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Sample records for corals provide underexplored

  1. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

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    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

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

  2. Interspecific Hybridization May Provide Novel Opportunities for Coral Reef Restoration

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    Wing Yan Chan

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances have created an era characterized by the inability of most ecosystems to maintain their original, pristine states, the Anthropocene. Investigating new and innovative strategies that may facilitate ecosystem restoration is thus becoming increasingly important, particularly for coral reefs around the globe which are deteriorating at an alarming rate. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR lost half its coral cover between 1985 and 2012, and experienced back-to-back heat-induced mass bleaching events and high coral mortality in 2016 and 2017. Here we investigate the efficacy of interspecific hybridization as a tool to develop coral stock with enhanced climate resilience. We crossed two Acropora species pairs from the GBR and examined several phenotypic traits over 28 weeks of exposure to ambient and elevated temperature and pCO2. While elevated temperature and pCO2 conditions negatively affected size and survival of both purebreds and hybrids, higher survival and larger recruit size were observed in some of the hybrid offspring groups under both ambient and elevated conditions. Further, interspecific hybrids had high fertilization rates, normal embryonic development, and similar Symbiodinium uptake and photochemical efficiency as purebred offspring. While the fitness of these hybrids in the field and their reproductive and backcrossing potential remain to be investigated, current findings provide proof-of-concept that interspecific hybridization may produce genotypes with enhanced climate resilience, and has the potential to increase the success of coral reef restoration initiatives.

  3. Coral reef structural complexity provides important coastal protection from waves under rising sea levels

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    Harris, Daniel L.; Rovere, Alessio; Casella, Elisa; Power, Hannah; Canavesio, Remy; Collin, Antoine; Pomeroy, Andrew; Webster, Jody M.; Parravicini, Valeriano

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that support millions of people worldwide by providing coastal protection from waves. Climate change and human impacts are leading to degraded coral reefs and to rising sea levels, posing concerns for the protection of tropical coastal regions in the near future. We use a wave dissipation model calibrated with empirical wave data to calculate the future increase of back-reef wave height. We show that, in the near future, the structural complexity of coral reefs is more important than sea-level rise in determining the coastal protection provided by coral reefs from average waves. We also show that a significant increase in average wave heights could occur at present sea level if there is sustained degradation of benthic structural complexity. Our results highlight that maintaining the structural complexity of coral reefs is key to ensure coastal protection on tropical coastlines in the future. PMID:29503866

  4. 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.

  5. Seychelles Lagoon Provides Corals with a Refuge from Bleaching

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Iluz, D.; Chadwick, N.E.; Hoffman, R.; Dubinsky, Z.; Vago, R.; Chadwick, N.E.; Chadwick, N.E.

    2008-01-01

    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 Ile 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. Ile 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 sea grass leaves steeped in the lagoon. Our measurements in the lagoon showed a strong attenuation of ultraviolet radiation, no 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 sea grass Thalassodendron (=Cymodocea) testudinaceum. Our findings demonstrate the synergism between elevated seawater temperature and UV radiation in triggering bleaching on shallow reefs.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2017-07-19

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

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

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

    2017-07-25

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

  9. Symbiotic zooxanthellae provide the host-coral Montipora digitata with polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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    Papina, M; Meziane, T; van Woesik, R

    2003-07-01

    We compared the fatty acid composition of the host-coral Montipora digitata with the fatty acid composition in the coral's endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae). Fatty acids as methyl esters were determined using gas chromatography (GC) and verified by GC-mass spectrometry. We found the main difference between the fatty acids in the host and their symbionts were that zooxanthellae supported higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The presence of fatty acids specific to dinoflagellates (i.e. 18:4omega3, 22:5omega3 and 22:6omega3) in the host tissue suggests that zooxanthellae provide the coral host not only with saturated fatty acids, but also with diverse polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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

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    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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Cardenas, Anny; Gä rdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian

    2017-01-01

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. The Ogaden Basin, Ethiopia: an underexplored sedimentary basin

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Teitz, H.H.

    1991-01-01

    A brief article examines the Ogaden Basin in Ethiopia in terms of basin origin, basin fill and the hydrocarbon exploration history and results. The natural gas find in pre-Jurassic sandstones, which appears to contain substantial reserves, justifies continuing investigations in this largely underexplored basin. (UK).

  15. 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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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 (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

  18. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Yum, L. K.; Baumgarten, S.; Röthig, T.; Roder, C.; Roik, Anna; Michell, C.; Voolstra, C. R.

    2017-01-01

    Despite the importance of deep-sea corals, our current understanding of their ecology and evolution is limited due to difficulties in sampling and studying deep-sea environments. Moreover, a recent re-evaluation of habitat limitations has been suggested after characterization of deep-sea corals in the Red Sea, where they live at temperatures of above 20??C at low oxygen concentrations. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals, we produced reference transcriptomes and studie...

  20. Snapshot recordings provide a first description of the acoustic signatures of deeper habitats adjacent to coral reefs of Moorea

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    Frédéric Bertucci

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Acoustic recording has been recognized as a valuable tool for non-intrusive monitoring of the marine environment, complementing traditional visual surveys. Acoustic surveys conducted on coral ecosystems have so far been restricted to barrier reefs and to shallow depths (10–30 m. Since they may provide refuge for coral reef organisms, the monitoring of outer reef slopes and describing of the soundscapes of deeper environment could provide insights into the characteristics of different biotopes of coral ecosystems. In this study, the acoustic features of four different habitats, with different topographies and substrates, located at different depths from 10 to 100 m, were recorded during day-time on the outer reef slope of the north Coast of Moorea Island (French Polynesia. Barrier reefs appeared to be the noisiest habitats whereas the average sound levels at other habitats decreased with their distance from the reef and with increasing depth. However, sound levels were higher than expected by propagation models, supporting that these habitats possess their own sound sources. While reef sounds are known to attract marine larvae, sounds from deeper habitats may then also have a non-negligible attractive potential, coming into play before the reef itself.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The Mediterranean stony coral Cladocora caespitosa (Linnaeus, 1767) as habitat provider for molluscs: colony size effect

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    Pitacco, Valentina; Crocetta, Fabio; Orlando-Bonaca, Martina; Mavrič, Borut; Lipej, Lovrenc

    2017-11-01

    The stony coral Cladocora caespitosa (Linnaeus, 1767) is an important Mediterranean habitat builder, whose survival is now being threatened by human activities and possibly natural events such as mass mortality and bleaching. We characterized the mollusc assemblage associated with colonies in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea) and then tested whether the number of mollusc species increases in relation with colony size, following a Species-Area Relationship (SAR) model. At least 62 taxa were found in association with coral colonies, with bivalves constituting the dominant group. More than half of the 3034 specimens encountered were juveniles. Mollusc taxa richness increased with increasing C. caespitosa colony size according to the power-function model, whilst the analyses of trophic and functional groups supports the hypothesis of at least two factors underlying SAR (area per se and habitat diversity). Our results confirmed the importance of C. caespitosa for benthic communities, indicating that larger colonies support higher biodiversity, and suggesting that C. caespitosa is the most important habit builder among Mediterranean cnidarians, having also an influential function as a natural nursery ground. These results underline the necessity of new investigations aimed at filling gaps in our knowledge and planning new measures to protect the species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röthig, Till; Yum, Lauren K; Kremb, Stephan G; Roik, Anna; Voolstra, Christian R

    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 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Comparative analysis of the genomes of Stylophora pistillata and Acropora digitifera provides evidence for extensive differences between species of corals

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-12-08

    Stony corals form the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Their phylogeny is characterized by a deep evolutionary divergence that separates corals into a robust and complex clade dating back to at least 245 mya. However, the genomic consequences and clade-specific evolution remain unexplored. In this study we have produced the genome of a robust coral, Stylophora pistillata, and compared it to the available genome of a complex coral, Acropora digitifera. We conducted a fine-scale gene-based analysis focusing on ortholog groups. Among the core set of conserved proteins, we found an emphasis on processes related to the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Genes associated with the algal symbiosis were also independently expanded in both species, but both corals diverged on the identity of ortholog groups expanded, and we found uneven expansions in genes associated with innate immunity and stress response. Our analyses demonstrate that coral genomes can be surprisingly disparate. Future analyses incorporating more genomic data should be able to determine whether the patterns elucidated here are not only characteristic of the differences between S. pistillata and A. digitifera but also representative of corals from the robust and complex clade at large.

  8. Comparative analysis of the genomes of Stylophora pistillata and Acropora digitifera provides evidence for extensive differences between species of corals

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.; Li, Yong; Liew, Yi Jin; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Zoccola, Didier; Flot, Jean-Franç ois; Tambutté , Sylvie; Allemand, Denis; Aranda, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    Stony corals form the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Their phylogeny is characterized by a deep evolutionary divergence that separates corals into a robust and complex clade dating back to at least 245 mya. However, the genomic consequences and clade-specific evolution remain unexplored. In this study we have produced the genome of a robust coral, Stylophora pistillata, and compared it to the available genome of a complex coral, Acropora digitifera. We conducted a fine-scale gene-based analysis focusing on ortholog groups. Among the core set of conserved proteins, we found an emphasis on processes related to the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Genes associated with the algal symbiosis were also independently expanded in both species, but both corals diverged on the identity of ortholog groups expanded, and we found uneven expansions in genes associated with innate immunity and stress response. Our analyses demonstrate that coral genomes can be surprisingly disparate. Future analyses incorporating more genomic data should be able to determine whether the patterns elucidated here are not only characteristic of the differences between S. pistillata and A. digitifera but also representative of corals from the robust and complex clade at large.

  9. 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.

  10. 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; Rö thig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Ziegler, Maren; Kremb, Stephan Georg; 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Roik

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Yum, Lauren; Kremb, Stephan Georg; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    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

  15. Cold-water corals and large hydrozoans provide essential fish habitat for Lappanella fasciata and Benthocometes robustus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno; Carmo, Vanda; Catarino, Diana; Jakobsen, Joachim; Alvarez, Helena; Aguilar, Ricardo; Hart, Justin; Giacomello, Eva; Menezes, Gui; Stefanni, Sergio; Colaço, Ana; Morato, Telmo; Santos, Ricardo S.; Tempera, Fernando; Porteiro, Filipe

    2017-11-01

    Many fish species are well-known obligatory inhabitants of shallow-water tropical coral reefs but such associations are difficult to study in deep-water environments. We address the association between two deep-sea fish with low mobility and large sessile invertebrates using a compilation of 20 years of unpublished in situ observations. Data were collected on Northeast Atlantic (NEA) island slopes and seamounts, from the Azores to the Canary Islands, comprising 127 new records of the circalittoral Labridae Lappanella fasciata and 15 of the upper bathyal Ophiididae Benthocometes robustus. Observations by divers, remote operated vehicles (ROV SP, Luso, Victor, Falcon Seaeye), towed vehicles (Greenpeace) and manned submersibles (LULA, Nautile) validated the species association to cold water corals (CWC) and large hydrozoans. L. fasciata occurred from lower infralittoral (41 m) throughout the circalittoral, down to the upper bathyal at 398 m depth. Smaller fishes (fishes (10-15 cm) occurring alone or in smaller groups at greater depths. The labrids favoured areas with large sessile invertebrates (> 10 cm) occurring at habitat and this predator. Gathered evidence renders CWC and hydroid gardens as Essential Fish Habitats for both species, being therefore sensitive to environmental and anthropogenic impacts on these Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. The Mediterranean distribution of L. fasciata is extended to NEA seamounts and island slopes and the amphi-Atlantic distribution of B. robustus is bridged with molecular data support. Both species are expected to occur throughout the Macaronesia and Mediterranean island slopes and shallow seamounts on habitats with large sessile invertebrates.

  16. 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.

  17. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-02-01

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

  18. The Underexplored Role of Managing Interdependencies Fit in Organization Design and Performance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keren Caspin-Wagner

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available We argue that research on interdependencies fit is an underexplored variable in strategy and organization research and is the missing variable that differentiates the performance of “built to last” organizations from the rest. Interdependencies fit relates to how well activities and processes within the organization or between the organization and its environment mutually reinforce one another. We suggest that the major reason underlying variation in firm performance may be rooted in differences of whether and how firms manage interdependencies within and across an organization’s strategic activities. Progress on researching interdependencies fit could be realized by focusing on strategically important activities, and the research challenge is to identify the unobservable processes and routines that underlie interdependencies fit.

  19. 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.

  20. 137Cs inter-plant concentration ratios provide a predictive tool for coral atolls with distinct benefits over transfer factors

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2008-01-01

    Inter-plant concentration ratios (IPCR) [Bq g -1137 Cs in coral atoll tree food crops/Bq g -1137 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

  1. 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...

  2. Deep-Sea Soft Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  3. Deep-Sea Stony Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  4. 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.

  5. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and build-awareness about the rich, diverse biological resources is warranted and a plea is made to manage the sewage, oil and thermal pollution to help preserve the biodiversity of coral and associated flora and fauna....

  6. Two ;pillars; of cold-water coral reefs along Atlantic European margins: Prevalent association of Madrepora oculata with Lophelia pertusa, from reef to colony scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnaud-Haond, S.; Van den Beld, I. M. J.; Becheler, R.; Orejas, C.; Menot, L.; Frank, N.; Grehan, A.; Bourillet, J. F.

    2017-11-01

    The scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa has been the focus of deep-sea research since the recognition of the vast extent of coral reefs in North Atlantic waters two decades ago, long after their existence was mentioned by fishermen. These reefs where shown to provide habitat, concentrate biomass and act as feeding or nursery grounds for many species, including those targeted by commercial fisheries. Thus, the attention given to this cold-water coral (CWC) species from researchers and the wider public has increased. Consequently, new research programs triggered research to determine the full extent of the corals geographic distribution and ecological dynamics of ;Lophelia reefs;. The present study is based on a systematic standardised sampling design to analyze the distribution and coverage of CWC reefs along European margins from the Bay of Biscay to Iceland. Based on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) image analysis, we report an almost systematic occurrence of Madrepora oculata in association with L. pertusa with similar abundances of both species within explored reefs, despite a tendency of increased abundance of L. pertusa compared to M. oculata toward higher latitudes. This systematic association occasionally reached the colony scale, with ;twin; colonies of both species often observed growing next to each other when isolated structures were occurring off-reefs. Finally, several ;false chimaera; were observed within reefs, confirming that colonial structures can be ;coral bushes; formed by an accumulation of multiple colonies even at the inter-specific scale, with no need for self-recognition mechanisms. Thus, we underline the importance of the hitherto underexplored M. oculata in the Eastern Atlantic, re-establishing a more balanced view that both species and their yet unknown interactions are required to better elucidate the ecology, dynamics and fate of European CWC reefs in a changing environment.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Cryptic diversity in Indo-Pacific coral-reef fishes revealed by DNA-barcoding provides new support to the centre-of-overlap hypothesis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicolas Hubert

    Full Text Available Diversity in coral reef fishes is not evenly distributed and tends to accumulate in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA. The comprehension of the mechanisms that initiated this pattern is in its infancy despite its importance for the conservation of coral reefs. Considering the IMPA either as an area of overlap or a cradle of marine biodiversity, the hypotheses proposed to account for this pattern rely on extant knowledge about taxonomy and species range distribution. The recent large-scale use of standard molecular data (DNA barcoding, however, has revealed the importance of taking into account cryptic diversity when assessing tropical biodiversity. We DNA barcoded 2276 specimens belonging to 668 coral reef fish species through a collaborative effort conducted concomitantly in both Indian and Pacific oceans to appraise the importance of cryptic diversity in species with an Indo-Pacific distribution range. Of the 141 species sampled on each side of the IMPA, 62 presented no spatial structure whereas 67 exhibited divergent lineages on each side of the IMPA with K2P distances ranging between 1% and 12%, and 12 presented several lineages with K2P distances ranging between 3% and 22%. Thus, from this initial pool of 141 nominal species with Indo-Pacific distribution, 79 dissolved into 165 biological units among which 162 were found in a single ocean. This result is consistent with the view that the IMPA accumulates diversity as a consequence of its geological history, its location on the junction between the two main tropical oceans and the presence of a land bridge during glacial times in the IMPA that fostered allopatric divergence and secondary contacts between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

  10. Cryptic diversity in Indo-Pacific coral-reef fishes revealed by DNA-barcoding provides new support to the centre-of-overlap hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubert, Nicolas; Meyer, Christopher P; Bruggemann, Henrich J; Guérin, Fabien; Komeno, Roberto J L; Espiau, Benoit; Causse, Romain; Williams, Jeffrey T; Planes, Serge

    2012-01-01

    Diversity in coral reef fishes is not evenly distributed and tends to accumulate in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA). The comprehension of the mechanisms that initiated this pattern is in its infancy despite its importance for the conservation of coral reefs. Considering the IMPA either as an area of overlap or a cradle of marine biodiversity, the hypotheses proposed to account for this pattern rely on extant knowledge about taxonomy and species range distribution. The recent large-scale use of standard molecular data (DNA barcoding), however, has revealed the importance of taking into account cryptic diversity when assessing tropical biodiversity. We DNA barcoded 2276 specimens belonging to 668 coral reef fish species through a collaborative effort conducted concomitantly in both Indian and Pacific oceans to appraise the importance of cryptic diversity in species with an Indo-Pacific distribution range. Of the 141 species sampled on each side of the IMPA, 62 presented no spatial structure whereas 67 exhibited divergent lineages on each side of the IMPA with K2P distances ranging between 1% and 12%, and 12 presented several lineages with K2P distances ranging between 3% and 22%. Thus, from this initial pool of 141 nominal species with Indo-Pacific distribution, 79 dissolved into 165 biological units among which 162 were found in a single ocean. This result is consistent with the view that the IMPA accumulates diversity as a consequence of its geological history, its location on the junction between the two main tropical oceans and the presence of a land bridge during glacial times in the IMPA that fostered allopatric divergence and secondary contacts between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

  11. Macroalgae Decrease Growth and Alter Microbial Community Structure of the Reef-Building Coral, Porites astreoides

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    With the continued and unprecedented decline of coral reefs worldwide, evaluating the factors that contribute to coral demise is of critical importance. As coral cover declines, macroalgae are becoming more common on tropical reefs. Interactions between these macroalgae and corals may alter the coral microbiome, which is thought to play an important role in colony health and survival. Together, such changes in benthic macroalgae and in the coral microbiome may result in a feedback mechanism that contributes to additional coral cover loss. To determine if macroalgae alter the coral microbiome, we conducted a field-based experiment in which the coral Porites astreoides was placed in competition with five species of macroalgae. Macroalgal contact increased variance in the coral-associated microbial community, and two algal species significantly altered microbial community composition. All macroalgae caused the disappearance of a γ-proteobacterium previously hypothesized to be an important mutualist of P. astreoides. Macroalgal contact also triggered: 1) increases or 2) decreases in microbial taxa already present in corals, 3) establishment of new taxa to the coral microbiome, and 4) vectoring and growth of microbial taxa from the macroalgae to the coral. Furthermore, macroalgal competition decreased coral growth rates by an average of 36.8%. Overall, this study found that competition between corals and certain species of macroalgae leads to an altered coral microbiome, providing a potential mechanism by which macroalgae-coral interactions reduce coral health and lead to coral loss on impacted reefs. PMID:22957055

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Vega Thurber

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

  13. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

  14. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knap, A H [Bermuda Biological Station, Ferry Reach (Bermuda)

    1992-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals. This report summarises and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (author)

  15. 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

  16. Viruses: agents of coral disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-03-23

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

  17. Patterns of coral species richness and reef connectivity in Malaysia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waheed, Z.

    2016-01-01

    Much remains to be discovered about the biodiversity of coral reefs in Malaysia, making this area a priority for coral reef research. This thesis aims to provide insights into the patterns of reef coral species richness and the degree of reef connectivity across Malaysia. For the species richness

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M.

    2003-01-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M

    2003-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  6. Diversity and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naila O Alieva

    2008-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-05

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

  8. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral communities in the Florida Reef Tract from 2014-05-01 to 2014-10-01 (NCEI Accession 0156879)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This coral demographics protocol was devised to provide additional, species-specific insight (and ‘signal magnitude’) for corals than is provided by percent...

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

    CERN Document Server

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Hoey, Andrew S.; Almany, Glenn R.

    2018-03-01

    Ecosystems are becoming vastly modified through disturbance. In coral reef ecosystems, the differential susceptibility of coral taxa to climate-driven bleaching is predicted to shift coral assemblages towards reefs with an increased relative abundance of taxa with high thermal tolerance. Many thermally tolerant coral species are characterised by low structural complexity, with reduced habitat niche space for the small-bodied coral reef fishes on which piscivorous mesopredators feed. This study used a patch reef array to investigate the potential impacts of climate-driven shifts in coral assemblages on the trophodynamics of reef mesopredators and their prey communities. The `tolerant' reef treatment consisted only of coral taxa of low susceptibility to bleaching, while `vulnerable' reefs included species of moderate to high thermal vulnerability. `Vulnerable' reefs had higher structural complexity, and the fish assemblages that established on these reefs over 18 months had higher species diversity, abundance and biomass than those on `tolerant' reefs. Fish assemblages on `tolerant' reefs were also more strongly influenced by the introduction of a mesopredator ( Cephalopholis boenak). Mesopredators on `tolerant' reefs had lower lipid content in their muscle tissue by the end of the 6-week experiment. Such sublethal energetic costs can compromise growth, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in unexpected population declines in long-lived mesopredators. This study provides valuable insight into the altered trophodynamics of future coral reef ecosystems, highlighting the potentially increased vulnerability of reef fish assemblages to predation as reef structure declines, and the cost of changing prey availability on mesopredator condition.

