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Sample records for corals provide underexplored

  1. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leggat, William; Bongaerts, Pim

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandra Hernandez-Agreda

    2016-07-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. K. Yates

    2014-03-01

    , hydrographic conditions, and biological influences on seawater chemistry generate chemical conditions that buffer against ocean acidification. This previously undocumented refuge for corals provides evidence for adaptation of coastal organisms and ecosystem transition due to recent climate change. Identifying and protecting other natural, non-reef coral refuges is critical for sustaining corals and other reef species into the future.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

    conditions, and biological influences on seawater chemistry generate chemical conditions that buffer against ocean acidification. This previously undocumented refuge for corals provides evidence for adaptation of coastal organisms and ecosystem transition due to recent climate change. Identifying and protecting other natural, non-reef coral refuges is critical for sustaining corals and other reef species into the future.

  6. Seychelles Lagoon Provides Corals with a Refuge from Bleaching

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    David Iluz

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available An extensive bleaching event in the summer of the year 1997-1998 affected most reefs along East Africa's shores. In the aftermath of that episode, the reefs of Île Alphonse in the Seychelles were examined and it was found that reefs along the seaward slopes of the island lost >95% of their branching coral colonies, with considerably higher survival of massive species. Île Alphonse features a nearly circular shallow lagoon, with steep seaward slopes. Contrary to our expectations, mortality in the warmer lagoon was far lower than of coral colonies on the surrounding slopes, bathed in deeper and cooler waters. We suggest that corals in the lagoon were protected from UV radiation by leachate stemming from seagrass leaves steeped in the lagoon. Our measurements in the lagoon showed a strong attenuation of ultraviolet radiation, not observed in the waters outside the lagoon, and laboratory examination confirmed that the strong UV absorption of substances leached into seawater from decomposing leaves of the seagrass Thalassodendron (=Cymodocea testudinaceum. Our findings demonstrate the synergism between elevated seawater temperature and UV radiation in triggering bleaching on shallow reefs.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren K.

    2017-07-19

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

  8. Challenges for Ecosystem Services Provided by Coral Reefs In the Face of Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kikuchi, R. K.; Elliff, C. I.

    2014-12-01

    Coral reefs provide many ecosystem services of which coastal populations are especially dependent upon, both in cases of extreme events and in daily life. However, adaptation to climate change is still relatively unknown territory regarding the ecosystem services provided by coastal environments, such as coral reefs. Management strategies usually consider climate change as a distant issue and rarely include ecosystem services in decision-making. Coral reefs are among the most vulnerable environments to climate change, considering the impact that increased ocean temperature and acidity have on the organisms that compose this ecosystem. If no actions are taken, the most likely scenario to occur will be of extreme decline in the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs. Loss of biodiversity due to the pressures of ocean warming and acidification will lead to increased price of seafood products, negative impact on food security, and ecological imbalances. Also, sea-level rise and fragile structures due to carbonate dissolution will increase vulnerability to storms, which can lead to shoreline erosion and ultimately threaten coastal communities. Both these conditions will undoubtedly affect recreation and tourism, which are often the most important use values in the case of coral reef systems. Adaptation strategies to climate change must take on an ecosystem-based approach with continuous monitoring programs, so that multiple ecosystem services are considered and not only retrospective trends are analyzed. Brazilian coral reefs have been monitored on a regular basis since 2000 and, considering that these marginal coral reefs of the eastern Atlantic are naturally under stressful conditions (e.g. high sedimentation rates), inshore reefs of Brazil, such as those in Tinharé-Boipeba, have shown lower vitality rates due to greater impacts from the proximity to the coastal area (e.g. pollution, overfishing, sediment run-off). This chronic negative impact must be addressed

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2017-04-21

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

  10. Mangrove and seagrass beds provide different biogeochemical services for corals threatened by climate change

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    Emma F Camp

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are driving acidification in parallel with warming of the oceans. Future ocean acidification scenarios have the potential to impact coral growth and associated reef function, although reports suggest such affects could be reduced in adjacent seagrass habitats as a result of physio-chemical buffering. To-date, it remains unknown whether these habitats can actually support the metabolic function of a diverse range of corals. Similarly, whether mangroves provide the same ecological buffering service remains unclear. We examine whether reef-associated habitat sites (seagrass and mangroves can act as potential refugia to future climate change by maintaining favorable chemical conditions (elevated pH and aragonite saturation state relative to the open-ocean, but by also assessing whether the metabolic function (photosynthesis, respiration and calcification of important reef-building corals are sustained. We investigated three sites in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and consistently observed that seagrass beds experience an overall elevation in mean pH (8.15 ± 0.01 relative to the adjacent outer-reef (8.12 ± 0.03, but with periods of high and low pH. Corals in the seagrass habitats either sustained calcification or experienced an average reduction of 17.0 ± 6.1 % relative to the outer-reef. In contrast, mangrove habitats were characterized by a low mean pH (8.04 ± 0.01 and a relatively moderate pH range. Corals within mangrove-dominated habitats were thus pre-conditioned to low pH but with significant suppression to calcification (70.0 ± 7.3 % reduction relative to the outer-reef. Both habitats also experienced more variable temperatures (diel range up to 2.5°C relative to the outer-reef (diel range less than 0.7°C, which did not correspond with changes in calcification rates. Here we report, for the first time, the biological costs for corals living in reef-associated habitats and

  11. Mangrove and seagrass beds provide different biogeochemical services for corals threatened by climate change

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Emma F Camp; David J Suggett; Gilberte eGendron; Jamaluddin eJompa; Carrie eManfrino; David J Smith

    2016-01-01

    .... Future ocean acidification scenarios have the potential to impact coral growth and associated reef function, although reports suggest such affects could be reduced in adjacent seagrass habitats...

  12. Exploring the Symbiodinium rare biosphere provides evidence for symbiont switching in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulotte, Nadine M; Dalton, Steven J; Carroll, Andrew G; Harrison, Peter L; Putnam, Hollie M; Peplow, Lesa M; van Oppen, Madeleine Jh

    2016-11-01

    Reef-building corals possess a range of acclimatisation and adaptation mechanisms to respond to seawater temperature increases. In some corals, thermal tolerance increases through community composition changes of their dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Symbiodinium spp.), but this mechanism is believed to be limited to the Symbiodinium types already present in the coral tissue acquired during early life stages. Compelling evidence for symbiont switching, that is, the acquisition of novel Symbiodinium types from the environment, by adult coral colonies, is currently lacking. Using deep sequencing analysis of Symbiodinium rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) PCR amplicons from two pocilloporid coral species, we show evidence consistent with de novo acquisition of Symbiodinium types from the environment by adult corals following two consecutive bleaching events. Most of these newly detected symbionts remained in the rare biosphere (background types occurring below 1% relative abundance), but one novel type reached a relative abundance of ~33%. Two de novo acquired Symbiodinium types belong to the thermally resistant clade D, suggesting that this switching may have been driven by consecutive thermal bleaching events. Our results are particularly important given the maternal mode of Symbiodinium transmission in the study species, which generally results in high symbiont specificity. These findings will cause a paradigm shift in our understanding of coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis flexibility and mechanisms of environmental acclimatisation in corals.

  13. Coordinated vigilance provides evidence for direct reciprocity in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2015-09-25

    Reciprocity is frequently assumed to require complex cognitive abilities. Therefore, it has been argued that reciprocity may be restricted to animals that can meet these demands. Here, we provide evidence for the potential presence of direct reciprocity in teleost fishes. We demonstrate that in pairs of coral reef rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae), one fish frequently assumes an upright vigilance position in the water column, while the partner forages in small crevices in the reef substratum. Both behaviours are strongly coordinated and partners regularly alternate their positions, resulting in a balanced distribution of foraging activity. Compared to solitary individuals, fishes in pairs exhibit longer vigilance bouts, suggesting that the help provided to the partner is costly. In turn, fishes in pairs take more consecutive bites and penetrate deeper into crevices than solitary individuals, suggesting that the safety provided by a vigilant partner may outweigh initial costs by increasing foraging efficiency. Thus, the described system appears to meet all of the requirements for direct reciprocity. We argue that the nature of rabbitfish pairs provides favourable conditions for the establishment of direct reciprocity, as continuous interaction with the same partner, simultaneous needs, interdependence, and communication relax the cognitive demands of reciprocal cooperation.

  14. Mangrove and seagrass beds provide different biogeochemical services for corals threatened by climate change

    OpenAIRE

    Camp, Emma F.; David J Suggett; Gilberte eGendron; Jamaluddin eJompa; Carrie eManfrino; David J Smith

    2016-01-01

    Rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are driving acidification in parallel with warming of the oceans. Future ocean acidification scenarios have the potential to impact coral growth and associated reef function, although reports suggest such affects could be reduced in adjacent seagrass habitats as a result of physio-chemical buffering. To-date, it remains unknown whether these habitats can actually support the metabolic function of a diverse range of corals. Similarly, whether mangr...

  15. Mangrove and Seagrass Beds Provide Different Biogeochemical Services for Corals Threatened by Climate Change

    OpenAIRE

    Camp, Emma F.; David J Suggett; Gendron, Gilberte; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Manfrino, Carrie; David J Smith

    2016-01-01

    Rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are driving acidification in parallel with warming of the oceans. Future ocean acidification scenarios have the potential to impact coral growth and associated reef function, although reports suggest such affects could be reduced in adjacent seagrass habitats as a result of physio-chemical buffering. To-date, it remains unknown whether these habitats can actually support the metabolic function of a diverse range of corals. Similarly, whether mangr...

  16. Small Marine Protected Areas in Fiji Provide Refuge for Reef Fish Assemblages, Feeding Groups, and Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pires, Mathias M.; Guimarães, Paulo Roberto; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hay, Mark E.

    2017-01-01

    The establishment of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) on coral reefs is a common management strategy for conserving the diversity, abundance, and biomass of reef organisms. Generally, well-managed and enforced MPAs can increase or maintain the diversity and function of the enclosed coral reef, with some of the benefits extending to adjacent non-protected reefs. A fundamental question in coral reef conservation is whether these benefits arise within small MPAs (reef organisms is largely decoupled from local adult reproduction. We examined the structure of fish assemblages, composition of fish feeding groups, benthic cover, and key ecosystem processes (grazing, macroalgal browsing, and coral replenishment) in three small (0.5–0.8 km2) no-take MPAs and adjacent areas where fisheries are allowed (non-MPAs) on coral reefs in Fiji. The MPAs exhibited greater species richness, density, and biomass of fishes than non-MPAs. Furthermore, MPAs contained a greater abundance and biomass of grazing herbivores and piscivores as well as a greater abundance of cleaners than fished areas. We also found differences in fish associations when foraging, with feeding groups being generally more diverse and having greater biomass within MPAs than adjacent non-MPAs. Grazing by parrotfishes was 3–6 times greater, and macroalgal browsing was 3–5 times greater in MPAs than in non-MPAs. On average, MPAs had 260–280% as much coral cover and only 5–25% as much macroalgal cover as their paired non-MPA sites. Finally, two of the three MPAs had three-fold more coral recruits than adjacent non-MPAs. The results of this study indicate that small MPAs benefit not only populations of reef fishes, but also enhance ecosystem processes that are critical to reef resilience within the MPAs. PMID:28122006

  17. Coral skeletons provide historical evidence of phosphorus runoff on the great barrier reef.

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    Jennie Mallela

    Full Text Available Recently, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have declined rapidly because of deteriorating water quality. Increased catchment runoff is one potential culprit. The impacts of land-use on coral growth and reef health however are largely circumstantial due to limited long-term data on water quality and reef health. Here we use a 60 year coral core record to show that phosphorus contained in the skeletons (P/Ca of long-lived, near-shore Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef correlates with annual records of fertiliser application and particulate phosphorus loads in the adjacent catchment. Skeletal P/Ca also correlates with Ba/Ca, a proxy for fluvial sediment loading, again linking near-shore phosphorus records with river runoff. Coral core records suggest that phosphorus levels increased 8 fold between 1949 and 2008 with the greatest levels coinciding with periods of high fertiliser-phosphorus use. Periods of high P/Ca correspond with intense agricultural activity and increased fertiliser application in the river catchment following agricultural expansion and replanting after cyclone damage. Our results demonstrate how coral P/Ca records can be used to assess terrestrial nutrient loading of vulnerable near-shore reefs.

  18. Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change.

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    Paulina Kaniewska

    Full Text Available Tropical reef-building coral stress levels will intensify with the predicted rising atmospheric CO2 resulting in ocean temperature and acidification increase. Most studies to date have focused on the destabilization of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses due to warming oceans, or declining calcification due to ocean acidification. In our study, pH and temperature conditions consistent with the end-of-century scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC caused major changes in photosynthesis and respiration, in addition to decreased calcification rates in the coral Acropora millepora. Population density of symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium under high levels of ocean acidification and temperature (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP8.5 decreased to half of that found under present day conditions, with photosynthetic and respiratory rates also being reduced by 40%. These physiological changes were accompanied by evidence for gene regulation of calcium and bicarbonate transporters along with components of the organic matrix. Metatranscriptomic RNA-Seq data analyses showed an overall down regulation of metabolic transcripts, and an increased abundance of transcripts involved in circadian clock control, controlling the damage of oxidative stress, calcium signaling/homeostasis, cytoskeletal interactions, transcription regulation, DNA repair, Wnt signaling and apoptosis/immunity/ toxins. We suggest that increased maintenance costs under ocean acidification and warming, and diversion of cellular ATP to pH homeostasis, oxidative stress response, UPR and DNA repair, along with metabolic suppression, may underpin why Acroporid species tend not to thrive under future environmental stress. Our study highlights the potential increased energy demand when the coral holobiont is exposed to high levels of ocean warming and acidification.

  19. Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaniewska, Paulina; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Kline, David; Ling, Edmund Yew Siang; Rosic, Nedeljka; Edwards, David; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie

    2015-01-01

    Tropical reef-building coral stress levels will intensify with the predicted rising atmospheric CO2 resulting in ocean temperature and acidification increase. Most studies to date have focused on the destabilization of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses due to warming oceans, or declining calcification due to ocean acidification. In our study, pH and temperature conditions consistent with the end-of-century scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) caused major changes in photosynthesis and respiration, in addition to decreased calcification rates in the coral Acropora millepora. Population density of symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) under high levels of ocean acidification and temperature (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP8.5) decreased to half of that found under present day conditions, with photosynthetic and respiratory rates also being reduced by 40%. These physiological changes were accompanied by evidence for gene regulation of calcium and bicarbonate transporters along with components of the organic matrix. Metatranscriptomic RNA-Seq data analyses showed an overall down regulation of metabolic transcripts, and an increased abundance of transcripts involved in circadian clock control, controlling the damage of oxidative stress, calcium signaling/homeostasis, cytoskeletal interactions, transcription regulation, DNA repair, Wnt signaling and apoptosis/immunity/ toxins. We suggest that increased maintenance costs under ocean acidification and warming, and diversion of cellular ATP to pH homeostasis, oxidative stress response, UPR and DNA repair, along with metabolic suppression, may underpin why Acroporid species tend not to thrive under future environmental stress. Our study highlights the potential increased energy demand when the coral holobiont is exposed to high levels of ocean warming and acidification. PMID:26510159

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

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-03-17

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

  1. Legionella pneumophila Carbonic Anhydrases: Underexplored Antibacterial Drug Targets

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    Claudiu T. Supuran

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC 4.2.1.1 are metalloenzymes which catalyze the hydration of carbon dioxide to bicarbonate and protons. Many pathogenic bacteria encode such enzymes belonging to the α-, β-, and/or γ-CA families. In the last decade, enzymes from some of these pathogens, including Legionella pneumophila, have been cloned and characterized in detail. These enzymes were shown to be efficient catalysts for CO2 hydration, with kcat values in the range of (3.4–8.3 × 105 s−1 and kcat/KM values of (4.7–8.5 × 107 M−1·s−1. In vitro inhibition studies with various classes of inhibitors, such as anions, sulfonamides and sulfamates, were also reported for the two β-CAs from this pathogen, LpCA1 and LpCA2. Inorganic anions were millimolar inhibitors, whereas diethyldithiocarbamate, sulfamate, sulfamide, phenylboronic acid, and phenylarsonic acid were micromolar ones. The best LpCA1 inhibitors were aminobenzolamide and structurally similar sulfonylated aromatic sulfonamides, as well as acetazolamide and ethoxzolamide (KIs in the range of 40.3–90.5 nM. The best LpCA2 inhibitors belonged to the same class of sulfonylated sulfonamides, together with acetazolamide, methazolamide, and dichlorophenamide (KIs in the range of 25.2–88.5 nM. Considering such preliminary results, the two bacterial CAs from this pathogen represent promising yet underexplored targets for obtaining antibacterials devoid of the resistance problems common to most of the clinically used antibiotics, but further studies are needed to validate them in vivo as drug targets.

  2. Functional Valuation of Ecosystem Services on Bonaire: an ecological analysis of ecosystem functions provided by coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beek, van I.J.M.

    2011-01-01

    This research is a semi-quantitative analysis of the functional value of coral reef habitats on Bonaire to support ecosystem services. It is part of an economic valuation study of marine and terrestrial ecosystem services on Bonaire.

  3. Functional Valuation of Ecosystem Services on Bonaire: an ecological analysis of ecosystem functions provided by coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beek, van I.J.M.

    2011-01-01

    This research is a semi-quantitative analysis of the functional value of coral reef habitats on Bonaire to support ecosystem services. It is part of an economic valuation study of marine and terrestrial ecosystem services on Bonaire.

  4. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2016-11-09

    Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  5. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Ziegler, Maren; Kremb, Stephan G; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29-33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2-4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  6. RAPD-PCR – still a suitable Method for Genetically Underexplored Species?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Konstanze Ursula Behrmann

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Saithe (Pollachius virens is a commercially important fish species; the annual catch quota in the Northeast Atlantic exceeds 100.000 t. Despite that saithe is underexplored from a fish population genetically view. Because saithe is a highly migratory species, which undergoes a long larval drift, the population structure of saithe within the Northeast Atlantic is not fully understood. Models used as a basis for the management plan are based on tagging studies, which have been carried out in the 1960th. But still there are doubts regarding the numbers of stocks living in the Northeast Atlantic. Migration routes are affected by salmon farming, growing steadily from the 1990th. In the last years a hyperstability of the saithe stock in the North Sea had been detected underlining the need to have a closer look on the saithe stocks in the Northeast Atlantic. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD - PCR is a DNA fingerprinting technique often used in species identification and population genetic research for species, whose genome has not been sequenced very extensive as being the case for most of the food fishes. We applied RAPD-PCR in a study of saithe populations from the North Atlantic. The suitability of RAPD-PCR was improved by optimisations for enhanced reproducibility. The “classical” protocol for RAPD-PCR was modified by increasing the annealing temperature and shortening the time of annealing, providing a much better reproducibility. Thus, RAPD-PCR was found to be a straightforward and low-cost way, compared to other population genetic tools, to get a first insight into the population structure of less sequenced fish species within a very short time, being useful for preliminary studies or laboratories without large capacities for DNA sequencing.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  9. (137)Cs inter-plant concentration ratios provide a predictive tool for coral atolls with distinct benefits over transfer factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robison, William L; Hamilton, Terry F; Bogen, Kenneth T; Conrado, Cynthia L; Kehl, Steven R

    2008-01-01

    Inter-plant concentration ratios (IPCR) [Bqg(-1)(137)Cs in coral atoll tree food crops/Bqg(-1)(137)Cs in leaves of native plant species whose roots share a common soil volume] can replace transfer factors (TF) to predict (137)Cs concentration in tree food crops in a contaminated area with an aged source term. The IPCR strategy has significant benefits relative to TF strategy for such purposes in the atoll ecosystem. IPCR strategy applied to specific assessments takes advantage of the fact that tree roots naturally integrate (137)Cs over large volumes of soil. Root absorption of (137)Cs replaces large-scale, expensive soil sampling schemes to reduce variability in (137)Cs concentration due to inhomogeneous radionuclide distribution. IPCR [drinking-coconut meat (DCM)/Scaevola (SCA) and Tournefortia (TOU) leaves (native trees growing on all atoll islands)] are log-normally distributed (LND) with geometric standard deviation (GSD)=1.85. TF for DCM from Enewetak, Eneu, Rongelap and Bikini Atolls are LND with GSDs of 3.5, 3.0, 2.7, and 2.1, respectively. TF GSD for Rongelap copra coconut meat is 2.5. IPCR of Pandanus fruit to SCA and TOU leaves are LND with GSD=1.7 while TF GSD is 2.1. Because IPCR variability is much lower than TF variability, relative sampling error of an IPCR field sample mean is up 6- to 10-fold lower than that of a TF sample mean if sample sizes are small (10-20). Other IPCR advantages are that plant leaf samples are collected and processed in far less time with much less effort and cost than soil samples.

  10. 137Cs Inter-Plant Concentration Ratios Provide a Predictive Tool for Coral Atolls with Distinct Benefits Over Transfer Factors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robison, W L; Hamilton, T F; Bogen, K; Corado, C L; Kehl, S R

    2007-07-17

    Inter-plant concentration ratios (IPCR), [Bq g{sup -1} {sup 137}Cs in coral atoll tree food-crops/Bq g{sup -1} {sup 137}Cs in leaves of native plant species whose roots share a common soil volume], can replace transfer factors (TF) to predict {sup 137}Cs concentration in tree food-crops in a contaminated area with an aged source term. The IPCR strategy has significant benefits relative to TF strategy for such purposes in the atoll ecosystem. IPCR strategy applied to specific assessments takes advantage of the fact tree roots naturally integrate 137Cs over large volumes of soil. Root absorption of {sup 137}Cs replaces large-scale, expensive soil sampling schemes to reduce variability in {sup 137}Cs concentration due to inhomogeneous radionuclide distribution. IPCR [drinking-coconut meat (DCM)/Scaevola (SCA) and Tournefortia (TOU) leaves (native trees growing on all atoll islands)] are log normally distributed (LND) with geometric standard deviation (GSD) = 1.85. TF for DCM from Enewetak, Eneu, Rongelap and Bikini Atolls are LND with GSD's of 3.5, 3.0, 2.7, and 2.1, respectively. TF GSD for Rongelap copra coconut meat is 2.5. IPCR of Pandanus fruit to SCA and TOU leaves are LND with GSD = 1.7 while TF GSD is 2.1. Because IPCR variability is much lower than TF variability, relative sampling error of an IPCR field sample mean is up 6- to 10-fold lower than that of a TF sample mean if sample sizes are small (10 to 20). Other IPCR advantages are that plant leaf samples are collected and processed in far less time with much less effort and cost than soil samples.

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. Unique actinomycetes from marine caves and coral reef sediments provide novel PKS and NRPS biosynthetic gene clusters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodges, Tyler W; Slattery, Marc; Olson, Julie B

    2012-06-01

    In the ever-expanding search for novel bioactive molecules and enzymes, marine actinomycetes have proven to be a productive source. While open reef sediment and sponge-associated actinomycetes have been extensively examined, their marine cave counterparts remain unevaluated. Anchialine cave systems in the Bahamas offered an ideal setting to evaluate the occurrence and variation within sediment-associated actinomycete communities. While in close geographical proximity to open reef environments, these systems provide a specialized environmental niche devoid of light and direct exposure to nutrient input. In the present study, selective isolation techniques and molecular methods were used to test the hypothesis that variable distribution of actinomycetes and secondary metabolite gene clusters occur between open reef and marine cave systems. The results indicated that differences exist within the culturable sediment-associated actinomycete communities between marine caves and open reef systems, with members of the genus Streptomyces dominating cultures from open reef sediments and a more diverse suite of actinomycetes isolated from marine cave sediment samples. Within the cave isolates, members of the proposed genus Solwaraspora were the most represented. Based on PKS- and NRPS-gene-targeted PCR amplification and sequencing, geographic variation in the occurrence of these biosynthetic pathways was also observed. These findings indicate that marine cave systems are a lucrative source in the search for novel secondary metabolite producers with biotechnological applications and that environmental and geographic factors likely affect the occurrence of these biosynthetic pathways.

  19. 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.

  20. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-04-01

    demonstrates osmoacclimatization of F. granulosa and osmoadjustment of cultured Symbiodinium. All three main compartments (i.e. coral host, Symbiodinium, bacteria) seem to contribute to the coral holobionts salinity adjustment. However, the exact mechanisms of coral host and bacteria contribution remain to be determined. Floridoside likely constitutes a conserved osmolyte increasing the salinity resilience of Symbiodinium and also of the cnidarian/coral holobiont. Floridoside further possess’ antioxidative properties, possibly providing a protection from reactive oxygen species formation as a result of salinity stress or/and other environmental stressors.

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. Sweet spot identification in underexplored shales using multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and key performance indicators : Example of the Posidonia Shale Formation in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ter Heege, Jan; Zijp, Mart; Nelskamp, Susanne; Douma, Lisanne; Verreussel, Roel; Ten Veen, Johan; de Bruin, Geert; Peters, Rene

    Sweet spot identification in underexplored shale gas basins needs to be based on a limited amount of data on shale properties in combination with upfront geological characterization and modelling, because actual production data is usually absent. Multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and

  5. Sweet spot identification in underexplored shales using multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and key performance indicators: example of the Posidonia Shale Formation in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heege, J.H. ter; Zijp, M.H.A.A.; Nelskamp, S.; Douma, L.A.N.R.; Verreussel, R.M.C.H.; Veen, J.H. ten; Bruin, G. de; Peters, M.C.A.M.

    2015-01-01

    Sweet spot identification in underexplored shale gas basins needs to be based on a limited amount of data on shale properties in combination with upfront geological characterization and modelling, because actual production data is usually absent. Multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, Helen T.

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

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

  17. {sup 137}Cs inter-plant concentration ratios provide a predictive tool for coral atolls with distinct benefits over transfer factors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robison, William L. [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Energy and Environment Directorate, 7000 East Avenue, L-642, Livermore, CA 94550-9234 (United States)], E-mail: robison1@llnl.gov; Hamilton, Terry F.; Bogen, Kenneth T.; Conrado, Cynthia L.; Kehl, Steven R. [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Energy and Environment Directorate, 7000 East Avenue, L-642, Livermore, CA 94550-9234 (United States)

    2008-01-15

    Inter-plant concentration ratios (IPCR) [Bq g{sup -1137}Cs in coral atoll tree food crops/Bq g{sup -1137}Cs in leaves of native plant species whose roots share a common soil volume] can replace transfer factors (TF) to predict {sup 137}Cs concentration in tree food crops in a contaminated area with an aged source term. The IPCR strategy has significant benefits relative to TF strategy for such purposes in the atoll ecosystem. IPCR strategy applied to specific assessments takes advantage of the fact that tree roots naturally integrate {sup 137}Cs over large volumes of soil. Root absorption of {sup 137}Cs replaces large-scale, expensive soil sampling schemes to reduce variability in {sup 137}Cs concentration due to inhomogeneous radionuclide distribution. IPCR [drinking-coconut meat (DCM)/Scaevola (SCA) and Tournefortia (TOU) leaves (native trees growing on all atoll islands)] are log-normally distributed (LND) with geometric standard deviation (GSD) = 1.85. TF for DCM from Enewetak, Eneu, Rongelap and Bikini Atolls are LND with GSDs of 3.5, 3.0, 2.7, and 2.1, respectively. TF GSD for Rongelap copra coconut meat is 2.5. IPCR of Pandanus fruit to SCA and TOU leaves are LND with GSD = 1.7 while TF GSD is 2.1. Because IPCR variability is much lower than TF variability, relative sampling error of an IPCR field sample mean is up 6- to 10-fold lower than that of a TF sample mean if sample sizes are small (10-20). Other IPCR advantages are that plant leaf samples are collected and processed in far less time with much less effort and cost than soil samples.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Inhibition of carbonic anhydrase from Trypanosoma cruzi for the management of Chagas disease: an underexplored therapeutic opportunity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Supuran, Claudiu T

    2016-01-01

    An α-carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC 4.2.1.1) was recently discovered, cloned and characterized in the genome of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, a neglected but widespread tropical disease. Inhibition of this α-CAs (TcCA) with anions, sulfonamides, sulfamates, thiols and hydroxamates has been investigated in detail, with several low nanomolar in vitro inhibitors. Although the sulfonamides were the best in vitro inhibitors, they showed no ex vivo anti-T. cruzi activity, due to poor penetration. However, some thiols and hydroxamates acting as low nanomolar TcCA inhibitors also showed significant antitrypanosomal ex vivo activity, making this enzyme an attractive yet underexplored drug target for the management of Chagas disease.

  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. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

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

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. Confronting the coral reef crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Sweet spot identification in underexplored shales using multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and key performance indicators: example of the Posidonia Shale Formation in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heege, J.H. ter; Zijp, M.H.A.A.; Nelskamp, S.; Douma, L.A.N.R.; Verreussel, R.M.C.H.; Veen, J.H. ten; Bruin, G. de; Peters, M.C.A.M.

    2015-01-01

    Sweet spot identification in underexplored shale gas basins needs to be based on a limited amount of data on shale properties in combination with upfront geological characterization and modelling, because actual production data is usually absent. Multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and inte

  14. Sweet spot identification in underexplored shales using multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and key performance indicators : Example of the Posidonia Shale Formation in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ter Heege, Jan; Zijp, Mart; Nelskamp, Susanne; Douma, Lisanne; Verreussel, Roel; Ten Veen, Johan; de Bruin, Geert; Peters, Rene

    2015-01-01

    Sweet spot identification in underexplored shale gas basins needs to be based on a limited amount of data on shale properties in combination with upfront geological characterization and modelling, because actual production data is usually absent. Multidisciplinary reservoir characterization and inte

  15. Sweet spots for hydraulic fracturing oil or gas production in underexplored shales using key performance indicators: Example of the Posidonia Shale formation in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heege, J.H. ter; Zijp, M.H.A.A.; Nelkamp, S.

    2015-01-01

    While extensive data and experiences are available for hydraulic fracturing and hydrocarbon production from shales in the U.S.A., such a record is lacking in many underexplored shale basins worldwide. As limited data is usually available in these basins, analysis of shale prospectivity and identific

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. 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. 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.

  2. Metabolite Profiling of Red Sea Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Ortega, Jovhana Alejandra

    2016-12-01

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

  3. 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...

  4. 1995 Quantitative Survey of the Corals of American Samoa (NODC Accession 0001972)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — A survey of coral communities was carried out in the American Samoa Archipelago to assess the current status of coral reefs and provide a rigorous quantitative...

  5. Quantitative survey of the corals of American Samoa, 1995 (NODC Accession 0001972)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — A survey of coral communities was carried out in the American Samoa Archipelago to assess the current status of coral reefs and provide a rigorous quantitative...

  6. Coral Reef Remote Sensing: Helping Managers Protect Reefs in a Changing Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, C.; Liu, G.; Li, J.; Muller-Karger, F. E.; Heron, S. F.; Gledhill, D. K.; Christensen, T.; Rauenzahn, J.; Morgan, J.; Parker, B. A.; Skirving, W. J.; Nim, C.; Burgess, T.; Strong, A. E.

