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Sample records for scleractinian coral acropora

  1. Microsatellite loci isolated from the scleractinian coral, Acropora nobilis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isomura, Naoko; Hidaka, Michio

    2008-05-01

    We report the isolation and characterization of eight microsatellite loci from the scleractinian coral, Acropora nobilis. The microsatellite loci were obtained using compound SSR primers or an enrichment protocol. All the loci were polymorphic with four to eight alleles per locus and observed heterozygosities ranging from 0.22 to 0.76. Some of the primers developed for the two congeners, Acropora palmata and Acropora millepora were applicable to A. nobilis. These loci are useful for studying the connectivity among A. nobilis populations in Okinawa, southern Japan. © 2007 The Authors.

  2. High-latitude connectivity of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    western Indian Ocean, identified using nuclear intron and mitochondrial ... African Journal of Marine Science ... Results resolved the presence of four putative Acropora clades, genetically disparate according to 3/550 nuclear intron data.

  3. Development and heat stress-induced transcriptomic changes during embryogenesis of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata

    KAUST Repository

    Portune, Kevin J.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Medina, Mó nica; Szmant, Alina M.

    2010-01-01

    that occurred during embryonic and larval development of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, at a non-stressful temperature (28 °C) and further assessed the effects of two elevated temperatures (30 °C and 31.5 °C) on these expression patterns. Using cDNA

  4. Identification of fast-evolving genes in the scleractinian coral Acropora using comparative EST analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akira Iguchi

    Full Text Available To identify fast-evolving genes in reef-building corals, we performed direct comparative sequence analysis with expressed sequence tag (EST datasets from two acroporid species: Acropora palmata from the Caribbean Sea and A. millepora from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Comparison of 589 independent sequences from 1,421 A. palmata contigs, with 10,247 A. millepora contigs resulted in the identification of 196 putative homologues. Most of the homologous pairs demonstrated high amino acid similarities (over 90%. Comparisons of putative homologues showing low amino acid similarities (under 90% among the Acropora species to the near complete datasets from two other cnidarians (Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis implied that some were non-orthologous. Within 86 homologous pairs, 39 exhibited dN/dS ratios significantly less than 1, suggesting that these genes are under purifying selection associated with functional constraints. Eight independent genes showed dN/dS ratios exceeding 1, while three deviated significantly from 1, suggesting that these genes may play important roles in the adaptive evolution of Acropora. Our results also indicated that CEL-III lectin was under positive selection, consistent with a possible role in immunity or symbiont recognition. Further studies are needed to clarify the possible functions of the genes under positive selection to provide insight into the evolutionary process of corals.

  5. Identification of fast-evolving genes in the scleractinian coral Acropora using comparative EST analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iguchi, Akira; Shinzato, Chuya; Forêt, Sylvain; Miller, David J

    2011-01-01

    To identify fast-evolving genes in reef-building corals, we performed direct comparative sequence analysis with expressed sequence tag (EST) datasets from two acroporid species: Acropora palmata from the Caribbean Sea and A. millepora from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Comparison of 589 independent sequences from 1,421 A. palmata contigs, with 10,247 A. millepora contigs resulted in the identification of 196 putative homologues. Most of the homologous pairs demonstrated high amino acid similarities (over 90%). Comparisons of putative homologues showing low amino acid similarities (under 90%) among the Acropora species to the near complete datasets from two other cnidarians (Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis) implied that some were non-orthologous. Within 86 homologous pairs, 39 exhibited dN/dS ratios significantly less than 1, suggesting that these genes are under purifying selection associated with functional constraints. Eight independent genes showed dN/dS ratios exceeding 1, while three deviated significantly from 1, suggesting that these genes may play important roles in the adaptive evolution of Acropora. Our results also indicated that CEL-III lectin was under positive selection, consistent with a possible role in immunity or symbiont recognition. Further studies are needed to clarify the possible functions of the genes under positive selection to provide insight into the evolutionary process of corals.

