WorldWideScience

Sample records for mass coral mortality

  1. Transient turbid water mass reduces temperature-induced coral bleaching and mortality in Barbados

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vallès, Henri

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is seen as one of the greatest threats to the world’s coral reefs and, with the continued rise in sea surface temperature predicted into the future, there is a great need for further understanding of how to prevent and address the damaging impacts. This is particularly so for countries whose economies depend heavily on healthy reefs, such as those of the eastern Caribbean. Here, we compare the severity of bleaching and mortality for five dominant coral species at six representative reef sites in Barbados during the two most significant warm-water events ever recorded in the eastern Caribbean, i.e., 2005 and 2010, and describe prevailing island-scale sea water conditions during both events. In so doing, we demonstrate that coral bleaching and subsequent mortality were considerably lower in 2010 than in 2005 for all species, irrespective of site, even though the anomalously warm water temperature profiles were very similar between years. We also show that during the 2010 event, Barbados was engulfed by a transient dark green turbid water mass of riverine origin coming from South America. We suggest that reduced exposure to high solar radiation associated with this transient water mass was the primary contributing factor to the lower bleaching and mortality observed in all corals. We conclude that monitoring these episodic mesoscale oceanographic features might improve risk assessments of southeastern Caribbean reefs to warm-water events in the future. PMID:27326377

  2. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

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    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.

  3. 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

  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 Bleaching and Associated Mortality at Mayotte, Western Indian ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Mamoudzou 97600, Mayotte. Keywords: coral, bleaching, mortality, Mayotte, Western Indian Ocean. Abstract—Bleaching and associated coral mortality were assessed on fringing and barrier reefs on the north and east coasts of Mayotte from 1-24 May 2010. Major bleaching was encountered; nearly 80% of the corals were ...

  6. Caribbean corals in crisis: record thermal stress, bleaching, and mortality in 2005.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, C Mark; Morgan, Jessica A; Heron, Scott F; Smith, Tyler B; Liu, Gang; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Baca, Bart; Bartels, Erich; Bastidas, Carolina; Bouchon, Claude; Brandt, Marilyn; Bruckner, Andrew W; Bunkley-Williams, Lucy; Cameron, Andrew; Causey, Billy D; Chiappone, Mark; Christensen, Tyler R L; Crabbe, M James C; Day, Owen; de la Guardia, Elena; Díaz-Pulido, Guillermo; DiResta, Daniel; Gil-Agudelo, Diego L; Gilliam, David S; Ginsburg, Robert N; Gore, Shannon; Guzmán, Héctor M; Hendee, James C; Hernández-Delgado, Edwin A; Husain, Ellen; Jeffrey, Christopher F G; Jones, Ross J; Jordán-Dahlgren, Eric; Kaufman, Les S; Kline, David I; Kramer, Philip A; Lang, Judith C; Lirman, Diego; Mallela, Jennie; Manfrino, Carrie; Maréchal, Jean-Philippe; Marks, Ken; Mihaly, Jennifer; Miller, W Jeff; Mueller, Erich M; Muller, Erinn M; Orozco Toro, Carlos A; Oxenford, Hazel A; Ponce-Taylor, Daniel; Quinn, Norman; Ritchie, Kim B; Rodríguez, Sebastián; Ramírez, Alberto Rodríguez; Romano, Sandra; Samhouri, Jameal F; Sánchez, Juan A; Schmahl, George P; Shank, Burton V; Skirving, William J; Steiner, Sascha C C; Villamizar, Estrella; Walsh, Sheila M; Walter, Cory; Weil, Ernesto; Williams, Ernest H; Roberson, Kimberly Woody; Yusuf, Yusri

    2010-11-15

    The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin. Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers' field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles. Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Degree Heating Weeks) and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate.

  7. Mass coral mortality under local amplification of 2 °C ocean warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Decarlo, Thomas M.; Cohen, Anne L.; Wong, George T. F.; Davis, Kristen A.; Lohmann, Pat; Soong, Keryea

    2017-03-01

    A 2 °C increase in global temperature above pre-industrial levels is considered a reasonable target for avoiding the most devastating impacts of anthropogenic climate change. In June 2015, sea surface temperature (SST) of the South China Sea (SCS) increased by 2 °C in response to the developing Pacific El Niño. On its own, this moderate, short-lived warming was unlikely to cause widespread damage to coral reefs in the region, and the coral reef “Bleaching Alert” alarm was not raised. However, on Dongsha Atoll, in the northern SCS, unusually weak winds created low-flow conditions that amplified the 2 °C basin-scale anomaly. Water temperatures on the reef flat, normally indistinguishable from open-ocean SST, exceeded 6 °C above normal summertime levels. Mass coral bleaching quickly ensued, killing 40% of the resident coral community in an event unprecedented in at least the past 40 years. Our findings highlight the risks of 2 °C ocean warming to coral reef ecosystems when global and local processes align to drive intense heating, with devastating consequences.

  8. Caribbean corals in crisis: record thermal stress, bleaching, and mortality in 2005.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C Mark Eakin

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers' field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Degree Heating Weeks and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate.

  9. Caribbean Corals in Crisis: Record Thermal Stress, Bleaching, and Mortality in 2005

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, C. Mark; Morgan, Jessica A.; Heron, Scott F.; Smith, Tyler B.; Liu, Gang; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Baca, Bart; Bartels, Erich; Bastidas, Carolina; Bouchon, Claude; Brandt, Marilyn; Bruckner, Andrew W.; Bunkley-Williams, Lucy; Cameron, Andrew; Causey, Billy D.; Chiappone, Mark; Christensen, Tyler R. L.; Crabbe, M. James C; Day, Owen; de la Guardia, Elena; Díaz-Pulido, Guillermo; DiResta, Daniel; Gil-Agudelo, Diego L.; Gilliam, David S.; Ginsburg, Robert N.; Gore, Shannon; Guzmán, Héctor M.; Hendee, James C.; Hernández-Delgado, Edwin A.; Husain, Ellen; Jeffrey, Christopher F. G.; Jones, Ross J.; Jordán-Dahlgren, Eric; Kaufman, Les S.; Kline, David I.; Kramer, Philip A.; Lang, Judith C.; Lirman, Diego; Mallela, Jennie; Manfrino, Carrie; Maréchal, Jean-Philippe; Marks, Ken; Mihaly, Jennifer; Miller, W. Jeff; Mueller, Erich M.; Muller, Erinn M.; Orozco Toro, Carlos A.; Oxenford, Hazel A.; Ponce-Taylor, Daniel; Quinn, Norman; Ritchie, Kim B.; Rodríguez, Sebastián; Ramírez, Alberto Rodríguez; Romano, Sandra; Samhouri, Jameal F.; Sánchez, Juan A.; Schmahl, George P.; Shank, Burton V.; Skirving, William J.; Steiner, Sascha C. C.; Villamizar, Estrella; Walsh, Sheila M.; Walter, Cory; Weil, Ernesto; Williams, Ernest H.; Roberson, Kimberly Woody; Yusuf, Yusri

    2010-01-01

    Background The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin. Methodology/Principal Findings Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers' field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles. Conclusions/Significance Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Degree Heating Weeks) and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate. PMID:21125021

  10. Disease and stress-induced mortality of corals in Indian reefs and observations on bleaching of corals in the Andamans

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.; Raghukumar, S.

    A study was carried out in the Lakshadweep and Andaman islands and the Gulf of Kutch to assess the health of corals in Indian reefs. Disease, predation and stress were the major factors of coral mortality. Death caused by diseases - the black band...

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

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    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.

  12. Ocean warming and acidification synergistically increase coral mortality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prada, F.; Caroselli, E.; Mengoli, S.; Brizi, L.; Fantazzini, P.; Capaccioni, B.; Pasquini, L.; Fabricius, K. E.; Dubinsky, Z.; Falini, G.; Goffredo, S.

    2017-01-01

    Organisms that accumulate calcium carbonate structures are particularly vulnerable to ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA), potentially reducing the socioeconomic benefits of ecosystems reliant on these taxa. Since rising atmospheric CO2 is responsible for global warming and increasing ocean acidity, to correctly predict how OW and OA will affect marine organisms, their possible interactive effects must be assessed. Here we investigate, in the field, the combined temperature (range: 16-26 °C) and acidification (range: pHTS 8.1-7.4) effects on mortality and growth of Mediterranean coral species transplanted, in different seasonal periods, along a natural pH gradient generated by a CO2 vent. We show a synergistic adverse effect on mortality rates (up to 60%), for solitary and colonial, symbiotic and asymbiotic corals, suggesting that high seawater temperatures may have increased their metabolic rates which, in conjunction with decreasing pH, could have led to rapid deterioration of cellular processes and performance. The net calcification rate of the symbiotic species was not affected by decreasing pH, regardless of temperature, while in the two asymbiotic species it was negatively affected by increasing acidification and temperature, suggesting that symbiotic corals may be more tolerant to increasing warming and acidifying conditions compared to asymbiotic ones.

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

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    Simon D Donner

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. Estimating the effect of multiple environmental stressors on coral bleaching and mortality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welle, Paul D; Small, Mitchell J; Doney, Scott C; Azevedo, Inês L

    2017-01-01

    Coral cover has been declining in recent decades due to increased temperatures and environmental stressors. However, the extent to which different stressors contribute both individually and in concert to bleaching and mortality is still very uncertain. We develop and use a novel regression approach, using non-linear parametric models that control for unobserved time invariant effects to estimate the effects on coral bleaching and mortality due to temperature, solar radiation, depth, hurricanes and anthropogenic stressors using historical data from a large bleaching event in 2005 across the Caribbean. Two separate models are created, one to predict coral bleaching, and the other to predict near-term mortality. A large ensemble of supporting data is assembled to control for omitted variable bias and improve fit, and a significant improvement in fit is observed from univariate linear regression based on temperature alone. The results suggest that climate stressors (temperature and radiation) far outweighed direct anthropogenic stressors (using distance from shore and nearby human population density as a proxy for such stressors) in driving coral health outcomes during the 2005 event. Indeed, temperature was found to play a role ~4 times greater in both the bleaching and mortality response than population density across their observed ranges. The empirical models tested in this study have large advantages over ordinary-least squares-they offer unbiased estimates for censored data, correct for spatial correlation, and are capable of handling more complex relationships between dependent and independent variables. The models offer a framework for preparing for future warming events and climate change; guiding monitoring and attribution of other bleaching and mortality events regionally and around the globe; and informing adaptive management and conservation efforts.

  16. Estimating the effect of multiple environmental stressors on coral bleaching and mortality.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul D Welle

    Full Text Available Coral cover has been declining in recent decades due to increased temperatures and environmental stressors. However, the extent to which different stressors contribute both individually and in concert to bleaching and mortality is still very uncertain. We develop and use a novel regression approach, using non-linear parametric models that control for unobserved time invariant effects to estimate the effects on coral bleaching and mortality due to temperature, solar radiation, depth, hurricanes and anthropogenic stressors using historical data from a large bleaching event in 2005 across the Caribbean. Two separate models are created, one to predict coral bleaching, and the other to predict near-term mortality. A large ensemble of supporting data is assembled to control for omitted variable bias and improve fit, and a significant improvement in fit is observed from univariate linear regression based on temperature alone. The results suggest that climate stressors (temperature and radiation far outweighed direct anthropogenic stressors (using distance from shore and nearby human population density as a proxy for such stressors in driving coral health outcomes during the 2005 event. Indeed, temperature was found to play a role ~4 times greater in both the bleaching and mortality response than population density across their observed ranges. The empirical models tested in this study have large advantages over ordinary-least squares-they offer unbiased estimates for censored data, correct for spatial correlation, and are capable of handling more complex relationships between dependent and independent variables. The models offer a framework for preparing for future warming events and climate change; guiding monitoring and attribution of other bleaching and mortality events regionally and around the globe; and informing adaptive management and conservation efforts.

  17. Two spatial scales in a bleaching event: Corals from the mildest and the most extreme thermal environments escape mortality

    KAUST Repository

    Pineda, Jesús

    2013-07-28

    In summer 2010, a bleaching event decimated the abundant reef flat coral Stylophora pistillata in some areas of the central Red Sea, where a series of coral reefs 100–300 m wide by several kilometers long extends from the coastline to about 20 km offshore. Mortality of corals along the exposed and protected sides of inner (inshore) and mid and outer (offshore) reefs and in situ and satellite sea surface temperatures (SSTs) revealed that the variability in the mortality event corresponded to two spatial scales of temperature variability: 300 m across the reef flat and 20 km across a series of reefs. However, the relationship between coral mortality and habitat thermal severity was opposite at the two scales. SSTs in summer 2010 were similar or increased modestly (0.5°C) in the outer and mid reefs relative to 2009. In the inner reef, 2010 temperatures were 1.4°C above the 2009 seasonal maximum for several weeks. We detected little or no coral mortality in mid and outer reefs. In the inner reef, mortality depended on exposure. Within the inner reef, mortality was modest on the protected (shoreward) side, the most severe thermal environment, with highest overall mean and maximum temperatures. In contrast, acute mortality was observed in the exposed (seaward) side, where temperature fluctuations and upper water temperature values were relatively less extreme. Refuges to thermally induced coral bleaching may include sites where extreme, high-frequency thermal variability may select for coral holobionts preadapted to, and physiologically condition corals to withstand, regional increases in water temperature.

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

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    Alejandra Verde

    2016-07-01

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

  19. Coral mass bleaching and reef temperatures at Navassa Island, 2006

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, M. W.; Piniak, G. A.; Williams, D. E.

    2011-01-01

    Bleaching and associated mortality is an extreme threat to the persistence of coral populations in the projected warming regime of the next few decades. Recent evidence indicates that thermal bleaching thresholds may be affected by water quality gradients. The unexpected encounter of a coral mass bleaching event at a remote, uninhabited Caribbean island (Navassa) during a routine reef assessment cruise in November 2006 provided the opportunity to characterize bleaching responses and thermal exposure in an oceanic area with negligible continental influence or human impact on water quality. The coral taxa most susceptible to bleaching were Agaricia spp. and Montastraea faveolata. Siderastraea siderea, Diploria spp. and Porites porites were intermediately affected, while Porites astreoides and Montastraea cavernosa were minimally affected and negligible bleaching was observed in Acropora palmata. Bleaching prevalence (colonies > 4 cm diameter) ranged from 0.16 to 0.63 among sites. Deeper sites (between 18 and 37 m) had significantly higher prevalence of bleaching than shallow sites (<10 m). This general pattern of more bleaching in deeper sites also occurred within species. Though exposure to high-temperature stress was not greater at deeper sites, water motion, which may bolster bleaching resistance, was likely less. In situ loggers indicated temperatures over 30 °C initiated at shallow sites in mid-August, at deeper sites in early September, and were persistent at all sites until mid-October. Long term (1983-2007) climatologies constructed from AVHRR SSTs suggest that the mass bleaching event observed at Navassa in 2006 corresponded with greater intensity and duration of warm temperature anomalies than occurred in 2005, for which no in situ observations (bleaching nor temperature) are available.

  20. Mass mortality of the vermetid gastropod Ceraesignum maximum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, A. L.; Frazer, T. K.; Shima, J. S.; Osenberg, C. W.

    2016-09-01

    Ceraesignum maximum (G.B. Sowerby I, 1825), formerly Dendropoma maximum, was subject to a sudden, massive die-off in the Society Islands, French Polynesia, in 2015. On Mo'orea, where we have detailed documentation of the die-off, these gastropods were previously found in densities up to 165 m-2. In July 2015, we surveyed shallow back reefs of Mo'orea before, during and after the die-off, documenting their swift decline. All censused populations incurred 100% mortality. Additional surveys and observations from Mo'orea, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Huahine (but not Taha'a) suggested a similar, and approximately simultaneous, die-off. The cause(s) of this cataclysmic mass mortality are currently unknown. Given the previously documented negative effects of C. maximum on corals, we expect the die-off will have cascading effects on the reef community.

  1. Relationship between anthropogenic impacts and bleaching-associated tissue mortality of corals in Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, I.

    2007-01-01

    Chronic anthropogenic impacts can have a negative effect on coral health and on coral energy budgets needed for regeneration of lesions. I therefore hypothesise that during massive bleaching events, the degree of corals showing bleaching-related tissue mortality is higher in areas subject to chronic

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

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    Javid Kavousi

    2014-09-01

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

  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. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures) varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching. PMID:24400078

  6. Acanthaster planci is a major cause of coral mortality in Indonesia

    KAUST Repository

    Baird, Andrew Hamilton

    2013-03-21

    The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster planci, is recognised as a major cause of coral reef degradation throughout much of the Pacific Ocean. However, the effects of COTS on the high diversity reefs in Indonesia have been largely overlooked. In 2007, high densities of COTS were observed in two regions of Indonesia: Aceh and Halmahera. Densities of COTS ranged from 0 to 52 starfish 2,000 m2 across 24 sites in Aceh and from 0 to 18 starfish 2,000 m2 at 10 sites in Halmahera. Mortality rates of Acropora spp. were very high at affected sites: over 50 % of colonies had been killed at seven of the 16 affected sites. A review of historical sources going back to 1969 suggests that COTS have damaged many reefs throughout Indonesia, including much activity within the Indonesian section of the Coral Triangle. Furthermore, the data suggest that COTS activity has increased rapidly since 2000. Very little of this activity has been reported in the primary literature, and there is a general lack of awareness in Indonesia of COTS as a potential cause of reef degradation. This lack of awareness, combined with limited monitoring efforts, means that damage caused by COTS is often attributed to other causes, such as destructive fishing, bleaching or tsunami. COTS are clearly a major source of coral mortality in Indonesia of which scientists and government need to be more cognizant. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  7. Dominance of Endozoicomonas bacteria throughout coral bleaching and mortality suggests structural inflexibility of the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pogoreutz, Claudia; Rädecker, Nils; Cárdenas, Anny; Gärdes, Astrid; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R

    2018-02-01

    The importance of Symbiodinium algal endosymbionts and a diverse suite of bacteria for coral holobiont health and functioning are widely acknowledged. Yet, we know surprisingly little about microbial community dynamics and the stability of host-microbe associations under adverse environmental conditions. To gain insight into the stability of coral host-microbe associations and holobiont structure, we assessed changes in the community structure of Symbiodinium and bacteria associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa under excess organic nutrient conditions. Pocillopora -associated microbial communities were monitored over 14 days in two independent experiments. We assessed the effect of excess dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and excess dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Exposure to excess nutrients rapidly affected coral health, resulting in two distinct stress phenotypes: coral bleaching under excess DOC and severe tissue sloughing (>90% tissue loss resulting in host mortality) under excess DON. These phenotypes were accompanied by structural changes in the Symbiodinium community. In contrast, the associated bacterial community remained remarkably stable and was dominated by two Endozoicomonas phylotypes, comprising on average 90% of 16S rRNA gene sequences. This dominance of Endozoicomonas even under conditions of coral bleaching and mortality suggests the bacterial community of P. verrucosa may be rather inflexible and thereby unable to respond or acclimatize to rapid changes in the environment, contrary to what was previously observed in other corals. In this light, our results suggest that coral holobionts might occupy structural landscapes ranging from a highly flexible to a rather inflexible composition with consequences for their ability to respond to environmental change.

  8. Dominance of Endozoicomonas bacteria throughout coral bleaching and mortality suggests structural inflexibility of the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2018-01-25

    The importance of Symbiodinium algal endosymbionts and a diverse suite of bacteria for coral holobiont health and functioning are widely acknowledged. Yet, we know surprisingly little about microbial community dynamics and the stability of host-microbe associations under adverse environmental conditions. To gain insight into the stability of coral host-microbe associations and holobiont structure, we assessed changes in the community structure of Symbiodinium and bacteria associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa under excess organic nutrient conditions. Pocillopora-associated microbial communities were monitored over 14 days in two independent experiments. We assessed the effect of excess dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and excess dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Exposure to excess nutrients rapidly affected coral health, resulting in two distinct stress phenotypes: coral bleaching under excess DOC and severe tissue sloughing (>90% tissue loss resulting in host mortality) under excess DON. These phenotypes were accompanied by structural changes in the Symbiodinium community. In contrast, the associated bacterial community remained remarkably stable and was dominated by two Endozoicomonas phylotypes, comprising on average 90% of 16S rRNA gene sequences. This dominance of Endozoicomonas even under conditions of coral bleaching and mortality suggests the bacterial community of P. verrucosa may be rather inflexible and thereby unable to respond or acclimatize to rapid changes in the environment, contrary to what was previously observed in other corals. In this light, our results suggest that coral holobionts might occupy structural landscapes ranging from a highly flexible to a rather inflexible composition with consequences for their ability to respond to environmental change.

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. Consumption of coral propagules after mass spawning enhances larval quality of damselfish through maternal effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCormick, Mark I

    2003-06-01

    The synchronized spawning of corals in many parts of the Indo-Pacific represents a huge injection of biological material into the waters around reefs. Much of this material is consumed by fishes and filter-feeding invertebrates in the 5 or so days following spawning. The present study is the first to document the effect of the consumption of coral propagules on a population of facultatively planktivorous fish and the transference of physiological condition across generations. The study compares two populations of the damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis that fed to differing degrees on coral propagules for 5 days after the annual mass spawning of corals at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Wind blew coral slicks over the outer lagoon to the inner lagoon some 1.5 km away. While coral propagules were abundant in the water column in the windward location, they were scarce by the time the water mass reached the inner lagoon. Behavioral observations 2-5 days after coral spawning showed that a significantly higher proportion of P. amboinensis was feeding on coral propagules in the windward location than in the inner lagoon location. Windward location females consumed coral propagules almost exclusively and had fuller guts than females from the inner lagoonal location. Five days after the mass coral spawning, windward location females had a higher condition factor and a larger liver mass relative to body mass compared to females within the inner lagoon or females from both locations 2 months later. Fish eggs laid by the windward location females soon after coral spawning yielded larvae that had 25% larger yolk sacs and 100% larger oil globules than did larvae produced from the females from the inner lagoon location, or larvae produced at either location prior to or well after coral spawning in 2 previous years. Larger yolk sacs and oil globules have been shown to have direct survival benefits in the transition from endogenous to exogenous feeding. A feeding

  12. Mortality, recovery, and community shifts of scleractinian corals in Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Sais, Jorge R; Williams, Stacey M; Amirrezvani, Ali

    2017-01-01

    This work analyzes the mortality, recovery, and shifts in the composition of scleractinian corals from Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional coral bleaching event. Temporal and spatial patterns of coral community structure were examined using a stratified, non-random sampling approach based on five permanent transects per reef at 16 reef stations. A negative correlation between percent coral cover loss and light attenuation coefficient (Kd 490 ) was observed, suggesting that light attenuation, as influenced by water turbidity and depth, played a major role in coral protection during the bleaching event ("sunblock effect"). Responses of coral assemblages varied after the bleaching event, including shifts of cover from massive corals ( Orbicella spp.) to opportunistic ( Porites astreoides ) and branching corals ( Madracis auretenra , P. porites ) and/or turf algae; partial recovery of reef substrate cover by O. annularis complex; and no measurable changes in coral assemblages before and after the event.

  13. Red coral extinction risk enhanced by ocean acidification

    OpenAIRE

    Cerrano, Carlo; Cardini, Ulisse; Bianchelli, Silvia; Corinaldesi, Cinzia; Pusceddu, Antonio; Danovaro, Roberto

    2013-01-01

    The red coral Corallium rubrum is a habitat-forming species with a prominent and structural role in mesophotic habitats, which sustains biodiversity hotspots. This precious coral is threatened by both over-exploitation and temperature driven mass mortality events. We report here that biocalcification, growth rates and polyps' (feeding) activity of Corallium rubrum are significantly reduced at pCO2 scenarios predicted for the end of this century (0.2 pH decrease). Since C. rubrum is a long-liv...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillermo Diaz-Pulido

    Full Text Available 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.

  16. Mortality, recovery, and community shifts of scleractinian corals in Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional bleaching event

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge R. García-Sais

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available This work analyzes the mortality, recovery, and shifts in the composition of scleractinian corals from Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional coral bleaching event. Temporal and spatial patterns of coral community structure were examined using a stratified, non-random sampling approach based on five permanent transects per reef at 16 reef stations. A negative correlation between percent coral cover loss and light attenuation coefficient (Kd490 was observed, suggesting that light attenuation, as influenced by water turbidity and depth, played a major role in coral protection during the bleaching event (“sunblock effect”. Responses of coral assemblages varied after the bleaching event, including shifts of cover from massive corals (Orbicella spp. to opportunistic (Porites astreoides and branching corals (Madracis auretenra, P. porites and/or turf algae; partial recovery of reef substrate cover by O. annularis complex; and no measurable changes in coral assemblages before and after the event.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-06-01

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

  20. 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 ...

  1. Local extinction of a coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Brandl, S. J.; Jones, G. P.

    2014-12-01

    While global extinctions of marine species are infrequent, local extinctions are becoming common. However, the role of habitat degradation and resource specialisation in explaining local extinction is unknown. On coral reefs, coral bleaching is an increasingly frequent cause of coral mortality that can result in dramatic changes to coral community composition. Coral-associated fishes are often specialised on a limited suite of coral species and are therefore sensitive to these changes. This study documents the local extinction of a corallivorous reef fish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, following a mass bleaching event that altered the species composition of associated coral communities. Local extinction only occurred on reefs that also completely lost a key prey species, Acropora millepora, even though coral cover remained high. In an experimental test, fish continued to select bleached A. millepora over the healthy, but less-preferred prey species that resisted bleaching. These results suggest that behavioural inflexibility may limit the ability of specialists to cope with even subtle changes to resource availability.

  2. Dominance of Endozoicomonas bacteria throughout coral bleaching and mortality suggests structural inflexibility of the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome

    KAUST Repository

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

    2018-01-01

    sequences. This dominance of Endozoicomonas even under conditions of coral bleaching and mortality suggests the bacterial community of P. verrucosa may be rather inflexible and thereby unable to respond or acclimatize to rapid changes in the environment

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-06

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-21

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

  5. Fish community reassembly after a coral mass mortality: higher trophic groups are subject to increased rates of extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alonso, David; Pinyol-Gallemí, Aleix; Alcoverro, Teresa; Arthur, Rohan

    2015-05-01

    Since Gleason and Clements, our understanding of community dynamics has been influenced by theories emphasising either dispersal or niche assembly as central to community structuring. Determining the relative importance of these processes in structuring real-world communities remains a challenge. We tracked reef fish community reassembly after a catastrophic coral mortality in a relatively unfished archipelago. We revisited the stochastic model underlying MacArthur and Wilson's Island Biogeography Theory, with a simple extension to account for trophic identity. Colonisation and extinction rates calculated from decadal presence-absence data based on (1) species neutrality, (2) trophic identity and (3) site-specificity were used to model post-disturbance reassembly, and compared with empirical observations. Results indicate that species neutrality holds within trophic guilds, and trophic identity significantly increases overall model performance. Strikingly, extinction rates increased clearly with trophic position, indicating that fish communities may be inherently susceptible to trophic downgrading even without targeted fishing of top predators. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  6. Red coral extinction risk enhanced by ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerrano, Carlo; Cardini, Ulisse; Bianchelli, Silvia; Corinaldesi, Cinzia; Pusceddu, Antonio; Danovaro, Roberto

    2013-01-01

    The red coral Corallium rubrum is a habitat-forming species with a prominent and structural role in mesophotic habitats, which sustains biodiversity hotspots. This precious coral is threatened by both over-exploitation and temperature driven mass mortality events. We report here that biocalcification, growth rates and polyps' (feeding) activity of Corallium rubrum are significantly reduced at pCO2 scenarios predicted for the end of this century (0.2 pH decrease). Since C. rubrum is a long-living species (>200 years), our results suggest that ocean acidification predicted for 2100 will significantly increases the risk of extinction of present populations. Given the functional role of these corals in the mesophotic zone, we predict that ocean acidification might have cascading effects on the functioning of these habitats worldwide.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

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

  8. Depth-dependent mortality of reef corals following a severe bleaching event: implications for thermal refuges and population recovery [v3; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/2zg

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom C. L. Bridge

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperature is a primary cause of coral reef degradation. However, bleaching patterns often show significant spatial variability, therefore identifying locations where local conditions may provide thermal refuges is a high conservation priority. Coral bleaching mortality often diminishes with increasing depth, but clear depth zonation of coral communities and putative limited overlap in species composition between deep and shallow reef habitats has led to the conclusion that deeper reef habitats will provide limited refuge from bleaching for most species. Here, we show that coral mortality following a severe bleaching event diminished sharply with depth. Bleaching-induced mortality of Acropora was approximately 90% at 0-2m, 60% at 3-4 m, yet at 6-8m there was negligible mortality. Importantly, at least two-thirds of the shallow-water (2-3 m Acropora assemblage had a depth range that straddled the transition from high to low mortality. Cold-water upwelling may have contributed to the lower mortality observed in all but the shallowest depths. Our results demonstrate that, in this instance, depth provided a refuge for individuals from a high proportion of species in this Acropora-dominated assemblage. The persistence of deeper populations may provide a critical source of propagules to assist recovery of adjacent shallow-water reefs.

  9. Depth-dependent mortality of reef corals following a severe bleaching event: implications for thermal refuges and population recovery [v2; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/26m

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom C. L. Bridge

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperature is a primary cause of coral reef degradation. However, bleaching patterns often show significant spatial variability, therefore identifying locations where local conditions may provide thermal refuges is a high conservation priority. Coral bleaching mortality often diminishes with increasing depth, but clear depth zonation of coral communities and putative limited overlap in species composition between deep and shallow reef habitats has led to the conclusion that deeper reef habitats will provide limited refuge from bleaching for most species. Here, we show that coral mortality following a severe bleaching event diminished sharply with depth. Bleaching-induced mortality of Acropora was approximately 90% at 0-2m, 60% at 3-4 m, yet at 6-8m there was negligible mortality. Importantly, at least two-thirds of the shallow-water (2-3 m Acropora assemblage had a depth range that straddled the transition from high to low mortality. Cold-water upwelling may have contributed to the lower mortality observed in all but the shallowest depths. Our results demonstrate that, in this instance, depth provided a refuge for individuals from a high proportion of species in this Acropora-dominated assemblage. The persistence of deeper populations may provide a critical source of propagules to assist recovery of adjacent shallow-water reefs.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-15

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    2009-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  14. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Kerry, James T.; Álvarez-Noriega, Mariana; Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Baird, Andrew H.; Babcock, Russell C.; Beger, Maria; Bellwood, David R.; Berkelmans, Ray; Bridge, Tom C.; Butler, Ian R.; Byrne, Maria; Cantin, Neal E.; Comeau, Steeve; Connolly, Sean R.; Cumming, Graeme S.; Dalton, Steven J.; Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; Eakin, C. Mark; Figueira, Will F.; Gilmour, James P.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Heron, Scott F.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Kennedy, Emma V.; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M.; Lowe, Ryan J.; Liu, Gang; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Malcolm, Hamish A.; McWilliam, Michael J.; Pandolfi, John M.; Pears, Rachel J.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Schoepf, Verena; Simpson, Tristan; Skirving, William J.; Sommer, Brigitte; Torda, Gergely; Wachenfeld, David R.; Willis, Bette L.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2017-03-01

    During 2015-2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of coral bleaching, the third global-scale event since mass bleaching was first documented in the 1980s. Here we examine how and why the severity of recurrent major bleaching events has varied at multiple scales, using aerial and underwater surveys of Australian reefs combined with satellite-derived sea surface temperatures. The distinctive geographic footprints of recurrent bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998, 2002 and 2016 were determined by the spatial pattern of sea temperatures in each year. Water quality and fishing pressure had minimal effect on the unprecedented bleaching in 2016, suggesting that local protection of reefs affords little or no resistance to extreme heat. Similarly, past exposure to bleaching in 1998 and 2002 did not lessen the severity of bleaching in 2016. Consequently, immediate global action to curb future warming is essential to secure a future for coral reefs.

  15. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Kerry, James T; Álvarez-Noriega, Mariana; Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G; Anderson, Kristen D; Baird, Andrew H; Babcock, Russell C; Beger, Maria; Bellwood, David R; Berkelmans, Ray; Bridge, Tom C; Butler, Ian R; Byrne, Maria; Cantin, Neal E; Comeau, Steeve; Connolly, Sean R; Cumming, Graeme S; Dalton, Steven J; Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; Eakin, C Mark; Figueira, Will F; Gilmour, James P; Harrison, Hugo B; Heron, Scott F; Hoey, Andrew S; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Kennedy, Emma V; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M; Lowe, Ryan J; Liu, Gang; McCulloch, Malcolm T; Malcolm, Hamish A; McWilliam, Michael J; Pandolfi, John M; Pears, Rachel J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Schoepf, Verena; Simpson, Tristan; Skirving, William J; Sommer, Brigitte; Torda, Gergely; Wachenfeld, David R; Willis, Bette L; Wilson, Shaun K

    2017-03-15

    During 2015-2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of coral bleaching, the third global-scale event since mass bleaching was first documented in the 1980s. Here we examine how and why the severity of recurrent major bleaching events has varied at multiple scales, using aerial and underwater surveys of Australian reefs combined with satellite-derived sea surface temperatures. The distinctive geographic footprints of recurrent bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998, 2002 and 2016 were determined by the spatial pattern of sea temperatures in each year. Water quality and fishing pressure had minimal effect on the unprecedented bleaching in 2016, suggesting that local protection of reefs affords little or no resistance to extreme heat. Similarly, past exposure to bleaching in 1998 and 2002 did not lessen the severity of bleaching in 2016. Consequently, immediate global action to curb future warming is essential to secure a future for coral reefs.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A. Gibbs

    2015-11-01

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

  18. "Choice" and destiny: the substrate composition and mechanical stability of settlement structures can mediate coral recruit fate in post-bleached reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, Shreya; Rathod, Pooja; Alcoverro, Teresa; Arthur, Rohan

    2016-03-01

    Increasingly frequent and intense ocean warming events seriously test the buffer and recovery capacities of tropical coral reefs. Post-disturbance, available settlement structures on a reef (often dead coral skeletons) vary considerably in their mechanical stability and substrate composition, critically influencing coral recruit settlement choice and fate. In the wake of a coral mass mortality in the Lakshadweep archipelago, we examine (1) the relative availability of recruit settlement structures (from stable to unstable: reef platform, dead massive coral, consolidated rubble, dead corymbose coral, dead tabular coral, and unconsolidated rubble) in 12 recovering reefs across three atolls in the archipelago, (2) the substrate composition [crustose coralline algae (CCA), mixed turf, macroalgae] of these structural forms, and (3) whether the choice and fate of young coral are mediated by the substrate and stability of different structural forms. For this, we measured the abundance and distribution of recruit (<1 cm), juvenile (1-5 cm), and young adult (5-10) corals of 24 common coral genera. Four years after the mass mortality, reefs differed considerably in composition of settlement structures. The structures themselves varied significantly in substrate cover with dead tables largely covered in CCA [60 ± 6.05 % (SE)] and dead corymbose coral dominated by mixed turf (61.83 ± 3.8 %). The youngest visible recruits (<1 cm) clearly preferred CCA-rich structures such as dead massives and tables. However, older size classes were rarely found on unstable structures (strongly "avoiding" tables, Ivlev's electivity index, E = -0.5). Our results indicate that while substrate cover might mediate coral choice, the mechanical stability of settlement structures is critical in determining post-settlement coral survival. The composition and availability of settlement structures on a reef may serve as a characteristic signature of its recovery potential, aiding in assessments of reef

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

    OpenAIRE

    Scheibner , C.; Speijer , R. P.

