at all three locations, while the effects of OA on P. onkodes were location-specific. In Moorea and Hawaii, calcification of P. onkodes was depressed by high pCO2, but for specimens in Okinawa, there was no effect of OA. Using a study of large geographical scale, we show that resistance to OA of some reef species is a constitutive character expressed across the Pacific.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-04

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

  9. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  10. 南海中沙群岛两海域造礁石珊瑚物种多样性与分布特点%Species diversity and scleractinian corals distribution at two shoals of Zhongsha Islands,South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    佟飞; 陈丕茂; 秦传新; 黎小国

    2015-01-01

    Species diversity and distribution status of the scleractinian corals were surveyed by belt transect method at Zhongsha Islands in the South China Sea in June 2014.Based on the image data and field sample analysis,30 species of scleractinian corals are recorded.Among them 7 species are from the shoal Zhongbei Ansha where domi-nant species is Montipora hispida and 30 species are from the shoal Manbu Ansha where dominant species is Pocil-lopora eydouxi.Statistical analysis shows that scleractinian coral coverage rate at Manbu Ansha is (66.35 ± 17.21)%,among which health scleractinian coral,half moderately bleached scleractinian coral and the bleached scleractinian coral are account for (53.80 ±17.96)%,(2.85 ±4.65)% and (9.70 ±13.15)%,respectively. However,the coverage rate in Zhongbei Ansha is around (7.34 ±6.05)%,where there was none of bleached scleractinian.The analysis shows that the deference of species composition may have affected by factors such as wa-ter depths and currents.The scleractinian coral coverage rates of 2 shoals are remarkably different and the species diversity is quite low.It is necessary to strengthen the monitoring on the coral reef and its ecosystems which should be better protected from the gradually recession of coral resources.%2014年6月,采用截线样带法进行了南海中沙群岛两海区造礁石珊瑚种质资源分布调查.通过现场调查、对调查影像调查资料和采获样品分析,本次调查共获记录石珊瑚30种,其中中北暗沙7种,主要优势种为鬃棘表孔珊瑚(Montipora hispida),漫步暗沙30种,主要优势种为巨枝鹿角珊瑚(Pocillopora eydouxi);统计分析表明,漫步暗沙海域石珊瑚覆盖率为(66.35±17.21)%,其中健康石珊瑚、半白化石珊瑚、白化石珊瑚覆盖率分别为(53.80±17.96)%、(2.85±4.65)%、(9.70±13.15)%;中北暗沙域石珊瑚覆盖率为(7.34±6.05)%,调查海域未发现白化石

  11. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. Algae as reservoirs for coral pathogens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Sweet

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

  16. An alternative to ITS, a hypervariable, single-copy nuclear intron in corals, and its use in detecting cryptic species within the octocoral genus Carijoa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Concepcion, G. T.; Crepeau, M. W.; Wagner, D.; Kahng, S. E.; Toonen, R. J.

    2008-06-01

    Here we report a highly variable nuclear marker that can be used for both soft and stony corals. Primers that amplify a ˜177 bp fragment from the nuclear gene encoding the 54 kDa subunit of the signal recognition particle (SRP54) were developed for the octocoral genus Carijoa. Cloning results from 141 individuals suggest that this hypervariable nuclear locus is a single-copy gene. Sequencing revealed a potential cryptic species previously thought to be Carijoa riisei. Results from an Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) explained 33% of the variation ( F st = 0.54). Using previously reported degenerate primers for SRP54, high levels of sequence variation were found at this locus across both scleractinian and octocorals. For example, pairwise sequence divergence within octocorals was ˜8 13 times greater with SRP54 than with mtDNA, and, up to 2.8% pairwise sequence divergence was found in SRP54 among individuals of Pocillopora whereas no variation at all was found in mtDNA markers. This case study with the octocoral C. riisei shows that variation in SRP54 appears sufficient to address questions of phylogeography as well as systematics of closely related species.