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-31

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Conrad W Speed

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

  18. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  19. Reef corals bleach to resist stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O

    2009-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, S L; Brown, Barbara E

    2003-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janja Ceh

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  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. Conservation genetics and the resilience of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D

    2006-11-01

    Coral reefs have suffered long-term decline due to a range of anthropogenic disturbances and are now also under threat from climate change. For appropriate management of these vulnerable and valuable ecosystems it is important to understand the factors and processes that determine their resilience and that of the organisms inhabiting them, as well as those that have led to existing patterns of coral reef biodiversity. The scleractinian (stony) corals deposit the structural framework that supports and promotes the maintenance of biological diversity and complexity of coral reefs, and as such, are major components of these ecosystems. The success of reef-building corals is related to their obligate symbiotic association with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. These one-celled algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) live in the endodermal tissues of their coral host, provide most of the host's energy budget and promote rapid calcification. Furthermore, zooxanthellae are the main primary producers on coral reefs due to the oligotrophic nature of the surrounding waters. In this review paper, we summarize and critically evaluate studies that have employed genetics and/or molecular biology in examining questions relating to the evolution and ecology of reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts, and that bear relevance to coral reef conservation. We discuss how these studies can focus future efforts, and examine how these approaches enhance our understanding of the resilience of reef-building corals.

  8. Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids from Coral Dinoflagellates▿

    OpenAIRE

    Rosic, Nedeljka N.; Dove, Sophie

    2011-01-01

    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 a...

  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. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

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

  11. Defining the Core Microbiome in Corals' Microbial Soup.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernandez-Agreda, Alejandra; Gates, Ruth D; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2017-02-01

    Corals are considered one of the most complex microbial biospheres studied to date, hosting thousands of bacterial phylotypes in species-specific associations. There are, however, substantial knowledge gaps and challenges in understanding the functional significance of bacterial communities and bacterial symbioses of corals. The ubiquitous nature of some bacterial interactions has only recently been investigated and an accurate differentiation between the healthy (symbiotic) and unhealthy (dysbiotic) microbial state has not yet been determined. Here we review the complexity of the coral holobiont, coral microbiome diversity, and recently proposed bacterial symbioses of corals. We provide insight into coupling the core microbiome framework with community ecology principals, and draw on the theoretical insights from other complex systems, to build a framework to aid in deciphering ecologically significant microbes within a corals' microbial soup. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs. V. 3

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals, but results are not entirely consistent. This report summarizes and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (UK)

  13. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

    The relationship between reef-building corals and light-harvesting pigments of zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium sp.) has been acknowledged for decades. The photosynthetic activity of the algal endocellular symbionts may provide up to 90% of the energy needed for the coral holobiont. This relationship limits the bathymetric distribution of coral reefs to the upper 100 m of tropical shorelines. However, even corals growing under high light intensities have to supplement the photosynthates translocated from the algae by predation on nutrient-rich zooplankton. New information has revealed how the fate of carbon acquired through photosynthesis differs from that secured by predation, whose rates are controlled by light-induced tentacular extension. The Goreau paradigm of "light-enhanced calcification" is being reevaluated, based on evidence that blue light stimulates coral calcification independently from photosynthesis rates. Furthermore, under dim light, calcification rates were stoichiometrically uncoupled from photosynthesis. The rates of photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae exhibit a clear endogenous rhythmicity maintained by light patterns. This daily pattern is concomitant with a periodicity of all the antioxidant protective mechanisms that wax and wane to meet the concomitant fluctuation in oxygen evolution. The phases of the moon are involved in the triggering of coral reproduction and control the spectacular annual mass-spawning events taking place in several reefs. The intensity and directionality of the underwater light field affect the architecture of coral colonies, leading to an optimization of the exposure of the zooxanthellae to light. We present a summary of major gaps in our understanding of the relationship between light and corals as a roadmap for future research. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  14. 76 FR 52318 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-22

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force... of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. The meeting will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This meeting, the 26th bi-annual meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated...

  15. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

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

  17. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  19. Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn E. Lohr

    2017-11-01

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

  20. Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reichert, Jessica; Schellenberg, Johannes; Schubert, Patrick; Wilke, Thomas

    2018-06-01

    Pollution of marine environments with microplastic particles (i.e. plastic fragments terrestrial origin, coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs are particularly threatened. Recent studies revealed that microplastic ingestion can have adverse effects on marine invertebrates. However, little is known about its effects on small-polyp stony corals that are the main framework builders in coral reefs. The goal of this study is to characterise how different coral species I) respond to microplastic particles and whether the exposure might II) lead to health effects. Therefore, six small-polyp stony coral species belonging to the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites were exposed to microplastics (polyethylene, size 37-163 μm, concentration ca. 4000 particles L -1 ) over four weeks, and responses and effects on health were documented. The study showed that the corals responded differentially to microplastics. Cleaning mechanisms (direct interaction, mucus production) but also feeding interactions (i.e. interaction with mesenterial filaments, ingestion, and egestion) were observed. Additionally, passive contact through overgrowth was documented. In five of the six studied species, negative effects on health (i.e. bleaching and tissue necrosis) were reported. We here provide preliminary knowledge about coral-microplastic-interactions. The results call for further investigations of the effects of realistic microplastic concentrations on growth, reproduction, and survival of stony corals. This might lead to a better understanding of resilience capacities in coral reef ecosystems. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Coral Reefs and Their Management in Tanzania | Wagner | Western ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    management approaches and strategies implemented by various ICM programs, conservation areas and marine parks in Tanzania. It also provides recommendations for further research and coral reef management strategies. Keywords: coral reefs, threats, management, recent initiatives, Tanzania West Indian Ocean ...

  2. Implementing Biocriteria: Coral Reef Protection Using the Clean Water Act

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biological assessments (surveying the presence, number, size and condition of fish, coral and other biota) provide important information about the health and integrity of coral reef ecosystems. Biological criteria are one means under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that managers can us...

  3. 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,

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-09-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Historical baselines of coral cover on tropical reefs as estimated by expert opinion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tyler D. Eddy

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are important habitats that represent global marine biodiversity hotspots and provide important benefits to people in many tropical regions. However, coral reefs are becoming increasingly threatened by climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Historical baselines of coral cover are important to understand how much coral cover has been lost, e.g., to avoid the ‘shifting baseline syndrome’. There are few quantitative observations of coral reef cover prior to the industrial revolution, and therefore baselines of coral reef cover are difficult to estimate. Here, we use expert and ocean-user opinion surveys to estimate baselines of global coral reef cover. The overall mean estimated baseline coral cover was 59% (±19% standard deviation, compared to an average of 58% (±18% standard deviation estimated by professional scientists. We did not find evidence of the shifting baseline syndrome, whereby respondents who first observed coral reefs more recently report lower estimates of baseline coral cover. These estimates of historical coral reef baseline cover are important for scientists, policy makers, and managers to understand the extent to which coral reefs have become depleted and to set appropriate recovery targets.

  9. Historical baselines of coral cover on tropical reefs as estimated by expert opinion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eddy, Tyler D; Cheung, William W L; Bruno, John F

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are important habitats that represent global marine biodiversity hotspots and provide important benefits to people in many tropical regions. However, coral reefs are becoming increasingly threatened by climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Historical baselines of coral cover are important to understand how much coral cover has been lost, e.g., to avoid the 'shifting baseline syndrome'. There are few quantitative observations of coral reef cover prior to the industrial revolution, and therefore baselines of coral reef cover are difficult to estimate. Here, we use expert and ocean-user opinion surveys to estimate baselines of global coral reef cover. The overall mean estimated baseline coral cover was 59% (±19% standard deviation), compared to an average of 58% (±18% standard deviation) estimated by professional scientists. We did not find evidence of the shifting baseline syndrome, whereby respondents who first observed coral reefs more recently report lower estimates of baseline coral cover. These estimates of historical coral reef baseline cover are important for scientists, policy makers, and managers to understand the extent to which coral reefs have become depleted and to set appropriate recovery targets.

  10. A Study of the Pelagic Larval Duration of Acropora humilis, Coral Recruitment and Connectivity in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha

    2011-01-01

    Combined knowledge of the pelagic larval duration of coral species and coral recruitment patterns can provide evidence of inter-reef connectivity and indicate a reef’s ability to recover. We attempted to determine the maximum pelagic larval duration

  11. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidance prepared by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers concerning coral reef protection under the Clean Water Act, Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and Federal Project Authorities.

  12. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  13. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  14. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gang Liu

    2018-03-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2012-01-01

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

  18. 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).

  19. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Rä decker, Nils; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Jö rg; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

    Recent work has shown that hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic matter (OM) from algae disrupts the function of the coral holobiont and promotes the invasion of opportunistic pathogens, leading to coral morbidity and mortality. Here we refer to these dynamics as the (3)DAM [dissolved organic matter (DOM), direct contact, disease, algae and microbes] model. There is considerable complexity in coral-algae interactions; turf algae and macroalgae promote heterotrophic microbial overgrowth of coral, macroalgae also directly harm the corals via hydrophobic OM, whereas crustose coralline algae generally encourage benign microbial communities. In addition, complex flow patterns transport OM and pathogens from algae to downstream corals, and direct algal contact enhances their delivery. These invisible players (microbes, viruses, and OM) are important drivers of coral reefs because they have non-linear responses to disturbances and are the first to change in response to perturbations, providing near real-time trajectories for a coral reef, a vital metric for conservation and restoration. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  6. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till

    2017-01-01

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

  7. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells differentiation and proliferation on the surface of coral implant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al-Salihi, K.A.; Samsudin, A.R.

    2004-01-01

    This study was designed to evaluate the ability of natural coral implant to provide an environment for marrow cells to differentiate into osteoblasts and function suitable for mineralized tissue formation. DNA content, alkaline phosptatase (ALP) activity, calcium (Ca) content and mineralized nodules, were measured at day 3, day 7 and day 14, in rat bone marrow stromal cells cultured with coral discs glass discs, while cells alone and coral disc alone cultured as control. DNA content, ALP activity, Ca content measurements showed no difference between coral, glass and cells groups at 3 day which were higher than control (coral disc alone), but there were higher asurement at day 7 and 14 in the cell cultured on coral than on glass discs, control cells and control coral discs. Mineralized nodules formation (both in area and number) was more predominant on the coral surface than in control groups. These results showed that natural coral implant provided excellent and favorable situation for marrow cell to differentiate to osteoblasts, lead to large amount of mineralized tissue formation on coral surface. This in vitro result could explain the rapid bone bonding of coral in vivo. (Author)

  8. 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

  9. Coral lipids and environmental stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harriott, V J

    1993-04-01

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

  10. Satellite Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: By Learning about Coral Reefs, Students Gain an Understanding of Ecosystems and How Cutting-Edge Technology Can Be Used to Study Ecological Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palandro, David; Thoms, Kristin; Kusek, Kristen; Muller-Karger, Frank; Greely, Teresa

    2005-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, providing sustenance to both marine organisms and humans. Yet they are also one of the most endangered ecosystems as coral reef coverage has declined dramatically in the past three decades. Researchers continually seek better ways to map coral reef coverage and monitor changes…

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    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.

  15. Possible effects of water pollution on the community structure of Red Sea corals

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Loya, Y

    1975-02-28

    The community structure and species diversity of hermatypic corals was studied during 1969 to 1973, in 2 reef flats in the northern Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea: the reef flat of the mature reserve at Eilat, which is chronically polluted by oil and minerals, and a control reef, located 5 km further S, which is free of oil pollution. In 1969, the nature reserve and the control reef had similar coral community structure. In Sept. 1970, both reefs suffered approximately 90 percent mortality of corals, as a result of an unexpected and extremely low tide. In 1973 the control reef was blooming with a highly diverse coral community, while almost no signs of coral recolonization have been observed at the nature reserve, and it is significantly lower in diversity. Phosphate eutrophication and chronic oil pollution are probably the major man-made disturbances that interfere with coral colonization of the reef flat at the nature reserve. Although no direct evidence is provided that oil damages hermatypic corals, the data strongly suggest that chronic oil spills prevent normal settlement and development of coral larvae. Chronic oil pollution results in either one or a combination of the following: damage to the reproductive system of corals, decreased viability of coral larvae, or changes in some physical properties of the reef flat which interfere with normal settlement of coral larvae.

  16. 78 FR 14503 - Amendment 4 to the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plan of...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-03-06

    .... 120718255-3038-01] RIN 0648-BC38 Amendment 4 to the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates... Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and... the coral reef resources FMU to include a vast array of plants and invertebrates that provide habitats...

  17. 78 FR 10601 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List 44 Species of Corals as...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-14

    ... Species of Corals as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY: National Marine... list 44 species of corals off Alaska as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA... Coral Species under the Endangered Species Act'' but it provides information regarding 44 taxa. We are...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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

    2016-03-01

    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 moderation.

  1. 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.

  2. Salinity information in coral δ18O records

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conroy, J. L.; Thompson, D. M.; Dassié, E. P.; Stevenson, S.; Konecky, B. L.; DeLong, K. L.; Sayani, H. R.; Emile-Geay, J.; Partin, J. W.; Abram, N. J.; Martrat, B.

    2017-12-01

    Coral oxygen isotopic ratios (δ18O) are typically utilized to reconstruct sea surface temperature (SST), or SST-based El Niño-Southern Oscillation metrics (e.g., NIÑO3.4), despite the influence of both SST and the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater (δ18Osw) on coral δ18O. The ideal way to isolate past δ18Osw variations is to develop independent and univariate SST and δ18Osw responders, for instance, via paired coral δ18O and Sr/Ca analyses. Nonetheless, many coral δ18O records without paired Sr/Ca records already exist in the paleoclimatic literature, and these may be able to provide some insight into past δ18Osw and salinity changes due to the nature of the significant positive relationship between instrumental salinity and δ18Osw. Here we use coral δ18O records from the new PAGES Iso2k database to assess the regions in which coral δ18O has the greatest potential to provide salinity information based on the strength of the relationship between instrumental salinity and coral δ18O values. We find from annual pseudocoral similations that corals in the western tropical Pacific share a substantial fraction of their variance with δ18Osw rather than SST. In contrast, in the Indian Ocean and eastern tropical Pacific it is SST that predominantly explains coral δ18O variance. In agreement with this variance decomposition, we find that coral δ18O time series from the western tropical Pacific are significantly correlated with mid to late 20th century salinity. However, variations in the strength of the δ18Osw-salinity relationship across the western tropical Pacific will likely have a significant influence on coral δ18O-based salinity reconstructions. Additionally, in some cases a strong, negative correlation between SST and δ18Osw might not allow their influences to be adequately separated in coral δ18O records without the use of coupled Sr/Ca estimates of the temperature contribution. Overall, we find a range of modern salinity and SST

  3. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  5. Stable isotopes in a branching coral monitor seasonal temperature variation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dunbar, R.B.; Wellington, G.M.

    1981-01-01

    Results are reported of 18 O composition measurements of specimens of the branching reef coral Pocillopora damicornis, which have grown in the field, while seawater temperatures were continuously recorded. It is shown that seasonal temperature changes are accurately recorded by 18 O variations in branches of this reef coral and that isotopic profiles may be used to estimate growth rates of branching corals, which lack annual density banding. The method provides a technique for high resolution palaeoclimatic reconstruction of seasonal temperature ranges and accurate estimation of rates of reef carbonate production. (U.K.)

  6. 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 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-21

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

  8. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.

    2017-12-15

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

  9. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.; Ziegler, Maren; Radecker, Nils; Buitrago Lopez, Carol; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

  10. 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

  11. Transcriptome analysis of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarit Karako-Lampert

    Full Text Available The principal architects of coral reefs are the scleractinian corals; these species are divided in two major clades referred to as "robust" and "complex" corals. Although the molecular diversity of the "complex" clade has received considerable attention, with several expressed sequence tag (EST libraries and a complete genome sequence having been constructed, the "robust" corals have received far less attention, despite the fact that robust corals have been prominent focal points for ecological and physiological studies. Filling this gap affords important opportunities to extend these studies and to improve our understanding of the differences between the two major clades. Here, we present an EST library from Stylophora pistillata (Esper 1797 and systematically analyze the assembled transcripts compared to putative homologs from the complete proteomes of six well-characterized metazoans: Nematostella vectensis, Hydra magnipapillata, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, Ciona intestinalis and Homo sapiens. Furthermore, comparative analyses of the Stylophora pistillata ESTs were performed against several Cnidaria from the Scleractinia, Actiniaria and Hydrozoa, as well as against other stony corals separately. Functional characterization of S. pistillata transcripts into KOG/COG categories and further description of Wnt and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP signaling pathways showed that the assembled EST library provides sufficient data and coverage. These features of this new library suggest considerable opportunities for extending our understanding of the molecular and physiological behavior of "robust" corals.

  12. 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.

  13. Restoration of coral populations in light of genetic diversity estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearer, T. L.; Porto, I.; Zubillaga, A. L.

    2009-09-01

    Due to the importance of preserving the genetic integrity of populations, strategies to restore damaged coral reefs should attempt to retain the allelic diversity of the disturbed population; however, genetic diversity estimates are not available for most coral populations. To provide a generalized estimate of genetic diversity (in terms of allelic richness) of scleractinian coral populations, the literature was surveyed for studies describing the genetic structure of coral populations using microsatellites. The mean number of alleles per locus across 72 surveyed scleractinian coral populations was 8.27 (±0.75 SE). In addition, population genetic datasets from four species ( Acropora palmata, Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea faveolata and Pocillopora damicornis) were analyzed to assess the minimum number of donor colonies required to retain specific proportions of the genetic diversity of the population. Rarefaction analysis of the population genetic datasets indicated that using 10 donor colonies randomly sampled from the original population would retain >50% of the allelic diversity, while 35 colonies would retain >90% of the original diversity. In general, scleractinian coral populations are genetically diverse and restoration methods utilizing few clonal genotypes to re-populate a reef will diminish the genetic integrity of the population. Coral restoration strategies using 10-35 randomly selected local donor colonies will retain at least 50-90% of the genetic diversity of the original population.

  14. 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.

  15. Microbial consortia of gorgonian corals from the Aleutian islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gray, Michael A; Stone, Robert P; McLaughlin, Molly R; Kellogg, Christina A

    2011-04-01

    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 libraries showed dramatically different bacterial communities between corals of the same species collected at different sites, with no clear pattern of conserved bacterial consortia. Two of the clone libraries (one from each coral species) were dominated by Tenericutes, with Alphaproteobacteria dominating the remaining sequences. The other libraries were more diverse and had a more even distribution of bacterial phyla, showing more similarity between genera than within coral species. Here we report the first microbiological characterization of P. arborea, P. superba, and C. koolsae. FEMS Microbiology Ecology © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. No claim to original US government works.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. Towards a new paleotemperature proxy from reef coral occurrences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lauchstedt, Andreas; Pandolfi, John M; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2017-09-05

    Global mean temperature is thought to have exceeded that of today during the last interglacial episode (LIG, ~ 125,000 yrs b.p.) but robust paleoclimate data are still rare in low latitudes. Occurrence data of tropical reef corals may provide new proxies of low latitude sea-surface temperatures. Using modern reef coral distributions we developed a geographically explicit model of sea surface temperatures. Applying this model to coral occurrence data of the LIG provides a latitudinal U-shaped pattern of temperature anomalies with cooler than modern temperatures around the equator and warmer subtropical climes. Our results agree with previously published estimates of LIG temperatures and suggest a poleward broadening of the habitable zone for reef corals during the LIG.

  1. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Al-Salamah, Manalle; Messmer, Vanessa; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-12

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Additive negative effects of anthropogenic sedimentation and warming on the survival of coral recruits

    OpenAIRE

    Fourney, Francesca; Figueiredo, Joana

    2017-01-01

    Corals worldwide are facing population declines due to global climate change and local anthropogenic impacts. Global climate change effects are hard to tackle but recent studies show that some coral species can better handle climate change stress when provided with additional energy resources. The local stressor that most undermines energy acquisition is sedimentation because it impedes coral heterotrophic feeding and their ability to photosynthesize. To investigate if reducing local sediment...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-15

    Understanding the associations among corals, their photosynthetic zooxanthella symbionts (Symbiodinium), and coral-associated prokaryotic microbiomes is critical for predicting the fidelity and strength of coral symbioses in the face of growing environmental threats. Most coral-microbiome associations are beneficial, yet the mechanisms that determine the composition of the coral microbiome remain largely unknown. Here, we characterized microbiome diversity in the temperate, facultatively symbiotic coral Astrangia poculata at four seasonal time points near the northernmost limit of the species range. The facultative nature of this system allowed us to test seasonal influence and symbiotic state (Symbiodinium density in the coral) on microbiome community composition. Change in season had a strong effect on A. poculata microbiome composition. The seasonal shift was greatest upon the winter to spring transition, during which time A. poculata microbiome composition became more similar among host individuals. Within each of the four seasons, microbiome composition differed significantly from that of surrounding seawater but was surprisingly uniform between symbiotic and aposymbiotic corals, even in summer, when differences in Symbiodinium density between brown and white colonies are the highest, indicating that the observed seasonal shifts are not likely due to fluctuations in Symbiodinium density. Our results suggest that symbiotic state may not be a primary driver of coral microbial community organization in A. poculata, which is a surprise given the long-held assumption that excess photosynthate is of importance to coral-associated microbes. Rather, other environmental or host factors, in this case, seasonal changes in host physiology associated with winter quiescence, may drive microbiome diversity. Additional studies of A. poculata and other facultatively symbiotic corals will provide important comparisons to studies of reef-building tropical corals and therefore

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  11. The Ecological Role of Sharks on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roff, George; Doropoulos, Christopher; Rogers, Alice; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Krueck, Nils C; Aurellado, Eleanor; Priest, Mark; Birrell, Chico; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Sharks are considered the apex predator of coral reefs, but the consequences of their global depletion are uncertain. Here we explore the ecological roles of sharks on coral reefs and, conversely, the importance of reefs for sharks. We find that most reef-associated shark species do not act as apex predators but instead function as mesopredators along with a diverse group of reef fish. While sharks perform important direct and indirect ecological roles, the evidence to support hypothesised shark-driven trophic cascades that benefit corals is weak and equivocal. Coral reefs provide some functional benefits to sharks, but sharks do not appear to favour healthier reef environments. Restoring populations of sharks is important and can yet deliver ecological surprise. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. Handling of network and database instabilities in CORAL

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Trentadue, R; Valassi, A; 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 implementation ensures that CORAL automatically reconnects to Oracle databases in a transparent way whenever possible and gently terminates the application when this is not possible. Internally, this is done by resetting all relevant parameters of the underlying back-end technology (OCI, the Oracle Call Interface). This presentation reports on the status of this work at the time of the CHEP2012 conference, covering the design and implementation of these new features and the outlook for future developments in this area.