    2007-01-01

    International audience; Since the 1980s the frequency of warming events has intensified and simultaneously widespread coral bleaching, and enhanced coral mortality have been observed. Yet, it remains unpredictable how tropical coral reef communities will react to prolonged adverse conditions. Possibly, coral reef systems are sufficiently robust to withstand continued environmental pressures. But if coral mortality increases, what will platform communities of the future look like? The co-evolu...

  20. Agents of coral mortality on reef formations of the Colombian Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina

    2010-05-01

    The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) monitors the impact of some of the most important agents of coral tissue loss (bleaching and/or disease) in the Colombian Pacific coral formations since 1998. Physiological bleaching is among the main results of stress in the area. Signs of coral diseases resembling bacterial bleaching such as White Plague and White Band, were observed in Malpelo and Gorgona islands. Damage to the Pacific gorgonian Pacifigorgia spp., similar to those produced by Aspergillosis in Caribbean corals, was detected in Utria Bay. The presence of tumors in colonies of massive corals was also recorded. Even though coral diseases are globally widespread, their occurrence in American Pacific reefs has been poorly documented to date.

  1. PREDICTING CORAL BLEACHING IN RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSORS USING 8 YEARS OF GLOBAL-SCALE DATA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are among the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet (Wilkinson 2002), but have experienced extensive mortality over the past few decades as a result of mass bleaching events (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999, Wilkinson 2002, Hughes 2003, Obura 2005). Historically, elevated...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  3. Agents of coral mortality on reef formations of the Colombian Pacific

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC monitors the impact of some of the most important agents of coral tissue loss (bleaching and/or disease in the Colombian Pacific coral formations since 1998. Physiological bleaching is among the main results of stress in the area. Signs of coral diseases resembling bacterial bleaching such as White Plague and White Band, were observed in Malpelo and Gorgona islands. Damage to the Pacific gorgonian Pacifigorgia spp., similar to those produced by Aspergillosis in Caribbean corals, was detected in Utría Bay. The presence of tumors in colonies of massive corals was also recorded. Even though coral diseases are globally widespread, their occurrence in American Pacific reefs has been poorly documented to date. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl. 1: 133-138. Epub 2010 May 01.

  4. Environmental Variability in the Florida Keys: Impacts on Coral Reef Resilience and Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soto, I. M.; Muller-Karger, F. E.

    2005-12-01

    Environmental variability contributes to both mass mortality and resilience in tropical coral reef communities. We assess variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean color in the Florida Keys using satellite imagery, and provide insight into how this variability is associated with locations of resilient coral communities (those unaffected by or able to recover from major events). The project tests the hypothesis that areas with historically low environmental variability promote lower levels of coral reef resilience. Time series of SST from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensors and ocean color derived quantities (e.g., turbidity and chlorophyll) from the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS) are being constructed over the entire Florida Keys region for a period of twelve and nine years, respectively. These data will be compared with historical coral cover data derived from Landsat imagery (1984-2002). Improved understanding of the causes of coral reef decline or resilience will help protect and manage these natural treasures.

  5. Challenges for Managing Fisheries on Diverse Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas Fenner

    2012-03-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Two spatial scales in a bleaching event: Corals from the mildest and the most extreme thermal environments escape mortality

    KAUST Repository

    Pineda, Jesú s; Starczak, Victoria; Tarrant, Ann; Blythe, Jonathan; Davis, Kristen; Farrar, Tom; Berumen, Michael L.; da Silva, José C. B.

    2013-01-01

    or increased modestly (0.5°C) in the outer and mid reefs relative to 2009. In the inner reef, 2010 temperatures were 1.4°C above the 2009 seasonal maximum for several weeks. We detected little or no coral mortality in mid and outer reefs. In the inner reef

  8. Effects of thermal stress and nitrate enrichment on the larval performance of two Caribbean reef corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serrano, Xaymara M.; Miller, Margaret W.; Hendee, James C.; Jensen, Brittany A.; Gapayao, Justine Z.; Pasparakis, Christina; Grosell, Martin; Baker, Andrew C.

    2018-03-01

    The effects of multiple stressors on the early life stages of reef-building corals are poorly understood. Elevated temperature is the main physiological driver of mass coral bleaching events, but increasing evidence suggests that other stressors, including elevated dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), may exacerbate the negative effects of thermal stress. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the performance of larvae of Orbicella faveolata and Porites astreoides, two important Caribbean reef coral species with contrasting reproductive and algal transmission modes, under increased temperature and/or elevated DIN. We used a fluorescence-based microplate respirometer to measure the oxygen consumption of coral larvae from both species, and also assessed the effects of these stressors on P. astreoides larval settlement and mortality. Overall, we found that (1) larvae increased their respiration in response to different factors ( O. faveolata in response to elevated temperature and P. astreoides in response to elevated nitrate) and (2) P. astreoides larvae showed a significant increase in settlement as a result of elevated nitrate, but higher mortality under elevated temperature. This study shows how microplate respirometry can be successfully used to assess changes in respiration of coral larvae, and our findings suggest that the effects of thermal stress and nitrate enrichment in coral larvae may be species specific and are neither additive nor synergistic for O. faveolata or P. astreoides. These findings may have important consequences for the recruitment and community reassembly of corals to nutrient-polluted reefs that have been impacted by climate change.

  9. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  10. Thermal stress exposure, bleaching response, and mortality in the threatened coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, D E; Miller, M W; Bright, A J; Pausch, R E; Valdivia, A

    2017-11-15

    Demographic data for Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and in situ water temperature data from seven upper Florida Keys (USA) reefs revealed three warm thermal stress events between 2010 and 2016. During a mild bleaching event in 2011, up to 59% of colonies bleached, but no mortality resulted. In both 2014 and 2015, severe and unprecedented bleaching was observed with up to 100% of colonies bleached. A. palmata live tissue cover declined by one-third following the 2014-2015 events. Colony mortality of mildly- and non-bleached colonies did not differ but increased significantly with more severe bleaching. Increased bleaching prevalence corresponded to maximum daily average water temperatures above 31.3°C. However, the cumulative days with daily average exceeding 31.0°C provided a better predictor of bleaching response. The bleaching response of surviving colonies in 2015 was not consistent with acclimatization as most individual colonies bleached at least as badly as in 2014. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  12. Herbivory versus corallivory: are parrotfish good or bad for Caribbean coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2009-09-01

    With coral cover in decline on many Caribbean reefs, any process of coral mortality is of potential concern. While sparisomid parrotfishes are major grazers of Caribbean reefs and help control algal blooms, the fact that they also undertake corallivory has prompted some to question the rationale for their conservation. Here the weight of evidence for beneficial effects of parrotfishes, in terms of reducing algal cover and facilitating demographic processes in corals, and the deleterious effects of parrotfishes in terms of causing coral mortality and chronic stress, are reviewed. While elevated parrotfish density will likely increase the predation rate upon juvenile corals, the net effect appears to be positive in enhancing coral recruitment through removal of macroalgal competitors. Parrotfish corallivory can cause modest partial colony mortality in the most intensively grazed species of Montastraea but the generation and healing of bite scars appear to be in near equilibrium, even when coral cover is low. Whole colony mortality in adult corals can lead to complete exclusion of some delicate, lagoonal species of Porites from forereef environments but is only reported for one reef species ( Porites astreoides), for one habitat (backreef), and with uncertain incidence (though likely zooxanthellae after bleaching events may be retarded. The balance of evidence to date finds strong support for the herbivory role of parrotfishes in facilitating coral recruitment, growth, and fecundity. In contrast, no net deleterious effects of corallivory have been reported for reef corals. Corallivory is unlikely to constrain overall coral cover but contraints upon dwindling populations of the Montastraea annularis species complex are feasible and the role of parrotfishes as a vector of coral disease requires evaluation. However, any assertion that conservation practices should guard against protecting corallivorous parrotfishes appears to be unwarranted at this stage.

  13. Surviving coral bleaching events: porites growth anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantin, Neal E; Lough, Janice M

    2014-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef), annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef), only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef) locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification) were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980-2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-07

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Regional decline of coral cover in the Indo-Pacific: timing, extent, and subregional comparisons.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available A number of factors have recently caused mass coral mortality events in all of the world's tropical oceans. However, little is known about the timing, rate or spatial variability of the loss of reef-building corals, especially in the Indo-Pacific, which contains 75% of the world's coral reefs.We compiled and analyzed a coral cover database of 6001 quantitative surveys of 2667 Indo-Pacific coral reefs performed between 1968 and 2004. Surveys conducted during 2003 indicated that coral cover averaged only 22.1% (95% CI: 20.7, 23.4 and just 7 of 390 reefs surveyed that year had coral cover >60%. Estimated yearly coral cover loss based on annually pooled survey data was approximately 1% over the last twenty years and 2% between 1997 and 2003 (or 3,168 km(2 per year. The annual loss based on repeated measures regression analysis of a subset of reefs that were monitored for multiple years from 1997 to 2004 was 0.72 % (n = 476 reefs, 95% CI: 0.36, 1.08.The rate and extent of coral loss in the Indo-Pacific are greater than expected. Coral cover was also surprisingly uniform among subregions and declined decades earlier than previously assumed, even on some of the Pacific's most intensely managed reefs. These results have significant implications for policy makers and resource managers as they search for successful models to reverse coral loss.

  1. Chronic Exposure of Corals to Fine Sediments: Lethal and Sub-Lethal Impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, Florita; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Smith, Luke D.; Cooper, Timothy F.; Abrego, David; Negri, Andrew P.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the sedimentation and turbidity thresholds for corals is critical in assessing the potential impacts of dredging projects in tropical marine systems. In this study, we exposed two species of coral sampled from offshore locations to six levels of total suspended solids (TSS) for 16 weeks in the laboratory, including a 4 week recovery period. Dose-response relationships were developed to quantify the lethal and sub-lethal thresholds of sedimentation and turbidity for the corals. The sediment treatments affected the horizontal foliaceous species (Montipora aequituberculata) more than the upright branching species (Acropora millepora). The lowest sediment treatments that caused full colony mortality were 30 mg l−1 TSS (25 mg cm−2 day−1) for M. aequituberculata and 100 mg l−1 TSS (83 mg cm−2 day−1) for A. millepora after 12 weeks. Coral mortality generally took longer than 4 weeks and was closely related to sediment accumulation on the surface of the corals. While measurements of damage to photosystem II in the symbionts and reductions in lipid content and growth indicated sub-lethal responses in surviving corals, the most reliable predictor of coral mortality in this experiment was long-term sediment accumulation on coral tissue. PMID:22662225

  2. Chronic exposure of corals to fine sediments: lethal and sub-lethal impacts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florita Flores

    Full Text Available Understanding the sedimentation and turbidity thresholds for corals is critical in assessing the potential impacts of dredging projects in tropical marine systems. In this study, we exposed two species of coral sampled from offshore locations to six levels of total suspended solids (TSS for 16 weeks in the laboratory, including a 4 week recovery period. Dose-response relationships were developed to quantify the lethal and sub-lethal thresholds of sedimentation and turbidity for the corals. The sediment treatments affected the horizontal foliaceous species (Montipora aequituberculata more than the upright branching species (Acropora millepora. The lowest sediment treatments that caused full colony mortality were 30 mg l(-1 TSS (25 mg cm(-2 day(-1 for M. aequituberculata and 100 mg l(-1 TSS (83 mg cm(-2 day(-1 for A. millepora after 12 weeks. Coral mortality generally took longer than 4 weeks and was closely related to sediment accumulation on the surface of the corals. While measurements of damage to photosystem II in the symbionts and reductions in lipid content and growth indicated sub-lethal responses in surviving corals, the most reliable predictor of coral mortality in this experiment was long-term sediment accumulation on coral tissue.

  3. 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.

  4. Agents of coral mortality on reef formations of the Colombian Pacific

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC monitors the impact of some of the most important agents of coral tissue loss (bleaching and/or disease in the Colombian Pacific coral formations since 1998. Physiological bleaching is among the main results of stress in the area. Signs of coral diseases resembling bacterial bleaching such as White Plague and White Band, were observed in Malpelo and Gorgona islands. Damage to the Pacific gorgonian Pacifigorgia spp., similar to those produced by Aspergillosis in Caribbean corals, was detected in Utría Bay. The presence of tumors in colonies of massive corals was also recorded. Even though coral diseases are globally widespread, their occurrence in American Pacific reefs has been poorly documented to date. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl. 1: 133-138. Epub 2010 May 01.A través del Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo de Arrecifes Coralinos en Colombia-SIMAC se han evaluado algunos agentes de mortalidad coralina en el Pacifico Colombiano desde 1998. Uno de los principales factores que han contribuido a la pérdida de cobertura coralina han sido los eventos de blanqueamiento. No obstante, también se han observado signos que sugieren la presencia de enfermedades coralinas como el blanqueamiento bacteriano, la Plaga Blanca, la Banda Blanca, los tumores coralinos y la Aspergilosis en Pacifigorgia spp.. Aunque las enfermedades coralinas están globalmente distribuidas, su ocurrencia en el Pacifico tropical americano ha sido pobremente documentada. Esta nota incluye la ocurrencia de potenciales enfermedades coralinas en el Pacífico Colombiano.

  5. Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts

    KAUST Repository

    Levin, Rachel A.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Agrawal, Shobhit; Steinberg, Peter D.; Suggett, David J.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2017-01-01

    Elevated sea surface temperatures from a severe and prolonged El Niño event (2014–2016) fueled by climate change have resulted in mass coral bleaching (loss of dinoflagellate photosymbionts, Symbiodinium spp., from coral tissues) and subsequent coral mortality, devastating reefs worldwide. Genetic variation within and between Symbiodinium species strongly influences the bleaching tolerance of corals, thus recent papers have called for genetic engineering of Symbiodinium to elucidate the genetic basis of bleaching-relevant Symbiodinium traits. However, while Symbiodinium has been intensively studied for over 50 years, genetic transformation of Symbiodinium has seen little success likely due to the large evolutionary divergence between Symbiodinium and other model eukaryotes rendering standard transformation systems incompatible. Here, we integrate the growing wealth of Symbiodinium next-generation sequencing data to design tailored genetic engineering strategies. Specifically, we develop a testable expression construct model that incorporates endogenous Symbiodinium promoters, terminators, and genes of interest, as well as an internal ribosomal entry site from a Symbiodinium virus. Furthermore, we assess the potential for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing through new analyses of the three currently available Symbiodinium genomes. Finally, we discuss how genetic engineering could be applied to enhance the stress tolerance of Symbiodinium, and in turn, coral reefs.

  6. Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts

    KAUST Repository

    Levin, Rachel A.

    2017-06-30

    Elevated sea surface temperatures from a severe and prolonged El Niño event (2014–2016) fueled by climate change have resulted in mass coral bleaching (loss of dinoflagellate photosymbionts, Symbiodinium spp., from coral tissues) and subsequent coral mortality, devastating reefs worldwide. Genetic variation within and between Symbiodinium species strongly influences the bleaching tolerance of corals, thus recent papers have called for genetic engineering of Symbiodinium to elucidate the genetic basis of bleaching-relevant Symbiodinium traits. However, while Symbiodinium has been intensively studied for over 50 years, genetic transformation of Symbiodinium has seen little success likely due to the large evolutionary divergence between Symbiodinium and other model eukaryotes rendering standard transformation systems incompatible. Here, we integrate the growing wealth of Symbiodinium next-generation sequencing data to design tailored genetic engineering strategies. Specifically, we develop a testable expression construct model that incorporates endogenous Symbiodinium promoters, terminators, and genes of interest, as well as an internal ribosomal entry site from a Symbiodinium virus. Furthermore, we assess the potential for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing through new analyses of the three currently available Symbiodinium genomes. Finally, we discuss how genetic engineering could be applied to enhance the stress tolerance of Symbiodinium, and in turn, coral reefs.

  7. Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel A. Levin

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Elevated sea surface temperatures from a severe and prolonged El Niño event (2014–2016 fueled by climate change have resulted in mass coral bleaching (loss of dinoflagellate photosymbionts, Symbiodinium spp., from coral tissues and subsequent coral mortality, devastating reefs worldwide. Genetic variation within and between Symbiodinium species strongly influences the bleaching tolerance of corals, thus recent papers have called for genetic engineering of Symbiodinium to elucidate the genetic basis of bleaching-relevant Symbiodinium traits. However, while Symbiodinium has been intensively studied for over 50 years, genetic transformation of Symbiodinium has seen little success likely due to the large evolutionary divergence between Symbiodinium and other model eukaryotes rendering standard transformation systems incompatible. Here, we integrate the growing wealth of Symbiodinium next-generation sequencing data to design tailored genetic engineering strategies. Specifically, we develop a testable expression construct model that incorporates endogenous Symbiodinium promoters, terminators, and genes of interest, as well as an internal ribosomal entry site from a Symbiodinium virus. Furthermore, we assess the potential for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing through new analyses of the three currently available Symbiodinium genomes. Finally, we discuss how genetic engineering could be applied to enhance the stress tolerance of Symbiodinium, and in turn, coral reefs.

  8. Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levin, Rachel A; Voolstra, Christian R; Agrawal, Shobhit; Steinberg, Peter D; Suggett, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2017-01-01

    Elevated sea surface temperatures from a severe and prolonged El Niño event (2014-2016) fueled by climate change have resulted in mass coral bleaching (loss of dinoflagellate photosymbionts, Symbiodinium spp., from coral tissues) and subsequent coral mortality, devastating reefs worldwide. Genetic variation within and between Symbiodinium species strongly influences the bleaching tolerance of corals, thus recent papers have called for genetic engineering of Symbiodinium to elucidate the genetic basis of bleaching-relevant Symbiodinium traits. However, while Symbiodinium has been intensively studied for over 50 years, genetic transformation of Symbiodinium has seen little success likely due to the large evolutionary divergence between Symbiodinium and other model eukaryotes rendering standard transformation systems incompatible. Here, we integrate the growing wealth of Symbiodinium next-generation sequencing data to design tailored genetic engineering strategies. Specifically, we develop a testable expression construct model that incorporates endogenous Symbiodinium promoters, terminators, and genes of interest, as well as an internal ribosomal entry site from a Symbiodinium virus. Furthermore, we assess the potential for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing through new analyses of the three currently available Symbiodinium genomes. Finally, we discuss how genetic engineering could be applied to enhance the stress tolerance of Symbiodinium , and in turn, coral reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  10. Body fat and fat-free mass and all-cause mortality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bigaard, Janne; Frederiksen, Kirsten; Tjønneland, Anne

    2004-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the association between BMI and all-cause mortality could be disentangled into opposite effects of body fat and fat-free mass (FFM). RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: All-cause mortality was studied in the Danish follow-up study "Diet, Cancer and Health" with 27...... fat mass divided by height squared), FFM index (FFM divided by height squared), and mortality. All analyses were adjusted for smoking habits. RESULTS: Men and women showed similar associations. J-shaped associations were found between body fat mass index and mortality adjusted for FFM and smoking....... The mortality rate ratios in the upper part of body fat mass were 1.12 per kg/m2 (95% confidence interval: 1.07, 1.18) in men and 1.06 per kg/m2 (95% confidence interval: 1.02, 1.10) in women. Reversed J-shaped associations were found between FFM index and mortality with a tendency to level off for high values...

  11. Unprecedented mass bleaching and loss of coral across 12° of latitude in Western Australia in 2010-11.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, James A Y; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Depczynski, Martial R; Evans, Richard D; Evans, Scott N; Field, Stuart N; Friedman, Kim J; Gilmour, James P; Holmes, Thomas H; Middlebrook, Rachael; Radford, Ben T; Ridgway, Tyrone; Shedrawi, George; Taylor, Heather; Thomson, Damian P; Wilson, Shaun K

    2012-01-01

    Globally, coral bleaching has been responsible for a significant decline in both coral cover and diversity over the past two decades. During the summer of 2010-11, anomalous large-scale ocean warming induced unprecedented levels of coral bleaching accompanied by substantial storminess across more than 12° of latitude and 1200 kilometers of coastline in Western Australia (WA). Extreme La-Niña conditions caused extensive warming of waters and drove considerable storminess and cyclonic activity across WA from October 2010 to May 2011. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature measurements recorded anomalies of up to 5°C above long-term averages. Benthic surveys quantified the extent of bleaching at 10 locations across four regions from tropical to temperate waters. Bleaching was recorded in all locations across regions and ranged between 17% (±5.5) in the temperate Perth region, to 95% (±3.5) in the Exmouth Gulf of the tropical Ningaloo region. Coincident with high levels of bleaching, three cyclones passed in close proximity to study locations around the time of peak temperatures. Follow-up surveys revealed spatial heterogeneity in coral cover change with four of ten locations recording significant loss of coral cover. Relative decreases ranged between 22%-83.9% of total coral cover, with the greatest losses in the Exmouth Gulf. The anomalous thermal stress of 2010-11 induced mass bleaching of corals along central and southern WA coral reefs. Significant coral bleaching was observed at multiple locations across the tropical-temperate divide spanning more than 1200 km of coastline. Resultant spatially patchy loss of coral cover under widespread and high levels of bleaching and cyclonic activity, suggests a degree of resilience for WA coral communities. However, the spatial extent of bleaching casts some doubt over hypotheses suggesting that future impacts to coral reefs under forecast warming regimes may in part be mitigated by southern thermal refugia.

  12. 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.

  13. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Moderate Thermal Stress Causes Active and Immediate Expulsion of Photosynthetically Damaged Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium from Corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Fujise

    Full Text Available The foundation of coral reef biology is the symbiosis between corals and zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium. Recently, coral bleaching, which often results in mass mortality of corals and the collapse of coral reef ecosystems, has become an important issue around the world as coral reefs decrease in number year after year. To understand the mechanisms underlying coral bleaching, we maintained two species of scleractinian corals (Acroporidae in aquaria under non-thermal stress (27°C and moderate thermal stress conditions (30°C, and we compared the numbers and conditions of the expelled Symbiodinium from these corals. Under non-thermal stress conditions corals actively expel a degraded form of Symbiodinium, which are thought to be digested by their host coral. This response was also observed at 30°C. However, while the expulsion rates of Symbiodinium cells remained constant, the proportion of degraded cells significantly increased at 30°C. This result indicates that corals more actively digest and expel damaged Symbiodinium under thermal stress conditions, likely as a mechanism for coping with environmental change. However, the increase in digested Symbiodinium expulsion under thermal stress may not fully keep up with accumulation of the damaged cells. There are more photosynthetically damaged Symbiodinium upon prolonged exposure to thermal stress, and corals release them without digestion to prevent their accumulation. This response may be an adaptive strategy to moderate stress to ensure survival, but the accumulation of damaged Symbiodinium, which causes subsequent coral deterioration, may occur when the response cannot cope with the magnitude or duration of environmental stress, and this might be a possible mechanism underlying coral bleaching during prolonged moderate thermal stress.

  15. Moderate Thermal Stress Causes Active and Immediate Expulsion of Photosynthetically Damaged Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium) from Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujise, Lisa; Yamashita, Hiroshi; Suzuki, Go; Sasaki, Kengo; Liao, Lawrence M; Koike, Kazuhiko

    2014-01-01

    The foundation of coral reef biology is the symbiosis between corals and zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium). Recently, coral bleaching, which often results in mass mortality of corals and the collapse of coral reef ecosystems, has become an important issue around the world as coral reefs decrease in number year after year. To understand the mechanisms underlying coral bleaching, we maintained two species of scleractinian corals (Acroporidae) in aquaria under non-thermal stress (27°C) and moderate thermal stress conditions (30°C), and we compared the numbers and conditions of the expelled Symbiodinium from these corals. Under non-thermal stress conditions corals actively expel a degraded form of Symbiodinium, which are thought to be digested by their host coral. This response was also observed at 30°C. However, while the expulsion rates of Symbiodinium cells remained constant, the proportion of degraded cells significantly increased at 30°C. This result indicates that corals more actively digest and expel damaged Symbiodinium under thermal stress conditions, likely as a mechanism for coping with environmental change. However, the increase in digested Symbiodinium expulsion under thermal stress may not fully keep up with accumulation of the damaged cells. There are more photosynthetically damaged Symbiodinium upon prolonged exposure to thermal stress, and corals release them without digestion to prevent their accumulation. This response may be an adaptive strategy to moderate stress to ensure survival, but the accumulation of damaged Symbiodinium, which causes subsequent coral deterioration, may occur when the response cannot cope with the magnitude or duration of environmental stress, and this might be a possible mechanism underlying coral bleaching during prolonged moderate thermal stress.

  16. A global protocol for monitoring of coral bleaching

    OpenAIRE

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

    2004-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. Is proximity to land-based sources of coral stressors an appropriate measure of risk to coral reefs? An example from the Florida Reef Tract.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Fong, Peggy

    2007-06-01

    Localized declines in coral condition are commonly linked to land-based sources of stressors that influence gradients of water quality, and the distance to sources of stressors is commonly used as a proxy for predicting the vulnerability and future status of reef resources. In this study, we evaluated explicitly whether proximity to shore and connections to coastal bays, two measures of potential land-based sources of disturbance, influence coral community and population structure, and the abundance, distribution, and condition of corals within patch reefs of the Florida Reef Tract. In the Florida Keys, long-term monitoring has documented significant differences in water quality along a cross-shelf gradient. Inshore habitats exhibit higher levels of nutrients (DIN and TP), TOC, turbidity, and light attenuation, and these levels decrease with increasing distance from shore and connections to tidal bays. In clear contrast to these patterns of water quality, corals on inshore patch reefs exhibited significantly higher coral cover, higher growth rates, and lower partial mortality rates than those documented in similar offshore habitats. Coral recruitment rates did not differ between inshore and offshore habitats. Corals on patch reefs closest to shore had well-spread population structures numerically dominated by intermediate to large colonies, while offshore populations showed narrower size-distributions that become increasingly positively skewed. Differences in size-structure of coral populations were attributed to faster growth and lower rates of partial mortality at inshore habitats. While the underlying causes for the favorable condition of inshore coral communities are not yet known, we hypothesize that the ability of corals to shift their trophic mode under adverse environmental conditions may be partly responsible for the observed patterns, as shown in other reef systems. This study, based on data collected from a uniform reef habitat type and coral species

  19. Predicting dredging-associated effects to coral reefs in Apra Harbor, Guam - Part 2: Potential coral effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Deborah Shafer; McManus, John; Richmond, Robert H; King, David B; Gailani, Joe Z; Lackey, Tahirih C; Bryant, Duncan

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs are in decline worldwide due to anthropogenic stressors including reductions in water and substratum quality. Dredging results in the mobilization of sediments, which can stress and kill corals via increasing turbidity, tissue damage and burial. The Particle Tracking Model (PTM) was applied to predict the potential impacts of dredging-associated sediment exposure on the coral reef ecosystems of Apra Harbor, Guam. The data were interpreted using maps of bathymetry and coral abundance and distribution in conjunction with impact parameters of suspended sediment concentration (turbidity) and sedimentation using defined coral response thresholds. The results are presented using a "stoplight" model of negligible or limited impacts to coral reefs (green), moderate stress from which some corals would be expected to recover while others would not (yellow) and severe stress resulting in mortality (red). The red conditions for sediment deposition rate and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) were defined as values exceeding 25 mg cm(-2) d(-1) over any 30 day window and >20 mg/l for any 18 days in any 90 day period over a column of water greater than 2 m, respectively. The yellow conditions were defined as values >10 mg cm(-2) d(-1) and <25 mg cm(-2) d(-1) over any 30 day period, and as 20% of 3 months' concentration exceeding 10 mg/l for the deposition and SSC, respectively. The model also incorporates the potential for cumulative effects on the assumption that even sub-lethal stress levels can ultimately lead to mortality in a multi-stressor system. This modeling approach can be applied by resource managers and regulatory agencies to support management decisions related to planning, site selection, damage reduction, and compensatory mitigation. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. High Latitude Corals Tolerate Severe Cold Spell

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chenae A. Tuckett

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Climatically extreme weather events often drive long-term ecological responses of ecosystems. By disrupting the important symbiosis with zooxanthellae, Marine Cold Spells (MCS can cause bleaching and mortality in tropical and subtropical scleractinian corals. Here we report on the effects of a severe MCS on high latitude corals, where we expected to find bleaching and mortality. The MCS took place off the coast of Perth (32°S, Western Australia in 2016. Bleaching was assessed before (2014 and after (2017 the MCS from surveys of permanent plots, and with timed bleaching searches. Temperature data was recorded with in situ loggers. During the MCS temperatures dipped to the coldest recorded in ten years (15.3°C and periods of <17°C lasted for up to 19 days. Only 4.3% of the surveyed coral colonies showed signs of bleaching. Bleaching was observed in 8 species where those most affected were Plesiastrea versipora and Montipora mollis. These findings suggest that high latitude corals in this area are tolerant of cold stress and are not persisting near a lethal temperature minimum. It has not been established whether other environmental conditions are limiting these species, and if so, what the implications are for coral performance on these reefs in a warmer future.

  1. 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).

  2. 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

  3. Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Mumby, Peter J.

    2015-01-01

    Recent epizootics have removed important functional species from Caribbean coral reefs and left communities vulnerable to alternative attractors. Global warming will impact reefs further through two mechanisms. A chronic mechanism reduces coral calcification, which can result in depressed somatic growth. An acute mechanism, coral bleaching, causes extreme mortality when sea temperatures become anomalously high. We ask how these two mechanisms interact in driving future reef state (coral cover...

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.

    2012-03-25

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

  6. Study of the agents and dynamics of coral bioerosion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Highsmith, R.; Riggs, A.

    1979-01-01

    Roles of various burrowing organisms in altering and generating infaunal habitat structure and in excavation and destruction of corals were studied. Burrowers and associated organisms were collected from corals and included polychaetes, sponges, bivalves, gastropods, sipunculans, crustaceans, echinoids, and nematodes. Sections of microatolls were analyzed for growth rates and sponge burrowing rates. Corals with a basal diameter of less than 6 cm suffered greater mortality due to bioerosion than larger heads

  7. 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.

  8. Growth form-dependent response to physical disturbance and thermal stress in Acropora corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muko, S.; Arakaki, S.; Nagao, M.; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2013-03-01

    To predict the community structure in response to changing environmental conditions, it is necessary to know the species-specific reaction and relative impact strength of each disturbance. We investigated the coral communities in two sites, an exposed and a protected site, at Iriomote Island, Japan, from 2005 to 2008. During the study period, a cyclone and thermal stress were observed. All Acropora colonies, classified into four morphologies (arborescent, tabular, corymbose, and digitate), were identified and tracked through time to calculate the annual mortality and growth rate. The mortality of all Acropora colonies in the protected site was lower than that in the exposed site during the period without disturbances. Extremely higher mortality due to bleaching was observed in tabular and corymbose Acropora, compared to other growth forms, at the protected sites after thermal stress. In contrast, physical disturbance by a tropical cyclone induced the highest mortality in arborescent and digitate corals at the exposed site. Moreover, arborescent corals exhibited a remarkable decline 1 year after the tropical cyclone at the exposed site. The growth of colonies that survived coral bleaching did not decrease in the following year compared to previous year for all growth forms, but the growth of arborescent and tabular remnant corals at the exposed site declined severely after the tropical cyclone compared to previous year. The delayed mortality and lowered growth rate after the tropical cyclone were probably due to the damage caused by the tropical cyclone. These results indicate that the cyclone had a greater impact on fragile corals than expected. This study provides useful information for the evaluation of Acropora coral response to progressing global warming conditions, which are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity in the near future.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia H. Garrison

    2012-03-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. The differential effects of increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme events on coral populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabina, Nicholas S; Baskett, Marissa L; Gross, Kevin

    2015-09-01

    Extreme events, which have profound ecological consequences, are changing in both frequency and magnitude with climate change. Because extreme temperatures induce coral bleaching, we can explore the relative impacts of changes in frequency and magnitude of high temperature events on coral reefs. Here, we combined climate projections and a dynamic population model to determine how changing bleaching regimes influence coral persistence. We additionally explored how coral traits and competition with macroalgae mediate changes in bleaching regimes. Our results predict that severe bleaching events reduce coral persistence more than frequent bleaching. Corals with low adult mortality and high growth rates are successful when bleaching is mild, but bleaching resistance is necessary to persist when bleaching is severe, regardless of frequency. The existence of macroalgae-dominated stable states reduces coral persistence and changes the relative importance of coral traits. Building on previous studies, our results predict that management efforts may need to prioritize protection of "weaker" corals with high adult mortality when bleaching is mild, and protection of "stronger" corals with high bleaching resistance when bleaching is severe. In summary, future reef projections and conservation targets depend on both local bleaching regimes and biodiversity.