    2010-12-01

    Climate change and ocean acidification are already having severe impacts on coral reef ecosystems. Warming oceans have caused corals to bleach, or expel their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) with alarming frequency and severity and have contributed to a rise in coral infectious diseases. Ocean acidification is reducing the availability of carbonate ions needed by corals and many other marine organisms to build structural components like skeletons and shells and may already be slowing the coral growth. These two impacts are already killing corals and slowing reef growth, reducing biodiversity and the structure needed to provide crucial ecosystem services. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch (CRW) uses a combination of satellite data, in situ observations, and models to provide coral reef managers, scientists, and others with information needed to monitor threats to coral reefs. The advance notice provided by remote sensing and models allows resource managers to protect corals, coral reefs, and the services they provide, although managers often encounter barriers to implementation of adaptation strategies. This talk will focus on application of NOAA’s satellite and model-based tools that monitor the risk of mass coral bleaching on a global scale, ocean acidification in the Caribbean, and coral disease outbreaks in selected regions, as well as CRW work to train managers in their use, and barriers to taking action to adapt to climate change. As both anthropogenic CO2 and temperatures will continue to rise, local actions to protect reefs are becoming even more important.

  7. Doom and boom on a resilient reef: climate change, algal overgrowth and coral recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; McCook, Laurence J; Dove, Sophie; Berkelmans, Ray; Roff, George; Kline, David I; Weeks, Scarla; Evans, Richard D; Williamson, David H; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs around the world are experiencing large-scale degradation, largely due to global climate change, overfishing, diseases and eutrophication. Climate change models suggest increasing frequency and severity of warming-induced coral bleaching events, with consequent increases in coral mortality and algal overgrowth. Critically, the recovery of damaged reefs will depend on the reversibility of seaweed blooms, generally considered to depend on grazing of the seaweed, and replenishment of corals by larvae that successfully recruit to damaged reefs. These processes usually take years to decades to bring a reef back to coral dominance. In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated. These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Edi Rudi; Taufiq Iskandar; Nur Fadli; Hidayati Hidayati

    2012-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbef...

  11. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Edi Rudi; Taufiq Iskandar; Nur Fadli; Hidayati Hidayati

    2012-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbef...

  12. 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.

  13. Using Turnitin to Provide Feedback on L2 Writers' Texts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kostka, Ilka; Maliborska, Veronika

    2016-01-01

    Second language (L2) writing instructors have varying tools at their disposal for providing feedback on students' writing, including ones that enable them to provide written and audio feedback in electronic form. One tool that has been underexplored is Turnitin, a widely used software program that matches electronic text to a wide range of…

  14. 77 FR 6786 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-09

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public..., Notice of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task.... Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal agencies...

  15. 76 FR 52318 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-22

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public..., Notice of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task... the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal...

  16. Assessing the sensitivity of coral reef condition indicators to local and global stressors with Bayesian networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are highly valued ecosystems that are currently imperiled. Although the value of coral reefs to human societies is only just being investigated and better understood, for many local and global economies coral reefs are important providers of ecosystem services that su...

  17. Assessing the sensitivity of coral reef condition indicators to local and global stressors with Bayesian networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are highly valued ecosystems that are currently imperiled. Although the value of coral reefs to human societies is only just being investigated and better understood, for many local and global economies coral reefs are important providers of ecosystem services that su...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James W.A. Murphy

    2016-04-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Improved water quality can ameliorate effects of climate change on corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Done, Terence J

    2009-09-01

    The threats of wide-scale coral bleaching and reef demise associated with anthropogenic climate change are widely known. Moreover, rates of genetic adaptation and/or changes in the coral-zooxanthella partnerships are considered unlikely to be sufficiently fast for corals to acquire increased physiological resistance to increasing sea temperatures and declining pH. However, it has been suggested that coral reef resilience to climate change may be improved by good local management of coral reefs, including management of water quality. Here, using major data sets from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, we investigate geographic patterns of coral bleaching in 1998 and 2002 and outline a synergism between heat stress and nutrient flux as a major causative mechanism for those patterns. The study provides the first concrete evidence for the oft-expressed belief that improved coral reef management will increase the regional-scale survival prospects of coral reefs to global climate change.

  4. 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.

  5. First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Clues to Coral Reef Ecosystem Health: Spectral Analysis Coupled with Radiative Transfer Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guild, L.; Ganapol, B.; Kramer, P.; Armstrong, R.; Gleason, A.; Torres, J.; Johnson, L.; Garfield, N.

    2003-12-01

    Coral reefs are among the world's most productive and biologically rich ecosystems and are some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth. Coralline structures protect coastlines from storms, maintain high diversity of marine life, and provide nurseries for marine species. Coral reefs play a role in carbon cycling through high rates of organic carbon metabolism and calcification. Coral reefs provide fisheries habitat that are the sole protein source for humans on remote islands. Reefs respond immediately to environmental change and therefore are considered "canaries" of the oceans. However, the world's reefs are in peril: they have shrunk 10-50% from their historical extent due to climate change and anthropogenic activity. An important contribution to coral reef research is improved spectral distinction of reef species' health where anthropogenic activity and climate change impacts are high. Relatively little is known concerning the spectral properties of coral or how coral structures reflect and transmit light. New insights into optical processes of corals under stressed conditions can lead to improved interpretation of airborne and satellite data and forecasting of immediate or long-term impacts of events such as bleaching and disease in coral. We are investigating the spatial and spectral resolution required to detect remotely changes in reef health by coupling spectral analysis of in situ spectra and airborne spectral data with a new radiative transfer model called CorMOD2. Challenges include light attenuation by the water column, atmospheric scattering, and scattering caused by the coral themselves that confound the spectral signal. In CorMOD2, input coral reflectance measurements produce modeled absorption through an inversion at each visible wavelength. The first model development phase of CorMOD2 imposes a scattering baseline that is constant regardless of coral condition, and further specifies that coral is optically thick. Evolution of CorMOD2 is towards a coral

  8. Chronic nutrient enrichment increases prevalence and severity of coral disease and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca L; Burkepile, Deron E; Fuchs, Corinne; Shantz, Andrew A; McMinds, Ryan; Zaneveld, Jesse R

    2014-02-01

    Nutrient loading is one of the strongest drivers of marine habitat degradation. Yet, the link between nutrients and disease epizootics in marine organisms is often tenuous and supported only by correlative data. Here, we present experimental evidence that chronic nutrient exposure leads to increases in both disease prevalence and severity and coral bleaching in scleractinian corals, the major habitat-forming organisms in tropical reefs. Over 3 years, from June 2009 to June 2012, we continuously exposed areas of a coral reef to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. At the termination of the enrichment, we surveyed over 1200 scleractinian corals for signs of disease or bleaching. Siderastrea siderea corals within enrichment plots had a twofold increase in both the prevalence and severity of disease compared with corals in unenriched control plots. In addition, elevated nutrient loading increased coral bleaching; Agaricia spp. of corals exposed to nutrients suffered a 3.5-fold increase in bleaching frequency relative to control corals, providing empirical support for a hypothesized link between nutrient loading and bleaching-induced coral declines. However, 1 year later, after nutrient enrichment had been terminated for 10 months, there were no differences in coral disease or coral bleaching prevalence between the previously enriched and control treatments. Given that our experimental enrichments were well within the ranges of ambient nutrient concentrations found on many degraded reefs worldwide, these data provide strong empirical support to the idea that coastal nutrient loading is one of the major factors contributing to the increasing levels of both coral disease and coral bleaching. Yet, these data also suggest that simple improvements to water quality may be an effective way to mitigate some coral disease epizootics and the corresponding loss of coral cover in the future. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. 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

    invertebrate feeders. To our knowledge, the present study provides the first evidence that through habitat competition, the presence of S. fuscus may affect reef fish communities associated with M. alcicornis coral colonies. Our findings also indicate that S. fuscus uses M. alcicornis coral colonies as part of their territory for shelter and foraging. In conclusion, M. alcicornis fire-coral colonies are extremely important habitats for reef fishes and the size and presence of a territorial damselfish are relevant variables for associated reef fish community. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. The engine of the reef: Photobiology of the coral-algal symbiosis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melissa Susan Roth

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems thrive in tropical oligotrophic oceans because of the relationship between corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae called Symbiodinium. Symbiodinium convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into organic carbon and oxygen to fuel coral growth and calcification, creating habitat for these diverse and productive ecosystems. Light is thus a key regulating factor shaping the productivity, physiology and ecology of the coral holobiont. Similar to all oxygenic photoautotrophs, Symbiodinium must safely harvest sunlight for photosynthesis and dissipate excess energy to prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by environmental stressors such as those associated with global climate change, and ultimately leads to breakdown of the coral-algal symbiosis known as coral bleaching. Recently, large-scale coral bleaching events have become pervasive and frequent threatening and endangering coral reefs. Because the coral-algal symbiosis is the biological engine producing the reef, the future of coral reef ecosystems depends on the ecophysiology of the symbiosis. This review examines the photobiology of the coral-algal symbiosis with particular focus on the photophysiological responses and timescales of corals and Symbiodinium. Additionally, this review summarizes the light environment and its dynamics, the vulnerability of the symbiosis to oxidative stress, the abiotic and biotic factors influencing photosynthesis, the diversity of the coral-algal symbiosis and recent advances in the field. Studies integrating physiology with the developing omics fields will provide new insights into the coral-algal symbiosis. Greater physiological and ecological understanding of the coral-algal symbiosis is needed for protection and conservation of coral reefs.

  15. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  16. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  17. Antibacterial substance from mucus of a scleractinian coral,Symphyllia gigantea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Guohua; HUANG Liangmin; TAN Yehui; YIN Jianqiang; WANG Hankui; HUANG Hui; ZOU Kun; LI Ruiping

    2007-01-01

    Coral mucus covers the surface of coral and contains antibacterial substances as a first line of defense. Coral mucus not only enables the coral itself to resist disease, but also provides antibacterial agents for people. We collected mucus from a scleractinian coral (Symphyllia gigantea) at Sta. Sanya (China), then extracted the antibacterial substances using 10% glacial acetic acid with the help of antiprotease inhibitors, and tested the antibacterial activity by a terrestrial bacterium (Staphylococcus aurevs) and a marine bacterium (Vibrio anguillarum). The result showed that, there were antibacterial agents in the mucus, and their antibacterial activities were lost by treatment of the sample at 90 °C water for 10 min.

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Rädecker, Nils

    2015-04-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2012-09-21

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

  2. Extreme Longevity in Proteinaceous Deep-Sea Corals

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2009-02-09

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tali Mass

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jih-Terng Wang

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

  7. Devising a Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Monitoring Portfolio

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gledhill, D. K.; Jewett, L.

    2012-12-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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...

  10. 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

  11. The use of cellular diagnostics for identifying sub-lethal stress in reef corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Downs, Craig A; Ostrander, Gary K; Rougee, Luc; Rongo, Teina; Knutson, Sean; Williams, David E; Mendiola, Wendy; Holbrook, Jackalyn; Richmond, Robert H

    2012-04-01

    Coral reefs throughout the world are exhibiting documented declines in coral cover and species diversity, which have been linked to anthropogenic stressors including land-based sources of pollution. Reductions in coastal water and substratum quality are affecting coral survivorship, reproduction and recruitment, and hence, the persistence of coral reefs. One major obstacle in effectively addressing these declines is the lack of tools that can identify cause-and-effect relationships between stressors and specific coral reef losses, while a second problem is the inability to measure the efficacy of mitigation efforts in a timely fashion. We examined corals from six coral reefs on Guam, Mariana Islands, which were being affected by different environmental stressors (e.g. PAH's, pesticides, PCB's and sedimentation). Cellular diagnostic analysis differentiated the cellular-physiological condition of these corals. Examination of protein expression provided insight into their homeostatic responses to chemical and physical stressors in exposed corals prior to outright mortality, providing improved opportunities for developing locally-based management responses. This approach adds critically needed tools for addressing the effects of multiple stressors on corals and will allow researchers to move beyond present assessment and monitoring techniques that simply document the loss of coral abundance and diversity.

  12. 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.

  13. Radiative Transfer Modeling, Spectral Analysis, and Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guild, L.; Ganapol, B.; Furfaro, R.; Kramer, P.; Armstrong, R.; Gleason, A.; Torres, J.

    2004-12-01

    The calcium carbonate structures of tropical coral reefs protect coastlines from storms, create habitats for the world's greatest marine biodiversity, provide nurseries for many marine species; play essential roles in carbon and CO2 cycles, are major protein sources for many local populations, and are vital for sustainable economies of many societies. The world's reefs are in peril due to climate change and anthropogenic activity caused by rapidly growing populations in coastal zones. An important contribution to coral reef research is improved spectral distinction of reef components indicative of reef condition, including physical and biological degradation. Unfortunately, relatively little is known concerning the spectral properties of coral or how coral architecture reflect/transmit light. New insights into optical processes of corals can lead to improved interpretation of remote sensing data and forecasting of immediate or long-term impacts such as bleaching and disease in coral and algal overgrowth. We are investigating the spatial/spectral properties required to remotely sense changes in reef biological and physical properties by coupling spectral analysis of in situ spectra with a new coral-specific radiative transfer model. The first model development phase (CorMOD) imposes a scattering baseline that is constant regardless of coral condition, and further specifies that coral is optically thick. Evolution of the model is towards a coral-specific radiative transfer model that includes coral biochemical concentrations, specific absorptivities of coral components, and transmission measurements from coral surfaces. We present our field collected in situ spectra and resultant output relative absorption profiles of coral from CorMOD. Further, we will present NASA AVIRIS data and in situ spectra collection of coral and seagrass to support the AVIRIS mission that was collected during August 2004 for Florida Keys and Puerto Rico.

  14. 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

  15. Coral Reef Ecosystems under Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    OpenAIRE

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg; Poloczanska, Elvira S.; William Skirving; Sophie Dove

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are found in a wide range of environments, where they provide food and habitat to a large range of organisms as well as providing many other ecological goods and services. Warm-water coral reefs, for example, occupy shallow sunlit, warm, and alkaline waters in order to grow and calcify at the high rates necessary to build and maintain their calcium carbonate structures. At deeper locations (40–150 m), “mesophotic” (low light) coral reefs accumulate calcium carbonate at much lower ...

  16. 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.

  17. Coral Calcification Across a Natural Gradient in Ocean Acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

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

  20. Community structure and coral health status across the depth gradients of Grande Island, Central west coast of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Manikandan, B.; Ravindran, J.; Mohan, H.; Periasamy, R.; ManiMurali, R.; Ingole, B.S.

    The Grande Island, located at the central west coast of India is one of the less studied coral reef systems in India. In this study, we provide a comprehensive description of the coral community structure and health status of corals across...

  1. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian

    2014-09-16

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  2. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-09-01

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

  4. NOAA's National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Data Collection

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reefs provide nearly $30 billion in net benefits in goods and services to world economies each year, including tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection, and...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  6. Coral Reef Ecosystems under Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are found in a wide range of environments, where they provide food and habitat to a large range of organisms as well as providing many other ecological goods and services. Warm-water coral reefs, for example, occupy shallow sunlit, warm, and alkaline waters in order to grow and calcify at the high rates necessary to build and maintain their calcium carbonate structures. At deeper locations (40–150 m, “mesophotic” (low light coral reefs accumulate calcium carbonate at much lower rates (if at all in some cases yet remain important as habitat for a wide range of organisms, including those important for fisheries. Finally, even deeper, down to 2,000 m or more, the so-called “cold-water” coral reefs are found in the dark depths. Despite their importance, coral reefs are facing significant challenges from human activities including pollution, over-harvesting, physical destruction, and climate change. In the latter case, even lower greenhouse gas emission scenarios (such as Representative Concentration Pathway RCP 4.5 are likely drive the elimination of most warm-water coral reefs by 2040–2050. Cold-water corals are also threatened by warming temperatures and ocean acidification although evidence of the direct effect of climate change is less clear. Evidence that coral reefs can adapt at rates which are sufficient for them to keep up with rapid ocean warming and acidification is minimal, especially given that corals are long-lived and hence have slow rates of evolution. Conclusions that coral reefs will migrate to higher latitudes as they warm are equally unfounded, with the observations of tropical species appearing at high latitudes “necessary but not sufficient” evidence that entire coral reef ecosystems are shifting. On the contrary, coral reefs are likely to degrade rapidly over the next 20 years, presenting fundamental challenges for the 500 million people who derive food, income, coastal protection, and a range of

  7. Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) from coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific

    OpenAIRE

    Rebeca Granja Fernández; María Dinorah Herrero Pérezrul; Ramón Andrés López Pérez; Luis Hernández; Fabián Rodríguez Zaragoza; Robert Wallace Jones; Rubén Pineda López

    2014-01-01

    Abstract There are numerous and important coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific, but scarce studies of brittle stars conducted in these ecosystems. In this regard, this work provides the first annotated checklist of brittle stars associated with coral communities and reefs in the Mexican Pacific and an illustrated key to identify the species. We also provide taxonomic descriptions, spatial and bathymetric distributions and some important remarks of the species. We report a total of 14 species of...

  8. 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.

  9. Coral Taxonomy. Results and Recommendations of a Regional Unesco (COMAR)/UNEP Workshop with Advanced Training (Phuket Marine Biological Centre, Thailand, February 10-26, 1984). Unesco Reports in Marine Science No. 33.

    Science.gov (United States)

    United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris (France). Div. of Marine Sciences.

    This document reports on a workshop on coral species present in Thailand and on the status of coral taxonomy in central Indo-Pacific countries. The report discusses workshop aims, summarizes field and laboratory studies, provides a tentative checklist of hermatypic coral species from Thailand, assesses the status of coral taxonomy in participating…

  10. 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...

  11. Coral reef diseases in the Atlantic-Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Weil, Ernesto; Dubinsky, Zvy; Stambler, Noga

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are the jewels of the tropical oceans. They boast the highest diversity of all marine ecosystems, aid in the development and protection of other important, productive coastal marine communities, and have provided millions of people with food, building materials, protection from storms, recreation and social stability over thousands of years, and more recently, income, active pharmacological compounds and other benefits. These communities have been deteriorating rapidly in recent times. The continuous emergence of coral reef diseases and increase in bleaching events caused in part by high water temperatures among other factors underscore the need for intensive assessments of their ecological status and causes and their impact on coral reefs.

  12. More coral, more fish? Contrasting snapshots from a remote Pacific atoll.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beldade, Ricardo; Mills, Suzanne C; Claudet, Joachim; Côté, Isabelle M

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are in decline across the globe as a result of overexploitation, pollution, disease and, more recently, climate change. The impacts of changes in coral cover on associated fish communities can be difficult to predict because of the uneven dependence of reef fish species on corals for food, shelter or the three-dimensional structure they provide. We compared live coral cover, reef fish community metrics, and their associations in two surveys of the lagoon of the remote atoll of Mataiva (French Polynesia) carried out 31 years apart. In contrast to the general pattern of decreasing coral cover reported for many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, live coral cover increased 6-7 fold at Mataiva between 1981 and 2012, and fish density nearly doubled. The stable overall reef fish species richness belied a significant shift in community structure. There was little overlap in community composition across years, and fish assemblages in 2012 were more homogeneous in composition than they were in 1981. Changes in species abundance were not clearly related to species-specific reliance on corals. The strong positive relationships between live coral cover and fish diversity and abundance noted in 1981, when coral cover rarely exceeded 10%, were no longer present in 2012, when coral cover rarely fell below this value. The most parsimonious explanation for these contrasting relationships is that, over the combined range of coral cover observed in the 1981 and 2012 snapshots, there is a rapidly asymptotic relationship between coral and fish. Our results, and other data from the south and west Pacific, suggest that fish diversity and abundance might accumulate rapidly up to a threshold of approximately 10% live coral cover. Such a relationship would have implications for our expectations of resistance and recovery of reef fish communities facing an increasingly severe regime of coral reef disturbances.

  13. More coral, more fish? Contrasting snapshots from a remote Pacific atoll

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ricardo Beldade

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are in decline across the globe as a result of overexploitation, pollution, disease and, more recently, climate change. The impacts of changes in coral cover on associated fish communities can be difficult to predict because of the uneven dependence of reef fish species on corals for food, shelter or the three-dimensional structure they provide. We compared live coral cover, reef fish community metrics, and their associations in two surveys of the lagoon of the remote atoll of Mataiva (French Polynesia carried out 31 years apart. In contrast to the general pattern of decreasing coral cover reported for many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, live coral cover increased 6–7 fold at Mataiva between 1981 and 2012, and fish density nearly doubled. The stable overall reef fish species richness belied a significant shift in community structure. There was little overlap in community composition across years, and fish assemblages in 2012 were more homogeneous in composition than they were in 1981. Changes in species abundance were not clearly related to species-specific reliance on corals. The strong positive relationships between live coral cover and fish diversity and abundance noted in 1981, when coral cover rarely exceeded 10%, were no longer present in 2012, when coral cover rarely fell below this value. The most parsimonious explanation for these contrasting relationships is that, over the combined range of coral cover observed in the 1981 and 2012 snapshots, there is a rapidly asymptotic relationship between coral and fish. Our results, and other data from the south and west Pacific, suggest that fish diversity and abundance might accumulate rapidly up to a threshold of approximately 10% live coral cover. Such a relationship would have implications for our expectations of resistance and recovery of reef fish communities facing an increasingly severe regime of coral reef disturbances.

  14. The Assimilation of Diazotroph-Derived Nitrogen by Scleractinian Corals Depends on Their Metabolic Status.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bednarz, Vanessa N; Grover, Renaud; Maguer, Jean-François; Fine, Maoz; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2017-01-10

    Tropical corals are associated with a diverse community of dinitrogen (N2)-fixing prokaryotes (diazotrophs) providing the coral an additional source of bioavailable nitrogen (N) in oligotrophic waters. The overall activity of these diazotrophs changes depending on the current environmental conditions, but to what extent it affects the assimilation of diazotroph-derived N (DDN) by corals is still unknown. Here, in a series of (15)N2 tracer experiments, we directly quantified DDN assimilation by scleractinian corals from the Red Sea exposed to different environmental conditions. We show that DDN assimilation strongly varied with the corals' metabolic status or with phosphate availability in the water. The very autotrophic shallow-water (~5 m) corals showed low or no DDN assimilation, which significantly increased under elevated phosphate availability (3 µM). Corals that depended more on heterotrophy (i.e., bleached and deep-water [~45 m] corals) assimilated significantly more DDN, which contributed up to 15% of the corals' N demand (compared to 1% in shallow corals). Furthermore, we demonstrate that a substantial part of the DDN assimilated by deep corals was likely obtained from heterotrophic feeding on fixed N compounds and/or diazotrophic cells in the mucus. Conversely, in shallow corals, the net release of mucus, rich in organic carbon compounds, likely enhanced diazotroph abundance and activity and thereby the release of fixed N to the pelagic and benthic reef community. Overall, our results suggest that DDN assimilation by corals varies according to the environmental conditions and is likely linked to the capacity of the coral to acquire nutrients from seawater.

  15. Doom and boom on a resilient reef: climate change, algal overgrowth and coral recovery.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillermo Diaz-Pulido

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs around the world are experiencing large-scale degradation, largely due to global climate change, overfishing, diseases and eutrophication. Climate change models suggest increasing frequency and severity of warming-induced coral bleaching events, with consequent increases in coral mortality and algal overgrowth. Critically, the recovery of damaged reefs will depend on the reversibility of seaweed blooms, generally considered to depend on grazing of the seaweed, and replenishment of corals by larvae that successfully recruit to damaged reefs. These processes usually take years to decades to bring a reef back to coral dominance. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata, colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.

  16. 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.

  17. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aranda Manuel

    2012-09-01

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

  18. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, Michael K.

    2010-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-01

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

  1. How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Washburn, Libe; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2014-09-01

    Global climate change is rapidly altering disturbance regimes in many ecosystems including coral reefs, yet the long-term impacts of these changes on ecosystem structure and function are difficult to predict. A major ecosystem service provided by coral reefs is the provisioning of physical habitat for other organisms, and consequently, many of the effects of climate change on coral reefs will be mediated by their impacts on habitat structure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the independent and combined effects of coral mortality and loss of physical habitat on reef-associated biota. Here, we use a unique series of events affecting the coral reefs around the Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia to differentiate between the impacts of coral mortality and the degradation of physical habitat on the structure of reef fish communities. We found that, by removing large amounts of physical habitat, a tropical cyclone had larger impacts on reef fish communities than an outbreak of coral-eating sea stars that caused widespread coral mortality but left the physical structure intact. In addition, the impacts of declining structural complexity on reef fish assemblages accelerated as structure became increasingly rare. Structure provided by dead coral colonies can take up to decades to erode following coral mortality, and, consequently, our results suggest that predictions based on short-term studies are likely to grossly underestimate the long-term impacts of coral decline on reef fish communities.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Arif, Chatchanit

    2014-12-01

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

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems 2007-2011

    Science.gov (United States)

    ,

    2010-01-01

    Shallow and deep coral ecosystems are being imperiled by a combination of stressors. Climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and disease are transforming coral communities at regional to global scales. At local levels, excessive amounts of sediments, nutrients, and contaminants are also impacting the many benefits that healthy coral ecosystems provide. This Plan, Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems, describes the information needs of resource managers and summarizes current research being conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and partners. It outlines important research actions that need to be undertaken over the next five years to achieve more accurate forecasting of future conditions and develop more effective decision-support tools to adaptively manage coral ecosystems. The overarching outcome of this Plan, if fully implemented, would be in transferring relevant knowledge to decision-makers, enabling them to better protect and sustain coral ecosystem services. These services include sources of food, essential habitat for fisheries and protected species, protection of coastlines from wave damage and erosion, recreation, and cultural values for indigenous communities. The USGS has a long history of research and monitoring experience in studying ancient and living coral communities and serving many stakeholders. The research actions in this Plan build on the USGS legacy of conducting integrated multidisciplinary science to address complex environmental issues. This Plan is responsive to Federal legislation and authorities and a variety of external and internal drivers that include the President's Ocean Action Plan, the recommendations of the Coral Reef Task Force, the information needs of Bureaus in the Department of Interior, the USGS Bureau Science Strategy (USGS 2007) and the formal plans of several USGS Programs. To achieve this Plan's desired outcomes will require increased funding and more effective coordination and collaboration

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Spatial and Temporal Variability of Solar Ultraviolet Exposure of Coral Assemblages in the Florida Keys: Importance of Colored Dissolved Organic Matter x

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation can have deleterious effects on coral assemblages in tropical and subtropical marine environments, but little information is available on UV penetration into ocean waters surrounding corals. Here we provide an extensive data set of optical propert...

  11. Predicting coral species richness: the effect of input variables, diversity and scale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Zoe T; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing a biodiversity crisis due to increasing human impacts, consequently, one third of reef-building corals have an elevated risk of extinction. Logistic challenges prevent broad-scale species-level monitoring of hard corals; hence it has become critical that effective proxy indicators of species richness are established. This study tests how accurately three potential proxy indicators (generic richness on belt transects, generic richness on point-intercept transects and percent live hard coral cover on point-intercept transects) predict coral species richness at three different locations and two analytical scales. Generic richness (measured on a belt transect) was found to be the most effective predictor variable, with significant positive linear relationships across locations and scales. Percent live hard coral cover consistently performed poorly as an indicator of coral species richness. This study advances the practical framework for optimizing coral reef monitoring programs and empirically demonstrates that generic richness offers an effective way to predict coral species richness with a moderate level of precision. While the accuracy of species richness estimates will decrease in communities dominated by species-rich genera (e.g. Acropora), generic richness provides a useful measure of phylogenetic diversity and incorporating this metric into monitoring programs will increase the likelihood that changes in coral species diversity can be detected.

  12. Predicting coral species richness: the effect of input variables, diversity and scale.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe T Richards

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are facing a biodiversity crisis due to increasing human impacts, consequently, one third of reef-building corals have an elevated risk of extinction. Logistic challenges prevent broad-scale species-level monitoring of hard corals; hence it has become critical that effective proxy indicators of species richness are established. This study tests how accurately three potential proxy indicators (generic richness on belt transects, generic richness on point-intercept transects and percent live hard coral cover on point-intercept transects predict coral species richness at three different locations and two analytical scales. Generic richness (measured on a belt transect was found to be the most effective predictor variable, with significant positive linear relationships across locations and scales. Percent live hard coral cover consistently performed poorly as an indicator of coral species richness. This study advances the practical framework for optimizing coral reef monitoring programs and empirically demonstrates that generic richness offers an effective way to predict coral species richness with a moderate level of precision. While the accuracy of species richness estimates will decrease in communities dominated by species-rich genera (e.g. Acropora, generic richness provides a useful measure of phylogenetic diversity and incorporating this metric into monitoring programs will increase the likelihood that changes in coral species diversity can be detected.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  14. [A review of the role and function of microbes in coral reef ecosystem].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Jin; Jin, Hui; Cai, Zhong-Hua

    2014-03-01

    Coral reef is consisted with several kinds of reef-associated organisms, including coral, fish, benthos, algae and microbes, which is an important marine ecosystem. Coral reef lives in the oligotrophic environment, has very highly primary productivity and net productivity, and is called "tropical rain forest in ocean". In corals, diverse microorganisms exert a significant influence on biogeochemical and ecological processes, including food webs, organism life cycles, and nutrient cycling. With the development of molecular biology, the role of microorganisms in a coral system is becoming more outstanding. In this article, we reviewed current understanding on 1) the onset of coral-bacterial associations; 2) the characteristics of microbes in coral (specificity, plasticity and co-evolution) ; 3) the role and signal regulation of microbes in the health and disease of coral; and 4) the response mechanism of microbes for global climatic change and consequent effects, such as temperature rise, ocean acidification and eutrophication. The aims of this article were to summarize the latest theories and achievements, clear the mechanism of microbial ecology in coral reefs and provide a theoretical reference for better protection and maintaining the coral's biodiversity.

  15. A coral-algal phase shift in Mesoamerica not driven by changes in herbivorous fish abundance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arias-González, Jesús Ernesto; Fung, Tak; Seymour, Robert M; Garza-Pérez, Joaquín Rodrigo; Acosta-González, Gilberto; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Johnson, Craig R

    2017-01-01

    Coral-algal phase shifts in which coral cover declines to low levels and is replaced by algae have often been documented on coral reefs worldwide. This has motivated coral reef management responses that include restriction and regulation of fishing, e.g. herbivorous fish species. However, there is evidence that eutrophication and sedimentation can be at least as important as a reduction in herbivory in causing phase shifts. These threats arise from coastal development leading to increased nutrient and sediment loads, which stimulate algal growth and negatively impact corals respectively. Here, we first present results of a dynamic process-based model demonstrating that in addition to overharvesting of herbivorous fish, bottom-up processes have the potential to precipitate coral-algal phase shifts on Mesoamerican reefs. We then provide an empirical example that exemplifies this on coral reefs off Mahahual in Mexico, where a shift from coral to algal dominance occurred over 14 years, during which there was little change in herbivore biomass but considerable development of tourist infrastructure. Our results indicate that coastal development can compromise the resilience of coral reefs and that watershed and coastal zone management together with the maintenance of functional levels of fish herbivory are critical for the persistence of coral reefs in Mesoamerica.