  6. Bleaching, disease and recovery in the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands: 2003-2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Muller, E.M.

    2012-01-01

    A long-term study of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) showed that diseases, particularly white pox, are limiting the recovery of this threatened species. Colonies of A. palmata in Haulover Bay, within Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, were examined monthly in situ for signs of disease and other stressors from January 2003 through December 2009. During the study, 89.9 % of the colonies (n = 69) exhibited disease, including white pox (87 %), white band (13 %), and unknown (9 %). Monthly disease prevalence ranged from 0 to 57 %, and disease was the most significant cause of complete colony mortality (n = 17). A positive correlation was found between water temperature and disease prevalence, but not incidence. Annual average disease prevalence and incidence remained constant during the study. Colonies generally showed an increase in the estimated amount of total living tissue from growth, but 25 (36.2 %) of the colonies died. Acropora palmata bleached in the USVI for the first time during the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event. Only one of the 23 colonies that bleached appeared to die directly from bleaching. In 2005, corals that bleached had greater disease prevalence than those that did not bleach. Just over half (52 %) of the colonies incurred some physical damage. Monitoring of fragments (broken branches) that were generated by physical damage through June 2007 showed that 46.1 % died and 28.4 % remained alive; the fragments that attached to the substrate survived longer than those that did not. Recent surveys showed an increase in the total number of colonies within the reef area, formed from both asexual and sexual reproduction. Genotype analysis of 48 of the originally monitored corals indicated that 43 grew from sexual recruits supporting the conclusion that both asexual and sexual reproduction are contributing to an increase in colony density at this site.

  7. Bleaching, disease and recovery in the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands: 2003-2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C. S.; Muller, E. M.

    2012-09-01

    A long-term study of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) showed that diseases, particularly white pox, are limiting the recovery of this threatened species. Colonies of A. palmata in Haulover Bay, within Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, were examined monthly in situ for signs of disease and other stressors from January 2003 through December 2009. During the study, 89.9 % of the colonies ( n = 69) exhibited disease, including white pox (87 %), white band (13 %), and unknown (9 %). Monthly disease prevalence ranged from 0 to 57 %, and disease was the most significant cause of complete colony mortality ( n = 17). A positive correlation was found between water temperature and disease prevalence, but not incidence. Annual average disease prevalence and incidence remained constant during the study. Colonies generally showed an increase in the estimated amount of total living tissue from growth, but 25 (36.2 %) of the colonies died. Acropora palmata bleached in the USVI for the first time during the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event. Only one of the 23 colonies that bleached appeared to die directly from bleaching. In 2005, corals that bleached had greater disease prevalence than those that did not bleach. Just over half (52 %) of the colonies incurred some physical damage. Monitoring of fragments (broken branches) that were generated by physical damage through June 2007 showed that 46.1 % died and 28.4 % remained alive; the fragments that attached to the substrate survived longer than those that did not. Recent surveys showed an increase in the total number of colonies within the reef area, formed from both asexual and sexual reproduction. Genotype analysis of 48 of the originally monitored corals indicated that 43 grew from sexual recruits supporting the conclusion that both asexual and sexual reproduction are contributing to an increase in colony density at this site.

  8. Development and heat stress-induced transcriptomic changes during embryogenesis of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portune, Kevin J; Voolstra, Christian R; Medina, Mónica; Szmant, Alina M