  15. Global warming and mass mortalities of benthic invertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Irene Rivetti

    Full Text Available Satellite data show a steady increase, in the last decades, of the surface temperature (upper few millimetres of the water surface of the Mediterranean Sea. Reports of mass mortalities of benthic marine invertebrates increased in the same period. Some local studies interpreted the two phenomena in a cause-effect fashion. However, a basin-wide picture of temperature changes combined with a systematic assessment on invertebrate mass mortalities was still lacking. Both the thermal structure of the water column in the Mediterranean Sea over the period 1945-2011 and all documented invertebrate mass mortality events in the basin are analysed to ascertain if: 1- documented mass mortalities occurred under conditions of positive temperature trends at basin scale, and 2- atypical thermal conditions were registered at the smaller spatial and temporal scale of mass mortality events. The thermal structure of the shallow water column over the last 67 years was reconstructed using data from three public sources: MEDAR-MEDATLAS, World Ocean Database, MFS-VOS programme. A review of the mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates at Mediterranean scale was also carried out. The analysis of in situ temperature profiles shows that the Mediterranean Sea changed in a non-homogeneous fashion. The frequency of mass mortalities is increasing. The areas subjected to these events correspond to positive thermal anomalies. Statistically significant temperature trends in the upper layers of the Mediterranean Sea show an increase of up to 0.07°C/yr for a large fraction of the basin. Mass mortalities are consistent with both the temperature increase at basin scale and the thermal changes at local scale, up to 5.2°C. Our research supports the existence of a causal link between positive thermal anomalies and observed invertebrate mass mortalities in the Mediterranean Sea, invoking focused mitigation initiatives in sensitive areas.

  16. Global Warming and Mass Mortalities of Benthic Invertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivetti, Irene; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Lionello, Piero; Zambianchi, Enrico; Boero, Ferdinando

    2014-01-01

    Satellite data show a steady increase, in the last decades, of the surface temperature (upper few millimetres of the water surface) of the Mediterranean Sea. Reports of mass mortalities of benthic marine invertebrates increased in the same period. Some local studies interpreted the two phenomena in a cause-effect fashion. However, a basin-wide picture of temperature changes combined with a systematic assessment on invertebrate mass mortalities was still lacking. Both the thermal structure of the water column in the Mediterranean Sea over the period 1945–2011 and all documented invertebrate mass mortality events in the basin are analysed to ascertain if: 1- documented mass mortalities occurred under conditions of positive temperature trends at basin scale, and 2- atypical thermal conditions were registered at the smaller spatial and temporal scale of mass mortality events. The thermal structure of the shallow water column over the last 67 years was reconstructed using data from three public sources: MEDAR-MEDATLAS, World Ocean Database, MFS-VOS programme. A review of the mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates at Mediterranean scale was also carried out. The analysis of in situ temperature profiles shows that the Mediterranean Sea changed in a non-homogeneous fashion. The frequency of mass mortalities is increasing. The areas subjected to these events correspond to positive thermal anomalies. Statistically significant temperature trends in the upper layers of the Mediterranean Sea show an increase of up to 0.07°C/yr for a large fraction of the basin. Mass mortalities are consistent with both the temperature increase at basin scale and the thermal changes at local scale, up to 5.2°C. Our research supports the existence of a causal link between positive thermal anomalies and observed invertebrate mass mortalities in the Mediterranean Sea, invoking focused mitigation initiatives in sensitive areas. PMID:25535973

  17. Unprecedented Mass Bleaching and Loss of Coral across 12° of Latitude in Western Australia in 2010–11

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, James A. Y.; Bellchambers, Lynda M.; Depczynski, Martial R.; Evans, Richard D.; Evans, Scott N.; Field, Stuart N.; Friedman, Kim J.; Gilmour, James P.; Holmes, Thomas H.; Middlebrook, Rachael; Radford, Ben T.; Ridgway, Tyrone; Shedrawi, George; Taylor, Heather; Thomson, Damian P.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2012-01-01

    Background Globally, coral bleaching has been responsible for a significant decline in both coral cover and diversity over the past two decades. During the summer of 2010–11, anomalous large-scale ocean warming induced unprecedented levels of coral bleaching accompanied by substantial storminess across more than 12° of latitude and 1200 kilometers of coastline in Western Australia (WA). Methodology/Principal Findings Extreme La-Niña conditions caused extensive warming of waters and drove considerable storminess and cyclonic activity across WA from October 2010 to May 2011. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature measurements recorded anomalies of up to 5°C above long-term averages. Benthic surveys quantified the extent of bleaching at 10 locations across four regions from tropical to temperate waters. Bleaching was recorded in all locations across regions and ranged between 17% (±5.5) in the temperate Perth region, to 95% (±3.5) in the Exmouth Gulf of the tropical Ningaloo region. Coincident with high levels of bleaching, three cyclones passed in close proximity to study locations around the time of peak temperatures. Follow-up surveys revealed spatial heterogeneity in coral cover change with four of ten locations recording significant loss of coral cover. Relative decreases ranged between 22%–83.9% of total coral cover, with the greatest losses in the Exmouth Gulf. Conclusions/Significance The anomalous thermal stress of 2010–11 induced mass bleaching of corals along central and southern WA coral reefs. Significant coral bleaching was observed at multiple locations across the tropical-temperate divide spanning more than 1200 km of coastline. Resultant spatially patchy loss of coral cover under widespread and high levels of bleaching and cyclonic activity, suggests a degree of resilience for WA coral communities. However, the spatial extent of bleaching casts some doubt over hypotheses suggesting that future impacts to coral reefs under forecast

  18. Susceptibility of central Red Sea corals during a major bleaching event

    KAUST Repository

    Furby, Kathryn A.

    2013-01-04

    A major coral bleaching event occurred in the central Red Sea near Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, in the summer of 2010, when the region experienced up to 10-11 degree heating weeks. We documented the susceptibility of various coral taxa to bleaching at eight reefs during the peak of this thermal stress. Oculinids and agaricids were most susceptible to bleaching, with up to 100 and 80 % of colonies of these families, respectively, bleaching at some reefs. In contrast, some families, such as mussids, pocilloporids, and pectinids showed low levels of bleaching (<20 % on average). We resurveyed the reefs 7 months later to estimate subsequent mortality. Mortality was highly variable among taxa, with some taxa showing evidence of full recovery and some (e. g., acroporids) apparently suffering nearly complete mortality. The unequal mortality among families resulted in significant change in community composition following the bleaching. Significant factors in the likelihood of coral bleaching during this event were depth of the reef and distance of the reef from shore. Shallow reefs and inshore reefs had a higher prevalence of bleaching. This bleaching event shows that Red Sea reefs are subject to the same increasing pressures that reefs face worldwide. This study provides a quantitative, genus-level assessment of the vulnerability of various coral groups from within the Red Sea to bleaching and estimates subsequent mortality. As such, it can provide valuable insights into the future for reef communities in the Red Sea. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  19. The abundance of herbivorous fish on an inshore Red Sea reef following a mass coral bleaching event

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.; Cochran, Jesse; Berumen, Michael L.

    2013-01-01

    and scarine labrids) were comparatively studied for an inshore reef that was severely impacted by a mass coral bleaching event in 2010 and an unaffected reef within the same region. Densities were found to be significantly higher on the affected reef, most

  20. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1999-07-01

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

  2. 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

  3. Body mass index and poststroke mortality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Olsen, Tom Skyhøj; Dehlendorff, Christian; Petersen, Hans Gregers

    2008-01-01

    Background: Obesity is an established cardiovascular risk factor. We studied the association between body mass index (BMI) and all-cause mortality after stroke. Methods: A registry started in 2001 with the aim to register all hospitalized stroke patients in Denmark now includes 21,884 patients...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrison, Virginia H.; Ward, Greg A.

    2012-01-01

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

  5. Cascading effects of mass mortality events in Arctic marine communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langangen, Øystein; Ohlberger, Jan; Stige, Leif C; Durant, Joël M; Ravagnan, Elisa; Stenseth, Nils C; Hjermann, Dag Ø

    2017-01-01

    Mass mortality events caused by pulse anthropogenic or environmental perturbations (e.g., extreme weather, toxic spills or epizootics) severely reduce the abundance of a population in a short time. The frequency and impact of these events are likely to increase across the globe. Studies on how such events may affect ecological communities of interacting species are scarce. By combining a multispecies Gompertz model with a Bayesian state-space framework, we quantify community-level effects of a mass mortality event in a single species. We present a case study on a community of fish and zooplankton in the Barents Sea to illustrate how a mass mortality event of different intensities affecting the lower trophic level (krill) may propagate to higher trophic levels (capelin and cod). This approach is especially valuable for assessing community-level effects of potential anthropogenic-driven mass mortality events, owing to the ability to account for uncertainty in the assessed impact due to uncertainty about the ecological dynamics. We hence quantify how the assessed impact of a mass mortality event depends on the degree of precaution considered. We suggest that this approach can be useful for assessing the possible detrimental outcomes of toxic spills, for example oil spills, in relatively simple communities such as often found in the Arctic, a region under increasing influence of human activities due to increased land and sea use. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Large-scale coral recruitment patterns on Mona Island, Puerto Rico: evidence of a transitional community trajectory after massive coral bleaching and mortality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin A. Hernández-Delgado

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have largely declined across the northeastern Caribbean following the 2005 massive bleaching event. Climate change-related sea surface warming and coral disease outbreaks of a white plague-like syndrome and of yellow band disease (YBD have caused significant coral decline affecting massive reef building species (i.e., Orbicella annularis species complex which show no apparent signs of recovery through larval sexual recruitment. We addressed coral recruit densities across three spur and groove reef locations along the western shelf of remote Mona Island, Puerto Rico: Punta Capitán (PCA, Pasa de Las Carmelitas (PLC, and Las Carmelitas-South (LCS. Data were collected during November 2012 along 93 haphazard transects across three depth zones (<5m, 5-10m, 10-15m. A total of 32 coral species (9 octocorals, 1 hydrocoral, 22 scleractinians were documented among the recruit community. Communities had low densities and dominance by short-lived brooder species seven years after the 2005 event. Mean coral recruit density ranged from 1.2 to 10.5/m2 at PCA, 6.3 to 7.2/m² at LCS, 4.5 to 9.5/m² at PLC. Differences in coral recruit community structure can be attributed to slight variation in percent macroalgal cover and composition as study sites had nearly similar benthic spatial heterogeneity. Dominance by ephemeral coral species was widespread. Recovery of largely declining massive reef-building species such as the O. annularis species complex was limited or non-existent. The lack of recovery could be the combined result of several mechanisms involving climate change, YBD disease, macroalgae, fishing, urchins and Mona Island’s reefs limited connectivity to other reef systems. There is also for rehabilitation of fish trophic structure, with emphasis in recovering herbivore guilds and depleted populations of D. antillarum. Failing to recognize the importance of ecosystem-based management and resilience rehabilitation may deem remote coral reefs

  8. An outbreak of sea cucumbers hinders coral recruitment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yu-Yang; McCook, Laurence; Jiang, Lei; Lian, Jian-Sheng; Liu, Sheng; Huang, Hui

    2018-06-01

    An outbreak of a small sessile sea cucumber, Ocnus sanya, occurred on the degraded Luhuitou coral reef in Sanya Bay, Hainan, China. This study explored the pattern of distribution of O. sanya on the reef and the impacts of the high abundance of O. sanya on post-settlement mortality of Pocillopora damicornis recruits. The density of O. sanya ranged from about 500 to over 2000 individuals m-2 with 10.95-23.69% cover on hard substrate. Terracotta tiles with O. sanya on the surface accumulated 19.7% more surface sediment than those without sea cucumbers. Post-settlement P. damicornis recruits had significantly higher mortality on terracotta tiles with O. sanya than those without O. sanya after 21 d. Overall, O. sanya appears to increase sediment stress and inhibit coral recruitment, exacerbating the degradation of Luhuitou Reef. This study raises the possibility that such novel outbreak species could contribute significant additional stress on coral reefs at larger scales.

  9. The U-shaped association of body mass index with mortality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Terese Sara Høj; Osler, Merete; Ängquist, Lars Henrik

    2016-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: The U-shaped association between body mass index (BMI) and mortality may depend on other traits with permanent health effects. Whether the association between BMI and mortality depends on levels of health-related traits known to be inversely associated with mortality throughout adult...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. Changes in Bleaching Susceptibility among Corals Subject to Ocean Warming and Recurrent Bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Thermal refugia against coral bleaching throughout the northern Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Osman, Eslam O.; Smith, David J.; Ziegler, Maren; Kü rten, Benjamin; Conrad, Constanze; El-Haddad, Khaled M.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Suggett, David J.

    2017-01-01

    Tropical reefs have been impacted by thermal anomalies caused by global warming that induced coral bleaching and mortality events globally. However, there have only been very few recordings of bleaching within the Red Sea despite covering a latitudinal range of 15° and consequently it has been considered a region that is less sensitive to thermal anomalies. We therefore examined historical patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) and associated anomalies (1982–2012) and compared warming trends with a unique compilation of corresponding coral bleaching records from throughout the region. These data indicated that the northern Red Sea has not experienced mass bleaching despite intensive Degree Heating Weeks (DHW) of >15°C-weeks. Severe bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea where DHWs have been more frequent, but far less intense (DHWs <4°C-weeks). A similar pattern was observed during the 2015–2016 El Niño event during which time corals in the northern Red Sea did not bleach despite high thermal stress (i.e. DHWs >8°C-weeks), and bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea despite the lower thermal stress (DHWs < 8°C-weeks). Heat stress assays carried out in the northern (Hurghada) and central (Thuwal) Red Sea on four key reef-building species confirmed different regional thermal susceptibility, and that central Red Sea corals are more sensitive to thermal anomalies as compared to those from the north. Together, our data demonstrate that corals in the northern Red Sea have a much higher heat tolerance than their prevailing temperature regime would suggest. In contrast, corals from the central Red Sea are close to their thermal limits, which closely match the maximum annual water temperatures. The northern Red Sea harbours reef-building corals that live well below their bleaching thresholds and thus we propose that the region represents a thermal refuge of global importance.

  15. Thermal refugia against coral bleaching throughout the northern Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Osman, Eslam O.

    2017-10-17

    Tropical reefs have been impacted by thermal anomalies caused by global warming that induced coral bleaching and mortality events globally. However, there have only been very few recordings of bleaching within the Red Sea despite covering a latitudinal range of 15° and consequently it has been considered a region that is less sensitive to thermal anomalies. We therefore examined historical patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) and associated anomalies (1982–2012) and compared warming trends with a unique compilation of corresponding coral bleaching records from throughout the region. These data indicated that the northern Red Sea has not experienced mass bleaching despite intensive Degree Heating Weeks (DHW) of >15°C-weeks. Severe bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea where DHWs have been more frequent, but far less intense (DHWs <4°C-weeks). A similar pattern was observed during the 2015–2016 El Niño event during which time corals in the northern Red Sea did not bleach despite high thermal stress (i.e. DHWs >8°C-weeks), and bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea despite the lower thermal stress (DHWs < 8°C-weeks). Heat stress assays carried out in the northern (Hurghada) and central (Thuwal) Red Sea on four key reef-building species confirmed different regional thermal susceptibility, and that central Red Sea corals are more sensitive to thermal anomalies as compared to those from the north. Together, our data demonstrate that corals in the northern Red Sea have a much higher heat tolerance than their prevailing temperature regime would suggest. In contrast, corals from the central Red Sea are close to their thermal limits, which closely match the maximum annual water temperatures. The northern Red Sea harbours reef-building corals that live well below their bleaching thresholds and thus we propose that the region represents a thermal refuge of global importance.

  16. Spirochaetes dominate the microbial community associated with the red coral Corallium rubrum on a broad geographic scale

    KAUST Repository

    van de Water, Jeroen A. J. M.; Melkonian, Ré my; Junca, Howard; Voolstra, Christian R.; Reynaud, Sté phanie; Allemand, Denis; Ferrier-Pagè s, Christine

    2016-01-01

    Mass mortality events in populations of the iconic red coral Corallium rubrum have been related to seawater temperature anomalies that may have triggered microbial disease development. However, very little is known about the bacterial community associated with the red coral. We therefore aimed to provide insight into this species’ bacterial assemblages using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons generated from samples collected at five locations distributed across the western Mediterranean Sea. Twelve bacterial species were found to be consistently associated with the red coral, forming a core microbiome that accounted for 94.6% of the overall bacterial community. This core microbiome was particularly dominated by bacteria of the orders Spirochaetales and Oceanospirillales, in particular the ME2 family. Bacteria belonging to these orders have been implicated in nutrient cycling, including nitrogen, carbon and sulfur. While Oceanospirillales are common symbionts of marine invertebrates, our results identify members of the Spirochaetales as other important dominant symbiotic bacterial associates within Anthozoans.

  17. Spirochaetes dominate the microbial community associated with the red coral Corallium rubrum on a broad geographic scale

    KAUST Repository

    van de Water, Jeroen A. J. M.

    2016-06-06

    Mass mortality events in populations of the iconic red coral Corallium rubrum have been related to seawater temperature anomalies that may have triggered microbial disease development. However, very little is known about the bacterial community associated with the red coral. We therefore aimed to provide insight into this species’ bacterial assemblages using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons generated from samples collected at five locations distributed across the western Mediterranean Sea. Twelve bacterial species were found to be consistently associated with the red coral, forming a core microbiome that accounted for 94.6% of the overall bacterial community. This core microbiome was particularly dominated by bacteria of the orders Spirochaetales and Oceanospirillales, in particular the ME2 family. Bacteria belonging to these orders have been implicated in nutrient cycling, including nitrogen, carbon and sulfur. While Oceanospirillales are common symbionts of marine invertebrates, our results identify members of the Spirochaetales as other important dominant symbiotic bacterial associates within Anthozoans.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Esther Rubio-Portillo

    2018-01-01

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

  19. Marked annual coral bleaching resilience of an inshore patch reef in the Florida Keys: A nugget of hope, aberrance, or last man standing?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gintert, Brooke E.; Manzello, Derek P.; Enochs, Ian C.; Kolodziej, Graham; Carlton, Renée; Gleason, Arthur C. R.; Gracias, Nuno

    2018-06-01

    Annual coral bleaching events, which are predicted to occur as early as the next decade in the Florida Keys, are expected to cause catastrophic coral mortality. Despite this, there is little field data on how Caribbean coral communities respond to annual thermal stress events. At Cheeca Rocks, an inshore patch reef near Islamorada, FL, the condition of 4234 coral colonies was followed over 2 yr of subsequent bleaching in 2014 and 2015, the two hottest summers on record for the Florida Keys. In 2014, this site experienced 7.7 degree heating weeks (DHW) and as a result 38.0% of corals bleached and an additional 36.6% were pale or partially bleached. In situ temperatures in summer of 2015 were even warmer, with the site experiencing 9.5 DHW. Despite the increased thermal stress in 2015, only 12.1% of corals were bleached in 2015, which was 3.1 times less than 2014. Partial mortality dropped from 17.6% of surveyed corals to 4.3% between 2014 and 2015, and total colony mortality declined from 3.4 to 1.9% between years. Total colony mortality was low over both years of coral bleaching with 94.7% of colonies surviving from 2014 to 2016. The reduction in bleaching severity and coral mortality associated with a second stronger thermal anomaly provides evidence that the response of Caribbean coral communities to annual bleaching is not strictly temperature dose dependent and that acclimatization responses may be possible even with short recovery periods. Whether the results from Cheeca Rocks represent an aberration or a true resilience potential is the subject of ongoing research.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Natt

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

  1. 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

  2. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till; Ochsenkuhn, Michael A.; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Van Der Merwe, Riaan; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration, and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa

  3. Response of reef corals on a fringing reef flat to elevated suspended-sediment concentrations: Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Ku'ulei S.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Field, Michael E.; Lager, Claire V.; Lager, Dan

    2014-01-01

    A long-term (10 month exposure) experiment on effects of suspended sediment on the mortality, growth, and recruitment of the reef corals Montipora capitata and Porites compressa was conducted on the shallow reef flat off south Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi. Corals were grown on wire platforms with attached coral recruitment tiles along a suspended solid concentration (SSC) gradient that ranged from 37 mg l−1 (inshore) to 3 mg l−1(offshore). Natural coral reef development on the reef flat is limited to areas with SSCs less than 10 mg l−1 as previously suggested in the scientific literature. However, the experimental corals held at much higher levels of turbidity showed surprisingly good survivorship and growth. High SSCs encountered on the reef flat reduced coral recruitment by one to three orders of magnitude compared to other sites throughout Hawaiʻi. There was a significant correlation between the biomass of macroalgae attached to the wire growth platforms at the end of the experiment and percentage of the corals showing mortality. We conclude that lack of suitable hard substrate, macroalgal competition, and blockage of recruitment on available substratum are major factors accounting for the low natural coral coverage in areas of high turbidity. The direct impact of high turbidity on growth and mortality is of lesser importance.

  4. Changes in zooxanthellae density, morphology, and mitotic index in hermatypic corals and anemones exposed to cyanide.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cervino, J M; Hayes, R L; Honovich, M; Goreau, T J; Jones, S; Rubec, P J

    2003-05-01

    Sodium cyanide (NaCN) is widely used for the capture of reef fish throughout Southeast Asia and causes extensive fish mortality, but the effect of NaCN on reef corals remains debated. To document the impact of cyanide exposure on corals, the species Acropora millepora, Goniopora sp., Favites abdita, Trachyphyllia geoffrio, Plerogyra sp., Heliofungia actinformis, Euphyllia divisa, and Scarophyton sp., and the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida were exposed to varying concentrations of cyanide for varying time periods. Corals were exposed to 50, 100, 300, and 600 mg/l of cyanide ion (CN(-)) for 1-2 min (in seawater, the CN(-) forms hydrocyanic acid). These concentrations are much lower than those reportedly used by fish collectors. Exposed corals and anemones immediately retracted their tentacles and mesenterial filaments, and discharged copious amounts of mucus containing zooxanthellae. Gel electrophoreses techniques found changes in protein expression in both zooxanthellae and host tissue. Corals and anemones exposed to cyanide showed an immediate increase in mitotic cell division of their zooxenthellae, and a decrease in zooxanthellae density. In contrast, zooxanthellae cell division and density remained constant in controls. Histopathological changes included gastrodermal disruption, mesogleal degradation, and increased mucus in coral tissues. Zooxanthellae showed pigment loss, swelling, and deformation. Mortality occurred at all exposure levels. Exposed specimens experienced an increase in the ratio of gram-negative to gram-positive bacteria on the coral surface. The results demonstrate that exposure cyanide causes mortality to corals and anemones, even when applied at lower levels than that used by fish collectors. Even brief exposure to cyanide caused slow-acting and long-term damage to corals and their zooxanthellae.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-28

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

  8. Ocean Warming Slows Coral Growth in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Cantin, N. E.; Cohen, A. L.; Karnauskas, K. B.; Tarrant, A. M.; McCorkle, D. C.

    2010-01-01

    Sea surface temperature (SST) across much of the tropics has increased by 0.4° to 1°C since the mid-1970s. A parallel increase in the frequency and extent of coral bleaching and mortality has fueled concern that climate change poses a major threat to the survival of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. Here we show that steadily rising SSTs, not ocean acidification, are already driving dramatic changes in the growth of an important reef-building coral in the central Red Sea. Three-dimensional computed tomography analyses of the massive coral Diploastrea heliopora reveal that skeletal growth of apparently healthy colonies has declined by 30% since 1998. The same corals responded to a short-lived warm event in 1941/1942, but recovered within 3 years as the ocean cooled. Combining our data with climate model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we predict that should the current warming trend continue, this coral could cease growing altogether by 2070.

  9. Ocean Warming Slows Coral Growth in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Cantin, N. E.

    2010-07-15

    Sea surface temperature (SST) across much of the tropics has increased by 0.4° to 1°C since the mid-1970s. A parallel increase in the frequency and extent of coral bleaching and mortality has fueled concern that climate change poses a major threat to the survival of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. Here we show that steadily rising SSTs, not ocean acidification, are already driving dramatic changes in the growth of an important reef-building coral in the central Red Sea. Three-dimensional computed tomography analyses of the massive coral Diploastrea heliopora reveal that skeletal growth of apparently healthy colonies has declined by 30% since 1998. The same corals responded to a short-lived warm event in 1941/1942, but recovered within 3 years as the ocean cooled. Combining our data with climate model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we predict that should the current warming trend continue, this coral could cease growing altogether by 2070.

  10. Coral mortality in reefs: The cause and effect; A central concern for reef monitoring

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    stream_size 4 stream_content_type text/plain stream_name Region_Workshop_Conserv_Sustain_Mgmt_Coral_Reefs_1997_C83.pdf.txt stream_source_info Region_Workshop_Conserv_Sustain_Mgmt_Coral_Reefs_1997_C83.pdf.txt Content-Encoding ISO-8859...

  11. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jovanović, Boris; Guzmán, Héctor M

    2014-06-01

    Increased use of manufactured titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2 ) is causing a rise in their concentration in the aquatic environment, including coral reef ecosystems. Caribbean mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata) has frequently been used as a model species to study gene expression during stress and bleaching events. Specimens of M. faveolata were collected in Panama and exposed for 17 d to nano-TiO2 suspensions (0.1 mg L(-1) and 10 mg L(-1) ). Exposure to nano-TiO2 caused significant zooxanthellae expulsion in all the colonies, without mortality. Induction of the gene for heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) was observed during an early stage of exposure (day 2), indicating acute stress. However, there was no statistical difference in HSP70 expression on day 7 or 17, indicating possible coral acclimation and recovery from stress. No other genes were significantly upregulated. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis revealed that nano-TiO2 was predominantly trapped and stored within the posterior layer of the coral fragment (burrowing sponges, bacterial and fungal mats). The bioconcentration factor in the posterior layer was close to 600 after exposure to 10 mg L(-1) of nano-TiO2 for 17 d. The transient increase in HSP70, expulsion of zooxanthellae, and bioaccumulation of nano-TiO2 in the microflora of the coral colony indicate the potential of such exposure to induce stress and possibly contribute to an overall decrease in coral populations. © 2014 SETAC.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Post-bleaching coral community change on southern Maldivian reefs: is there potential for rapid recovery?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, C. T.; Morgan, K. M.

    2017-12-01

    Given the severity of the 2016 global bleaching event, there are major questions about how quickly reef communities will recover. Here, we explore the ecological and physical structural changes that occurred across five atoll interior reefs in the southern Maldives using data collected at 6 and 12 months post-bleaching. Following initial severe coral mortality, further minor coral mortality had occurred by 12 months post-bleaching, and coral cover is now low (transitions to rubble-dominated states will occur in the near future. Juvenile coral densities in shallow fore-reef habitats are also exceptionally low (<6 individuals m-2), well below those measured 9-12 months following the 1998 bleaching event, and below recovery thresholds identified on other Indian Ocean reefs. Our findings suggest that the physical structure of these reefs will need to decline further before effective recruitment and recovery can begin.

  16. Demographic Mechanisms of Reef Coral Species Winnowing from Communities under Increased Environmental Stress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard Riegl

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Winnowing of poorly-adapted species from local communities causes shifts/declines in species richness, making ecosystems increasingly ecologically depauperate. Low diversity can be associated with marginality of environments, which is increasing as climate change impacts ecosystems globally. This paper demonstrates the demographic mechanisms (size-specific mortality, growth, fertility; and metapopulation connectivity associated with population-level changes due to thermal stress extremes for five zooxanthellate reef-coral species. Effects vary among species, leading to predictable changes in population size and, consequently, community structure. The Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG is an ecologically marginal reef environment with a subset of Indo-Pacific species, plus endemics. Local heating correlates with changes in coral population dynamics and community structure. Recent population dynamics of PAG corals were quantified in two phases (medium disturbed MD 1998–2010 and 2013–2017, severely disturbed SD 1996/8, 2010/11/12 with two stable states of declining coral frequency and cover. The strongest changes in life-dynamics, as expressed by transition matrices solved for MD and SD periods were in Acropora downingi and Porites harrisoni, which showed significant partial and whole-colony mortality (termed “shrinkers”. But in Dipsastrea pallida, Platygyra daedalea, Cyphastraea microphthalma the changes to life dynamics were more subtle, with only partial tissue mortality (termed “persisters”. Metapopulation models suggested recovery predominantly in species experiencing partial rather than whole-colony mortality. Increased frequency of disturbance caused progressive reduction in coral size, cover, and population fecundity. Also, the greater the frequency of disturbance, the more larval connectivity is required to maintain the metapopulation. An oceanographic model revealed important local larval retention and connectivity primarily between

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koty H Sharp

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

  18. U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R.; Roff, George; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yue-xing; Done, Terence J.; McCook, Laurence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2017-09-01

    Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (shifted baseline.

  19. Response of coral assemblages to thermal stress: are bleaching intensity and spatial patterns consistent between events?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penin, Lucie; Vidal-Dupiol, Jeremie; Adjeroud, Mehdi

    2013-06-01

    Mass bleaching events resulting in coral mortality are among the greatest threats to coral reefs, and are projected to increase in frequency and intensity with global warming. Achieving a better understanding of the consistency of the response of coral assemblages to thermal stress, both spatially and temporally, is essential to determine which reefs are more able to tolerate climate change. We compared variations in spatial and taxonomic patterns between two bleaching events at the scale of an island (Moorea Island, French Polynesia). Despite similar thermal stress and light conditions, bleaching intensity was significantly lower in 2007 (approximately 37 % of colonies showed signs of bleaching) than in 2002, when 55 % of the colonies bleached. Variations in the spatial patterns of bleaching intensity were consistent between the two events. Among nine sampling stations at three locations and three depths, the stations at which the bleaching response was lowest in 2002 were those that showed the lowest levels of bleaching in 2007. The taxonomic patterns of susceptibility to bleaching were also consistent between the two events. These findings have important implications for conservation because they indicate that corals are capable of acclimatization and/or adaptation and that, even at small spatial scales, some areas are consistently more susceptible to bleaching than others.

  20. Impacts of turbidity on corals: The relative importance of light limitation and suspended sediments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bessell-Browne, Pia; Negri, Andrew P.; Fisher, Rebecca; Clode, Peta L.; Duckworth, Alan; Jones, Ross

    2017-01-01

    As part of an investigation of the effects of water quality from dredging/natural resuspension on reefs, the effects of suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) (0, 30, 100 mg L −1 ) and light (~ 0, 1.1, 8.6 mol photons m −2 d −1 ) were examined alone and in combination, on the corals Acropora millepora, Montipora capricornis and Porites spp. over an extended (28 d) period. No effects were observed at any sediment concentrations when applied alone. All corals in the lowest light treatments lost chlorophyll a and discoloured (bleached) after a week. Coral mortality only occurred in the two lowest light treatments and was higher when simultaneously exposed to elevated SSCs. Compared to water quality data collected during large dredging programs and natural resuspension events (and in the absence of sediment deposition as a cause-effect pathway) these data suggest the light reduction associated with turbidity poses a proportionally greater risk than effects of elevated SSCs alone. - Highlights: • Exposure of corals to low light conditions results in reduced quantum yields followed by bleaching of tissue. • Suspended sediment concentrations, without a reduction in light, have no impact on coral health. • An interaction between elevated suspended sediment concentrations and reduced light result in partial mortality of corals. • Management of dredging should minimise exposure of corals to low light to avoid unnecessary stress and impacts upon health.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Status of the Coral Reefs of Maldives after the Bleaching Event in 1998

    OpenAIRE

    Zahir, H.

    2000-01-01

    A pilot reef monitoring study was conducted in 1998 to assess the extent of coral bleaching in the Maldives. The aims of this monitoring exercise were: 1. To quantitatively document the post-bleaching status of the shallow-water coral communities on the reefs of the north, central and southern regions of Maldives. 2. To estimate bleaching-induced coral mortality by comparing data yielded by the pilot survey with data from previous surveys, especially those sites for which historical dat...

  5. Water column productivity and temperature predict coral reef regeneration across the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, B.; Glynn, P. W.; Wieters, E.; Purkis, S.; D'Angelo, C.; Wiedenmann, J.

    2015-02-01

    Predicted increases in seawater temperatures accelerate coral reef decline due to mortality by heat-driven coral bleaching. Alteration of the natural nutrient environment of reef corals reduces tolerance of corals to heat and light stress and thus will exacerbate impacts of global warming on reefs. Still, many reefs demonstrate remarkable regeneration from past stress events. This paper investigates the effects of sea surface temperature (SST) and water column productivity on recovery of coral reefs. In 71 Indo-Pacific sites, coral cover changes over the past 1-3 decades correlated negative-exponentially with mean SST, chlorophyll a, and SST rise. At six monitoring sites (Persian/Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, northern and southern Galápagos, Easter Island, Panama), over half of all corals were coral reefs presently have the best chances for survival. However, reefs best buffered against temperature and nutrient effects are those that current studies suggest to be most at peril from future ocean acidification.