  16. Monte Carlo modeling of photon propagation reveals highly scattering coral tissue

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Wangpraseurt

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Corals are very efficient at using solar radiation, with photosynthetic quantum efficiencies approaching theoretical limits. Here, we investigated potential mechanisms underlying such outstanding photosynthetic performance through extracting inherent optical properties of the living coral tissue and skeleton in a massive faviid coral. Using Monte Carlo simulations developed for medical tissue optics it is shown that for the investigated faviid coral, the coral tissue was a strongly light scattering matrix with a reduced scattering coefficient of µs’ =10 cm-1 (at 636 nm. In contrast, the scattering coefficient of the coral skeleton was µs’ =3.4 cm-1, which facilitated the efficient propagation of light to otherwise shaded coral tissue layers, thus supporting photosynthesis in lower tissues. Our study provides a quantification of coral tissue optical properties in a massive faviid coral and suggests a novel light harvesting strategy, where tissue and skeletal optics act in concert to optimize the illumination of the photosynthesizing algal symbionts embedded within the living coral tissue.

  17. Assessment of survival, mortality and recovery of coral reefs of East Kish Island, Persian Gulf.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jami, M J; Salehduost, A; Negarestan, H

    2010-10-15

    Coral reefs are specialized communities that develop clear, well-lit tropical and subtropical water; they provide shelter and canopy for great variety of organisms, living in mean temperature of 20 degrees C. Coral Bleaching and mortality have been associated with elevated seawater temperature. The aim of the study was to investigate coral bleaching and evaluate health condition of the corals. Distribution of coral reefs around Kish Island was determined by the Timed Swim (TS) technique. This survey carried out in 2 times (May and October, 2009) in 2 depths of 3-5 m and 6-10 m. Two Divers swam in constant speed for a set amount of time in three dive sites. The timed swim survey around the Kish Island showed that the most healthy live hard coral assemblages were found in the site called Persian Gulf seaport, whereas the greatest percentage of bleached corals were located in Jurassic Park station, located at the southeast of the Island. Branching corals (Acropora sp.) were bleached among all 3 stations and no sign of recovery could be detected. In Big coral site suitable substrate for accumulation of living organisms including Echinometra mathaie (sea urchin) existed due to presence of great amount of algae on dead corals and rocks. Based on the observation, it seems that the cause of reef destruction in Kish Island fall in to two categories, natural and human impacts.

  18. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberta M Bonaldo

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

  20. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection | Science ...

    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 standards have not been effectively applied to coral reefs. The Environmental Protection Agency is promoting biocriteria and other water quality standards through collaborative development of bioassessment procedures, indicators and monitoring strategies. To support regulatory action, bioassessment indicators must be biologically meaningful, relevant to management, responsive to human disturbance, and relatively immune to natural variability. A rapid bioassessment protocol for reef-building stony corals was developed and tested for regulatory applicability. Preliminary testing in the Florida Keys found indicators had sufficient precision and provided information relevant to coral reef management. Sensitivity to human disturbance was demonstrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands for five of eight indicators tested. Once established, monitoring programs using these indicators can provide valuable, long-term records of coral condition and regulatory compliance. Development of a rapid bioassement protocol for reef-building stony corals was tested for regulatory applicability.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-29

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A. Anderson

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. Microbial consortia of gorgonian corals from the Aleutian islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gray, Michael A.; Stone, R.P.; McLaughlin, M.R.; Kellogg, C.A.

    2011-01-01

    Gorgonians make up the majority of corals in the Aleutian archipelago and provide critical fish habitat in areas of economically important fisheries. The microbial ecology of the deep-sea gorgonian corals Paragorgea arborea, Plumarella superba, and Cryogorgia koolsae was examined with culture-based and 16S rRNA gene-based techniques. Six coral colonies (two per species) were collected. Samples from all corals were cultured, and clone libraries were constructed from P. superba and C. koolsae. Cultured bacteria were dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria, especially Vibrionaceae, with other phyla comprising FEMS Microbiology Ecology ?? 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. No claim to original US government works.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  8. Using X-Ray Fluorescence Technique to Quantify Metal Concentration in Coral Cores from Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kingsley, C.; Bhattacharya, A.; Hangsterfer, A.; Carilli, J.; Field, D. B.

    2016-12-01

    Caribbean coral reefs are some of the most threatened marine ecosystems in the world. Research appears to suggest that environmental stressors of local origin, such as sediment run off, can reduce the resilience of these reefs to global threats such as ocean warming. Sedimentation can stunt coral growth, reduce its resilience, and it is possible that trapped material could render coral skeletons brittle (personal discussions). Material trapped in coral skeletons can provide information on the sources of particulate matter in the ocean ecosystem. Despite the importance of quantifying sources and types of materials trapped in corals, the research community is yet to fully develop techniques that allow accurate representation of trapped matter, which is potentially a major source of metal content in reef building coral skeletons. The dataset presented here explores the usefulness of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), a widely used tool in environmental studies (but generally not in corals), to estimate metal content in coral cores collected from four locations near Belize, with varying degrees of impact from coastal processes. The coral cores together cover a period of 1862-2006. Trace, major, and minor metal content from these cores have been well-studied using solution-based ICP-MS, providing us with the unique opportunity to test the efficacy of XRF technique in characterizing metal content in these coral cores. We have measured more than 50 metals using XRF every two millimeters along slabs removed from the middle of a coral core to characterize materials present in coral skeletons. We compared the results from XRF to solution-based ICP-MS - that involves dissolving subsamples of coral skeleton to measure metal content. Overall, it appears that the non-destructive XRF technique is a viable supplement in determining sediment and metal content in coral cores, and may be particularly helpful for assessing resistant phases such as grains of sediment that are not fully

  9. Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) Coral Reef Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poore, D.Z.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services such as shoreline protection and the support of lucrative industries including fisheries and tourism. Such ecosystem services are being compromised as reefs decline due to coral disease, climate change, overfishing, and pollution. There is a need for focused, integrated science to understand the complex ecological interactions and effects of these many stressors and to provide information that will effectively guide policies and best management practices to preserve and restore these important resources. The U.S. Geological Survey Florida Integrated Science Center (USGS-FISC) is conducting a coordinated Coral Reef Research Project beginning in 2009. Specific research topics are aimed at addressing priorities identified in the 'Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems 2007-2011' document (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007). Planned research will include a blend of historical, monitoring, and process studies aimed at improving our understanding of the development, current status and function, and likely future changes in coral ecosystems. Topics such as habitat characterization and distribution, coral disease, and trends in biogenic calcification are major themes of understanding reef structure, ecological integrity, and responses to global change.

  10. Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits, and reef fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darling, Emily S.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2017-06-01

    With the ongoing loss of coral cover and the associated flattening of reef architecture, understanding the links between coral habitat and reef fishes is of critical importance. Here, we investigate whether considering coral traits and functional diversity provides new insights into the relationship between structural complexity and reef fish communities, and whether coral traits and community composition can predict structural complexity. Across 157 sites in Seychelles, Maldives, the Chagos Archipelago, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we find that structural complexity and reef zone are the strongest and most consistent predictors of reef fish abundance, biomass, species richness, and trophic structure. However, coral traits, diversity, and life histories provided additional predictive power for models of reef fish assemblages, and were key drivers of structural complexity. Our findings highlight that reef complexity relies on living corals—with different traits and life histories—continuing to build carbonate skeletons, and that these nuanced relationships between coral assemblages and habitat complexity can affect the structure of reef fish assemblages. Seascape-level estimates of structural complexity are rapid and cost effective with important implications for the structure and function of fish assemblages, and should be incorporated into monitoring programs.

  11. Assessing coral stress responses using molecular biomarkers of gene transcription.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, M B; Vogelien, D L; Snell, T W

    2001-03-01

    We present a method for detecting rapid changes in coral gene expression at the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) level. The staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis was exposed to 1 and 10 microg/L permethrin and 25 and 50 microg/L copper for 4 h. Using differential display polymerase chain reaction (PCR), mRNA associated with each toxicant exposure were reverse transcribed into complementary DNA (cDNA) fragments that were subsequently amplified and isolated. Six differentially expressed cDNA fragments were further developed into molecular probes that were used in Northern dot blots to determine the change in transcription levels of target transcripts. Changes in mRNA abundance were quantified by densitometry of chemiluminescence of digoxigenin-labeled probes hybridizing to target mRNA transcripts. The six gene probes showed varying degrees of sensitivity to the toxicants as well as specificity between toxicants. These probes were hybridized in Southern blots to genomic DNA from A. formosa sperm, which lacks zooxanthellae, to demonstrate that the genes coding for the mRNA transcripts produced are found within the coral genome. The gene probes developed in this study provide coral biologists with a new tool for coral assessment. Gene probes are sensitive, toxicant-specific biomarkers of coral stress responses with which gene sequence information can be obtained, providing a mechanism for identifying the stressor altering the gene expression.

  12. The implications of recurrent disturbances within the world's hottest coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bento, Rita; Hoey, Andrew S; Bauman, Andrew G; Feary, David A; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Determining how coral ecosystems are structured within extreme environments may provide insights into how coral reefs are impacted by future climate change. Benthic community structure was examined within the Persian Gulf, and adjacent Musandam and northern Oman regions across a 3-year period (2008-2011) in which all regions were exposed to major disturbances. Although there was evidence of temporal switching in coral composition within regions, communities predominantly reflected local environmental conditions and the disturbance history of each region. Gulf reefs showed little change in coral composition, being dominated by stress-tolerant Faviidae and Poritidae across the 3 years. In comparison, Musandam and Oman coral communities were comprised of stress-sensitive Acroporidae and Pocilloporidae; Oman communities showed substantial declines in such taxa and increased cover of stress-tolerant communities. Our results suggest that coral communities may persist within an increasingly disturbed future environment, albeit in a much more structurally simple configuration.

  13. The importance of macro- versus microstructure in modulating light levels inside coral colonies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kaniewska, Paulina; Magnusson, Sveinn H.; Anthony, Ken R. N.

    2011-01-01

    Adjusting the light exposure and capture of their symbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium Freud.) is central to the success of reef-building corals (order Scleractinia) across high spatio-temporal variation in the light environment of coral reefs. We tested the hypothesis...... irradiances at the level of coral photosymbionts. Key index words: irradiance; morphology; photoacclimation; scale; scleractinian coral; Symbiodinium Abbreviations: a chl a, specific absorption coefficient of chl a; Ddn, diadinoxanthin; Dtn, diatoxanthin; GBR, Great Barrier Reef; GFP, green fluorescent...... that optical properties of tissues in some coral species can provide light management at the tissue scale comparable to light modulation by colony architecture in other species. We compared within-tissue scalar irradiance in two coral species from the same light habitat but with contrasting colony growth forms...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

  15. NMR-Based Metabolomic Analysis of Spatial Variation in Soft Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qing He

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Soft corals are common marine organisms that inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans. They are shown to be rich source of secondary metabolites with biological activities. In this work, soft corals from two geographical locations were investigated using 1H-NMR spectroscopy coupled with multivariate statistical analysis at the metabolic level. A partial least-squares discriminant analysis showed clear separation among extracts of soft corals grown in Sanya Bay and Weizhou Island. The specific markers that contributed to discrimination between soft corals in two origins belonged to terpenes, sterols and N-containing compounds. The satisfied precision of classification obtained indicates this approach using combined 1H-NMR and chemometrics is effective to discriminate soft corals collected in different geographical locations. The results revealed that metabolites of soft corals evidently depended on living environmental condition, which would provide valuable information for further relevant coastal marine environment evaluation.

  16. Persistence of coral assemblages at East and West Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Michelle A.; Embesi, John A.; Eckert, Ryan J.; Nuttall, Marissa F.; Hickerson, Emma L.; Schmahl, George P.

    2016-09-01

    Since 1989 a federally supported long-term coral reef monitoring program has focused on two study sites atop East and West Flower Garden Banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. We examined 25 yr of benthic cover data to provide a multi-decadal baseline and trend analysis of the community structure for this coral reef system. Despite global coral reef decline in recent decades, mean coral cover at East and West Flower Garden Banks was above 50% for the combined 25 yr of continuous monitoring, and represented a stable coral community. However, mean macroalgal cover increased significantly between 1998 and 1999, rising from approximately 3 to 20%, and reaching a maximum above 30% in 2012. In contrast to many other shallow water reefs in the Caribbean region, increases in mean macroalgal cover have not been concomitant with coral cover decline at the Flower Garden Banks.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naohisa Wada

    2016-09-01

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

  18. Perspectives on massive coral growth rates in a changing ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M; Cantin, Neal E

    2014-06-01

    The tropical ocean environment is changing at an unprecedented rate, with warming and severe tropical cyclones creating obvious impacts to coral reefs within the last few decades and projections of acidification raising concerns for the future of these iconic and economically important ecosystems. Documenting variability and detecting change in global and regional climate relies upon high-quality observational records of climate variables supplemented, prior to the mid-19th century, with reconstructions from various sources of proxy climate information. Here we review how annual density banding patterns that are recorded in the skeletons of massive reef-building corals have been used to document environmental change and impacts within coral reefs. Massive corals provide a historical perspective of continuous calcification processes that pre-date most ecological observations of coral reefs. High-density stress bands, abrupt declines in annual linear extension, and evidence of partial mortality within the skeletal growth record reveal signatures of catastrophic stress events that have recently been attributed to mass bleaching events caused by unprecedented thermal stress. Comparison of recent trends in annual calcification with century-scale baseline calcification rates reveals that the frequency of growth anomalies has increased since the late 1990s throughout most of the world's coral reef ecosystems. Continuous coral growth histories provide valuable retrospective information on the coral response to environmental change and the consequences of anthropogenic climate change. Co-ordinated efforts to synthesize and combine global calcification histories will greatly enhance our understanding of current calcification responses to a changing ocean. © 2014 Marine Biological Laboratory.

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Age-Related Shifts in Bacterial Diversity in a Reef Coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Alex D; Brown, Barbara E; Putchim, Lalita; Sweet, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    This study investigated the relationship between microbial communities in differently sized colonies of the massive coral Coelastrea aspera at Phuket, Thailand where colony size could be used as a proxy for age. Results indicated significant differences between the bacterial diversity (ANOSIM, R = 0.76, p = 0.001) of differently sized colonies from the same intertidal reef habitat. Juvenile and small colonies ( 28 cm mean diam). Bacterial diversity increased in a step-wise pattern from juveniles coral skeleton; a result providing some support for the hypothesis that the endolithic algae of corals may directly influence the bacterial community present in coral tissues.

  3. Effects of ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, K.K.; Moyer, R.P.

    2010-01-01

    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are developing comprehensive records of historical and modern coral reef growth and calcification rates relative to changing seawater chemistry resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 from the pre-industrial period to the present. These records will provide the scientific foundation for predicting future impacts of ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reef growth. Changes in coral growth rates in response to past changes in seawater pH are being examined by using cores from coral colonies.

  4. The power of siblings and caregivers: under-explored types of social support among children affected by HIV and AIDS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharer, Melissa; Cluver, Lucie; Shields, Joseph J.; Ahearn, Frederick

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Children affected by HIV and AIDS have significantly higher rates of mental health problems than unaffected children. There is a need for research to examine how social support functions as a source of resiliency for children in high HIV-prevalence settings such as South Africa. The purpose of this research was to explore how family social support relates to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress (PTS). Using the ecological model as a frame, data were drawn from a 2011 cross-sectional study of 1380 children classified as either orphaned by AIDS and/or living with an AIDS sick family member. The children were from high-poverty, high HIV-prevalent rural and urban communities in South Africa. Social support was analyzed in depth by examining the source (e.g. caregiver, sibling) and the type (e.g. emotional, instrumental, quality). These variables were entered into multiple regression analyses to estimate the most parsimonious regression models to show the relationships between social support and depression, anxiety, and PTS symptoms among the children. Siblings emerged as the most consistent source of social support on mental health. Overall caregiver and sibling support explained 13% variance in depression, 12% in anxiety, and 11% in PTS. Emotional support was the most frequent type of social support associated with mental health in all regression models, with higher levels of quality and instrumental support having the strongest relation to positive mental health outcomes. Although instrumental and quality support from siblings were related to positive mental health, unexpectedly, the higher the level of emotional support received from a sibling resulted in the child reporting more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTS. The opposite was true for emotional support provided via caregivers, higher levels of this support was related to lower levels of all mental health symptoms. Sex was significant in all regressions, indicating the presence of

  5. Quantifying bamboo coral growth rate nonlinearity with the radiocarbon bomb spike: A new model for paleoceanographic chronology development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frenkel, M. M.; LaVigne, M.; Miller, H. R.; Hill, T. M.; McNichol, A.; Gaylord, M. Lardie

    2017-07-01

    Bamboo corals, long-lived cold water gorgonin octocorals, offer unique paleoceanographic archives of the intermediate ocean. These Isididae corals are characterized by alternating gorgonin nodes and high Mg-calcite internodes, which synchronously extend radially. Bamboo coral calcite internodes have been utilized to obtain geochemical proxy data, however, growth rate uncertainty has made it difficult to construct precise chronologies for these corals. Previous studies have relied upon a single tie point from records of the anthropogenic Δ14C bomb spike preserved in the gorgonin nodes of live-collected corals to calculate a mean radial extension rate for the outer 50 years of skeletal growth. Bamboo coral chronologies are typically constructed by applying this mean extension rate to the entire coral record, assuming constant radial extension with coral age. In this study, we aim to test this underlying assumption by analyzing the organic nodes of six California margin bamboo corals at high enough resolution (coral collection date (2007.5) for four samples. Radial extension rates between tie points ranged from 10 to 204 μm/year, with a decrease in growth rate evident between the 1957-1970 and 1970-2007.5 periods for all four corals. A negative correlation between growth rate and coral radius (r =-0.7; p=0.04) was determined for multiple bamboo coral taxa and individuals from the California margin, demonstrating a decline in radial extension rate with specimen age and size. To provide a mechanistic basis for these observations, a simple mathematical model was developed based on the assumption of a constant increase in circular cross sectional area with time to quantify this decline in radial extension rate with coral size between chronological tie points. Applying the area-based model to our Δ14C bomb spike time series from individual corals improves chronology accuracy for all live-collected corals with complete Δ14C bomb spikes. Hence, this study provides

  6. Review: Current trends in coral transplantation – an approach to preserve biodiversity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ABDELNABY ORABI

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Ammar MSA,El-Gammal F, Nassar M, Belal A, Farag W, El-Mesiry G, El-Haddad K, Orabi A, Abdelreheem A, Shaaban A. 2013. Review: Current trends in coral transplantation – an approach to preserve biodiversity. Biodiversitas 14: 43-53. The increasing rates of coral mortality associated with the rise in stress factors and the lack of adequate recovery worldwide have urged recent calls for actions by the scientific, conservation, and reef management communities. This work reviews the current trends in coral transplantation. Transplantation of coral colonies or fragments, whether from aqua-, mariculture or harvesting from a healthy colony, has been the most frequently recommended action for increasing coral abundance on damaged or degraded reefs and for conserving listed or “at-risk” species. Phytoplanktons are important for providing transplanted corals with complex organic compounds through photosynthesis. Artificial surfaces like concrete blocks, wrecks or other purpose-designed structures can be introduced for larval settlement. New surfaces can also be created through electrolysis. Molecular biological tools can be used to select sites for rehabilitation by asexual recruits. Surface chemistry and possible inputs of toxic leachate from artificial substrates are considered as important factors affecting natural recruitment. Transplants should be carefully maintained , revisited and reattached at least weekly in the first month and at least fortnightly in the next three months. Studies on survivorship and the reproductive ability of transplanted coral fragments are important for coral reef restoration. A coral nursery may be considered as a pool for local species that supplies reef-managers with unlimited coral colonies for sustainable management. Transplanting corals for making artificial reefs can be useful for increasing biodiversity, providing tourist diving, fishing and surfing; creating new artisanal and commercial fishing opportunities

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-02

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

  9. Development of a Regional Coral Observation Method by a Fluorescence Imaging LIDAR Installed in a Towable Buoy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masahiko Sasano

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching and mortality is predicted to increase under global climate change. A new observation technique is required to monitor regional coral conditions. To this end, we developed a light detection and ranging (LIDAR system installed in a towable buoy for boat observations, which acquires continuous fluorescent images of the seabed during day-time. Most corals have innate fluorescent proteins in their tissue, and they emit fluorescence by ultraviolet excitation. This fluorescence distinguishes living coral from dead coral skeleton, crustose coralline algae, and sea algae. This paper provides a proof of concept for using the LIDAR system and fluorescence to map coral distribution within 1 km scale and coral cover within 100 m scale for a single reef in Japan.

  10. High adenylyl cyclase activity and in vivo cAMP fluctuations in corals suggest central physiological role.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, K L; Helman, Y; Haramaty, L; Barron, M E; Hess, K C; Buck, J; Levin, L R; Tresguerres, M

    2013-01-01

    Corals are an ecologically and evolutionarily significant group, providing the framework for coral reef biodiversity while representing one of the most basal of metazoan phyla. However, little is known about fundamental signaling pathways in corals. Here we investigate the dynamics of cAMP, a conserved signaling molecule that can regulate virtually every physiological process. Bioinformatics revealed corals have both transmembrane and soluble adenylyl cyclases (AC). Endogenous cAMP levels in live corals followed a potential diel cycle, as they were higher during the day compared to the middle of the night. Coral homogenates exhibited some of the highest cAMP production rates ever to be recorded in any organism; this activity was inhibited by calcium ions and stimulated by bicarbonate. In contrast, zooxanthellae or mucus had >1000-fold lower AC activity. These results suggest that cAMP is an important regulator of coral physiology, especially in response to light, acid/base disturbances and inorganic carbon levels.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas F. Haas

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available 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, neglecting changes in their aesthetic appearance. Here we introduce a standardized computational approach to assess coral reef environments based on 109 visual features designed to evaluate the aesthetic appearance of art. The main feature groups include color intensity and diversity of the image, relative size, color, and distribution of discernable objects within the image, and texture. Specific coral reef aesthetic values combining all 109 features were calibrated against an established biogeochemical assessment (NCEAS using machine learning algorithms. These values were generated for ∼2,100 random photographic images collected from 9 coral reef locations exposed to varying levels of anthropogenic influence across 2 ocean systems. Aesthetic values proved accurate predictors of the NCEAS scores (root mean square error < 5 for N ≥ 3 and significantly correlated to microbial abundance at each site. This shows that mathematical approaches designed to assess the aesthetic appearance of photographic images can be used as an inexpensive monitoring tool for coral reef ecosystems. It further suggests that human perception of aesthetics is not purely subjective but influenced by inherent reactions towards measurable visual cues. By quantifying aesthetic features of coral reef systems this method provides a cost efficient monitoring tool that targets one of the most important socioeconomic values of coral reefs directly tied to revenue for its local population.

  12. The wicked problem of China's disappearing coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Huang, Hui; Young, Matthew A L

    2013-04-01

    We examined the development of coral reef science and the policies, institutions, and governance frameworks for management of coral reefs in China in order to highlight the wicked problem of preserving reefs while simultaneously promoting human development and nation building. China and other sovereign states in the region are experiencing unprecedented economic expansion, rapid population growth, mass migration, widespread coastal development, and loss of habitat. We analyzed a large, fragmented literature on the condition of coral reefs in China and the disputed territories of the South China Sea. We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80% over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island. On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by 6 countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of >60% to around 20% within the past 10-15 years. Climate change has affected these reefs far less than coastal development, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. Ironically, these widespread declines in the condition of reefs are unfolding as China's research and reef-management capacity are rapidly expanding. Before the loss of corals becomes irreversible, governance of China's coastal reefs could be improved by increasing public awareness of declining ecosystem services, by providing financial support for training of reef scientists and managers, by improving monitoring of coral reef dynamics and condition to better inform policy development, and by enforcing existing regulations that could protect coral reefs. In the South China Sea, changes in policy and legal frameworks, refinement of governance structures, and cooperation among neighboring countries are urgently needed to develop cooperative management of contested offshore reefs.

  13. Climatological context for large-scale coral bleaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barton, A. D.; Casey, K. S.

    2005-12-01

    Large-scale coral bleaching was first observed in 1979 and has occurred throughout virtually all of the tropics since that time. Severe bleaching may result in the loss of live coral and in a decline of the integrity of the impacted coral reef ecosystem. Despite the extensive scientific research and increased public awareness of coral bleaching, uncertainties remain about the past and future of large-scale coral bleaching. In order to reduce these uncertainties and place large-scale coral bleaching in the longer-term climatological context, specific criteria and methods for using historical sea surface temperature (SST) data to examine coral bleaching-related thermal conditions are proposed by analyzing three, 132 year SST reconstructions: ERSST, HadISST1, and GISST2.3b. These methodologies are applied to case studies at Discovery Bay, Jamaica (77.27°W, 18.45°N), Sombrero Reef, Florida, USA (81.11°W, 24.63°N), Academy Bay, Galápagos, Ecuador (90.31°W, 0.74°S), Pearl and Hermes Reef, Northwest Hawaiian Islands, USA (175.83°W, 27.83°N), Midway Island, Northwest Hawaiian Islands, USA (177.37°W, 28.25°N), Davies Reef, Australia (147.68°E, 18.83°S), and North Male Atoll, Maldives (73.35°E, 4.70°N). The results of this study show that (1) The historical SST data provide a useful long-term record of thermal conditions in reef ecosystems, giving important insight into the thermal history of coral reefs and (2) While coral bleaching and anomalously warm SSTs have occurred over much of the world in recent decades, case studies in the Caribbean, Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and parts of other regions such as the Great Barrier Reef exhibited SST conditions and cumulative thermal stress prior to 1979 that were comparable to those conditions observed during the strong, frequent coral bleaching events since 1979. This climatological context and knowledge of past environmental conditions in reef ecosystems may foster a better understanding of how coral reefs will

  14. Ireland's deep-water coral carbonate mounds: multidisciplinary research results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kozachenko, M.; Wheeler, A.; Beyer, A.; Blamart, D.; Masson, D.; Olu-Le Roy, K.

    2003-04-01

    Recent international research activity, involving a strong Irish collaboration, has shown that coral reefs are not exclusively associated with warm tropical waters but are also present in the deeper and colder Northeast Atlantic. In the Porcupine Seabight west of Ireland, coral-colonised carbonate mounds (up to 350m high) are present at 600-900m water depth. The corals Lophelia pertusa L. and Madrepora oculata L. contribute to this diverse ecosystem that may also play a significant role in expanding deep-water fisheries. New side-scan sonar, multibeam echosounder, sub-bottom profiler and underwater video imagery supplemented with sedimentological sample material were used to map the seabed in the environs of the Belgica Carbonate Mound province, eastern Porcupine Seabight. The data were integrated in a GIS and provides information on sediment pathways and benthic current patterns within the study area. A facies map of the study area highlights differing sedimentary processes showing evidences for strong northward bottom currents whose interaction has an influence on mounds growth and morphology. This survey revealed mound flanks dominated by sediment waves that give way to coral banks towards the mound summits. A form of coral accumulation was also documented. Detailed analyses of sediment properties from long cores through sediment drifts have generated a high-resolution palaeoclimate record revealing temporal patterns in bottom current strength variations. An accurate assessment of this influence on mound through a comparison with coral growth rates is ongoing.

  15. Fluorescent bands in massive corals record centuries of coastal rainfall

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isdale, Peter

    1984-08-01

    Massive coral colonies on the Great Barrier Reef grow outwards at 5-25 mm yr-1 (ref. 1). Skeletal density varies seasonally in all massive corals from the Great Barrier Reef and an exact temporal record of growth can be obtained by X-radiography of appropriately cut sections of the colony2,3. Environmental influences on coral growth have been described from such analyses4-6. This is the first report from the skeletons of massive corals of yellow green fluorescent bands which appear under long-wave UV light. Such fluorescence is confined to corals growing within 20 km of the shore and is not present in massive corals from mid- and outer shelf reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef region. The timing, width and intensity of the fluorescent bands correlate strongly with summer, monsoonal rainfall and coastal runoff. Large colonies, several centuries old, can provide long records of the strength and periodicity of terrestrial runoff to the tropical nearshore environment. Such records are potentially important to climatology, meteorology, agriculture, civil engineering and management of the Great Barrier Reef.

  16. Project Overview: A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    The purpose of this report is to provide the latest scientific knowledge and discuss available management options to assist local and regional managers in responding effectively to mass coral bleaching events. Background A Reef Manager’s Guide to Coral Bleaching is the result of a collaborative effort by over 50 scientists and managers to: (1) share the best available scientific information on climate-related coral bleaching; and (2) compile a tool kit of currently available strategies for adaptive management of coral reefs in a changing climate. The result is a compendium of current information, tools, and practical suggestions to aid managers in their efforts to protect reefs in a way that maximizes reef resilience in the face of continuing climate change. The Guide is a joint publication of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and The World Conservation Union, with author contributions from a variety of international partners from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions. EPA’s Office of Research and Development was a major contributor to the Guide through authorship and participation in the final review and editing process for the entire report. A Reef Manager’s Guide to Coral Bleaching is the result of a collaborative effort by over 50 scientists and managers to: (1) share the best available scientific information on climate-related coral blea

  17. A Global Estimate of the Number of Coral Reef Fishers.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louise S L Teh

    Full Text Available Overfishing threatens coral reefs worldwide, yet there is no reliable estimate on the number of reef fishers globally. We address this data gap by quantifying the number of reef fishers on a global scale, using two approaches - the first estimates reef fishers as a proportion of the total number of marine fishers in a country, based on the ratio of reef-related to total marine fish landed values. The second estimates reef fishers as a function of coral reef area, rural coastal population, and fishing pressure. In total, we find that there are 6 million reef fishers in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide, of which at least 25% are reef gleaners. Our estimates are an improvement over most existing fisher population statistics, which tend to omit accounting for gleaners and reef fishers. Our results suggest that slightly over a quarter of the world's small-scale fishers fish on coral reefs, and half of all coral reef fishers are in Southeast Asia. Coral reefs evidently support the socio-economic well-being of numerous coastal communities. By quantifying the number of people who are employed as reef fishers, we provide decision-makers with an important input into planning for sustainable coral reef fisheries at the appropriate scale.

  18. 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...

  19. The Assimilation of Diazotroph-Derived Nitrogen by Scleractinian Corals Depends on Their Metabolic Status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grover, Renaud; Maguer, Jean-François; Fine, Maoz; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Tropical corals are associated with a diverse community of dinitrogen (N2)-fixing prokaryotes (diazotrophs) providing the coral an additional source of bioavailable nitrogen (N) in oligotrophic waters. The overall activity of these diazotrophs changes depending on the current environmental conditions, but to what extent it affects the assimilation of diazotroph-derived N (DDN) by corals is still unknown. Here, in a series of 15N2 tracer experiments, we directly quantified DDN assimilation by scleractinian corals from the Red Sea exposed to different environmental conditions. We show that DDN assimilation strongly varied with the corals’ metabolic status or with phosphate availability in the water. The very autotrophic shallow-water (~5 m) corals showed low or no DDN assimilation, which significantly increased under elevated phosphate availability (3 µM). Corals that depended more on heterotrophy (i.e., bleached and deep-water [~45 m] corals) assimilated significantly more DDN, which contributed up to 15% of the corals’ N demand (compared to 1% in shallow corals). Furthermore, we demonstrate that a substantial part of the DDN assimilated by deep corals was likely obtained from heterotrophic feeding on fixed N compounds and/or diazotrophic cells in the mucus. Conversely, in shallow corals, the net release of mucus, rich in organic carbon compounds, likely enhanced diazotroph abundance and activity and thereby the release of fixed N to the pelagic and benthic reef community. Overall, our results suggest that DDN assimilation by corals varies according to the environmental conditions and is likely linked to the capacity of the coral to acquire nutrients from seawater. PMID:28074021

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-07-24

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  2. Environmental forcing of the Campeche cold-water coral province, southern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hebbeln, D.; Wienberg, C.; Wintersteller, P.; Freiwald, A.; Becker, M.; Beuck, L.; Dullo, C.; Eberli, G. P.; Glogowski, S.; Matos, L.; Forster, N.; Reyes-Bonilla, H.; Taviani, M.