    2010-03-01

    Projected elevation of seawater temperatures poses a threat to the reproductive success of Caribbean reef-building corals that have planktonic development during the warmest months of the year. This study examined the transcriptomic changes that occurred during embryonic and larval development of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, at a non-stressful temperature (28°C) and further assessed the effects of two elevated temperatures (30°C and 31.5°C) on these expression patterns. Using cDNA microarrays, we compared expression levels of 2051 genes from early embryos and larvae at multiple developmental stages (including pre-blastula, blastula, gastrula, and planula stages) at each of the three temperatures. At 12h post-fertilization in 28°C treatments, genes involved in cell replication/cell division and transcription were up-regulated in A. palmata embryos, followed by a reduction in expression of these genes during later growth stages. From 24.5 to 131h post-fertilization at 28°C, A. palmata altered its transcriptome by up-regulating genes involved in protein synthesis and metabolism. Temperatures of 30°C and 31.5°C caused major changes to the A. palmata embryonic transcriptomes, particularly in the samples from 24.5hpf post-fertilization, characterized by down-regulation of numerous genes involved in cell replication/cell division, metabolism, cytoskeleton, and transcription, while heat shock genes were up-regulated compared to 28°C treatments. These results suggest that increased temperature may cause a breakdown in proper gene expression during development in A. palmata by down-regulation of genes involved in essential cellular processes, which may lead to the abnormal development and reduced survivorship documented in other studies. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Development and heat stress-induced transcriptomic changes during embryogenesis of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata

    KAUST Repository

    Portune, Kevin J.

    2010-03-01

    Projected elevation of seawater temperatures poses a threat to the reproductive success of Caribbean reef-building corals that have planktonic development during the warmest months of the year. This study examined the transcriptomic changes that occurred during embryonic and larval development of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, at a non-stressful temperature (28 °C) and further assessed the effects of two elevated temperatures (30 °C and 31.5 °C) on these expression patterns. Using cDNA microarrays, we compared expression levels of 2051 genes from early embryos and larvae at multiple developmental stages (including pre-blastula, blastula, gastrula, and planula stages) at each of the three temperatures. At 12 h post-fertilization in 28 °C treatments, genes involved in cell replication/cell division and transcription were up-regulated in A. palmata embryos, followed by a reduction in expression of these genes during later growth stages. From 24.5 to 131 h post-fertilization at 28 °C, A. palmata altered its transcriptome by up-regulating genes involved in protein synthesis and metabolism. Temperatures of 30 °C and 31.5 °C caused major changes to the A. palmata embryonic transcriptomes, particularly in the samples from 24.5 hpf post-fertilization, characterized by down-regulation of numerous genes involved in cell replication/cell division, metabolism, cytoskeleton, and transcription, while heat shock genes were up-regulated compared to 28 °C treatments. These results suggest that increased temperature may cause a breakdown in proper gene expression during development in A. palmata by down-regulation of genes involved in essential cellular processes, which may lead to the abnormal development and reduced survivorship documented in other studies. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Gene expression in the scleractinian Acropora microphthalma exposed to high solar irradiance reveals elements of photoprotection and coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Starcevic, Antonio; Dunlap, Walter C; Cullum, John; Shick, J Malcolm; Hranueli, Daslav; Long, Paul F

    2010-11-12

    The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH) from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues. A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a 'shared metabolic adaptation' between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca(2+)-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis. Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral bleaching.

  11. Prevalence of virus-like particles within a staghorn scleractinian coral ( Acropora muricata) from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patten, N. L.; Harrison, P. L.; Mitchell, J. G.

    2008-09-01

    Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine whether Acropora muricata coral colonies from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, harboured virus-like particles (VLPs). VLPs were present in all coral colonies sampled at Heron Island (southern GBR) and in tagged coral colonies sampled in at least two of the three sampling periods at Lizard Island (northern GBR). VLPs were observed within gastrodermal and epidermal tissues, and on rarer occasions, within the mesoglea. These VLPs had similar morphologies to known prokaryotic and eukaryotic viruses in other systems. Icosahedral VLPs were observed most frequently, however, filamentous VLPs (FVLPs) and phage were also noted. There were no clear differences in VLP size, morphology or location within the tissues with respect to sample date, coral health status or site. The most common VLP morphotype exhibited icosahedral symmetry, 120-150 nm in diameter, with an electron-dense core and an electronlucent membrane. Larger VLPs of similar morphology were also common. VLPs occurred as single entities, in groups, or in dense clusters, either as free particles within coral tissues, or within membrane-bound vacuoles. VLPs were commonly observed within the perinuclear region, with mitochondria, golgi apparatus and crescent-shaped particles frequently observed within close proximity. The host(s) of these observed VLPs was not clear; however, the different sizes and morphologies of VLPs observed within A. muricata tissues suggest that viruses are infecting either the coral animal, zooxanthellae, intracellular bacteria and/or other coral-associated microbiota, or that the one host is susceptible to infection from more than one type of virus. These results add to the limited but emerging body of evidence that viruses represent another potentially important component of the coral holobiont.