  17. Impact of upwelling events on the sea water carbonate chemistry and dissolved oxygen concentration in the Gulf of Papagayo (Culebra Bay, Costa Rica: Implications for coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim Rixen

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available The Gulf of Papagayo, Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is one of the three seasonal upwelling areas of Mesoamerica. In April 2009, a 29-hour experiment was carried out at the pier of the Marina Papagayo, Culebra Bay. We determined sea surface temperature (SST, dissolved oxygen concentration, salinity, pH, and the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2. The aragonite saturation state (Ωa as well as the other parameters of the marine carbonate system such as the total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and the total alkalinity (TA were calculated based on the measured pH and the pCO2. The entrainment of subsurface waters raised the pCO2 up to 645 µatm. SSTs, dissolved oxygen concentrations decreased form 26.4 to 23.7°C and from 228 to 144 µmol l-1. Ωa dropped down to values of 2.1. Although these changes are assumed to reduce the coral growth, the main reef building coral species within the region (Pocillopora spp. and Pavona clavus reveal growth rates exceeding those measured at other sites in the eastern tropical Pacific. This implies that the negative impact of upwelling on coral growth might be overcompensated by an enhanced energy supply caused by the high density of food and nutrients and more favorable condition for coral growth during the non-upwelling season.El Golfo de Papagayo, costa Pacífica de Costa Rica, es una de las tres regiones de afloramiento estacional de Mesoamérica. Las características físicas y químicas del agua que aflora no habían sido estudiadas. Durante 29 horas en Abril 2009, se estudiaron la temperatura superficial del mar (TSM, la concentración de oxígeno disuelto, salinidad, pH y la presión parcial de CO2 (pCO2, en la Marina Papagayo, Bahía Culebra. Con base en las mediciones de pH y pCO2 se calculó el estado de saturación de la aragonita (Ω y otros parámetros del sistema de carbonatos como lo es el carbono orgánico disuelto (COD y la alcalinidad total (AT. Los resultados indican que el arrastre por convecci

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. The role of microorganisms in coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-02-01

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

  1. New tool to manage coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

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

  2. The immune responses of the coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C Toledo-Hernández

    2014-11-01

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

  3. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-11-02

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

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Sarah A; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah A Gignoux-Wolfsohn

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

  7. 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.

  8. Coral barium incorporation: implications for proxy applications

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  9. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

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

  10. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Corals as bioindicators of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, Eugene A.

    2008-01-01

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

  13. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  14. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

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

  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 well-kno

  16. 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

  17. Characterizing Magnetic Properties in Belize Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  18. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark J A Vermeij

    Full Text Available Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm that influence settlement success are difficult to observe in situ and are therefore largely unknown. Here, we show that coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  4. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen Dawn Weynberg

    2014-05-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-26

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A.J. Graham

    2011-08-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-05-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Olábarri-Gortázar, I. (Ignacio)

    2003-01-01

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

  14. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  15. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  16. 101 questions on corals: Towards awareness

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  17. Coral Reef Watch, Nighttime Temperature, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  18. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  19. Marine biology: The coral disease triangle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F.

    2015-04-01

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

  20. Precious Coral Sales Report Data Set

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  1. 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.

  2. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    1994-01-01

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

  3. Coral Reef Watch, Temperature Anomaly, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  4. Field manual for investigating coral disease outbreaks

    OpenAIRE

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

    2008-01-01

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

  5. Degradation and recovery of Caribbean coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Paredes, Gustavo Adolfo

    2009-01-01

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

  6. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Angela Dikou

    2010-01-01

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

  7. Cyanobacteria in coral reef ecosystems : a review

    OpenAIRE

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

    2012-01-01

    Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr). Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrog...

  8. Coral calcification in a changing ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2010-01-01

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

  9. Ocean acidification and calcifying reef organisms: A mesocosm investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, P.L.; Rodgers, K.S.; Kuffner, I.B.; Andersson, A.J.; Cox, E.F.; MacKenzie, F.T.