    2014-04-01

    With an extension of > 40 km2 the recently discovered Campeche cold-water coral province located at the northeastern rim of the Campeche Bank in the southern Gulf of Mexico belongs to the largest coherent cold-water coral areas discovered so far. The Campeche province consists of numerous 20-40 m-high elongated coral mounds that are developed in intermediate water depths of 500 to 600 m. The mounds are colonized by a vivid cold-water coral ecosystem that covers the upper flanks and summits. The rich coral community is dominated by the framework-building Scleractinia Enallopsammia profunda and Lophelia pertusa, while the associated benthic megafauna shows a rather scarce occurrence. The recent environmental setting is characterized by a high surface water production caused by a local upwelling center and a dynamic bottom-water regime comprising vigorous bottom currents, obvious temporal variability, and strong density contrasts, which all together provide optimal conditions for the growth of cold-water corals. This setting - potentially supported by the diel vertical migration of zooplankton in the Campeche area - controls the delivering of food particles to the corals. The Campeche cold-water coral province is, thus, an excellent example highlighting the importance of the oceanographic setting in securing the food supply for the development of large and vivid cold-water coral ecosystems.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voss, Joshua D; Richardson, Laurie L

    2006-03-23

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

  4. 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.

  5. Low sediment loads affect survival of coral recruits: the first weeks are crucial

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moeller, Mareen; Nietzer, Samuel; Schils, Tom; Schupp, Peter J.

    2017-03-01

    Increased sedimentation due to anthropogenic activities is a threat to many nearshore coral reefs. The effects on adult corals have been studied extensively and are well known. Studies about the impact of sedimentation on the early life stages of scleractinian corals, however, are rare although recruitment is essential for conserving and restoring coral reefs. Laboratory and in situ experiments with recruits of different age classes focused on the broadcast-spawning species Acropora hyacinthus and the brooding coral Leptastrea purpurea. Recruits were exposed to different sediment loads over three to five weeks. Applied sediment loads were more than one order of magnitude lower than those known to affect survival of adult coral colonies. Growth and survival of newly settled recruits were negatively affected by sediment loads that had no effect on the growth and survival of one-month-old recruits. All experiments indicated that newly settled coral recruits are most sensitive to sedimentation within the first two to four weeks post settlement. The co-occurrence of moderate sedimentation events during and immediately after periods of coral spawning can therefore reduce recruitment success substantially. These findings provide new information to develop comprehensive sediment management plans for the conservation and recovery of coral reefs affected by chronic or acute sedimentation events.

  6. 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.

  7. Two Streptomyces species producing antibiotic, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory compounds are widespread among intertidal macroalgae and deep-sea coral reef invertebrates from the central Cantabrian Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braña, Alfredo F; Braña, Afredo F; Fiedler, Hans-Peter; Nava, Herminio; González, Verónica; Sarmiento-Vizcaíno, Aida; Molina, Axayacatl; Acuña, José L; García, Luis A; Blanco, Gloria

    2015-04-01

    Streptomycetes are widely distributed in the marine environment, although only a few studies on their associations to algae and coral ecosystems have been reported. Using a culture-dependent approach, we have isolated antibiotic-active Streptomyces species associated to diverse intertidal marine macroalgae (Phyllum Heterokontophyta, Rhodophyta, and Chlorophyta), from the central Cantabrian Sea. Two strains, with diverse antibiotic and cytotoxic activities, were found to inhabit these coastal environments, being widespread and persistent over a 3-year observation time frame. Based on 16S rRNA sequence analysis, the strains were identified as Streptomyces cyaneofuscatus M-27 and Streptomyces carnosus M-40. Similar isolates to these two strains were also associated to corals and other invertebrates from deep-sea coral reef ecosystem (Phyllum Cnidaria, Echinodermata, Arthropoda, Sipuncula, and Anelida) living up to 4.700-m depth in the submarine Avilés Canyon, thus revealing their barotolerant feature. These two strains were also found to colonize terrestrial lichens and have been repeatedly isolated from precipitations from tropospheric clouds. Compounds with antibiotic and cytotoxic activities produced by these strains were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and database comparison. Antitumor compounds with antibacterial activities and members of the anthracycline family (daunomycin, cosmomycin B, galtamycin B), antifungals (maltophilins), anti-inflamatory molecules also with antituberculosis properties (lobophorins) were identified in this work. Many other compounds produced by the studied strains still remain unidentified, suggesting that Streptomyces associated to algae and coral ecosystems might represent an underexplored promising source for pharmaceutical drug discovery.

  8. A Systems Approach to Identifying Exploration and Development Opportunities in the Illinois Basin: Digital Portifolio of Plays in Underexplored Lower Paleozoic Rocks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Beverly Seyler; David Harris; Brian Keith; Bryan Huff; Yaghoob Lasemi

    2008-06-30

    This study examined petroleum occurrence in Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian reservoirs in the Illinois Basin. Results from this project show that there is excellent potential for additional discovery of petroleum reservoirs in these formations. Numerous exploration targets and exploration strategies were identified that can be used to increase production from these underexplored strata. Some of the challenges to exploration of deeper strata include the lack of subsurface data, lack of understanding of regional facies changes, lack of understanding the role of diagenetic alteration in developing reservoir porosity and permeability, the shifting of structural closures with depth, overlooking potential producing horizons, and under utilization of 3D seismic techniques. This study has shown many areas are prospective for additional discoveries in lower Paleozoic strata in the Illinois Basin. This project implemented a systematic basin analysis approach that is expected to encourage exploration for petroleum in lower Paleozoic rocks of the Illinois Basin. The study has compiled and presented a broad base of information and knowledge needed by independent oil companies to pursue the development of exploration prospects in overlooked, deeper play horizons in the Illinois Basin. Available geologic data relevant for the exploration and development of petroleum reservoirs in the Illinois Basin was analyzed and assimilated into a coherent, easily accessible digital play portfolio. The primary focus of this project was on case studies of existing reservoirs in Devonian, Silurian, and Ordovician strata and the application of knowledge gained to future exploration and development in these underexplored strata of the Illinois Basin. In addition, a review of published reports and exploration in the New Albany Shale Group, a Devonian black shale source rock, in Illinois was completed due to the recent increased interest in Devonian black shales across the United States. The New

  9. A Systems Approach to Identifying Exploration and Development Opportunities in the Illinois Basin: Digital Portifolio of Plays in Underexplored Lower Paleozoic Rocks [Part 1 of 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Seyler, Beverly; Harris, David; Keith, Brian; Huff, Bryan; Lasemi, Yaghoob

    2008-06-30

    This study examined petroleum occurrence in Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian reservoirs in the Illinois Basin. Results from this project show that there is excellent potential for additional discovery of petroleum reservoirs in these formations. Numerous exploration targets and exploration strategies were identified that can be used to increase production from these underexplored strata. Some of the challenges to exploration of deeper strata include the lack of subsurface data, lack of understanding of regional facies changes, lack of understanding the role of diagenetic alteration in developing reservoir porosity and permeability, the shifting of structural closures with depth, overlooking potential producing horizons, and under utilization of 3D seismic techniques. This study has shown many areas are prospective for additional discoveries in lower Paleozoic strata in the Illinois Basin. This project implemented a systematic basin analysis approach that is expected to encourage exploration for petroleum in lower Paleozoic rocks of the Illinois Basin. The study has compiled and presented a broad base of information and knowledge needed by independent oil companies to pursue the development of exploration prospects in overlooked, deeper play horizons in the Illinois Basin. Available geologic data relevant for the exploration and development of petroleum reservoirs in the Illinois Basin was analyzed and assimilated into a coherent, easily accessible digital play portfolio. The primary focus of this project was on case studies of existing reservoirs in Devonian, Silurian, and Ordovician strata and the application of knowledge gained to future exploration and development in these underexplored strata of the Illinois Basin. In addition, a review of published reports and exploration in the New Albany Shale Group, a Devonian black shale source rock, in Illinois was completed due to the recent increased interest in Devonian black shales across the United States. The New

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olga Pantos

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

  11. Sediment and turbidity associated with offshore dredging increase coral disease prevalence on nearby reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F Joseph Pollock

    Full Text Available In recent decades, coral reef ecosystems have declined to the extent that reefs are now threatened globally. While many water quality parameters have been proposed to contribute to reef declines, little evidence exists conclusively linking specific water quality parameters with increased disease prevalence in situ. Here we report evidence from in situ coral health surveys confirming that chronic exposure to dredging-associated sediment plumes significantly increase the prevalence of white syndromes, a devastating group of globally important coral diseases. Coral health surveys were conducted along a dredging-associated sediment plume gradient to assess the relationship between sedimentation, turbidity and coral health. Reefs exposed to the highest number of days under the sediment plume (296 to 347 days had two-fold higher levels of disease, largely driven by a 2.5-fold increase in white syndromes, and a six-fold increase in other signs of compromised coral health relative to reefs with little or no plume exposure (0 to 9 days. Multivariate modeling and ordination incorporating sediment exposure level, coral community composition and cover, predation and multiple thermal stress indices provided further confirmation that sediment plume exposure level was the main driver of elevated disease and other compromised coral health indicators. This study provides the first evidence linking dredging-associated sedimentation and turbidity with elevated coral disease prevalence in situ. Our results may help to explain observed increases in global coral disease prevalence in recent decades and suggest that minimizing sedimentation and turbidity associated with coastal development will provide an important management tool for controlling coral disease epizootics.

  12. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of functiona

  13. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services,

  14. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of

  15. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services,

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60–100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60-100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through

  18. Quantification of algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium) in coral tissue using real-time PCR

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J. C.; Van Oppen, M. J. H.; Berkelmans, R.; Stam, W. T.; Olsen, J. L.

    Understanding the flexibility of the endosymbioses between scleractinian corals and single-cell algae of the genus Symbiodinium will provide valuable insights into the future of coral reefs. Here, a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay is presented to accurately determine the cell

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60-100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through vis

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60–100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through vis

  1. Quantification of algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium) in coral tissue using real-time PCR

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J. C.; Van Oppen, M. J. H.; Berkelmans, R.; Stam, W. T.; Olsen, J. L.

    2009-01-01

    Understanding the flexibility of the endosymbioses between scleractinian corals and single-cell algae of the genus Symbiodinium will provide valuable insights into the future of coral reefs. Here, a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay is presented to accurately determine the cell densiti

  2. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of functiona

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  4. 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

  5. Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Caldeira, Lilian; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kwiatkowski, Lester; Maclaren, Jana K; Mason, Benjamin M; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Pongratz, Julia; Ricke, Katharine L; Rivlin, Tanya; Schneider, Kenneth; Sesboüé, Marine; Shamberger, Kathryn; Silverman, Jacob; Wolfe, Kennedy; Zhu, Kai; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-03-17

    Approximately one-quarter of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year is absorbed by the global oceans, causing measurable declines in surface ocean pH, carbonate ion concentration ([CO3(2-)]), and saturation state of carbonate minerals (Ω). This process, referred to as ocean acidification, represents a major threat to marine ecosystems, in particular marine calcifiers such as oysters, crabs, and corals. Laboratory and field studies have shown that calcification rates of many organisms decrease with declining pH, [CO3(2-)], and Ω. Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems to ocean acidification, in part because the very architecture of the ecosystem is reliant on carbonate-secreting organisms. Acidification-induced reductions in calcification are projected to shift coral reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution this century. While retrospective studies show large-scale declines in coral, and community, calcification over recent decades, determining the contribution of ocean acidification to these changes is difficult, if not impossible, owing to the confounding effects of other environmental factors such as temperature. Here we quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to alkalinity enrichment, and show that, when ocean chemistry is restored closer to pre-industrial conditions, net community calcification increases. In providing results from the first seawater chemistry manipulation experiment of a natural coral reef community, we provide evidence that net community calcification is depressed compared with values expected for pre-industrial conditions, indicating that ocean acidification may already be impairing coral reef growth.

  6. Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Caldeira, Lilian; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kwiatkowski, Lester; MacLaren, Jana K.; Mason, Benjamin M.; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Pongratz, Julia; Ricke, Katharine L.; Rivlin, Tanya; Schneider, Kenneth; Sesboüé, Marine; Shamberger, Kathryn; Silverman, Jacob; Wolfe, Kennedy; Zhu, Kai; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-03-01

    Approximately one-quarter of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year is absorbed by the global oceans, causing measurable declines in surface ocean pH, carbonate ion concentration ([CO32-]), and saturation state of carbonate minerals (Ω). This process, referred to as ocean acidification, represents a major threat to marine ecosystems, in particular marine calcifiers such as oysters, crabs, and corals. Laboratory and field studies have shown that calcification rates of many organisms decrease with declining pH, [CO32-], and Ω. Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems to ocean acidification, in part because the very architecture of the ecosystem is reliant on carbonate-secreting organisms. Acidification-induced reductions in calcification are projected to shift coral reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution this century. While retrospective studies show large-scale declines in coral, and community, calcification over recent decades, determining the contribution of ocean acidification to these changes is difficult, if not impossible, owing to the confounding effects of other environmental factors such as temperature. Here we quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to alkalinity enrichment, and show that, when ocean chemistry is restored closer to pre-industrial conditions, net community calcification increases. In providing results from the first seawater chemistry manipulation experiment of a natural coral reef community, we provide evidence that net community calcification is depressed compared with values expected for pre-industrial conditions, indicating that ocean acidification may already be impairing coral reef growth.

  7. The dynamics of architectural complexity on coral reefs under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-01-01

    One striking feature of coral reef ecosystems is the complex benthic architecture which supports diverse and abundant fauna, particularly of reef fish. Reef-building corals are in decline worldwide, with a corresponding loss of live coral cover resulting in a loss of architectural complexity. Understanding the dynamics of the reef architecture is therefore important to envision the ability of corals to maintain functional habitats in an era of climate change. Here, we develop a mechanistic model of reef topographical complexity for contemporary Caribbean reefs. The model describes the dynamics of corals and other benthic taxa under climate-driven disturbances (hurricanes and coral bleaching). Corals have a simplified shape with explicit diameter and height, allowing species-specific calculation of their colony surface and volume. Growth and the mechanical (hurricanes) and biological erosion (parrotfish) of carbonate skeletons are important in driving the pace of extension/reduction in the upper reef surface, the net outcome being quantified by a simple surface roughness index (reef rugosity). The model accurately simulated the decadal changes of coral cover observed in Cozumel (Mexico) between 1984 and 2008, and provided a realistic hindcast of coral colony-scale (1-10 m) changing rugosity over the same period. We then projected future changes of Caribbean reef rugosity in response to global warming. Under severe and frequent thermal stress, the model predicted a dramatic loss of rugosity over the next two or three decades. Critically, reefs with managed parrotfish populations were able to delay the general loss of architectural complexity, as the benefits of grazing in maintaining living coral outweighed the bioerosion of dead coral skeletons. Overall, this model provides the first explicit projections of reef rugosity in a warming climate, and highlights the need of combining local (protecting and restoring high grazing) to global (mitigation of greenhouse gas

  8. 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

  9. 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

  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. 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- ...

  12. The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madin, Joshua S.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Andreasen, Magnus Heide; Bridge, Tom C. L.; Cairns, Stephen D.; Connolly, Sean R.; Darling, Emily S.; Diaz, Marcela; Falster, Daniel S.; Franklin, Erik C.; Gates, Ruth D.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Huang, Danwei; Keith, Sally A.; Kosnik, Matthew A.; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Luiz, Osmar; Martinelli, Julieta; Mizerek, Toni; Pandolfi, John M.; Pochon, Xavier; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Roberts, T. Edward; Stat, Michael; Wallace, Carden C.; Widman, Elizabeth; Baird, Andrew H.

    2016-03-01

    Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism’s function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental change. Coral reef scientists have long collected trait data for corals; however, these are difficult to access and often under-utilized in addressing large-scale questions. We present the Coral Trait Database initiative that aims to bring together physiological, morphological, ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic trait information into a single repository. The database houses species- and individual-level data from published field and experimental studies alongside contextual data that provide important framing for analyses. In this data descriptor, we release data for 56 traits for 1547 species, and present a collaborative platform on which other trait data are being actively federated. Our overall goal is for the Coral Trait Database to become an open-source, community-led data clearinghouse that accelerates coral reef research.

  13. The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madin, Joshua S.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Andreasen, Magnus Heide; Bridge, Tom C.L.; Cairns, Stephen D.; Connolly, Sean R.; Darling, Emily S.; Diaz, Marcela; Falster, Daniel S.; Franklin, Erik C.; Gates, Ruth D.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Huang, Danwei; Keith, Sally A.; Kosnik, Matthew A.; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Luiz, Osmar; Martinelli, Julieta; Mizerek, Toni; Pandolfi, John M.; Pochon, Xavier; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Roberts, T. Edward; Stat, Michael; Wallace, Carden C.; Widman, Elizabeth; Baird, Andrew H.

    2016-01-01

    Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism’s function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental change. Coral reef scientists have long collected trait data for corals; however, these are difficult to access and often under-utilized in addressing large-scale questions. We present the Coral Trait Database initiative that aims to bring together physiological, morphological, ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic trait information into a single repository. The database houses species- and individual-level data from published field and experimental studies alongside contextual data that provide important framing for analyses. In this data descriptor, we release data for 56 traits for 1547 species, and present a collaborative platform on which other trait data are being actively federated. Our overall goal is for the Coral Trait Database to become an open-source, community-led data clearinghouse that accelerates coral reef research. PMID:27023900

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. Regional hard coral distribution within geomorphic and reef flat ecological zones determined by satellite imagery of the Xisha Islands, South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuo, Xiuling; Su, Fenzhen; Zhao, Huanting; Zhang, Junjue; Wang, Qi; Wu, Di

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs in the Xisha Islands (also known as the Paracel Islands in English), South China Sea, have experienced dramatic declines in coral cover. However, the current regional scale hard coral distribution of geomorphic and ecological zones, essential for reefs management in the context of global warming and ocean acidification, is not well documented. We analyzed data from field surveys, Landsat-8 and GF-1 images to map the distribution of hard coral within geomorphic zones and reef flat ecological zones. In situ surveys conducted in June 2014 on nine reefs provided a complete picture of reef status with regard to live coral diversity, evenness of coral cover and reef health (live versus dead cover) for the Xisha Islands. Mean coral cover was 12.5% in 2014 and damaged reefs seemed to show signs of recovery. Coral cover in sheltered habitats such as lagoon patch reefs and biotic dense zones of reef flats was higher, but there were large regional differences and low diversity. In contrast, the more exposed reef slopes had high coral diversity, along with high and more equal distributions of coral cover. Mean hard coral cover of other zones was reef system was estimated to cover 1 060 km2, and the emergent reefs covered 787 m2. Hard corals of emergent reefs were considered to cover 97 km2. The biotic dense zone of the reef flat was a very common zone on all simple atolls, especially the broader northern reef flats. The total cover of live and dead coral can reach above 70% in this zone, showing an equilibrium between live and dead coral as opposed to coral and algae. This information regarding the spatial distribution of hard coral can support and inform the management of Xisha reef ecosystems.

  18. Unexpected complexity of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ravasi Timothy

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors. Results Here, we develop and apply a new system-wide approach in order to infer combinatorial transcription factor networks of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. By integrating sequencing-derived transcriptome measurements, a network of physically interacting transcription factors, and phylogenetic network footprinting we were able to infer such a network. Analysis of the network across a phylogenetically broad sample of five species, including human, reveals that despite the apparent simplicity of corals, their transcription factors repertoire and interaction networks seem to be largely conserved. In addition, we were able to identify interactions among transcription factors that appear to be species-specific lending strength to the novel concept of "Taxonomically Restricted Interactions". Conclusions This study provides the first look at transcription factor networks in corals. We identified a transcription factor repertoire encoded by the coral genome and found consistencies of the domain architectures of transcription factors and conserved regulatory subnetworks across eumetazoan species, providing insight into how regulatory networks have evolved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A. Dinsdale

    2009-12-01

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

  20. Coral cover as a proxy of disturbance: A case study of the biodiversity of the hermatypic corals in Yongxing Island, Xisha Islands in the South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HUANG Hui; LIAN Jiansheng; HUANG Xiaoping; HUANG Liangmin; ZOU Renlin; WANG Daoru

    2006-01-01

    The Yongxing Island is the biggest island of Xisha Islands in the middle part of the South China Sea. It occupies 1.8 square kilometers of land area and has permanent residence on it. There are only a few papers on the coral community of the Xisha Islands, reporting the species composition,structure and zonations of the hermatypic coral community in 1970s. The present study describes the hermatypic coral community based on the quadrat survey after almost 30 years in Yongxing Island in August 2002. It was the first time to present the percent cover data of live corals of Yongxing Island via a systematic scheme of quantitative quadrat sampling.The average total percent cover of the live coral is 68.4%. We found the total percent cover (TPC) could be an idea proxy of the overall disturbance regime impinging on the coral community. TPC can be used as an integrated measure of disturbance to coral reef.Using this surrogate, the best fit relation between TPC of the live corals and species richness, species diversity, or the species evenness is the unimodal second-order polymorphic parabola equation. This result is expected by the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH). From the fitted parabola equations,we calculated the best TPCs corresponding to the maximal species richness, the highest species diversity, or the most evenness respectively. They are surprisingly stabilized between 55% and 58%. Coral cover is the basic parameter widely available for most observation, research or monitoring programs.The good qualitative characteristics of percent cover provide powerful tool for the experimental, theoretical and modeling studies of coral reef in response to the disturbance.

  1. Handling of network and database instabilities in CORAL

    CERN Document Server

    Trentadue, R; Kalkhof, A

    2012-01-01

    The CORAL software is widely used by the LHC experiments for storing and accessing data using relational database technologies. CORAL provides a C++ abstraction layer that supports data persistency for several back-ends and deployment models, direct client access to Oracle servers being one of the most important use cases. Since 2010, several problems have been reported by the LHC experiments in their use of Oracle through CORAL, involving application errors, hangs or crashes after the network or the database servers became temporarily unavailable. CORAL already provided some level of handling of these instabilities, which are due to external causes and cannot be avoided, but this proved to be insufficient in some cases and to be itself the cause of other problems, such as the hangs and crashes mentioned before, in other cases. As a consequence, a major redesign of the CORAL plugins has been implemented, with the aim of making the software more robust against these database and network glitches. The new imple...

  2. 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.

  3. Current status of coral reefs in the United Arab Emirates: Distribution, extent, and community structure with implications for management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grizzle, Raymond E; Ward, Krystin M; AlShihi, Rashid M S; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral reefs of the United Arab Emirates were once extensive, but have declined dramatically in recent decades. Marine management and policy have been hampered by outdated and inaccurate habitat maps and habitat quality information. We combined existing recent datasets with our newly mapped coral habitats to provide a current assessment of nation-wide extent, and performed quantitative surveys of communities at 23 sites to assess coral cover and composition. Over 132 km(2) of coral habitat was mapped, averaging 28.6 ± 3.8% live coral cover at surveyed sites. In the Arabian Gulf low cover, low richness Porites dominated communities characterized western Abu Dhabi, while reefs northeast of Abu Dhabi city generally contained higher richness and cover, and were dominated by merulinids (formerly faviids). Distinct communities occur in the Sea of Oman, where cover and richness were low. We provide management recommendations to enhance conservation of vulnerable coral reefs in the UAE.

  4. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  5. Environmental symbiont acquisition may not be the solution to warming seas for reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Alice Coffroth

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs worldwide are in decline. Much of the mortality can be attributed to coral bleaching (loss of the coral's intracellular photosynthetic algal symbiont associated with global warming. How corals will respond to increasing oceanic temperatures has been an area of extensive study and debate. Recovery after a bleaching event is dependent on regaining symbionts, but the source of repopulating symbionts is poorly understood. Possibilities include recovery from the proliferation of endogenous symbionts or recovery by uptake of exogenous stress-tolerant symbionts. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To test one of these possibilities, the ability of corals to acquire exogenous symbionts, bleached colonies of Porites divaricata were exposed to symbiont types not normally found within this coral and symbiont acquisition was monitored. After three weeks exposure to exogenous symbionts, these novel symbionts were detected in some of the recovering corals, providing the first experimental evidence that scleractinian corals are capable of temporarily acquiring symbionts from the water column after bleaching. However, the acquisition was transient, indicating that the new symbioses were unstable. Only those symbiont types present before bleaching were stable upon recovery, demonstrating that recovery was from the resident in situ symbiont populations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that some corals do not have the ability to adjust to climate warming by acquiring and maintaining exogenous, more stress-tolerant symbionts. This has serious ramifications for the success of coral reefs and surrounding ecosystems and suggests that unless actions are taken to reverse it, climate change will lead to decreases in biodiversity and a loss of coral reefs.

  6. Responses of Cryptofaunal Species Richness and Trophic Potential to Coral Reef Habitat Degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Derek P. Manzello

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are declining worldwide as a result of many anthropogenic disturbances. This trend is alarming because coral reefs are hotspots of marine biodiversity and considered the ‘rainforests of the sea. As in the rainforest, much of the diversity on a coral reef is cryptic, remaining hidden among the cracks and crevices of structural taxa. Although the cryptofauna make up the majority of a reef’s metazoan biodiversity, we know little about their basic ecology or how these communities respond to reef degradation. Emerging research shows that the species richness of the motile cryptofauna is higher among dead (framework vs. live coral substrates and, surprisingly, increases within successively more eroded reef framework structures, ultimately reaching a maximum in dead coral rubble. Consequently, the paradigm that abundant live coral is the apex of reef diversity needs to be clarified. This provides guarded optimism amidst alarming reports of declines in live coral cover and the impending doom of coral reefs, as motile cryptic biodiversity should persist independent of live coral cover. Granted, the maintenance of this high species richness is contingent on the presence of reef rubble, which will eventually be lost due to physical, chemical, and biological erosion if not replenished by live coral calcification and mortality. The trophic potential of a reef, as inferred from the abundance of cryptic organisms, is highest on live coral. Among dead framework substrates, however, the density of cryptofauna reaches a peak at intermediate levels of degradation. In summary, the response of the motile cryptofauna, and thus a large fraction of the reef’s biodiversity, to reef degradation is more complex and nuanced than currently thought; such that species richness may be less sensitive than overall trophic function.

  7. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed and reef zone (slope, crest and flat into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral

  8. Coping with commitment: projected thermal stress on coral reefs under different future scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon D Donner

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Periods of anomalously warm ocean temperatures can lead to mass coral bleaching. Past studies have concluded that anthropogenic climate change may rapidly increase the frequency of these thermal stress events, leading to declines in coral cover, shifts in the composition of corals and other reef-dwelling organisms, and stress on the human populations who depend on coral reef ecosystems for food, income and shoreline protection. The ability of greenhouse gas mitigation to alter the near-term forecast for coral reefs is limited by the time lag between greenhouse gas emissions and the physical climate response. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study uses observed sea surface temperatures and the results of global climate model forced with five different future emissions scenarios to evaluate the "committed warming" for coral reefs worldwide. The results show that the physical warming commitment from current accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could cause over half of the world's coral reefs to experience harmfully frequent (p> or =0.2 year(-1 thermal stress by 2080. An additional "societal" warming commitment, caused by the time required to shift from a business-as-usual emissions trajectory to a 550 ppm CO(2 stabilization trajectory, may cause over 80% of the world's coral reefs to experience harmfully frequent events by 2030. Thermal adaptation of 1.5 degrees C would delay the thermal stress forecast by 50-80 years. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results suggest that adaptation -- via biological mechanisms, coral community shifts and/or management interventions -- could provide time to change the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions and possibly avoid the recurrence of harmfully frequent events at the majority (97% of the world's coral reefs this century. Without any thermal adaptation, atmospheric CO(2 concentrations may need to be stabilized below current levels to avoid the degradation of coral reef ecosystems

  9. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chong-Seng, Karen M; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; Nash, Kirsty L

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  10. Herbivory in the soft coral Sinularia flexibilis (Alcyoniidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piccinetti, Chiara C.; Ricci, Roberta; Pennesi, Chiara; Radaelli, Giuseppe; Totti, Cecilia; Norici, Alessandra; Giordano, Mario; Olivotto, Ike

    2016-03-01

    Our work provides strong support for the hypothesis that Sinularia flexibilis ingests diatoms such as Thalassiosira pseudonana. We assessed algal ingestion by S. flexibilis through estimates of algal removal, histological analyses, scanning electron microscopy observations, and gene expression determination (18S and silicon transporter 1) by real time PCR. Cell counts are strongly suggestive of algal removal by the coral; light and scanning microscopy provide qualitative evidence for the ingestion of T. pseudonana by S. flexibilis, while molecular markers did not prove to be sufficiently selective/specific to give clear results. We thus propose that previous instances of inability of corals to ingest algae are reconsidered using different technical approach, before concluding that coral herbivory is not a general feature.

  11. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edi Rudi

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbefore and after the coral bleaching. The data were collected before (in 2008 and after (in 2010 themass coral bleaching event in Sabang waters by using a photographic method and the data on theaverage catch of fishermen (catch per fishing effort was calculated in kg/hour. The data of theknowledge of fishermen on climate change was collected by questionnaire method. The results showedthat 259 species of coral reef fishes were caught by fishermen in 2008 and 2010. There was nosignificantly difference between the fish catches before and after the mass coral bleaching. However,species richness decreased up to 50% after the mass coral bleaching. The knowledge of fishermen onclimate change issue was very low.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-08-01

    conditions, and biological influences on seawater chemistry generate chemical conditions that buffer against ocean acidification. This previously undocumented refuge for corals provides evidence for adaptation of coastal organisms and ecosystem transition due to recent climate change. Identifying and protecting other natural, non-reef coral refuges is critical for sustaining corals and other reef species into the future.

  13. 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....

  14. 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.

  15. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn L Markey

    Full Text Available In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of 'heat tolerant' coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile. Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011 has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, S.

    2013-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.

    2013-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-07-30

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

  1. Chemically cued suppression of coral reef resilience: Where is the tipping point?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, Rohan M.; Hay, Mark E.; Dixson, Danielle L.

    2016-12-01

    Coral reefs worldwide are shifting from high-diversity, coral-dominated communities to low-diversity systems dominated by seaweeds. This shift can impact essential recovery processes such as larval recruitment and ecosystem resilience. Recent evidence suggests that chemical cues from certain corals attract, and from certain seaweeds suppress, recruitment of juvenile fishes, with loss of coral cover and increases in seaweed cover creating negative feedbacks that prevent reef recovery and sustain seaweed dominance. Unfortunately, the level of seaweed increase and coral decline that creates this chemically cued tipping point remains unknown, depriving managers of data-based targets to prevent damaging feedbacks. We conducted flume and field assays that suggest juvenile fishes sense and respond to cues produced by low levels of seaweed cover. However, the herbivore species we tested was more tolerant of degraded reef cues than non-herbivores, possibly providing some degree of resilience if these fishes recruit, consume macroalgae, and diminish negative cues.