  12. Gene expression in the scleractinian Acropora microphthalma exposed to high solar irradiance reveals elements of photoprotection and coral bleaching.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Starcevic

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues.A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs, which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a 'shared metabolic adaptation' between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca(2+-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis.Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral bleaching.

  13. Proteomics links the redox state to calcium signaling during bleaching of the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma on exposure to high solar irradiance and thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weston, Andrew J; Dunlap, Walter C; Beltran, Victor H; Starcevic, Antonio; Hranueli, Daslav; Ward, Malcolm; Long, Paul F

    2015-03-01

    Shipboard experiments were each performed over a 2 day period to examine the proteomic response of the symbiotic coral Acropora microphthalma exposed to acute conditions of high temperature/low light or high light/low temperature stress. During these treatments, corals had noticeably bleached. The photosynthetic performance of residual algal endosymbionts was severely impaired but showed signs of recovery in both treatments by the end of the second day. Changes in the coral proteome were determined daily and, using recently available annotated genome sequences, the individual contributions of the coral host and algal endosymbionts could be extracted from these data. Quantitative changes in proteins relevant to redox state and calcium metabolism are presented. Notably, expression of common antioxidant proteins was not detected from the coral host but present in the algal endosymbiont proteome. Possible roles for elevated carbonic anhydrase in the coral host are considered: to restore intracellular pH diminished by loss of photosynthetic activity, to indirectly limit intracellular calcium influx linked with enhanced calmodulin expression to impede late-stage symbiont exocytosis, or to enhance inorganic carbon transport to improve the photosynthetic performance of algal symbionts that remain in hospite. Protein effectors of calcium-dependent exocytosis were present in both symbiotic partners. No caspase-family proteins associated with host cell apoptosis, with exception of the autophagy chaperone HSP70, were detected, suggesting that algal loss and photosynthetic dysfunction under these experimental conditions were not due to host-mediated phytosymbiont destruction. Instead, bleaching occurred by symbiont exocytosis and loss of light-harvesting pigments of algae that remain in hospite. These proteomic data are, therefore, consistent with our premise that coral endosymbionts can mediate their own retention or departure from the coral host, which may manifest as

  14. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ramos-Silva, P.; Kaandorp, J.; Herbst, F.; Plasseraud, L.; Alcaraz, G.; Stern, C.; Corneillat, M.; Guichard, N.; Durlet, C.; Luquet, G.; Marin, F.

    2014-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-21

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

  16. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aranda Manuel

    2012-09-01

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

  17. Evidence for Rhythmicity Pacemaker in the Calcification Process of Scleractinian Coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Schneider, Kenneth; Stolarski, Jaroslaw; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Yam, Ruth; Meibom, Anders; Shemesh, Aldo; Levy, Oren

    2016-02-01

    Reef-building scleractinian (stony) corals are among the most efficient bio-mineralizing organisms in nature. The calcification rate of scleractinian corals oscillates under ambient light conditions, with a cyclic, diurnal pattern. A fundamental question is whether this cyclic pattern is controlled by exogenous signals or by an endogenous ‘biological-clock’ mechanism, or both. To address this problem, we have studied calcification patterns of the Red Sea scleractinian coral Acropora eurystoma with frequent measurements of total alkalinity (AT) under different light conditions. Additionally, skeletal extension and ultra-structure of newly deposited calcium carbonate were elucidated with 86Sr isotope labeling analysis, combined with NanoSIMS ion microprobe and scanning electron microscope imaging. Our results show that the calcification process persists with its cyclic pattern under constant light conditions while dissolution takes place within one day of constant dark conditions, indicating that an intrinsic, light-entrained mechanism may be involved in controlling the calcification process in photosymbiotic corals.