  20. 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.

  1. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    . An estimate of the density of nitrifying bacteria on living corals can be made by comparing the nitrifying rates of bacterial cells and the rate of production of NO,-. Kaplan (1983) summarized the growth con- stants of marine nitrifying bacteria... Reef Con=. 3: 395-399. -, C. R. WILKINSON, V. p. VICENTE, J. M. MORELL, AND E. OTERO. 1988. Nitrate release by Carib- bean reef sponges. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 114- 120. CROSSLAND, C. J., AND D. J. BARNES. 1983. Dissolved nutrients and organic...

  2. 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 O 2 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.

  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. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  6. 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 (bomb spike, including two tie points at 1957 and 1970, plus the 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  10. 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. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teh, Louise S L; Teh, Lydia C L; Sumaila, U Rashid

    2013-01-01

    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.

  13. 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

  14. Comparative Metabolomics Approach Detects Stress-Specific Responses during Coral Bleaching in Soft Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farag, Mohamed A; Meyer, Achim; Ali, Sara E; Salem, Mohamed A; Giavalisco, Patrick; Westphal, Hildegard; Wessjohann, Ludger A

    2018-06-01

    Chronic exposure to ocean acidification and elevated sea-surface temperatures pose significant stress to marine ecosystems. This in turn necessitates costly acclimation responses in corals in both the symbiont and host, with a reorganization of cell metabolism and structure. A large-scale untargeted metabolomics approach comprising gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) was applied to profile the metabolite composition of the soft coral Sarcophyton ehrenbergi and its dinoflagellate symbiont. Metabolite profiling compared ambient conditions with response to simulated climate change stressors and with the sister species, S. glaucum. Among ∼300 monitored metabolites, 13 metabolites were modulated. Incubation experiments providing four selected upregulated metabolites (alanine, GABA, nicotinic acid, and proline) in the culturing water failed to subside the bleaching response at temperature-induced stress, despite their known ability to mitigate heat stress in plants or animals. Thus, the results hint to metabolite accumulation (marker) during heat stress. This study provides the first detailed map of metabolic pathways transition in corals in response to different environmental stresses, accounting for the superior thermal tolerance of S. ehrenbergi versus S. glaucum, which can ultimately help maintain a viable symbiosis and mitigate against coral bleaching.

  15. 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...

  16. The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa N. Bednarz

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Additive negative effects of anthropogenic sedimentation and warming on the survival of coral recruits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fourney, Francesca; Figueiredo, Joana

    2017-09-28

    Corals worldwide are facing population declines due to global climate change and local anthropogenic impacts. Global climate change effects are hard to tackle but recent studies show that some coral species can better handle climate change stress when provided with additional energy resources. The local stressor that most undermines energy acquisition is sedimentation because it impedes coral heterotrophic feeding and their ability to photosynthesize. To investigate if reducing local sedimentation will enable corals to better endure ocean warming, we quantitatively assessed the combined effects of increased temperature and sedimentation (concentration and turbidity) on the survival of coral recruits of the species, Porites astreoides. We used sediment from a reef and a boat basin to mimic natural sediment (coarse) and anthropogenic (fine) sediment (common in dredging), respectively. Natural sediment did not negatively impact coral survival, but anthropogenic sediment did. We found that the capacity of coral recruits to survive under warmer temperatures is less compromised when anthropogenic sedimentation is maintained at the lowest level (30 mg.cm -2 ). Our study suggests that a reduction of US-EPA allowable turbidity from 29 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) above background to less than 7 NTU near coral reefs would facilitate coral recruit survival under current and higher temperatures.

  3. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pollock, F Joseph; Lamb, Joleah B; Field, Stuart N; Heron, Scott F; Schaffelke, Britta; Shedrawi, George; Bourne, David G; Willis, Bette L

    2014-01-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Spatial linkages between coral proxies of terrestrial runoff across a large embayment in Madagascar

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grove, C.A.; Zinke, J.; Scheufen, T.; Maina, J.; Epping, E.; Boer, W.; Randriamanantsoa, B.; Brummer, G.-J.A.

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores provide vital climate reconstructions for site-specific temporal variability in river flow and sediment load. Yet, their ability to record spatial differences across multiple catchments is relatively unknown. Here, we investigate spatial linkages between four coral proxies of terrestrial

  10. Coastal protection by coral reefs: a framework for spatial assessment and economic valuation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zanten, B.T.; van Beukering, P.J.H.; Wagtendonk, A.J.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems that provide various valuable ecosystem services. The worldwide decline in coral cover and the expected increase of hurricane frequencies and sea level rise have raised the attention to one ecosystem service in particular. This is the coastal protection

  11. Bermuda's balancing act: The economic dependence of cruise and air tourism on healthy coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Beukering, P.J.H.; Sarkis, S.; van der Putten, L.; Papyrakis, E.

    2015-01-01

    Although Bermuda has to date managed to achieve equilibrium between tourism and coral reef conservation, this delicate balance may be threatened by the growth and changing face of the tourism industry. This may result in negative impacts on the coral reefs and services provided by this valuable

  12. 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

  13. 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

  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. 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

  16. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    ), on submerged banks like Gave shani bank (13°24'N; 73°45'E) (Nair and Qasim 1978) andSidere~ko Bank (13°43.5' N; 73°42'E) (Rao 1972) and as stray individual units off Visakhapatnam (Bakus, G. personal communication) and Pondicherry (Ramesh, A. personal... 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...

  18. 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

  19. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

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

  2. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Zhan, Peng; Dreano, Denis; Pradhan, Yaswant; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Hoteit, Ibrahim

    2017-01-01

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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; Harmer, Aaron; 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

    2016-03-29

    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.

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Inoue, Mayuri; Kusakabe, Makoto

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuya Shinzato

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

  10. Assessing the potential of Southern Caribbean corals for reconstructions of Holocene temperature variability

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Giry, Cyril; Felis, Thomas; Scheffers, Sander; Fensterer, Claudia

    2010-01-01

    We present a 40-year long monthly resolved Sr/Ca record from a fossil Diploria strigosa coral from Bonaire (Southern Caribbean Sea) dated with U/Th at 2.35 ka before present (BP). Secondary modifiers of this sea surface temperature (SST) proxy in annually-banded corals such as diagenetic alteration of the skeleton and skeletal growth-rate are investigated. Extensive diagenetic investigations reveal that this fossil coral skeleton is pristine which is further supported by clear annual cycles in the coral Sr/Ca record. No significant correlation between annual growth rate and Sr/Ca is observed, suggesting that the Sr/Ca record is not affected by coral growth. Therefore, we conclude that the observed interannual Sr/Ca variability was influenced by ambient SST variability. Spectral analysis of the annual mean Sr/Ca record reveals a dominant frequency centred at 6-7 years that is not associated with changes of the annual growth rate. The first monthly resolved coral Sr/Ca record from the Southern Caribbean Sea for preindustrial time suggests that fossil corals from Bonaire are suitable tools for reconstructing past SST variability. Coastal deposits on Bonaire provide abundant fossil D. strigosa colonies of Holocene age that can be accurately dated and used to reconstruct climate variability. Comparisons of long monthly resolved Sr/Ca records from multiple fossil corals will provide a mean to estimate seasonality and interannual to interdecadal SST variability of the Southern Caribbean Sea during the Holocene.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Assessing the spatial distribution of coral bleaching using small unmanned aerial systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levy, Joshua; Hunter, Cynthia; Lukacazyk, Trent; Franklin, Erik C.

    2018-06-01

    Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) are an affordable, effective complement to existing coral reef monitoring and assessment tools. sUAS provide repeatable low-altitude, high-resolution photogrammetry to address fundamental questions of spatial ecology and community dynamics for shallow coral reef ecosystems. Here, we qualitatively describe the use of sUAS to survey the spatial characteristics of coral cover and the distribution of coral bleaching across patch reefs in Kānéohe Bay, Hawaii, and address limitations and anticipated technology advancements within the field of UAS. Overlapping sub-decimeter low-altitude aerial reef imagery collected during the 2015 coral bleaching event was used to construct high-resolution reef image mosaics of coral bleaching responses on four Kānéohe Bay patch reefs, totaling 60,000 m2. Using sUAS imagery, we determined that paled, bleached and healthy corals on all four reefs were spatially clustered. Comparative analyses of data from sUAS imagery and in situ diver surveys found as much as 14% difference in coral cover values between survey methods, depending on the size of the reef and area surveyed. When comparing the abundance of unhealthy coral (paled and bleached) between sUAS and in situ diver surveys, we found differences in cover from 1 to 49%, depending on the depth of in situ surveys, the percent of reef area covered with sUAS surveys and patchiness of the bleaching response. This study demonstrates the effective use of sUAS surveys for assessing the spatial dynamics of coral bleaching at colony-scale resolutions across entire patch reefs and evaluates the complementarity of data from both sUAS and in situ diver surveys to more accurately characterize the spatial ecology of coral communities on reef flats and slopes.

  15. A Framework for Responding to Coral Disease Outbreaks that Facilitates Adaptive Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beeden, Roger; Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Marshall, Paul A.; Heron, Scott F.; Willis, Bette L.

    2012-01-01

    Predicted increases in coral disease outbreaks associated with climate change have implications for coral reef ecosystems and the people and industries that depend on them. It is critical that coral reef managers understand these implications and have the ability to assess and reduce risk, detect and contain outbreaks, and monitor and minimise impacts. Here, we present a coral disease response framework that has four core components: (1) an early warning system, (2) a tiered impact assessment program, (3) scaled management actions and (4) a communication plan. The early warning system combines predictive tools that monitor the risk of outbreaks of temperature-dependent coral diseases with in situ observations provided by a network of observers who regularly report on coral health and reef state. Verified reports of an increase in disease prevalence trigger a tiered response of more detailed impact assessment, targeted research and/or management actions. The response is scaled to the risk posed by the outbreak, which is a function of the severity and spatial extent of the impacts. We review potential management actions to mitigate coral disease impacts and facilitate recovery, considering emerging strategies unique to coral disease and more established strategies to support reef resilience. We also describe approaches to communicating about coral disease outbreaks that will address common misperceptions and raise awareness of the coral disease threat. By adopting this framework, managers and researchers can establish a community of practice and can develop response plans for the management of coral disease outbreaks based on local needs. The collaborations between managers and researchers we suggest will enable adaptive management of disease impacts following evaluating the cost-effectiveness of emerging response actions and incrementally improving our understanding of outbreak causation.

  16. Computational biology approaches to plant metabolism and photosynthesis: applications for corals in times of climate change and environmental stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2010-08-01

    Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience helps us to understand how reef ecosystems react following major anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. The symbiotic relationship between the photosynthetic zooxanthellae algal cells and corals is that the zooxanthellae provide the coral with carbon, while the coral provides protection and access to enough light for the zooxanthellae to photosynthesise. This article reviews some recent advances in computational biology relevant to photosynthetic organisms, including Beyesian approaches to kinetics, computational methods for flux balances in metabolic processes, and determination of clades of zooxanthallae. Application of these systems will be important in the conservation of coral reefs in times of climate change and environmental stress.

  17. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lobel, Lisa

    2000-01-01

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

  18. Advancing Ocean Monitoring Near Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markey, Kathryn L; Abdo, Dave A; Evans, Scott N; Bosserelle, Cyprien

    2016-01-01

    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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    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.

    2016-01-01

    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. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.

    2013-07-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. A simple technique for measuring buoyant weight increment of entire, transplanted coral colonies in the field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herler, Jürgen; Dirnwöber, Markus

    2011-10-31

    Estimating the impacts of global and local threats on coral reefs requires monitoring reef health and measuring coral growth and calcification rates at different time scales. This has traditionally been mostly performed in short-term experimental studies in which coral fragments were grown in the laboratory or in the field but measured ex situ. Practical techniques in which growth and measurements are performed over the long term in situ are rare. Apart from photographic approaches, weight increment measurements have also been applied. Past buoyant weight measurements under water involved a complicated and little-used apparatus. We introduce a new method that combines previous field and laboratory techniques to measure the buoyant weight of entire, transplanted corals under water. This method uses an electronic balance fitted into an acrylic glass underwater housing and placed atop of an acrylic glass cube. Within this cube, corals transplanted onto artificial bases can be attached to the balance and weighed at predetermined intervals while they continue growth in the field. We also provide a set of simple equations for the volume and weight determinations required to calculate net growth rates. The new technique is highly accurate: low error of weight determinations due to variation of coral density (corals. We outline a transplantation technique for properly preparing corals for such long-term in situ experiments and measurements.

  11. 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., 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.

  12. 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 ...

  13. CORAL: aligning conserved core regions across domain families.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fong, Jessica H; Marchler-Bauer, Aron

    2009-08-01

    Homologous protein families share highly conserved sequence and structure regions that are frequent targets for comparative analysis of related proteins and families. Many protein families, such as the curated domain families in the Conserved Domain Database (CDD), exhibit similar structural cores. To improve accuracy in aligning such protein families, we propose a profile-profile method CORAL that aligns individual core regions as gap-free units. CORAL computes optimal local alignment of two profiles with heuristics to preserve continuity within core regions. We benchmarked its performance on curated domains in CDD, which have pre-defined core regions, against COMPASS, HHalign and PSI-BLAST, using structure superpositions and comprehensive curator-optimized alignments as standards of truth. CORAL improves alignment accuracy on core regions over general profile methods, returning a balanced score of 0.57 for over 80% of all domain families in CDD, compared with the highest balanced score of 0.45 from other methods. Further, CORAL provides E-values to aid in detecting homologous protein families and, by respecting block boundaries, produces alignments with improved 'readability' that facilitate manual refinement. CORAL will be included in future versions of the NCBI Cn3D/CDTree software, which can be downloaded at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Structure/cdtree/cdtree.shtml. Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Status of coral reefs of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Muley, E.V.; Venkataraman, K.; Alfred, J.R.B.; Wafar, M.V.M.

    and economic significance of coral reefs and the threat perceptions, Government of India has initiated measures for their intensive conservation and management. Present paper deals with ecological status of coral reefs in the country and various national...

  17. 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,...

  18. 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.

  19. Stochastic spatio-temporal model of coral cover as a function of herbivorous grazers, water quality, and coral demographics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuhausler, R.; Robinson, M.; Bruna, M.

    2017-12-01

    Over the last 60 years we have seen an increased amount of ecological regime shifts in tropical coastal zones, from coral reefs to macroalgae dominated states, as a result of natural and anthropogenic stresses. However, these shifts are not always immediate- macroalgae are generally present in coral reefs, with their distribution regulated by herbivorous fish. This is especially true in Moorea, French Polynesia, where macroalgae are shown to flourish in spaces that provide refuge from roaming herbivores. While there are currently modeling efforts in projecting ecological regime shifts in Moorea, temporal deterministic models have been utilized, which fail to capture metastability between multiple steady states and can have issues when dealing with very small populations. To address these concerns, we build on these models to account for spatial variations and individual organisms, as well as stochasticity. Our model can project the percent cover of coral, macroalgae, and algae turf as a function of herbivorous grazers, water quality, and coral demographics. Grazers, included as individual fish (particles), evolve according to a kinetic model and interact with neighbouring benthic assemblages, represented as nodes. Water quality and coral demographics are input parameters that can vary over time, allowing our model to be run for temporally changing scenarios and to be adjusted for different reefs. We plan to engage with previous Moorea Reef Resilience Models through a comparative analysis of our models' outcomes and existing Moorea data. Coupling projective models with available data is useful for informing environmental policy and advancing the modeling field.

  20. Coral bleaching pathways under the control of regional temperature variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langlais, C. E.; Lenton, A.; Heron, S. F.; Evenhuis, C.; Sen Gupta, A.; Brown, J. N.; Kuchinke, M.

    2017-11-01

    Increasing sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are predicted to adversely impact coral populations worldwide through increasing thermal bleaching events. Future bleaching is unlikely to be spatially uniform. Therefore, understanding what determines regional differences will be critical for adaptation management. Here, using a cumulative heat stress metric, we show that characteristics of regional SST determine the future bleaching risk patterns. Incorporating observed information on SST variability, in assessing future bleaching risk, provides novel options for management strategies. As a consequence, the known biases in climate model variability and the uncertainties in regional warming rate across climate models are less detrimental than previously thought. We also show that the thresholds used to indicate reef viability can strongly influence a decision on what constitutes a potential refugia. Observing and understanding the drivers of regional variability, and the viability limits of coral reefs, is therefore critical for making meaningful projections of coral bleaching risk.

  1. Intergenerational epigenetic inheritance in reef-building corals

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2018-02-22

    The notion that intergenerational or transgenerational inheritance operates solely through genetic means is slowly being eroded: epigenetic mechanisms have been shown to induce heritable changes in gene activity in plants and metazoans. Inheritance of DNA methylation provides a potential pathway for environmentally induced phenotypes to contribute to evolution of species and populations. However, in basal metazoans, it is unknown whether inheritance of CpG methylation patterns occurs across the genome (as in plants) or as rare exceptions (as in mammals). Here, we demonstrate genome-wide intergenerational transmission of CpG methylation patterns from parents to sperm and larvae in a reef-building coral. We also show variation in hypermethylated genes in corals from distinct environments, indicative of responses to variations in temperature and salinity. These findings support a role of DNA methylation in the transgenerational inheritance of traits in corals, which may extend to enhancing their capacity to adapt to climate change.

  2. Intergenerational epigenetic inheritance in reef-building corals

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin; Howells, Emily J.; Wang, Xin; Michell, Craig; Burt, John A.; Idaghdour, Youssef; Aranda, Manuel

    2018-01-01

    The notion that intergenerational or transgenerational inheritance operates solely through genetic means is slowly being eroded: epigenetic mechanisms have been shown to induce heritable changes in gene activity in plants and metazoans. Inheritance of DNA methylation provides a potential pathway for environmentally induced phenotypes to contribute to evolution of species and populations. However, in basal metazoans, it is unknown whether inheritance of CpG methylation patterns occurs across the genome (as in plants) or as rare exceptions (as in mammals). Here, we demonstrate genome-wide intergenerational transmission of CpG methylation patterns from parents to sperm and larvae in a reef-building coral. We also show variation in hypermethylated genes in corals from distinct environments, indicative of responses to variations in temperature and salinity. These findings support a role of DNA methylation in the transgenerational inheritance of traits in corals, which may extend to enhancing their capacity to adapt to climate change.

  3. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  6. 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...

  7. The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a 'nugget of hope' for coral reefs in an era of climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2006-09-22

    The ability of coral reefs to survive the projected increases in temperature due to global warming will depend largely on the ability of corals to adapt or acclimatize to increased temperature extremes over the next few decades. Many coral species are highly sensitive to temperature stress and the number of stress (bleaching) episodes has increased in recent decades. We investigated the acclimatization potential of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, through transplantation and experimental manipulation. We show that adult corals, at least in some circumstances, are capable of acquiring increased thermal tolerance and that the increased tolerance is a direct result of a change in the symbiont type dominating their tissues from Symbiodinium type C to D. Our data suggest that the change in symbiont type in our experiment was due to a shuffling of existing types already present in coral tissues, not through exogenous uptake from the environment. The level of increased tolerance gained by the corals changing their dominant symbiont type to D (the most thermally resistant type known) is around 1-1.5 degrees C. This is the first study to show that thermal acclimatization is causally related to symbiont type and provides new insight into the ecological advantage of corals harbouring mixed algal populations. While this increase is of huge ecological significance for many coral species, in the absence of other mechanisms of thermal acclimatization/adaptation, it may not be sufficient to survive climate change under predicted sea surface temperature scenarios over the next 100 years. However, it may be enough to 'buy time' while greenhouse reduction measures are put in place.

  8. The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a ‘nugget of hope’ for coral reefs in an era of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J.H

    2006-01-01

    The ability of coral reefs to survive the projected increases in temperature due to global warming will depend largely on the ability of corals to adapt or acclimatize to increased temperature extremes over the next few decades. Many coral species are highly sensitive to temperature stress and the number of stress (bleaching) episodes has increased in recent decades. We investigated the acclimatization potential of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, through transplantation and experimental manipulation. We show that adult corals, at least in some circumstances, are capable of acquiring increased thermal tolerance and that the increased tolerance is a direct result of a change in the symbiont type dominating their tissues from Symbiodinium type C to D. Our data suggest that the change in symbiont type in our experiment was due to a shuffling of existing types already present in coral tissues, not through exogenous uptake from the environment. The level of increased tolerance gained by the corals changing their dominant symbiont type to D (the most thermally resistant type known) is around 1–1.5 °C. This is the first study to show that thermal acclimatization is causally related to symbiont type and provides new insight into the ecological advantage of corals harbouring mixed algal populations. While this increase is of huge ecological significance for many coral species, in the absence of other mechanisms of thermal acclimatization/adaptation, it may not be sufficient to survive climate change under predicted sea surface temperature scenarios over the next 100 years. However, it may be enough to ‘buy time’ while greenhouse reduction measures are put in place. PMID:16928632

  9. 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.