    2008-01-01

    A long-term (10 months) controlled experiment was conducted to test the impact of increased partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) on common calcifying coral reef organisms. The experiment was conducted in replicate continuous flow coral reef mesocosms flushed with unfiltered sea water from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Mesocosms were located in full sunlight and experienced diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in temperature and sea water chemistry characteristic of the adjacent reef flat. Treatment mesocosms were manipulated to simulate an increase in pCO2 to levels expected in this century [midday pCO2 levels exceeding control mesocosms by 365 ?? 130 ??atm (mean ?? sd)]. Acidification had a profound impact on the development and growth of crustose coralline algae (CCA) populations. During the experiment, CCA developed 25% cover in the control mesocosms and only 4% in the acidified mesocosms, representing an 86% relative reduction. Free-living associations of CCA known as rhodoliths living in the control mesocosms grew at a rate of 0.6 g buoyant weight year-1 while those in the acidified experimental treatment decreased in weight at a rate of 0.9 g buoyant weight year-1, representing a 250% difference. CCA play an important role in the growth and stabilization of carbonate reefs, so future changes of this magnitude could greatly impact coral reefs throughout the world. Coral calcification decreased between 15% and 20% under acidified conditions. Linear extension decreased by 14% under acidified conditions in one experiment. Larvae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis were able to recruit under the acidified conditions. In addition, there was no significant difference in production of gametes by the coral Montipora capitata after 6 months of exposure to the treatments. ?? 2008 Springer-Verlag.

  10. Ocean acidification and calcifying reef organisms: a mesocosm investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, P. L.; Rodgers, K. S.; Kuffner, I. B.; Andersson, A. J.; Cox, E. F.; MacKenzie, F. T.

    2008-09-01

    A long-term (10 months) controlled experiment was conducted to test the impact of increased partial pressure of carbon dioxide ( pCO2) on common calcifying coral reef organisms. The experiment was conducted in replicate continuous flow coral reef mesocosms flushed with unfiltered sea water from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Mesocosms were located in full sunlight and experienced diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in temperature and sea water chemistry characteristic of the adjacent reef flat. Treatment mesocosms were manipulated to simulate an increase in pCO2 to levels expected in this century [midday pCO2 levels exceeding control mesocosms by 365 ± 130 μatm (mean ± sd)]. Acidification had a profound impact on the development and growth of crustose coralline algae (CCA) populations. During the experiment, CCA developed 25% cover in the control mesocosms and only 4% in the acidified mesocosms, representing an 86% relative reduction. Free-living associations of CCA known as rhodoliths living in the control mesocosms grew at a rate of 0.6 g buoyant weight year-1 while those in the acidified experimental treatment decreased in weight at a rate of 0.9 g buoyant weight year-1, representing a 250% difference. CCA play an important role in the growth and stabilization of carbonate reefs, so future changes of this magnitude could greatly impact coral reefs throughout the world. Coral calcification decreased between 15% and 20% under acidified conditions. Linear extension decreased by 14% under acidified conditions in one experiment. Larvae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis were able to recruit under the acidified conditions. In addition, there was no significant difference in production of gametes by the coral Montipora capitata after 6 months of exposure to the treatments.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 ...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Santodomingo Aguilar, Nadia

    2014-01-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  2. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  7. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

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

  9. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chesher, R H

    1969-07-18

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

  12. Palmyra Atoll coral reef habitat mapping completion report

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katie Barott

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-11-26

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

  15. Breakage and propagation of the stony coral Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Tunnicliffe, Verena

    1981-01-01

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

  16. Benefit of pulsation in soft corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-28

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

  17. 77 FR 32572 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-01

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

  18. 76 FR 41764 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-15

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  20. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  4. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  5. 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.

  6. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-03-01

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

  7. Terpenoids of Sinularia soft corals: chemistry and bioactivity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wen-ting Chen

    2012-06-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, Steve L; Riegl, Bernhard M

    2013-07-30

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

  10. 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.