  6. Functionally diverse reef-fish communities ameliorate coral disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymundo, Laurie J; Halford, Andrew R; Maypa, Aileen P; Kerr, Alexander M

    2009-10-06

    Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience has been linked to the conservation of functional diversity, whereas overfishing reduces functional diversity through cascading, top-down effects. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that reefs with trophically diverse reef fish communities have less coral disease than overfished reefs. We surveyed reefs across the central Philippines, including well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs), and found that disease prevalence was significantly negatively correlated with fish taxonomic diversity. Further, MPAs had significantly higher fish diversity and less disease than unprotected areas. We subsequently investigated potential links between coral disease and the trophic components of fish diversity, finding that only the density of coral-feeding chaetodontid butterflyfishes, seldom targeted by fishers, was positively associated with disease prevalence. These previously uncharacterized results are supported by a second large-scale dataset from the Great Barrier Reef. We hypothesize that members of the charismatic reef-fish family Chaetodontidae are major vectors of coral disease by virtue of their trophic specialization on hard corals and their ecological release in overfished areas, particularly outside MPAs.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Patterns of bleaching and mortality following widespread warming events in 2014 and 2015 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Hawai‘i

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ku‘ulei S. Rodgers

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Drastic increases in global carbon emissions in the past century have led to elevated sea surface temperatures that negatively affect coral reef organisms. Worldwide coral bleaching-related mortality is increasing and data has shown even isolated and protected reefs are vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. In 2014 and 2015, coral reefs in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI suffered up to 90% bleaching, with higher than 50% subsequent mortality in some areas. The location and severity of bleaching and mortality was strongly influenced by the spatial and temporal patterns of elevated seawater temperatures. The main objective of this research was to understand the spatial extent of bleaching mortality in Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i to gain a baseline understanding of the physical processes that influence localized bleaching dynamics. Surveys at HBNP in October 2015 and January 2016 revealed extensive bleaching (47% and high levels of coral mortality (9.8%. Bleaching was highly variable among the four HBNP sectors and ranged from a low of ∼31% in the central bay at Channel (CH to a high of 57% in the area most frequented by visitors (Keyhole; KH. The highest levels of bleaching occurred in two sectors with different circulation patterns: KH experienced comparatively low circulation velocity and a low temperature increase while Witches Brew (WB and Backdoors (BD experienced higher circulation velocity and higher temperature increase. Cumulative mortality was highest at WB (5.0% and at BD (2.9% although WB circulation velocity is significantly higher. HBNP is minimally impacted by local factors that can lead to decline such as high fishing pressure or sedimentation although human use is high. Despite the lack of these influences, high coral mortality occurred. Visitor impacts are strikingly different in the two sectors that experienced the highest mortality evidenced by the differences in coral cover associated

  10. Patterns of bleaching and mortality following widespread warming events in 2014 and 2015 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Hawai'i.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodgers, Ku'ulei S; Bahr, Keisha D; Jokiel, Paul L; Richards Donà, Angela

    2017-01-01

    Drastic increases in global carbon emissions in the past century have led to elevated sea surface temperatures that negatively affect coral reef organisms. Worldwide coral bleaching-related mortality is increasing and data has shown even isolated and protected reefs are vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. In 2014 and 2015, coral reefs in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) suffered up to 90% bleaching, with higher than 50% subsequent mortality in some areas. The location and severity of bleaching and mortality was strongly influenced by the spatial and temporal patterns of elevated seawater temperatures. The main objective of this research was to understand the spatial extent of bleaching mortality in Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP), O'ahu, Hawai'i to gain a baseline understanding of the physical processes that influence localized bleaching dynamics. Surveys at HBNP in October 2015 and January 2016 revealed extensive bleaching (47%) and high levels of coral mortality (9.8%). Bleaching was highly variable among the four HBNP sectors and ranged from a low of ∼31% in the central bay at Channel (CH) to a high of 57% in the area most frequented by visitors (Keyhole; KH). The highest levels of bleaching occurred in two sectors with different circulation patterns: KH experienced comparatively low circulation velocity and a low temperature increase while Witches Brew (WB) and Backdoors (BD) experienced higher circulation velocity and higher temperature increase. Cumulative mortality was highest at WB (5.0%) and at BD (2.9%) although WB circulation velocity is significantly higher. HBNP is minimally impacted by local factors that can lead to decline such as high fishing pressure or sedimentation although human use is high. Despite the lack of these influences, high coral mortality occurred. Visitor impacts are strikingly different in the two sectors that experienced the highest mortality evidenced by the differences in coral cover associated with visitor

  11. Vertical water mass structure in the North Atlantic influences the bathymetric distribution of species in the deep-sea coral genus Paramuricea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radice, Veronica Z.; Quattrini, Andrea M.; Wareham, Vonda E.; Edinger, Evan N.; Cordes, Erik E.

    2016-10-01

    Deep-sea corals are the structural foundation of their ecosystems along continental margins worldwide, yet the factors driving their broad distribution are poorly understood. Environmental factors, especially depth-related variables including water mass properties, are thought to considerably affect the realized distribution of deep-sea corals. These factors are governed by local and regional oceanographic conditions that directly influence the dispersal of larvae, and therefore affect the ultimate distribution of adult corals. We used molecular barcoding of mitochondrial and nuclear sequences to identify species of octocorals in the genus Paramuricea collected from the Labrador Sea to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada at depths of 150-1500 m. The results of this study revealed overlapping bathymetric distributions of the Paramuricea species present off the eastern Canadian coast, including the presence of a few cryptic species previously designated as Paramuricea placomus. The distribution of Paramuricea species in the western North Atlantic differs from the Gulf of Mexico, where five Paramuricea species exhibit strong segregation by depth. The different patterns of Paramuricea species in these contrasting biogeographic regions provide insight into how water mass structure may shape species distribution. Investigating Paramuricea prevalence and distribution in conjunction with oceanographic conditions can help demonstrate the factors that generate and maintain deep-sea biodiversity.

  12. The role of competition in the phase shift to dominance of the zoanthid Palythoa cf. variabilis on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruz, Igor Cristino Silva; Meira, Verena Henschen; de Kikuchi, Ruy Kenji Papa; Creed, Joel Christopher

    2016-04-01

    Phase shift phenomena are becoming increasingly common. However, they are also opportunities to better understand how communities are structured. In Southwest Atlantic coral reefs, a shift to the zoanthid Palythoa cf. variabilis dominance has been described. To test if competition drove this process, we carried out a manipulative experiment with three coral species. To estimate the natural frequency of encounters we assess the relationship between the proportion of encounters and this zoanthids coverage. The contact causes necrosis in 78% of coral colonies (6.47 ± SD 7.92 cm(2)) in 118 days. We found a logarithmic relationship between the proportion of these encounters and the cover of P. cf. variabilis, where 5.5% coverage of this zoanthid is enough to put 50% of coral colonies in contact, increasing their partial mortality. We demonstrate that zoanthid coverage increase followed by coral mortality increase will reduce coral cover and that competition drives the phase shift process. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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

    The geographic isolation, absence of significant anthropogenic impacts, compressed spatial scale, and habitat diversity of Little Cayman combine to make it a natural laboratory for elucidating the dualistic impacts of various climatic events. These events both impart ecosystem disturbances and aid in the subsequent recovery of coral reef habitats. Within the isolated microcosm of Little Cayman the environmental factors commonly associated with coral stress, mortality, resilience and recovery hinted at by regional-scale observations can be more clearly observed. The primary thrust of this study is to reveal the under-pinning biophysical and hydrologic factors pertinent to reef resilience and to better understand the various roles played by climatic disturbances that have led to the rapid recovery of corals at Little Cayman following a spate of high temperature anomalies. Six closely-spaced high-temperature events were recorded in the Caribbean between the years of 1987 and 2009. Of these, only the 1998 global ENSO event, with well-documented levels of elevated SST, reduced cloud cover and surface water texture with concomittant increases in UV and irradiance and reduced water velocity, resulted in significant mortality at Little Cayman. Following this event, island-wide live coral cover decreased by 40%, from 26% to 14%. Annual monitoring of live coral cover following the 1998 ENSO event revealed no significant recovery of live coral cover until 2009, at which point there was a rapid rebound to pre-disturbance levels by 2011. Such a protracted step-change in coral recovery is indicative of one or more episodic events. The proposed scenario is that the numerous thermal stress events damaged the photo-system of the zooxanthellae, limiting the scope for growth and recovery as the metabolic budgets of corals were diverted to cellular repair. It is posited that the rapid cooling effect of frequent Tropical Storms and Hurricanes between 2002 - 2008, coupled with the

  14. Childhood mortality in a cohort treated with mass azithromycin for trachoma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keenan, Jeremy D; Ayele, Berhan; Gebre, Teshome; Zerihun, Mulat; Zhou, Zhaoxia; House, Jenafir I; Gaynor, Bruce D; Porco, Travis C; Emerson, Paul M; Lietman, Thomas M

    2011-04-01

    Mass azithromycin distributions are used to clear ocular strains of chlamydia that cause trachoma, but treatments may also affect respiratory infections, diarrhea, and malaria. Here, we monitor a large cohort in which almost 90% of individuals received azithromycin. We assess whether receiving treatment is associated with reduced all-cause and infectious childhood mortality. As part of a clinical trial for trachoma, a census was conducted in 24 communities in rural Ethiopia. All individuals ≥1 year of age were eligible for single-dose oral azithromycin, although antibiotic coverage was not universal. A follow-up census was performed 26 months after treatment to estimate all-cause mortality among children 1-5 years of age, and verbal autopsies were performed to identify infectious mortality. The cohort included 35,052 individuals ≥1 year of age and 5507 children 1-5 years of age, of whom 4914 received a dose of azithromycin. All-cause mortality was significantly lower among those 1-5-year-old children who received azithromycin (odds ratio [OR]=0.35 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.17-0.74]), as was infectious mortality (OR=0.20 [95% CI, 0.07-0.58]). When individuals were compared only with members of the same household, azithromycin treatment was still associated with reduced all-cause mortality in children 1-5 years of age (OR=0.40 [95% CI, 0.16-0.96]), although this relationship was not statistically significant for infectious mortality (OR=0.35 [95% CI, 0.10-1.28]). This study demonstrated an association between mass oral azithromycin treatment and reduced all-cause and infectious childhood mortality. This relationship could not be attributed to bias at the level of the household. Mass azithromycin distributions may have benefits unrelated to trachoma. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.

  15. The 2014 summer coral bleaching event in subtropical Hong Kong.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xie, James Y; Lau, Dickey C C; Kei, Keith; Yu, Vriko P F; Chow, Wing-Kuen; Qiu, Jian-Wen

    2017-11-30

    We reported a coral bleaching event that occurred in August-September 2014 in Hong Kong waters based on video transect surveys conducted at eight sites. The bleaching affected eight species of corals with different growth forms. Bleaching at seven of the eight study sites was minor, affecting only 0.4-5.2% colonies and 0.8-10.0% coral-covered area. Sharp Island East, however, suffered from a moderate level of bleaching, with 13.1% colonies and 30.1% coral-covered area affected. Examination of the government's environmental monitoring data indicated abnormal water quality conditions preceding and during the bleaching event. Follow-up field surveys of tagged colonies showed that 76% of them had fully recovered, 12% partially recovered, and 12% suffered from mortality. These results indicate that the subtropical corals of Hong Kong are not immune to bleaching, and there is a need to study their responses under climate change scenarios. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. A low muscle mass increases mortality in compensated cirrhotic patients with sepsis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucidi, Cristina; Lattanzi, Barbara; Di Gregorio, Vincenza; Incicco, Simone; D'Ambrosio, Daria; Venditti, Mario; Riggio, Oliviero; Merli, Manuela

    2018-05-01

    Severe infections and muscle wasting are both associated to poor outcome in cirrhosis. A possible synergic effect of these two entities in cirrhotic patients has not been previously investigated. We aimed at analysing if a low muscle mass may deteriorate the outcome of cirrhotic patients with sepsis. Consecutive cirrhotic patients hospitalized for sepsis were enrolled in the study. Patients were classified for the severity of liver impairment (Child-Pugh class) and for the presence of "low muscle mass" (mid-arm muscle circumferencelow muscle mass. In patients with and without low muscle mass, severity of liver disease and characteristics of infections were similar. Mortality tended to be higher in patients with low muscle mass (47% vs 26%, P = .06). A multivariate analysis selected low muscle mass (P low muscle mass compared with those without (50% vs 16%; P = .01). The mortality rate and the incidence of complications in malnourished patients classified in Child-Pugh A-B were similar to those Child-Pugh C. Low muscle mass worsen prognosis in cirrhotic patients with severe infections. This is particularly evident in patients with Child A-B cirrhosis in whom the coexistence of low muscle mass and sepsis caused a negative impact on mortality similar to that observable in all Child C patients with sepsis. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Regulation of apoptotic mediators reveals dynamic responses to thermal stress in the reef building coral Acropora millepora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pernice, Mathieu; Dunn, Simon R; Miard, Thomas; Dufour, Sylvie; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2011-01-24

    Mass coral bleaching is increasing in scale and frequency across the world's coral reefs and is being driven primarily by increased levels of thermal stress arising from global warming. In order to understand the impacts of projected climate change upon corals reefs, it is important to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms that operate during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this respect, increased apoptotic cell death activity is an important cellular process that is associated with the breakdown of the mutualistic symbiosis between the cnidarian host and their dinoflagellate symbionts. The PRESENT study reports the impacts of different stressors (colchicine and heat stress) on three phases of apoptosis: (i) the potential initiation by differential expression of Bcl-2 members, (ii) the execution of apoptotic events by activation of caspase 3-like proteases and (iii) and finally, the cell disposal indicated by DNA fragmentation in the reef building coral Acropora millepora. In corals incubated with colchicine, an increase in caspase 3-like activity and DNA fragmentation was associated with a relative down-regulation of Bcl-2, suggesting that the initiation of apoptosis may be mediated by the suppression of an anti-apoptotic mechanism. In contrast, in the early steps of heat stress, the induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis was related to a relative up-regulation of Bcl-2 consecutively followed by a delayed decrease in apoptosis activity. In the light of these results, we propose a model of heat stress in coral hosts whereby increasing temperatures engage activation of caspase 3-dependent apoptosis in cells designated for termination, but also the onset of a delayed protective response involving overexpression of Bcl-2 in surviving cells. This mitigating response to thermal stress could conceivably be an important regulatory mechanism for cell survival in corals exposed to sudden environmental changes.

  18. Regulation of apoptotic mediators reveals dynamic responses to thermal stress in the reef building coral Acropora millepora.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathieu Pernice

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching is increasing in scale and frequency across the world's coral reefs and is being driven primarily by increased levels of thermal stress arising from global warming. In order to understand the impacts of projected climate change upon corals reefs, it is important to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms that operate during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this respect, increased apoptotic cell death activity is an important cellular process that is associated with the breakdown of the mutualistic symbiosis between the cnidarian host and their dinoflagellate symbionts.The PRESENT study reports the impacts of different stressors (colchicine and heat stress on three phases of apoptosis: (i the potential initiation by differential expression of Bcl-2 members, (ii the execution of apoptotic events by activation of caspase 3-like proteases and (iii and finally, the cell disposal indicated by DNA fragmentation in the reef building coral Acropora millepora. In corals incubated with colchicine, an increase in caspase 3-like activity and DNA fragmentation was associated with a relative down-regulation of Bcl-2, suggesting that the initiation of apoptosis may be mediated by the suppression of an anti-apoptotic mechanism. In contrast, in the early steps of heat stress, the induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis was related to a relative up-regulation of Bcl-2 consecutively followed by a delayed decrease in apoptosis activity.In the light of these results, we propose a model of heat stress in coral hosts whereby increasing temperatures engage activation of caspase 3-dependent apoptosis in cells designated for termination, but also the onset of a delayed protective response involving overexpression of Bcl-2 in surviving cells. This mitigating response to thermal stress could conceivably be an important regulatory mechanism for cell survival in corals exposed to sudden environmental changes.

  19. Host-symbiont recombination versus natural selection in the response of coral-dinoflagellate symbioses to environmental disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaJeunesse, Todd C; Smith, Robin; Walther, Mariana; Pinzón, Jorge; Pettay, Daniel T; McGinley, Michael; Aschaffenburg, Matthew; Medina-Rosas, Pedro; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar L; Pérez, Andrés López; Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Warner, Mark E

    2010-10-07

    Mutualisms between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates are particularly sensitive to environmental stress, yet the ecosystems they construct have endured major oscillations in global climate. During the winter of 2008, an extreme cold-water event occurred in the Gulf of California that bleached corals in the genus Pocillopora harbouring a thermally 'sensitive' symbiont, designated Symbiodinium C1b-c, while colonies possessing Symbiodinium D1 were mostly unaffected. Certain bleached colonies recovered quickly while others suffered partial or complete mortality. In most colonies, no appreciable change was observed in the identity of the original symbiont, indicating that these partnerships are stable. During the initial phases of recovery, a third species of symbiont B1(Aiptasia), genetically identical to that harboured by the invasive anemone, Aiptasia sp., grew opportunistically and was visible as light-yellow patches on the branch tips of several colonies. However, this symbiont did not persist and was displaced in all cases by C1b-c several months later. Colonies with D1 were abundant at inshore habitats along the continental eastern Pacific, where seasonal turbidity is high relative to offshore islands. Environmental conditions of the central and southern coasts of Mexico were not sufficient to explain the exclusivity of D1 Pocillopora in these regions. It is possible that mass mortalities associated with major thermal disturbances during the 1997-1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation eliminated C1b-c holobionts from these locations. The differential loss of Pocillopora holobionts in response to thermal stress suggests that natural selection on existing variation can cause rapid and significant shifts in the frequency of particular coral-algal partnerships. However, coral populations may take decades to recover following episodes of severe selection, thereby raising considerable uncertainty about the long-term viability of these communities.

  20. Predation by feeding aggregations of Drupella spp. inhibits the recovery of reefs damaged by a mass bleaching event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruckner, Andrew W.; Coward, Georgia; Bimson, Kathyrn; Rattanawongwan, Tipwimon

    2017-12-01

    High densities of two corallivorous gastropods, Drupella cornus and D. rugosa, may delay the recovery of coral reefs impacted by mass bleaching events by aggregating on the remaining corals. Following severe bleaching in April/May 2016 that resulted in the loss of up to 80% of the living coral cover from reefs in South Malé, Maldives, aggregations of up to 250 Drupella per coral were recorded on surviving colonies. The distribution of snails was not random; larger aggregations were seen on reefs with fewer remaining live corals and also on the largest corals. Branching, digitate and tabular corals, especially species of Acropora and Pocillopora, sustained the highest mortality from the bleaching. Remaining colonies of these taxa exhibited the highest occurrence of snails and the most extensive snail predation, although less-preferred taxa such as Montipora, Porites, Astreopora, Cyphastrea and Pachyseris were also targeted. Drupella also concentrated on broken Acropora branches and overturned colonies; on some reefs, these were the only surviving acroporids, and many of them did not bleach. Continued predation pressure from Drupella may eliminate formerly dominant corals, including genets that are resistant to higher sea water temperatures.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  2. Long-term impacts of coral bleaching events on the world's warmest reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John; Al-Harthi, Suaad; Al-Cibahy, Ashraf

    2011-10-01

    The southern Arabian Gulf houses some of the most thermally tolerant corals on earth, but severe bleaching in the late 1990s caused widespread mortality. More than a decade later, corals still dominated benthos (mean: 40 ± 3% cover on 10 sites spanning > 350 km; range: 11.0-65.6%), but coral communities varied spatially. Sites to the west generally had low species richness and coral cover (mean: 3.2 species per transect, 31% cover), with Porites dominated communities (88% of coral) that are distinct from more diverse and higher cover eastern sites (mean: 10.3 species per transect, 62% cover). These patterns reflect both the more extreme bleaching to the west in the late 1990s as well as the higher faviid dominated recruitment to the east in subsequent years. There has been limited recovery of the formerly dominant Acropora, which now represents bleaching can have substantial long-term impacts on coral communities, even in areas with corals tolerant to environmental extremes. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. In situ Analysis of Coral Recruits Using Fluorescence Imaging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adi Zweifler

    2017-09-01

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

  5. Background mortality rates for recovering populations of Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, M S; Pisapia, C; Sheppard, C R C

    2013-05-01

    This study quantified background rates of mortality for Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago. Despite low levels of anthropogenic disturbance, 27.5% (149/541) of A. cytherea colonies exhibited some level of partial mortality, and 9.0% (49/541) of colonies had recent injuries. A total of 15.3% of the overall surface area of physically intact A. cytherea colonies was dead. Observed mortality was partly attributable to overtopping and/or self-shading among colonies. There were also low-densities of Acanthaster planci apparent at some study sites. However, most of the recent mortality recorded was associated with isolated infestations of the coral crab, Cymo melanodactylus. A. cytherea is a relatively fast growing coral and these levels of mortality may be biologically unimportant. However, few studies have measured background rates of coral mortality, especially in the absence of direct human disturbances. These data are important for assessing the impacts of increasing disturbances, especially in projecting likely recovery. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. Incorporating adaptive responses into future projections of coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Logan, Cheryl A; Dunne, John P; Eakin, C Mark; Donner, Simon D

    2014-01-01

    Climate warming threatens to increase mass coral bleaching events, and several studies have projected the demise of tropical coral reefs this century. However, recent evidence indicates corals may be able to respond to thermal stress though adaptive processes (e.g., genetic adaptation, acclimatization, and symbiont shuffling). How these mechanisms might influence warming-induced bleaching remains largely unknown. This study compared how different adaptive processes could affect coral bleaching projections. We used the latest bias-corrected global sea surface temperature (SST) output from the NOAA/GFDL Earth System Model 2 (ESM2M) for the preindustrial period through 2100 to project coral bleaching trajectories. Initial results showed that, in the absence of adaptive processes, application of a preindustrial climatology to the NOAA Coral Reef Watch bleaching prediction method overpredicts the present-day bleaching frequency. This suggests that corals may have already responded adaptively to some warming over the industrial period. We then modified the prediction method so that the bleaching threshold either permanently increased in response to thermal history (e.g., simulating directional genetic selection) or temporarily increased for 2-10 years in response to a bleaching event (e.g., simulating symbiont shuffling). A bleaching threshold that changes relative to the preceding 60 years of thermal history reduced the frequency of mass bleaching events by 20-80% compared with the 'no adaptive response' prediction model by 2100, depending on the emissions scenario. When both types of adaptive responses were applied, up to 14% more reef cells avoided high-frequency bleaching by 2100. However, temporary increases in bleaching thresholds alone only delayed the occurrence of high-frequency bleaching by ca. 10 years in all but the lowest emissions scenario. Future research should test the rate and limit of different adaptive responses for coral species across latitudes and

  7. Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Mumby, Peter J.

    2015-01-01

    Recent epizootics have removed important functional species from Caribbean coral reefs and left communities vulnerable to alternative attractors. Global warming will impact reefs further through two mechanisms. A chronic mechanism reduces coral calcification, which can result in depressed somatic growth. An acute mechanism, coral bleaching, causes extreme mortality when sea temperatures become anomalously high. We ask how these two mechanisms interact in driving future reef state (coral cover) and resilience (the probability of a reef remaining within a coral attractor). We find that acute mechanisms have the greatest impact overall, but the nature of the interaction with chronic stress depends on the metric considered. Chronic and acute stress act additively on reef state but form a strong synergy when influencing resilience by intensifying a regime shift. Chronic stress increases the size of the algal basin of attraction (at the expense of the coral basin), whereas coral bleaching pushes the system closer to the algal attractor. Resilience can change faster—and earlier—than a change in reef state. Therefore, we caution against basing management solely on measures of reef state because a loss of resilience can go unnoticed for many years and then become disproportionately more difficult to restore.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. African dust and the demise of Caribbean coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, E.A.; Smith, G.W.; Prospero, J.M.; Betzer, P.; Hayes, M.L.; Garrison, V.; Barber, R.T.

    2000-01-01

    The vitality of Caribbean coral reefs has undergone a continual state of decline since the late 1970s, a period of time coincidental with large increases in transatlantic dust transport. It is proposed that the hundreds of millions of tons/year of soil dust that have been crossing the Atlantic during the last 25 years could be a significant contributor to coral reef decline and may be affecting other ecosystems. Benchmark events, such as near synchronous Caribbean-wide mortalities of acroporid corals and the urchin Diadema in 1983, and coral bleaching beginning in 1987, correlate with the years of maximum dust flux into the Caribbean. Besides crustal elements, in particular Fe, Si, and aluminosilicate clays, the dust can serve as a substrate for numerous species of viable spores, especially the soil fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus sydowii, the cause of an ongoing Caribbean-wide seafan disease, has been cultured from Caribbean air samples and used to inoculate sea fans.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew P Negri

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

  11. Acanthaster planci is a major cause of coral mortality in Indonesia

    KAUST Repository

    Baird, Andrew Hamilton; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Hoey, Andrew; Herdiana, Yudi; Campbell, Stuart J.

    2013-01-01

    The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster planci, is recognised as a major cause of coral reef degradation throughout much of the Pacific Ocean. However, the effects of COTS on the high diversity reefs in Indonesia have been

  12. THE EFFECT OF ORGANIC SEDIMENT CONTENT ON CORAL DIVERSITY IN KARIMUNJAWA ISLAND, INDONESIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fajar Nugroho

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef now are under threats due to sedimentation. Fatal effect of organic rich sediment, leading corals mortality. Therefore, the study was conducted to investigate effect of organic sediment content to the coral diversity in Karimunjawa Island, Central Java, Indonesia. Field data was conducted at 6 locations.  Three sediment traps were deployed at each sites to measure organic sediment content. Twenty replicated quadrant transects were used to estimate coral density and coral diversity. Analysis of variance (ANOVA was used to examine the differences of organic sediment content in each station. The linear regression was used to assess the relationship between organic sediment content and coral diversity. Our field result demonstrated that sediment content significantly different between sites with value range from 0.42 mg/800 ml - 1.32 mg/800 ml. Based on the Simson’s Diversity Index, the highest coral diversity found at Alang-alang as site with low sedimentation while the lowest coral diversity was found at Legon Lele as site with high sedimentation. The study shown significant negative correlation between organic sediment content and coral diversity with the coefficient of regression 0.68. This study convinces that disturbance on coral reefs might affect coral diversity in Karimunjawa Island, in addition to other factors such as the influence of human activities, natural disruption and climate change. Keywords: sedimentation, organic, coral, diversity, Karimunjawa

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

    Mass bleaching events are predicted to occur annually later this century. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether corals will be able to recover between annual bleaching events. Using a combined tank and field experiment, we simulated annual bleaching by exposing three Caribbean coral species (Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides and Orbicella faveolata) to elevated temperatures for 2.5 weeks in 2 consecutive years. The impact of annual bleaching stress on chlorophyll a, energy reserves, calcification, and tissue C and N isotopes was assessed immediately after the second bleaching and after both short- and long-term recovery on the reef (1.5 and 11 months, respectively). While P. divaricata and O. faveolata were able to recover from repeat bleaching within 1 year, P. astreoides experienced cumulative damage that prevented full recovery within this time frame, suggesting that repeat bleaching had diminished its recovery capacity. Specifically, P. astreoides was not able to recover protein and carbohydrate concentrations. As energy reserves promote bleaching resistance, failure to recover from annual bleaching within 1 year will likely result in the future demise of heat-sensitive coral species. PMID:26582020

  14. Multi-scale ocean and climate drivers of widespread bleaching in the Coral Triangle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drenkard, E.; Curchitser, E. N.; Kleypas, J. A.; Castruccio, F. S.

    2016-12-01

    The Maritime Continent is home to the Coral Triangle (CT): the global pinnacle of tropical coral biodiversity. Historically, extensive bleaching-induced mortality (caused by thermal stress) among corals in the CT has been associated with extremes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), particularly years when a strong El Niños transitions to a La Niña state (i.e., 1998 and 2010). Similarities in the spatial distribution of satellite-derived indices, and the multi-scale environmental drivers of elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during the 1998 and 2010 bleaching events suggests a potential predictability that has important implications for reef conservation. Using numerical models and ocean and atmosphere reanalysis products, we discuss the roles of ENSO-associated anomalies in both large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns (e.g., South Asian Monsoon) and regional ocean-cooling mechanisms such as coastal upwelling, tropical storm activity, and divergent (i.e., upwelling) circulation patterns (e.g., the Mindanao Eddy) in determining SSTs and, consequently projected patterns of reef ecosystem vulnerability to thermal stress. Conditions associated with the recent and ongoing 2015/2016 coral bleaching and mortality will be compared/contrasted.

  15. Asymmetric competition prevents the outbreak of an opportunistic species after coral reef degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Rivero, Manuel; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Chollett, Iliana; Ferrari, Renata; Schönberg, Christine H L; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Disturbance releases space and allows the growth of opportunistic species, excluded by the old stands, with a potential to alter community dynamics. In coral reefs, abundances of fast-growing, and disturbance-tolerant sponges are expected to increase and dominate as space becomes available following acute coral mortality events. Yet, an increase in abundance of these opportunistic species has been reported in only a few studies, suggesting certain mechanisms may be acting to regulate sponge populations. To gain insights into mechanisms of population control, we simulated the dynamics of the common reef-excavating sponge Cliona tenuis in the Caribbean using an individual-based model. An orthogonal hypothesis testing approach was used, where four candidate mechanisms-algal competition, stock-recruitment limitation, whole and partial mortality-were incorporated sequentially into the model and the results were tested against independent field observations taken over a decade in Belize, Central America. We found that releasing space after coral mortality can promote C. tenuis outbreaks, but such outbreaks can be curtailed by macroalgal competition. The asymmetrical competitive superiority of macroalgae, given by their capacity to pre-empt space and outcompete with the sponge in a size-dependant fashion, supports their capacity to steal the opportunity from other opportunists. While multiple system stages can be expected in coral reefs following intense perturbation macroalgae may prevent the growth of other space-occupiers, such as bioeroding sponges, under low grazing pressure.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Trapon, Melanie L.; Berumen, Michael L.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2010-09-19

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

  19. Coral diseases and their research in Colombian reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gil A, Diego L; Navas C, Raul; RodrIguez, Alberto; Reyes, Maria C

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful and important ecosystems in the planet. These ecosystems have existed for over 200 million years and have survived extreme episodes such as glaciation and mass extinctions during their history. Nonetheless, during the last three decades, these ecosystems have registered sudden and dramatic changes that, according to some researchers, endanger their survival and persistence. One of the major problems coral reefs are facing nowadays is the outbreak of diseases that affect corals, which constitute the basic unit of this ecosystem. There is no consensus regarding whether these disease outbreaks are recent episodes; but what seems to be true is that some of these diseases have favored unprecedented changes in coral reefs. Coral reefs in Colombia have also been affected by disease events, and since the 1980, several coral diseases have been observed and studied, and even one of them was first described in Colombian reefs. This work presents a compendium of the main coral diseases registered around the world and is meant to serve as a guide for new studies in this topic. Similarly, a summary of coral disease research carried out in Colombia is presented as well as a discussion on current perspectives for the study of this field in the country.

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  1. Intraspecific Variation in Physiological Condition of Reef-Building Corals Associated with Differential Levels of Chronic Disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Anderson, Kristen; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density) through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis), subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pzooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  −7386077, p = 0.01). Conversely, P. damicornis exhibited very limited intraspecific variation in physiological condition, despite marked differences in levels of partial mortality. This is the first study to relate intraspecific variation in the condition of corals to localized differences in chronic disturbance regimes. The next step is to ascertain whether these differences have further ramifications for susceptibility to periodic acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. PMID:24626395

  2. Recurrent mass mortalities of the blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis, in the lower Connecticut River

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moss, S.A.; Leggett, W.C.; Boyd, W.A.

    1976-01-01

    The authors studied 5 mass mortalities of blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis between 1965 and 1971. The reach of the Connecticut River in which the mortalities were observed includes the region thermally influenced by cooling water effluents from the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Plant. This warm water effluent has not been related to catastrophic blueback herring mortalities to the present time. The mortalities observed in 1965, 1966, and 1967 occurred before the plant became operational. The years of no abnormal mortalities, 1968, 1969, and 1970 coincided with periods of near-maximum generating output by this power plant. Only in June, 1971, did power plant operation coincide with a mass mortality of herring. Nevertheless, the occurrence of herring mortalities in four years out of seven observed suggests that further deterioration of water quality in the Connecticut River may threaten the continued spawning success of this fish. 9 references, 4 figures, 4 tables

  3. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainsworth, Tracy D; Heron, Scott F; Ortiz, Juan Carlos; Mumby, Peter J; Grech, Alana; Ogawa, Daisie; Eakin, C Mark; Leggat, William

    2016-04-15

    Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  4. Beyond peak summer temperatures, branching corals in the Gulf of Aqaba are resilient to thermal stress but sensitive to high light

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellworthy, Jessica; Fine, Maoz

    2017-12-01

    Despite rapidly rising sea surface temperatures and recurrent positive temperature anomalies, corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) rarely experience thermal bleaching. Elsewhere, mass coral bleaching has been observed in corals when the water temperature exceeds 1-2 °C above the local maximum monthly mean (MMM). This threshold value or "bleaching rule" has been used to create predictive models of bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature observations, namely the "degree heating week" index. This study aimed to characterize the physiological changes of dominant reef building corals from the GoA in response to a temperature and light stress gradient. Coral collection and experiments began after a period of 14 consecutive days above MMM in the field. Stylophora pistillata showed negligible changes in symbiont and host physiology parameters after accumulating up to 9.4 degree heating weeks during peak summer temperatures, for which the index predicts widespread bleaching and some mortality. This result demonstrates acute thermal tolerance in S. pistillata from the GoA and deviation from the bleaching rule. In a second experiment after 4 weeks at 4 °C above peak summer temperatures, S. pistillata and Acropora eurystoma in the high-light treatment visibly paled and suffered greater midday and afternoon photoinhibition compared to corals under low-light conditions (35% of high-light treatment). However, light, not temperature (alone or in synergy with light), was the dominant factor in causing paling and the effective quantum yield of corals at 4 °C above ambient was indistinguishable from those in the ambient control. This result highlights the exceptional, atypical thermal tolerance of dominant GoA branching corals. Concomitantly, it validates the efficacy of protecting GoA reefs from local stressors if they are to serve as a coral refuge in the face of global sea temperature rise.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  7. Long-term dynamics of a high-latitude coral reef community at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porter, S. N.; Schleyer, M. H.

    2017-06-01

    Dynamics in reef cover, mortality and recruitment success of a high-latitude coral community in South Africa were studied over 20 yr with the aim to detect the effects of climate change. Coral communities at this locality are the southernmost on the African continent, non-accretive, attain high biodiversity and are dominated by soft corals. Long-term monitoring within fixed transects on representative reef was initiated in 1993 and has entailed annual photo-quadrat surveys and hourly temperature logging. Although sea temperatures rose by 0.15 °C p.a. at the site up to 2000, they have subsequently been decreasing, and the overall trend based on monthly means has been a significant decrease of 0.03 °C p.a. Despite this, minor bleaching was encountered in the region during the 1998 El Niño-Southern Oscillation event, again in the summer of 2000/2001 and in 2005. A significant decreasing trend of 0.95% p.a. in soft coral cover has been evident throughout the monitoring period, attributable to significant decreases in Sinularia and Lobophytum spp. cover. In contrast, hard coral cover gradually and significantly increased up to 2005, this being largely attributable to increases in cover by Acropora spp. Recruitment success and mortality of both soft and hard corals has displayed high inter-annual variability with increasing but non-significant trends in the last 5 yr. The reduction in soft coral cover has been more consistent and greater than that of hard corals, but it is difficult at this stage to attribute this to changes in water quality, acidification-linked accretion or temperature.