  10. Coral reefs as buffers during the 2009 South Pacific tsunami, Upolu Island, Samoa

    Science.gov (United States)

    McAdoo, Brian G.; Ah-Leong, Joyce Samuelu; Bell, Lui; Ifopo, Pulea; Ward, Juney; Lovell, Edward; Skelton, Posa

    2011-07-01

    The coral reef bordering the coastline of Samoa affected by the 29 September 2009 tsunami provides a variety of ecosystem services — from nurseries for fisheries and inshore source of food for local communities, to aesthetics for tourists, and the width of the lagoon may have been a factor in reducing the onshore wave height. To understand the complex interactions between the onshore human population and the offshore coral, we formed an interdisciplinary survey team to document the effects the tsunami had on the nearshore coral reef, and how these changes might affect local inhabitants. The scale of reef damage varied from severe, where piles of freshly-killed coral fragments and mortality were present, to areas that exhibited little impact, despite being overrun by the tsunami. We found that many coral colonies were impacted by tsunami-entrained coral debris, which had been ripped up and deposited on the fore reef by repeated cyclones and storm waves. In other places, large surface area tabular coral sustained damage as the tsunami velocity increased as it was funneled through channels. Areas that lacked debris entrained by the waves as well as areas in the lee of islands came through relatively unscathed, with the exception of the delicate corals that lived on a sandy substrate. In the lagoon on the south coast with its steep topography, coral colonies were damaged by tsunami-generated debris from onshore entrained in the backwash. Despite the potential for severe tsunami-related damage, there were no noticeable decreases in live coral cover between successive surveys at two locations, although algal cover was higher with the increased nutrients mobilized by the tsunami. While there was an immediate decrease in fish takes in the month following the tsunami, when supporting services were likely impacted, both volume and income have rapidly increased to pre-tsunami levels. Long-term monitoring should be implemented to determine if nursery services were affected.

  11. Preliminary numerical simulation for shallow strata stability of coral reef in South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Qinqin; Zhan, Wenhuan; Zhang, Jinchang

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs are the geologic material and special rock and soil, which live in shallow water of the tropic ocean and are formed through biological and geological action. Since infrastructure construction is being increasingly developed on coral reefs during recent years, it is necessary to evaluate the shallow strata stability of coral reefs in the South China Sea. The paper is to study the borehole profiles for shallow strata of coral reefs in the South China Sea, especially in the hydrodynamic marine environment?, and to establish a geological model for numerical simulation with Geo-Studio software. Five drilling holes show a six-layer shallow structure of South China Sea, including filling layer, mid-coarse sand, coral sand gravel, fine sand, limestone debris and reef limestone. The shallow coral reef profile next to lagoon is similar to "layers cake", in which the right side close to the sea is analogous to "block cake". The simulation results show that coral reef stability depends on wave loads and earthquake strength, as well as the physical properties of coral reefs themselves. The safety factor of the outer reef is greater than 10.0 in the static condition, indicating that outer reefs are less affected by the wave and earthquake. However, the safety factor next to lagoon is ranging from 0.1 to 4.9. The main reason for the variations that the strata of coral reefs close to the sea are thick. For example, the thickness of reef limestone is more than 10 m and equivalent to the block. When the thickness of inside strata is less than 10 m, they show weak engineering geological characteristics. These findings can provide useful information for coral reef constructions in future. This work was funded by National Basic Research Program of China (contract: 2013CB956104) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (contract: 41376063).

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Nuclear Bombs and Coral: Guam Coral Core Reveals Operation-Specific Radiocarbon Signals from the Pacific Proving Grounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrews, A. H.

    2016-12-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) analyses on a coral core extracted from the western Central Pacific (Guam) has revealed a series of early peaks in the marine bomb 14C record. The typical marine bomb 14C signal, one that is phase lagged and attenuated relative to atmospheric bomb 14C, is present in the coral core and is consistent with other North Pacific records. However, 14C levels that are well above what can be explained by air-sea diffusion alone punctuate this pattern. This anomaly has been demonstrated to a limited extent in other coral cores of the Indo-Pacific region, but is unmatched relative to the magnitude and temporal resolution recorded in the Guam coral core. Other records have shown an early Δ14C rise on the order of 40-50‰ above pre-bomb levels, with a subsequent decline before continuing the gradual Δ14C rise that is indicative of air-sea diffusion of 14CO2. The Guam coral Δ14C record provided three strong pulses in 1954-55, 1956-57, and 1958-59 that are superimposed on the pre-bomb to initial Δ14C rise from atmospheric bomb 14C. Each of these peaks can be directly linked to testing of thermonuclear devices in the Pacific Proving Grounds at Eniwetok and Bikini Atoll of the Marshall Islands. The measurable lag in reaching Guam can be tied to ocean surface currents and can be traced to other regional Δ14C records from corals, providing a transport timeline to places as distant as the Indonesian throughflow, Okinawa and Palmyra.

  15. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-25

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

  16. A simplified method for extracting microplastics in laboratory-cultured coral and water samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    The deleterious effects of microplastic ingestion by marine organisms and the impacts across trophic levels are widely unknown. Due to the extensive ecological and socioeconomic benefits provided by coral reefs, investigating the impacts of microplastics on reef ecosystems is of ...

  17. 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,...

  18. Handbook on Coral Reef Impacts: Avoidance, Minimization, Compensatory Mitigation, and Restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    This Handbook provides a general summary of current avoidance, minimization, compensatory mitigation, and restoration strategies that may help address physical damage resulting from direct adverse impacts to coral reefs.

  19. Association of coral algal symbionts with a diverse viral community responsive to heat shock

    KAUST Repository

    Brü wer, Jan D.; Agrawal, Shobhit; Liew, Yi Jin; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    with bacteria affecting metabolism, immunity, and resilience of the coral holobiont, but the role of associated viruses is largely unknown. In this regard, the increase of studies using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to assess gene expression provides an opportunity

  20. The effect of allometric scaling in coral thermal microenvironments.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert H Ong

    Full Text Available A long-standing interest in marine science is in the degree to which environmental conditions of flow and irradiance, combined with optical, thermal and morphological characteristics of individual coral colonies, affects their sensitivity of thermal microenvironments and susceptibility to stress-induced bleaching within and/or among colonies. The physiological processes in Scleractinian corals tend to scale allometrically as a result of physical and geometric constraints on body size and shape. There is a direct relationship between scaling to thermal stress, thus, the relationship between allometric scaling and rates of heating and cooling in coral microenvironments is a subject of great interest. The primary aim of this study was to develop an approximation that predicts coral thermal microenvironments as a function of colony morphology (shape and size, light or irradiance, and flow velocity or regime. To do so, we provided intuitive interpretation of their energy budgets for both massive and branching colonies, and then quantified the heat-size exponent (b* and allometric constant (m using logarithmic linear regression. The data demonstrated a positive relationship between thermal rates and changes in irradiance, A/V ratio, and flow, with an interaction where turbulent regime had less influence on overall stress which may serve to ameliorate the effects of temperature rise compared to the laminar regime. These findings indicated that smaller corals have disproportionately higher stress, however they can reach thermal equilibrium quicker. Moreover, excellent agreements between the predicted and simulated microscale temperature values with no significant bias were observed for both the massive and branching colonies, indicating that the numerical approximation should be within the accuracy with which they could be measured. This study may assist in estimating the coral microscale temperature under known conditions of water flow and irradiance

  1. Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids from Coral Dinoflagellates▿

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka N.; Dove, Sophie

    2011-01-01

    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

  2. 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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida Ali Hassan

    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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-01

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

  6. Biodiversity of Cryptofauna (Decapods) and Their Correlation with Dead Coral Pocillopora sp. Volume at Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malik, Muhammad Danie Al; Kholilah, Nenik; Kurniasih, Eka Maya; Sembiring, Andrianus; Pertiwi, Ni Putu Dian; Ambariyanto, Ambariyanto; Munasik, Munasik; Meyer, Christopher

    2018-02-01

    Decapod is known as cryptofauna which is also important component of coral reef biodiversity. Dead corals are one of the area which usually used by decapods to live. This research aims to observe the diversity of cryptofauna (decapods) and the correlation between the number of decapods with the volume of dead corals. Ten dead corals, Pocillopora sp., were collected at 5 m depth at Bunaken Island. These dead corals were measured their volume and all decapods found were counted and identified up to family level. The richness and abundance were analyzed using ACE (Abundance-Based Coverage Estimates) and Chao 1. The results show that there were in total 474 decapods from 13 families found within all ten dead corals. Xanthidae was showed as the most abundance family among all, with 161 individual. Diversity index of decapods was found at medium category with value of 2.01. Rarefaction curve based on richness and abundance showed an estimation of 13 families. The result also indicated that the asymptote stage was reached on the 10th dead coral samples. The correlation between decapod with the volume of dead coral were showed significant positive correlation (r = 0.673, p<0.05). This result provides benefits to basic knowledge about diversity of decapod which one of cryptofauna as component fauna have a habitat on coral reef ecosystem.

  7. Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicity to corals: A review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Nicholas R; Renegar, D Abigail

    2017-06-30

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

  8. Microbial ecology of corals, sponges, and algae in mesophotic coral environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olson, Julie B.; Kellogg, Christina A.

    2010-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems that occur at depths from 30 to 200 m have historically been understudied and yet appear to support a diverse biological community. The microbiology of these systems is particularly poorly understood, especially with regard to the communities associated with corals, sponges, and algae. This lack of information is partly due to the problems associated with gaining access to these environments and poor reproducibility across sampling methods. To summarize what is known about the microbiology of these ecosystems and to highlight areas where research is urgently needed, an overview of the current state of knowledge is presented. Emphasis is placed on the characterization of microbial populations, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, associated with corals, sponges, and algae and the factors that influence microbial community structure. In topic areas where virtually nothing is known from mesophotic environments, the knowledge pertaining to shallow-water ecosystems is summarized to provide a starting point for a discussion on what might be expected in the mesophotic zone.

  9. 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.

  10. Oceanic forcing of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Ryan J; Falter, James L

    2015-01-01

    Although the oceans play a fundamental role in shaping the distribution and function of coral reefs worldwide, a modern understanding of the complex interactions between ocean and reef processes is still only emerging. These dynamics are especially challenging owing to both the broad range of spatial scales (less than a meter to hundreds of kilometers) and the complex physical and biological feedbacks involved. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of these processes, ranging from the small-scale mechanics of flow around coral communities and their influence on nutrient exchange to larger, reef-scale patterns of wave- and tide-driven circulation and their effects on reef water quality and perceived rates of metabolism. We also examine regional-scale drivers of reefs such as coastal upwelling, internal waves, and extreme disturbances such as cyclones. Our goal is to show how a wide range of ocean-driven processes ultimately shape the growth and metabolism of coral reefs.

  11. 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.

  12. 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; Gagnon, Alexander C.; Prouty, Nancy G.; Brendan Roark, E.; de Flierdt, Tina van

    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.

  13. 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

  14. 350 Year Cloud Reconstruction Deduced from Northeast Caribbean Coral Proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winter, A.; Sammarco, P. W.; Mikolajewicz, U.; Jury, M.; Zanchettin, D.

    2014-12-01

    Clouds are a major factor influencing the global climate and its response to external forcing through their implications for the global hydrological cycle, and hence for the planetary radiative budget. Clouds also contribute to regional climates and their variability through, e.g., the changes they induce in regional precipitation patterns. There have been very few studies of decadal and longer-term changes in cloud cover in the tropics and sub-tropics, both over land and the ocean. In the tropics, there is great uncertainty regarding how global warming will affect cloud cover. Observational satellite data are too short to unambiguously discern any temporal trends in cloud cover. Corals generally live in well-mixed coastal regions and can often record environmental conditions of large areas of the upper ocean. This is particularly the case at low latitudes. Scleractinian corals are sessile, epibenthic fauna, and the type of environmental information recorded at the location where the coral has been living is dependent upon the species of coral considered and proxy index of interest. Skeletons of scleractinian corals are considered to provide among the best records of high-resolution (sub-annual) environmental variability in the tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Zooxanthellate hermatypic corals in tropical and sub-tropical seas precipitate CaCO3 skeletons as they grow. This growth is made possible through the manufacture of CaCO3crystals, facilitated by the zooxanthellae. During the process of crystallization, the holobiont binds carbon of different isotopes into the crystals. Stable carbon isotope concentrations vary with a variety of environmental conditions. In the Caribbean, d13C in corals of the species Montastraea faveolata can be used as a proxy for changes in cloud cover. In this contribution, we will demonstrate that the stable isotope 13C varies concomitantly with cloud cover for the northeastern Caribbean region. Using this proxy we have been able to

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deron E Burkepile

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available 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

  18. 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.

  19. The potential for coral reef establishment through free-living stabilization

    KAUST Repository

    Hennige, S. J.

    2017-10-11

    Corals thrive in a variety of environments, from low wave and tidal energy lagoons, to high energy tidal reef flats, but remain dependent upon suitable substrate. Herein we reviewed the phenomenon of free-living corals (coralliths), examined whether they have the capacity to create their own stable habitat in otherwise uninhabitable, poor substrate environments through \\'free-living stabilization\\', and explore their potential ecological role on coral reefs. This stabilization could be achieved by coral settlement and survival on mobile substrate, with subsequent growth into free-living coralliths until a critical mass is reached that prevents further movement. This allows for secondary reef colonization by other coral species. To preliminarily test this hypothesis we provide evidence that the potential to support secondary coral colonisation increases with corallith size. Due to the limited diversity of corallith species observed here and in the literature, and the lack of physiological differences exhibited by coralliths here to static controls, it seems likely that only a small selection of coral species have the ability to form coralliths, and the potential to create their own stable habitat.

  20. Dynamics of coral-associated microbiomes during a thermal bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pootakham, Wirulda; Mhuantong, Wuttichai; Putchim, Lalita; Yoocha, Thippawan; Sonthirod, Chutima; Kongkachana, Wasitthee; Sangsrakru, Duangjai; Naktang, Chaiwat; Jomchai, Nukoon; Thongtham, Nalinee; Tangphatsornruang, Sithichoke

    2018-03-23

    Coral-associated microorganisms play an important role in their host fitness and survival. A number of studies have demonstrated connections between thermal tolerance in corals and the type/relative abundance of Symbiodinium they harbor. More recently, the shifts in coral-associated bacterial profiles were also shown to be linked to the patterns of coral heat tolerance. Here, we investigated the dynamics of Porites lutea-associated bacterial and algal communities throughout a natural bleaching event, using full-length 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer sequences (ITS) obtained from PacBio circular consensus sequencing. We provided evidence of significant changes in the structure and diversity of coral-associated microbiomes during thermal stress. The balance of the symbiosis shifted from a predominant association between corals and Gammaproteobacteria to a predominance of Alphaproteobacteria and to a lesser extent Betaproteobacteria following the bleaching event. On the contrary, the composition and diversity of Symbiodinium communities remained unaltered throughout the bleaching event. It appears that the switching and/or shuffling of Symbiodinium types may not be the primary mechanism used by P. lutea to cope with increasing seawater temperature. The shifts in the structure and diversity of associated bacterial communities may contribute more to the survival of the coral holobiont under heat stress. © 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin; Zoccola, Didier; Li, Yong; Tambutté , Eric; Venn, Alexander A.; Michell, Craig; Cui, Guoxin; Deutekom, Eva S.; Kaandorp, Jaap A.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Forê t, Sylvain; Allemand, Denis; Tambutté , Sylvie; Aranda, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    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.

  3. Environmental assessment of metal exposure to corals living in Castle Harbour, Bermuda

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prouty, N.G.; Goodkin, N.F.; Jones, R.; Lamborg, C.H.; Storlazzi, C.D.; Hughen, K.A.

    2013-01-01

    Environmental contamination in Castle Harbour, Bermuda, has been linked to the dissolution and leaching of contaminants from the adjacent marine landfill. This study expands the evidence for environmental impact of leachate from the landfill by quantitatively demonstrating elevated metal uptake over the last 30 years in corals growing in Castle Harbour. Coral Pb/Ca, Zn/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios and total Hg concentrations are elevated relative to an adjacent control site in John Smith's Bay. The temporal variability in the Castle Harbour coral records suggests that while the landfill has increased in size over the last 35 years, the dominant input of metals is through periodic leaching of contaminants from the municipal landfill and surrounding sediment. Elevated contaminants in the surrounding sediment suggest that resuspension is an important transport medium for transferring heavy metals to corals. Increased winds, particularly during the 1990s, were accompanied by higher coral metal composition at Castle Harbour. Coupled with wind-induced resuspension, interannual changes in sea level within the Harbour can lead to increased bioavailability of sediment-bound metals and subsequent coral metal assimilation. At John Smith's Bay, large scale convective mixing may be driving interannual metal variability in the coral record rather than impacts from land-based activities. Results from this study provide important insights into the coupling of natural variability and anthropogenic input of contaminants to the nearshore environment.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:27438593

  5. Rapid evolution of coral proteins responsible for interaction with the environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voolstra, Christian R; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Matz, Mikhail V; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Buschiazzo, Emmanuel; Desalvo, Michael K; Lindquist, Erika; Szmant, Alina M; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Mónica

    2011-01-01

    Corals worldwide are in decline due to climate change effects (e.g., rising seawater temperatures), pollution, and exploitation. The ability of corals to cope with these stressors in the long run depends on the evolvability of the underlying genetic networks and proteins, which remain largely unknown. A genome-wide scan for positively selected genes between related coral species can help to narrow down the search space considerably. We screened a set of 2,604 putative orthologs from EST-based sequence datasets of the coral species Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata to determine the fraction and identity of proteins that may experience adaptive evolution. 7% of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineage-specific) genes show a positive selection signature more frequently than genes that are found across many animal phyla. The class of proteins that displayed elevated evolutionary rates was significantly enriched for proteins involved in immunity and defense, reproduction, and sensory perception. We also found elevated rates of evolution in several other functional groups such as management of membrane vesicles, transmembrane transport of ions and organic molecules, cell adhesion, and oxidative stress response. Proteins in these processes might be related to the endosymbiotic relationship corals maintain with dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. This study provides a birds-eye view of the processes potentially underlying coral adaptation, which will serve as a foundation for future work to elucidate the rates, patterns, and mechanisms of corals' evolutionary response to global climate change.

  6. 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.

  7. The potential for coral reef establishment through free-living stabilization

    KAUST Repository

    Hennige, S. J.; Burdett, H. L.; Perna, Gabriela; Tudhope, A. W.; Kamenos, N. A.

    2017-01-01

    Corals thrive in a variety of environments, from low wave and tidal energy lagoons, to high energy tidal reef flats, but remain dependent upon suitable substrate. Herein we reviewed the phenomenon of free-living corals (coralliths), examined whether they have the capacity to create their own stable habitat in otherwise uninhabitable, poor substrate environments through 'free-living stabilization', and explore their potential ecological role on coral reefs. This stabilization could be achieved by coral settlement and survival on mobile substrate, with subsequent growth into free-living coralliths until a critical mass is reached that prevents further movement. This allows for secondary reef colonization by other coral species. To preliminarily test this hypothesis we provide evidence that the potential to support secondary coral colonisation increases with corallith size. Due to the limited diversity of corallith species observed here and in the literature, and the lack of physiological differences exhibited by coralliths here to static controls, it seems likely that only a small selection of coral species have the ability to form coralliths, and the potential to create their own stable habitat.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Loke Ming Chou

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

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  11. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  12. The Future of Coral Reefs Subject to Rapid Climate Change: Lessons from Natural Extreme Environments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emma F. Camp

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Global climate change and localized anthropogenic stressors are driving rapid declines in coral reef health. In vitro experiments have been fundamental in providing insight into how reef organisms will potentially respond to future climates. However, such experiments are inevitably limited in their ability to reproduce the complex interactions that govern reef systems. Studies examining coral communities that already persist under naturally-occurring extreme and marginal physicochemical conditions have therefore become increasingly popular to advance ecosystem scale predictions of future reef form and function, although no single site provides a perfect analog to future reefs. Here we review the current state of knowledge that exists on the distribution of corals in marginal and extreme environments, and geographic sites at the latitudinal extremes of reef growth, as well as a variety of shallow reef systems and reef-neighboring environments (including upwelling and CO2 vent sites. We also conduct a synthesis of the abiotic data that have been collected at these systems, to provide the first collective assessment on the range of extreme conditions under which corals currently persist. We use the review and data synthesis to increase our understanding of the biological and ecological mechanisms that facilitate survival and success under sub-optimal physicochemical conditions. This comprehensive assessment can begin to: (i highlight the extent of extreme abiotic scenarios under which corals can persist, (ii explore whether there are commonalities in coral taxa able to persist in such extremes, (iii provide evidence for key mechanisms required to support survival and/or persistence under sub-optimal environmental conditions, and (iv evaluate the potential of current sub-optimal coral environments to act as potential refugia under changing environmental conditions. Such a collective approach is critical to better understand the future survival of

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Host adaptation and unexpected symbiont partners enable reef-building corals to tolerate extreme temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Abrego, David; Meyer, Eli; Kirk, Nathan L; Burt, John A

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the potential for coral adaptation to warming seas is complicated by interactions between symbiotic partners that define stress responses and the difficulties of tracking selection in natural populations. To overcome these challenges, we characterized the contribution of both animal host and symbiotic algae to thermal tolerance in corals that have already experienced considerable warming on par with end-of-century projections for most coral reefs. Thermal responses in Platygyra daedalea corals from the hot Persian Gulf where summer temperatures reach 36°C were compared with conspecifics from the milder Sea of Oman. Persian Gulf corals had higher rates of survival at elevated temperatures (33 and 36°C) in both the nonsymbiotic larval stage (32-49% higher) and the symbiotic adult life stage (51% higher). Additionally, Persian Gulf hosts had fixed greater potential to mitigate oxidative stress (31-49% higher) and their Symbiodinium partners had better retention of photosynthetic performance under elevated temperature (up to 161% higher). Superior thermal tolerance of Persian Gulf vs. Sea of Oman corals was maintained after 6-month acclimatization to a common ambient environment and was underpinned by genetic divergence in both the coral host and symbiotic algae. In P. daedalea host samples, genomewide SNP variation clustered into two discrete groups corresponding with Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman sites. Symbiodinium within host tissues predominantly belonged to ITS2 rDNA type C3 in the Persian Gulf and type D1a in the Sea of Oman contradicting patterns of Symbiodinium thermal tolerance from other regions. Our findings provide evidence that genetic adaptation of both host and Symbiodinium has enabled corals to cope with extreme temperatures in the Persian Gulf. Thus, the persistence of coral populations under continued warming will likely be determined by evolutionary rates in both, rather than single, symbiotic partners. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John M Guinotte

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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...