  2. Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keith, Sally A; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Edwards, Alasdair J; Guest, James R; Bauman, Andrew G; van Hooidonk, Ruben; Heron, Scott F; Berumen, Michael L; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Piromvaragorn, Srisakul; Rahbek, Carsten; Baird, Andrew H

    2016-05-11

    Coral spawning times have been linked to multiple environmental factors; however, to what extent these factors act as generalized cues across multiple species and large spatial scales is unknown. We used a unique dataset of coral spawning from 34 reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to test if month of spawning and peak spawning month in assemblages of Acropora spp. can be predicted by sea surface temperature (SST), photosynthetically available radiation, wind speed, current speed, rainfall or sunset time. Contrary to the classic view that high mean SST initiates coral spawning, we found rapid increases in SST to be the best predictor in both cases (month of spawning: R(2) = 0.73, peak: R(2) = 0.62). Our findings suggest that a rapid increase in SST provides the dominant proximate cue for coral mass spawning over large geographical scales. We hypothesize that coral spawning is ultimately timed to ensure optimal fertilization success.

  3. Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature

    KAUST Repository

    Keith, Sally A.

    2016-05-11

    Coral spawning times have been linked to multiple environmental factors; however, to what extent these factors act as generalized cues across multiple species and large spatial scales is unknown. We used a unique dataset of coral spawning from 34 reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to test if month of spawning and peak spawning month in assemblages of Acropora spp. can be predicted by sea surface temperature (SST), photosynthetically available radiation, wind speed, current speed, rainfall or sunset time. Contrary to the classic view that high mean SST initiates coral spawning, we found rapid increases in SST to be the best predictor in both cases (month of spawning: R2 = 0.73, peak: R2 = 0.62). Our findings suggest that a rapid increase in SST provides the dominant proximate cue for coral mass spawning over large geographical scales. We hypothesize that coral spawning is ultimately timed to ensure optimal fertilization success.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Mapping of coral reefs using the combined bathymetric lidar and CASI datasets (Conference Presentation)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruz, Charmaine A.; Tamondong, Ayin M.; Go, Gay A.

    2016-10-01

    Mapping of coral reefs provides information to support the conservation and monitoring of this vulnerable benthic habitat. Coral reef environment has a high level of complexity and spatial heterogeneity, however, typical maps derived using remote sensing data only includes classification of benthic communities. The study aims to update the status of coral reef classification through the advancement of remote sensing technology in the Philippines. This shows the coral community condition in the area. With the use of hyperspectral Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) and bathymetric LiDAR, data were acquired in Apo Reef, Province of Mindoro. Apo Reef is known as the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world. The image taken has a spatial resolution of 0.5 meters with spectral resolution of approximately 10nm between 385nm to 1047nm wavelength regions. Pre-processing of LiDAR data includes extraction of surface bottom and generating derivatives such as Digital Surface Model (DSM), Digital Terrain Model (DTM), rugosity, and slope. Data on spectral reflectance of coral reef types and other substrates, bathymetry, validation points and geotagged underwater video were gathered in situ simultaneous with the image acquisition. Derivative analysis is then applied to the field spectra to determine the wavelength bands for discriminating coral reef types. The optimal subset bands and LiDAR derivatives were used in classifying coral reef types using the supervised classification. Geotagged photos and sampling points were used to validate and assess the accuracy of the map.

  8. Measuring coral size-frequency distribution using stereo video technology, a comparison with in situ measurements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Joseph A; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Field, Stuart N; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-05-01

    Coral colony size-frequency distribution data offer valuable information about the ecological status of coral reefs. Such data are usually collected by divers in situ, but stereo video is being increasingly used for monitoring benthic marine communities and may be used to collect size information for coral colonies. This study compared the size-frequency distributions of coral colonies obtained by divers measuring colonies 'in situ' with digital video imagery collected using stereo video and later processed using computer software. The size-frequency distributions of the two methods were similar for corymbose colonies, although distributions were different for massive, branching and all colonies combined. The differences are mainly driven by greater abundance of colonies >50 cm and fewer colonies 5 cm and was able to record measurements on 87% of the colonies detected. However, stereo video only detected 57% of marked colonies coral recruits. Estimates of colony size made with the stereo video were smaller than the in situ technique for all growth forms, particularly for massive morphologies. Despite differences in size distributions, community assessments, which incorporated genera, growth forms and size, were similar between the two techniques. Stereo video is suitable for monitoring coral community demographics and provided data similar to in situ measure for corymbose corals, but the ability to accurately measure massive and branching coral morphologies appeared to decline with increasing colony size.

  9. Resilience of Florida Keys Coral Communities Following Large-Scale Disturbances

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lauri MacLaughlin

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available The decline of coral reefs in the Caribbean over the last 40 years has been attributed to multiple chronic stressors and episodic large-scale disturbances. This study assessed the resilience of coral communities in two different regions of the Florida Keys reef system between 1998 and 2002 following hurricane impacts and coral bleaching in 1998. Resilience was assessed from changes in coral abundance, diversity, disease, and bleaching prevalence in reefs near the remote off-shore islands of the Dry Tortugas compared to reefs near Key West, a center of high population density and anthropogenic influences. During the first assessment in spring 1998, Key West and Dry Tortugas coral communities had similar abundance, species diversity, and disease prevalence. Bleaching and disease significantly increased in all reef areas during the summer 1998 El Niño event, with Key West reefs exhibiting higher bleaching and disease prevalence and severity compared to Dry Tortugas. Acroporids and total coral abundance significantly declined in both regions during 1998 following mass-coral bleaching and hurricane impact, but remained reduced only on Key West reefs during the 5-year assessment. These results provide additional evidence that coral reef systems distant from anthropogenic influences may have greater resilience to large-scale disturbances.

  10. Coral reproduction in the world's warmest reefs: southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauman, A. G.; Baird, A. H.; Cavalcante, G. H.

    2011-06-01

    Despite extensive research on coral reproduction from numerous geographic locations, there remains limited knowledge within the Persian Gulf. Given that corals in the Persian Gulf exist in one of the most stressful environments for reef corals, with annual variations in sea surface temperature (SST) of 12°C and maximum summer mean SSTs of 36°C, understanding coral reproductive biology in the Gulf may provide clues as to how corals may cope with global warming. In this study, we examined six locally common coral species on two shallow reef sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in 2008 and 2009 to investigate the patterns of reproduction, in particular the timing and synchrony of spawning. In total, 71% colonies in April 2008 and 63% colonies in April 2009 contained mature oocytes. However, the presence of mature gametes in May indicated that spawning was potentially split between April and May in all species. These results demonstrate that coral reproduction patterns within this region are highly seasonal and that multi-species spawning synchrony is highly probable. Acropora downingi, Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea were all hermaphroditic broadcast spawners with a single annual gametogenic cycle. Furthermore, fecundity and mature oocyte sizes were comparable to those in other regions. We conclude that the reproductive biology of corals in the southern Persian Gulf is similar to other regions, indicating that these species have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions in the southern Persian Gulf.

  11. Molecular delineation of species in the coral holobiont.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    We present the first experimental evidence of a coral ( Oulastrea crispata) ingesting and assimilating seagrass material. Tropical seagrass meadows export a substantial portion of their productivity and can provide an important source of nutrients to neighbouring systems such as coral reefs; however, little is known about the mechanisms of this link. To investigate whether seagrass nutrient uptake via coral heterotrophy is possible, we conducted a feeding experiment with seagrass particulate and dissolved organic matter. Using gut extractions and stable isotope analyses, we determined that O. crispata ingested 15N-enriched seagrass particles and assimilated the nitrogen into its tissue at a rate of 0.75 μg N cm-2 h-1. Corals took up nitrogen from dissolved matter at a comparable rate of 0.98 μg N cm-2 h-1. While other ecological connections between seagrass meadows and reef ecosystems are well known, our results suggest a previously unstudied direct nutritional link between seagrasses and corals.

  13. Patterns of fluorescent protein expression in Scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, David F; Kao, Hung-Teh; Janoschka, Stephen; Tsai, Julia; Pieribone, Vincent A

    2008-10-01

    Biofluorescence exists in only a few classes of organisms, with Anthozoa possessing the majority of species known to express fluorescent proteins. Most species within the Anthozoan subgroup Scleractinia (reef-building corals) not only express green fluorescent proteins, they also localize the proteins in distinct anatomical patterns.We examined the distribution of biofluorescence in 33 coral species, representing 8 families, from study sites on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. For 28 of these species, we report the presence of biofluorescence for the first time. The dominant fluorescent emissions observed were green (480-520 nm) and red (580-600 nm). Fluorescent proteins were expressed in three distinct patterns (highlighted, uniform, and complementary) among specific anatomical structures of corals across a variety of families. We report no significant overlap between the distribution of fluorescent proteins and the distribution of zooxanthellae. Analysis of the patterns of fluorescent protein distribution provides evidence that the scheme in which fluorescent proteins are distributed among the anatomical structures of corals is nonrandom. This targeted expression of fluorescent proteins in corals produces contrast and may function as a signaling mechanism to organisms with sensitivity to specific wavelengths of light.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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

  18. Proximate environmental drivers of coral communities at Palmyra Atoll: establishing baselines prior to removing a WWII military causeway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Gareth J; Knapp, Ingrid S; Maragos, James E; Davy, Simon K

    2011-08-01

    A management proposal aims to partly remove a WWII military causeway at Palmyra Atoll to improve lagoon water circulation and alleviate sedimentation stress on the southeast backreef, an area of high coral cover and diversity. This action could result in a shift in sedimentation across reef sites. To provide management advice, we quantified the proximate environmental factors driving scleractinian coral cover and community patterns at Palmyra. The proportion of fine sedimentation was the optimal predictor of coral cover and changes in community structure, explaining 23.7% and 24.7% of the variation between sites, respectively. Scleractinian coral cover was negatively correlated with increases in fine sedimentation. Removing the causeway could negatively affect the Montipora corals that dominate the western reef terrace, as this genus was negatively correlated with levels of fine sedimentation. The tolerance limits of corals, and sediment re-distribution patterns, should be determined prior to complete removal of the causeway.

  19. Coral colonisation of an artificial reef in a turbid nearshore environment, Dampier Harbour, western Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blakeway, David; Byers, Michael; Stoddart, James; Rossendell, Jason

    2013-01-01

    A 0.6 hectare artificial reef of local rock and recycled concrete sleepers was constructed in December 2006 at Parker Point in the industrial port of Dampier, western Australia, with the aim of providing an environmental offset for a nearshore coral community lost to land reclamation. Corals successfully colonised the artificial reef, despite the relatively harsh environmental conditions at the site (annual water temperature range 18-32°C, intermittent high turbidity, frequent cyclones, frequent nearby ship movements). Coral settlement to the artificial reef was examined by terracotta tile deployments, and later stages of coral community development were examined by in-situ visual surveys within fixed 25 x 25 cm quadrats on the rock and concrete substrates. Mean coral density on the tiles varied from 113 ± 17 SE to 909 ± 85 SE per m(2) over five deployments, whereas mean coral density in the quadrats was only 6.0 ± 1.0 SE per m(2) at eight months post construction, increasing to 24.0 ± 2.1 SE per m(2) at 62 months post construction. Coral taxa colonising the artificial reef were a subset of those on the surrounding natural reef, but occurred in different proportions--Pseudosiderastrea tayami, Mycedium elephantotus and Leptastrea purpurea being disproportionately abundant on the artificial reef. Coral cover increased rapidly in the later stages of the study, reaching 2.3 ± 0.7 SE % at 62 months post construction. This study indicates that simple materials of opportunity can provide a suitable substrate for coral recruitment in Dampier Harbour, and that natural colonisation at the study site remains sufficient to initiate a coral community on artificial substrate despite ongoing natural and anthropogenic perturbations.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. A. Wooldridge

    2012-09-01

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

  1. Coral colonisation of an artificial reef in a turbid nearshore environment, Dampier Harbour, western Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Blakeway

    Full Text Available A 0.6 hectare artificial reef of local rock and recycled concrete sleepers was constructed in December 2006 at Parker Point in the industrial port of Dampier, western Australia, with the aim of providing an environmental offset for a nearshore coral community lost to land reclamation. Corals successfully colonised the artificial reef, despite the relatively harsh environmental conditions at the site (annual water temperature range 18-32°C, intermittent high turbidity, frequent cyclones, frequent nearby ship movements. Coral settlement to the artificial reef was examined by terracotta tile deployments, and later stages of coral community development were examined by in-situ visual surveys within fixed 25 x 25 cm quadrats on the rock and concrete substrates. Mean coral density on the tiles varied from 113 ± 17 SE to 909 ± 85 SE per m(2 over five deployments, whereas mean coral density in the quadrats was only 6.0 ± 1.0 SE per m(2 at eight months post construction, increasing to 24.0 ± 2.1 SE per m(2 at 62 months post construction. Coral taxa colonising the artificial reef were a subset of those on the surrounding natural reef, but occurred in different proportions--Pseudosiderastrea tayami, Mycedium elephantotus and Leptastrea purpurea being disproportionately abundant on the artificial reef. Coral cover increased rapidly in the later stages of the study, reaching 2.3 ± 0.7 SE % at 62 months post construction. This study indicates that simple materials of opportunity can provide a suitable substrate for coral recruitment in Dampier Harbour, and that natural colonisation at the study site remains sufficient to initiate a coral community on artificial substrate despite ongoing natural and anthropogenic perturbations.

  2. Caught in the middle: combined impacts of shark removal and coral loss on the fish communities of coral reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan L W Ruppert

    Full Text Available Due to human activities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems face a future where disturbances are predicted to occur at a frequency and severity unprecedented in the recent past. Of particular concern is the ability of systems to recover where multiple stressors act simultaneously. We examine this issue in the context of a coral reef ecosystem where increases in stressors, such as fisheries, benthic degradation, cyclones and coral bleaching, are occurring at global scales. By utilizing long-term (decadal monitoring programs, we examined the combined effects of chronic (removal of sharks and pulse (cyclones, bleaching disturbances on the trophic structure of coral reef fishes at two isolated atoll systems off the coast of northwest Australia. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of sharks can have an impact that propagates down the food chain, potentially contributing to mesopredator release and altering the numbers of primary consumers. Simultaneously, we show how the effects of bottom-up processes of bleaching and cyclones appear to propagate up the food chain through herbivores, planktivores and corallivores, but do not affect carnivores. Because their presence may promote the abundance of herbivores, the removal of sharks by fishing has implications for both natural and anthropogenic disturbances involving the loss of corals, as herbivores are critical to the progress and outcome of coral recovery.

  3. Caught in the middle: combined impacts of shark removal and coral loss on the fish communities of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppert, Jonathan L W; Travers, Michael J; Smith, Luke L; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Meekan, Mark G

    2013-01-01

    Due to human activities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems face a future where disturbances are predicted to occur at a frequency and severity unprecedented in the recent past. Of particular concern is the ability of systems to recover where multiple stressors act simultaneously. We examine this issue in the context of a coral reef ecosystem where increases in stressors, such as fisheries, benthic degradation, cyclones and coral bleaching, are occurring at global scales. By utilizing long-term (decadal) monitoring programs, we examined the combined effects of chronic (removal of sharks) and pulse (cyclones, bleaching) disturbances on the trophic structure of coral reef fishes at two isolated atoll systems off the coast of northwest Australia. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of sharks can have an impact that propagates down the food chain, potentially contributing to mesopredator release and altering the numbers of primary consumers. Simultaneously, we show how the effects of bottom-up processes of bleaching and cyclones appear to propagate up the food chain through herbivores, planktivores and corallivores, but do not affect carnivores. Because their presence may promote the abundance of herbivores, the removal of sharks by fishing has implications for both natural and anthropogenic disturbances involving the loss of corals, as herbivores are critical to the progress and outcome of coral recovery.

  4. 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...

  5. 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,...

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. Tradeoffs between fisheries harvest and the resilience of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; O'Farrell, Shay; Bruggemann, J Henrich; Luckhurst, Brian E; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-04-19

    Many countries are legally obliged to embrace ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management. Reductions in bycatch and physical habitat damage are now commonplace, but mitigating more sophisticated impacts associated with the ecological functions of target fisheries species are in their infancy. Here we model the impacts of a parrotfish fishery on the future state and resilience of Caribbean coral reefs, enabling us to view the tradeoff between harvest and ecosystem health. We find that the implementation of a simple and enforceable size restriction of >30 cm provides a win:win outcome in the short term, delivering both ecological and fisheries benefits and leading to increased yield and greater coral recovery rate for a given harvest rate. However, maintaining resilient coral reefs even until 2030 requires the addition of harvest limitations (fisheries.

  9. Movement of deep-sea coral populations on climatic timescales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thiagarajan, Nivedita; Gerlach, Dana; Roberts, Mark L.; Burke, Andrea; McNichol, Ann; Jenkins, William J.; Subhas, Adam V.; Thresher, Ronald E.; Adkins, Jess F.

    2013-06-01

    During the past 40,000 years, global climate has moved into and out of a full glacial period, with the deglaciation marked by several millennial-scale rapid climate change events. Here we investigate the ecological response of deep-sea coral communities to both glaciation and these rapid climate change events. We find that the deep-sea coral populations of Desmophyllum dianthus in both the North Atlantic and the Tasmanian seamounts expand at times of rapid climate change. However, during the more stable Last Glacial Maximum, the coral population globally retreats to a more restricted depth range. Holocene populations show regional patterns that provide some insight into what causes these dramatic changes in population structure. The most important factors are likely responses to climatically driven changes in productivity, [O2] and [CO32-].

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-13

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

  12. The Maritime Continent and Coral Triangle: How to make informed measurements in the year of the MC to improve coral protection?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodkin, N.; Tanzil, J.; Murty, S. A.; Ramos, R.; Pullen, J. D.

    2016-12-01

    The Maritime Continent (MC) is a region of highly complex oceanography, encompassing a majority of the Coral Triangle, the most important region for coral biodiversity and cover. Intricate coastal processes including water body mixing, resulting from reversing monsoon winds and internal waves, expose corals to a wide variety of physical conditions. However, the pressures of climate change, overfishing, ocean acidification, and coastal development, to name a few, are significant in this region and threaten to challenge reefs over the next several decades. In order to predict and study how to facilitate reef recovery in the MC region, it is crucial to understand the environmental parameters for coral success. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of oceanographic processes on the maritime continent that drive seasonal variability in the waters of the MC, including changes to sea surface temperature, salinity, pH, turbidity, productivity and nutrients. Each of these parameters is known to have impacts on calcification rates and thus coral reef formation. Environmental conditions and currents can combine to facilitate larval dispersion or to exacerbate coral disease and predation, including crown of thorns outbreaks. Internal waves may protect against coral bleaching by lowering temperatures with the delivery of deeper water. Drawing on previously published and unpublished results, we will evaluate the parameters that may be impacting reef growth rates, biodiversity and resilience in a changing world in an effort to help plan for key measurements in the year of the MC.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, A L; Guzmán, H M

    2001-09-01

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

  14. Hybridization and the evolution of reef coral diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vollmer, Steven V; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2002-06-14

    Hundreds of coral species coexist sympatrically on reefs, reproducing in mass-spawning events where hybridization appears common. In the Caribbean, DNA sequence data from all three sympatric Acropora corals show that mass spawning does not erode species barriers. Species A. cervicornis and A. palmata are distinct at two nuclear loci or share ancestral alleles. Morphotypes historically given the name Acropora prolifera are entirely F(1) hybrids of these two species, showing morphologies that depend on which species provides the egg for hybridization. Although selection limits the evolutionary potential of hybrids, F(1) individuals can reproduce asexually and form long-lived, potentially immortal hybrids with unique morphologies.

  15. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. Bamboo coral Ba/Ca: Calibration of a new deep ocean refractory nutrient proxy

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaVigne, Michèle; Hill, Tessa M.; Spero, Howard J.; Guilderson, Thomas P.

    2011-12-01

    It is poorly understood how intermediate water masses are affected by decadal scale climate via biogeochemical cycling, export production, and changes in circulation/ventilation. To this end, a geochemical nutrient proxy from deep-sea bamboo corals would provide decadal to centennial scale records of deep and intermediate-water nutrient dynamics. Seawater barium (Ba SW) has a nutrient-like distribution in the water-column (similar to silicate), so Ba/Ca records in foraminifera, shallow water surface corals, and other deep-sea corals have been used to trace refractory nutrients. Here we present the first calibration of a nutrient proxy from skeletal barium preserved in the calcitic internodes of deep-sea bamboo corals, collected from intermediate water depths. A calibration was calculated from a broadly distributed suite of Isidella and Keratoisis corals spanning a silicate and Ba SW gradient (n = 33 corals; 300-2800 m): Ba/Caμmol/mol=0.079±0.008∗Banmol/kg+4.205±0.870r=0.77;n=33 The strong linear correlation between Ba/Ca bamboo coral and Ba SW suggests that coral Ba/Ca is a reliable recorder of seawater barium (and, therefore, silicate). We find a distribution coefficient (D Ba) for Ba/Ca bamboo coral of 1.3 ± 0.2, similar to that of other corals (surface and deep-sea dwelling) and inorganic calcium carbonate precipitation experiments (D Ba = 1.2-1.5). This suggests that Ba incorporation is primarily driven by cationic substitution in bamboo corals and holds promise as a globally applicable refractory nutrient proxy. We find interannual-decadal scale variability in a Ba/Ca bamboo coral timeseries from a California Margin coral (San Juan Seamount; 1295 m). These data suggest that additional high-resolution Ba/Ca bamboo coral records may reveal a connection between regional-scale intermediate water biogeochemistry and low-latitude surface ocean/atmospheric climate.

  18. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

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

  19. Static measurements of the resilience of Caribbean coral populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The progressive downward shift in dominance of key reef building corals, coupled with dramatic increases in macroalgae and other nuisance species, fields of unstable coral rubble ,loss of structural relief, and declines of major functional groups of fishes is a common occurrence throughout the Caribbean today. The incorporation of resilience principles into management is a proposed strategy to reverse this trend and ensure proper functioning of coral reefs under predicted scenarios of climate change, yet ecosystem processes and functions that underlie reef resilience are not fully understood. Rapid assessments using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA and the IUCN Resilience Assessment protocol can provide baseline information on reef resilience. A key aspect of these surveys focuses on coral population dynamics, including measures of coral cover, size, partial and whole-colony mortality, condition, and recruitment. One challenge is that these represent static measures involving a single assessment. Without following individual corals over time, it is difficult to determine rates of survival and growth of recruits and adult colonies, and differentiation of juveniles from small remnants of older colonies may not be possible, especially when macroalgal cover is high. To address this limitation, corals assessed in Bonaire in July 2010 were subdivided into two categories: 1 colonies on the reef substrate; and 2 colonies colonizing dead corals and exposed skeletal surfaces of living corals. Coral populations in Bonaire exhibited many features indicative of high resilience, including high coral cover (often 30-50%, high levels of recruitment, and a large number of corals that settled on dead corals and survived to larger size-classes. Overall, the skeletal surfaces of 12 species of corals were colonized by 16 species of corals, with up to 12 settlers on each colony, most (67% on M. annularis (complex skeletons. Nevertheless, completely

  20. Human impact on atolls leads to coral loss and community homogenisation: a modeling study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, Bernhard M; Sheppard, Charles R C; Purkis, Sam J

    2012-01-01

    We explore impacts on pristine atolls subjected to anthropogenic near-field (human habitation) and far-field (climate and environmental change) pressure. Using literature data of human impacts on reefs, we parameterize forecast models to evaluate trajectories in coral cover under impact scenarios that primarily act via recruitment and increased mortality of larger corals. From surveys across the Chagos, we investigate the regeneration dynamics of coral populations distant from human habitation after natural disturbances. Using a size-based mathematical model based on a time-series of coral community and population data from 1999-2006, we provide hind- and forecast data for coral population dynamics within lagoons and on ocean-facing reefs verified against monitoring from 1979-2009. Environmental data (currents, temperatures) were used for calibration. The coral community was simplified into growth typologies: branching and encrusting, arboresent and massive corals. Community patterns observed in the field were influenced by bleaching-related mortality, most notably in 1998. Survival had been highest in deep lagoonal settings, which suggests a refuge. Recruitment levels were higher in lagoons than on ocean-facing reefs. When adding stress by direct human pressure, climate and environmental change as increased disturbance frequency and modified recruitment and mortality levels (due to eutrophication, overfishing, pollution, heat, acidification, etc), models suggest steep declines in coral populations and loss of community diversification among habitats. We found it likely that degradation of lagoonal coral populations would impact regeneration potential of all coral populations, also on ocean-facing reefs, thus decreasing reef resilience on the entire atoll.

  1. Present limits to heat-adaptability in corals and population-level responses to climate extremes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard M Riegl

    Full Text Available Climate change scenarios suggest an increase in tropical ocean temperature by 1-3°C by 2099, potentially killing many coral reefs. But Arabian/Persian Gulf corals already exist in this future thermal environment predicted for most tropical reefs and survived severe bleaching in 2010, one of the hottest years on record. Exposure to 33-35°C was on average twice as long as in non-bleaching years. Gulf corals bleached after exposure to temperatures above 34°C for a total of 8 weeks of which 3 weeks were above 35°C. This is more heat than any other corals can survive, providing an insight into the present limits of holobiont adaptation. We show that average temperatures as well as heat-waves in the Gulf have been increasing, that coral population levels will fluctuate strongly, and reef-building capability will be compromised. This, in combination with ocean acidification and significant local threats posed by rampant coastal development puts even these most heat-adapted corals at risk. WWF considers the Gulf ecoregion as "critically endangered". We argue here that Gulf corals should be considered for assisted migration to the tropical Indo-Pacific. This would have the double benefit of avoiding local extinction of the world's most heat-adapted holobionts while at the same time introducing their genetic information to populations naïve to such extremes, potentially assisting their survival. Thus, the heat-adaptation acquired by Gulf corals over 6 k, could benefit tropical Indo-Pacific corals who have <100 y until they will experience a similarly harsh climate. Population models suggest that the heat-adapted corals could become dominant on tropical reefs within ∼20 years.

  2. Human impact on atolls leads to coral loss and community homogenisation: a modeling study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard M Riegl

    Full Text Available We explore impacts on pristine atolls subjected to anthropogenic near-field (human habitation and far-field (climate and environmental change pressure. Using literature data of human impacts on reefs, we parameterize forecast models to evaluate trajectories in coral cover under impact scenarios that primarily act via recruitment and increased mortality of larger corals. From surveys across the Chagos, we investigate the regeneration dynamics of coral populations distant from human habitation after natural disturbances. Using a size-based mathematical model based on a time-series of coral community and population data from 1999-2006, we provide hind- and forecast data for coral population dynamics within lagoons and on ocean-facing reefs verified against monitoring from 1979-2009. Environmental data (currents, temperatures were used for calibration. The coral community was simplified into growth typologies: branching and encrusting, arboresent and massive corals. Community patterns observed in the field were influenced by bleaching-related mortality, most notably in 1998. Survival had been highest in deep lagoonal settings, which suggests a refuge. Recruitment levels were higher in lagoons than on ocean-facing reefs. When adding stress by direct human pressure, climate and environmental change as increased disturbance frequency and modified recruitment and mortality levels (due to eutrophication, overfishing, pollution, heat, acidification, etc, models suggest steep declines in coral populations and loss of community diversification among habitats. We found it likely that degradation of lagoonal coral populations would impact regeneration potential of all coral populations, also on ocean-facing reefs, thus decreasing reef resilience on the entire atoll.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Coral reef community, Mokapu Ocean Outfall, Oahu, HI 1998, (NODC Accession 0000173)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This report provides the results of the first quantitative survey of the coral reef communities in the vicinity of the Mokapu Ocean Outfall in Kailua Bay, Oahu,...

  7. Mycosporine-like amino acids from coral dinoflagellates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka N; Dove, Sophie

    2011-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kahng Samuel E

    2009-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    Background Mesophotic corals (light-dependent corals in the deepest half of the photic zone at depths of 30 - 150 m) provide a unique opportunity to study the limits of the interactions between corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. We sampled Leptoseris spp. in Hawaii via manned submersibles across a depth range of 67 - 100 m. Both the host and Symbiodinium communities were genotyped, using a non-coding region of the mitochondrial ND5 intron (NAD5) and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS2), respectively. Results Coral colonies harbored endosymbiotic communities dominated by previously identified shallow water Symbiodinium ITS2 types (C1_ AF333515, C1c_ AY239364, C27_ AY239379, and C1b_ AY239363) and exhibited genetic variability at mitochondrial NAD5. Conclusion This is one of the first studies to examine genetic diversity in corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates sampled at the limits of the depth and light gradients for hermatypic corals. The results reveal that these corals associate with generalist endosymbiont types commonly found in shallow water corals and implies that the composition of the Symbiodinium community (based on ITS2) alone is not responsible for the dominance and broad depth distribution of Leptoseris spp. The level of genetic diversity detected in the coral NAD5 suggests that there is undescribed taxonomic diversity in the genus Leptoseris from Hawaii. PMID:19747389

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida

    2017-03-31

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-09-11

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

  13. Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Roberts, Kelsey E.; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Morrison, Jennifer M.; Richey, Julie

    2017-01-01

    Massive corals provide a useful archive of environmental variability, but careful testing of geochemical proxies in corals is necessary to validate the relationship between each proxy and environmental parameter throughout the full range of conditions experienced by the recording organisms. Here we use samples from a coral-growth study to test the hypothesis that Sr/Ca in the coral Siderastrea siderea accurately records sea-surface temperature (SST) in the subtropics (Florida, USA) along 350 km of reef tract. We test calcification rate, measured via buoyant weight, and linear extension (LE) rate, estimated with Alizarin Red-S staining, as predictors of variance in the Sr/Ca records of 39 individual S. siderea corals grown at four outer-reef locations next to in-situ temperature loggers during two, year-long periods. We found that corals with calcification rates corals that passed this quality control step, the Sr/Ca-SST proxy performed well in estimating mean annual temperature across three sites spanning 350 km of the Florida reef tract. However, there was some evidence that extreme temperature stress in 2010 (cold snap) and 2011 (SST above coral-bleaching threshold) may have caused the corals not to record the temperature extremes. Known stress events could be avoided during modern calibrations of paleoproxies.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  15. Abundance, composition and growth rate of coral recruits on dead corals following the 2010 bleaching event at Mu Ko Surin, the Andaman Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yucharoen, Mathinee; Yeemin, Thamasak; Casareto, Beatriz E.; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Samsuvan, Watchara; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sutthacheep, Makamas

    2015-06-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures in the summer months of 2010 were associated with widespread coral mortality in Thailand. A large number of corals at Mu Ko Surin died following the bleaching event. Understanding of the recruitment of corals would improve our ability to predict the potential for coral recovery from the impacts of bleaching events, as well as the interpretation of spatio-temporal variability in coral community structure. This study aims to examine the composition, abundance and growth rate of juvenile corals and the potential of reef recovery at Mu Ko Surin in order to help to understand how reefs react to major disturbances. We found that the densities of coral recruits varied among years and study sites. In the year 2011, coral recruitments ranged between 0.18 ± 0.02 to 1.67 ± 0.07 recruits per m2 for 10 study sites. While in 2012, the monitoring revealed a range between 0.96 ± 0.16 and 2.19 ± 0.21 recruits per m2 from 5 study sites. Fungia, Acropora, Porites and Favites were the dominant groups of coral recruits. In terms substrate forms, they were significant differences between sampling years but the preferential dominant substrate forms did not differ. The Acropora recruits at Ko Torinla showed normal distributions of size class during the two periods. Their ranges in 2011 and 2012 were 4-30 and 13-54 mm, respectively. Six species of Acropora recruits, i.e. Acropora intermedia, A. nasuta, A. cerealis, A. subulata, A. muricata and A. latistella were found. They showed diverse growth rates due to the spatial distribution of 2.11 ± 0.59 to 7.47 ± 1.37 cm per year. This study provides useful data in terms of coral recruitment and recovery from degradation and disturbance, especially from temperature changes induced by coral bleaching. The findings suggest that there is the possibility for coral recovery around Mu Ko Surin following the 2010 bleaching event.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Wooldridge

    2013-05-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The geochemistry of deep-sea coral skeletons: a review of vital effects and applications for palaeoceanography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Laura F.; Adkins, Jess F.; Frank, Norbert; Gagon, Alexander C.; Prouty, Nancy G.; Roark, E. Brendan; van de Flierdt, Tina

    2014-01-01

    Deep-sea corals were discovered over a century ago, but it is only over recent years that focused efforts have been made to explore the history of the oceans using the geochemistry of their skeletal remains. They offer a promising archive of past oceanic environments given their global distribution, layered growth patterns, longevity and preservation as well as our ability to date them using radiometric techniques. This paper provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art in terms of geochemical approaches to using deep-sea coral skeletons to explore the history of the ocean. Deep-sea coral skeletons have a wide array of morphologies (e.g. solitary cup corals, branching colonial corals) and materials (calcite, aragonite and proteins). As such their biomineralization strategies are diverse, leading to complex geochemistry within coral skeletons. Notwithstanding these complications, progress has been made on developing methods for reconstructing the oceanographic environment in the past using trace elements and isotopic methods. Promising approaches within certain coral groups include clumped isotopes and Mg/Li for temperature reconstructions, boron isotopes and radiocarbon for carbon cycling, εNd, and radiocarbon for circulation studies and δ15N, P/Ca and Ba/Ca for nutrient tracer studies. Likewise there is now a range of techniques for dating deep-sea corals skeletons (e.g. U-series, radiocarbon), and determining their growth rates (e.g. radiocarbon and 210Pb). Dating studies on historic coral populations in the Atlantic, Southern Ocean and Pacific point to climate and environmental changes being dominant controls on coral populations over millennial and orbital timescales. This paper provides a review of a range of successes and promising approaches. It also highlights areas in which further research would likely provide new insights into biomineralization, palaeoceanography and distribution of past coral populations.