  18. 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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  2. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Anatahan

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Alamagan

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  4. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Agrihan

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  5. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Asuncion

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  6. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Aguijan

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  7. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Pagan

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  8. Biotic control of skeletal growth by scleractinian corals in aragonite-calcite seas.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomihiko Higuchi

    Full Text Available Modern scleractinian coral skeletons are commonly composed of aragonite, the orthorhombic form of CaCO3. Under certain conditions, modern corals produce calcite as a secondary precipitate to fill pore space. However, coral construction of primary skeletons from calcite has yet to be demonstrated. We report a calcitic primary skeleton produced by the modern scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. When uncalcified juveniles were incubated from the larval stage in seawater with low mMg/Ca levels, the juveniles constructed calcitic crystals in parts of the primary skeleton such as the septa; the deposits were observable under Raman microscopy. Using scanning electron microscopy, we observed different crystal morphologies of aragonite and calcite in a single juvenile skeleton. Quantitative analysis using X-ray diffraction showed that the majority of the skeleton was composed of aragonite even though we had exposed the juveniles to manipulated seawater before their initial crystal nucleation and growth processes. Our results indicate that the modern scleractinian coral Acropora mainly produces aragonite skeletons in both aragonite and calcite seas, but also has the ability to use calcite for part of its skeletal growth when incubated in calcite seas.

  9. The reproductive season of scleractinian corals in Socotra, Yemen [v1; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/36f

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew H. Baird

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Determining when corals reproduce has clear management and economic implications. Here we document the reproductive condition of corals in the genus Acropora on the island of Socotra in Yemen during February 2014. Twenty percent of colonies (n = 143 contained mature gametes and 28% had immature gametes indicating that spawning will occur in both February and March in 2014, confirming previous anecdotal reports of coral spawning at this time in Socotra. Acropora typically reproduce in synchrony with many other broadcast spawning scleractinian corals, and we therefore predict that many other species are reproductively active at this time of year.

  10. Application of the coral health chart to determine bleaching status of Acropora downingi in a subtropical coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oladi, Mahshid; Shokri, Mohammad Reza; Rajabi-Maham, Hassan

    2017-06-01

    The `Coral Health Chart' has become a popular tool for monitoring coral bleaching worldwide. The scleractinian coral Acropora downingi (Wallace 1999) is highly vulnerable to temperature anomalies in the Persian Gulf. Our study tested the reliability of Coral Health Chart scores for the assessment of bleaching-related changes in the mitotic index (MI) and density of zooxanthellae cells in A. downingi in Qeshm Island, the Persian Gulf. The results revealed that, at least under severe conditions, it can be used as an effective proxy for detecting changes in the density of normal, transparent, or degraded zooxanthellae and MI. However, its ability to discern changes in pigment concentration and total zooxanthellae density should be viewed with some caution in the Gulf region, probably because the high levels of environmental variability in this region result in inherent variations in the characteristics of zooxanthellae among "healthy" looking corals.

  11. Sexual reproduction of Acropora reef corals at Moorea, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carroll, A.; Harrison, P.; Adjeroud, M.

    2006-03-01

    Little information is available on reproductive processes among corals in isolated central Pacific reef regions, including French Polynesia. This study examined the timing and mode of sexual reproduction for Acropora reef corals at Moorea. Spawning was observed and/or inferred in 110 Acropora colonies, representing 12 species, following full moon periods in September through November 2002. Gamete release was observed and inferred in four species of Acropora between 9 and 13 nights after the full moon (nAFM) in September 2002. Twelve Acropora spp. spawned gametes between 5 and 10 nAFM in October 2002, with six species spawning 7 nAFM and four species spawning 9 nAFM. In November 2002, spawning of egg and sperm bundles was observed and inferred in 27 colonies of Acropora austera, 6 nAFM. These are the first detailed records of spawning by Acropora corals in French Polynesia.