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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; Wu, Zhongjie; Richter, Claudio; Zhang, Jing

    2013-01-01

    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Image Fusion Applied to Satellite Imagery for the Improved Mapping and Monitoring of Coral Reefs: a Proposal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gholoum, M.; Bruce, D.; Hazeam, S. Al

    2012-07-01

    A coral reef ecosystem, one of the most complex marine environmental systems on the planet, is defined as biologically diverse and immense. It plays an important role in maintaining a vast biological diversity for future generations and functions as an essential spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding ground for many kinds of marine species. In addition, coral reef ecosystems provide valuable benefits such as fisheries, ecological goods and services and recreational activities to many communities. However, this valuable resource is highly threatened by a number of environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts that can lead to reduced coral growth and production, mass coral mortality and loss of coral diversity. With the growth of these threats on coral reef ecosystems, there is a strong management need for mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Remote sensing technology can be a valuable tool for mapping and monitoring of these ecosystems. However, the diversity and complexity of coral reef ecosystems, the resolution capabilities of satellite sensors and the low reflectivity of shallow water increases the difficulties to identify and classify its features. This paper reviews the methods used in mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems. In addition, this paper proposes improved methods for mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems based on image fusion techniques. This image fusion techniques will be applied to satellite images exhibiting high spatial and low to medium spectral resolution with images exhibiting low spatial and high spectral resolution. Furthermore, a new method will be developed to fuse hyperspectral imagery with multispectral imagery. The fused image will have a large number of spectral bands and it will have all pairs of corresponding spatial objects. This will potentially help to accurately classify the image data. Accuracy assessment use ground truth will be performed for the selected methods to determine the quality of the

  9. IMAGE FUSION APPLIED TO SATELLITE IMAGERY FOR THE IMPROVED MAPPING AND MONITORING OF CORAL REEFS: A PROPOSAL

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Gholoum

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available A coral reef ecosystem, one of the most complex marine environmental systems on the planet, is defined as biologically diverse and immense. It plays an important role in maintaining a vast biological diversity for future generations and functions as an essential spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding ground for many kinds of marine species. In addition, coral reef ecosystems provide valuable benefits such as fisheries, ecological goods and services and recreational activities to many communities. However, this valuable resource is highly threatened by a number of environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts that can lead to reduced coral growth and production, mass coral mortality and loss of coral diversity. With the growth of these threats on coral reef ecosystems, there is a strong management need for mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Remote sensing technology can be a valuable tool for mapping and monitoring of these ecosystems. However, the diversity and complexity of coral reef ecosystems, the resolution capabilities of satellite sensors and the low reflectivity of shallow water increases the difficulties to identify and classify its features. This paper reviews the methods used in mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems. In addition, this paper proposes improved methods for mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems based on image fusion techniques. This image fusion techniques will be applied to satellite images exhibiting high spatial and low to medium spectral resolution with images exhibiting low spatial and high spectral resolution. Furthermore, a new method will be developed to fuse hyperspectral imagery with multispectral imagery. The fused image will have a large number of spectral bands and it will have all pairs of corresponding spatial objects. This will potentially help to accurately classify the image data. Accuracy assessment use ground truth will be performed for the selected methods to determine

  10. Zooxanthellar symbiosis in planula larvae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaither, Michelle R; Rowan, Rob

    2010-04-30

    We characterized the planular-zooxanthellae symbiosis of the coral Pocillopora damicornis using criteria that are familiar in studies on corals. Similar to adult corals, planulae exhibited photoacclimation, as changes in symbiont chlorophyll a (chl a); changes in the light-saturation constant for photosynthesis (I(k)); and, at insufficient light, fewer zooxanthellae, decreased respiration, increased weight loss, and increased sensitivity to photoinhibition. Numbers of zooxanthellae in newly-released planulae varied by at least three-fold within broods. Planulae with low versus high numbers of zooxanthellae (termed pale versus dark planulae, respectively) did not differ in symbiont chl-a content, I(k), or biomass-specific rate of dark respiration. Pale planulae had lower rates of photosynthesis, but this difference vanished after three weeks, when zooxanthellar numbers increased by 225% in pale planulae and by 31% in dark planulae. Numbers of zooxanthellae also increased significantly in planulae cultured in ammonium-enriched seawater; ammonium also apparently prevented weight loss and induced settlement. Approximately 70% of photosynthetically-fixed carbon (labeled using (14)C) apparently was translocated from the zooxanthellae to their host. A comparison of planulae cultured at 0.3% versus 11% sunlight suggested that photosynthesis provided ~ 31% of the energy utilized by the latter. Overall, we conclude that the physiology of symbiosis in planulae of P. damicornis is broadly similar to symbiosis physiology in adult corals.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Richards, Zoe T.; Beger, Maria; Pinca, Silvia; Wallace, Carden C.

    2008-01-01

    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. Linking social and ecological systems to sustain coral reef fisheries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cinner, Joshua E; McClanahan, Timothy R; Daw, Tim M; Graham, Nicholas A J; Maina, Joseph; Wilson, Shaun K; Hughes, Terence P

    2009-02-10

    The ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs are critical to the social and economic welfare of hundreds of millions of people, overwhelmingly in developing countries [1]. Widespread reef degradation is severely eroding these goods and services, but the socioeconomic factors shaping the ways that societies use coral reefs are poorly understood [2]. We examine relationships between human population density, a multidimensional index of socioeconomic development, reef complexity, and the condition of coral reef fish populations in five countries across the Indian Ocean. In fished sites, fish biomass was negatively related to human population density, but it was best explained by reef complexity and a U-shaped relationship with socioeconomic development. The biomass of reef fishes was four times lower at locations with intermediate levels of economic development than at locations with both low and high development. In contrast, average biomass inside fishery closures was three times higher than in fished sites and was not associated with socioeconomic development. Sustaining coral reef fisheries requires an integrated approach that uses tools such as protected areas to quickly build reef resources while also building capacities and capital in societies over longer time frames to address the complex underlying causes of reef degradation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-26

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. The role of mass spectrometry in obtaining environmental/climate change records from Coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCulloch, Malcolm

    2000-01-01

    Coral reefs provide the main constraint on past changes in sea level. Depending on the species, corals generally grow within a relatively narrow range of water depths, from the low tide mark to typically 5 to 10 metres depth and can be readily dated using either 14 C or U-series methods. The combination of mass spectrometry and 238 U- 230 Th dating has proved to be a particularly powerful tool

  17. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Layman, Craig A; Mumby, Peter J; Rosemond, Amy D

    2014-08-01

    Corals thrive in low nutrient environments and the conservation of these globally imperiled ecosystems is largely dependent on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. However, to better understand the implications of anthropogenic nutrients requires a heightened understanding of baseline nutrient dynamics within these ecosystems. Here, we provide a novel perspective on coral reef nutrient dynamics by examining the role of fish communities in the supply and storage of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We quantified fish-mediated nutrient storage and supply for 144 species and modeled these data onto 172 fish communities (71 729 individual fish), in four types of coral reefs, as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems, throughout the Northern Antilles. Fish communities supplied and stored large quantities of nutrients, with rates varying among ecosystem types. The size structure and diversity of the fish communities best predicted N and P supply and storage and N : P supply, suggesting that alterations to fish communities (e.g., overfishing) will have important implications for nutrient dynamics in these systems. The stoichiometric ratio (N : P) for storage in fish mass (~8 : 1) and supply (~20 : 1) was notably consistent across the four coral reef types (but not seagrass or mangrove ecosystems). Published nutrient enrichment studies on corals show that deviations from this N : P supply ratio may be associated with poor coral fitness, providing qualitative support for the hypothesis that corals and their symbionts may be adapted to specific ratios of nutrient supply. Consumer nutrient stoichiometry provides a baseline from which to better understand nutrient dynamics in coral reef and other coastal ecosystems, information that is greatly needed if we are to implement more effective measures to ensure the future health of the world's oceans. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. A too acid world for coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allemand, D.; Reynaud, St.; Salvat, B.

    2010-01-01

    While briefly presenting how corals grow and exchange with their environment and after having recalled that temperature increase was already a threat for them, this article outlines that ocean acidification is now considered as another danger. This acidification is due to the dissolution in sea water of CO 2 produced by human activities. This entails a slower calcification which is the process by which corals grow their skeleton. But, some researches showed that some corals manage to survive normally in such acid conditions, and even without skeleton for some other species. Anyhow, coral reefs will tend to disappear with environmental and socio-economical consequences

  8. 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.

  9. Survival dynamics of scleractinian coral larvae and implications for dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, E. M.; Baird, A. H.; Connolly, S. R.

    2008-09-01

    Survival of pelagic marine larvae is an important determinant of dispersal potential. Despite this, few estimates of larval survival are available. For scleractinian corals, few studies of larval survival are long enough to provide accurate estimates of longevity. Moreover, changes in mortality rates during larval life, expected on theoretical grounds, have implications for the degree of connectivity among reefs and have not been quantified for any coral species. This study quantified the survival of larvae from five broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals ( Acropora latistella, Favia pallida, Pectinia paeonia, Goniastrea aspera, and Montastraea magnistellata) to estimate larval longevity, and to test for changes in mortality rates as larvae age. Maximum lifespans ranged from 195 to 244 d. These longevities substantially exceed those documented previously for coral larvae that lack zooxanthellae, and they exceed predictions based on metabolic rates prevailing early in larval life. In addition, larval mortality rates exhibited strong patterns of variation throughout the larval stage. Three periods were identified in four species: high initial rates of mortality; followed by a low, approximately constant rate of mortality; and finally, progressively increasing mortality after approximately 100 d. The lifetimes observed in this study suggest that the potential for long-distance dispersal may be substantially greater than previously thought. Indeed, detection of increasing mortality rates late in life suggests that energy reserves do not reach critically low levels until approximately 100 d after spawning. Conversely, increased mortality rates early in life decrease the likelihood that larvae transported away from their natal reef will survive to reach nearby reefs, and thus decrease connectivity at regional scales. These results show how variation in larval survivorship with age may help to explain the seeming paradox of high genetic structure at metapopulation scales

  10. Modelling coral polyp calcification in relation to ocean acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Hohn

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to anthropogenic emissions induce changes in the carbonate chemistry of the oceans and, ultimately, a drop in ocean pH. This acidification process can harm calcifying organisms like coccolithophores, molluscs, echinoderms, and corals. It is expected that ocean acidification in combination with other anthropogenic stressors will cause a severe decline in coral abundance by the end of this century, with associated disastrous effects on reef ecosystems. Despite the growing importance of the topic, little progress has been made with respect to modelling the impact of acidification on coral calcification. Here we present a model for a coral polyp that simulates the carbonate system in four different compartments: the seawater, the polyp tissue, the coelenteron, and the calcifying fluid. Precipitation of calcium carbonate takes place in the metabolically controlled calcifying fluid beneath the polyp tissue. The model is adjusted to a state of activity as observed by direct microsensor measurements in the calcifying fluid. We find that a transport mechanism for bicarbonate is required to supplement carbon into the calcifying fluid because CO2 diffusion alone is not sufficient to sustain the observed calcification rates. Simulated CO2 perturbation experiments reveal decreasing calcification rates under elevated pCO2 despite the strong metabolic control of the calcifying fluid. Diffusion of CO2 through the tissue into the calcifying fluid increases with increasing seawater pCO2, leading to decreased aragonite saturation in the calcifying fluid. Our modelling study provides important insights into the complexity of the calcification process at the organism level and helps to quantify the effect of ocean acidification on corals.

  11. Acoustic and biological trends on coral reefs off Maui, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaplan, Maxwell B.; Lammers, Marc O.; Zang, Eden; Aran Mooney, T.

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs are characterized by high biodiversity, and evidence suggests that reef soundscapes reflect local species assemblages. To investigate how sounds produced on a given reef relate to abiotic and biotic parameters and how that relationship may change over time, an observational study was conducted between September 2014 and January 2016 at seven Hawaiian reefs that varied in coral cover, rugosity, and fish assemblages. The reefs were equipped with temperature loggers and acoustic recording devices that recorded on a 10% duty cycle. Benthic and fish visual survey data were collected four times over the course of the study. On average, reefs ranged from 0 to 80% live coral cover, although changes between surveys were noted, in particular during the major El Niño-related bleaching event of October 2015. Acoustic analyses focused on two frequency bands (50-1200 and 1.8-20.5 kHz) that corresponded to the dominant spectral features of the major sound-producing taxa on these reefs, fish, and snapping shrimp, respectively. In the low-frequency band, the presence of humpback whales (December-May) was a major contributor to sound level, whereas in the high-frequency band sound level closely tracked water temperature. On shorter timescales, the magnitude of the diel trend in sound production was greater than that of the lunar trend, but both varied in strength among reefs, which may reflect differences in the species assemblages present. Results indicated that the magnitude of the diel trend was related to fish densities at low frequencies and coral cover at high frequencies; however, the strength of these relationships varied by season. Thus, long-term acoustic recordings capture the substantial acoustic variability present in coral-reef ecosystems and provide insight into the presence and relative abundance of sound-producing organisms.

  12. Wave Dissipation on Low- to Super-Energy Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, D. L.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are valuable, complex and bio-diverse ecosystems and are also known to be one of the most effective barriers to swell events in coastal environments. Previous research has found coral reefs to be remarkably efficient in removing most of the wave energy during the initial breaking and transformation on the reef flats. The rate of dissipation is so rapid that coral reefs have been referred to as rougher than any known coastal barrier. The dissipation of wave energy across reef flats is crucial in maintaining the relatively low-energy conditions in the back reef and lagoonal environments providing vital protection to adjacent beach or coastal regions from cyclone and storm events. A shift in the regulation of wave energy by reef flats could have catastrophic consequences ecologically, socially, and economically. This study examined the dissipation of wave energy during two swell events in Tahiti and Moorea, French Polyesia. Field sites were chosen in varying degrees of exposure and geomorphology from low-energy protected sites (Tiahura, Moorea) to super-energy sites (Teahupo'o, Tahiti). Waves were measured during two moderate to large swell events in cross reef transects using short-term high-resolution pressure transducers. Wave conditions were found to be similar in all back reef locations despite the very different wave exposure at each reef site. However, wave conditions on the reef flats were different and mirrored the variation in wave exposure with depth over the reef flat the primary regulator of reef flat wave height. These results indicate that coral reef flats evolve morphodynamically with the wave climate, which creates coral reef geomorphologies capable of dissipating wave energy that results in similar back reef wave conditions regardless of the offshore wave climate.

  13. Autonomous Coral Reef Survey in Support of Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven G. Ackleson

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available An autonomous surface vehicle instrumented with optical and acoustical sensors was deployed in Kane'ohe Bay, HI, U.S.A., to provide high-resolution, in situ observations of coral reef reflectance with minimal human presence. The data represented a wide range in bottom type, water depth, and illumination and supported more thorough investigations of remote sensing methods for identifying and mapping shallow reef features. The in situ data were used to compute spectral bottom reflectance and remote sensing reflectance, Rrs,λ, as a function of water depth and benthic features. The signals were used to distinguish between live coral and uncolonized sediment within the depth range of the measurements (2.5–5 m. In situRrs, λ were found to compare well with remotely sensed measurements from an imaging spectrometer, the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS, deployed on an aircraft at high altitude. Cloud cover and in situ sensor orientation were found to have minimal impact on in situRrs, λ, suggesting that valid reflectance data may be collected using autonomous surveys even when atmospheric conditions are not favorable for remote sensing operations. The use of reflectance in the red and near infrared portions of the spectrum, expressed as the red edge height, REHλ, was investigated for detecting live aquatic vegetative biomass, including coral symbionts and turf algae. The REHλ signal from live coral was detected in Kane'ohe Bay to a depth of approximately 4 m with in situ measurements. A remote sensing algorithm based on the REHλ signal was defined and applied to AVIRIS imagery of the entire bay and was found to reveal areas of shallow, dense coral and algal cover. The peak wavelength of REHλ decreased with increasing water depth, indicating that a more complete examination of the red edge signal may potentially yield a remote sensing approach to simultaneously estimate vegetative biomass and bathymetry in shallow water.

  14. Combining X-Ray Fluorescence and Magnetic Techniques to Quantify Elemental Concentrations in Coral Cores from Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldfarb, L. A.; Kingsley, C.; Urbalejo, A. A.; Hangsterfer, A.; Gee, J. S.; Carilli, J.; Feinberg, J. M.; Mitra, R.; Bhattacharya, A.; Field, D.

    2017-12-01

    Caribbean coral reefs are some of the most threatened marine ecosystems in the world. Research 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. 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 is a progress and combination of two works presented at American Geophysical Union 2016 Fall Meeting; In this research, we explore the efficacy of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), a widely used tool in environmental studies (but generally not in corals), to estimate detrital metal content in coral cores collected from four locations near Belize, with varying degrees of impact from coastal processes. Four 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 spanning to characterize materials present in coral skeletons. We compare the results from XRF to elemental concentrations reported from solution-based ICP-MS. Furthermore, we also compare our XRF data to magnetic measurements we have made in these same coral cores. Overall, it appears that the non-destructive XRF technique is a viable supplement to the ICP-MS in determining sediment and metal content in coral cores, and may be particularly helpful for assessing resistant phases such as

  15. Carbon dioxide addition to coral reef waters suppresses net community calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Takeshita, Yuichiro; Koweek, David A.; Ninokawa, Aaron; Wolfe, Kennedy; Rivlin, Tanya; Nebuchina, Yana; Young, Jordan; Caldeira, Ken

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs feed millions of people worldwide, provide coastal protection and generate billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue. The underlying architecture of a reef is a biogenic carbonate structure that accretes over many years of active biomineralization by calcifying organisms, including corals and algae. Ocean acidification poses a chronic threat to coral reefs by reducing the saturation state of the aragonite mineral of which coral skeletons are primarily composed, and lowering the concentration of carbonate ions required to maintain the carbonate reef. Reduced calcification, coupled with increased bioerosion and dissolution, may drive reefs into a state of net loss this century. Our ability to predict changes in ecosystem function and associated services ultimately hinges on our understanding of community- and ecosystem-scale responses. Past research has primarily focused on the responses of individual species rather than evaluating more complex, community-level responses. Here we use an in situ carbon dioxide enrichment experiment to quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to acidification. We present an estimate of community-scale calcification sensitivity to ocean acidification that is, to our knowledge, the first to be based on a controlled experiment in the natural environment. This estimate provides evidence that near-future reductions in the aragonite saturation state will compromise the ecosystem function of coral reefs.

  16. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis Gutierrez-Heredia

    Full Text Available Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters, but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb, allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  17. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez-Heredia, Luis; Benzoni, Francesca; Murphy, Emma; Reynaud, Emmanuel G

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters), but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon) and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb), allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies) were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  18. Spatial linkages between coral proxies of terrestrial runoff across a large embayment in Madagascar

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. A. Grove

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral cores provide vital climate reconstructions for site-specific temporal variability in river flow and sediment load. Yet, their ability to record spatial differences across multiple catchments is relatively unknown. Here, we investigate spatial linkages between four coral proxies of terrestrial runoff and their relationships between sites. Coral cores were drilled in and around Antongil Bay, the largest bay in Madagascar, and individually analysed for fifteen years of continuous luminescence (G / B, Ba / Ca, δ18Osw and δ13C data. Each coral core was drilled close to individual river mouths (≥ 7 km, and proxy data were compared to modelled river discharge and sediment runoff data for the three corresponding catchments. A reasonable agreement between terrestrial runoff proxies with modelled river discharge and sediment yield was observed. Some inconsistencies between proxy and modelled data are likely linked to proxy behaviour, watershed size and local environmental physiochemical parameters. In general, the further a coral resided from its river source, the weaker the proxy relationship was with modelled data and other corals, due to mixing gradients and currents. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that two coral Ba / Ca and luminescence (G / B records influenced by the same watershed are reproducible. Furthermore, a strong Ba / Ca relationship was observed between two cores from distant watersheds, with baseline averages in agreement with modelled sediment runoff data. As humic acids behave conservatively in the water column, luminescence (G / B data gave the highest regional correlations between cores, and showed the most consistent relationship with site specific modelled discharge. No statistical relationship was observed between cores in terms of interannual δ18Osw and δ13C, meaning corals were recording a localised signal at their respective sites, confounded by vital

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

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    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-17

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Diversity And Abundance Of Deep-Water Coral Mounds In The Straits Of Florida: A Result of Adaptability To Local Environments?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correa, T. B.; Grasmueck, M.; Eberli, G.; Viggiano, D. A.; Rosenberg, A.; Reed, J. K.