  11. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela Dikou

    2010-05-01

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

  12. Immunity through early development of coral larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  13. Elevated Temperature and Allelopathy Impact Coral Recruitment.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tonya L Shearer

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Gene Expression of Corals in Response to Macroalgal Competitors

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    As corals decline and macroalgae proliferate on coral reefs, coral-macroalgal competition becomes more frequent and ecologically important. Whether corals are damaged by these interactions depends on susceptibility of the coral and traits of macroalgal competitors. Investigating changes in gene expression of corals and their intracellular symbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, in response to contact with different macroalgae provides insight into the biological processes and cellular pathways affected by competition with macroalgae. We evaluated the gene expression profiles of coral and Symbiodinium genes from two confamilial corals, Acropora millepora and Montipora digitata, after 6 h and 48 h of contact with four common macroalgae that differ in their allelopathic potency to corals. Contacts with macroalgae affected different biological pathways in the more susceptible (A. millepora) versus the more resistant (M. digitata) coral. Genes of coral hosts and of their associated Symbiodinium also responded in species-specific and time-specific ways to each macroalga. Changes in number and expression intensity of affected genes were greater after 6 h compared to 48 h of contact and were greater following contact with Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Amphiroa crassa than following contact with Galaxaura filamentosa or Turbinaria conoides. We documented a divergence in transcriptional responses between two confamilial corals and their associated Symbiodinium, as well as a diversity of dynamic responses within each coral species with respect to the species of macroalgal competitor and the duration of exposure to that competitor. These responses included early initiation of immune processes by Montipora, which is more resistant to damage after long-term macroalgal contact. Activation of the immune response by corals that better resist algal competition is consistent with the hypothesis that some macroalgal effects on corals may be mediated by microbial pathogens. PMID:25500576

  20. Australian Coral as a Biomaterial: Characteristics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Impact of Global Warming on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sirilak CHUMKIEW

    2011-06-01

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

  6. Microbial bioenergetics of coral-algal interactions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ty N.F. Roach

    2017-06-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-28

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

  11. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

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

  12. Corals concentrate dissolved inorganic carbon to facilitate calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  15. 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

  16. Calcification by juvenile corals under heterotrophy and elevated CO2

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G Bauman

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  1. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-05-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes (Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reef...

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Evenhuis

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Vega Thurber

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  19. Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Ohki

    2013-04-01

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

  20. Photography of Coral Reefs from ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

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

  1. Coral aquaculture to support drug discovery

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  2. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  3. Vannisalong Coral pakub kvaliteeti soodsa hinna eest

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

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

  4. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  5. Vannisalong Coral pakub kvaliteeti soodsa hinna eest

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

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

  6. Deep Water Coral (HB1402, EK60)

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  8. Ciliate communities consistently associated with coral diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweet, M. J.; Séré, M. G.

    2016-07-01

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

  9. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  10. Coral aquaculture to support drug discovery

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koren, Omry; Rosenberg, Eugene

    2008-04-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Wangpraseurt

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  14. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-08-01

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

  1. A comparison of proxy performance in coral biodiversity monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Zoe T.

    2013-03-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Samuel, Asumadu-Sarkodie

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Jahson Berhane Alemu I; Ysharda Clement

    2014-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. A global protocol for monitoring of coral bleaching

    OpenAIRE

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

    2004-01-01

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

  6. Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Coral Photosynthesis and Calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  7. Phage therapy treatment of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus

    OpenAIRE

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Carroll, Andrew G; Dalton, Steven J.

    2011-01-01

    Limited information is available on the bleaching susceptibility of coral species that dominate high latitude reefs along the eastern seaboard of Australia. The main aims of this study were to: (i) monitor coral health and spatial patterns of coral bleaching response at the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP) and Lord Howe Island Marine Park (LHIMP), to determine variability of bleaching susceptibility among coral taxa; (ii) predict coral bleaching thresholds at 30 °S and 31.5 °S, extrapolate...

  11. The distribution of intra-genomically variable dinoflagellate symbionts at Lord Howe Island, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Pontasch, Stefanie; Fisher, Paul L.; Davy, Simon K.