  12. Microenvironment and Photosynthesis of Zooxanthellae in Scleractinian Corals Studied with Microsensors for O-2, Ph and Light Rid A-1977-2009 Rid B-5428-2008

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    KUHL, M.; COHEN, Y.; DALSGAARD, T.

    1995-01-01

    During experimental Light-dark cycles, O-2 in the tissue of the colonial scleractinian corals Favia sp. and Acropora sp. reached >250% of air saturation after a few minutes in Light. Immediately after darkening, O-2 was depleted rapidly, and within 5 min the O-2 concentration at the tissue surface...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aisling K Brady

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Anithajothi

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-01

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

  18. New record of Scleractinian coral Astrangia sp. from Indian waters

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Anil, A.C.; Wagh, A.B.

    The scleractinian coral Astrangia was found to have settled on aluminium and mild steel panels exposed at the two stations at Cortalim beach and oil jetty of Marmugao harbour, Goa, India. This is a new record of the specimen in these waters...

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

    KAUST Repository

    DeSalvo, MK

    2010-03-08

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2010-01-01

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

  1. The skeleton of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora: molecular and structural characterization.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula Ramos-Silva

    Full Text Available The scleractinian coral Acropora millepora is one of the most studied species from the Great Barrier Reef. This species has been used to understand evolutionary, immune and developmental processes in cnidarians. It has also been subject of several ecological studies in order to elucidate reef responses to environmental changes such as temperature rise and ocean acidification (OA. In these contexts, several nucleic acid resources were made available. When combined to a recent proteomic analysis of the coral skeletal organic matrix (SOM, they enabled the identification of several skeletal matrix proteins, making A. millepora into an emerging model for biomineralization studies. Here we describe the skeletal microstructure of A. millepora skeleton, together with a functional and biochemical characterization of its occluded SOM that focuses on the protein and saccharidic moieties. The skeletal matrix proteins show a large range of isoelectric points, compositional patterns and signatures. Besides secreted proteins, there are a significant number of proteins with membrane attachment sites such as transmembrane domains and GPI anchors as well as proteins with integrin binding sites. These features show that the skeletal proteins must have strong adhesion properties in order to function in the calcifying space. Moreover this data suggest a molecular connection between the calcifying epithelium and the skeletal tissue during biocalcification. In terms of sugar moieties, the enrichment of the SOM in arabinose is striking, and the monosaccharide composition exhibits the same signature as that of mucus of acroporid corals. Finally, we observe that the interaction of the acetic acid soluble SOM on the morphology of in vitro grown CaCO3 crystals is very pronounced when compared with the calcifying matrices of some mollusks. In light of these results, we wish to commend Acropora millepora as a model for biocalcification studies in scleractinians, from

  2. Patterns of gene expression in a scleractinian coral undergoing natural bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seneca, Francois O; Forêt, Sylvain; Ball, Eldon E; Smith-Keune, Carolyn; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2010-10-01

    Coral bleaching is a major threat to coral reefs worldwide and is predicted to intensify with increasing global temperature. This study represents the first investigation of gene expression in an Indo-Pacific coral species undergoing natural bleaching which involved the loss of algal symbionts. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction experiments were conducted to select and evaluate coral internal control genes (ICGs), and to investigate selected coral genes of interest (GOIs) for changes in gene expression in nine colonies of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora undergoing bleaching at Magnetic Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Among the six ICGs tested, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the ribosomal protein genes S7 and L9 exhibited the most constant expression levels between samples from healthy-looking colonies and samples from the same colonies when severely bleached a year later. These ICGs were therefore utilised for normalisation of expression data for seven selected GOIs. Of the seven GOIs, homologues of catalase, C-type lectin and chromoprotein genes were significantly up-regulated as a result of bleaching by factors of 1.81, 1.46 and 1.61 (linear mixed models analysis of variance, P coral bleaching response genes. In contrast, three genes, including one putative ICG, showed highly variable levels of expression between coral colonies. Potential variation in microhabitat, gene function unrelated to the stress response and individualised stress responses may influence such differences between colonies and need to be better understood when designing and interpreting future studies of gene expression in natural coral populations.