    2007-12-01

    To improve the understanding of the Florida-Bahamas deep-water coral mound ecosystem, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) surveys were conducted on five coral mound fields throughout the Straits of Florida (three sites at the base of slope of Great Bahama Bank (GBB), one in the middle of the Straits (MS) and one at the base of the Miami Terrace (MT)) in water depths of 590 to 860 m. The AUV provides high-resolution bathymetric maps, sub-bottom profiles and oceanographic data. The AUV survey sites were subsequently groundtruthed via sample collection and video transects, using the Johnson Sealink submersible. Contrary to previous surveys, we found a high diversity in coral mound morphology between sites separated by 15 to 80 km. The MT site is characterized by sinusoidal coral mound ridges, while the MS site contains densely clustered small coral mounds. Meanwhile, mounds of the GBB region are better developed, with some individual mounds reaching up to 90 m in height. Benthic coverage of live corals also differs between sites; the GBB sites are characterized by mounds densely covered by large thickets of live corals, while small thickets of mostly dead corals dominate the MT and MS sites. Several environmental factors may explain these differences. For example, bottom current patterns change between sites. The MT and the MS sites have a unidirectional regime (southward or northward flow, respectively), whereas the GBB sites have a tidal current regime. Sedimentation patterns as depicted by sub-bottom profiles also vary between the sites; coral mounds in the GBB area appear to receive higher sediment input, which can significantly enhance mound growth rates as the reef framework baffles and traps mobile sediments. However, coral mounds that cannot keep-up with the sedimentation rate are buried. Therefore, in the high sedimentation areas of GBB, flourishing live coral mounds are limited to elevated positions (i.e. plateaus, ridges crests) where sediment accumulation

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

    CERN Multimedia

    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...

  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. 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

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

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    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.

  12. Temporal and taxonomic contrasts in coral growth at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kristen D.; Cantin, Neal E.; Heron, Scott F.; Lough, Janice M.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2018-06-01

    Demographic processes, such as growth, can have an important influence on the population and community structure of reef-building corals. Importantly, ongoing changes in environmental conditions (e.g. ocean warming) are expected to affect coral growth, contributing to changes in the structure of coral populations and communities. This study quantified contemporary growth rates (linear extension and calcification) for the staghorn coral, Acropora muricata, at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Growth rates were measured at three different depths (5, 10, and 15 m) over 2 yr (2012-2014) assessing both seasonal and inter-annual variability. Results of this study were compared to equivalent measurements made in 1980-1982 at the same location. To assist in understanding inter-annual variability in coral growth, we also examined annual growth bands from massive Porites providing continuous growth and records of flooding history for Davies Reef over the period 1979-2012. Linear extension rates of A. muricata were substantially (11-62%) lower in 2012-2014 compared to 1980-1982, especially at 10 and 15 m depths. These declines in growth coincide with a + 0.14 °C change in annual mean temperature. For massive Porites, however, calcification rates were highly variable among years and there was no discernible long-term change in growth despite sustained increases in temperature of 0.064 °C per decade. Apparent differences in the growth rates of Acropora between 1980-1982 and 2012-2014 may reflect inter-annual variation in coral growth (as seen for massive Porites), though it is known branching Acropora is much more sensitive to changing environmental conditions than massive corals. There are persistent issues in assessing the sensitivities of branching corals to environmental change due to limited capacity for retrospective analyses of growth, but given their disproportionate contribution to habitat complexity and reef structure, it is critical to ascertain

  13. 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.

  14. 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; 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.

  15. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  17. Comparison of methods used to estimate coral cover in the Hawaiian Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul L. Jokiel

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Nine coral survey methods were compared at ten sites in various reef habitats with different levels of coral cover in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, Hawaiʻi. Mean estimated coverage at the different sites ranged from less than 10% cover to greater than 90% cover. The methods evaluated include line transects, various visual and photographic belt transects, video transects and visual estimates. At each site 25 m transect lines were laid out and secured. Observers skilled in each method measured coral cover at each site. The time required to run each transect, time required to process data and time to record the results were documented. Cost of hardware and software for each method was also tabulated. Results of this investigation indicate that all of the methods used provide a good first estimate of coral cover on a reef. However, there were differences between the methods in detecting the number of coral species. For example, the classic “quadrat” method allows close examination of small and cryptic coral species that are not detected by other methods such as the “towboard” surveys. The time, effort and cost involved with each method varied widely, and the suitability of each method for answering particular research questions in various environments was evaluated. Results of this study support the finding of three other comparison method studies conducted at various geographic locations throughout the world. Thus, coral cover measured by different methods can be legitimately combined or compared in many situations. The success of a recent modeling effort based on coral cover data consisting of observations taken in Hawai‘i using the different methods supports this conclusion.

  18. Comparison of methods used to estimate coral cover in the Hawaiian Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S; Brown, Eric K; Kenyon, Jean C; Aeby, Greta; Smith, William R; Farrell, Fred

    2015-01-01

    Nine coral survey methods were compared at ten sites in various reef habitats with different levels of coral cover in Kāne'ohe Bay, O'ahu, Hawai'i. Mean estimated coverage at the different sites ranged from less than 10% cover to greater than 90% cover. The methods evaluated include line transects, various visual and photographic belt transects, video transects and visual estimates. At each site 25 m transect lines were laid out and secured. Observers skilled in each method measured coral cover at each site. The time required to run each transect, time required to process data and time to record the results were documented. Cost of hardware and software for each method was also tabulated. Results of this investigation indicate that all of the methods used provide a good first estimate of coral cover on a reef. However, there were differences between the methods in detecting the number of coral species. For example, the classic "quadrat" method allows close examination of small and cryptic coral species that are not detected by other methods such as the "towboard" surveys. The time, effort and cost involved with each method varied widely, and the suitability of each method for answering particular research questions in various environments was evaluated. Results of this study support the finding of three other comparison method studies conducted at various geographic locations throughout the world. Thus, coral cover measured by different methods can be legitimately combined or compared in many situations. The success of a recent modeling effort based on coral cover data consisting of observations taken in Hawai'i using the different methods supports this conclusion.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  20. 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

  1. Light induced intraspecific variability in response to thermal stress in the hard coral Stylophora pistillata

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    Arjen Tilstra

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Recent research suggests that prior exposure of several months to elevated irradiance induces enhanced thermal tolerance in scleractinian corals. While this tolerance has been reported at the species level, individual coral colonies may react differently due to individual variability in thermal tolerance. As thermal anomalies are predicted to become common in the upcoming future, intraspecific variation may be key to the survival of coral populations. In order to study light-history based thermal stress responses on individual colonies, we developed a preliminary microcosm experiment where three randomly chosen, aquacultured colonies of the model coral Stylophora pistillata were exposed to two irradiance treatments (200 and 400 μmol photons m−2 s−1 for 31 days, followed by artificially induced heat stress (∼33.4 °C. We found different responses to occur at both the intraspecific and the intracolonial levels, as indicated by either equal, less severe, delayed, and/or even non-necrotic responses of corals previously exposed to the irradiance of 400 compared to 200 μmol photons m−2 s−1. In addition, all individual colonies revealed light-enhanced calcification. Finally, elevated irradiance resulted in a lower chlorophyll a concentration in one colony compared to the control treatment, and the same colony displayed more rapid bleaching compared to the other ones. Taken together, this study highlights the potential importance of intra-individual variability in physiological responses of scleractinian corals and provides recommendations for improving methodological designs for future studies.

  2. Community Change within a Caribbean Coral Reef Marine Protected Area following Two Decades of Local Management

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.

    2013-01-14

    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. © 2013 Noble et al.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemens, E.; Brandt, M. E.

    2015-12-01

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

  5. Barium isotopes in cold-water corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemsing, Freya; Hsieh, Yu-Te; Bridgestock, Luke; Spooner, Peter T.; Robinson, Laura F.; Frank, Norbert; Henderson, Gideon M.

    2018-06-01

    Recent studies have introduced stable Ba isotopes (δ 138 / 134Ba) as a novel tracer for ocean processes. Ba isotopes could potentially provide insight into the oceanic Ba cycle, the ocean's biological pump, water-mass provenance in the deep ocean, changes in activity of hydrothermal vents, and land-sea interactions including tracing riverine inputs. Here, we show that aragonite skeletons of various colonial and solitary cold-water coral (CWC) taxa record the seawater (SW) Ba isotope composition. Thirty-six corals of eight different taxa from three oceanic regions were analysed and compared to δ 138 / 134Ba measurements of co-located seawater samples. Sites were chosen to cover a wide range of temperature, salinity, Ba concentrations and Ba isotope compositions. Seawater samples at the three sites exhibit the well-established anti-correlation between Ba concentration and δ 138 / 134Ba. Furthermore, our data set suggests that Ba/Ca values in CWCs are linearly correlated with dissolved [Ba] in ambient seawater, with an average partition coefficient of DCWC/SW = 1.8 ± 0.4 (2SD). The mean isotope fractionation of Ba between seawater and CWCs Δ138/134BaCWC-SW is -0.21 ± 0.08‰ (2SD), indicating that CWC aragonite preferentially incorporates the lighter isotopes. This fractionation likely does not depend on temperature or other environmental variables, suggesting that aragonite CWCs could be used to trace the Ba isotope composition in ambient seawater. Coupled [Ba] and δ 138 / 134Ba analysis on fossil CWCs has the potential to provide new information about past changes in the local and global relationship between [Ba] and δ 138 / 134Ba and hence about the operation of the past global oceanic Ba cycle in different climate regimes.

  6. Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines

    OpenAIRE

    Green, Stephanie; Akins, John; Maljković, Aleksandra; Cote, Isabelle

    2012-01-01

    Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) have spread swiftly across the Western Atlantic, producing a marine predator invasion of unparalleled speed and magnitude. There is growing concern that lionfish will affect the structure and function of invaded marine ecosystems, however detrimental impacts on natural communities have yet to be measured. Here we document the response of native fish communities to predation by lionfish populations on nine coral reefs off New Providence Isl...

  7. Microbial disease and the coral holobiont

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  8. The Stylasterine coral Allopora stellulata (Stewart)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boschma, H.

    1960-01-01

    The description of Stylaster stellulatus Stewart was based on a specimen obtained at Tahiti, the coral was stated to be extremely rare, and only found at one small island in the neighbourhood. The description contains all the peculiarities for a specific definition of the coral, the salient points

  9. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  10. The mushroom coral as a habitat

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Meij, van der S.E.T.; Fransen, C.H.J.M.

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of symbiotic relationships involving reef corals has had much impact on tropical marine biodiversity. Because of their endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) corals can grow fast in tropical shallow seas where they form reefs that supply food, substrate and shelter for other organisms.

  11. Coral aquaculture: applying scientific knowledge to ex situ production

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Leal, M.C.; Ferrier-Pagès, C.; Petersen, D.; Osinga, R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral aquaculture is an activity of growing interest due to the degradation of coral reefs worldwide and concomitant growing demand for corals by three industries: marine ornamental trade, pharmaceutical industry and reef restoration. Although captive breeding and propagation of corals is a

  12. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alessandra Savini

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. ReefLink Database: A decision support tool for Linking Coral Reefs and Society Through Systems Thinking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs provide the ecological foundation for productive and diverse fish and invertebrate communities that support multibillion dollar reef fishing and tourism industries. Yet reefs are threatened by growing coastal development, climate change, and over-exploitation. A key i...

  16. Growth dynamics of the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: influence of host genotype, symbiont identity, colony size, and environmental setting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Schopmeyer, Stephanie; Galvan, Victor; Drury, Crawford; Baker, Andrew C; Baums, Iliana B

    2014-01-01

    The drastic decline in the abundance of Caribbean acroporid corals (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata) has prompted the listing of this genus as threatened as well as the development of a regional propagation and restoration program. Using in situ underwater nurseries, we documented the influence of coral genotype and symbiont identity, colony size, and propagation method on the growth and branching patterns of staghorn corals in Florida and the Dominican Republic. Individual tracking of> 1700 nursery-grown staghorn fragments and colonies from 37 distinct genotypes (identified using microsatellites) in Florida and the Dominican Republic revealed a significant positive relationship between size and growth, but a decreasing rate of productivity with increasing size. Pruning vigor (enhanced growth after fragmentation) was documented even in colonies that lost 95% of their coral tissue/skeleton, indicating that high productivity can be maintained within nurseries by sequentially fragmenting corals. A significant effect of coral genotype was documented for corals grown in a common-garden setting, with fast-growing genotypes growing up to an order of magnitude faster than slow-growing genotypes. Algal-symbiont identity established using qPCR techniques showed that clade A (likely Symbiodinium A3) was the dominant symbiont type for all coral genotypes, except for one coral genotype in the DR and two in Florida that were dominated by clade C, with A- and C-dominated genotypes having similar growth rates. The threatened Caribbean staghorn coral is capable of extremely fast growth, with annual productivity rates exceeding 5 cm of new coral produced for every cm of existing coral. This species benefits from high fragment survivorship coupled by the pruning vigor experienced by the parent colonies after fragmentation. These life-history characteristics make A. cervicornis a successful candidate nursery species and provide optimism for the potential role that active propagation

  17. Growth dynamics of the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: influence of host genotype, symbiont identity, colony size, and environmental setting.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Lirman

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The drastic decline in the abundance of Caribbean acroporid corals (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata has prompted the listing of this genus as threatened as well as the development of a regional propagation and restoration program. Using in situ underwater nurseries, we documented the influence of coral genotype and symbiont identity, colony size, and propagation method on the growth and branching patterns of staghorn corals in Florida and the Dominican Republic. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Individual tracking of> 1700 nursery-grown staghorn fragments and colonies from 37 distinct genotypes (identified using microsatellites in Florida and the Dominican Republic revealed a significant positive relationship between size and growth, but a decreasing rate of productivity with increasing size. Pruning vigor (enhanced growth after fragmentation was documented even in colonies that lost 95% of their coral tissue/skeleton, indicating that high productivity can be maintained within nurseries by sequentially fragmenting corals. A significant effect of coral genotype was documented for corals grown in a common-garden setting, with fast-growing genotypes growing up to an order of magnitude faster than slow-growing genotypes. Algal-symbiont identity established using qPCR techniques showed that clade A (likely Symbiodinium A3 was the dominant symbiont type for all coral genotypes, except for one coral genotype in the DR and two in Florida that were dominated by clade C, with A- and C-dominated genotypes having similar growth rates. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: The threatened Caribbean staghorn coral is capable of extremely fast growth, with annual productivity rates exceeding 5 cm of new coral produced for every cm of existing coral. This species benefits from high fragment survivorship coupled by the pruning vigor experienced by the parent colonies after fragmentation. These life-history characteristics make A. cervicornis a successful candidate

  18. Physiological and Biogeochemical Responses of Super-Corals to Thermal Stress from the Northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andréa G. Grottoli

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching is increasing in frequency and severity, leading to the loss of coral abundance and diversity. However, some corals are less susceptible to bleaching than others and can provide a model for identifying the physiological and biogeochemical traits that underlie coral resilience to thermal stress. Corals from Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba in the northern Red Sea do not bleach unless seawater temperatures are sustained at +6°C or higher above their average summer maximum. This extreme thermal tolerance qualifies these as super-corals, as most corals bleach when exposed to temperatures that are only +1–2°C above their thermal maximum. Here, we conducted a controlled bleaching experiment (+6°C for 37 days (equivalent to 32° heating weeks on three species of corals from Eilat: Stylophora pistillata, Pocillopora damicornis, and Favia favus. To assess the response of the holobiont to thermal stress, the following variables were measured on each coral: endosymbiotic algal cell density, Chlorophyll a, endosymbiotic mitotic cell division, total lipids, protein, carbohydrate, and the stable carbon (δ13C and oxygen (δ18O isotopic composition of the skeleton and the δ13C of the animal host tissue and endosymbiotic algae. While all three species appeared visibly bleached, their physiological and biogeochemical responses were species-specific. S. pistillata catabolized lipids but still maintained total energy reserves and biomass. Increases in both skeletal δ13C and δ18O indicates that calcification declined in this species. P. damicornis was the least affected by bleaching. It maintained its total energy reserves and biomass, and isotopic evidence suggests that it maintained calcification and was not dependent on heterotrophy for meeting metabolic demand when bleached. Finally, F. favus catabolized protein and carbohydrates, and suffered losses in total energy reserves and biomass. Nevertheless, isotopic evidence suggest that

  19. How to evaluate the carbon cycle in coral-reef ecosystems. Sangosho ni okeru sanso junkan kenkyu no kadai

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yamamuro, M [Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba (Japan)

    1993-05-01

    This paper describes problems concerning carbon balance and nutrient salt in coral reefs. Coral reefs fix CO2 in two forms of organic matters and calcium carbonates. It is reported that 10% of organic matters fixed by photosynthesis may either be buried in deposits on coral reefs or flow out into open seas. Quantification of the carbon balance in coral reefs has a problem of handling organic matters in calcium carbonate skeletons as products, and a problem related to evaluation of organic matters flown out from ecological systems. Corals provide, through building foundations at shallow depths, living organisms carrying out photosynthesis with locations abundant in quantity of light. Coral reefs are thought to accumulate nutrients in their skeletons or in the foundations for deposits. They would hold nitrogen in them through nitrogen fixation, and maintain phosphor production at high levels by retaining nitrogen-to-phosphor ratio which is relatively lower than in other ecological systems. Coral reefs provide foundations to transparent sea water with extremely small amount of phytoplankton, and favorable environment for large-size animals and algae. 21 refs., 2 figs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

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

  1. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.

    2016-06-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes ( Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reefs: present-day reefs that are vulnerable to climate-induced coral bleaching, and reefs with more bleaching-robust coral taxa, thereby simulating the likely future of coral reefs under a warming climate. Fish communities were allowed to establish naturally on the reefs during the summer recruitment period. Climate-robust reefs had lower total species richness of coral-reef fishes than climate-vulnerable reefs, but total fish abundance was not significantly different between reef types (pooled across all species and life-history stages). The nature of aggressive interactions, measured as the number of aggressive chases, varied according to coral composition; on climate-robust reefs, juveniles used the substratum less often to avoid aggression from competitors, and interspecific aggression became relatively more frequent than intraspecific aggression for juveniles of the coral-obligate P. moluccensis. This study highlights the importance of coral composition as a determinant of behaviour and diversity of coral-reef fishes.

  3. Big Data Approaches To Coral-Microbe Symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  4. Histological Examination of Precious Corals from the Ryukyu Archipelago

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masanori Nonaka

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper we examined the histology of three commercially valuable species of precious corals (Paracorallium japonicum, Corallium elatius, and C. konojoi from the Ryukyu Archipelago. In order to observe their inner structure, samples were thin sectioned and examined with a digital light microscope. Colonies of C. konojoi had thicker coenenchyme and larger autozooids than those of C. elatius and P. japonicum. The sclerites of the three species tended to be concentrated in the outer layers of coenenchyme. The gastric cavities of autozooids of all three species were found to be relatively empty. Some symbiotic polychates were observed in the axis of P. japonicum. As well, a zoanthid (Corallizoanthus tsukaharai was often observed living on the coenenchyme surface of P. japonicum. It is hoped our observations will provide a good foundation of future study of Japanese Coralliidae corals.

  5. LCG Persistency Framework (CORAL, COOL, POOL): Status and Outlook

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valassi, A; Kalkhof, A; Loth, A; Trentadue, R; Clemencic, M; Frank, M; Pokorski, W; Dykstra, D; Front, D; Govi, G; Nowak, M; Salnikov, A; Schmidt, S A; Wache, M; Xie, Z

    2011-01-01

    The Persistency Framework consists of three software packages (CORAL, COOL and POOL) addressing the data access requirements of the LHC experiments in different areas. It is the result of the collaboration between the CERN IT Department and the three experiments (ATLAS, CMS and LHCb) that use this software to access their data. POOL is a hybrid technology store for C++ objects, metadata catalogs and collections. CORAL is a relational database abstraction layer with an SQL-free API. COOL provides specific software tools and components for the handling of conditions data. This paper reports on the status and outlook of the project and reviews in detail the usage of each package in the three experiments.