    2016-06-01

    The symbiotic dinoflagellates of corals and other marine invertebrates ( Symbiodinium) are essential to the development of shallow-water coral reefs. This genus contains considerable genetic diversity and a corresponding range of physiological and ecological traits. Most genetic variation arises through the accumulation of somatic mutations that arise during asexual reproduction. Yet growing evidence suggests that occasional sexual reproductive events also occur within, and perhaps between, Symbiodinium lineages, further contributing to the pool of genetic variation available for evolutionary adaptation. Intra-genomic variation can therefore arise from both sexual and asexual reproductive processes, making it difficult to discern its underlying causes and consequences. We used quantitative PCR targeting the ITS2 locus to estimate proportions of genetically homogeneous symbionts and intra-genomically variable Symbiodinium (IGV Symbiodinium) in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis at Lord Howe Island, Australia. We then sampled colonies through time and at a variety of spatial scales to find out whether the distribution of these symbionts followed patterns consistent with niche partitioning. Estimated ratios of homogeneous to IGV Symbiodinium varied between colonies within sites (metres to tens of metres) and between sites separated by hundreds to thousands of metres, but remained stable within colonies through time. Symbiont ratios followed a temperature gradient, with the local thermal maximum emerging as a negative predictor for the estimated proportional abundance of IGV Symbiodinium. While this pattern may result from fine-scale spatial population structure, it is consistent with an increased susceptibility to thermal stress, suggesting that the evolutionary processes that generate IGV (such as inter-lineage recombination and the accumulation of somatic mutations at the ITS2 locus) may have important implications for the fitness of the symbiont and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zac H. Forsman

    2015-10-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shuman, Craig S. (Reef Check, UCLA)

    2003-02-05

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richmond, Robert H.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  5. Flexibility in Algal Endosymbioses Shapes Growth in Reef Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-06-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James W.A. Murphy

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  9. 10th Anniversary Review: a changing climate for coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  11. Breakage and Propagation of the Stony Coral Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tunnicliffe, Verena

    1981-04-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah W Davies

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Kegler, Pia

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-11-01

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

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boström-Einarsson, Lisa; Rivera-Posada, Jairo

    2016-03-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-03-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2015-03-20

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Weynberg, Karen D.

    2015-12-08

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. State of the Coral Triangle: Malaysia

    OpenAIRE

    Asian Development Bank

    2014-01-01

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

  4. The COral-REef Front (COREF Project

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John A. and Katherine G. Jackson

    2007-09-01

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

  5. Threatened Reef Corals of the World

    OpenAIRE

    Danwei Huang

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Human impacts on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Hardt, Marah Justine

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  8. Climate change and coral reef connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

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

  9. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-05-07

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

  10. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.

    2017-08-18

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

  11. coral Software: QSAR for Anticancer Agents.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-06-01

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

  12. Bacterial assemblages differ between compartments within the coral holobiont

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Mumby

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Harborne, Alastair R

    2010-01-11

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

  15. STUDY OF PREVALENCE ON CORAL BLEACHING AND DISEASES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    EGHBERT ELVAN AMPOU

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring nilai prevalence karang yang mengalarni pemutihan clan penyakit sangat perlu dilakukan secara intensiv di Indonesia yang juga masuk dalam kawasan CTI, informasi tentang hal ini boleh dikatakan relatif belum banyak dilakukan orang. Metode yang dipakai selama survey adalah time swim dimana dibagi pada 2 kedalaman ( 5 dan 10 meter selama 30 menit, untuk analisis data digunakan rum us prevalence. Nilai Prevalence karang yang mengalarni pemutihan dan penyakit di Raja Ampat pada kedalaman 5m=30,67%; 10m=23,50% di bulan November 2009. Taman Nasional Bunaken kedalaman 5m=55,47%; 10m=83,73% di bulan Agustus 2009 clan di Pulau Runduma-Taman Nasional kedalaman 5m=23,55%; 10m=50,94% di bulan Oktober 2009.Jenis karang yang dominan mengalami pemutihan clan penyakit adalah genus Porites clan Acropora, sedangkan tidak dominan adalah genus Pocillopora dan Montipora.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. A. AL-Salihi

    2009-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahmoud, Huda M; Kalendar, Aisha A

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Morphogenesis of the branching reef coral Madracis mirabilis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  2. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  3. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  5. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2012-01-01

    Specimens of the brooding reef coral Favia fragum were found on man-made flotsam stranded on the North Sea shore of the Netherlands. Based on the associated epifauna originating from the southeast USA, we estimate