  20. Microbiome variation in corals with distinct depth distribution ranges across a shallow–mesophotic gradient (15–85 m)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Glasl, B.; Bongaerts, P.; Elisabeth, N.H.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Herndl, G.J.; Frade, P.R.

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) are generallypoorly studied, and our knowledge of lower MCEs(below 60 mdepth) is largely limited to visual surveys. Here,we provide a first detailed assessment of the prokaryoticcommunity associated with scleractinian corals over a depthgradient to the lower

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2014-12-01

    conditions in which no other deep-sea corals have yet to be reported. These deep-sea coral are associated with rich microbial communities, which produce molecules that induce bioactivity. The aggregate of this work provides direction for future research of Red Sea deep-sea coral and highlights the potential pharmacological benefit of conserving these species and their unique ecosystem.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Impact of herbivore identity on algal succession and coral growth on a Caribbean reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deron E Burkepile

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Herbivory is an important top-down force on coral reefs that regulates macroalgal abundance, mediates competitive interactions between macroalgae and corals, and provides resilience following disturbances such as hurricanes and coral bleaching. However, reductions in herbivore diversity and abundance via disease or over-fishing may harm corals directly and may indirectly increase coral susceptibility to other disturbances. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In two experiments over two years, we enclosed equivalent densities and masses of either single-species or mixed-species of herbivorous fishes in replicate, 4 m(2 cages at a depth of 17 m on a reef in the Florida Keys, USA to evaluate the effects of herbivore identity and species richness on colonization and development of macroalgal communities and the cascading effects of algae on coral growth. In Year 1, we used the redband parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum and the ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus; in Year 2, we used the redband parrotfish and the princess parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus. On new substrates, rapid grazing by ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish kept communities in an early successional stage dominated by short, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae that did not suppress coral growth. In contrast, feeding by redband parrotfish allowed an accumulation of tall filaments and later successional macroalgae that suppressed coral growth. These patterns contrast with patterns from established communities not undergoing primary succession; on established substrates redband parrotfish significantly reduced upright macroalgal cover while ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish allowed significant increases in late successional macroalgae. SIGNIFICANCE: This study further highlights the importance of biodiversity in affecting ecosystem function in that different species of herbivorous fishes had very different impacts on reef communities depending on

  8. Impact of herbivore identity on algal succession and coral growth on a Caribbean reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burkepile, Deron E; Hay, Mark E

    2010-01-29

    Herbivory is an important top-down force on coral reefs that regulates macroalgal abundance, mediates competitive interactions between macroalgae and corals, and provides resilience following disturbances such as hurricanes and coral bleaching. However, reductions in herbivore diversity and abundance via disease or over-fishing may harm corals directly and may indirectly increase coral susceptibility to other disturbances. In two experiments over two years, we enclosed equivalent densities and masses of either single-species or mixed-species of herbivorous fishes in replicate, 4 m(2) cages at a depth of 17 m on a reef in the Florida Keys, USA to evaluate the effects of herbivore identity and species richness on colonization and development of macroalgal communities and the cascading effects of algae on coral growth. In Year 1, we used the redband parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum) and the ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus); in Year 2, we used the redband parrotfish and the princess parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus). On new substrates, rapid grazing by ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish kept communities in an early successional stage dominated by short, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae that did not suppress coral growth. In contrast, feeding by redband parrotfish allowed an accumulation of tall filaments and later successional macroalgae that suppressed coral growth. These patterns contrast with patterns from established communities not undergoing primary succession; on established substrates redband parrotfish significantly reduced upright macroalgal cover while ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish allowed significant increases in late successional macroalgae. This study further highlights the importance of biodiversity in affecting ecosystem function in that different species of herbivorous fishes had very different impacts on reef communities depending on the developmental stage of the community. The species-specific effects of

  9. Validation of Reef-Scale Thermal Stress Satellite Products for Coral Bleaching Monitoring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott F. Heron

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Satellite monitoring of thermal stress on coral reefs has become an essential component of reef management practice around the world. A recent development by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch (NOAA CRW program provides daily global monitoring at 5 km resolution—at or near the scale of most coral reefs. In this paper, we introduce two new monitoring products in the CRW Decision Support System for coral reef management: Regional Virtual Stations, a regional synthesis of thermal stress conditions, and Seven-day Sea Surface Temperature (SST Trend, describing recent changes in temperature at each location. We describe how these products provided information in support of management activities prior to, during and after the 2014 thermal stress event in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI. Using in situ survey data from this event, we undertake the first quantitative comparison between 5 km satellite monitoring products and coral bleaching observations. Analysis of coral community characteristics, historical temperature conditions and thermal stress revealed a strong influence of coral biodiversity in the patterns of observed bleaching. This resulted in a model based on thermal stress and generic richness that explained 97% of the variance in observed bleaching. These findings illustrate the importance of using local benthic characteristics to interpret the level of impact from thermal stress exposure. In an era of continuing climate change, accurate monitoring of thermal stress and prediction of coral bleaching are essential for stakeholders to direct resources to the most effective management actions to conserve coral reefs.

  10. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E; Sandin, Stuart A

    2016-06-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales-short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery.

  11. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E.; Sandin, Stuart A.

    2016-01-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales—short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery. PMID:27429784

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  13. Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer Miller

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55% and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m−2 were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m2 was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.

  14. Upper Triassic reef coral fauna in the Renacuo area, northern Tibet, and its implications for palaeobiogeography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bo, JingFang; Wang, XunLian; Gao, JinHan; Yao, JianXin; Wang, GenHou; Hou, EnGang

    2017-09-01

    Upper Triassic reef corals from the Riganpeicuo Formation in northern Tibet represent important scleractinian coral fauna that help explain the palaeobiogeography of the eastern Tethys region during the Late Triassic period. The corals were discovered in bedded limestone in patch reefs or biostromes of the Renacuo area. In this paper, 15 genera and 25 species are identified and categorized, the systematic composition of these corals and their relationships with other Triassic coral faunas are also discussed. The results show that these corals are composed of the typical elements of the western Tethys, with the following genera and species that are endemic to China: Radiophyllia cf. astylatus, Margarosmilia zogangensis and Conophyllopsis qamdoensis, and the genera Retiophyllia, Margarosmilia, Hydrasmilia, Procyclolites, Pamiroseris, Araiophyllum, Stylophyllopsis, Stylophyllum and Guembelastraea provide important links to the Tethys province. The coral fauna also highlights the connection between the Qiangtang terrane and the Songpan-Ganzi fold belt, but shows that the areas are distinct from the Himalayan terrane. It has been interpreted that the Qiangtang terrane and the Songpan-Ganzi fold belt were in the vicinity of the gradually-closed Paleo-Tethys Ocean, which resulted in the free transmigration of the benthonic organisms of these areas. On the other hand, the Himalayan terrane was separated from the Qiangtang terrane by a wide ocean-meso Tethys during the Late Triassic period, which made it impossible for the benthonic organisms on both flanks to freely migrate toward the opposite continental margins.

  15. Epigenome-associated phenotypic acclimatization to ocean acidification in a reef-building coral

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2017-09-14

    Over the last century, the anthropogenic production of CO2 has led to warmer (+0.74 C) and more acidic (-0.1 pH) oceans, resulting in increasingly frequent and severe mass bleaching events worldwide that precipitate global coral reef decline. To mitigate this decline, proposals to augment the stress tolerance of corals through genetic and non-genetic means have been gaining traction. Work on model systems has shown that environmentally induced alterations in DNA methylation can lead to phenotypic acclimatization. While DNA methylation has been observed in corals, its potential role in phenotypic plasticity has not yet been described. Here, we show that, similar to findings in mice, DNA methylation significantly reduces spurious transcription in the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata, suggesting the evolutionary conservation of this essential mechanism in corals. Furthermore, we find that DNA methylation also reduces transcriptional noise by fine-tuning the expression of highly expressed genes. Analysis of DNA methylation patterns of corals subjected to long-term pH stress showed widespread changes in pathways regulating cell cycle and body size. Correspondingly, we found significant increases in cell and polyp sizes that resulted in more porous skeletons, supporting the maintenance of linear extension rates under conditions of reduced calcification. These findings suggest an epigenetic component in phenotypic acclimatization, providing corals with an additional mechanism to cope with climate change.

  16. Isolation of an antimicrobial compound produced by bacteria associated with reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean-Baptiste Raina

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Bacterial communities associated with healthy corals produce antimicrobial compounds that inhibit the colonization and growth of invasive microbes and potential pathogens. To date, however, bacteria-derived antimicrobial molecules have not been identified in reef-building corals. Here, we report the isolation of an antimicrobial compound produced by Pseudovibrio sp. P12, a common and abundant coral-associated bacterium. This strain was capable of metabolizing dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP, a sulfur molecule produced in high concentrations by reef-building corals and playing a role in structuring their bacterial communities. Bioassay-guided fractionation coupled with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR and mass spectrometry (MS, identified the antimicrobial as tropodithietic acid (TDA, a sulfur-containing compound likely derived from DMSP catabolism. TDA was produced in large quantities by Pseudovibrio sp., and prevented the growth of two previously identified coral pathogens, Vibrio coralliilyticus and V. owensii, at very low concentrations (0.5 μg/mL in agar diffusion assays. Genome sequencing of Pseudovibrio sp. P12 identified gene homologs likely involved in the metabolism of DMSP and production of TDA. These results provide additional evidence for the integral role of DMSP in structuring coral-associated bacterial communities and underline the potential of these DMSP-metabolizing microbes to contribute to coral disease prevention.

  17. Characterization of the proteinaceous skeletal organic matrix from the precious coral Corallium konojoi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahman, M Azizur; Karl, Kristian; Nonaka, Masanori; Fujimura, Hiroyuki; Shinjo, Ryuichi; Oomori, Tamotsu; Wörheide, Gert

    2014-11-01

    The Japanese red and pink corals are known to be precious because of their commercial value resulting from their use in ornaments, jewelry, and medicine. Precious corals are very interesting models for biomineralization studies and possess two different skeletal structures: an axial skeleton and an endoskeleton (sclerites). Although it has long been known that the organic matrix proteins existing in coral skeletons are critical for the oriented precipitation of CaCO3 crystals, these proteins in moderate deep-sea Japanese precious corals remain uncharacterized. Therefore, in this study, we performed skeletal whole proteome analyses using 1D and 2D electrophoresis, nano-LC, and MALDI-TOF-TOF MS. We identified a total of 147 functional coral skeletal organic matrix proteins (120 from the sclerites and 36 from the axial skeleton), including two calcium-binding calmodulin. Among the organic matrix proteins identified, nine key proteins are highly typical and common in both skeletons. Strong glycosylation activity, which is essential for skeletal formation in calcifying organisms, was detected in both skeletons. This work demonstrates unique biomineralization-related proteins in precious corals and provides the first description of the major proteinaceous components of CaCO3 minerals in precious corals, enabling the comparative investigation of biocalcification in other octocorals.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-11-01

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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-10

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

  1. 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.

  2. Measuring, interpreting, and responding to changes in coral reefs: A challenge for biologists, geologist, and managers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Miller, Jeff; Hubbard, Dennis K.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Lipps, Jere H.; Stanley, George D.

    2016-01-01

    What, exactly, is a coral reef? And how have the world’s reefs changed in the last several decades? What are the stressors undermining reef structure and function? Given the predicted effects of climate change, do reefs have a future? Is it possible to “manage” coral reefs for resilience? What can coral reef scientists contribute to improve protection and management of coral reefs? What insights can biologists and geologists provide regarding the persistence of coral reefs on a human timescale? What is reef change to a biologist… to a geologist?Clearly, there are many challenging questions. In this chapter, we present some of our thoughts on monitoring and management of coral reefs in US national parks in the Caribbean and western Atlantic based on our experience as members of monitoring teams. We reflect on the need to characterize and evaluate reefs, on how to conduct high-quality monitoring programs, and on what we can learn from biological and geological experiments and investigations. We explore the possibility that specific steps can be taken to “manage” coral reefs for greater resilience.

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. Alkalinity to calcium flux ratios for corals and coral reef communities: variances between isolated and community conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liana J.A. Murillo

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Calcification in reef corals and coral reefs is widely measured using the alkalinity depletion method which is based on the fact that two protons are produced for every mole of CaCO3 precipitated. This assumption was tested by measuring the total alkalinity (TA flux and Ca2+ flux of isolated components (corals, alga, sediment and plankton in reference to that of a mixed-community. Experiments were conducted in a flume under natural conditions of sunlight, nutrients, plankton and organic matter. A realistic hydrodynamic regime was provided. Groups of corals were run separately and in conjunction with the other reef components in a mixed-community. The TA flux to Ca2+ flux ratio (ΔTA: ΔCa2+ was consistently higher in the coral-only run (2.06 ± 0.19 than in the mixed-community run (1.60 ± 0.14, p-value = 0.011. The pH was higher and more stable in the mixed-community run (7.94 ± 0.03 vs. 7.52 ± 0.07, p-value = 3 × 10−5. Aragonite saturation state (Ωarag was also higher in the mixed-community run (2.51 ± 0.2 vs. 1.12 ± 0.14, p-value = 2 × 10−6. The sediment-only run revealed that sediment is the source of TA that can account for the lower ΔTA: ΔCa2+ ratio in the mixed-community run. The macroalgae-only run showed that algae were responsible for the increased pH in the mixed-community run. Corals growing in a mixed-community will experience an environment that is more favorable to calcification (higher daytime pH due to algae photosynthesis, additional TA and inorganic carbon from sediments, higher Ωarag. A paradox is that the alkalinity depletion method will yield a lower net calcification for a mixed-community versus a coral-only community due to TA recycling, even though the corals may be calcifying at a higher rate due to a more optimal environment.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Changes in coral-associated microbial communities during a bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourne, David; Iida, Yuki; Uthicke, Sven; Smith-Keune, Carolyn

    2008-04-01

    Environmental stressors such as increased sea surface temperatures are well-known for contributing to coral bleaching; however, the effect of increased temperatures and subsequent bleaching on coral-associated microbial communities is poorly understood. Colonies of the hard coral Acropora millepora were tagged on a reef flat off Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef) and surveyed over 2.5 years, which included a severe bleaching event in January/February 2002. Daily average water temperatures exceeded the previous 10-year average by more than 1 degrees C for extended periods with field-based visual surveys recording all tagged colonies displaying signs of bleaching. During the bleaching period, direct counts of coral zooxanthellae densities decreased by approximately 64%, before recovery to pre-bleaching levels after the thermal stress event. A subset of three tagged coral colonies were sampled through the bleaching event and changes in the microbial community elucidated. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis demonstrated conserved bacterial banding profiles between the three coral colonies, confirming previous studies highlighting specific microbial associations. As coral colonies bleached, the microbial community shifted and redundancy analysis (RDA) of DGGE banding patterns revealed a correlation of increasing temperature with the appearance of Vibrio-affiliated sequences. Interestingly, this shift to a Vibrio-dominated community commenced prior to visual signs of bleaching. Clone libraries hybridized with Vibrio-specific oligonucleotide probes confirmed an increase in the fraction of Vibrio-affiliated clones during the bleaching period. Post bleaching, the coral microbial associations again shifted, returning to a profile similar to the fingerprints prior to bleaching. This provided further evidence for corals selecting and shaping their microbial partners. For non-bleached samples, a close association with Spongiobacter-related sequences were

  10. First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alvin Chelliah

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies, two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.

  11. Distance decay among coral assemblages during a cycle of disturbance and recovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Done, Terence; Gilmour, James; Fisher, Rebecca

    2015-09-01

    The characterization of distance decay in similarity among plant or animal communities both extends ecosystem description and provides insights into formative ecological events and processes. Here, we examine distance decay among coral communities in a common habitat on northwestern Australian reefs, seeking to better understand the roles of disturbance and coral life history strategies in the changing reefscape. In established communities in 1997, when coral cover and generic richness were uniformly high, there was high similarity (~81 %) and negligible distance decay, both within sets of 15 contiguous 50-m transects and among 250-m sites separated by 500 km. Following a 75 % reduction in coral cover and a comparable loss of generic richness to mass bleaching in 1998, similarity declined to ~67 % and there was strong distance decay at generic richness had been restored and similarity had returned to ~80 %, but weak distance decay had persisted in the community. Among assemblages with contrasting life histories, the disturbance increased distance decay most in the brooding corals, and it remained strong until 2010. In contrast, broadcast spawning corals and the more resistant regenerating corals had largely reverted to their pre-disturbance state of high mean similarity and weak distance decay by 2010. These differences among life history groups reflect the greater vagility of the broadcast spawning corals, the resistance of the regenerator assemblages to the disturbance and their recovery from uniformly distributed remnants, and the susceptibility of the brooding species combined with their limited capacity to disperse beyond the local site. Beyond a spatial extent of 25 km, distance decay was absent in all years and for all coral groups, indicating the qualitatively different source-sink dynamics when reefs are separated by 10s of km of open ocean.

  12. Stability of Caribbean coral communities quantified by long-term monitoring and autoregression models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gross, Kevin; Edmunds, Peter J

    2015-07-01

    Tropical coral reefs exemplify ecosystems imperiled by environmental change. Anticipating the future of reef ecosystems requires understanding how scleractinian corals respond to the multiple environmental disturbances that threaten their survival. We analyzed the stability of coral reefs at three habitats at different depths along the south shore of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, using multivariate autoregression (MAR) models and two decades of monitoring data. We quantified several measures of ecosystem stability, including the magnitude of typical stochastic fluctuations, the rate of recovery following disturbance, and the sensitivity of coral cover to hurricanes and elevated sea temperature. Our results show that, even within a -4 km shore, coral communities in different habitats display different stability properties, and that the stability of each habitat corresponds with the habitat's known synecology. Two Orbicella-dominated habitats are less prone to annual stochastic fluctuations than coral communities in shallower water, but they recover slowly from disturbance, and one habitat has suffered recent losses in scleractinian cover that will not be quickly reversed. In contrast, a shallower, low-coral-cover habitat is subject to greater stochastic fluctuations, but rebounds more quickly from disturbance and is more robust to hurricanes and seawater warming. In some sense, the shallower community is more stable, although the stability arguably arises from having little coral cover left. Our results sharpen understanding of recent changes in coral communities at these habitats, provide a more detailed understanding of how these habitats may change in future environments, and illustrate how MAR models can be used to assess stability of communities founded upon long-lived species.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn Patterson Sutherland

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

  14. First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chelliah, Alvin; Amar, Halimi Bin; Hyde, Julian; Yewdall, Katie; Steinberg, Peter D; Guest, James R

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites) participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.

  15. Gene expression patterns of the coral Acropora millepora in response to contact with macroalgae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, T. L.; Rasher, D. B.; Snell, T. W.; Hay, M. E.

    2012-12-01

    Contact with macroalgae often causes coral mortality, but the roles of abrasion versus shading versus allelopathy in these interactions are rarely clear, and effects on gene expression are unknown. Identification of gene expression changes within corals in response to contact with macroalgae can provide insight into the mode of action of allelochemicals, as well as reveal transcriptional strategies of the coral that mitigate damage from this competitive interaction, enabling the coral to survive. Gene expression responses of the coral Acropora millepora after long-term (20 days) direct contact with macroalgae ( Chlorodesmis fastigiata, Dictyota bartayresiana, Galaxaura filamentosa, and Turbinaria conoides) and short-term (1 and 24 h) exposure to C. fastigiata thalli and their hydrophobic extract were assessed. After 20 days of exposure, T. conoides thalli elicited no significant change in visual bleaching or zooxanthellae PSII quantum yield within A. millepora nubbins, but stimulated the greatest alteration in gene expression of all treatments. Chlorodesmis fastigiata, D. bartayresiana, and G. filamentosa caused significant visual bleaching of coral nubbins and reduced the PSII quantum yield of associated zooxanthellae after 20 days, but elicited fewer changes in gene expression relative to T. conoides at day 20. To evaluate initial molecular processes leading to reduction of zooxanthella PSII quantum yield, visual bleaching, and coral death, short-term exposures to C. fastigiata thalli and hydrophobic extracts were conducted; these interactions revealed protein degradation and significant changes in catalytic and metabolic activity within 24 h of contact. These molecular responses are consistent with the hypothesis that allelopathic interactions lead to alteration of signal transduction and an imbalance between reactive oxidant species production and antioxidant capabilities within the coral holobiont. This oxidative imbalance results in rapid protein degradation

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-11

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

  18. The environment recording unit in coral skeletons: structural and chemical evidences of a biochemically driven stepping-growth process in coral fibres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Dauphin

    2004-09-01

    Full Text Available To improve our understanding of the environment recording by scleractinian corals, a detailed study of the skeleton microstructure has been carried out. A series of physico-chemical in situ characterizations was made, an approach that provides us with structural and biochemical information at the micrometric and nanometric scales. Gathering of these data results in a significant change in our concept of the growth of coral skeletons. In contrast to the usual view of an aggregate of purely mineral units (the coral fibres independently growing by a simple chemical precipitation, coral skeletons appear to be biochemically controlled structures. Both structural and biochemical data reveal the micron-scaled stepping growth-mode of fibres, and its global coordination. In this process, sulfated acidic proteoglycans probably play a major role, due to their ability to create polymeric frameworks. Atomic force microscopy confirms the close relationship of organic and mineral phases at the nanometric scale. A new microstructural model of coral skeleton formation is proposed, that places coral skeletons among the typical "matrix mediated structures". From a practical standpoint, these results may contribute to develop a new high resolution approach in the study of paleoenvironments.

  19. Coral reef degradation and metabolic performance of the scleractinian coral Porites lutea under anthropogenic impact along the NE coast of Hainan Island, South China Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2013-04-01

    Hainan\\'s coast provides favorable climatic, geochemical and biogeographic conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs in China. Observations in five reefs along the NE coast of Hainan showed, however, that the overall density of mobile macrofauna is low and key functional groups such as browsing, scraping or excavating herbivore fish are missing altogether. Coral diseases, partial mortality or tissue degradation are abundant and growth of macroalgal space competitors extensive. Signs of eutrophication, siltation and destructive fishing practices are evident resulting in a strongly altered environment unfavorable for coral recruitment success and survival. Acclimation to the anthropogenically altered conditions in the massive coral Porites lutea occurs at the cost of a decreased photosynthesis: respiration ratio reducing the regenerative capacity of these key framebuilding organisms. Even though, on the organismal level, corals are able to cope with these stressful conditions, a shift is imminent on the ecosystem level from a coral reef to a macroalgae-dominated community if land-based disturbance prevails unabated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

  20. Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Early Life-History Stages and Settlement of the Coral-Eating Sea Star Acanthaster planci

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, Sven; Pecorino, Danilo; Albright, Rebecca; Negri, Andrew Peter; Cantin, Neal; Liddy, Michelle; Dworjanyn, Symon; Kamya, Pamela; Byrne, Maria; Lamare, Miles

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are marine biodiversity hotspots, but their existence is threatened by global change and local pressures such as land-runoff and overfishing. Population explosions of coral-eating crown of thorns sea stars (COTS) are a major contributor to recent decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we investigate how projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) conditions can affect early life history stages of COTS, by investigating important milestones including sperm motility, fertilisation rates, and larval development and settlement. OA (increased pCO2 to 900–1200 µatm pCO2) significantly reduced sperm motility and, to a lesser extent, velocity, which strongly reduced fertilization rates at environmentally relevant sperm concentrations. Normal development of 10 d old larvae was significantly lower under elevated pCO2 but larval size was not significantly different between treatments. Settlement of COTS larvae was significantly reduced on crustose coralline algae (known settlement inducers of COTS) that had been exposed to OA conditions for 85 d prior to settlement assays. Effect size analyses illustrated that reduced settlement may be the largest bottleneck for overall juvenile production. Results indicate that reductions in fertilisation and settlement success alone would reduce COTS population replenishment by over 50%. However, it is unlikely that this effect is sufficient to provide respite for corals from other negative anthropogenic impacts and direct stress from OA and warming on corals. PMID:24358240

  1. Impacts of ocean acidification on early life-history stages and settlement of the coral-eating sea star Acanthaster planci.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sven Uthicke

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are marine biodiversity hotspots, but their existence is threatened by global change and local pressures such as land-runoff and overfishing. Population explosions of coral-eating crown of thorns sea stars (COTS are a major contributor to recent decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we investigate how projected near-future ocean acidification (OA conditions can affect early life history stages of COTS, by investigating important milestones including sperm motility, fertilisation rates, and larval development and settlement. OA (increased pCO2 to 900-1200 µatm pCO2 significantly reduced sperm motility and, to a lesser extent, velocity, which strongly reduced fertilization rates at environmentally relevant sperm concentrations. Normal development of 10 d old larvae was significantly lower under elevated pCO2 but larval size was not significantly different between treatments. Settlement of COTS larvae was significantly reduced on crustose coralline algae (known settlement inducers of COTS that had been exposed to OA conditions for 85 d prior to settlement assays. Effect size analyses illustrated that reduced settlement may be the largest bottleneck for overall juvenile production. Results indicate that reductions in fertilisation and settlement success alone would reduce COTS population replenishment by over 50%. However, it is unlikely that this effect is sufficient to provide respite for corals from other negative anthropogenic impacts and direct stress from OA and warming on corals.

  2. Impacts of ocean acidification on early life-history stages and settlement of the coral-eating sea star Acanthaster planci.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, Sven; Pecorino, Danilo; Albright, Rebecca; Negri, Andrew Peter; Cantin, Neal; Liddy, Michelle; Dworjanyn, Symon; Kamya, Pamela; Byrne, Maria; Lamare, Miles

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are marine biodiversity hotspots, but their existence is threatened by global change and local pressures such as land-runoff and overfishing. Population explosions of coral-eating crown of thorns sea stars (COTS) are a major contributor to recent decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we investigate how projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) conditions can affect early life history stages of COTS, by investigating important milestones including sperm motility, fertilisation rates, and larval development and settlement. OA (increased pCO2 to 900-1200 µatm pCO2) significantly reduced sperm motility and, to a lesser extent, velocity, which strongly reduced fertilization rates at environmentally relevant sperm concentrations. Normal development of 10 d old larvae was significantly lower under elevated pCO2 but larval size was not significantly different between treatments. Settlement of COTS larvae was significantly reduced on crustose coralline algae (known settlement inducers of COTS) that had been exposed to OA conditions for 85 d prior to settlement assays. Effect size analyses illustrated that reduced settlement may be the largest bottleneck for overall juvenile production. Results indicate that reductions in fertilisation and settlement success alone would reduce COTS population replenishment by over 50%. However, it is unlikely that this effect is sufficient to provide respite for corals from other negative anthropogenic impacts and direct stress from OA and warming on corals.

  3. Coral reef degradation and metabolic performance of the scleractinian coral Porites lutea under anthropogenic impact along the NE coast of Hainan Island, South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roder, Cornelia; Wu, Zhongjie; Richter, Claudio; Zhang, Jing

    2013-04-01

    Hainan's coast provides favorable climatic, geochemical and biogeographic conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs in China. Observations in five reefs along the NE coast of Hainan showed, however, that the overall density of mobile macrofauna is low and key functional groups such as browsing, scraping or excavating herbivore fish are missing altogether. Coral diseases, partial mortality or tissue degradation are abundant and growth of macroalgal space competitors extensive. Signs of eutrophication, siltation and destructive fishing practices are evident resulting in a strongly altered environment unfavorable for coral recruitment success and survival. Acclimation to the anthropogenically altered conditions in the massive coral Porites lutea occurs at the cost of a decreased photosynthesis: respiration ratio reducing the regenerative capacity of these key framebuilding organisms. Even though, on the organismal level, corals are able to cope with these stressful conditions, a shift is imminent on the ecosystem level from a coral reef to a macroalgae-dominated community if land-based disturbance prevails unabated.

  4. Coral community change on a turbid-zone reef complex: developing baseline records for the central Great Barrier Reef's nearshore coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle; Johnson, Kenneth

    2016-04-01

    Understanding past coral community development and reef growth is crucial for placing contemporary ecological and environmental change within appropriate reef-building timescales. Coral reefs located within coastal inner-shelf zones are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality due to their proximity to modified river catchments. On the inner-shelf of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) the impacts and magnitude of declining water quality since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) still remain unclear. This relates to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against the naturally high background sedimentary regimes and the paucity of long-term (>decadal) ecological datasets. To provide baseline records for interpreting coral community change within the turbid inner-shelf waters of the GBR, 21 cores were recovered from five nearshore reefs spanning an evolutionary spectrum of reef development. Discrete intervals pre- and post-dating European settlement, but deposited at equivalent water depths, were identified by radiocarbon dating, enabling the discrimination of extrinsic and intrinsic driven shifts within the coral palaeo-record. We report no discernible evidence of anthropogenically-driven disturbance on the coral community records at these sites. Instead, significant transitions in coral community assemblages relating to water depth and vertical reef accretion were observed. We suggest that these records may be used to contextualise observed contemporary ecological change within similar environments on the GBR.