  6. Gene discovery in the threatened elkhorn coral: 454 sequencing of the Acropora palmata transcriptome.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Cnidarians, including corals and anemones, offer unique insights into metazoan evolution because they harbor genetic similarities with vertebrates beyond that found in model invertebrates and retain genes known only from non-metazoans. Cataloging genes expressed in Acropora palmata, a foundation-species of reefs in the Caribbean and western Atlantic, will advance our understanding of the genetic basis of ecologically important traits in corals and comes at a time when sequencing efforts in other cnidarians allow for multi-species comparisons. RESULTS: A cDNA library from a sample enriched for symbiont free larval tissue was sequenced on the 454 GS-FLX platform. Over 960,000 reads were obtained and assembled into 42,630 contigs. Annotation data was acquired for 57% of the assembled sequences. Analysis of the assembled sequences indicated that 83-100% of all A. palmata transcripts were tagged, and provided a rough estimate of the total number genes expressed in our samples (~18,000-20,000. The coral annotation data contained many of the same molecular components as in the Bilateria, particularly in pathways associated with oxidative stress and DNA damage repair, and provided evidence that homologs of p53, a key player in DNA repair pathways, has experienced selection along the branch separating Cnidaria and Bilateria. Transcriptome wide screens of paralog groups and transition/transversion ratios highlighted genes including: green fluorescent proteins, carbonic anhydrase, and oxidative stress proteins; and functional groups involved in protein and nucleic acid metabolism, and the formation of structural molecules. These results provide a starting point for study of adaptive evolution in corals. CONCLUSIONS: Currently available transcriptome data now make comparative studies of the mechanisms underlying coral's evolutionary success possible. Here we identified candidate genes that enable corals to maintain genomic integrity despite

  7. Gene discovery in the threatened elkhorn coral: 454 sequencing of the Acropora palmata transcriptome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polato, Nicholas R; Vera, J Cristobal; Baums, Iliana B

    2011-01-01

    Cnidarians, including corals and anemones, offer unique insights into metazoan evolution because they harbor genetic similarities with vertebrates beyond that found in model invertebrates and retain genes known only from non-metazoans. Cataloging genes expressed in Acropora palmata, a foundation-species of reefs in the Caribbean and western Atlantic, will advance our understanding of the genetic basis of ecologically important traits in corals and comes at a time when sequencing efforts in other cnidarians allow for multi-species comparisons. A cDNA library from a sample enriched for symbiont free larval tissue was sequenced on the 454 GS-FLX platform. Over 960,000 reads were obtained and assembled into 42,630 contigs. Annotation data was acquired for 57% of the assembled sequences. Analysis of the assembled sequences indicated that 83-100% of all A. palmata transcripts were tagged, and provided a rough estimate of the total number genes expressed in our samples (~18,000-20,000). The coral annotation data contained many of the same molecular components as in the Bilateria, particularly in pathways associated with oxidative stress and DNA damage repair, and provided evidence that homologs of p53, a key player in DNA repair pathways, has experienced selection along the branch separating Cnidaria and Bilateria. Transcriptome wide screens of paralog groups and transition/transversion ratios highlighted genes including: green fluorescent proteins, carbonic anhydrase, and oxidative stress proteins; and functional groups involved in protein and nucleic acid metabolism, and the formation of structural molecules. These results provide a starting point for study of adaptive evolution in corals. Currently available transcriptome data now make comparative studies of the mechanisms underlying coral's evolutionary success possible. Here we identified candidate genes that enable corals to maintain genomic integrity despite considerable exposure to genotoxic stress over long life

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O.

    2005-05-01

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

  9. Patterns of coral bleaching: Modeling the adaptive bleaching hypothesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ware, J.R.; Fautin, D.G.; Buddemeier, R.W.

    1996-01-01

    Bleaching - the loss of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from animals normally possessing them - can be induced by a variety of stresses, of which temperature has received the most attention. Bleaching is generally considered detrimental, but Buddemeier and Fautin have proposed that bleaching is also adaptive, providing an opportunity for recombining hosts with alternative algal types to form symbioses that might be better adapted to altered circumstances. Our mathematical model of this "adaptive bleaching hypothesis" provides insight into how animal-algae symbioses might react under various circumstances. It emulates many aspects of the coral bleaching phenomenon including: corals bleaching in response to a temperature only slightly greater than their average local maximum temperature; background bleaching; bleaching events being followed by bleaching of lesser magnitude in the subsequent one to several years; higher thermal tolerance of corals subject to environmental variability compared with those living under more constant conditions; patchiness in bleaching; and bleaching at temperatures that had not previously resulted in bleaching. ?? 1996 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Effects of habitat structure on the epifaunal community in Mussismilia corals: does coral morphology influence the richness and abundance of associated crustacean fauna?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nogueira, Marcos M.; Neves, Elizabeth; Johnsson, Rodrigo

    2015-06-01

    Coral habitat structures increase abundance and richness of organisms by providing niches, easy access to resources and refuge from predators. Corals harbor a great variety of animals; the variation in coral species morphology contributes to the heterogeneity and complexity of habitat types. In this report, we studied the richness and abundance of crustaceans (Decapoda, Copepoda, Peracarida and Ostracoda) associated with three species of Mussismilia exhibiting different growth morphologies, in two different coral reefs of the Bahia state (Caramuanas and Boipeba-Moreré, Brazil). Mussismilia hispida is a massive coral; M. braziliensis also has a massive growth pattern, but forms a crevice in the basal area of the corallum; M. harttii has a meandroid pattern. PERMANOVA analysis suggests significant differences in associated fauna richness among Mussismilia species, with higher values for M. harttii, followed by M. braziliensis and later by M. hispida. The same trend was observed for density, except that the comparison of M. braziliensis and M. hispida did not show differences. Redundancy and canonical correspondence analysis indicated that almost all of the crustacean species were more associated with the M. harttii colonies that formed a group clearly separated from colonies of M. braziliensis and M. hispida. We also found that the internal volume of interpolyp space, only present in M. harttii, was the most important factor influencing richness and abundance of all analyzed orders of crustaceans.

  11. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    , notably at Ratnagiri. Malwan. Redi Port and Vizhingam. Relic reefs with living herm<:ltypic corals at depths ranging fror:l 25 to 45m are the Gaves hani Bank off~\\angalore,and the submerged banks (Bass<:ls de Pedro. Sesostris Bank and Cora Divh... the snore (Qaslm and Wafar, 1979). The other representative Sea le\\lel Variation 417 of the extensive reelS of the outer shelf that survived Pleistocene drowning is the Gaveshani Bank, fanhc: south (J 3° 24' N; 73° 45' E), about 100 km off \\1 ar:ga lore...

  12. Biogeochemical alteration effects on U/Th geochronology of Pleistocene corals, Penguin Bank, Molokai, Hawai`i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herries, K.; Rubin, K. H.; Hellebrand, E.

    2017-12-01

    Meltwater Pulse 1a (MWP-1a) is a large, relatively fast sea level rise event that occurred during the last deglaciation. Critical questions remain about the exact timing of MWP-1a and can be answered using high precision geochronology. Coral reefs are able to yield ideal records of sea level and ocean changes during and after deposition. Glacial far-field fossilized coral reefs, such as the well-preserved Penguin Bank reef near Molokai, Hawai'i, provide understandings to past sea level events that are relatively unaffected by local deglacial sea level effects. Using uranium-thorium dating of pristine corals, we are able date sea level events to an error of ±25-50 years. However, most Penguin Bank coral samples have been biogeochemically disturbed by other mesophotic organisms either during their lifetime or after their death. In these samples, the main disturbances observed in hand specimen are (1) overgrowth by coralline algae, (2) bioerosion from boring organisms, (3) living organisms, like sponges, inside coral skeletons, and (4) discoloration due to detrital materials. These disturbances are capable of disrupting the concentration of U in the coral and/or δ 234U measured. Seawater alteration-sensitive ratios, such as Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca, act as a proxy for potential diagenetic effects on U distribution in the corals. U and Th isotopic data acquired on both pristine and altered parts of the corals are being used to determine the impacts of alteration in the measured ages. With these new data, it may be possible to derive a more accurate timing of MWP-1a and provide a more general method of determining the suitability of coral specimens for dating of the last deglaciation and past climate change.

  13. The Paradoxical Roles of Climate Stressors on Disturbance and Recovery of Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manfrino, C.; Foster, G.; Camp, E.

    2013-05-01

    translocation of nutrients, amino acids and essential minerals to the coral reef habitats provided the necessary raw materials for rapid cellular repair. Indeed, the observed step-change in coral recovery followed an increase in Tropical Storms and Hurricanes. In this scenario, hurricanes expedited recovery by translocating the necessary materials otherwise unavailable to the presumably autotrophic corals occupying the clear waters surrounding Little Cayman. This scenario is reinforced by the observation that corals with higher littoral drift transports epiphytic detritus from adjacent seagrass beds and may lead to a greater recovery. Corals directly adjacent to areas with higher inputs of suspeniods suffered the same levels of mortality to thermal stress but showed incremental recovery in the ensuing years. Future studies of metabolic budgets will reveal the relative roles of autotrophy and heterotrophy of conspecifics in the recovery of corals. Such findings will illustrate the role of local hydrology and suspenoids as it pertains to recovery from climate- stress with global applications for coral reefs.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hadaidi, Ghaida Ali Hassan; Rö thig, Till; Yum, Lauren; Ziegler, Maren; Arif, Chatchanit; Roder, Cornelia; Burt, John; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    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

  15. Arnfried Antonius, coral diseases, and the AMLC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurie L. Richardson

    2012-03-01

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

  16. Temperature-Driven Local Acclimatization of Symbiodnium Hosted by the Coral Galaxea fascicularis at Hainan Island, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guowei Zhou

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The success of coral reef ecosystems largely depends on mutualistic symbiosis between scleractinian corals and the dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium spp. However, further investigation is needed to elucidate the flexibility of coral-algae associations in response to environmental changes. In this study, we applied a molecular method (high-throughput internal transcribed spacer 2 region of ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing to explore diversity and flexibility of Symbiodinium associated with Galaxea fascicularis, an ecologically important scleractinian coral species collected at five locations around Hainan Island, South China Sea. The results revealed a high diversity of Symbiodinium subclades with C2r and D17 being dominant in G. fascicularis. Clade D Symbiodinium occurred most frequently in habitats where the annual average sea surface temperatures are the highest, suggesting that temperature is an important factor in determining Symbiodinium D abundance in G. fascicularis. The distribution of coral-Symbiodinium associations are possibly mediated by trade-off mechanisms which change the relative abundance of Symbiodinium clades/subclades under different environmental conditions. These findings provide further evidence that reef-building corals such as G. fascicularis can shuffle their symbionts to cope with environmental changes, and have implications for our understanding of the ecology of flexible coral-algal symbiosis.

  17. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire L. Ross

    2015-02-01

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

  19. The use (and misuse) of sediment traps in coral reef environments: Theory, observations, and suggested protocols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Storlazzi, C.D.; Field, M.E.; Bothner, Michael H.

    2011-01-01

    Sediment traps are commonly used as standard tools for monitoring “sedimentation” in coral reef environments. In much of the literature where sediment traps were used to measure the effects of “sedimentation” on corals, it is clear from deployment descriptions and interpretations of the resulting data that information derived from sediment traps has frequently been misinterpreted or misapplied. Despite their widespread use in this setting, sediment traps do not provide quantitative information about “sedimentation” on coral surfaces. Traps can provide useful information about the relative magnitude of sediment dynamics if trap deployment standards are used. This conclusion is based first on a brief review of the state of knowledge of sediment trap dynamics, which has primarily focused on traps deployed high above the seabed in relatively deep water, followed by our understanding of near-bed sediment dynamics in shallow-water environments that characterize coral reefs. This overview is followed by the first synthesis of near-bed sediment trap data collected with concurrent hydrodynamic information in coral reef environments. This collective information is utilized to develop nine protocols for using sediment traps in coral reef environments, which focus on trap parameters that researchers can control such as trap height (H), trap mouth diameter (D), the height of the trap mouth above the substrate (z o ), and the spacing between traps. The hydrodynamic behavior of sediment traps and the limitations of data derived from these traps should be forefront when interpreting sediment trap data to infer sediment transport processes in coral reef environments.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2017-10-28

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

  1. Association of coral algal symbionts with a diverse viral community responsive to heat shock

    KAUST Repository

    Brüwer, Jan D.

    2017-08-17

    Stony corals provide the structural foundation of coral reef ecosystems and are termed holobionts given they engage in symbioses, in particular with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Besides Symbiodinium, corals also engage with bacteria affecting metabolism, immunity, and resilience of the coral holobiont, but the role of associated viruses is largely unknown. In this regard, the increase of studies using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to assess gene expression provides an opportunity to elucidate viral signatures encompassed within the data via careful delineation of sequence reads and their source of origin.Here, we re-analyzed an RNA-Seq dataset from a cultured coral symbiont (Symbiodinium microadriaticum, Clade A1) across four experimental treatments (control, cold shock, heat shock, dark shock) to characterize associated viral diversity, abundance, and gene expression. Our approach comprised the filtering and removal of host sequence reads, subsequent phylogenetic assignment of sequence reads of putative viral origin, and the assembly and analysis of differentially expressed viral genes. About 15.46% (123 million) of all sequence reads were non-host-related, of which <1% could be classified as archaea, bacteria, or virus. Of these, 18.78% were annotated as virus and comprised a diverse community consistent across experimental treatments. Further, non-host related sequence reads assembled into 56,064 contigs, including 4856 contigs of putative viral origin that featured 43 differentially expressed genes during heat shock. The differentially expressed genes included viral kinases, ubiquitin, and ankyrin repeat proteins (amongst others), which are suggested to help the virus proliferate and inhibit the algal host\\'s antiviral response.Our results suggest that a diverse viral community is associated with coral algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium, which prompts further research on their ecological role in coral health and resilience.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2018-01-01

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

  4. Estimating bioerosion rate on fossil corals: a quantitative approach from Oligocene reefs (NW Italy)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silvestri, Giulia

    2010-05-01

    counting (J-Microvision). The first method provide the exact value of the bored area within single coral clasts and then the percentage relative to bioerosion rate; whereas the percentage obtained through point counting is a statistical estimation of bored vs. non-bored areas. Preliminary results are presented and discussed, in order to underline the differences between the two methods and to find out which can be the most confident. Possible misinterpretations connected to the application of both methods will be highlighted as well. Quantification of bioerosion rate in fossil corals allows the comparison of values from different depositional settings and ages and thus is expected to become an additional tool for paleoenvironmental reconstructions.

  5. Spatio-temporal transmission patterns of black-band disease in a coral community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Assaf Zvuloni

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Transmission mechanisms of black-band disease (BBD in coral reefs are poorly understood, although this disease is considered to be one of the most widespread and destructive coral infectious diseases. The major objective of this study was to assess transmission mechanisms of BBD in the field based on the spatio-temporal patterns of the disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 3,175 susceptible and infected corals were mapped over an area of 10x10 m in Eilat (northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea and the distribution of the disease was examined monthly throughout almost two full disease cycles (June 2006-December 2007. Spatial and spatio-temporal analyses were applied to infer the transmission pattern of the disease and to calculate key epidemiological parameters such as (basic reproduction number. We show that the prevalence of the disease is strongly associated with high water temperature. When water temperatures rise and disease prevalence increases, infected corals exhibit aggregated distributions on small spatial scales of up to 1.9 m. Additionally, newly-infected corals clearly appear in proximity to existing infected corals and in a few cases in direct contact with them. We also present and test a model of water-borne infection, indicating that the likelihood of a susceptible coral becoming infected is defined by its spatial location and by the relative spatial distribution of nearby infected corals found in the site. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results provide evidence that local transmission, but not necessarily by direct contact, is likely to be an important factor in the spread of the disease over the tested spatial scale. In the absence of potential disease vectors with limited mobility (e.g., snails, fireworms in the studied site, water-borne infection is likely to be a significant transmission mechanism of BBD. Our suggested model of water-borne transmission supports this hypothesis. The spatio-temporal analysis also points

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Tebben

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.

    2011-08-12

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

  10. Water Column Correction for Coral Reef Studies by Remote Sensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoffoli, Maria Laura; Frouin, Robert; Kampel, Milton

    2014-01-01

    Human activity and natural climate trends constitute a major threat to coral reefs worldwide. Models predict a significant reduction in reef spatial extension together with a decline in biodiversity in the relatively near future. In this context, monitoring programs to detect changes in reef ecosystems are essential. In recent years, coral reef mapping using remote sensing data has benefited from instruments with better resolution and computational advances in storage and processing capabilities. However, the water column represents an additional complexity when extracting information from submerged substrates by remote sensing that demands a correction of its effect. In this article, the basic concepts of bottom substrate remote sensing and water column interference are presented. A compendium of methodologies developed to reduce water column effects in coral ecosystems studied by remote sensing that include their salient features, advantages and drawbacks is provided. Finally, algorithms to retrieve the bottom reflectance are applied to simulated data and actual remote sensing imagery and their performance is compared. The available methods are not able to completely eliminate the water column effect, but they can minimize its influence. Choosing the best method depends on the marine environment, available input data and desired outcome or scientific application. PMID:25215941

  11. Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Skirving, William; Strong, Alan E.; Hardy, John T.; LeDrew, Ellsworth F.; Hochberg, Eric J.; Stumpf, Rick P.; David, Laura T.

    2004-01-01

    There has been a vast improvement in access to remotely sensed data in just a few recent years. This revolution of information is the result of heavy investment in new technology by governments and industry, rapid developments in computing power and storage, and easy dissemination of data over the internet. Today, remotely sensed data are available to virtually anyone with a desktop computer. Here, we review the status of one of the most popular areas of marine remote sensing research: coral reefs. Previous reviews have focused on the ability of remote sensing to map the structure and habitat composition of coral reefs, but have neglected to consider the physical environment in which reefs occur. We provide a holistic review of what can, might, and cannot be mapped using remote sensing at this time. We cover aspects of reef structure and health but also discuss the diversity of physical environmental data such as temperature, winds, solar radiation and water quality. There have been numerous recent advances in the remote sensing of reefs and we hope that this paper enhances awareness of the diverse data sources available, and helps practitioners identify realistic objectives for remote sensing in coral reef areas

  12. Water Column Correction for Coral Reef Studies by Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Laura Zoffoli

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Human activity and natural climate trends constitute a major threat to coral reefs worldwide. Models predict a significant reduction in reef spatial extension together with a decline in biodiversity in the relatively near future. In this context, monitoring programs to detect changes in reef ecosystems are essential. In recent years, coral reef mapping using remote sensing data has benefited from instruments with better resolution and computational advances in storage and processing capabilities. However, the water column represents an additional complexity when extracting information from submerged substrates by remote sensing that demands a correction of its effect. In this article, the basic concepts of bottom substrate remote sensing and water column interference are presented. A compendium of methodologies developed to reduce water column effects in coral ecosystems studied by remote sensing that include their salient features, advantages and drawbacks is provided. Finally, algorithms to retrieve the bottom reflectance are applied to simulated data and actual remote sensing imagery and their performance is compared. The available methods are not able to completely eliminate the water column effect, but they can minimize its influence. Choosing the best method depends on the marine environment, available input data and desired outcome or scientific application.

  13. Amphibious Encounters: Coral and People in Conservation Outreach in Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Annet Pauwelussen

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Drawing on long-term ethnographic research in Indonesia, this article describes a conservation outreach project that attempts to educate and convert local people into coral protectors. Both coral and the sea-dwelling Bajau people appear to be amphibious beings, moving between a changeable land-water interface, and between different, fluidly interwoven ontological constellations. We show that the failure of conservation organizations to recognize the ontologically ambiguous nature of “coral” and “people” translates to a breakdown of outreach goals. Mobilizing the concept of amphibiousness to engage this ambiguity and fluidity, we describe the moving land-water interface as the actual living environment for both coral and people. The notion of amphibiousness, we suggest, has practical and political value, in particular for reconsidering outreach and how it may be reframed as a process involving ontological dialogue. For conservation outreach to become seaworthy, it needs to cultivate an amphibious capacity, capable of moving in-between and relating partly overflowing ways of knowing and being. Providing room for ambiguity, thinking with amphibiousness furthermore encourages suspension of the (Western tendency to explain the Other, to fix what does not add up. As such, it is of heuristic relevance for the on-going discussions of ontological multiplicity that have proliferated at the intersection between STS and anthropology.

  14. Water column correction for coral reef studies by remote sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoffoli, Maria Laura; Frouin, Robert; Kampel, Milton

    2014-09-11

    Human activity and natural climate trends constitute a major threat to coral reefs worldwide. Models predict a significant reduction in reef spatial extension together with a decline in biodiversity in the relatively near future. In this context, monitoring programs to detect changes in reef ecosystems are essential. In recent years, coral reef mapping using remote sensing data has benefited from instruments with better resolution and computational advances in storage and processing capabilities. However, the water column represents an additional complexity when extracting information from submerged substrates by remote sensing that demands a correction of its effect. In this article, the basic concepts of bottom substrate remote sensing and water column interference are presented. A compendium of methodologies developed to reduce water column effects in coral ecosystems studied by remote sensing that include their salient features, advantages and drawbacks is provided. Finally, algorithms to retrieve the bottom reflectance are applied to simulated data and actual remote sensing imagery and their performance is compared. The available methods are not able to completely eliminate the water column effect, but they can minimize its influence. Choosing the best method depends on the marine environment, available input data and desired outcome or scientific application.

  15. The diversity of coral reefs: what are we missing?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laetitia Plaisance

    Full Text Available Tropical reefs shelter one quarter to one third of all marine species but one third of the coral species that construct reefs are now at risk of extinction. Because traditional methods for assessing reef diversity are extremely time consuming, taxonomic expertise for many groups is lacking, and marine organisms are thought to be less vulnerable to extinction, most discussions of reef conservation focus on maintenance of ecosystem services rather than biodiversity loss. In this study involving the three major oceans with reef growth, we provide new biodiversity estimates based on quantitative sampling and DNA barcoding. We focus on crustaceans, which are the second most diverse group of marine metazoans. We show exceptionally high numbers of crustacean species associated with coral reefs relative to sampling effort (525 species from a combined, globally distributed sample area of 6.3 m(2. The high prevalence of rare species (38% encountered only once, the low level of spatial overlap (81% found in only one locality and the biogeographic patterns of diversity detected (Indo-West Pacific>Central Pacific>Caribbean are consistent with results from traditional survey methods, making this approach a reliable and efficient method for assessing and monitoring biodiversity. The finding of such large numbers of species in a small total area suggests that coral reef diversity is seriously under-detected using traditional survey methods, and by implication, underestimated.