  8. Immunity to community: what can immune pathways tell us about disease patterns in corals?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mydlarz, L. D.; Fuess, L.; Pinzon, J. C.; Weil, E.

    2016-02-01

    Predicting species composition and abundances is one of the most fundamental questions in ecology. This question is even more pressing in marine ecology and coral reefs since communities are changing at a rapid pace due to climate-related changes. Increases in disease prevalence and severity are just some of the consequences of these environmental changes. Particularly in coral reef ecosystems, diseases are increasing and driving region-wide population collapses. It has become clear, however, that not all reefs or coral species are affected by disease equally. In fact, the Caribbean is a concentrated area for diseases. The patterns in which disease manifests itself on an individual reef are also proving interesting, as not all coral species are affected by disease equally. Some species are host to different diseases, but seem to successfully fight them reducing mortality. Other species are disproportionately infected on any given reef and experience high mortality due to disease. We are interested in the role immunity can play in directing these patterns and are evaluating coral immunity using several novel approaches. We exposed 4 species of corals with different disease susceptibilities to immune stimulators and quantified of coral immunity using a combination of full transcriptome sequencing and protein activity assays for gene to phenotype analysis. We also mapped gene expression changes onto immune pathways (i.e. melanin-cascade, antimicrobial peptide synthesis, complement cascade, lectin-opsonization) to evaluate expression of immune pathways between species. In our preliminary data we found many immune genes in the disease susceptible Orbicella faveolata underwent changes in gene expression opposite of the predictions and may disply `dysfunctional' patterns of expression. We will present expression data for 4 species of coral and assess how these transcriptional and protein immune responses are related to disease susceptibility in nature, thus scaling up

  9. Large-scale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, T P; Kerry, J T; Simpson, T

    2018-02-01

    In 2015-2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of coral bleaching. In the southern hemisphere summer of March-April 2016, we used aerial surveys to measure the level of bleaching on 1,156 individual reefs throughout the 2,300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system. The accuracy of the aerial scores was ground-truthed with detailed underwater surveys of bleaching at 260 sites (104 reefs), allowing us to compare aerial and underwater bleaching data with satellite-derived temperatures and with associated model predictions of bleaching. The severity of bleaching on individual reefs in 2016 was tightly correlated with the level of local heat exposure: the southernmost region of the Great Barrier Reef escaped with only minor bleaching because summer temperatures there were close to average. Gradients in nutrients and turbidity from inshore to offshore across the Great Barrier Reef had minimal effect on the severity of bleaching. Similarly, bleaching was equally severe on reefs that are open or closed to fishing, once the level of satellite-derived heat exposure was accounted for. The level of post-bleaching mortality, measured underwater after 7-8 months, was tightly correlated with the aerial scores measured at the peak of bleaching. Similarly, reefs with a high aerial bleaching score also experienced major shifts in species composition due to extensive mortality of heat-sensitive species. Reefs with low bleaching scores did not change in composition, and some showed minor increases in coral cover. Two earlier mass bleaching events occurred on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 and 2002, that were less severe than 2016. In 2016, bleaching, compared to 42% in 2002 and 44% in 1998. Conversely, the proportion of reefs that were severely bleached (>60% of corals affected) was four times higher in 2016. The geographic footprint of each of the three events is distinctive, and matches satellite-derived sea surface

  10. Global patterns and impacts of El Niño events on coral reefs: A meta-analysis

    OpenAIRE

    Claar, Danielle C.; Szostek, Lisa; McDevitt-Irwin, Jamie M.; Schanze, Julian J.; Baum, Julia K.

    2018-01-01

    Impacts of global climate change on coral reefs are being amplified by pulse heat stress events, including El Niño, the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Despite reports of extensive coral bleaching and up to 97% coral mortality induced by El Niño events, a quantitative synthesis of the nature, intensity, and drivers of El Niño and La Niña impacts on corals is lacking. Herein, we first present a global meta-analysis of studies quantifying the effects of El Niño/La Niña-wa...

  11. 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

  12. Patterns of Mass Mortality among Rocky Shore Invertebrates across 100 km of Northeastern Pacific Coastline.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura J Jurgens

    Full Text Available Mass mortalities in natural populations, particularly those that leave few survivors over large spatial areas, may cause long-term ecological perturbations. Yet mass mortalities may remain undocumented or poorly described due to challenges in responding rapidly to unforeseen events, scarcity of baseline data, and difficulties in quantifying rare or patchily distributed species, especially in remote or marine systems. Better chronicling the geographic pattern and intensity of mass mortalities is especially critical in the face of global changes predicted to alter regional disturbance regimes. Here, we couple replicated post-mortality surveys with preceding long-term surveys and historical data to describe a rapid and severe mass mortality of rocky shore invertebrates along the north-central California coast of the northeastern Pacific Ocean. In late August 2011, formerly abundant intertidal populations of the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, a well-known ecosystem engineer, and the predatory six-armed sea star (Leptasterias sp. were functionally extirpated from ~100 km of coastline. Other invertebrates, including the gumboot chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus, and subtidal populations of purple sea urchins also exhibited elevated mortality. The pattern and extent of mortality suggest the potential for long-term population, community, and ecosystem consequences, recovery from which may depend on the different dispersal abilities of the affected species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-02-05

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

  14. Global and local threats to coral reef functioning and existence: review and predictions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilkinson, C.R. [Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, Townsville, Qld. (Australia)

    1999-07-01

    Factors causing global degradation of coral reefs are examined briefly as a basis for predicting the likely consequences of increases in these factors. The earlier consensus was that widespread but localized damage from natural factors such as storms, and direct anthropogenic effects such as increased sedimentation, pollution and exploitation, posed the largest immediate threat to coral reefs. Now truly global factors associated with accelerating Global Climate Change are either damaging coral reefs or have the potential to inflict greater damage in the immediate future e.g. increases in coral bleaching and mortality, and reduction in coral calcification due to changes in sea-water chemistry with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. Rises in sea level will probably disrupt human communities and their cultures by making coral cays uninhabitable, whereas coral reefs will sustain minimal damage from the rise in sea level. The short-term (decades) prognosis is that major reductions are almost certain in the extent and biodiversity of coral reefs, and severe disruptions to cultures and economies dependent on reef resources will occur. The long-term (centuries to millennia) prognosis is more encouraging because coral reefs have remarkable resilience to severe disruption and will probably show this resilience in the future when climate changes either stabilize or reverse.

  15. Muscle mass, BMI, and mortality among adults in the United States: A population-based cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abramowitz, Matthew K; Hall, Charles B; Amodu, Afolarin; Sharma, Deep; Androga, Lagu; Hawkins, Meredith

    2018-01-01

    The level of body-mass index (BMI) associated with the lowest risk of death remains unclear. Although differences in muscle mass limit the utility of BMI as a measure of adiposity, no study has directly examined the effect of muscle mass on the BMI-mortality relationship. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in 11,687 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Low muscle mass was defined using sex-specific thresholds of the appendicular skeletal muscle mass index (ASMI). Proportional hazards models were created to model associations with all-cause mortality. At any level of BMI ≥22, participants with low muscle mass had higher body fat percentage (%TBF), an increased likelihood of diabetes, and higher adjusted mortality than other participants. Increases in %TBF manifested as 30-40% smaller changes in BMI than were observed in participants with preserved muscle mass. Excluding participants with low muscle mass or adjustment for ASMI attenuated the risk associated with low BMI, magnified the risk associated with high BMI, and shifted downward the level of BMI associated with the lowest risk of death. Higher ASMI was independently associated with lower mortality. Effects were similar in never-smokers and ever-smokers. Additional adjustment for waist circumference eliminated the risk associated with higher BMI. Results were unchanged after excluding unintentional weight loss, chronic illness, early mortality, and participants performing muscle-strengthening exercises or recommended levels of physical activity. Muscle mass mediates associations of BMI with adiposity and mortality and is inversely associated with the risk of death. After accounting for muscle mass, the BMI associated with the greatest survival shifts downward toward the normal range. These results provide a concrete explanation for the obesity paradox.

  16. Pink line syndrome (PLS) in the scleractinian coral Porites lutea

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    Reef sites Pink line syndrome (PLS) in the scleractinian coral Porites lutea Accepted: 10 May 2002 / Published online: 5 July 2002 C211 Springer-Verlag 2002 We describe here an unreport- ed diseased state of Porites lutea (Milne-Edwards and Haime...)ontheKavarattireefof the Lakshadweep group of is- lands (11C176 N; 71C176E). Pink line syndrome (PLS) causes partial mortality of the coral P. lutea around Kavaratti Island (Fig. 1), and about 10% of colonies were found to be af- fected by PLS. The dead patches were colonized by a...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gang Liu

    2018-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Anderson, Kristen; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density) through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis), subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pzooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pclimate-induced coral bleaching.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia H. Garrison

    2012-03-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-22

    Mass bleaching events are predicted to occur annually later this century. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether corals will be able to recover between annual bleaching events. Using a combined tank and field experiment, we simulated annual bleaching by exposing three Caribbean coral species (Porites divaricata, Porites astreoides and Orbicella faveolata) to elevated temperatures for 2.5 weeks in 2 consecutive years. The impact of annual bleaching stress on chlorophyll a, energy reserves, calcification, and tissue C and N isotopes was assessed immediately after the second bleaching and after both short- and long-term recovery on the reef (1.5 and 11 months, respectively). While P. divaricata and O. faveolata were able to recover from repeat bleaching within 1 year, P. astreoides experienced cumulative damage that prevented full recovery within this time frame, suggesting that repeat bleaching had diminished its recovery capacity. Specifically, P. astreoides was not able to recover protein and carbohydrate concentrations. As energy reserves promote bleaching resistance, failure to recover from annual bleaching within 1 year will likely result in the future demise of heat-sensitive coral species. © 2015 The Author(s).

  5. Validation of degree heating weeks as a coral bleaching index in the northwestern Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayanne, Hajime

    2017-03-01

    Mass bleaching is the most significant threat to coral reefs. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitors world sea surface temperature (SST) and releases warnings for bleaching based on degree heating weeks (DHW), which is the accumulation of temperature anomalies exceeding the monthly maximum mean SST for a given region. DHW values >4.0 °C-weeks are thought to induce bleaching, and those >8.0 °C-weeks are thought to result in widespread bleaching and some mortality. This study validates the effectiveness of DHW as a mass bleaching index by on-site historical observation at eight sites in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The mass bleaching events occurred during different years at different sites. The recorded years of the bleaching events matched well with DHW values >8 °C-weeks, and the logistically projected probability of bleaching against DHW showed a positive relationship. DHW provides a reasonable threshold for bleaching.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Water column productivity and temperature predict coral reef regeneration across the Indo-Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, B; Glynn, P W; Wieters, E; Purkis, S; d'Angelo, C; Wiedenmann, J

    2015-02-05

    Predicted increases in seawater temperatures accelerate coral reef decline due to mortality by heat-driven coral bleaching. Alteration of the natural nutrient environment of reef corals reduces tolerance of corals to heat and light stress and thus will exacerbate impacts of global warming on reefs. Still, many reefs demonstrate remarkable regeneration from past stress events. This paper investigates the effects of sea surface temperature (SST) and water column productivity on recovery of coral reefs. In 71 Indo-Pacific sites, coral cover changes over the past 1-3 decades correlated negative-exponentially with mean SST, chlorophyll a, and SST rise. At six monitoring sites (Persian/Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, northern and southern Galápagos, Easter Island, Panama), over half of all corals were <31 years, implying that measured environmental variables indeed shaped populations and community. An Indo-Pacific-wide model suggests reefs in the northwest and central Indian Ocean, as well as the central west Pacific, are at highest risk of degradation, and those at high latitudes the least. The model pinpoints regions where coral reefs presently have the best chances for survival. However, reefs best buffered against temperature and nutrient effects are those that current studies suggest to be most at peril from future ocean acidification.

  10. 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

  11. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin Mao-Jones

    2010-03-01

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

  12. How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-30

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Identity and diversity of coral endosymbionts (zooxanthellae) from three Palauan reefs with contrasting bleaching, temperature and shading histories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, K E; Mieog, J C; Colin, P L; Idip, D; van Oppen, M J H

    2004-08-01

    The potential of corals to associate with more temperature-tolerant strains of algae (zooxanthellae, Symbiodinium) can have important implications for the future of coral reefs in an era of global climate change. In this study, the genetic identity and diversity of zooxanthellae was investigated at three reefs with contrasting histories of bleaching mortality, water temperature and shading, in the Republic of Palau (Micronesia). Single-stranded conformation polymorphism and sequence analysis of the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS)1 region was used for genotyping. A chronically warm but partly shaded coral reef in a marine lake that is hydrographically well connected to the surrounding waters harboured only two single-stranded conformation polymorphism profiles (i.e. zooxanthella communities). It consisted only of Symbiodinium D in all 13 nonporitid species and two Porites species investigated, with the remaining five Porites harbouring C*. Despite the high temperature in this lake (> 0.5 degrees above ambient), this reef did not suffer coral mortality during the (1998) bleaching event, however, no bleaching-sensitive coral families and genera occur in the coral community. This setting contrasts strongly with two other reefs with generally lower temperatures, in which 10 and 12 zooxanthella communities with moderate to low proportions of clade D zooxanthellae were found. The data indicate that whole coral assemblages, when growing in elevated seawater temperatures and at reduced irradiance, can be composed of colonies associated with the more thermo-tolerant clade D zooxanthellae. Future increases in seawater temperature might, therefore, result in an increasing prevalence of Symbiodinium phylotype D in scleractinian corals, possibly associated with a loss of diversity in both zooxanthellae and corals. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

  16. Enhanced susceptibility to predation in corals of compromised condition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bright, Allan J; Cameron, Caitlin M; Miller, Margaret W

    2015-01-01

    The marine gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata, is an obligate corallivore that causes substantial mortality in Caribbean Acropora spp. Considering the imperiled status of Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, a better understanding of ecological interactions resulting in tissue loss may enable more effective conservation strategies. We examined differences in susceptibility of A. cervicornis to C. abbreviata predation based on coral tissue condition. Coral tissue condition was a strong determinant of snail prey choice, with snails preferring A. cervicornis fragments that were diseased or mechanically damaged over healthy fragments. In addition, snails always chose fragments undergoing active predation by another snail, while showing no preference for a non-feeding snail when compared with an undisturbed prey fragment. These results indicate that the condition of A. cervicornis prey influenced foraging behavior of C. abbreviata, creating a potential feedback that may exacerbate damage from predation in coral populations compromised by other types of disturbance.

  17. Turning up the heat: increasing temperature and coral bleaching at the high latitude coral reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdo, David A; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Evans, Scott N

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs face increasing pressures particularly when on the edge of their distributions. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Abrolhos) are the southernmost coral reef system in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reefs in the world. These reefs have a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine fauna and flora and support 184 species of coral, dominated by Acropora species. A significant La Niña event during 2011 produced anomalous conditions of increased temperature along the whole Western Australian coastline, producing the first-recorded widespread bleaching of corals at the Abrolhos. We examined long term trends in the marine climate at the Abrolhos using historical sea surface temperature data (HadISST data set) from 1900-2011. In addition in situ water temperature data for the Abrolhos (from data loggers installed in 2008, across four island groups) were used to determine temperature exposure profiles. Coupled with the results of coral cover surveys conducted annually since 2007; we calculated bleaching thresholds for monitoring sites across the four Abrolhos groups. In situ temperature data revealed maximum daily water temperatures reached 29.54°C in March 2011 which is 4.2°C above mean maximum daily temperatures (2008-2010). The level of bleaching varied across sites with an average of ∼12% of corals bleached. Mortality was high, with a mean ∼50% following the 2011 bleaching event. Prior to 2011, summer temperatures reached a mean (across all monitoring sites) of 25.1°C for 2.5 days. However, in 2011 temperatures reached a mean of 28.1°C for 3.3 days. Longer term trends (1900-2011) showed mean annual sea surface temperatures increase by 0.01°C per annum. Long-term temperature data along with short-term peaks in 2011, outline the potential for corals to be exposed to more frequent bleaching risk with consequences for this high latitude coral reef system at the edge of its distribution.

  18. Coral Diseases Following Massive Bleaching in 2005 Cause 60 Percent Decline in Coral Cover and Mortality of the Threatened Species, Acropora Palmata, on Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2008-01-01

    Record-high seawater temperatures and calm seas in the summer of 2005 led to the most severe coral bleaching (greater than 90 percent bleached coral cover) ever observed in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (figs. 1 and 2). All but a few coral species bleached, including the threatened species, Acropora palmata. Bleaching was seen from the surface to depths over 20 meters.

  19. The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of<350 ppm CO2.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veron, J E N; Hoegh-Guldberg, O; Lenton, T M; Lough, J M; Obura, D O; Pearce-Kelly, P; Sheppard, C R C; Spalding, M; Stafford-Smith, M G; Rogers, A D

    2009-10-01

    Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO(2) levels exceeded approximately 320 ppm. When CO(2) levels reached approximately 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef's previous history and resilience. At today's level of approximately 387 ppm, allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide are committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae. If CO(2) levels are allowed to reach 450 ppm (due to occur by 2030-2040 at the current rates), reefs will be in rapid and terminal decline world-wide from multiple synergies arising from mass bleaching, ocean acidification, and other environmental impacts. Damage to shallow reef communities will become extensive with consequent reduction of biodiversity followed by extinctions. Reefs will cease to be large-scale nursery grounds for fish and will cease to have most of their current value to humanity. There will be knock-on effects to ecosystems associated with reefs, and to other pelagic and benthic ecosystems. Should CO(2) levels reach 600 ppm reefs will be eroding geological structures with populations of surviving biota restricted to refuges. Domino effects will follow, affecting many other marine ecosystems. This is likely to have been the path of great mass extinctions of the past, adding to the case that anthropogenic CO(2) emissions could trigger the Earth's sixth

  20. Mass Mortality of Beech (Fagus sylvatica in South-West Hungary

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MOLNÁR, M

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available The mass mortality of beech (Fagus sylvatica L. in Hungary, which started in 2003 andwent on through 2004, is the result of a typical damage chain. Mortality appeared first of all in beechforests close or outside of its native distribution area. The most significant reason was the droughtperiod from 2000 to 2004, which weakened the trees, and favoured the development of different pestsand pathogens. Characteristic symptoms were frequent at stand margins and in stands thinned forregeneration. The direct causes of the mortality were insects, the green jewel beetle (Agrilus viridisand the beech bark beetle (Taphrorychus bicolor as well as the fungus species Biscogniauxianummularia. With the improvement of weather conditions a continuous recovery of the stands hasbeen observed since 2005.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan A Sánchez

    2010-05-01

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

  4. Change in Body Mass Index Associated With Lowest Mortality in Denmark, 1976-2013

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Afzal, Shoaib; Tybjærg-Hansen, Anne; Jensen, Gorm B

    2016-01-01

    IMPORTANCE: Research has shown a U-shaped pattern in the association of body mass index (BMI) with mortality. Although average BMI has increased over time in most countries, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors may also be decreasing among obese individuals over time. Thus, the BMI...... came first. EXPOSURES: For observational studies, BMI was modeled using splines and in categories defined by the World Health Organization. Body mass index was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Main outcome was all-cause mortality...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barkley, Hannah C.; Cohen, Anne L.

    2016-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ketut Mahardika

    2009-12-01

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

  7. U.S. coral reefs; imperiled national treasures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Field, M.E.; Cochran, S.A.; Evans, K.R.

    2002-01-01

    Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species. However, the tiny colonial animals that build these intricate limestone masses are dying at alarming rates. If this trend continues, in 20 years the living corals on many of the world's reefs will be dead and the ecosystems that depend on them severely damaged. As part of the effort to protect our Nation's extensive reefs, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are working to better understand the processes that affect the health of these ecologically and economically important ecosystems.

  8. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2016-02-03

    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater runoff, and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration, and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae, and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulfur oxidation, and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition.

  9. Quantifying and Valuing Potential Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wobus, C. W.; Lane, D.; Buddemeier, R. W.; Ready, R. C.; Shouse, K. C.; Martinich, J.

    2012-12-01

    Global climate change presents a two-pronged threat to coral reef ecosystems: increasing sea surface temperatures will increase the likelihood of episodic bleaching events, while increasing ocean carbon dioxide concentrations will change the carbonate chemistry that drives coral growth. Because coral reefs have important societal as well as ecological benefits, climate change mitigation policies that ameliorate these impacts may create substantial economic value. We present a model that evaluates both the ecological and the economic impacts of climate change on coral reefs in the United States. We use a coral reef mortality and bleaching model to project future coral reef declines under a range of climate change policy scenarios for south Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Using a benefits transfer approach, the outputs from the physical model are then used to quantify the economic impacts of these coral reef declines for each of these regions. We find that differing climate change trajectories create substantial changes in projected coral cover and value for Hawaii, but that the ecological and economic benefits of more stringent emissions scenarios are less clear for Florida and Puerto Rico. Overall, our results indicate that the effectiveness of climate change mitigation policies may be region-specific, but that these policies could result in a net increase of nearly $10 billion in economic value from coral reef-related recreational activities alone, over the 21st century.

  10. Environmental conditions influence tissue regeneration rates in scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabine, Alexis M; Smith, Tyler B; Williams, Dana E; Brandt, Marilyn E

    2015-06-15

    Natural and anthropogenic factors may influence corals' ability to recover from partial mortality. To examine how environmental conditions affect lesion healing, we assessed several water quality parameters and tissue regeneration rates in corals at six reefs around St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. We hypothesized that sites closer to developed areas would have poor water quality due to proximity to anthropogenic stresses, which would impede tissue regeneration. We found that water flow and turbidity most strongly influenced lesion recovery rates. The most impacted site, with high turbidity and low flow, recovered almost three times slower than the least impacted site, with low turbidity, high flow, and low levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Our results illustrate that in addition to lesion-specific factors known to affect tissue regeneration, environmental conditions can also control corals' healing rates. Resource managers can use this information to protect low-flow, turbid nearshore reefs by minimizing sources of anthropogenic stress. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Enhanced susceptibility to predation in corals of compromised condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allan J. Bright

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The marine gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata, is an obligate corallivore that causes substantial mortality in Caribbean Acropora spp. Considering the imperiled status of Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, a better understanding of ecological interactions resulting in tissue loss may enable more effective conservation strategies. We examined differences in susceptibility of A. cervicornis to C. abbreviata predation based on coral tissue condition. Coral tissue condition was a strong determinant of snail prey choice, with snails preferring A. cervicornis fragments that were diseased or mechanically damaged over healthy fragments. In addition, snails always chose fragments undergoing active predation by another snail, while showing no preference for a non-feeding snail when compared with an undisturbed prey fragment. These results indicate that the condition of A. cervicornis prey influenced foraging behavior of C. abbreviata, creating a potential feedback that may exacerbate damage from predation in coral populations compromised by other types of disturbance.

  12. Detecting sedimentation impacts to coral reefs resulting from dredging the Port of Miami, Florida USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Margaret W; Karazsia, Jocelyn; Groves, Carolyn E; Griffin, Sean; Moore, Tom; Wilber, Pace; Gregg, Kurtis

    2016-01-01

    The federal channel at Port of Miami, Florida, USA, was dredged between late 2013 and early 2015 to widen and deepen the channel. Due to the limited spatial extent of impact-assessment monitoring associated with the project, the extent of the dredging impacts on surrounding coral reefs has not been well quantified. Previously published remote sensing analyses, as well as agency and anecdotal reports suggest the most severe and largest area of sedimentation occurred on a coral reef feature referred to as the Inner Reef, particularly in the sector north of the channel. A confounding regional warm-water mass bleaching event followed by a coral disease outbreak during this same time frame made the assessment of dredging-related impacts to coral reefs adjacent to the federal channel difficult but still feasible. The current study sought to better understand the sedimentation impacts that occurred in the coral reef environment surrounding Port of Miami, to distinguish those impacts from other regional events or disturbances, and provide supplemental information on impact assessment that will inform discussions on compensatory mitigation requirements. To this end, in-water field assessments conducted after the completion of dredging and a time series analysis of tagged corals photographed pre-, during, and post-dredging, are used to discern dredging-related sedimentation impacts for the Inner Reef north. Results indicate increased sediment accumulation, severe in certain times and places, and an associated biological response (e.g., higher prevalence of partial mortality of corals) extended up to 700 m from the channel, whereas project-associated monitoring was limited to 50 m from the channel. These results can contribute to more realistic prediction of areas of indirect effect from dredging projects needed to accurately evaluate proposed projects and design appropriate compliance monitoring. Dredging projects near valuable and sensitive habitats subject to local and

  13. Detecting sedimentation impacts to coral reefs resulting from dredging the Port of Miami, Florida USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Margaret W. Miller

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The federal channel at Port of Miami, Florida, USA, was dredged between late 2013 and early 2015 to widen and deepen the channel. Due to the limited spatial extent of impact-assessment monitoring associated with the project, the extent of the dredging impacts on surrounding coral reefs has not been well quantified. Previously published remote sensing analyses, as well as agency and anecdotal reports suggest the most severe and largest area of sedimentation occurred on a coral reef feature referred to as the Inner Reef, particularly in the sector north of the channel. A confounding regional warm-water mass bleaching event followed by a coral disease outbreak during this same time frame made the assessment of dredging-related impacts to coral reefs adjacent to the federal channel difficult but still feasible. The current study sought to better understand the sedimentation impacts that occurred in the coral reef environment surrounding Port of Miami, to distinguish those impacts from other regional events or disturbances, and provide supplemental information on impact assessment that will inform discussions on compensatory mitigation requirements. To this end, in-water field assessments conducted after the completion of dredging and a time series analysis of tagged corals photographed pre-, during, and post-dredging, are used to discern dredging-related sedimentation impacts for the Inner Reef north. Results indicate increased sediment accumulation, severe in certain times and places, and an associated biological response (e.g., higher prevalence of partial mortality of corals extended up to 700 m from the channel, whereas project-associated monitoring was limited to 50 m from the channel. These results can contribute to more realistic prediction of areas of indirect effect from dredging projects needed to accurately evaluate proposed projects and design appropriate compliance monitoring. Dredging projects near valuable and sensitive habitats

  14. 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.

  15. Corals and Their Microbiomes Are Differentially Affected by Exposure to Elevated Nutrients and a Natural Thermal Anomaly

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wang

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Nutrient pollution can increase the prevalence and severity of coral disease and bleaching in ambient temperature conditions or during experimental thermal challenge. However, there have been few opportunities to study the effects of nutrient pollution during natural thermal anomalies. Here we present results from an experiment conducted during the 2014 bleaching event in the Florida Keys, USA, that exposed Agaricia sp. (Undaria and Siderastrea siderea corals to 3 types of elevated nutrients: nitrogen alone, phosphorous alone, and the combination of nitrogen and phosphorus. Overall, bleaching prevalence and severity was high regardless of treatment, but nitrogen enrichment alone both prolonged bleaching and increased coral mortality in Agaricia corals. At the same time, the elevated temperatures increased the prevalence of Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS, a disease typically associated with cold temperatures in Siderastrea siderea corals. However, nutrient exposure alone did not increase the prevalence or severity of disease, suggesting that thermal stress overwhelms the effects of nutrient pollution on this disease during such an extreme thermal event. Analysis of 78 Siderastrea siderea microbial metagenomes also showed that the thermal event was correlated with significant shifts in the composition and function of the associated microbiomes, and corals with DSS had microbiomes distinct from apparently healthy corals. In particular, we identified shifts in viral, archaeal, and fungal families. These shifts were likely driven by the extreme temperatures or other environmental co-variates occurring during the 2014 bleaching event. However, no microbial taxa were correlated with signs of DSS. Furthermore, although nutrient exposure did not affect microbial alpha diversity, it did significantly affect microbiome beta-diversity, an effect that was independent of time. These results suggest that strong thermal anomalies and local nutrient pollution both

  16. The abundance of herbivorous fish on an inshore Red Sea reef following a mass coral bleaching event

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.

    2013-01-08

    A healthy herbivore community is critical for the ability of a reef to resist and recover from severe disturbances and to regain lost coral cover (i.e., resilience). The densities of the two major herbivorous fish groups (the family Acanthuridae and scarine labrids) were comparatively studied for an inshore reef that was severely impacted by a mass coral bleaching event in 2010 and an unaffected reef within the same region. Densities were found to be significantly higher on the affected reef, most likely due to the high algal densities on that reef. However, densities of herbivores on both reefs were found to be on average about 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than previously published reports from some Pacific reefs and from Red Sea reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba and only slightly higher than Caribbean reefs. Thus, it is predicted that recovery for this reef and similarly affected reefs may be very slow. The protection of herbivores from overfishing and the introduction of other management strategies that maximize reef resilience in Saudi Arabian waters are highly recommended. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

  17. 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.

  18. A study on the recovery of Tobago's coral reefs following the 2010 mass bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buglass, Salome; Donner, Simon D; Alemu I, Jahson B

    2016-03-15

    In 2010, severe coral bleaching was observed across the southeastern Caribbean, including the island of Tobago, where coral reefs are subject to sedimentation and high nutrient levels from terrestrial runoff. Here we examine changes in corals' colony size distributions over time (2010-2013), juvenile abundances and sedimentation rates for sites across Tobago following the 2010 bleaching event. The results indicated that since pre-bleaching coral cover was already low due to local factors and past disturbance, the 2010 event affected only particular susceptible species' population size structure and increased the proportion of small sized colonies. The low density of juveniles (mean of 5.4±6.3 juveniles/m(-2)) suggests that Tobago's reefs already experienced limited recruitment, especially of large broadcasting species. The juvenile distribution and the response of individual species to the bleaching event support the notion that Caribbean reefs are becoming dominated by weedy non-framework building taxa which are more resilient to disturbances. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

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

  20. Mass mortality of eastern box turtles with upper respiratory disease following atypical cold weather.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Price, Steven J; Nowakowski, A Justin; Augustine, Ben; Todd, Brian D

    2017-04-20

    Emerging infectious diseases cause population declines in many ectotherms, with outbreaks frequently punctuated by periods of mass mortality. It remains unclear, however, whether thermoregulation by ectotherms and variation in environmental temperature is associated with mortality risk and disease progression, especially in wild populations. Here, we examined environmental and body temperatures of free-ranging eastern box turtles Terrapene carolina during a mass die-off coincident with upper respiratory disease. We recorded deaths of 17 turtles that showed clinical signs of upper respiratory disease among 76 adult turtles encountered in Berea, Kentucky (USA), in 2014. Of the 17 mortalities, 11 occurred approximately 14 d after mean environmental temperature dropped 2.5 SD below the 3 mo mean. Partial genomic sequencing of the major capsid protein from 1 sick turtle identified a ranavirus isolate similar to frog virus 3. Turtles that lacked clinical signs of disease had significantly higher body temperatures (23°C) than sick turtles (21°C) during the mass mortality, but sick turtles that survived and recovered eventually warmed (measured by temperature loggers). Finally, there was a significant negative effect of daily environmental temperature deviation from the 3 mo mean on survival, suggesting that rapid decreases in environmental temperature were correlated with mortality. Our results point to a potential role for environmental temperature variation and body temperature in disease progression and mortality risk of eastern box turtles affected by upper respiratory disease. Given our findings, it is possible that colder or more variable environmental temperatures and an inability to effectively thermoregulate are associated with poorer disease outcomes in eastern box turtles.

  1. 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...

  2. Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röthig, Till; Ochsenkühn, Michael A; Roik, Anna; van der Merwe, Riaan; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-03-01

    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater run-off and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here, we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high-salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high-salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulphur oxidation and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition. © 2016 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Integration of coral reef ecosystem process studies and remote sensing: Chapter 5

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brook, John; Yates, Kimberly; Halley, Robert

    2006-01-01

    Worldwide, local-scale anthropogenic stress combined with global climate change is driving shifts in the state of reef benthic communities from coral-rich to micro- or macroalgal-dominated (Knowlton, 1992; Done, 1999). Such phase shifts in reef benthic communities may be either abrupt or gradual, and case studies from diverse ocean basins demonstrate that recovery, while uncertain (Hughes, 1994), typically involves progression through successional stages (Done, 1992). These transitions in benthic community structure involve changes in community metabolism, and accordingly, the holistic evaluation of associated biogeochemical variables is of great intrinsic value (Done, 1992). Effective reef management requires advance prediction of coral reef alteration in the face of anthropogenic stress and change in the global environment (Hatcher, 1997a). In practice, this goal requires techniques that can rapidly discern, at an early stage, sublethal effects that may cause long-term increases in mortality (brown, 1988; Grigg and Dollar, 1990). Such methods would improve our understanding of the differences in the population, community, and ecosystem structure, as well as function, between pristine and degraded reefs. This knowledge base could then support scientifically based management strategies (Done, 1992). Brown (1988) noted the general lack of rigor in the assessment of stress on coral reefs and suggested that more quantitative approaches than currently exist are needed to allow objective understanding of coral reef dynamics. Sensitive techniques for the timely appraisal of pollution effects or generalized endemic stress in coral reefs are sorely lacking (Grigg and Dollar, 1990; Wilkinsin, 1992). Moreover, monitoring methods based on population inventories, sclerochronology, or reproductive biology tend to myopic and may give inconsistent results. Ideally, an improved means of evaluating reef stress would discriminate mortality due to natural causes from morality to

  4. 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.