  5. 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...

  6. Naked Stony Corals: Skeleton Loss in Scleractinia

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Medina, Monica; Collins, Allen G.; Takaoka, Tori L.; Kuehl,Jennifer; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-12-01

    Hexacorallia includes the Scleractinia, or stony corals, characterized by having an external calcareous skeleton made of aragonite, and the Corallimorpharia, or mushroom corals, that lack such a skeleton. Although each group has traditionally been considered monophyletic, some molecular phylogenetic analyses have challenged this, suggesting that skeletal features are evolutionarily plastic, and reviving notions that the scleractinian skeleton may be ephemeral and that the group itself may be polyphyletic. Nevertheless, the most comprehensive phylogenetic study of Hexacorallia supported scleractinian monophyly (REF), and so this remains controversial. In order to resolve this contentious issue, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome sequences of nine scleractinians and four corallimorpharians and performed phylogenetic analysis that also included three outgroups (an octocoral and two sea anemones). Our data provide the first strong evidence that Scleractinia is paraphyletic and that the Corallimorpharia is derived from within the group, from which we conclude that skeletal loss has occurred in the latter group secondarily. It is possible that a driving force in such skeletal loss could be the high levels of CO{sub 2} in the ocean during the mid-Cretaceous, which would have impacted aragonite solubility. We estimate from molecular divergence measures that the Corallimorpharia arose in the mid-Cretaceous, approximately 87 million years ago (Ma), supporting this view. These data also permit us to date the origin of Scleractinia to 265 Ma, narrowing the gap between the group's phylogenetic origin and its earliest fossil record.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam D Hughes

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

  8. Disease outbreaks, bleaching and a cyclone drive changes in coral assemblages on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haapkylä, J.; Melbourne-Thomas, J.; Flavell, M.; Willis, B. L.

    2013-09-01

    Coral disease is a major threat to the resilience of coral reefs; thus, understanding linkages between disease outbreaks and disturbances predicted to increase with climate change is becoming increasingly important. Coral disease surveys conducted twice yearly between 2008 and 2011 at a turbid inshore reef in the central Great Barrier Reef spanned two disturbance events, a coral bleaching event in 2009 and a severe cyclone (cyclone `Yasi') in 2011. Surveys of coral cover, community structure and disease prevalence throughout this 4-yr study provide a unique opportunity to explore cumulative impacts of disturbance events and disease for inshore coral assemblages. The principal coral disease at the study site was atramentous necrosis (AtN), and it primarily affected the key inshore, reef-building coral Montipora aequituberculata. Other diseases detected were growth anomalies, white syndrome and brown band syndrome. Diseases affected eight coral genera, although Montipora was, by far, the genus mostly affected. The prevalence of AtN followed a clear seasonal pattern, with disease outbreaks occurring only in wet seasons. Mean prevalence of AtN on Montipora spp. (63.8 % ± 3.03) was three- to tenfold greater in the wet season of 2009, which coincided with the 2009 bleaching event, than in other years. Persistent wet season outbreaks of AtN combined with the impacts of bleaching and cyclone events resulted in a 50-80 % proportional decline in total coral cover. The greatest losses of branching and tabular acroporids occurred following the low-salinity-induced bleaching event of 2009, and the greatest losses of laminar montiporids occurred following AtN outbreaks in 2009 and in 2011 following cyclone Yasi. The shift to a less diverse coral assemblage and the concomitant loss of structural complexity are likely to have long-term consequences for associated vertebrate and invertebrate communities on Magnetic Island reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Adam D.; Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Factors Affecting Detection Probability of Acoustic Tags in Coral Reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bermudez, Edgar F.

    2012-05-01

    Acoustic telemetry is an important tool for studying the movement patterns, behaviour, and site fidelity of marine organisms; however, its application is challenged in coral reef environments where complex topography and intense environmental noise interferes with acoustic signals, and there has been less study. Therefore, it is particularly critical in coral reef telemetry studies to first conduct a long-term range test, a tool that provides informa- tion on the variability and periodicity of the transmitter detection range and the detection probability. A one-month range test of a coded telemetric system was conducted prior to a large-scale tagging project investigating the movement of approximately 400 fishes from 30 species on offshore coral reefs in the central Red Sea. During this range test we determined the effect of the following factors on transmitter detection efficiency: distance from receiver, time of day, depth, wind, current, moon-phase and temperature. The experiment showed that biological noise is likely to be responsible for a diel pattern of -on average- twice as many detections during the day as during the night. Biological noise appears to be the most important noise source in coral reefs overwhelming the effect of wind-driven noise, which is important in other studies. Detection probability is also heavily influenced by the location of the acoustic sensor within the reef structure. Understanding the effect of environmental factors on transmitter detection probability allowed us to design a more effective receiver array for the large-scale tagging study.

  11. Bikini Atoll coral biodiversity resilience five decades after nuclear testing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Richards, Zoe T. [Museum of Tropical Queensland, Flinders St, Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia) and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 (Australia) and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811 (Australia); NRAS - Marshall Islands: Natural Resource Assessment Surveys (Australia)], E-mail: zoe.richards@jcu.edu.au; Beger, Maria [Ecology Centre and Commonwealth Research Facility for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072 (Australia); NRAS - Marshall Islands: Natural Resource Assessment Surveys (Australia); Pinca, Silvia [College of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands, NRAS - Marshall Islands: Natural Resource Assessment Surveys (Australia); Wallace, Carden C. [Museum of Tropical Queensland, Flinders St, Townsville, QLD 4810 (Australia)

    2008-03-15

    Five decades after a series of nuclear tests began, we provide evidence that 70% of the Bikini Atoll zooxanthellate coral assemblage is resilient to large-scale anthropogenic disturbance. Species composition in 2002 was assessed and compared to that seen prior to nuclear testing. A total of 183 scleractinian coral species was recorded, compared to 126 species recorded in the previous study (excluding synonomies, 148 including synonomies). We found that 42 coral species may be locally extinct at Bikini. Fourteen of these losses may be pseudo-losses due to inconsistent taxonomy between the two studies or insufficient sampling in the second study, however 28 species appear to represent genuine losses. Of these losses, 16 species are obligate lagoonal specialists and 12 have wider habitat compatibility. Twelve species are recorded from Bikini for the first time. We suggest the highly diverse Rongelap Atoll to the east of Bikini may have contributed larval propagules to facilitate the partial resilience of coral biodiversity in the absence of additional anthropogenic threats.

  12. Diversity and stability of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thibaut, Loic M; Connolly, Sean R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2012-04-01

    Biodiversity may provide insurance against ecosystem collapse by stabilizing assemblages that perform particular ecological functions (the "portfolio effect"). However, the extent to which this occurs in nature and the importance of different mechanisms that generate portfolio effects remain controversial. On coral reefs, herbivory helps maintain coral dominated states, so volatility in levels of herbivory has important implications for reef ecosystems. Here, we used an extensive time series of abundances on 35 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to quantify the strength of the portfolio effect for herbivorous fishes. Then, we disentangled the contributions of two mechanisms that underlie it (compensatory interactions and differential responses to environmental fluctuations ["response diversity"]) by fitting a community-dynamic model that explicitly includes terms for both mechanisms. We found that portfolio effects operate strongly in herbivorous fishes, as shown by nearly independent fluctuations in abundances over time. Moreover, we found strong evidence for high response diversity, with nearly independent responses to environmental fluctuations. In contrast, we found little evidence that the portfolio effect in this system was enhanced by compensatory ecological interactions. Our results show that portfolio effects are driven principally by response diversity for herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. We conclude that portfolio effects can be very strong in nature and that, for coral reefs in particular, response diversity may help maintain herbivory above the threshold levels that trigger regime shifts.

  13. Draft genome sequence of Kocuria sp. SM24M-10 isolated from coral mucus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruna Rafaella Z. Palermo

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Here, we describe the genomic features of the Actinobacteria Kocuria sp. SM24M-10 isolated from mucus of the Brazilian endemic coral Mussismilia hispida. The sequences are available under accession number LDNX01000000 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/LDNX00000000. The genomic analysis revealed interesting information about the adaptation of bacteria to the marine environment (such as genes involved in osmotic and oxidative stress and to the nutrient-rich environment provided by the coral mucus.

  14. Reefs of tomorrow: eutrophication reduces coral biodiversity in an urbanized seascape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duprey, Nicolas N; Yasuhara, Moriaki; Baker, David M

    2016-11-01

    Although the impacts of nutrient pollution on coral reefs are well known, surprisingly, no statistical relationships have ever been established between water quality parameters, coral biodiversity and coral cover. Hong Kong provides a unique opportunity to assess this relationship. Here, coastal waters have been monitored monthly since 1986, at 76 stations, providing a highly spatially resolved water quality dataset including 68 903 data points. Moreover, a robust coral species richness (S) dataset is available from more than 100 surveyed locations, composed of 3453 individual colonies' observations, as well as a coral cover (CC) dataset including 85 sites. This wealth of data provides a unique opportunity to test the hypothesis that water quality, and in particular nutrients, drives coral biodiversity. The influence of water quality on S and CC was analyzed using GIS and multiple regression modeling. Eutrophication (as chlorophyll-a concentration; CHLA) was negatively correlated with S and CC, whereas physicochemical parameters (DO and salinity) had no significant effect. The modeling further illustrated that particulate suspended matter, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) had a negative effect on S and on CC; however, the effect of nutrients was 1.5-fold to twofold greater. The highest S and CC occurred where CHLA  15 μg L(-1) , DIN > 9 μm and DIP > 0.33 μm. This study demonstrates the importance of nutrients over other water quality parameters in coral biodiversity loss and highlights the key role of eutrophication in shaping coastal coral reef ecosystems. This work also provides ecological thresholds that may be useful for water quality guidelines and nutrient mitigation policies. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Sea anemones (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Actiniaria) from coral reefs in the southern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Muñoz, Ricardo; Simões, Nuno; Tello-Musi, José Luis; Rodríguez, Estefanía

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Seven sea anemone species from coral reefs in the southern Gulf of Mexico are taxonomically diagnosed and images from living specimens including external and internal features, and cnidae are provided. Furthermore, the known distribution ranges from another 10 species are extended. No species records of sea anemones have been previously published in the primary scientific literature for coral reefs in the southern Gulf of Mexico and thus, this study represents the first inventory for the local actiniarian fauna. PMID:24146599

  16. Spatial and temporal patterns of eastern Australia subtropical coral communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven J Dalton

    Full Text Available Despite increases in the frequency and intensity of disturbances on coral reefs over the past few decades, the response of subtropical coral assemblages to climate change is poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap on Australian reefs and provide a baseline for future comparisons, we quantified spatial (10-100's of kilometres and temporal (decadal patterns of benthic assemblages across a latitudinal gradient along the east Australian coastline (23.5° S to 31.5° S. Benthic community composition was quantified at six locations from the southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland (Heron Reef, 23.5° S, 152° E to northern New South Wales (31° S, 153.1° E and at Lord Howe Island (31.5° S, 159.1° E. Our results indicate significant latitudinal differences in benthic assemblages, while community composition at some sites was more similar to those hundreds of kilometres away than to that of neighbouring reefs. A general trend was observed with decreasing cover of Acroporidae with increasing latitude, corresponding with an increasing cover of Pocilloporidae and Dendrophylliidae. Heron Reef comprised a high proportion of Acropora corals (43% total coral cover and coralline algae (44%. In contrast, high-latitude reefs were dominated by mixed coral assemblages (0-52% and high macroalgal cover (16-27%. Decadal comparisons of high-latitude reefs showed regional stability of benthic assemblages (9 out of 11 assemblages remained stable at > 75% similarity, during a period of warming oceans (0.15-0.24°C per decade. Such temporal stability suggests that eastern Australian subtropical communities may be more resistant than tropical reef communities that have experienced assembly shifts caused by perturbations associated with recent global climate change. Despite the clear differences in the structure of coral assemblages evident in our spatial surveys, we suggest that the temporal stability of high-latitude reefs may provide a limited refuge for

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Roberts, Kelsey E.; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Morrison, Jennifer M.; Richey, Julie N.

    2017-01-01

    Massive corals provide a useful archive of environmental variability, but careful testing of geochemical proxies in corals is necessary to validate the relationship between each proxy and environmental parameter throughout the full range of conditions experienced by the recording organisms. Here we use samples from a coral-growth study to test the hypothesis that Sr/Ca in the coral Siderastrea siderea accurately records sea-surface temperature (SST) in the subtropics (Florida, USA) along 350 km of reef tract. We test calcification rate, measured via buoyant weight, and linear extension (LE) rate, estimated with Alizarin Red-S staining, as predictors of variance in the Sr/Ca records of 39 individual S. siderea corals grown at four outer-reef locations next to in-situ temperature loggers during two, year-long periods. We found that corals with calcification rates corals that passed this quality control step, the Sr/Ca-SST proxy performed well in estimating mean annual temperature across three sites spanning 350 km of the Florida reef tract. However, there was some evidence that extreme temperature stress in 2010 (cold snap) and 2011 (SST above coral-bleaching threshold) may have caused the corals not to record the temperature extremes. Known stress events could be avoided during modern calibrations of paleoproxies.Plain Language SummaryCoral skeletons are used to decipher past environmental conditions in the ocean because they live for centuries and produce annual growth bands much like tree rings. Along with measuring coral growth rates in the past, coral skeletons can be chemically sampled to get even more detailed information, like past seawater temperatures. In this study we tested the validity of the strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) temperature proxy in the Massive Starlet Coral (Siderastrea siderea) by sampling 39 corals that were grown in the ocean right next to instruments recording underwater temperature. We found that, as long as corals with very slow growth

  19. 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

  20. Climate, productivity, and intermediate water nutrients: new records from bamboo coral Ba/Ca

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lavigne, M.; Hill, T. M.; Spero, H. J.; Guilderson, T. P.

    2010-12-01

    A geochemical nutrient proxy from deep-sea corals would provide decadal to centennial scale records of intermediate-water nutrient dynamics. Such records could be used to determine how intermediate water masses (300-2000m) are affected by decadal scale climate change (e.g. Pacific Decadal Oscillation) via carbon cycling, export production, and intermediate water-mass circulation/ventilation. Because seawater barium (BaSW ) has a nutrient-like distribution in the water-column (similar to silicate), Ba/Ca records have been used to trace upwelled nutrient supply in shallow water surface corals isolated from terrestrial barium sources. Here we show the first calibration of a nutrient proxy from skeletal barium preserved in the calcitic internodes of bamboo corals. Our calibration was calculated from a depth transect (500-2000m) of Isidella and Keratoisis corals spanning a silicate and (BaSW ) gradient on the California Margin (Ba/Ca coral (µmol/mol) = 0.117 BaSW (nmol/kg ) + 0.835; R2 = 0.88; n = 29). The strong linear correlation between Ba/Ca coral and BaSW suggests that coral Ba/Ca is a reliable recorder of seawater barium (and, therefore, silicate). We find a distribution coefficient (DBa) for bamboo coral Ba/Ca of 1.3±0.1, similar to that of other corals (surface and deep-sea dwelling) and inorganic calcium carbonate precipitation experiments (DBa = 1.2-1.5). This implies that, as true for other carbonates, Ba incorporation is primarily driven by ionic substitution and holds promise as a globally applicable nutrient proxy in bamboo corals. High-resolution Ba/Ca timeseries records sampled via LA-ICP-MS in two co-located California Margin corals (Pioneer Seamount; 830m; 37°22’27”N) co-vary with ~decadal-scale variations in silicate and nitrate measured at 500m depth (CalCOFI line 80 sta. 60; 34°8’60”N). This suggests that high-resolution records of bamboo coral Ba/Ca can be used to reconstruct broad changes in intermediate water nutrients driven by

  1. Early transcriptional changes in the reef-building coral Acropora aspera in response to thermal and nutrient stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka; Kaniewska, Paulina; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Ling, Edmund Yew Siang; Edwards, David; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2014-12-02

    Changes to the environment as a result of human activities can result in a range of impacts on reef building corals that include coral bleaching (reduced concentrations of algal symbionts), decreased coral growth and calcification, and increased incidence of diseases and mortality. Understanding how elevated temperatures and nutrient concentration affect early transcriptional changes in corals and their algal endosymbionts is critically important for evaluating the responses of coral reefs to global changes happening in the environment. Here, we investigated the expression of genes in colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora aspera exposed to short-term sub-lethal levels of thermal (+6°C) and nutrient stress (ammonium-enrichment: 20 μM). The RNA-Seq data provided hundreds of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) corresponding to various stress regimes, with 115 up- and 78 down-regulated genes common to all stress regimes. A list of DEGs included up-regulated coral genes like cytochrome c oxidase and NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase and up-regulated photosynthetic genes of algal origin, whereas coral GFP-like fluorescent chromoprotein and sodium/potassium-transporting ATPase showed reduced transcript levels. Taxonomic analyses of the coral holobiont disclosed the dominant presence of transcripts from coral (~70%) and Symbiodinium (~10-12%), as well as ~15-20% of unknown sequences which lacked sequence identity to known genes. Gene ontology analyses revealed enriched pathways, which led to changes in the dynamics of protein networks affecting growth, cellular processes, and energy requirement. In corals with preserved symbiont physiological performance (based on Fv/Fm, photo-pigment and symbiont density), transcriptomic changes and DEGs provided important insight into early stages of the stress response in the coral holobiont. Although there were no signs of coral bleaching after exposure to short-term thermal and nutrient stress conditions, we managed to detect

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

    We integrated coral reef connectivity data for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into a conservation decision-making framework for designing a regional scale marine protected area (MPA) network that provides insight into ecological and political contexts. We used an ocean circulation model and regional coral reef data to simulate eight spawning events from 2008-2011, applying a maximum 30-day pelagic larval duration and 20% mortality rate. Coral larval dispersal patterns were analyzed between ...

  6. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2016-01-01

    Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs—as breakwaters that dissipate wave energy and protect shorelines and as providers of habitat for innumerable species—cannot be overstated. However, the few coral species responsible for reef building in the western Atlantic during the last approximately 1.5 million years are not thriving in the 21st century. These species are highly sensitive to abrupt temperature extremes, prone to disease infection, and have low sexual reproductive potential. Their vulnerability and the low functional redundancy of branching corals have led to the low resilience of western Atlantic reef ecosystems. The decrease in live coral cover over the last 50 years highlights the need for study of relict (senescent) reefs, which, from the perspective of coastline protection and habitat structure, may be just as important to conserve as the living coral veneer. Research is needed to characterize the geological processes of bioerosion, reef cementation, and sediment transport as they relate to modern-day changes in reef elevation. For example, although parrotfish remove nuisance macroalgae, possibly promoting coral recruitment, they will not save Atlantic reefs from geological degradation. In fact, these fish are quickly nibbling away significant quantities of Holocene reef framework. The question of how different biota covering dead reefs affect framework resistance to biological and physical erosion needs to be addressed. Monitoring and managing reefs with respect to physical resilience, in addition to ecological resilience, could optimize the expenditure of

  7. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B; Toth, Lauren T

    2016-08-01

    Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs-as breakwaters that dissipate wave energy and protect shorelines and as providers of habitat for innumerable species-cannot be overstated. However, the few coral species responsible for reef building in the western Atlantic during the last approximately 1.5 million years are not thriving in the 21st century. These species are highly sensitive to abrupt temperature extremes, prone to disease infection, and have low sexual reproductive potential. Their vulnerability and the low functional redundancy of branching corals have led to the low resilience of western Atlantic reef ecosystems. The decrease in live coral cover over the last 50 years highlights the need for study of relict (senescent) reefs, which, from the perspective of coastline protection and habitat structure, may be just as important to conserve as the living coral veneer. Research is needed to characterize the geological processes of bioerosion, reef cementation, and sediment transport as they relate to modern-day changes in reef elevation. For example, although parrotfish remove nuisance macroalgae, possibly promoting coral recruitment, they will not save Atlantic reefs from geological degradation. In fact, these fish are quickly nibbling away significant quantities of Holocene reef framework. The question of how different biota covering dead reefs affect framework resistance to biological and physical erosion needs to be addressed. Monitoring and managing reefs with respect to physical resilience, in addition to ecological resilience, could optimize the expenditure of resources

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  9. Algae as reservoirs for coral pathogens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Sweet

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

  10. Stability of coral-endosymbiont associations during and after a thermal stress event in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-09-01

    Shifts in the community of symbiotic dinoflagellates to those that are better suited to the prevailing environmental condition may provide reef-building corals with a rapid mechanism by which to adapt to changes in the environment. In this study, the dominant Symbiodinium in 10 coral species in the southern Great Barrier Reef was monitored over a 1-year period in 2002 that coincided with a thermal stress event. Molecular genetic profiling of Symbiodinium communities using single strand conformational polymorphism of the large subunit rDNA and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region did not detect any changes in the communities during and after this thermal-stress event. Coral colonies of seven species bleached but recovered with their original symbionts. This study suggests that the shuffling or switching of symbionts in response to thermal stress may be restricted to certain coral species and is probably not a universal feature of the coral-symbiont relationship.

  11. Evaluating Reduction of Sediment Pollution as a Strategy for Conservation of Coral Reef in High C02 World

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maina, J. M.; de Moel, H.; Mora, C.; Ward, P.; Watson, J.

    2014-12-01

    One of the key strategies for coral reef conservation in a high CO2 world is reduction of sediment and nutrient pollution. However, the reduction of sediment is a complicated planning issue as a result of the competing land uses from the demands to satisfy food production needs and from economic development, among others. Moreover, despite the significance of sedimentation as a threat to coral reefs, historical baseline and future estimates of sediment discharge on coral reefs remains poorly quantified. Therefore, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges upon (i) identifying the future sediment discharge on coral reefs relative to historical baseline, and (ii) on identifying spatially where sediment reduction actions are urgently needed and where they are likely to succeed. We provide this understanding by simulating sediment dynamics for historical and future time scales using models of land use and climate, for coastal watersheds adjacent coral reefs where they are found globally.

  12. Mass coral spawning: A natural large-scale nutrien t addition experiment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eyre, B.D.; Glud, Ronnie Nøhr; Patten, N.

    2008-01-01

    A mass coral spawning event on the Heron Island reef flat in 2005 provided a unique opportunity to examine the response of a coral reef ecosystem to a large episodic nutrient addition. A post-major spawning phytoplankton bloom resulted in only a small drawdown of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP......), and dissolved organic phosphorus were used in the production of biomass, and mass balance calculations highlighted the importance of organic forms of N and P for benthic and pelagic production in tropical coral reef environments characterized by low inorganic N and P. The input of N and P via the deposition...... potential N limitation of benthic coral reef communities. For example, there was sufficient bioavailable P stored in the top 10 cm of the sediment column to sustain the prespawning rates of benthic production for over 200 d. Most of the change in benthic N cycling occurred via DON and N-2 pathways, driven...

  13. Multiple Stressors and Ecological Complexity Require A New Approach to Coral Reef Research

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linwood Hagan Pendleton

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification, climate change, and other environmental stressors threaten coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. New science reveals that these multiple stressors interact and may affect a multitude of physiological and ecological processes in complex ways. The interaction of multiple stressors and ecological complexity may mean that the negative effects on coral reef ecosystems will happen sooner and be more severe than previously thought. Yet, most research on the effects of global change on coral reefs focus on one or few stressors and pathways or outcomes (e.g. bleaching. Based on a critical review of the literature, we call for a regionally targeted strategy of mesocosm-level research that addresses this complexity and provides more realistic projections about coral reef impacts in the face of global environmental change. We believe similar approaches are needed for other ecosystems that face global environmental change.

  14. Climate change affects key nitrogen-fixing bacterial populations on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santos, Henrique F; Carmo, Flávia L; Duarte, Gustavo; Dini-Andreote, Francisco; Castro, Clovis B; Rosado, Alexandre S; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Peixoto, Raquel S

    2014-11-01

    Coral reefs are at serious risk due to events associated with global climate change. Elevated ocean temperatures have unpredictable consequences for the ocean's biogeochemical cycles. The nitrogen cycle is driven by complex microbial transformations, including nitrogen fixation. This study investigated the effects of increased seawater temperature on bacteria able to fix nitrogen (diazotrophs) that live in association with the mussid coral Mussismilia harttii. Consistent increases in diazotroph abundances and diversities were found at increased temperatures. Moreover, gradual shifts in the dominance of particular diazotroph populations occurred as temperature increased, indicating a potential future scenario of climate change. The temperature-sensitive diazotrophs may provide useful bioindicators of the effects of thermal stress on coral reef health, allowing the impact of thermal anomalies to be monitored. In addition, our findings support the development of research on different strategies to improve the fitness of corals during events of thermal stress, such as augmentation with specific diazotrophs.

  15. Cloudiness regime shift during 1946~1992 recorded by coral in the South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2005-01-01

    By extracting and comparing long-term trend components of coral gray value, sea surface temperature, cloudiness, and net heat flux for the period of 1946~1992, the relationships among them are addressed. There exists a prominent regime shift in the cloudiness associated with the corresponding variabilities of sea surface temperature and net heat flux occurred in the mid-1960s, which can be successfully recorded by coral gray value, a climatic proxy. Long-term cloudiness variations in the South China Sea are completely opposite to the equatorial western Pacific in the past five decades, whereas they share a similar trend to that over Asian monsoon prevailing waters. The fact that the coral gray value is highly correlated to cloudiness provides a unique perspective on utilizing this coral to study cloudiness variations in the pre-instrumental period.

  16. Fish-derived nutrient hotspots shape coral reef benthic communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shantz, Andrew A; Ladd, Mark C; Schrack, Elizabeth; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-12-01

    restoration strategies may benefit from focusing on providing structure for aggregating fishes on reefs with low topographic complexity or focusing the restoration of nursery raised corals around existing nutrient hotspots.

  17. Coral: an integrated suite of visualizations for comparing clusterings

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Filippova Darya

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Clustering has become a standard analysis for many types of biological data (e.g interaction networks, gene expression, metagenomic abundance. In practice, it is possible to obtain a large number of contradictory clusterings by varying which clustering algorithm is used, which data attributes are considered, how algorithmic parameters are set, and which near-optimal clusterings are chosen. It is a difficult task to sift though such a large collection of varied clusterings to determine which clustering features are affected by parameter settings or are artifacts of particular algorithms and which represent meaningful patterns. Knowing which items are often clustered together helps to improve our understanding of the underlying data and to increase our confidence about generated modules. Results We present Coral, an application for interactive exploration of large ensembles of clusterings. Coral makes all-to-all clustering comparison easy, supports exploration of individual clusterings, allows tracking modules across clusterings, and supports identification of core and peripheral items in modules. We discuss how each visual component in Coral tackles a specific question related to clustering comparison and provide examples of their use. We also show how Coral could be used to visually and quantitatively compare clusterings with a ground truth clustering. Conclusion As a case study, we compare clusterings of a recently published protein interaction network of Arabidopsis thaliana. We use several popular algorithms to generate the network’s clusterings. We find that the clusterings vary significantly and that few proteins are consistently co-clustered in all clusterings. This is evidence that several clusterings should typically be considered when evaluating modules of genes, proteins, or sequences, and Coral can be used to perform a comprehensive analysis of these clustering ensembles.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Legal Regime towards Protecting Coral Reefs: An International Perspective and Indian scenario

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rajesh Sehgal

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available Corals Reefs are an important link in the marine biodiversity and millions of people depend on coral reefs for their sustenance and livelihood, yet these vital resources are in great danger today. Today, 27% of the world's coral reefs have been lost and 14% are predicted to be destroyed in the next 10 to 20 years due to the threats caused by human activities like over fishing, pollution, sedimentation and climate change. On the other hand, the current legal regimes towards protection of coral reefs are often inadequate. Though, most countries have legislation for reef conservation and additional national laws and multilateral environmental agreements have been adopted by the countries with assistance of the international and inter-governmental organization. There exists a wide array of local, state, national, and international initiatives that attempt, in varying degrees, to protect and preserve these ecosystems, still the implementation of these laws is difficult and completely lacking. This article primarily focuses on the principal national (India and international legal instruments that may provide for coral reef protection and provides recommendations for their better conservation. The article also highlight the condition of coral reefs and the difficulty in understanding their perilous situation.

  2. Analysis on coral reefs mapping using SPOT5 data at the Dongsha Atoll

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Jianyu; MAO Zhihua; ZHANG Huaguo; WU Junping; CHEN Xiaodong; PAN Delu

    2007-01-01

    Coral reefs are an sensitive-to-environment complex marine ecosystem. The ecosystem of corals is rich in biodiversity. Remote sensing offers a powerful tool for categorizing coral reefs and is the most cost - effective approach for the large - scale reef survey. The Dongsha Atoll, more than 300 km2 with an average depth of 10 m, is located at the northern continental margin of the South China Sea. It has been abused by destructive fishing during recent decades. Three satellite imageries (Quickbird2, ETM + and SPOTS) are used to evaluate the capabilities of SPOT5 imagery to provide data that are useful for categorizing the current distribution of coral reefs therein. During the data processing, unsupervised classification functions are adopted for ETM + and SPOT5 data, while the supervised classification method is used for Quickbird2. The classes are (or not) merged into coral reef, and then will be operated by vectorization, simplification, and topological analysis. There are 1 331 coral reefs larger than 100 m2 with a detection limit of 3 × 3 pixels at the multi - band data of Quickbird2, which is taken as the comparison baseline. The results extracted from SPOT5 and ETM images are less in number and area than those from the Quickbird2 image, whereas the results from SPOT5 data are better than those of ETM data at the silty lagoon due to its higher resolution. SPOT5 XS band 2 fails to distinguish the deep substrate inside the atoll compared with ETM data because of its poor penetration capability. Only SPOT XS band 1 cannot be used to differentiate coral reef from sand bottom. Merging the SPOT5 multi - bands data with the spatial resolution of SPOT5 pan - data and referring to ETM imagery are expected to provide an optimal satellite - based approach for mapping of coral reefs.