  16. Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Skirving, William; Strong, Alan E.; Hardy, John T.; LeDrew, Ellsworth F.; Hochberg, Eric J.; Stumpf, Rick P.; David, Laura T

    2004-02-01

    There has been a vast improvement in access to remotely sensed data in just a few recent years. This revolution of information is the result of heavy investment in new technology by governments and industry, rapid developments in computing power and storage, and easy dissemination of data over the internet. Today, remotely sensed data are available to virtually anyone with a desktop computer. Here, we review the status of one of the most popular areas of marine remote sensing research: coral reefs. Previous reviews have focused on the ability of remote sensing to map the structure and habitat composition of coral reefs, but have neglected to consider the physical environment in which reefs occur. We provide a holistic review of what can, might, and cannot be mapped using remote sensing at this time. We cover aspects of reef structure and health but also discuss the diversity of physical environmental data such as temperature, winds, solar radiation and water quality. There have been numerous recent advances in the remote sensing of reefs and we hope that this paper enhances awareness of the diverse data sources available, and helps practitioners identify realistic objectives for remote sensing in coral reef areas.

  17. Sediments and herbivory as sensitive indicators of coral reef degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H. R. Goatley

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Around the world, the decreasing health of coral reef ecosystems has highlighted the need to better understand the processes of reef degradation. The development of more sensitive tools, which complement traditional methods of monitoring coral reefs, may reveal earlier signs of degradation and provide an opportunity for pre-emptive responses. We identify new, sensitive metrics of ecosystem processes and benthic composition that allow us to quantify subtle, yet destabilizing, changes in the ecosystem state of an inshore coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Following severe climatic disturbances over the period 2011-2012, the herbivorous reef fish community of the reef did not change in terms of biomass or functional groups present. However, fish-based ecosystem processes showed marked changes, with grazing by herbivorous fishes declining by over 90%. On the benthos, algal turf lengths in the epilithic algal matrix increased more than 50% while benthic sediment loads increased 37-fold. The profound changes in processes, despite no visible change in ecosystem state, i.e., no shift to macroalgal dominance, suggest that although the reef has not undergone a visible regime-shift, the ecosystem is highly unstable, and may sit on an ecological knife-edge. Sensitive, process-based metrics of ecosystem state, such as grazing or browsing rates thus appear to be effective in detecting subtle signs of degradation and may be critical in identifying ecosystems at risk for the future.

  18. Insights Into Nitrogen Isotope Fractionation in Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, K. A.; Swart, P. K.; Ellis, G. S.

    2002-12-01

    Environmental integrity in the Florida Reef tract and the Caribbean has been the center of concern for the past 15-20 years. Both the recreational and scientific communities alike have noticed an overall decline in coral reef health. This decline has manifested itself in the form of increased fleshy macroalgae growth and reduced coral cover, and in some cases, wide-scale coral mortality. Given the increasing dependence on a tourism-oriented economy in both South Florida and the Caribbean, much attention has been focused on maintaining reef longevity. A high nutrient load is believed to be the leading cause of degradation in the predominantly oligotrophic environment. Various studies have cited increased run off and input of anthropogenic wastes as the origin of these nutrients. It has also been suggested that the stable isotopes of nitrogen may provide a tracer with which to recognize the impact of anthropogenic nutrients within the coral reefs ecosystem. However, in utilizing both nitrogen and carbon stable isotopic methods on samples of particulate organic matter (POM) taken over the last three years, we find little evidence of the input of anthropogenic waste. δ15N values of POM fluctuate between +1 and +9 per mille, but usually remain in the +4 to +6 per mille range. Additionally, δ13C values are even more consistent, maintaining a balance between -19 to -21 per mille. These data are consistent with natural open-ocean values for δ15N and δ13C, indicating a lack of intense and prolonged exposure to anthropogenic wastes in the Florida Keys.

  19. Testing the fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in a western Atlantic coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, I. B.; Roberts, K.; Flannery, J. A.; Richey, J. N.; Morrison, J. M.

    2017-12-01

    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 field-based 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 less than 1.7 mg cm-2 d-1 or LE rates less than 1.7 mm yr-1 returned spuriously high Sr/Ca values, leading to a cold bias in Sr/Ca-based SST estimates. The threshold-type response curves suggest that LE rate can be used as a quality-control indicator during sample and microdrill-path selection when using long cores for SST paleoreconstruction. For our corals that passed this quality control step, the Sr/Ca-SST proxy performed well in estimating mean annual SST 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.

  20. Lithium in the aragonite skeletons of massive Porites corals: A new tool to reconstruct tropical sea surface temperatures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hathorne, Ed C.; Felis, Thomas; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Cabioch, Guy

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have demonstrated the potential for the Li content of coral aragonite to record information about environmental conditions, but no detailed study of tropical corals exists. Here we present the Li and Mg to Ca ratios at a bimonthly to monthly resolution over 25 years in two modern Porites corals, the genus most often used for paleoclimate reconstructions in the tropical Indo-Pacific. A strong relationship exists between coral Li/Ca and locally measured SST, indicating that coral Li/Ca can be used to reconstruct tropical SST variations. However, Li/Ca ratios of the skeleton deposited during 1979-1980 do not track local SST well and are anomalously high in places. The Mg/Ca ratios of this interval are also anomalously high, and we suggest Li/Ca can be used to reconstruct tropical SST only when Mg/Ca data are used to carefully screen for relatively rare biological effects. Mg/Li or Li/Mg ratios provide little advantage over Li/Ca ratios, except that the slope of the Li/Mg temperature relationship is more similar between the two corals. The Mg/Li temperature relationship for the coral that experienced a large temperature range is similar to that found for cold water corals and aragonitic benthic foraminifera in previous studies. The comparison with data from other biogenic aragonites suggests the relationship between Li/Mg and water temperature can be described by a single exponential relationship. Despite this hint at an overarching control, it is clear that biological processes strongly influence coral Li/Ca, and more calibration work is required before widely applying the proxy.

  1. Distinct Bacterial Microbiomes Associate with the Deep-Sea Coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea and from Aquaria Settings

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-08-10

    Microbial communities associated with deep-sea corals are beginning to be studied in earnest and the contribution of the microbiome to host organismal function remains to be investigated. In this regard, the ability of the microbiome to adjust to prevailing environmental conditions might provide clues to its functional importance. In this study, we characterized bacterial community composition associated with the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula under natural (in situ) and aquaria (ex situ) settings using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We compared freshly collected Red Sea coral specimens with those reared for >1 year at conditions that partially differed from the natural environment, in particular regarding increased oxygen and food availability under ex situ conditions. We found substantial differences between the microbiomes associated with corals under both environmental settings. The core microbiome comprised only six bacterial taxa consistently present in all corals, whereas the majority of bacteria were exclusively associated either with freshly collected corals or corals under long-term reared aquaria settings. Putative functional profiling of microbial communities showed that corals in their natural habitat were enriched for processes indicative of a carbon- and nitrogen-limited environment, which might be reflective of differences in diet under in situ and ex situ conditions. The ability of E. fistula to harbor distinct microbiomes under different environmental settings might contribute to the flexibility and phenotypic plasticity of this cosmopolitan coral. Future efforts should further assess the role of these different bacteria in holobiont function, in particular since E. fistula is naturally present in markedly different environments.

  2. Distinct Bacterial Microbiomes Associate with the Deep-Sea Coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea and from Aquaria Settings

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Yum, Lauren; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Microbial communities associated with deep-sea corals are beginning to be studied in earnest and the contribution of the microbiome to host organismal function remains to be investigated. In this regard, the ability of the microbiome to adjust to prevailing environmental conditions might provide clues to its functional importance. In this study, we characterized bacterial community composition associated with the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula under natural (in situ) and aquaria (ex situ) settings using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We compared freshly collected Red Sea coral specimens with those reared for >1 year at conditions that partially differed from the natural environment, in particular regarding increased oxygen and food availability under ex situ conditions. We found substantial differences between the microbiomes associated with corals under both environmental settings. The core microbiome comprised only six bacterial taxa consistently present in all corals, whereas the majority of bacteria were exclusively associated either with freshly collected corals or corals under long-term reared aquaria settings. Putative functional profiling of microbial communities showed that corals in their natural habitat were enriched for processes indicative of a carbon- and nitrogen-limited environment, which might be reflective of differences in diet under in situ and ex situ conditions. The ability of E. fistula to harbor distinct microbiomes under different environmental settings might contribute to the flexibility and phenotypic plasticity of this cosmopolitan coral. Future efforts should further assess the role of these different bacteria in holobiont function, in particular since E. fistula is naturally present in markedly different environments.

  3. Bacterial Biofilm Communities and Coral Larvae Settlement at Different Levels of Anthropogenic Impact in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pia Kegler

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Populations on small islands surrounded by coral reefs often heavily depend on the services provided by these reefs. The health and recovery of reefs are strongly influenced by recruitment of coral larvae. Their settlement relies on cues such as those emitted from bacterial communities forming biofilms on reef surfaces. Environmental conditions can change these bacterial community compositions (BCC and may in turn affect settlement of coral larvae. At three small inhabited islands in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia, with different distance from the mainland, BCC and coral recruitment were investigated on artificial ceramic tiles after 2–8 weeks exposure time and on natural reef substrate. Water parameters showed a clear separation between inshore and near-shore/mid-shelf sites, with distinct benthic communities at all three sites. No coral recruitment was observed at the inshore site with highest natural and anthropogenic stressors. At the other two sites coral recruitment occurred on natural surfaces (recruits per 100 cm2: 0.73 ± 1.75 near-shore, 0.90 ± 1.97 mid-shelf, but there was no significant difference between the two sites. On artificial substrates coral recruitment differed between these two sites, with tile orientation and with exposure time of the tiles in the reef. The most abundant bacteria on both substrates were Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and Cyanobacteria. BCC was strongly correlated with water quality and significant differences in BCC between the inshore site and near-shore/mid-shelf were found. On artificial substrates there was a significant difference in BCC also with exposure time in the reef. Our study highlights the value of taking both BCC and coral recruitment into account, in addition to the environmental conditions, when considering the recovery potential of coral reefs.

  4. Modelling detrital coral grain-size and age: Insights from sediment abrasion process of Yongle Atoll of South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Y.; Zou, X.; Ge, C.; Tan, M.; Wang, C.

    2017-12-01

    Reef islands situated on the rims of atolls are composed almost exclusively of bioclastic materials locally supplied from adjacent coral reefs. Major skeletal component of these islands include coral, coralline algae, mollusks and foraminifera, produced in adjacent reefs. As the island builder, the bioclastic material is the sedimentary products, which also is the point of penetration to decipher the process. The bioclast of coral islands decrease in size with the transportation process. The grain-size provides a proxy record for the abrasion history of the unconsolidated sediment. The 230Th age of coral record the abrasion time. We hereby present a model to calculate the abrasion rate based on the data of 230Th age and grain-size of Yongle Atoll of Xisha Island, South China Sea. The grain size pattern in Yongle Atoll environment have confirm that the coral article diminution behave exponentially. The sediment composition of Yongle Atoll is identified, coral is dominant sediment constituent and the Th230 age is shown to exert an age distribution characteristics of coral detritus. We illustrate this approach by calculate the coral debris age of Xude Atoll, which located near the Yongle Atoll and then by comparing actual measured age and calculated age and to explore the dependence of the model. Observed 230 Th ages are well matched by predicted ages for medium age sediment. A poorer match for young and old sediment may result from some combination of large analytical uncertainties in the detrital ages and inhomogeneous erosion rates within the atoll. Such mismatches emphasize the need for more accurate kinematic models and for sampling strategies that are adapted to atoll-specific geologic and geomorphic conditions. Results presented constitute important new insights into regional sediment abrasion processed and on the evolution of coral atoll islands.

  5. Live tissue imaging shows reef corals elevate pH under their calcifying tissue relative to seawater.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Venn

    Full Text Available The threat posed to coral reefs by changes in seawater pH and carbonate chemistry (ocean acidification raises the need for a better mechanistic understanding of physiological processes linked to coral calcification. Current models of coral calcification argue that corals elevate extracellular pH under their calcifying tissue relative to seawater to promote skeleton formation, but pH measurements taken from the calcifying tissue of living, intact corals have not been achieved to date. We performed live tissue imaging of the reef coral Stylophora pistillata to determine extracellular pH under the calcifying tissue and intracellular pH in calicoblastic cells. We worked with actively calcifying corals under flowing seawater and show that extracellular pH (pHe under the calicoblastic epithelium is elevated by ∼0.5 and ∼0.2 pH units relative to the surrounding seawater in light and dark conditions respectively. By contrast, the intracellular pH (pHi of the calicoblastic epithelium remains stable in the light and dark. Estimates of aragonite saturation states derived from our data indicate the elevation in subcalicoblastic pHe favour calcification and may thus be a critical step in the calcification process. However, the observed close association of the calicoblastic epithelium with the underlying crystals suggests that the calicoblastic cells influence the growth of the coral skeleton by other processes in addition to pHe modification. The procedure used in the current study provides a novel, tangible approach for future investigations into these processes and the impact of environmental change on the cellular mechanisms underpinning coral calcification.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

  7. Physiological and isotopic responses of scleractinian corals to ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krief, Shani; Hendy, Erica J.; Fine, Maoz; Yam, Ruth; Meibom, Anders; Foster, Gavin L.; Shemesh, Aldo

    2010-09-01

    Uptake of anthropogenic CO 2 by the oceans is altering seawater chemistry with potentially serious consequences for coral reef ecosystems due to the reduction of seawater pH and aragonite saturation state ( Ωarag). The objectives of this long-term study were to investigate the viability of two ecologically important reef-building coral species, massive Porites sp. and Stylophora pistillata, exposed to high pCO 2 (or low pH) conditions and to observe possible changes in physiologically related parameters as well as skeletal isotopic composition. Fragments of Porites sp. and S. pistillata were kept for 6-14 months under controlled aquarium conditions characterized by normal and elevated pCO 2 conditions, corresponding to pH T values of 8.09, 7.49, and 7.19, respectively. In contrast with shorter, and therefore more transient experiments, the long experimental timescale achieved in this study ensures complete equilibration and steady state with the experimental environment and guarantees that the data provide insights into viable and stably growing corals. During the experiments, all coral fragments survived and added new skeleton, even at seawater Ωarag zooxanthellae, along with physiological data (such as skeletal growth, tissue biomass, zooxanthellae cell density, and chlorophyll concentration) allow for a direct comparison with corals living under normal conditions and sampled simultaneously. Skeletal growth and zooxanthellae density were found to decrease, whereas coral tissue biomass (measured as protein concentration) and zooxanthellae chlorophyll concentrations increased under high pCO 2 (low pH) conditions. Both species showed similar trends of δ 11B depletion and δ 18O enrichment under reduced pH, whereas the δ 13C results imply species-specific metabolic response to high pCO 2 conditions. The skeletal δ 11B values plot above seawater δ 11B vs. pH borate fractionation curves calculated using either the theoretically derived α B value of 1

  8. Responses of the tropical gorgonian coral Eunicea fusca to ocean acidification conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, C. E.; Paul, V. J.; Ritson-Williams, R.; Muehllehner, N.; Langdon, C.; Sánchez, J. A.

    2015-06-01

    Ocean acidification can have negative repercussions from the organism to ecosystem levels. Octocorals deposit high-magnesium calcite in their skeletons, and according to different models, they could be more susceptible to the depletion of carbonate ions than either calcite or aragonite-depositing organisms. This study investigated the response of the gorgonian coral Eunicea fusca to a range of CO2 concentrations from 285 to 4,568 ppm (pH range 8.1-7.1) over a 4-week period. Gorgonian growth and calcification were measured at each level of CO2 as linear extension rate and percent change in buoyant weight and calcein incorporation in individual sclerites, respectively. There was a significant negative relationship for calcification and CO2 concentration that was well explained by a linear model regression analysis for both buoyant weight and calcein staining. In general, growth and calcification did not stop in any of the concentrations of pCO2; however, some of the octocoral fragments experienced negative calcification at undersaturated levels of calcium carbonate (>4,500 ppm) suggesting possible dissolution effects. These results highlight the susceptibility of the gorgonian coral E. fusca to elevated levels of carbon dioxide but suggest that E. fusca could still survive well in mid-term ocean acidification conditions expected by the end of this century, which provides important information on the effects of ocean acidification on the dynamics of coral reef communities. Gorgonian corals can be expected to diversify and thrive in the Atlantic-Eastern Pacific; as scleractinian corals decline, it is likely to expect a shift in these reef communities from scleractinian coral dominated to octocoral/soft coral dominated under a "business as usual" scenario of CO2 emissions.

  9. Pleistocene corals of the Florida keys: Architects of imposing reefs - Why?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lidz, B.H.

    2006-01-01

    Five asymmetrical, discontinuous, stratigraphically successive Pleistocene reef tracts rim the windward platform margin off the Florida Keys. Built of large head corals, the reefs are imposing in relief (???30 m high by 1 km wide), as measured from seismic profiles. Well dated to marine oxygen isotope substages 5c, 5b, and 5a, corals at depth are inferred to date to the Stage 6/5 transition. The size of these reefs attests to late Pleistocene conditions that repeatedly induced vigorous and sustained coral growth. In contrast, the setting today, linked to Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, is generally deemed marginal for reef accretion. Incursion onto the reef tract of waters that contain seasonally inconsistent temperature, salinity, turbidity, and nutrient content impedes coral growth. Fluctuating sea level and consequent settings controlled deposition. The primary dynamic was position of eustatic zeniths relative to regional topographic elevations. Sea level during the past 150 ka reached a maximum of ???10.6 m higher than at present ???125 ka, which gave rise to an inland coral reef (Key Largo Limestone) and ooid complex (Miami Limestone) during isotope substage 5e. These formations now form the Florida Keys and a bedrock ridge beneath The Quicksands (Gulf of Mexico). High-precision radiometric ages and depths of dated corals indicate subsequent apices remained ???15 to 9 m, respectively, below present sea level. Those peaks provided accommodation space sufficient for vertical reef growth yet exposed a broad landmass landward of the reefs for >100 ka. With time, space, lack of bay waters, and protection from the Gulf of Mexico, corals thrived in clear oceanic waters of the Gulf Stream, the only waters to reach them.

  10. Recovery from a near-lethal exposure to ultraviolet-C radiation in a scleractinian coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basti, David; Bricknell, Ian; Beane, Dawna; Bouchard, Deborah

    2009-04-01

    Hermatypic (reef building) corals live in an environment characterized by high ambient levels of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Photoadaptive mechanisms have evolved to protect the sensitive cell structures of the host coral and their photosynthetic, endosymbiotic zooxanthellae. Environmental stressors may destabilize the coral-zooxanthellae system resulting in the expulsion of zooxanthellae and/or loss of photosynthetic pigment within zooxanthellae, causing a condition known as bleaching. It is estimated that 1% of the world's coral population is lost yearly, partly due to bleaching. Despite intensive research efforts, a single unified mechanism cannot explain this phenomenon. Although UVA and UVB cellular damage is well documented, UVC damage is rarely reported due to its almost complete absorption in the stratosphere. A small scale coral propagation system at the University of Maine was accidentally exposed to 15.5h of UVC radiation (253.7 nm) from a G15T8 germicidal lamp, resulting in a cumulative surface irradiance of 8.39 x 10(4) J m(-2). An experiment was designed to monitor the progression of UVC induced damage. Branch sections from affected scleractinian corals, Acropora yongei and Acropora formosa were submitted to histopathology to provide an historical record of tissue response. The death of gastrodermal cells and necrosis resulted in the release of intracellular zooxanthellae into the gastrovascular canals. Zooxanthellae were also injured as evidenced by pale coloration, increased vacuolization and loss of membrane integrity. The recovery of damaged coral tissue likely proceeds by re-epithelialization and zooxanthellae repopulation of gastrodermal cells by adjacent healthy tissue.

  11. Indices for assessing coral reef fish biodiversity: the need for a change in habits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loiseau, Nicolas; Gaertner, Jean-Claude

    2015-09-01

    We present the first representative and quantified overview of the indices used worldwide for assessing the biodiversity of coral reef fishes. On this basis, we discuss the suitability and drawbacks of the indices most widely used in the assessment of coral fish biodiversity. An extensive and systematic survey of the literature focused on coral reef fish biodiversity was conducted from 1990 up to the present. We found that the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity, which is considered as a key feature of biodiversity for numerous terrestrial and marine ecosystems, has been poorly taken into account in coral reef fish studies. Species richness is still strongly dominant while other diversity components, such as functional diversity, are underestimated even when functional information is available. We also demonstrate that the reason for choosing particular indices is often unclear, mainly based on empirical rationales and/or the reproduction of widespread habits, but generally with no clear relevance with regard to the aims of the studies. As a result, the most widely used indices (species richness, Shannon, etc.) would appear to be poorly suited to meeting the main challenges facing the monitoring of coral reef fish biodiversity in the future. Our results clearly show that coral reef scientists should rather take advantage of the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity. To facilitate this approach, we propose general guidelines to serve as a basis for the selection of indices that provide complementary and relevant information for monitoring the response of coral reef fish biodiversity in the face of structuring factors (natural or anthropic). The aim of these guidelines was to achieve a better match between the properties of the selected indices and the context of each study (e.g. expected effect of the main structuring factors, nature of data available).

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Roder, Cornelia; Rö thig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2015-12-14

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

  14. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the mos