  5. Remote Sensing of Coral Bleaching Using Temperature and Light: Progress towards an Operational Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William Skirving

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch program developed and operates several global satellite products to monitor bleaching-level heat stress. While these products have a proven ability to predict the onset of most mass coral bleaching events, they occasionally miss events; inaccurately predict the severity of some mass coral bleaching events; or report false alarms. These products are based solely on temperature and yet coral bleaching is known to result from both temperature and light stress. This study presents a novel methodology (still under development, which combines temperature and light into a single measure of stress to predict the onset and severity of mass coral bleaching. We describe here the biological basis of the Light Stress Damage (LSD algorithm under development. Then by using empirical relationships derived in separate experiments conducted in mesocosm facilities in the Mexican Caribbean we parameterize the LSD algorithm and demonstrate that it is able to describe three past bleaching events from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR. For this limited example, the LSD algorithm was able to better predict differences in the severity of the three past GBR bleaching events, quantifying the contribution of light to reduce or exacerbate the impact of heat stress. The new Light Stress Damage algorithm we present here is potentially a significant step forward in the evolution of satellite-based bleaching products.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  7. [Changes in fish communities of coral reefs at Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, Cuba].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claro, Rodolfo; Cantelar, Karel; Amargós, Fabián Pina; García-Arteaga, Juan P

    2007-06-01

    A comparison of fish community structure in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago (1988-1989 and 2000) using visual census surveys (eight belt transects 2x50 m in each site) suggests a notable decrease on species richness, and a two thirds reduction in fish density and biomass on coral reefs. This decrease in fish populations may be related to the alarming decrease of scleractinian coral cover, and an enormous proliferation of algae, which currently covers 70-80% of the hard substrate, impeding the recovery of corals and other benthic organisms. High coral mortalities occurred between the study periods, which correlate with the high temperatures caused by the ENSO events of 1995, 1997 and 1998. These events caused massive bleaching of corals and subsequent algae overgrowth. Evidence of nutrient enrichment from the inner lagoons and overfishing are also present. Collectively, these effects have provoked a marked degradation of reef habitats. These changes appear to have affected the availability of refuges and food for fishes, and may be constraining individual growth potential and population size.

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  13. 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...

  14. Contrasting Patterns of Coral Bleaching Susceptibility in 2010 Suggest an Adaptive Response to Thermal Stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, James R.; Baird, Andrew H.; Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Muttaqin, Efin; Edwards, Alasdair J.; Campbell, Stuart J.; Yewdall, Katie; Affendi, Yang Amri; Chou, Loke Ming

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral bleaching events vary in severity, however, to date, the hierarchy of susceptibility to bleaching among coral taxa has been consistent over a broad geographic range and among bleaching episodes. Here we examine the extent of spatial and temporal variation in thermal tolerance among scleractinian coral taxa and between locations during the 2010 thermally induced, large-scale bleaching event in South East Asia. Methodology/Principal Findings Surveys to estimate the bleaching and mortality indices of coral genera were carried out at three locations with contrasting thermal and bleaching histories. Despite the magnitude of thermal stress being similar among locations in 2010, there was a remarkable contrast in the patterns of bleaching susceptibility. Comparisons of bleaching susceptibility within coral taxa and among locations revealed no significant differences between locations with similar thermal histories, but significant differences between locations with contrasting thermal histories (Friedman = 34.97; pSingapore, where only 5% and 12% of colonies died. Conclusions/Significance The pattern of susceptibility among coral genera documented here is unprecedented. A parsimonious explanation for these results is that coral populations that bleached during the last major warming event in 1998 have adapted and/or acclimatised to thermal stress. These data also lend support to the hypothesis that corals in regions subject to more variable temperature regimes are more resistant to thermal stress than those in less variable environments. PMID:22428027

  15. Radiogenic Isotopes As Paleoceanographic Tracers in Deep-Sea Corals: Advances in TIMS Measurements of Pb Isotopes and Application to Southern Ocean Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, D. J.; van de Flierdt, T.; Bridgestock, L. J.; Paul, M.; Rehkamper, M.; Robinson, L. F.; Adkins, J. F.

    2014-12-01

    Deep-sea corals have emerged as a valuable archive of deep ocean paleoceanographic change, with uranium-series dating providing absolute ages and the potential for centennial resolution. In combination with measurements of radiocarbon, neodymium isotopes and clumped isotopes, this archive has recently been exploited to reconstruct changes in ventilation, water mass sourcing and temperature in relation to millennial climate change. Lead (Pb) isotopes in both corals and seawater have also been used to track anthropogenic inputs through space and time and to trace transport pathways within the oceans. Better understanding of the oceanic Pb cycle is emerging from the GEOTRACES programme. However, while Pb isotopes have been widely used in environmental studies, their full potential as a (pre-anthropogenic) paleoceanographic tracer remains to be exploited. In deep-sea corals, challenges exist from low Pb concentrations in aragonite in comparison to secondary coatings, the potential for contamination, and the efficient elemental separation required for measurement by thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS). Here we discuss progress in measuring Pb isotopes in coral aragonite using a 207Pb-204Pb double spike on a ThermoFinnigan Triton TIMS. For a 2 ng NIST-981 Pb standard, the long term reproducibility (using 1011 Ω resistors) is ~1000 ppm (2 s.d.) on 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb ratios. We now show that using a new 1012 Ω resistor to measure the small 204Pb beam improves the internal precision on these ratios from ~500 ppm (2 s.e.) to ~250 ppm (2 s.e.) and we envisage a potential improvement in the long term reproducibility as a consequence. We further assess the internal precision and external reproducibility of our method using a BCR-2 rock standard and an in-house coral standard. Preliminary evidence on the application of this method to natural samples is derived from cleaning experiments and replication tests on deep-sea corals from the Southern

  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. Recovery of the coral Montastrea annularis in the Florida Keys after the 1987 Caribbean ``bleaching event''

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitt, William K.; Spero, Howard J.; Halas, John; White, Michael W.; Porter, James W.

    1993-07-01

    Many reef-building corals and other cnidarians lost photosynthetic pigments and symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) during the coral bleaching event in the Caribbean in 1987. The Florida Reef Tract included some of the first documented cases, with widespread bleaching of the massive coral Montastrea annularis beginning in late August. Phototransects at Carysfort Reef showed discoloration of >90% of colonies of this species in March 1988 compared to 0% in July 1986; however no mortality was observed between 1986 and 1988. Samples of corals collected in February and June 1988 had zooxanthellae densities ranging from 0.1 in the most lightly colored corals, to 1.6x106 cells/cm2 in the darker corals. Minimum densities increased to 0.5x106 cells/cm2 by August 1989. Chlorophyll- a content of zooxanthellae and zooxanthellar mitotic indices were significantly higher in corals with lower densities of zooxanthellae, suggesting that zooxanthellar at low densities may be more nutrientsufficient than those in unbleached corals. Ash-free dry weight of coral tissue was positively correlated with zooxanthellae density at all sample times and was significantly lower in June 1988 compared to August 1989. Proteins and lipids per cm2 were significantly higher in August 1989 than in February or June, 1988. Although recovery of zooxanthellae density and coral pigmentation to normal levels may occur in less than one year, regrowth of tissue biomass and energy stores lost during the period of low symbiont densities may take significantly longer.

  18. Coral-macroalgal phase shifts or reef resilience: links with diversity and functional roles of herbivorous fishes on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheal, A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Cripps, E.; Emslie, M. J.; Jonker, M.; Schaffelke, B.; Sweatman, H.

    2010-12-01

    Changes from coral to macroalgal dominance following disturbances to corals symbolize the global degradation of coral reefs. The development of effective conservation measures depends on understanding the causes of such phase shifts. The prevailing view that coral-macroalgal phase shifts commonly occur due to insufficient grazing by fishes is based on correlation with overfishing and inferences from models and small-scale experiments rather than on long-term quantitative field studies of fish communities at affected and resilient sites. Consequently, the specific characteristics of herbivorous fish communities that most promote reef resilience under natural conditions are not known, though this information is critical for identifying vulnerable ecosystems. In this study, 11 years of field surveys recorded the development of the most persistent coral-macroalgal phase shift (>7 years) yet observed on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This shift followed extensive coral mortality caused by thermal stress (coral bleaching) and damaging storms. Comparisons with two similar reefs that suffered similar disturbances but recovered relatively rapidly demonstrated that the phase shift occurred despite high abundances of one herbivore functional group (scraping/excavating parrotfishes: Labridae). However, the shift was strongly associated with low fish herbivore diversity and low abundances of algal browsers (predominantly Siganidae) and grazers/detritivores (Acanthuridae), suggesting that one or more of these factors underpin reef resilience and so deserve particular protection. Herbivorous fishes are not harvested on the GBR, and the phase shift was not enhanced by unusually high nutrient levels. This shows that unexploited populations of herbivorous fishes cannot ensure reef resilience even under benign conditions and suggests that reefs could lose resilience under relatively low fishing pressure. Predictions of more severe and widespread coral mortality due to global

  19. Model-based assessment of the role of human-induced climate change in the 2005 Caribbean coral bleaching event

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Donner, S.D. [Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Knutson, T.R. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, NJ (United States). Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab.; Oppenheimer, M. [Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Dept. of Geosciences

    2007-03-27

    Episodes of mass coral bleaching around the world in recent decades have been attributed to periods of anomalously warm ocean temperatures. In 2005, the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in the tropical North Atlantic that may have contributed to the strong hurricane season caused widespread coral bleaching in the Eastern Caribbean. Here, the authors use two global climate models to evaluate the contribution of natural climate variability and anthropogenic forcing to the thermal stress that caused the 2005 coral bleaching event. Historical temperature data and simulations for the 1870-2000 period show that the observed warming in the region is unlikely to be due to unforced climate variability alone. Simulation of background climate variability suggests that anthropogenic warming may have increased the probability of occurrence of significant thermal stress events for corals in this region by an order of magnitude. Under scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions, mass coral bleaching in the Eastern Caribbean may become a biannual event in 20-30 years. However, if corals and their symbionts can adapt by 1-1.5{sup o}C, such mass bleaching events may not begin to recur at potentially harmful intervals until the latter half of the century. The delay could enable more time to alter the path of greenhouse gas emissions, although long-term 'committed warming' even after stabilization of atmospheric CO{sub 2} levels may still represent an additional long-term threat to corals.

  20. 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.

  1. Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

    KAUST Repository

    Hughes, Terry P.

    2018-01-16

    Tropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Nina conditions than they were during El Nino events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Nino-Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.

  2. Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Connolly, Sean R.; Heron, Scott F.; Kerry, James T.; Lough, Janice M.; Baird, Andrew H.; Baum, Julia K.; Berumen, Michael L.; Bridge, Tom C.; Claar, Danielle C.; Eakin, C. Mark; Gilmour, James P.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Harrison, Hugo; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hoogenboom, Mia; Lowe, Ryan J.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Pandolfi, John M.; Pratchett, Morgan; Schoepf, Verena; Torda, Gergely; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2018-01-01

    Tropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Niña conditions than they were during El Niño events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Niño–Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.

  3. Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

    KAUST Repository

    Hughes, Terry P.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Connolly, Sean R.; Heron, Scott F.; Kerry, James T.; Lough, Janice M.; Baird, Andrew H.; Baum, Julia K.; Berumen, Michael L.; Bridge, Tom C.; Claar, Danielle C.; Eakin, C. Mark; Gilmour, James P.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Harrison, Hugo; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hoogenboom, Mia; Lowe, Ryan J.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Pandolfi, John M.; Pratchett, Morgan; Schoepf, Verena; Torda, Gergely; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2018-01-01

    Tropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Nina conditions than they were during El Nino events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Nino-Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.

  4. Global patterns and impacts of El Niño events on coral reefs: A meta-analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claar, Danielle C; Szostek, Lisa; McDevitt-Irwin, Jamie M; Schanze, Julian J; Baum, Julia K

    2018-01-01

    Impacts of global climate change on coral reefs are being amplified by pulse heat stress events, including El Niño, the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Despite reports of extensive coral bleaching and up to 97% coral mortality induced by El Niño events, a quantitative synthesis of the nature, intensity, and drivers of El Niño and La Niña impacts on corals is lacking. Herein, we first present a global meta-analysis of studies quantifying the effects of El Niño/La Niña-warming on corals, surveying studies from both the primary literature and International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) Proceedings. Overall, the strongest signal for El Niño/La Niña-associated coral bleaching was long-term mean temperature; bleaching decreased with decreasing long-term mean temperature (n = 20 studies). Additionally, coral cover losses during El Niño/La Niña were shaped by localized maximum heat stress and long-term mean temperature (n = 28 studies). Second, we present a method for quantifying coral heat stress which, for any coral reef location in the world, allows extraction of remotely-sensed degree heating weeks (DHW) for any date (since 1982), quantification of the maximum DHW, and the time lag since the maximum DHW. Using this method, we show that the 2015/16 El Niño event instigated unprecedented global coral heat stress across the world's oceans. With El Niño events expected to increase in frequency and severity this century, it is imperative that we gain a clear understanding of how these thermal stress anomalies impact different coral species and coral reef regions. We therefore finish with recommendations for future coral bleaching studies that will foster improved syntheses, as well as predictive and adaptive capacity to extreme warming events.

  5. 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

  6. Juvenile corals can acquire more carbon from high-performance algal symbionts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantin, N. E.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.; Mieog, J. C.; Negri, A. P.

    2009-06-01

    Algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium play a key role in the nutrition of reef building corals and strongly affect the thermal tolerance and growth rate of the animal host. This study reports that 14C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora harbouring Symbiodinium C1 compared with juveniles from common parentage harbouring Symbiodinium D in a laboratory experiment. Rapid light curves performed on the same corals revealed that the relative electron transport rate of photosystem II (rETRMAX) was 87% greater in Symbiodinium C1 than in Symbiodinium D in hospite. The greater relative electron transport through photosystem II of Symbiodinium C1 is positively correlated with increased carbon delivery to the host under the applied experimental conditions ( r 2 = 0.91). This may translate into a competitive advantage for juveniles harbouring Symbiodinium C1 under certain field conditions, since rapid early growth typically limits mortality. Both symbiont types exhibited severe reductions in 14C incorporation during a 10-h exposure to the electron transport blocking herbicide diuron (DCMU), confirming the link between electron transport through PSII and photosynthate incorporation within the host tissue. These findings advance the current understanding of symbiotic relationships between corals and their symbionts, providing evidence that enhanced growth rates of juvenile corals may result from greater translocation of photosynthates from Symbiodinium C1.

  7. Ten years after bleaching - facing the consequences of climate change in the Indian Ocean.CORDIO Status Report 2008.

    OpenAIRE

    Grimsditch, G.; Mwaura, J.; Kilonzo, J.; Amiyo, N.; Obura, D.

    2008-01-01

    When a coral bleaches, the obligate symbiosis between the coral polyp and the micro-algal zooxanthellae is disrupted and the zooxanthellae are expelled from the polyp. Although a bleached coral does not necessarily die, it is more vulnerable to disease, algal overgrowth, bioerosion and eventually mortality. Mass bleaching and mortality events in the last decade have prompted increased research into zooxanthellae, and it is possible that zooxanthellae population strategies affect a coral’s tol...

  8. Limb/trunk lean mass ratio as a risk factor for mortality in peritoneal dialysis patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Seok Hui; Park, Jong Won; Yoon, Kyung Woo; Do, Jun Young

    2013-07-01

    This study was performed to determine the clinical relevance of limb/trunk lean mass ratio (LTLM) in continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients. This retrospective cohort study included 534 CAPD patients. Body compositions were measured using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry apparatus. In males, the sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of sarcopenia were 70.3% and 85.9%, respectively. Respective values in females were 62.3% and 83.8%. The initial low LTLM tertile was associated with mortality in male CAPD patients and in female CAPD patients. Among patients who maintained CAPD for a year, the maintenance of low LTLM tertile was associated with mortality. LTLM is associated with other lean mass indices, nutritional status, and mortality in CAPD patients. Therefore, LTLM is a novel marker that is useful for the prediction of the nutritional status and mortality in patients with CAPD. Copyright © 2013 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Influence of Eunice norvegica on feeding and calcification in the coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, C. E.; van Oevelen, D.; Middelburg, J. J.; Lundälv, T.

    2012-04-01

    Lophelia pertusa is the main framework building cold-water coral in the North Atlantic. It forms complex reef structures, extending up to several km in length and several meters in hight. Many species are attracted by the coral frame work, forming a highly diverse community within the reef. Although most work has focused on the corals, the functioning of the system also depends on interactions between corals and associated species. A particular example is the Polychaete Eunice norvegica that lives in close association with the coral host. The Polychaete builds a thin texture-tube between living coral branches and stimulates the coral to calcify the tube. This process strengthens the reef framwork by thickening and connecting coral brances and thereby acts as a positive feedback on the development of large reef structures. This comes however at an metabolic cost for the coral due to the enhanced calcificationrates. Another negative feedback for cold-water coral may be food related, since aquaria observations have shown that Eunice occasionally steels food from its host coral. In this study we investigated the interactions between the coral and polychaete related to calcification and food partitioning for two food types (algae and Artemia). The uptake of 13C and 15N labeled food sources by the worm and the coral was studied in chambers with only corals, only the polychaete and both species present. After 7 days, corals and worms were analyzed for isotope incorporation in bulk tissue and skeleton samples and specific fatty acids (13C) using GC-c-IRMS (gas-chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry). Corals that were kept in the presence of Eunice indeed showed a higher calcification rates of 7.4 ug C (day* g dw coral)-1, evidencing the stimulation of calcification by Eunice. Interestingly, food uptake of algae and Artemia was higher in the coral-worm treatment for both species as compared to the single species treatments. These results shed new light on

  10. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

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

  12. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bahr, Keisha D; Jokiel, Paul L; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, subtropical Hawai'i escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawai'i will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater "kill" event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāne'ohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the "stress period" actually started long before the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cróquer, Aldo; Weil, Ernesto

    2009-11-16

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

  14. Impact of body mass index on mortality and hospitalisation of patients with atrial fibrillation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ball, Jocasta; Løchen, Maja-Lisa; Carrington, Melinda J; Wiley, Joshua F; Stewart, Simon

    2018-04-01

    Atrial fibrillation represents a substantial clinical and public health issue. The definitive impact of body mass index on prognosis of patients with chronic (persistent or permanent) atrial fibrillation remains undetermined. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of body mass index with health outcomes (mortality and re-hospitalisation) of patients with chronic atrial fibrillation. Using data from the Standard versus Atrial Fibrillation spEcific managemenT strategY (SAFETY) trial (a randomised controlled trial of home-based, atrial fibrillation-specific disease management), we performed post-hoc analyses of mortality and re-hospitalisation outcomes during minimum 24-month follow-up according to baseline body mass index profile. Of 297 participants (mean age 71±11 years, 47% female, mean body mass index 29.6±6.7 kg/m 2 ), 35.0% of participants were overweight (body mass index 25.0-29.9 kg/m 2 ) and 43.1% were obese (body mass index≥30 kg/m 2 ). During follow-up, n=42 died including 16/65 (24.6%) classified as normal body mass index, 16/104 (15.4%) classified as overweight and 10/128 (7.8%) classified as obese. Increasing body mass index was not associated with increased mortality but was associated with re-hospitalisation due to cardiovascular disease with greater length-of-stay (odds ratio 1.05; 95% confidence interval 1.00-1.09, p=0.032). Obese individuals experienced increased unplanned admissions compared to overweight individuals (incidence rate ratio 0.71; 95% confidence interval 0.53-0.96, p=0.028), and increased cardiovascular-related (incidence rate ratio 0.58; 95% confidence interval 0.39-0.86, p=0.007) and all-cause admissions (incidence rate ratio 0.63; 95% confidence interval 0.45-0.89, p=0.008) compared to those classified as normal body mass index. Overweight and obesity were not associated with survival in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation but were associated with more frequent hospital care and prolonged stay.

  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 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

  17. Coral ages and island subsidence, Hilo drill hole

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, J.G.; Ingram, B.L.; Ludwig, K. R.; Clague, D.A.

    1996-01-01

    A 25.8-m-thick sedimentary section containing coral fragments occurs directly below a surface lava flow (the ???1340 year old Panaewa lava flow) at the Hilo drill hole. Ten coral samples from this section dated by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon and five by thermal infrared multispectral scanner (TIMS) 230Th/U methods show good agreement. The calcareous unit is 9790 years old at the bottom and 1690 years old at the top and was deposited in a shallow lagoon behind an actively growing reef. This sedimentary unit is underlain by a 34-m-thick lava flow which in turn overlies a thin volcaniclastic silt with coral fragments that yield a single 14C date of 10,340 years. The age-depth relations of the dated samples can be compared with proposed eustatic sea level curves after allowance for island subsidence is taken. Island subsidence averages 2.2 mm/yr for the last 47 years based on measurements from a tide gage near the drill hole or 2.5-2.6 mm/yr for the last 500,000 years based on the ages and depths of a series of drowned coral reefs offshore from west Hawaii. The age-depth measurements of coral fragments are more consistent with eustatic sea levels as determined by coral dating at Barbados and Albrolhos Islands than those based on oxygen isotopic data from deep sea cores. The Panaewa lava flow entered a lagoon underlain by coral debris and covered the drill site with 30.9 m of lava of which 11 m was above sea level. This surface has now subsided to 4.2 m above sea level, but it demonstrates how a modern lava flow entering Hilo Bay would not only change the coastline but could extensively modify the offshore shelf.

  18. ENSO Weather and Coral Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGowan, Hamish; Theobald, Alison

    2017-10-01

    The most devastating mass coral bleaching has occurred during El Niño events, with bleaching reported to be a direct result of increased sea surface temperatures (SSTs). However, El Niño itself does not cause SSTs to rise in all regions that experience bleaching. Nor is the upper ocean warming trend of 0.11°C per decade since 1971, attributed to global warming, sufficient alone to exceed the thermal tolerance of corals. Here we show that weather patterns during El Niño that result in reduced cloud cover, higher than average air temperatures and higher than average atmospheric pressures, play a crucial role in determining the extent and location of coral bleaching on the world's largest coral reef system, the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Accordingly, synoptic-scale weather patterns and local atmosphere-ocean feedbacks related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and not large-scale SST warming due to El Niño alone and/or global warming are often the cause of coral bleaching on the GBR.

  19. Cumulative Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Elevated Temperature Compromise the Early Life History Stages of the Coral Acropora tenuis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noonan, Sam H. C.; Willis, Bette L.; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Negri, Andrew P.

    2016-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs are experiencing the combined pressures of excess nutrient availability associated with coastal activities and warming seawater temperatures. Both pressures are known to have detrimental effects on the early life history stages of hard corals, but studies of their combined effects on early demographic stages are lacking. We conducted a series of experiments to test the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (three levels) and elevated seawater temperature (up to five levels) on early life history stages of the inshore coral Acropora tenuis, a common species in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Gamete fertilization, larval survivorship and larval settlement were all significantly reduced as temperature increased, but only fertilization was further affected by simultaneous nutrient enrichment. Combined high temperatures and nutrient enrichment affected fertilization in an additive manner, whereas embryo abnormalities increased synergistically. Higher than normal temperatures (32°C) increased coral juvenile growth rates 1.6-fold, but mortality also increased by 50%. The co-occurrence of nutrient enrichment with high temperatures reduced juvenile mortality to 36%, ameliorating temperature stress (antagonistic interaction). Overall, the types of effect (additive vs synergistic or antagonistic) and their magnitude varied among life stages. Gamete and embryo stages were more affected by temperature stress and, in some cases, also by nutrient enrichment than juveniles. The data suggest that coastal runoff events might exacerbate the impacts of warming temperatures on fertilization if these events co-occur during corals spawning. The cumulative impacts of simultaneous exposure to nutrient enrichment and elevated temperatures over all early life history stages increases the likelihood for failure of larval supply and recruitment for this coral species. Our results suggest that improving the water quality of river discharges into coastal areas might help to

  20. Cumulative Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Elevated Temperature Compromise the Early Life History Stages of the Coral Acropora tenuis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humanes, Adriana; Noonan, Sam H C; Willis, Bette L; Fabricius, Katharina E; Negri, Andrew P

    2016-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs are experiencing the combined pressures of excess nutrient availability associated with coastal activities and warming seawater temperatures. Both pressures are known to have detrimental effects on the early life history stages of hard corals, but studies of their combined effects on early demographic stages are lacking. We conducted a series of experiments to test the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (three levels) and elevated seawater temperature (up to five levels) on early life history stages of the inshore coral Acropora tenuis, a common species in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Gamete fertilization, larval survivorship and larval settlement were all significantly reduced as temperature increased, but only fertilization was further affected by simultaneous nutrient enrichment. Combined high temperatures and nutrient enrichment affected fertilization in an additive manner, whereas embryo abnormalities increased synergistically. Higher than normal temperatures (32°C) increased coral juvenile growth rates 1.6-fold, but mortality also increased by 50%. The co-occurrence of nutrient enrichment with high temperatures reduced juvenile mortality to 36%, ameliorating temperature stress (antagonistic interaction). Overall, the types of effect (additive vs synergistic or antagonistic) and their magnitude varied among life stages. Gamete and embryo stages were more affected by temperature stress and, in some cases, also by nutrient enrichment than juveniles. The data suggest that coastal runoff events might exacerbate the impacts of warming temperatures on fertilization if these events co-occur during corals spawning. The cumulative impacts of simultaneous exposure to nutrient enrichment and elevated temperatures over all early life history stages increases the likelihood for failure of larval supply and recruitment for this coral species. Our results suggest that improving the water quality of river discharges into coastal areas might help to

  1. 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

  2. Seychelles Lagoon Provides Corals with a Refuge from Bleaching

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. Mass coral bleaching due to unprecedented marine heatwave in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couch, Courtney S; Burns, John H R; Liu, Gang; Steward, Kanoelani; Gutlay, Tiffany Nicole; Kenyon, Jean; Eakin, C Mark; Kosaki, Randall K

    2017-01-01

    2014 marked the sixth and most widespread mass bleaching event reported in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, home to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), the world's second largest marine reserve. This event was associated with an unusual basin-scale warming in the North Pacific Ocean, with an unprecedented peak intensity of around 20°C-weeks of cumulative heat stress at Lisianksi Island. In situ bleaching surveys and satellite data were used to evaluate the relative importance of potential drivers of bleaching patterns in 2014, assess the subsequent morality and its effects on coral communities and 3D complexity, test for signs of regional acclimation, and investigate long-term change in heat stress in PMNM. Surveys conducted at four island/atoll (French Frigate Shoals, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, and Midway Atoll) showed that in 2014, percent bleaching varied considerably between islands/atolls and habitats (back reef/fore reef and depth), and was up to 91% in shallow habitats at Lisianski. The percent bleaching during the 2014 event was best explained by a combination of duration of heat stress measured by Coral Reef Watch's satellite Degree Heating Week, relative community susceptibility (bleaching susceptibility score of each taxon * the taxon's abundance relative to the total number of colonies), depth and region. Mean coral cover at permanent Lisianski monitoring sites decreased by 68% due to severe losses of Montipora dilatata complex, resulting in rapid reductions in habitat complexity. Spatial distribution of the 2014 bleaching was significantly different from the 2002 and 2004 bleaching events likely due to a combination of differences in heat stress and local acclimatization. Historical satellite data demonstrated heat stress in 2014 was unlike any previous event and that the exposure of corals to the bleaching-level heat stress has increased significantly in the northern PMNM since 1982, highlighting the increasing

  5. Mass coral bleaching due to unprecedented marine heatwave in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Courtney S Couch

    Full Text Available 2014 marked the sixth and most widespread mass bleaching event reported in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, home to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM, the world's second largest marine reserve. This event was associated with an unusual basin-scale warming in the North Pacific Ocean, with an unprecedented peak intensity of around 20°C-weeks of cumulative heat stress at Lisianksi Island. In situ bleaching surveys and satellite data were used to evaluate the relative importance of potential drivers of bleaching patterns in 2014, assess the subsequent morality and its effects on coral communities and 3D complexity, test for signs of regional acclimation, and investigate long-term change in heat stress in PMNM. Surveys conducted at four island/atoll (French Frigate Shoals, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, and Midway Atoll showed that in 2014, percent bleaching varied considerably between islands/atolls and habitats (back reef/fore reef and depth, and was up to 91% in shallow habitats at Lisianski. The percent bleaching during the 2014 event was best explained by a combination of duration of heat stress measured by Coral Reef Watch's satellite Degree Heating Week, relative community susceptibility (bleaching susceptibility score of each taxon * the taxon's abundance relative to the total number of colonies, depth and region. Mean coral cover at permanent Lisianski monitoring sites decreased by 68% due to severe losses of Montipora dilatata complex, resulting in rapid reductions in habitat complexity. Spatial distribution of the 2014 bleaching was significantly different from the 2002 and 2004 bleaching events likely due to a combination of differences in heat stress and local acclimatization. Historical satellite data demonstrated heat stress in 2014 was unlike any previous event and that the exposure of corals to the bleaching-level heat stress has increased significantly in the northern PMNM since 1982, highlighting

  6. 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.

  7. Reproduction Patterns of Scleractinian Corals in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2013-12-01

    Early work on the reproductive seasonality of corals in the Red Sea suggested that corals exhibit temporal reproductive isolation, unlike on the Great Barrier Reef where many species spawn in synchrony. More recent work has however shown high synchrony in the maturity of gametes in Acropora species, suggesting multi-specific spawning is likely to occur in the Red Sea. In this thesis I investigate the patterns of coral reproduction in the central Red Sea. The spawning season in the central Red Sea lasts four months, from April to July and spawning occurs on nights around the full moon. During this period Acropora species show a peak of spawning in April, with some species spawning again in May. The level of synchrony, quantified with a spawning synchrony index, is comparable to other locations where multi-specific spawning has been reported. Observations over two consecutive years show that the synchrony of spawning was lower in spring 2012 than in spring 2011, and thus that spawning patterns are variable from one year to the other. Coral settlement patterns on artificial substrata confirmed a main spawning season in the spring but also supported reproductive data suggesting that some Porites spawn in October-November. Settlement was studied over 2.5 years on a reef, which had suffered recently from high mortality after a local bleaching event. Settlement appeared low but post-bleaching studies from other locations indicated similar abundances and showed that recruits generally did not increase until 5 years after the bleaching event. Abundance of juvenile corals however started to increase significantly three years after the bleaching. Successful recruitment, although low suggests that the coral assemblage on the affected reef will most likely recover as long as it is not affected by another disturbance.

  8. Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef-building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (>50% cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant.

  9. Limb/trunk lean mass ratio as a risk factor for mortality in peritoneal dialysis patients

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seok Hui Kang

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Protein energy wasting (PEW is a common problem in dialysis patients. There have been few reports on the effects of regional lean mass distribution for peritoneal dialysis (PD patients. We reviewed the medical records and identified all adults who received PD between May 2001 and May 2011. Five hundred thirty four patients were enrolled. The clinical and laboratory data were collected at 1 and 12 months. Regional lean masses were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The limb/trunk lean mass ratio (LTLM was defined as a value on dividing the sum of four limbs by the trunk lean mass. The mean age at the start of PD was 53.2±14.1 years. Diabetes mellitus (DM was most common underlying disease of end-stage renal disease (49.6%. In males, the low LTLM tertile was associated with low body mass index, creatinine, arm muscle circumference, and high C-reactive protein. In females, the low LTLM tertile was associated with low creatinine and normalized protein equivalent of nitrogen appearance. On both univariate and multivariate analysis adjusted for age, Davies risk index, and residual renal function, initial low LTLM tertile and maintenance of low LTLM were associated with mortality in PD patients. Distribution or change of regional lean mass may be more useful for predicting nutritional status. Initial low LTLM and maintenance of low LTLM were associated with mortality in PD patients. LTLM as a new marker would be useful for predicting the nutritional status and the mortality in patients on PD.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard; Berumen, Michael L.; Bruckner, Andrew

    2013-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard

    2013-03-07

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

  12. Global patterns and impacts of El Niño events on coral reefs: A meta-analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danielle C Claar

    Full Text Available Impacts of global climate change on coral reefs are being amplified by pulse heat stress events, including El Niño, the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO. Despite reports of extensive coral bleaching and up to 97% coral mortality induced by El Niño events, a quantitative synthesis of the nature, intensity, and drivers of El Niño and La Niña impacts on corals is lacking. Herein, we first present a global meta-analysis of studies quantifying the effects of El Niño/La Niña-warming on corals, surveying studies from both the primary literature and International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS Proceedings. Overall, the strongest signal for El Niño/La Niña-associated coral bleaching was long-term mean temperature; bleaching decreased with decreasing long-term mean temperature (n = 20 studies. Additionally, coral cover losses during El Niño/La Niña were shaped by localized maximum heat stress and long-term mean temperature (n = 28 studies. Second, we present a method for quantifying coral heat stress which, for any coral reef location in the world, allows extraction of remotely-sensed degree heating weeks (DHW for any date (since 1982, quantification of the maximum DHW, and the time lag since the maximum DHW. Using this method, we show that the 2015/16 El Niño event instigated unprecedented global coral heat stress across the world's oceans. With El Niño events expected to increase in frequency and severity this century, it is imperative that we gain a clear understanding of how these thermal stress anomalies impact different coral species and coral reef regions. We therefore finish with recommendations for future coral bleaching studies that will foster improved syntheses, as well as predictive and adaptive capacity to extreme warming events.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tai Chong Toh

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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  16. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gianfranco D'Onghia

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

  18. Climate change impacts on coral reefs: synergies with local effects, possibilities for acclimation, and management implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu; Feary, David A; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Chen, Allen; Schleyer, Michael H; Sheppard, Charles R C

    2013-09-30

    Most reviews concerning the impact of climate change on coral reefs discuss independent effects of warming or ocean acidification. However, the interactions between these, and between these and direct local stressors are less well addressed. This review underlines that coral bleaching, acidification, and diseases are expected to interact synergistically, and will negatively influence survival, growth, reproduction, larval development, settlement, and post-settlement development of corals. Interactions with local stress factors such as pollution, sedimentation, and overfishing are further expected to compound effects of climate change. Reduced coral cover and species composition following coral bleaching events affect coral reef fish community structure, with variable outcomes depending on their habitat dependence and trophic specialisation. Ocean acidification itself impacts fish mainly indirectly through disruption of predation- and habitat-associated behavior changes. Zooxanthellate octocorals on reefs are often overlooked but are substantial occupiers of space; these also are highly susceptible to bleaching but because they tend to be more heterotrophic, climate change impacts mainly manifest in terms of changes in species composition and population structure. Non-calcifying macroalgae are expected to respond positively to ocean acidification and promote microbe-induced coral mortality via the release of dissolved compounds, thus intensifying phase-shifts from coral to macroalgal domination. Adaptation of corals to these consequences of CO2 rise through increased tolerance of corals and successful mutualistic associations between corals and zooxanthellae is likely to be insufficient to match the rate and frequency of the projected changes. Impacts are interactive and magnified, and because there is a limited capacity for corals to adapt to climate change, global targets of carbon emission reductions are insufficient for coral reefs, so lower targets should be

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  3. Combining Body Mass Index With Measures of Central Obesity in the Assessment of Mortality in Subjects With Coronary Disease

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Coutinho, Thais; Goel, Kashish; Corrêa de Sá, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    This study sought to assess the mortality risk of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) based ona combination of body mass index (BMI) with measures of central obesity.......This study sought to assess the mortality risk of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) based ona combination of body mass index (BMI) with measures of central obesity....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. 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

  6. Modeled differences of coral life-history traits influence the refugium potential of a remote Caribbean reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Sarah W.; Strader, Marie E.; Kool, Johnathan T.; Kenkel, Carly D.; Matz, Mikhail V.