  3. Underwater temperature on off-shore coral reefs of the Florida Keys, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2017-01-01

    The USGS Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest/) provides science that helps resource managers tasked with the stewardship of coral reef resources. Coral reef organisms are very sensitive to high and low water-temperature extremes. It is critical to precisely know water temperatures experienced by corals and associated plants and animals that live in the dynamic, nearshore environment to document thresholds in temperature tolerance. Here we provide underwater temperature data recorded every fifteen minutes since 2009 at five off-shore coral reefs in the Florida Keys. From northeast to southwest, these sites are Fowey Rocks (Biscayne National Park), Molasses Reef (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, FKNMS), Crocker Reef (FKNMS), Sombrero Reef (FKNMS), and Pulaski Shoal (Dry Tortugas National Park). Temperatures were recorded with Onset® HOBO® Water Temp Pro V2 (U22-001) data loggers in duplicate at each site. Loggers were attached to concrete blocks fixed to the reef with stainless-steel rods and epoxy at depths of 13 to 16 feet of seawater. A portion of the dataset included here was interpreted in conjunction with coral and algal calcification rates in Kuffner et al. (2013).Kuffner, I.B., Hickey, T.D., and Morrison J.M., 2013, Calcification rates of the massive coral Siderastrea siderea and crustose coralline algae along the Florida Keys (USA) outer-reef tract. Coral Reefs 32:987-997. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-013-1047-8Note: This data release was versioned on February 01, 2017. Please see the Suggested Citation section for details.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lyza Johnston

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Coral reef assessment and monitoring made easy using Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe software in Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. R. M. Tabugo

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef communities are considered as the most diverse marine ecosystems that provide food, shelter and protection to marine organisms. It provides many important benefits to humans but often a subject to impairment through human activities. Cascading human influences and climate change appeared as a reason behind its decline. Thus, coral reef monitoring methods are substantial. This study utilized Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe software, as a means to increase efficiency of coral reef monitoring efforts because it automates, facilitates and speeds the process of random point count analysis and can perform image calibration, planar area and length calculations of benthic features. The method was used to estimate community statistics of benthos based on captured still images for every 1m marked across four 50m transect line (total 200 m at 4.6-5.6m depth. Transect images were assigned with 30 spatial random points for identification. Multiple image frames were combined for each transect length supplying datasheet containing header information, statistical parameters species / substrate type (relative abundance, mean and standard deviation and Shannon-Weaver and Simpson's Index calculation for species diversity. Generated transect datasets were statistically analyzed to give quantitative population estimates over the area of interest. Data from individual frames were combined per transect to allow both inter- and intra- site/transect comparisons. This study reports the current status of coral reefs across Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines and proved the efficiency of CPCe as a tool in reef assessment and monitoring. Results showed that most common genera Porites and Acropora were dominant, with Porites lobata as the most abundant coral species in the area. Moreover, results also showed that there were various diseases present affecting corals leading to increased mortality.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. A Well-Kept Treasure at Depth: Precious Red Coral Rediscovered in Atlantic Deep Coral Gardens (SW Portugal after 300 Years.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joana Boavida

    Full Text Available The highly valuable red coral Corallium rubrum is listed in several Mediterranean Conventions for species protection and management since the 1980s. Yet, the lack of data about its Atlantic distribution has hindered its protection there. This culminated in the recent discovery of poaching activities harvesting tens of kg of coral per day from deep rocky reefs off SW Portugal. Red coral was irregularly exploited in Portugal between the 1200s and 1700s, until the fishery collapsed. Its occurrence has not been reported for the last 300 years.Here we provide the first description of an Atlantic red coral assemblage, recently rediscovered dwelling at 60-100 m depth in southern Portugal. We report a very slow growth rate (0.23 mm year-1, comparable to Mediterranean specimens. In comparison with most of the Mediterranean reports, the population reaches much larger sizes, estimated to be over one century old, and has a more complex coral branch architecture that promotes a rich assemblage of associated species, with boreal and Mediterranean affinities. Atlantic red coral is genetically distinct, yet mitochondrial analyses suggest that red corals from the Atlantic may have introgressed the Mediterranean ones after migration via the Algeria current. Our underwater surveys, using advanced mixed-gas diving, retrieved lost fishing gear in all coral sites. Besides illegal harvesting, the use and loss of fishing gears, particularly nets, by local fisheries are likely sources of direct impacts on these benthic assemblages.We extended the knowledge on the distribution of C. rubrum in the Atlantic, discovered its genetic distinctiveness, and reveal a rich deep-dwelling fauna associated to these coral assemblages. These findings support a barrier role of the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition zone, but reveal also hints of connectivity along its southern margin. The results highlight the genetic and demographic uniqueness of red coral populations from SW Iberia

  14. A Snapshot of a Coral “Holobiont”: A Transcriptome Assembly of the Scleractinian Coral, Porites, Captures a Wide Variety of Genes from Both the Host and Symbiotic Zooxanthellae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Inoue, Mayuri; Kusakabe, Makoto

    2014-01-01

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

  15. LCG Persistency Framework (POOL, CORAL, COOL) - Status and Outlook

    CERN Document Server

    CERN. Geneva

    2012-01-01

    The LCG Persistency Framework consists of three software packages (POOL, CORAL and COOL) that address the data access requirements of the LHC experiments in several different areas. The project is the result of the collaboration between the CERN IT Department and the three experiments (ATLAS, CMS and LHCb) that are using some or all of the Persistency Framework components to access their data. The POOL package is a hybrid technology store for C++ objects, using a mixture of streaming and relational technologies to implement both object persistency and object metadata catalogs and collections. POOL provides generic components that can be used by the experiments to store both their event data and their conditions data. The CORAL package is an abstraction layer with an SQL-free API for accessing data stored using relational database technologies. It is used directly by experiment-specific applications and internally by both COOL and POOL. The COOL package provides specific software components and tools for the h...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Initial and Diagenetic Behaviour of U Isotopes in Corals: Implications for U-series Dating

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, L. F.; Adkins, J. F.; Fernandez, D.; Burnett, D.; Gagnon, A.; Krakauer, N.; Wang, S.

    2005-12-01

    U-series isotopes in corals are one of the most powerful tools for chronometry in Quaternary Paleoceanography. Modern mass spectrometric techniques routinely reach 1 permil precision for the isotopic ratios of uranium and thorium. However, the corals themselves are often found to be open systems for U-series dating. The most widely used metric for diagenetic alteration of the age is the deviation of the δ234U ratio from the seawater value of 146‰. In this study we use deep-sea corals that live and are preserved in a constant seawater environment to investigate the causes of this diagenetic alteration. Coral thin-sections display complex visible banding patterns based on the crystal morphology. Fission track maps and MC-ICP-MS measurements performed on micro-milled sub-samples reveal a primary [U]-variability that has a spatial distribution closely related to the visible banding. Sub-samples from fossil corals, ranging in age from 11 ka to 218 ka, have variable δ234Uinitial with the highest δ234Uinitial values in areas of low [U]. A model shows that most of the variability can be explained by two simple processes, direct transfer of alpha recoil 230Th and 234Th and, more importantly, preferential movement of alpha-decay mobilised 234U. Coupling this preferential movement with a high [U] coating such as an organic film provides a source of 234U to the coral lattice that can account for large δ234Uinitial elevations, with little change to the final age. As surface corals also have large initial [U] gradients, our results demonstrate that many elevated δ234Uinitial values are a natural consequence of the coral's initial [U] gradient. These gradients are biologically induced at the time of calcification and are an example of how better understanding the effects of biomineralization can improve our interpretation of paleotracers.

  18. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Messmer, Vanessa; Brooks, Andrew J; Srinivasan, Maya; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia). Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity) in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  19. Divergence of seafloor elevation and sea level rise in coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Smiley, Nathan A.; Tiling-Range, Ginger

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs serve as natural barriers that protect adjacent shorelines from coastal hazards such as storms, waves, and erosion. Projections indicate global degradation of coral reefs due to anthropogenic impacts and climate change will cause a transition to net erosion by mid-century. Here, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the combined effect of all of the processes affecting seafloor accretion and erosion by measuring changes in seafloor elevation and volume for five coral reef ecosystems in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean over the last several decades. Regional-scale mean elevation and volume losses were observed at all five study sites and in 77 % of the 60 individual habitats that we examined across all study sites. Mean seafloor elevation losses for whole coral reef ecosystems in our study ranged from −0.09 to −0.8 m, corresponding to net volume losses ranging from 3.4  ×  106 to 80.5  ×  106 m3 for all study sites. Erosion of both coral-dominated substrate and non-coral substrate suggests that the current rate of carbonate production is no longer sufficient to support net accretion of coral reefs or adjacent habitats. We show that regional-scale loss of seafloor elevation and volume has accelerated the rate of relative sea level rise in these regions. Current water depths have increased to levels not predicted until near the year 2100, placing these ecosystems and nearby communities at elevated and accelerating risk to coastal hazards. Our results set a new baseline for projecting future impacts to coastal communities resulting from degradation of coral reef systems and associated losses of natural and socioeconomic resources.

  20. Reconstructing surface ocean circulation with 129I time series records from corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Ching-Chih; Burr, George S.; Jull, A. J. Timothy; Russell, Joellen L.; Biddulph, Dana; White, Lara; Prouty, Nancy G.; Chen, Yue-Gau; Chuan-Chou Shen,; Zhou, Weijian; Lam, Doan Dinh

    2016-01-01

    The long-lived radionuclide 129I (half-life: 15.7 × 106 yr) is well-known as a useful environmental tracer. At present, the global 129I in surface water is about 1–2 orders of magnitude higher than pre-1960 levels. Since the 1990s, anthropogenic 129I produced from industrial nuclear fuels reprocessing plants has been the primary source of 129I in marine surface waters of the Atlantic and around the globe. Here we present four coral 129I time series records from: 1) Con Dao and 2) Xisha Islands, the South China Sea, 3) Rabaul, Papua New Guinea and 4) Guam. The Con Dao coral 129I record features a sudden increase in 129I in 1959. The Xisha coral shows similar peak values for 129I as the Con Dao coral, punctuated by distinct low values, likely due to the upwelling in the central South China Sea. The Rabaul coral features much more gradual 129I increases in the 1970s, similar to a published record from the Solomon Islands. The Guam coral 129I record contains the largest measured values for any site, with two large peaks, in 1955 and 1959. Nuclear weapons testing was the primary 129I source in the Western Pacific in the latter part of the 20th Century, notably from testing in the Marshall Islands. The Guam 1955 peak and Con Dao 1959 increases are likely from the 1954 Castle Bravo test, and the Operation Hardtack I test is the most likely source of the 1959 peak observed at Guam. Radiogenic iodine found in coral was carried primarily through surface ocean currents. The coral 129I time series data provide a broad picture of the surface distribution and depth penetration of 129I in the Pacific Ocean over the past 60 years.

  1. Reconstructing surface ocean circulation with (129)I time series records from corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Ching-Chih; Burr, George S; Jull, A J Timothy; Russell, Joellen L; Biddulph, Dana; White, Lara; Prouty, Nancy G; Chen, Yue-Gau; Shen, Chuan-Chou; Zhou, Weijian; Lam, Doan Dinh

    2016-12-01

    The long-lived radionuclide (129)I (half-life: 15.7 × 10(6) yr) is well-known as a useful environmental tracer. At present, the global (129)I in surface water is about 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than pre-1960 levels. Since the 1990s, anthropogenic (129)I produced from industrial nuclear fuels reprocessing plants has been the primary source of (129)I in marine surface waters of the Atlantic and around the globe. Here we present four coral (129)I time series records from: 1) Con Dao and 2) Xisha Islands, the South China Sea, 3) Rabaul, Papua New Guinea and 4) Guam. The Con Dao coral (129)I record features a sudden increase in (129)I in 1959. The Xisha coral shows similar peak values for (129)I as the Con Dao coral, punctuated by distinct low values, likely due to the upwelling in the central South China Sea. The Rabaul coral features much more gradual (129)I increases in the 1970s, similar to a published record from the Solomon Islands. The Guam coral (129)I record contains the largest measured values for any site, with two large peaks, in 1955 and 1959. Nuclear weapons testing was the primary (129)I source in the Western Pacific in the latter part of the 20th Century, notably from testing in the Marshall Islands. The Guam 1955 peak and Con Dao 1959 increases are likely from the 1954 Castle Bravo test, and the Operation Hardtack I test is the most likely source of the 1959 peak observed at Guam. Radiogenic iodine found in coral was carried primarily through surface ocean currents. The coral (129)I time series data provide a broad picture of the surface distribution and depth penetration of (129)I in the Pacific Ocean over the past 60 years. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

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

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    Meir Sussman

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  4. Ba/Ca Ratios in North Pacific Bamboo Corals Record Changes in Intermediate Water Biogeochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serrato Marks, G.; LaVigne, M.; Hill, T. M.; Sauthoff, W.; Guilderson, T. P.; Roark, E. B.; Dunbar, R. B.

    2015-12-01

    Trace elemental ratios preserved in the skeleton of bamboo corals, which live for hundreds of years at >500m depth, have been utilized as archives of deep-ocean conditions. However, it was previously unclear whether trace element data from these corals were internally reproducible and could therefore be used as reliable climate proxies. This study tests the internal reproducibility of Ba/Ca in the calcite of nine bamboo corals to further develop a new proxy for dissolved Ba in seawater (BaSW). Trace element LA-ICP-MS data were collected along three replicate radii of varying lengths of the calcitic internodes of well-dated corals collected live from the Gulf of Alaska (720m and 643m) and the California Margin (870m, 1012m, 1295m, 1500m, 1521m, 1954m, and 2054m; samples from 1295-1521m are not yet dated). Data were aligned using visible bands measured with a petrographic microscope to account for irregular growth. Ba/Ca data filtered with a 50μm (1.5-2 year) moving average were reproducible within each coral to 2.9 ± 2.1% (n=3 radii/coral, 9 corals), suggesting that regional geochemical signals are recorded as reproducible Ba/Ca signals on >annual timescales. Coral Ba/Ca presents an excellent proxy for BaSW, which has been found to be correlated with refractory nutrients (e.g. silicate) and oxygen minima. Increasing BaSW with depth and increased variability near 1000m suggests that BaSW is not constant with depth or with time. Several factors, including barite saturation state, particulate organic carbon (POC) remineralization rate, and particle sinking time, may be involved in the observed changes in BaSW. Further examination of such mechanisms could provide new insights into modern changes in deep-sea biogeochemistry.

  5. Methods for monitoring corals and crustose coralline algae to quantify in-situ calcification rates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrison, Jennifer M.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Hickey, T. Don

    2013-01-01

    The potential effect of global climate change on calcifying marine organisms, such as scleractinian (reef-building) corals, is becoming increasingly evident. Understanding the process of coral calcification and establishing baseline calcification rates are necessary to detect future changes in growth resulting from climate change or other stressors. Here we describe the methods used to establish a network of calcification-monitoring stations along the outer Florida Keys Reef Tract in 2009. In addition to detailing the initial setup and periodic monitoring of calcification stations, we discuss the utility and success of our design and offer suggestions for future deployments. Stations were designed such that whole coral colonies were securely attached to fixed apparati (n = 10 at each site) on the seafloor but also could be easily removed and reattached as needed for periodic weighing. Corals were weighed every 6 months, using the buoyant weight technique, to determine calcification rates in situ. Sites were visited in May and November to obtain winter and summer rates, respectively, and identify seasonal patterns in calcification. Calcification rates of the crustose coralline algal community also were measured by affixing commercially available plastic tiles, deployed vertically, at each station. Colonization by invertebrates and fleshy algae on the tiles was low, indicating relative specificity for the crustose coralline algal community. We also describe a new, nonlethal technique for sampling the corals, used following the completion of the monitoring period, in which two slabs were obtained from the center of each colony. Sampled corals were reattached to the seafloor, and most corals had completely recovered within 6 months. The station design and sampling methods described herein provide an effective approach to assessing coral and crustose coralline algal calcification rates across time and space, offering the ability to quantify the potential effects of

  6. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sally J Holbrook

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia. Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  7. Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons of the Bay of Biscay

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    Inge M. J. van den Beld

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The topographical and hydrological complexity of submarine canyons, coupled with high substratum heterogeneity, make them ideal environments for cold-water coral (CWC habitats. These habitats, including reefs, are thought to provide important functions for many organisms. The canyons incising the continental slope of the Bay of Biscay have distinct morphological differences from the north to the south. CWCs have been reported from this basin in the late nineteenth century; however, little is known about their present-day distribution, diversity and environmental drivers in the canyons. In this study, the characteristics and distribution of CWC habitats in the submarine canyons of the Bay of Biscay are investigated. Twenty-four canyons and three locations between adjacent canyons were sampled using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV or a towed camera system. Acquired images were annotated for habitat type (using the CoralFISH classification system, substrate cover and coral identification. Furthermore, the influence of hydrological factors and geomorphology on the CWC distribution was investigated. Eleven coral habitats, formed by 62 morphotypes of scleractinians, gorgonians, antipatharians and seapens, inhabiting hard and/or soft substrate, were observed. The distribution patterns were heterogenous at regional and local scales; the south Bay of Biscay and the southeastern flank favored soft substrate habitats. Biogenic and hard substrate habitats supported higher coral diversities than soft substrate habitats and had similar species compositions. A higher coral species turnover characterized soft substrate habitats. Substrate type was the most important driver of the patterns in both distribution and composition. Observations of coral reefs on steeper areas in the canyons and coral rubble on flatter areas on the interfluve/upper slope support the hypothesis that canyons serve as refuges, being less accessible to trawling, although natural causes

  8. Coral calcification under environmental change: a direct comparison of the alkalinity anomaly and buoyant weight techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

    Two primary methods—the buoyant weight (BW) and alkalinity anomaly (AA) techniques—are currently used to quantify net calcification rates ( G) in scleractinian corals. However, it remains unclear whether they are directly comparable since the few method comparisons conducted to date have produced inconsistent results. Further, such a comparison has not been made for tropical corals. We directly compared G BW and G AA in four tropical and one temperate coral species cultured under various pCO2, temperature, and nutrient conditions. A range of protocols for conducting alkalinity depletion incubations was assessed. For the tropical corals, open-top incubations with manual stirring produced G AA that were highly correlated with and not significantly different from G BW. Similarly, G AA of the temperate coral was not significantly different from G BW when incubations provided water motion using a pump, but were significantly lower than G BW by 16% when water motion was primarily created by aeration. This shows that the two techniques can produce comparable calcification rates in corals but only when alkalinity depletion incubations are conducted under specific conditions. General recommendations for incubation protocols are made, especially regarding adequate water motion and incubation times. Further, the re-analysis of published data highlights the importance of using appropriate regression statistics when both variables are random and measured with error. Overall, we recommend the AA technique for investigations of community and short-term day versus night calcification, and the BW technique to measure organism calcification rates integrated over longer timescales due to practical limitations of both methods. Our findings will facilitate the direct comparison of studies measuring coral calcification using either method and thus have important implications for the fields of ocean acidification research and coral biology in general.

  9. Novel adaptive photosynthetic characteristics of mesophotic symbiotic microalgae within the reef-building coral, Stylophora pistillata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shai Einbinder

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Photosynthetic coral reef structures extend from the shallow sundrenched waters to the dimly lit, twilight mesophotic depths. For their resident endosymbiotic dinoflagellates, primarily from the genus Symbiodinium spp., this represents a photic environment that varies ~15 fold in intensity and also differs in spectral composition. We examined photosynthesis in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata in shallow (3 m and mesophotic settings (65m in the northern Red Sea. Symbiodinium spp. in corals originating from the mesophotic environment consistently performed below their photosynthetic compensation point and also exhibited distinct light harvesting antenna organization. In addition, the non-photochemical quenching activity of Symbiodinium spp. from mesophotic corals was shown to be considerably lower than those found in shallow corals, showing they have fewer defenses to high-light settings. Over a period of almost four years, we extensively utilized closed circuit Trimix rebreather diving to perform the study. Phylogenetic analysis showed that shallow corals (3m transplanted to a deep reef environment (65 m maintained their initial Symbiodinium spp. community (clade A, rather than taking on deep low-light clades (clade C, demonstrating that shallow S. pistillata acclimate to low-light mesophotic environments while maintaining their shallow photosynthetic traits. Mesophotic corals exhibited static depth-related chlorophyll content per cell, a decrease in PSI activity and enhanced sigmoidal fluorescence rise kinetics. The sigmoidal fluorescence rise kinetics we observed in mesophotic corals is an indication of energy transfer between photosynthetic units. We postulate that at mesophotic depths, a community of adapted Symbiodinium spp. utilize a unique adaptation to lower light conditions by shifting their light harvesting to a PSII based system, where PSII is structured near PSI, with additional PCP soluble antenna also trapping light

  10. Determining the extent and characterizing coral reef habitats of the northern latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Brian K; Gilliam, David S

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT), the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25-27° N latitude) is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km(2) seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future community shift and

  11. Determining the extent and characterizing coral reef habitats of the northern latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian K Walker

    Full Text Available Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT, the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25-27° N latitude is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km(2 seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future

  12. A diverse assemblage of reef corals thriving in a dynamic intertidal reef setting (Bonaparte Archipelago, Kimberley, Australia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Zoe T; Garcia, Rodrigo A; Wallace, Carden C; Rosser, Natalie L; Muir, Paul R

    2015-01-01

    The susceptibility of reef-building corals to climatic anomalies is well documented and a cause of great concern for the future of coral reefs. Reef corals are normally considered to tolerate only a narrow range of climatic conditions with only a small number of species considered heat-tolerant. Occasionally however, corals can be seen thriving in unusually harsh reef settings and these are cause for some optimism about the future of coral reefs. Here we document for the first time a diverse assemblage of 225 species of hard corals occurring in the intertidal zone of the Bonaparte Archipelago, north western Australia. We compare the environmental conditions at our study site (tidal regime, SST and level of turbidity) with those experienced at four other more typical tropical reef locations with similar levels of diversity. Physical extremes in the Bonaparte Archipelago include tidal oscillations of up to 8 m, long subaerial exposure times (>3.5 hrs), prolonged exposure to high SST and fluctuating turbidity levels. We conclude the timing of low tide in the coolest parts of the day ameliorates the severity of subaerial exposure, and the combination of strong currents and a naturally high sediment regime helps to offset light and heat stress. The low level of anthropogenic impact and proximity to the Indo-west Pacific centre of diversity are likely to further promote resistance and resilience in this community. This assemblage provides an indication of what corals may have existed in other nearshore locations in the past prior to widespread coastal development, eutrophication, coral predator and disease outbreaks and coral bleaching events. Our results call for a re-evaluation of what conditions are optimal for coral survival, and the Bonaparte intertidal community presents an ideal model system for exploring how species resilience is conferred in the absence of confounding factors such as pollution.

  13. The functional importance of Acropora austera as nursery areas for juvenile reef fish on South African coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Floros, C.; Schleyer, M. H.

    2017-03-01

    Many coral reef fish species use mangrove and seagrass beds as nursery areas. However, in certain regions, the absence or scarcity of such habitats suggests that juvenile coral reef fish may be seeking refuge elsewhere. The underlying biogenic substratum of most coral reefs is structurally complex and provides many types of refuge. However, on young or subtropical coral reefs, species may be more reliant on the living coral layer as nursery areas. Such is the case on the high-latitude coral reefs of South Africa where the coral communities consist of a thin veneer of coral overlaying late Pleistocene bedrock. Thus, the morphology of coral species may be a major determinant in the availability of refuge space. Acropora austera is a branching species that forms large patches with high structural complexity. Associated with these patches is a diverse community of fish species, particularly juveniles. Over the past decade, several large (>100 m2) A. austera patches at Sodwana Bay have been diminishing for unknown reasons and there is little evidence of their replacement or regrowth. Seven patches of A. austera (AP) and non- A. austera (NAP) were selected and monitored for 12 months using visual surveys to investigate the importance of AP as refugia and nursery areas. There were significant differences in fish communities between AP and NAP habitats. In total, 110 species were recorded within the patches compared to 101 species outside the patches. Labrids and pomacentrids were the dominant species in the AP habitats, while juvenile scarids, acanthurids, chaetodons and serranids were also abundant. The diversity and abundance of fish species increased significantly with AP size. As the most structurally complex coral species on the reefs, the loss of APs may have significant implications for the recruitment and survival of certain fish species.

  14. A diverse assemblage of reef corals thriving in a dynamic intertidal reef setting (Bonaparte Archipelago, Kimberley, Australia.

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    Zoe T Richards

    Full Text Available The susceptibility of reef-building corals to climatic anomalies is well documented and a cause of great concern for the future of coral reefs. Reef corals are normally considered to tolerate only a narrow range of climatic conditions with only a small number of species considered heat-tolerant. Occasionally however, corals can be seen thriving in unusually harsh reef settings and these are cause for some optimism about the future of coral reefs. Here we document for the first time a diverse assemblage of 225 species of hard corals occurring in the intertidal zone of the Bonaparte Archipelago, north western Australia. We compare the environmental conditions at our study site (tidal regime, SST and level of turbidity with those experienced at four other more typical tropical reef locations with similar levels of diversity. Physical extremes in the Bonaparte Archipelago include tidal oscillations of up to 8 m, long subaerial exposure times (>3.5 hrs, prolonged exposure to high SST and fluctuating turbidity levels. We conclude the timing of low tide in the coolest parts of the day ameliorates the severity of subaerial exposure, and the combination of strong currents and a naturally high sediment regime helps to offset light and heat stress. The low level of anthropogenic impact and proximity to the Indo-west Pacific centre of diversity are likely to further promote resistance and resilience in this community. This assemblage provides an indication of what corals may have existed in other nearshore locations in the past prior to widespread coastal development, eutrophication, coral predator and disease outbreaks and coral bleaching events. Our results call for a re-evaluation of what conditions are optimal for coral survival, and the Bonaparte intertidal community presents an ideal model system for exploring how species resilience is conferred in the absence of confounding factors such as pollution.

  15. Changing carbonate chemistry in ocean waters surrounding coral reefs in the CMIP5 ensemble

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    Ricke, K.; Schneider, K.; Cao, L.; Caldeira, K.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reefs comprise some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Today they are threatened by a number of stressors, including pollution, bleaching from global warming and ocean acidification. In this study, we focus on the implications of ocean acidification for the open ocean chemistry surrounding coral reefs. We use results from 13 Earth System Models included in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) to examine the changing aragonite saturations (Ωa) of open ocean waters surrounding approximately 6,000 coral reefs. These 13 Earth System Models participating in CMIP5 each have interactive ocean biogeochemistry models that output state variables including DIC, alkalinity, SST, and salinity. Variation in these values were combined with values from the GLODAP database to calculate aragonite, the form of calcium carbonate that corals use to make their skeletons. We used reef locations from ReefBase that were within one degree (in latitude or longitude) of water masses represented both in the GLODAP database and in the climate models. Carbonate chemistry calculations were performed by Dr. James C. Orr (IPSL) as part of a separate study. We find that in preindustrial times, 99.9 % of coral reefs were located in regions of the ocean with aragonite saturations of 3.5 or more. The saturation threshold for viable reef ecosystems in uncertain, but the pre-industrial distribution of water chemistry surrounding coral reefs may nevertheless provide some indication of viability. We examine the fate of coral reefs in the context of several potential aragonite saturation thresholds, i.e., when Ωa_crit equals 3, 3.25, or 3.5. We show that under a business-as-usual scenario Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, the specific value of Ωa_crit does not affect the long-term fate of coral reefs -- by the end of the 21st century, no coral reef considered is surrounded by water with Ωa> 3. However, under scenarios with significant CO2 emissions

  16. Community change within a Caribbean coral reef Marine Protected Area following two decades of local management.

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    Mae M Noble

    Full Text Available Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs. While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP. Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management.

  17. Community change within a Caribbean coral reef Marine Protected Area following two decades of local management.

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    Noble, Mae M; van Laake, Gregoor; Berumen, Michael L; Fulton, Christopher J

    2013-01-01

    Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP). Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth) closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m) habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease) in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management.

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

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    Clemens, E.; Brandt, M. E.

    2015-12-01

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

  19. Porpostoma guamensis n. sp., a philasterine scuticociliate associated with brown-band disease of corals.

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    Lobban, Christopher S; Raymundo, Laurie M; Montagnes, David J S

    2011-01-01

    Brown band disease of coral is caused by a ciliate that consumes the tissue of the corals in the genus Acropora. We describe the ciliate associated with this disease on Guam, based on: general morphology, division stages, and ciliature observed on live and protargol-stained specimens; modification of the oral structures between divisional stages, observed on protargol-stained specimens; and some aspects of behavior in field and laboratory studies. Porpostoma guamensis n. sp. is elongate and has ciliature typical for the genus; live cells are 70-500 × 20-75 μm; the macronucleus is sausage-like, elongate but often bent, positioned centrally along the main cell axis; the oral ciliature follows a basic pattern, being composed of three adoral polykinetidal regions, as described for other species in the genus, although there is variability in the organization, especially in large cells where the three regions are not easily distinguished. Ciliates fed on coral with their oral region adjacent to the tissue, which they engulfed, leaving the coral a bare skeleton. Both zooxanthellae and nematocysts from coral occurred in the ciliates. Zooxanthellae appeared to be ingested alive but deteriorated within 2-3 days. Ciliates formed thin-walled division cysts on the coral and divided up to 3 times. Cysts formed around daughter cells within cysts. We provide some observations on the complex division pattern of the ciliate (i.e. tomont-trophont-cyst) and propose a possible complete pattern that requires further validation.

  20. Simulations of long-term community dynamics in coral reefs--how perturbations shape trajectories.

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    Andreas Kubicek

    Full Text Available Tropical coral reefs feature extraordinary biodiversity and high productivity rates in oligotrophic waters. Due to increasing frequencies of perturbations--anthropogenic and natural--many reefs are under threat. Such perturbations often have devastating effects on these unique ecosystems and especially if they occur simultaneously and amplify each other's impact, they might trigger a phase shift and create irreversible conditions.We developed a generic, spatially explicit, individual-based model in which competition drives the dynamics of a virtual benthic reef community--comprised of scleractinian corals and algae--under different environmental settings. Higher system properties, like population dynamics or community composition arise through self-organization as emergent properties. The model was parameterized for a typical coral reef site at Zanzibar, Tanzania and features coral bleaching and physical disturbance regimes as major sources of perturbations. Our results show that various types and modes (intensities and frequencies of perturbations create diverse outcomes and that the switch from high diversity to single species dominance can be evoked by small changes in a key parameter. Here we extend the understanding of coral reef resilience and the identification of key processes, drivers and respective thresholds, responsible for changes in local situations. One future goal is to provide a tool which may aid decision making processes in management of coral reefs.

  1. Phase shifts, herbivory, and the resilience of coral reefs to climate change.

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    Hughes, Terence P; Rodrigues, Maria J; Bellwood, David R; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCook, Laurence; Moltschaniwskyj, Natalie; Pratchett, Morgan S; Steneck, Robert S; Willis, Bette

    2007-02-20

    Many coral reefs worldwide have undergone phase shifts to alternate, degraded assemblages because of the combined effects of over-fishing, declining water quality, and the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Here, we experimentally manipulated the density of large herbivorous fishes to test their influence on the resilience of coral assemblages in the aftermath of regional-scale bleaching in 1998, the largest coral mortality event recorded to date. The experiment was undertaken on the Great Barrier Reef, within a no-fishing reserve where coral abundances and diversity had been sharply reduced by bleaching. In control areas, where fishes were abundant, algal abundance remained low, whereas coral cover almost doubled (to 20%) over a 3 year period, primarily because of recruitment of species that had been locally extirpated by bleaching. In contrast, exclusion of large herbivorous fishes caused a dramatic explosion of macroalgae, which suppressed the fecundity, recruitment, and survival of corals. Consequently, management of fish stocks is a key component in preventing phase shifts and managing reef resilience. Importantly, local stewardship of fishing effort is a tractable goal for conservation of reefs, and this local action can also provide some insurance against larger-scale disturbances such as mass bleaching, which are impractical to manage directly.

  2. Decline of coral reefs during late Paleocene to early Eocene global warming

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    C. Scheibner

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Since the 1980s the frequency of warming events has intensified and simultaneously widespread coral bleaching, and enhanced coral mortality have been observed. Yet, it remains unpredictable how tropical coral reef communities will react to prolonged adverse conditions. Possibly, coral reef systems are sufficiently robust to withstand continued environmental pressures. But if coral mortality increases, what will platform communities of the future look like? The co-evolution of early Paleogene carbonate platforms and palaeoclimate may provide insight. Here we document