    2017-09-01

    Remote populations can influence connectivity and may serve as refugia from climate change. We investigated two reef-building corals ( Pseudodiploria strigosa and Orbicella franksi) from the Flower Garden Banks (FGB), the most isolated, high-latitude Caribbean reef system, which, until recently, retained high coral cover. We characterized coral size-frequency distributions, quantified larval mortality rates and onset of competence ex situ, estimated larval production, and created detailed biophysical models incorporating these parameters to evaluate the source-sink dynamics at the FGB from 2009 to 2012. Estimated mortality rates were similar between species, but pre-competency differed dramatically; P. strigosa was capable of metamorphosis within 2.5 d post-fertilization (dpf) and was competent at least until 8 dpf, while O. franksi was not competent until >20 dpf and remained competent up to 120 dpf. To explore the effect of such contrasting life histories on connectivity, we modeled larval dispersal from the FGB assuming pelagic larval durations (PLD) of either 3-20 d, approximating laboratory-measured pre-competency of P. strigosa, or 20-120 d, approximating pre-competency observed in O. franksi. Surprisingly, both models predicted similar probabilities of local retention at the FGB, either by direct rapid reseeding or via long-term persistence in the Loop Current with larvae returning to the FGB within a month. However, our models predicted that short PLDs would result in complete isolation from the rest of the Caribbean, while long PLDs allowed for larval export to more distant northern Caribbean reefs, highlighting the importance of quantifying larval pre-competency dynamics when parameterizing biophysical models to predict larval connectivity. These simulations suggest that FGB coral populations are likely to be largely self-sustaining and highlight the potential of long-PLD corals, such as endangered Orbicella, to act as larval sources for other degraded

  7. MISST: The Multi-Sensor Improved Sea Surface Temperature Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-06-01

    floods or droughts over land, with associated changes in agricul- tural crop yields. Coral bleaching due to warm ocean temperatures can result in...water circulation (Manzello et al., 2007), hard corals can expel these colorful symbionts from their tissues, resulting in the "paling" or " bleaching ...34 of corals . Bleaching hinders the ability of corals to replace erosion with new growth, and in extreme cases can contribute to mass coral mortality

  8. Disease prevalence and snail predation associated with swell-generated damage on the threatened coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allan Joseph Bright

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Disturbances such as tropical storms cause coral mortality and reduce coral cover as a direct result of physical damage. Storms can be one of the most important disturbances in coral reef ecosystems, and it is crucial to understand their long-term impacts on coral populations. The primary objective of this study was to determine trends in disease prevalence and snail predation on damaged and undamaged colonies of the threatened coral species, Acropora palmata, following an episode of heavy ocean swells in the US Virgin Islands (USVI. At three sites on St. Thomas and St. John, colonies of A. palmata were surveyed monthly over one year following a series of large swells in March 2008 that fragmented 30 to 93% of colonies on monitored reefs. Post-disturbance surveys conducted from April 2008 through March 2009 showed that swell-generated damage to A. palmata caused negative indirect effects that compounded the initial direct effects of physical disturbance. During the 12 months after the swell event, white pox disease prevalence was 41% higher for colonies that sustained damage from the swells than for undamaged colonies (df = 207, p = 0.01 with greatest differences in disease prevalence occurring during warm water months. In addition, the corallivorous snail, Coralliophila abbreviata, was 46% more abundant on damaged corals than undamaged corals during the 12 months after the swell event (df = 207, p = 0.006.

  9. Disease prevalence and snail predation associated with swell-generated damage on the threatened coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bright, Allan J.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Brandt, Marilyn E.; Muller, Erinn; Smith, Tyler B.

    2016-01-01

    Disturbances such as tropical storms cause coral mortality and reduce coral cover as a direct result of physical damage. Storms can be one of the most important disturbances in coral reef ecosystems, and it is crucial to understand their long-term impacts on coral populations. The primary objective of this study was to determine trends in disease prevalence and snail predation on damaged and undamaged colonies of the threatened coral species, Acropora palmata, following an episode of heavy ocean swells in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). At three sites on St. Thomas and St. John, colonies of A. palmata were surveyed monthly over 1 year following a series of large swells in March 2008 that fragmented 30–93% of colonies on monitored reefs. Post-disturbance surveys conducted from April 2008 through March 2009 showed that swell-generated damage to A. palmata caused negative indirect effects that compounded the initial direct effects of physical disturbance. During the 12 months after the swell event, white pox disease prevalence was 41% higher for colonies that sustained damage from the swells than for undamaged colonies (df = 207, p = 0.01) with greatest differences in disease prevalence occurring during warm water months. In addition, the corallivorous snail, Coralliophila abbreviata, was 46% more abundant on damaged corals than undamaged corals during the 12 months after the swell event (df = 207, p = 0.006).

  10. Coral bleaching under unconventional scenarios of climate warming and ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwiatkowski, Lester; Cox, Peter; Halloran, Paul R.; Mumby, Peter J.; Wiltshire, Andy J.

    2015-08-01

    Elevated sea surface temperatures have been shown to cause mass coral bleaching. Widespread bleaching, affecting >90% of global coral reefs and causing coral degradation, has been projected to occur by 2050 under all climate forcing pathways adopted by the IPCC for use within the Fifth Assessment Report. These pathways include an extremely ambitious pathway aimed to limit global mean temperature rise to 2 °C (ref. ; Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6--RCP2.6), which assumes full participation in emissions reductions by all countries, and even the possibility of negative emissions. The conclusions drawn from this body of work, which applied widely used algorithms to estimate coral bleaching, are that we must either accept that the loss of a large percentage of the world’s coral reefs is inevitable, or consider technological solutions to buy those reefs time until atmospheric CO2 concentrations can be reduced. Here we analyse the potential for geoengineering, through stratospheric aerosol-based solar radiation management (SRM), to reduce the extent of global coral bleaching relative to ambitious climate mitigation. Exploring the common criticism of geoengineering--that ocean acidification and its impacts will continue unabated--we focus on the sensitivity of results to the aragonite saturation state dependence of bleaching. We do not, however, address the additional detrimental impacts of ocean acidification on processes such as coral calcification that will further determine the benefit to corals of any SRM-based scenario. Despite the sensitivity of thermal bleaching thresholds to ocean acidification being uncertain, stabilizing radiative forcing at 2020 levels through SRM reduces the risk of global bleaching relative to RCP2.6 under all acidification-bleaching relationships analysed.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel J Thornhill

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  13. Change in Body Mass Index Associated With Lowest Mortality in Denmark, 1976-2013.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Afzal, Shoaib; Tybjærg-Hansen, Anne; Jensen, Gorm B; Nordestgaard, Børge G

    2016-05-10

    Research has shown a U-shaped pattern in the association of body mass index (BMI) with mortality. Although average BMI has increased over time in most countries, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors may also be decreasing among obese individuals over time. Thus, the BMI associated with lowest all-cause mortality may have changed. To determine whether the BMI value that is associated with the lowest all-cause mortality has increased in the general population over a period of 3 decades. Three cohorts from the same general population enrolled at different times: the Copenhagen City Heart Study in 1976-1978 (n = 13,704) and 1991-1994 (n = 9482) and the Copenhagen General Population Study in 2003-2013 (n = 97,362). All participants were followed up from inclusion in the studies to November 2014, emigration, or death, whichever came first. For observational studies, BMI was modeled using splines and in categories defined by the World Health Organization. Body mass index was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Main outcome was all-cause mortality and secondary outcomes were cause-specific mortality. The number of deaths during follow-up was 10,624 in the 1976-1978 cohort (78% cumulative mortality; mortality rate [MR], 30/1000 person-years [95%CI, 20-46]), 5025 in the 1991-1994 cohort (53%; MR, 16/1000 person-years [95%CI, 9-30]), and 5580 in the 2003-2013 cohort (6%;MR, 4/1000 person-years [95%CI, 1-10]). Except for cancer mortality, the association of BMI with all-cause, cardiovascular, and other mortality was curvilinear (U-shaped). The BMI associated with the lowest all-cause mortality increased by 3.3 from the 1976-1978 cohort compared with the 2003-2013 cohort. [table: see text] The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality for BMI of 30 or more vs BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 were 1.31 (95%CI, 1.23-1.39;MR, 46/1000 person-years [95%CI, 32-66] vs 28/1000 person-years [95%CI, 18-45]) in the 1976

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, James R; Baird, Andrew H; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Muttaqin, Efin; Edwards, Alasdair J; Campbell, Stuart J; Yewdall, Katie; Affendi, Yang Amri; Chou, Loke Ming

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura D Mydlarz

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

  17. Dinosaur bone beds and mass mortality: Implications for the K-T extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Mass accumulations of fossilized large terrestrial vertebrate skeletons (bone beds: BB) provide a test for K-T catastrophic extinction hypotheses. The two major factors contributing to BB formation are mode of death and sedimentation rate. Catastrophic mass mortality (CMM) is the sudden death of numerous individuals where species, age, health, gender, or social ranking offer no survivorship advantage. Noncatastrophic mass mortality (NCMM) occurs over time and is strongly influenced by species, age, or gender. In addition to cause of death, sedimentation rate is also important in BB formation. Models of BBs can be made. The CMM drops all individuals in their tracks, therefore, the BB should reflect the living population with respect to species, age, or gender. The NCMM results in monospecific BBs skewed in the direction of the less fit, usually the very young or very old, or towards a specific gender. The NCMM and AM BBs may become more similar the more spread out over time NCMM deaths occur because carcasses are widely scattered requiring hydraulic accumulation, and the greater time allows for more disarticulation and weathering. The CMM and NCMM BB appear to be dominated by social animals. Applying this and the characteristics of mortality patterns to the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation indicates that only NCMM and AM BB occur. Furthermore, NCMM BB are rare in the upper third of the Hell Creek. Near the K-T boundary, only AM BB are known. The absence of CMM and NCMM BB appears to be real reflecting a decrease in population levels of some dinosaurs prior to the K-T event. The absence of CMM suggests that the K-T event did not lead to an instantaneous extinction of dinosaurs. Nor was there a protracted die-off due to an asteroid impact winter, because no NCMM BB are known at or near the K-T boundary.

  18. The microbial biosphere of the coral Acropora cervicornis in Northeastern Puerto Rico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Filipa Godoy-Vitorino

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Background Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystems in the marine realm, and they not only contribute a plethora of ecosystem services to other marine organisms, but they also are beneficial to humankind via, for instance, their role as nurseries for commercially important fish species. Corals are considered holobionts (host + symbionts since they are composed not only of coral polyps, but also algae, other microbial eukaryotes and prokaryotes. In recent years, Caribbean reef corals, including the once-common scleractinian coral Acropora cervicornis, have suffered unprecedented mortality due to climate change-related stressors. Unfortunately, our basic knowledge of the molecular ecophysiology of reef corals, particularly with respect to their complex bacterial microbiota, is currently too poor to project how climate change will affect this species. For instance, we do not know how light influences microbial communities of A. cervicornis, arguably the most endangered of all Caribbean coral species. To this end, we characterized the microbiota of A. cervicornis inhabiting water depths with different light regimes. Methods Six A. cervicornis fragments from different individuals were collected at two different depths (three at 1.5 m and three at 11 m from a reef 3.2 km off the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico. We characterized the microbial communities by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene region V4 with the Illumina platform. Results A total of 173,137 good-quality sequences were binned into 803 OTUs with a 97% similarity. We uncovered eight bacterial phyla at both depths with a dominance of 725 Rickettsiales OTUs (Proteobacteria. A fewer number (38 of low dominance OTUs varied by depth and taxa enriched in shallow water corals included Proteobacteria (e.g. Rhodobacteraceae and Serratia and Firmicutes (Streptococcus. Those enriched in deeper water corals featured different Proteobacterial taxa (Campylobacterales and Bradyrhizobium and Firmicutes

  19. Evaluating heat-related mortality in Korea by objective classifications of 'air masses'

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kyselý, Jan; Huth, Radan; Kim, J.

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 30, č. 10 (2010), s. 1484-1501 ISSN 0899-8418 R&D Projects: GA ČR GC205/07/J044 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30420517 Keywords : weather type classifications * air masses * biometeorology * human mortality * South Korea Subject RIV: DG - Athmosphere Sciences, Meteorology Impact factor: 2.479, year: 2010

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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

  2. Coral bleaching and ocean ''hot spots''

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Goreau, T.J. (Global Coral Reef Alliance, Chappaqua, NY (United States)); Hayes, R.L. (Howard Univ., Washington, DC (United States). College of Medicine)

    1994-05-01

    Global sea-surface temperature maps show that mass coral-reef bleaching episodes between 1983 and 1991 followed positive anomalies more than 1 deg C above long-term monthly averages (''hot spots'') during the preceding warm season. Irregular formation, movement, and disappearance of hot spots make their detailed long-term prediction impossible, but they can be tracked in real time from satellite data. Monitoring of ocean hot spots and of coral bleaching is needed if the Framework Convention of Climate Change is to meet its goal of protecting the most temperature sensitive ecosystems. 47 refs, 3 figs

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-09-01

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

  4. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs are under considerable decline. The framework builders in coral reefs are scleractinian corals, which comprise so-called holobionts, consisting of cnidarian host, algal symbionts (genus Symbiodinium), and other associated microbes. Corals are commonly considered stenohaline osmoconformers, possessing limited capability to adjust to salinity changes. However, corals differ in their ability to cope with different salinities. The underlying mechanisms have not yet been addressed. To further understand putative mechanisms involved, I examined coral holobiont osmoregulation conducting a range of experiments on the coral Fungia granulosa. In my research F. granulosa from the Red Sea exhibited pronounced physiological reactions (decreased photosynthesis, cessation of calcification) upon short-term incubations (4 h) to high salinity (55). However, during a 29-day in situ salinity transect experiment, coral holobiont photosynthesis was unimpaired under high salinity (49) indicating acclimatization. F. granulosa microbiome changes after the 29-day high salinity exposure aligned with a bacterial community restructuring that putatively supports the coral salinity acclimatization (osmolyte synthesis, nutrient fixation/cycling). Long-term incubations (7 d) of cultured Symbiodinium exhibited cell growth even at ‘extreme’ salinity levels of 25 and 55. Metabolic profiles of four Symbiodinium strains exposed to increased (55) and decreased (25) salinities for 4 h indicated distinct carbohydrates and amino acids to be putatively involved in the osmoadjustment. Importantly, under high salinity the osmolyte floridoside was consistently increased. This could be corroborated in the coral model Aiptasia and in corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf, where floridoside was also markedly increased upon short- (15 h) and long-term (>24 months) exposure to high salinity, confirming an important role of floridoside in the osmoadjustment of cnidarian holobionts. This thesis

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

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2014-12-01

    Deep-sea corals have long been regarded as cold-water coral; however a reevaluation of their habitat limitations has been suggested after the discovery of deep-sea coral in the Red Sea where temperatures exceed 20˚C. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals at these temperatures, the work in this PhD employed a holotranscriptomic approach, looking at coral animal host and bacterial symbiont gene expression in Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus sp. sampled from the deep Red Sea. Bacterial community composition was analyzed via amplicon-based 16S surveys and cultured bacterial strains were subjected to bioprospecting in order to gauge the pharmaceutical potential of coralassociated microbes. Coral host transcriptome data suggest that coral can employ mitochondrial hypometabolism, anaerobic glycolysis, and surface cilia to enhance mass transport rates to manage the low oxygen and highly oligotrophic Red Sea waters. In the microbial community associated with these corals, ribokinases and retron-type reverse transcriptases are abundantly expressed. In its first application to deep-sea coral associated microbial communities, 16S-based next-generation sequencing found that a single operational taxonomic unit can comprise the majority of sequence reads and that a large number of low abundance populations are present, which cannot be visualized with first generation sequencing. Bioactivity testing of selected bacterial isolates was surveyed over 100 cytological parameters with high content screening, covering several major organelles and key proteins involved in a variety of signaling cascades. Some of these cytological profiles were similar to those of several reference pharmacologically active compounds, which suggest that the bacteria isolates produce compounds with similar mechanisms of action as the reference compounds. The sum of this work offers several mechanisms by which Red Sea deep-sea corals cope with environmental

  6. Hypoxia tolerance in coral-reef triggerfishes (Balistidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Corrie C.; Drazen, Jeffrey C.; Callan, Chatham K.; Korsmeyer, Keith E.

    2018-03-01

    Despite high rates of photosynthetic oxygen production during the day, the warm waters of coral reefs are susceptible to hypoxia at night due to elevated respiration rates at higher temperatures that also reduce the solubility of oxygen. Hypoxia may be a challenge for coral-reef fish that hide in the reef to avoid predators at night. Triggerfishes (Balistidae) are found in a variety of reef habitats, but they also are known to find refuge in reef crevices and holes at night, which may expose them to hypoxic conditions. The critical oxygen tension ( P crit) was determined as the point below which oxygen uptake could not be maintained to support standard metabolic rate (SMR) for five species of triggerfish. The triggerfishes exhibited similar levels of hypoxia tolerance as other coral-reef and coastal marine fishes that encounter low oxygen levels in their environment. Two species, Rhinecanthus rectangulus and R. aculeatus, had the lowest P crit ( 3.0 kPa O2), comparable to the most hypoxia-tolerant obligate coral-dwelling gobies, while Odonus niger and Sufflamen bursa were moderately tolerant to hypoxia ( P crit 4.5 kPa), and Xanthichthys auromarginatus was intermediate ( P crit 3.7 kPa). These differences in P crit were not due to differences in oxygen demand, as all the species had a similar SMR once mass differences were taken into account. The results suggest that triggerfish species are adapted for different levels of hypoxia exposure during nocturnal sheltering within the reef.

  7. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. W Bruckner

    2006-12-01

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

  9. Effects of herbicides on coral and seasonal distribution in water and sediments collected from rivers and coral reefs of the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaneshiro, A.; Fujimura, H.; Oomori, T.; Gima, S.; Suzuki, Y.; Casareto, B. E.; Higuchi, T.; Sagawa, T.

    2011-12-01

    Introduction Coral reefs are subjected to artificial chemicals such as herbicide and pesticides. Diuron [N'-(3, 4-dichlorophenyl)-N, N-dimethylurea] is one of the active constituent contained in a herbicide. Although acute effects of diuron on coral are reported by several researchers, longer-period toxicity with lower level concentration and synergistic effect between the herbicide and soil sedimentation from river water have not been studied. We investigated the concentration level, distribution, seasonal variation and accumulation of several herbicides and pesticides in coral reef and river in Ishigaki Island and Okinawa Island, and estimated the rates of carbon production of calcification and photosynthesis to access the effects of herbicides on coral. Materials and Methods Water and sediment samples were collected from Todoroki river and Shiraho coral reef in Ishigaki Island and several rivers from Okinawa Island in August 2010 to August 2011. Diuron and other active constituents were extracted using a solid-phase column and measured with a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Corals for the experiment were collected from Okinawa Island and incubated in glass bottles. Seawater adjusted several concentrations of herbicide was continuously supplied to the bottles. Coral calcification and photosynthesis were estimated based on the change in total alkalinity and pH during a few hours when we temporary cease the water flow. Results and Discussion Higher diuron of 563 ng/L in water and 26 μg/kg in sediment was detected at the headwater of the Todoroki river in Ishigaki. in June. Sugarcane plantation is prevailing in Todoroki river area and rainwater can tend to gather topographically to upstream of the river. The higher concentration at the headwater decreased to 23 ng/L toward the river mouth. On the whole, the concentrations were higher during summer and lower in the other seasons in Ishigaki. On the other hand, seasonal variation was not

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  12. Body mass index, exercise capacity, and mortality risk in male veterans with hypertension.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Faselis, Charles; Doumas, Michael; Panagiotakos, Demosthenes; Kheirbek, Raya; Korshak, Lauren; Manolis, Athanasios; Pittaras, Andreas; Tsioufis, Costas; Papademetriou, Vasilios; Fletcher, Ross; Kokkinos, Peter

    2012-04-01

    Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of chronic diseases and mortality. Exercise capacity is inversely associated with mortality risk. However, little is known on the interaction between fitness, fatness, and mortality risk in hypertensive individuals. Thus, we assessed the interaction between exercise capacity, fatness, and all-cause mortality in hypertensive males. A graded exercise test was performed in 4,183 hypertensive veterans (mean age ± s.d.; 63.3 ± 10.5 years) at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC. We defined three body weight categories based on body mass index (BMI): normal weight (BMI 7.5 METs). During a median follow-up period of 7.2 years, there were 1,000 deaths. The association between exercise capacity and mortality risk was strong, inverse, and graded. For each 1-MET increase in exercise capacity the adjusted risk was 20% for normal weight, 12% for overweight, and 25% for obese (P exercise capacity is associated with lower mortality risk in hypertensive males regardless of BMI. The risk for overweight and obese but fit individuals was significantly lower when compared to normal weight but unfit. These findings suggest that in older hypertensive men, it may be healthier to be fit regardless of standard BMI category than unfit and normal weight.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Inverse relationship between body mass index and mortality in older nursing home residents

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Veronese, N; Cereda, E; Solmi, M

    2015-01-01

    Body mass index (BMI) and mortality in old adults from the general population have been related in a U-shaped or J-shaped curve. However, limited information is available for elderly nursing home populations, particularly about specific cause of death. A systematic PubMed/EMBASE/CINAHL/SCOPUS...

  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. Differential bleaching of corals based on El Nino type and intensity in the Andaman Sea, southeast Bay of Bengal

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Lix, J.K.; Venkatesan, R.; Grinson, G.; Rao, R.R.; Jineesh, V.K.; Arul, M.M.; Vengatesan, G.; Ramasundaram, S.; Sundar, R.; Atmanand, M.A.

    The Andaman coral reef region experienced mass bleaching events during 1998 and 2010. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of the El Nino in the coral reef bleaching events of the Andaman region. Both Nino 3.4 and 3 indices were...

  18. Unmixing-Based Denoising as a Pre-Processing Step for Coral Reef Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerra, D.; Traganos, D.; Gege, P.; Reinartz, P.

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs, among the world's most biodiverse and productive submerged habitats, have faced several mass bleaching events due to climate change during the past 35 years. In the course of this century, global warming and ocean acidification are expected to cause corals to become increasingly rare on reef systems. This will result in a sharp decrease in the biodiversity of reef communities and carbonate reef structures. Coral reefs may be mapped, characterized and monitored through remote sensing. Hyperspectral images in particular excel in being used in coral monitoring, being characterized by very rich spectral information, which results in a strong discrimination power to characterize a target of interest, and separate healthy corals from bleached ones. Being submerged habitats, coral reef systems are difficult to analyse in airborne or satellite images, as relevant information is conveyed in bands in the blue range which exhibit lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with respect to other spectral ranges; furthermore, water is absorbing most of the incident solar radiation, further decreasing the SNR. Derivative features, which are important in coral analysis, result greatly affected by the resulting noise present in relevant spectral bands, justifying the need of new denoising techniques able to keep local spatial and spectral features. In this paper, Unmixing-based Denoising (UBD) is used to enable analysis of a hyperspectral image acquired over a coral reef system in the Red Sea based on derivative features. UBD reconstructs pixelwise a dataset with reduced noise effects, by forcing each spectrum to a linear combination of other reference spectra, exploiting the high dimensionality of hyperspectral datasets. Results show clear enhancements with respect to traditional denoising methods based on spatial and spectral smoothing, facilitating the coral detection task.

  19. 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

  20. Effect of severe hurricanes on biorock coral reef restoration projects in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wells, Lucy; Perez, Fernando; Hibbert, Marlon; Clerveaux, Luc; Johnson, Jodi; Goreau, Thomas J

    2010-10-01

    Artificial reefs are often discouraged in shallow waters over concerns of storm damage to structures and surrounding habitat. Biorock coral reef restoration projects were initiated in waters around 5 m deep in Grand Turk, at Oasis (October 2006) and at Governor's Beach (November 2007). Hemi-cylindrical steel modules, 6m long were used, four modules at Oasis and six at Governor's Beach. Each project has over 1200 corals transplanted from sites with high sedimentation damage, and are regularly monitored for coral growth, mortality and fish populations. Corals show immediate growth over wires used to attach corals. Growth has been measured from photographs using a software program and is faster at Governor's Beach. After hurricanes Hanna and Ike (September 2008) the Governor's Beach structure was fully standing since the waves passed straight through with little damage, the Oasis structures which were tie-wired rather than welded had one module collapse (since been replaced with a new, welded structure). Hurricane Ike was the strongest hurricane on record to hit Grand Turk. Most cables were replaced following the hurricanes due to damage from debris and high wave action. The projects lost about a third of the corals due to hurricanes. Most of those lost had only been wired a few days before and had not yet attached themselves firmly. These projects have regenerated corals and fish populations in areas of barren sand or bedrock and are now attractive to snorkelers. High coral survival and low structural damage after hurricanes indicate that Biorock reef restoration can be effective in storm-impacted areas.

  1. Habitat selection, facilitation, and biotic settlement cues affect distribution and performance of coral recruits in French Polynesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, Nichole

    2010-07-01

    Habitat selection can determine the distribution and performance of individuals if the precision with which sites are chosen corresponds with exposure to risks or resources. Contrastingly, facilitation can allow persistence of individuals arriving by chance and potentially maladapted to local abiotic conditions. For marine organisms, selection of a permanent attachment site at the end of their larval stage or the presence of a facilitator can be a critical determinant of recruitment success. In coral reef ecosystems, it is well known that settling planula larvae of reef-building corals use coarse environmental cues (i.e., light) for habitat selection. Although laboratory studies suggest that larvae can also use precise biotic cues produced by crustose coralline algae (CCA) to select attachment sites, the ecological consequences of biotic cues for corals are poorly understood in situ. In a field experiment exploring the relative importance of biotic cues and variability in habitat quality to recruitment of hard corals, pocilloporid and acroporid corals recruited more frequently to one species of CCA, Titanoderma prototypum, and significantly less so to other species of CCA; these results are consistent with laboratory assays from other studies. The provision of the biotic cue accurately predicted coral recruitment rates across habitats of varying quality. At the scale of CCA, corals attached to the "preferred" CCA experienced increased survivorship while recruits attached elsewhere had lower colony growth and survivorship. For reef-building corals, the behavioral selection of habitat using chemical cues both reduces the risk of incidental mortality and indicates the presence of a facilitator.

  2. Colorimetric Detection of Caspase 3 Activity and Reactive Oxygen Derivatives: Potential Early Indicators of Thermal Stress in Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mickael Ros

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available There is an urgent need to develop and implement rapid assessments of coral health to allow effective adaptive management in response to coastal development and global change. There is now increasing evidence that activation of caspase-dependent apoptosis plays a key role during coral bleaching and subsequent mortality. In this study, a “clinical” approach was used to assess coral health by measuring the activity of caspase 3 using a commercial kit. This method was first applied while inducing thermal bleaching in two coral species, Acropora millepora and Pocillopora damicornis. The latter species was then chosen to undergo further studies combining the detection of oxidative stress-related compounds (catalase activity and glutathione concentrations as well as caspase activity during both stress and recovery phases. Zooxanthellae photosystem II (PSII efficiency and cell density were measured in parallel to assess symbiont health. Our results demonstrate that the increased caspase 3 activity in the coral host could be detected before observing any significant decrease in the photochemical efficiency of PSII in the algal symbionts and/or their expulsion from the host. This study highlights the potential of host caspase 3 and reactive oxygen species scavenging activities as early indicators of stress in individual coral colonies.

  3. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Agostini, Sylvain; Casareto, Beatriz Estela; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Yuyama, Ikuko

    2015-12-18

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached at 13 °C, but recovered once temperatures were increased. The two other species, A. hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis, which has a more southerly range than A. pruinosa, died rapidly after bleaching at 13 °C. The physiological effects of cold bleaching on the corals included decreased rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification, similar to the physiological effects observed with bleaching due to high temperature stress. Contrasting hot bleaching, no increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed, suggesting that reactive oxygen species play a less important role in bleaching under cold stress. These results confirmed the importance of resilience to cold stress in determining the distribution and northern limits of coral species, as cold events causing coral bleaching and high mortality occur regularly in temperate zones.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S; Soong, Keryea

    2017-06-01

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

  5. 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 ...

  6. Storm-generated coral fragments - A viable source of transplants for reef rehabilitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrison, V.; Ward, G.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs throughout the world have been damaged by storms, diseases, coral predators, temperature anomalies, and human activities. During the past three decades, recovery has been limited and patchy. Although a damaged coral reef cannot be restored to its original condition, interest in reef restoration is increasing. In a pilot project in the Caribbean (US Virgin Islands), storm-produced fragments of Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, and Porites porites were collected from donor reefs and transplanted to nearby degraded reefs. Sixty coral fragments were attached to dead-coral substrate (usually A. palmata skeletons), at similar depths from which they had been collected (1-3.5 m), using nylon cable ties. Seventy-five intact colonies were designated as controls. Study colonies were assessed at 6-month intervals for 2 years (1999-2001) and annually thereafter (through 2004). One-fourth of the 135 colonies and fragments monitored were alive at the conclusion of the 5-year study. Survival of control and transplanted A. cervicornis and P. porites was very low (median survival 2.4 and 1.8 years, respectively), with no significant differences between transplant and control colonies. Site and depth did not contribute significantly to A. palmata colony survival, but colony size and transplant/control status did. Probability of survival increased with colony size. Median survival for A. palmata was 1.3 years for transplant and 4.3 years for natural colonies when not controlled for size. A. palmata was the only viable candidate for reef rehabilitation. Storm swells were the primary cause of mortality.

  7. Consequences of an uncertain mass mortality regime triggered by climate variability on giant clam population management in the Pacific Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Wynsberge, Simon; Andréfouët, Serge; Gaertner-Mazouni, Nabila; Remoissenet, Georges

    2018-02-01

    Despite actions to manage sustainably tropical Pacific Ocean reef fisheries, managers have faced failures and frustrations because of unpredicted mass mortality events triggered by climate variability. The consequences of these events on the long-term population dynamics of living resources need to be better understood for better management decisions. Here, we use a giant clam (Tridacna maxima) spatially explicit population model to compare the efficiency of several management strategies under various scenarios of natural mortality, including mass mortality due to climatic anomalies. The model was parameterized by in situ estimations of growth and mortality and fishing effort, and was validated by historical and new in situ surveys of giant clam stocks in two French Polynesia lagoons. Projections on the long run (100 years) suggested that the best management strategy was a decrease of fishing pressure through quota implementation, regardless of the mortality regime considered. In contrast, increasing the minimum legal size of catch and closing areas to fishing were less efficient. When high mortality occurred due to climate variability, the efficiency of all management scenarios decreased markedly. Simulating El Niño Southern Oscillation event by adding temporal autocorrelation in natural mortality rates increased the natural variability of stocks, and also decreased the efficiency of management. These results highlight the difficulties that managers in small Pacific islands can expect in the future in the face of global warming, climate anomalies and new mass mortalities. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-07

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

  9. Water-mass dynamics of an Arctic cold-water coral reef: First results from a new ocean observatory system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flögel, Sascha; Karstensen, Johannes; Linke, Peter; Pfannkuche, Olaf; Ashastina, Kseniia; Dullo, Christian

    2015-04-01

    Cold-water coral reefs occur at various sites along the European continental margin, like in the Mediterranean Sea, on carbonate mounds West off Ireland, or at shallower depths between 100 and 350 m on the Norwegian shelf. Their occurrence is related to different physical parameters like temperature, salinity, seawater density, dissolved oxygen, and to other environmental parameters such as internal wave activity, nutrient supply, strong currents, which keep sediment input low, etc. Here, we present first results from a long-term observation in one of the nortnermost cold-water coral reefs at 70.5°N - the Stjernsund in northern Norway. The Stjernsund is a 30 km long and up to 3.5 km wide sound connecting the open North Atlantic with a fjord system. A deep-seated SW-NE oriented morainic sill with varying depths (203-236 m) splits the more than 400 m deep sound into two troughs. Living Lophelia pertusa dominated reef complexes occur on the NW slope between 235 and 305 m water depths and on the SE slope between 245 and 280 m. To investigate the dominating physical and biogeochemical boundary conditions a new modular seafloor observatory, MoLab, consisting of five sea-floor observatories and two moorings was deployed for 100 days during the summer of 2012. The various lander systems and moorimgs were equipped with sensors to measure current velocities and directions, temperature, salinity, pressure, pH, turbidity, fluorescence, oxygen concentration and saturation. Results showed that near-bottom salinities, temperature and current velocities are dominated by a semi-diurnal tidal forcing (pronounced M2 constituent), which cause vertical water mass movements of up to 100 m. These influence large parts of the living reef. Closer examination revealed overturning cells on the south-eastern slope of the sill during high tide, when Atlantic Water flows over the sill. The appearance of living cold-water corals is limited to a density envelope of sigma-theta=27.25-27.50 kg/m-3

  10. 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.

  11. Occurrence and distribution of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in seawater, sediments and corals from Hainan Island, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiang, Nan; Jiang, Chunxia; Yang, Tinghan; Li, Ping; Wang, Haihua; Xie, Yanli; Li, Sennan; Zhou, Hailong; Diao, Xiaoping

    2018-05-15

    The levels of 16 US EPA priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in corals, ambient seawater and sediments of Hainan Island, China, using gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The total PAHs (∑PAHs) concentrations ranged from 273.79 to 407.82ng/L in seawater. Besides, the concentrations of ∑PAHs in corals 333.88-727.03ng/g dw) were markedly (P corals. The highest concentration of ∑PAHs was detected at site S2 in Pavona decussate, which also bore the highest ∑PAHs levels in both seawater and sediments. The massive corals were more enriched with PAHs than the branching corals. Although 2 and 3-ring PAHs were predominant and accounted for 69.27-80.46% of the ∑PAHs in corals and ambient environment, the levels of high molecular weight (HMW) PAHs (4-6 ring) in corals also demonstrated their potential dangers for corals and organisms around coral reefs. Biota-sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) refers to an index of the pollutant absorbed by aquatic organisms from the surrounding sediments. The poor correlation between log BSAF and log K ow (hydrophobicity) indicated that PAHs in corals maybe not bioaccumulate from the ambient sediments but through pathways like absorbing from seawater, symbiosis, and feeding. Based on our data, long-term ecological monitoring in typical coral reef ecosystems combined with ecotoxicological tests of PAHs on corals is necessary to determine the impacts of PAHs on coral reefs. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. [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.

  13. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S.

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, subtropical Hawaiʻi escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawaiʻi will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater “kill” event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāneʻohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the “stress period” actually started long

  14. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keisha D. Bahr

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Until recently, subtropical Hawaiʻi escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawaiʻi will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater “kill” event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāneʻohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the “stress period

  15. High-precision timing of Nanhai coral by using MC-ICP-MS and TIMS techniques and its paleo-environmental significance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peng Zicheng; Nie Baofu; Chen Tegu

    2004-01-01

    The techniques of thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and multicollector-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) were used for the high-precision timing of the domestic stalagmite standard (GBW04412), international coral standard (RKM-4) and the Nanhai corals. The results of uranium contents and the ratios of 234 U/ 238 U and 230 Th/ 234 U in the two standards measured by using two techniques were consistent within the error range. Most of the Nanhai corals have less than 3 μg/g of the uranium contents and 150 ± 5 of the δ 234 U(T) values, which means that the corals have not been subjected to the alternation since they were brought up 7000 years ago, therefore, they preserve the original environmental signals. The age sequence of the corals shows that three events of the high sea level happened in Nanhai area in the periods corresponding to 6799-6307 a B.P., 4472-4285 a B.P. and 1279-1012 a B.P. respectively. The above-mentioned three stages were relative to the Megathermal and Medieval Warm Periods in our country. (authors)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-01

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

  17. 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].

  18. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norbert Englebert

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  1. Comparison of Coral Reef Ecosystems along a Fishing Pressure Gradient

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.W.; Fulton, E.A.; Parrish, F.A.

    2013-01-01

    Three trophic mass-balance models representing coral reef ecosystems along a fishery gradient were compared to evaluate ecosystem effects of fishing. The majority of the biomass estimates came directly from a large-scale visual survey program; therefore, data were collected in the same way for all

  2. Baseline assessments for coral reef community structure and demographics on West Maui

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; White, Darla; Storlazzi, Curt; Callender, Tova; Maurin, Paulo

    2017-01-01

    and “Synthesis and Discussion” sections of this report. The baseline assessments revealed that although some areas harbor prominent coral reef structures with high live coral cover and multispecies assemblages, others are characterized by sediment-impacted corals in impoverished and species-poor communities. Mean coral cover varied widely, from 49% at Wahikuli-shallow to 4.6% at Mahinahina-shallow. Similarly, coralline algal cover averaged 12.7% at Ka‘opala and Honokeana-north, but was altogether absent at the Mahinahina sites. Macroalgae was a minor component of the benthos across all study sites, representing only up to 2.3% at Mahinahina-south, while turf algae varied considerably, from 41% at Honokeana-north to 84% at the Honokahua site. Consequently, the Benthic Substrate Ratio (BSR) also varied considerably region wide, with the highest values (≥ 1), suggesting a healthier reef condition reported for the Wahikuli, Honokeana, and Honokōwai sites; and the lowest (≤ 0.5), suggesting impairment in structure and function, recorded at the Honolua and Honokahua sites. Adult colony densities were the highest at the Wahikuli (27 col/m2) but lowest at the Ka‘opala (7 col/m2 ) site. And, colony partial mortality peaked at the Ka‘opala (33%) and was the lowest at the Honokeana Bay (12%). Moreover, in-situ and derived estimates of water turbidity and sediment loading revealed that the Ka‘opala and Wahikuli stream sites ranked the highest for turbidity, whereas the Honokōwai and Ka‘opala sites ranked highest for sediment loading. Chronic and episodic terrestrial sediment stress has resulted in coral reef community demise, clearly illustrated at the Honolua, Honokahua, and Ka‘opala sites, where coral benthic cover and colony abundances ranked the lowest and levels of turf algae ranked among the highest. Left unattended, land-based pollution impacts will continue to negatively affect the coral reef communities of West Maui. And, under the current turbidity

  3. Mathematical simulation for estimating reduction of breast cancer mortality in mass screening using mammography

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Iinuma, Takeshi; Matsumoto, Tohru; Tateno, Yukio

    1999-01-01

    In Japan it is considered that mammography should be introduced with physical examination for the mass screening of breast cancer instead of physical examination alone, which is performed at present. Before the introduction of mammography, a mathematical simulation should be performed to show the reduction in breast cancer mortality by mass screening compared with an unscreened population. A mathematical model of cancer screening devised by the authors was used to estimate the number of deaths due to breast cancer (A) in the screened group and those (B) in the unscreened group within the same population. Then the relative risk (RR) and attributable risk (RD) were calculated as (A/B) and (B-A) respectively. Three methods of mass screening were compared: (1) physical examination (1-year interval), (2) mammography with physical examination (1-year interval), (3) mammography with physical examination (2-year interval). The calculated RR values were 0.85 for (1), 0.60 for (2) and 0.69 for (3). Assuming that the incidence of breast cancer was 100/10 5 person-years, the calculated RD values were 3.0, 8.1 and 6.2 persons/10 5 person-years for (1), (2) and (3), respectively. The 95% confidence interval of RR for three methods was over 1.0, and thus the reduction of breast cancer mortality was not statistically significant in the present population. In conclusion, mammography with physical examination may reduce breast cancer mortality in comparison with physical examination alone, but a larger number of women must be screened in order to obtain a significant RR value. (author)

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Effect of severe hurricanes on Biorock Coral Reef Restoration Projects in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucy Wells

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Artificial reefs are often discouraged in shallow waters over concerns of storm damage to structures and surrounding habitat. Biorock coral reef restoration projects were initiated in waters around 5m deep in Grand Turk, at Oasis (October 2006 and at Governor’s Beach (November 2007. Hemi-cylindrical steel modules, 6m long were used, four modules at Oasis and six at Governor’s Beach. Each project has over 1200 corals transplanted from sites with high sedimentation damage, and are regularly monitored for coral growth, mortality and fish populations. Corals show immediate growth over wires used to attach corals. Growth has been measured from photographs using a software program and is faster at Governor’s Beach. After hurricanes Hanna and Ike (September 2008 the Governor’s Beach structure was fully standing since the waves passed straight through with little damage, the Oasis structures which were tie-wired rather than welded had one module collapse (since been replaced with a new, welded structure. Hurricane Ike was the strongest hurricane on record to hit Grand Turk. Most cables were replaced following the hurricanes due to damage from debris and high wave action. The projects lost about a third of the corals due to hurricanes. Most of those lost had only been wired a few days before and had not yet attached themselves firmly. These projects have regenerated corals and fish populations in areas of barren sand or bedrock and are now attractive to snorkelers. High coral survival and low structural damage after hurricanes indicate that Biorock reef restoration can be effective in storm-impacted areas. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl. 3: 141-149. Epub 2010 October 01.

  6. Seasonal mesophotic coral bleaching of Stylophora pistillata in the Northern Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nir, Orit; Gruber, David F; Shemesh, Eli; Glasser, Eliezra; Tchernov, Dan

    2014-01-01

    Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stress induces breakdown of the coral-algae symbiosis and the host initiates algae expulsion. Two types of coral bleaching had been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature; the first is primarily associated with mass coral bleaching events; the second is a seasonal loss of algae and/or pigments. Here, we describe a phenomenon that has been witnessed for repeated summers in the mesophotic zone (40-63 m) in the northern Red Sea: seasonal bleaching and recovery of several hermatypic coral species. In this study, we followed the recurring bleaching process of the common coral Stylophora pistillata. Bleaching occurred from April to September with a 66% decline in chlorophyll a concentration, while recovery began in October. Using aquarium and transplantation experiments, we explored environmental factors such as temperature, photon flux density and heterotrophic food availability. Our experiments and observations did not yield one single factor, alone, responsible for the seasonal bleaching. The dinoflagellate symbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium) in shallow (5 m) Stylophora pistillata were found to have a net photosynthetic rate of 56.98-92.19 µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). However, those from mesophotic depth (60 m) during months when they are not bleached are net consumers of oxygen having a net photosynthetic rate between -12.86 - (-10.24) µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). But during months when these mesophotic corals are partially-bleached, they yielded higher net production, between -2.83-0.76 µmol O2 cm(-2) day(-1). This study opens research questions as to why mesophotic zooxanthellae are more successfully meeting the corals metabolic requirements when Chl a concentration decreases by over 60% during summer and early fall.

  7. Seasonal mesophotic coral bleaching of Stylophora pistillata in the Northern Red Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Orit Nir

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stress induces breakdown of the coral-algae symbiosis and the host initiates algae expulsion. Two types of coral bleaching had been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature; the first is primarily associated with mass coral bleaching events; the second is a seasonal loss of algae and/or pigments. Here, we describe a phenomenon that has been witnessed for repeated summers in the mesophotic zone (40-63 m in the northern Red Sea: seasonal bleaching and recovery of several hermatypic coral species. In this study, we followed the recurring bleaching process of the common coral Stylophora pistillata. Bleaching occurred from April to September with a 66% decline in chlorophyll a concentration, while recovery began in October. Using aquarium and transplantation experiments, we explored environmental factors such as temperature, photon flux density and heterotrophic food availability. Our experiments and observations did not yield one single factor, alone, responsible for the seasonal bleaching. The dinoflagellate symbionts (of the genus Symbiodinium in shallow (5 m Stylophora pistillata were found to have a net photosynthetic rate of 56.98-92.19 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. However, those from mesophotic depth (60 m during months when they are not bleached are net consumers of oxygen having a net photosynthetic rate between -12.86 - (-10.24 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. But during months when these mesophotic corals are partially-bleached, they yielded higher net production, between -2.83-0.76 µmol O2 cm(-2 day(-1. This study opens research questions as to why mesophotic zooxanthellae are more successfully meeting the corals metabolic requirements when Chl a concentration decreases by over 60% during summer and early fall.

  8. Changes in coral reef metabolism during the 2015 El Niño in the eastern Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGillis, W. R.; Manzello, D.; Smith, T. B.; Baker, A.; Fong, P.; Glynn, P.; Smith, J.; Takeshita, Y.; Martz, T. R.; Hsueh, D.; Langdon, C.; Price, N.; Mate, J.

    2016-02-01

    The likely strong 2015-2016 El Niño event offers an opportunity to assess coral reef benthic metabolism under stressful high temperatures, coral bleaching, and mortality. During a period of increasing ocean temperatures caused by the 2015-2016 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), we assessed the metabolism, at hourly intervals, of eastern Pacific coral reefs using the Benthic Ecosystem and Acidification Measurement System (BEAMS). We measured coral reef net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and net ecosystem calcification (NEC) in 2014 before the start of the El Niño event and in 2015 during the first anomalously high sea surface temperatures of the 2015 El Niño. Increases in ocean temperatures of 1-2°C between 2014 and 2015 caused over 30% decline in calcification at Uva Is. (Panama) and Darwin Is. (Galapagos), along with significant coral bleaching at Uva and coral paling at Darwin. Warming at Saboga Island, in the seasonally upwelling Gulf of Panama, was only 0.3oC, did not result in significant bleaching, and was accompanied by a significant increase in coral reef metabolism. Additional key findings include an increase in nighttime dissolution of calcium carbonate during ENSO heating. Light-NEP and light-NEC relationships were generated for each location, and showed that variations in metabolism were strongly correlated with the incident bottom solar intensity, with strong daily cycles and patterns of light-enhanced calcification also identified. The response of different coral species also provides in situ data on the varying metabolism. The metabolism of the 2015-2016 El Niño shows the possible reef function under future warming and acidified conditions. These emerging results may be harbingers of significant further decreases in metabolism, and other detrimental impacts, if this region experiences additional warming during the current ENSO event.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2011-10-03

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S Hoey

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R Schill

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

  14. Biogeochemical proxies in Scleractinian corals used to reconstruct ocean circulation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guilderson, T.P.; Kashgarian, M.; Schrag, D.P.

    2002-01-01

    We utilize monthly 14 C data derived from coral archives in conjunction with ocean circulation models to address two questions: 1) how does the shallow circulation of the tropical Pacific vary on seasonal to decadal time scales and 2) which dynamic processes determine the mean vertical structure of the equatorial Pacific thermocline. Our results directly impact the understanding of global climate events such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To study changes in ocean circulation and water mass distribution involved in the genesis and evolution of ENSO and decadal climate variability, it is necessary to have records of climate variables several decades in length. Continuous instrumental records are limited because technology for continuous monitoring of ocean currents has only recently been available, and ships of opportunity archives such as COADS contain large spatial and temporal biases. In addition, temperature and salinity in surface waters are not conservative and thus can not be independently relied upon to trace water masses, reducing the utility of historical observations. Radiocarbon ( 14 C) in sea water is a quasi-conservative water mass tracer and is incorporated into coral skeletal material, thus coral 14 C records can be used to reconstruct changes in shallow circulation that would be difficult to characterize using instrumental data. High resolution Δ 14 C time-series such as these, provide a powerful constraint on the rate of surface ocean mixing and hold great promise to augment onetime surveys such as GEOSECS and WOCE. These data not only provide fundamental information about the shallow circulation of the Pacific, but can be used as a benchmark for the next generation of high resolution ocean models used in prognosticating climate change. (author)

  15. Evaluating social and ecological vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to climate change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua E Cinner

    Full Text Available There is an increasing need to evaluate the links between the social and ecological dimensions of human vulnerability to climate change. We use an empirical case study of 12 coastal communities and associated coral reefs in Kenya to assess and compare five key ecological and social components of the vulnerability of coastal social-ecological systems to temperature induced coral mortality [specifically: 1 environmental exposure; 2 ecological sensitivity; 3 ecological recovery potential; 4 social sensitivity; and 5 social adaptive capacity]. We examined whether ecological components of vulnerability varied between government operated no-take marine reserves, community-based reserves, and openly fished areas. Overall, fished sites were marginally more vulnerable than community-based and government marine reserves. Social sensitivity was indicated by the occupational composition of each community, including the importance of fishing relative to other occupations, as well as the susceptibility of different fishing gears to the effects of coral bleaching on target fish species. Key components of social adaptive capacity varied considerably between the communities. Together, these results show that different communities have relative strengths and weaknesses in terms of social-ecological vulnerability to climate change.

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  18. The Biological Nature of Geochemical Proxies: algal symbionts affect coral skeletal chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Owens, K.; Cohen, A. L.; Shimizu, N.

    2001-12-01

    The strontium-calcium ratio (Sr/Ca) of reef coral skeleton is an important ocean temperature proxy that has been used to address some particularly controversial climate change issues. However, the paleothermometer has sometimes proven unreliable and there are indications that the temperature-dependence of Sr/Ca in coral aragonite is linked to the photosynthetic activity of algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) in coral tissue. We examined the effect of algal symbiosis on skeletal chemistry using Astrangia danae, a small colonial temperate scleractinian that occurs naturally with and without zooxanthellae. Live symbiotic (deep brown) and asymbiotic (white) colonies of similar size were collected in Woods Hole where water temperatures fluctuate seasonally between -2oC and 23oC. We used a microbeam technique (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) and a 30 micron diameter sampling beam to construct high-resolution Sr/Ca profiles, 2500 microns long, down the growth axes of the outer calical (thecal) walls. Profiles generated from co-occuring symbiotic and asymbiotic colonies are remarkably different despite their exposure to identical water temperatures. Symbiotic coral Sr/Ca displays four large-amplitude annual cycles with high values in the winter, low values in the summer and a temperature dependence similar to that of tropical reef corals. By comparison, Sr/Ca profiles constructed from asymbiotic coral skeleton display little variability over the same time period. Asymbiont Sr/Ca is relatively insensitive to the enormous temperature changes experienced over the year; the temperature dependence is similar to that of nighttime skeletal deposits in tropical reef corals and non-biological aragonite precipitates. We propose that the large variations in skeletal Sr/Ca observed in all symbiont-hosting coral species are not related to SST variability per se but are driven primarily by large seasonal variations in skeletal calcification rate associated with symbiont photosynthesis. Our

  19. Coral-associated bacteria, quorum sensing disrupters, and the regulation of biofouling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golberg, Karina; Pavlov, Valentina; Marks, Robert S; Kushmaro, Ariel

    2013-01-01

    Marine biofouling, the settlement of microorganisms and macroorganisms on structures submerged in seawater, although economically detrimental, is a successful strategy for survival in hostile environments, where coordinated bacterial communities establish biofilms via the regulation of quorum sensing (QS) communication systems. The inhibition of QS activity among bacteria isolated from different coral species was investigated to gain further insight into its potency in the attenuation, or even the prevention, of undesirable biofouling on marine organisms. It is hypothesized that coral mucus/microorganism interactions are competitive, suggesting that the dominant communities secrete QS disruptive compounds. One hundred and twenty bacterial isolates were collected from healthy coral species and screened for their ability to inhibit QS using three bioreporter strains. Approximately 12, 11, and 24% of the isolates exhibited anti-QS activity against Escherichia coli pSB1075, Chromobacterium violaceum CV026, and Agrobacterium tumefaciens KYC55 indicator strains, respectively. Isolates with positive activity against the bioluminescent monitor strains were scanned via a cytotoxic/genotoxic, E. coli TV1061 and DPD2794 antimicrobial panel. Isolates detected by C. violaceum CV026 and A. tumefaciens KYC55 reporter strains were tested for their ability to inhibit the growth of these reporter strains, which were found to be unaffected. Tests of the Favia sp. coral isolate Fav 2-50-7 (>98% similarity to Vibrio harveyi) for its ability to attenuate the formation of biofilm showed extensive inhibitory activity against biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. To ascertain the stability and general structure of the active compound, cell-free culture supernatants exposed to an increasing temperature gradient or to digestion by proteinase K, were shown to maintain potent QS attenuation and the ability to inhibit the growth of biofilms. Mass spectrometry confirmed

  20. Coral bleaching response index: a new tool to standardize and compare susceptibility to thermal bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swain, Timothy D; Vega-Perkins, Jesse B; Oestreich, William K; Triebold, Conrad; DuBois, Emily; Henss, Jillian; Baird, Andrew; Siple, Margaret; Backman, Vadim; Marcelino, Luisa

    2016-07-01

    As coral bleaching events become more frequent and intense, our ability to predict and mitigate future events depends upon our capacity to interpret patterns within previous episodes. Responses to thermal stress vary among coral species; however the diversity of coral assemblages, environmental conditions, assessment protocols, and severity criteria applied in the global effort to document bleaching patterns creates challenges for the development of a systemic metric of taxon-specific response. Here, we describe and validate a novel framework to standardize bleaching response records and estimate their measurement uncertainties. Taxon-specific bleaching and mortality records (2036) of 374 coral taxa (during 1982-2006) at 316 sites were standardized to average percent tissue area affected and a taxon-specific bleaching response index (taxon-BRI) was calculated by averaging taxon-specific response over all sites where a taxon was present. Differential bleaching among corals was widely variable (mean taxon-BRI = 25.06 ± 18.44%, ±SE). Coral response may differ because holobionts are biologically different (intrinsic factors), they were exposed to different environmental conditions (extrinsic factors), or inconsistencies in reporting (measurement uncertainty). We found that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors have comparable influence within a given site and event (60% and 40% of bleaching response variance of all records explained, respectively). However, when responses of individual taxa are averaged across sites to obtain taxon-BRI, differential response was primarily driven by intrinsic differences among taxa (65% of taxon-BRI variance explained), not conditions across sites (6% explained), nor measurement uncertainty (29% explained). Thus, taxon-BRI is a robust metric of intrinsic susceptibility of coral taxa. Taxon-BRI provides a broadly applicable framework for standardization and error estimation for disparate historical records and collection of novel

  1. Proteomic analysis of bleached and unbleached Acropora palmata, a threatened coral species of the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricaurte, Martha; Schizas, Nikolaos V; Ciborowski, Pawel; Boukli, Nawal M

    2016-06-15

    There has been an increase in the scale and frequency of coral bleaching around the world due mainly to changes in sea temperature. This may occur at large scales, often resulting in significant decline in coral coverage. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the ever-increasing incidence of coral bleaching, we have undertaken a comparative proteomic approach with the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Using a proteomic tandem mass spectrometry approach, we identified 285 and 321 expressed protein signatures in bleached and unbleached A. palmata colonies, respectively, in southwestern Puerto Rico. Overall the expression level of 38 key proteins was significantly different between bleached and unbleached corals. A wide range of proteins was detected and categorized, including transcription factors involved mainly in heat stress/UV responses, immunity, apoptosis, biomineralization, the cytoskeleton, and endo-exophagocytosis. The results suggest that for bleached A. palmata, there was an induced differential protein expression response compared with those colonies that did not bleach under the same environmental conditions. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  2. 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.

  3. U-Th ages obtained by mass spectrometry in corals from Barbados: sea level during the past 130,000 years

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bard, Edouard; Hamelin, Bruno; Fairbanks, R.G. (Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY (USA). Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory)

    1990-08-02

    The study of the sea level record during the last glacial cycle has primarily proceeded indirectly by means of oxygen isotope measurements on foraminifera from deep-sea sediments. The direct approach of dating sea level indicators stagnated during the past decade, mainly because the samples required to complete our knowledge of the past glaciations are below the present-day sea level. Using the {sup 14}C ages of Acropora palmata samples collected by drilling offshore the island of Barbados, we report the first detailed chronology for the last deglaciation. This radio-carbon chronology is limited to the past 30 kyr because of the short half-life of {sup 14}C (5,730 yr); we must therefore rely on other dating methods to obtain information for the whole last glacial cycle. During the past four years {sup 230}Th-{sup 234}U dating of corals by thermal-ionization mass spectrometry has been shown to be significantly more precise and accurate than the classical {alpha}-counting method. We have used this technique to measure U-Th ages in coral samples from the Barbados collection and from subaerially exposed outcrops. Here we present results bearing on the sea level record for the past 130,000 years; we conclude that the last deglaciation started 3,000 years earlier than previously thought and confirm that there were two surges in melt water at about 11 kyr and 14 kyr BP (before present). (author).

  4. U-Th ages obtained by mass spectrometry in corals from Barbados: sea level during the past 130,000 years

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bard, Edouard; Hamelin, Bruno; Fairbanks, R.G.

    1990-01-01

    The study of the sea level record during the last glacial cycle has primarily proceeded indirectly by means of oxygen isotope measurements on foraminifera from deep-sea sediments. The direct approach of dating sea level indicators stagnated during the past decade, mainly because the samples required to complete our knowledge of the past glaciations are below the present-day sea level. Using the 14 C ages of Acropora palmata samples collected by drilling offshore the island of Barbados, we report the first detailed chronology for the last deglaciation. This radio-carbon chronology is limited to the past 30 kyr because of the short half-life of 14 C (5,730 yr); we must therefore rely on other dating methods to obtain information for the whole last glacial cycle. During the past four years 230 Th- 234 U dating of corals by thermal-ionization mass spectrometry has been shown to be significantly more precise and accurate than the classical α-counting method. We have used this technique to measure U-Th ages in coral samples from the Barbados collection and from subaerially exposed outcrops. Here we present results bearing on the sea level record for the past 130,000 years; we conclude that the last deglaciation started 3,000 years earlier than previously thought and confirm that there were two surges in melt water at about 11 kyr and 14 kyr BP (before present). (author)

  5. Local stressors reduce coral resilience to bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carilli, Jessica E; Norris, Richard D; Black, Bryan A; Walsh, Sheila M; McField, Melanie

    2009-07-22

    Coral bleaching, during which corals lose their symbiotic dinoflagellates, typically corresponds with periods of intense heat stress, and appears to be increasing in frequency and geographic extent as the climate warms. A fundamental question in coral reef ecology is whether chronic local stress reduces coral resistance and resilience from episodic stress such as bleaching, or alternatively promotes acclimatization, potentially increasing resistance and resilience. Here we show that following a major bleaching event, Montastraea faveolata coral growth rates at sites with higher local anthropogenic stressors remained suppressed for at least 8 years, while coral growth rates at sites with lower stress recovered in 2-3 years. Instead of promoting acclimatization, our data indicate that background stress reduces coral fitness and resilience to episodic events. We also suggest that reducing chronic stress through local coral reef management efforts may increase coral resilience to global climate change.

  6. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Ecological States and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim McClanahan

    2002-12-01

    Full Text Available We review the evidence for multiple ecological states and the factors that create ecological resilience in coral reef ecosystems. There are natural differences among benthic communities along gradients of water temperature, light, nutrients, and organic matter associated with upwelling-downwelling and onshore-offshore systems. Along gradients from oligotrophy to eutrophy, plant-animal symbioses tend to decrease, and the abundance of algae and heterotrophic suspension feeders and the ratio of organic to inorganic carbon production tend to increase. Human influences such as fishing, increased organic matter and nutrients, sediments, warm water, and transportation of xenobiotics and diseases are common causes of a large number of recently reported ecological shifts. It is often the interaction of persistent and multiple synergistic disturbances that causes permanent ecological transitions, rather than the succession of individual short-term disturbances. For example, fishing can remove top-level predators, resulting in the ecological release of prey such as sea urchins and coral-eating invertebrates. When sea urchins are not common because of unsuitable habitat, recruitment limitations, and diseases, and when overfishing removes herbivorous fish, frondose brown algae can dominate. Terrigenous sediments carried onto reefs as a result of increased soil erosion largely promote the dominance of turf or articulated green algae. Elevated nutrients and organic matter can increase internal eroders of reef substratum and a mixture of filamentous algae. Local conservation actions that attempt to reduce fishing and terrestrial influences promote the high production of inorganic carbon that is necessary for reef growth. However, global climate change threatens to undermine such actions because of increased bleaching and mortality caused by warm-water anomalies, weakened coral skeletons caused by reduced aragonite availability in reef waters, and increased

  9. Bathymetric variation in recruitment and relative importance of pre- and post-settlement processes in coral assemblages at Lyudao (Green Island, Taiwan.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yoko Nozawa

    Full Text Available Studies on coral communities have typically been conducted in shallow waters (∼5 m. However, in the face of climate change, and as shallow coral communities become degraded, a greater understanding of deeper coral communities is needed as they become the main reef remnants, playing a central role in the future of coral reefs. To understand the dynamics of deeper coral assemblages, the recruitment and taxonomic composition of different life-stages at 5 and 15 m depths were compared at three locations in Lyudao, southeastern Taiwan in 2010. Coral recruits (5 cm, several years to decades old were examined using transect lines. Pocilloporid and poritid corals had similar and higher numbers of recruits at 5 m compared to 15 m, whereas acroporid recruits were more abundant at 15 m. The primary cause for the former may be larval behavior, such that they position themselves in shallow waters, while that for the latter may be the dominance of brooding acroporid species (Isopora spp. at 15 m. The taxonomic composition, especially between recruits and juveniles/adults, was more similar at 15 m than at 5 m. These results suggest a change in the relative importance of pre- and post-settlement processes in assemblage determinants with depth; coral assemblages in shallow habitats (more disturbed are more influenced by post-settlement processes (mortality events, while those in deeper habitats (more protected are more influenced by pre-settlement processes (larval supply.

  10. Climate, bleaching and connectivity in the Coral Triangle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curchitser, E. N.; Kleypas, J. A.; Castruccio, F. S.; Drenkard, E.; Thompson, D. M.; Pinsky, M. L.

    2016-12-01

    The Coral Triangle (CT) is the apex of marine biodiversity and supports the livelihoods of millions of people. It is also one of the most threatened of all reef regions in the world. We present results from a series of high-resolution, numerical ocean models designed to address physical and ecological questions relevant to the region's coral communities. The hierarchy of models was designed to optimize the model performance in addressing questions ranging from the role of internal tides in larval connectivity to distinguishing the role of interannual variability from decadal trends in thermal stress leading to mass bleaching events. In this presentation we will show how combining ocean circulation with models of larval dispersal leads to new insights into the interplay of physics and ecology in this complex oceanographic region, which can ultimately be used to inform conservation efforts.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  12. Climate Change in the Seychelles: Implications for Water and Coral Reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Payet, Rolph; Agricole, Wills [National Meteorological Services Mahe (Seychelles). Div. of Policy, Planning and Services

    2006-06-15

    The Seychelles is a small island state in the western Indian Ocean that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This vulnerability led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001 to express concern over the potential economic and social consequences that may be faced by small island states. Small island states should be prepared to adapt to such changes, especially in view of their dependence on natural resources, such as water and coral reefs, to meet basic human welfare needs. Analysis of long-term data for precipitation, air temperature, and sea-surface temperature indicated that changes are already observable in the Seychelles. The increase in dry spells that resulted in drought conditions in 1999 and the 1998 mass coral bleaching are indicative of the events that are likely to occur under future climate change. Pre-IPCC Third Assessment Report scenarios and the new SRES scenarios are compared for changes in precipitation and air surface temperature for the Seychelles. These intercomparisons indicate that the IS92 scenarios project a much warmer and wetter climate for the Seychelles than do the SRES scenarios. However, a wetter climate does not imply readily available water, but rather longer dry spells with more intense precipitation events. These observations will likely place enormous pressures on water-resources management in the Seychelles. Similarly, sea-surface temperature increases predicted by the HADCm{sup 3} model will likely trigger repeated coral-bleaching episodes, with possible coral extinctions within the Seychelles region by 2040. The cover of many coral reefs around the Seychelles have already changed, and the protection of coral-resilient areas is a critical adaptive option.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Daniels, Camille Arian

    2015-09-11

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Camille eDaniels

    2015-09-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Differential coral bleaching-Contrasting the activity and response of enzymatic antioxidants in symbiotic partners under thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krueger, Thomas; Hawkins, Thomas D; Becker, Susanne; Pontasch, Stefanie; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Leggat, William; Fisher, Paul L; Davy, Simon K

    2015-12-01

    Mass coral bleaching due to thermal stress represents a major threat to the integrity and functioning of coral reefs. Thermal thresholds vary, however, between corals, partly as a result of the specific type of endosymbiotic dinoflagellate (Symbiodinium sp.) they harbour. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in corals under thermal and light stress has been recognised as one mechanism that can lead to cellular damage and the loss of their symbiont population (Oxidative Theory of Coral Bleaching). Here, we compared the response of symbiont and host enzymatic antioxidants in the coral species Acropora millepora and Montipora digitata at 28°C and 33°C. A. millepora at 33°C showed a decrease in photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) and increase in maximum midday excitation pressure on PSII, with subsequent bleaching (declining photosynthetic pigment and symbiont density). M. digitata exhibited no bleaching response and photochemical changes in its symbionts were minor. The symbiont antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, and catalase peroxidase showed no significant upregulation to elevated temperatures in either coral, while only catalase was significantly elevated in both coral hosts at 33°C. Increased host catalase activity in the susceptible coral after 5days at 33°C was independent of antioxidant responses in the symbiont and preceded significant declines in PSII photochemical efficiencies. This finding suggests a potential decoupling of host redox mechanisms from symbiont photophysiology and raises questions about the importance of symbiont-derived ROS in initiating coral bleaching. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

    ... 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-05-15

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

  19. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neidy P Cetz-Navarro

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

  1. Biological Responses of the Coral Montastraea annularis to the Removal of Filamentous Turf Algae

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA) and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month) and long (10 month) periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT), zooxanthellae density (ZD), mitotic index (MI), and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a) in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony) consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA) were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm−2, and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm−2 and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA) in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected. PMID:23372774

  2. Arsenic and Mn levels in Isaza (Gymnogobius isaza) during the mass mortality event in Lake Biwa, Japan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hirata, Sawako Horai; Hayase, Daisuke; Eguchi, Akifumi; Itai, Takaaki; Nomiyama, Kei; Isobe, Tomohiko; Agusa, Tetsuro [Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, 2-5 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama 790-8577 (Japan); Ishikawa, Toshiyuki [Department of Environmental Education, Faculty of Education, Shiga University, 2-5-1 Hiratsu, Otsu, Shiga 520-0862 (Japan); Kumagai, Michio [Lake Biwa Environmental Research Institute, 5-34 Yanagasaki, Otsu, Shiga 520-0022 (Japan); Tanabe, Shinsuke, E-mail: shinsuke@agr.ehime-u.ac.jp [Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, 2-5 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama 790-8577 (Japan)

    2011-10-15

    The present study measured the concentrations of 25 elements (Li, Mg, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Ag, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Cs, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb and Bi) in the whole body of Isaza which is an endemic fish species to Lake Biwa, Japan, and compared the values in the specimens from the mass mortality Isaza (MMI) and normal fresh Isaza (NFI). The mean levels of Mn and total As (T-As) were relatively higher in MMI than in NFI. In the T-As, highly toxic inorganic As was detected in MMI. Moreover we found Mn and As concentrations in surface sediment were extremely high and temporally increased. From all these results, we could infer that the dissolution of Mn and As from surface sediment of Lake Biwa might have been one of the cause for the mass mortality of Isaza. - Highlights: > Mn and As levels were significantly higher in MMI than in NFI. > The number of chemical species of As detected from MMI was less than that from NFI. > Mn and As levels were highest in surface sediment, and sharply decreased with depth. > Mn and As levels in surface sediment temporally increased. - As and Mn levels in dead Isaza caused by mass mortality.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie M. Caldwell

    2016-09-01

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