  3. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Kauai, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  4. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Niihau, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  5. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Raita Bank, 2001

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  6. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Kure Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  7. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Stingray Shoals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  8. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Ofu & Olosega

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  9. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Laysan Island, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  10. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Eleven-Mile Bank

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  11. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Palmyra Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  12. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Lisianski Island, 2001-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  13. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Ta'u

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  14. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Gardner Pinnacles, 2003

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  15. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  16. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Molokai, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  17. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Guam, 2003

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  18. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Baker Island, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  19. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at French Frigate Shoals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  20. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Maro Reef, 2001-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rui J M Rocha

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2012-09-21

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

  5. Draft genome sequence of Halomonas meridiana R1t3 isolated from the surface microbiota of the Caribbean Elkhorn coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Julie L; Dillard, Brian A; Rodgers, John M; Ritchie, Kim B; Paul, Valerie J; Teplitski, Max

    2015-01-01

    Members of the gammaproteobacterial genus Halomonas are common in marine environments. Halomonas and other members of the Oceanospirillales have recently been identified as prominent members of the surface microbiota of reef-building corals. Halomonas meridiana strain R1t3 was isolated from the surface mucus layer of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata in 2005 from the Florida Keys. This strain was chosen for genome sequencing to provide insight into the role of commensal heterotrophic bacteria in the coral holobiont. The draft genome consists of 290 scaffolds, totaling 3.5 Mbp in length and contains 3397 protein-coding genes.

  6. 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...

  7. Multi-species spawning synchrony within scleractinian coral assemblages in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica; Baird, Andrew Hamilton; Chen, C. J.; Guest, James R.; Vicentuan, Kareen C.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2014-01-01

    Early work on coral reproduction in the far northern Red Sea suggested that the spawning times of ecologically abundant species did not overlap, unlike on the Great Barrier Reef where many species spawn with high synchrony. In contrast, recent work in the northern and central Red Sea indicates a high degree of synchrony in the reproductive condition of Acropora species: over 90 % of species sampled in April/May contain mature gametes. However, it has yet to be determined when most Acropora release their gametes. In addition, there is a lack of data for other ecologically important scleractinian species such as merulinids and poritids. Here, we document the date and time of spawning for 51 species in the central Red Sea over three consecutive years, and the month of spawning for an additional 17 species inferred from the presence of mature gametes. Spawning occurs on nights around the full moon, the spawning season lasts at least 4 months from April until July, and observations are consistent with the few other records from the Red Sea. The number of Acropora species spawning was highest in April with 13 species spawning two nights before the full moon in 2011, 13 species spawning on the night of the full moon in 2012, and eight species spawning four nights after the full moon in 2013. The total number of species spawning was high in April, May, and June and involved 15–19 species per month in 2012. Only four species spawned in July 2012. Few regions worldwide have been similarly sampled and include the Philippines, Okinawa in Japan, and Palau, where spawning patterns are very similar to those in the central Red Sea and where corals spawn on nights around the full moon over a period of 3–4 months. In particular, in all four locations, Acropora are among the first species to spawn. Our results add to a growing body of evidence indicating that multi-species spawning synchrony is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages.

  8. Multi-species spawning synchrony within scleractinian coral assemblages in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2014-09-21

    Early work on coral reproduction in the far northern Red Sea suggested that the spawning times of ecologically abundant species did not overlap, unlike on the Great Barrier Reef where many species spawn with high synchrony. In contrast, recent work in the northern and central Red Sea indicates a high degree of synchrony in the reproductive condition of Acropora species: over 90 % of species sampled in April/May contain mature gametes. However, it has yet to be determined when most Acropora release their gametes. In addition, there is a lack of data for other ecologically important scleractinian species such as merulinids and poritids. Here, we document the date and time of spawning for 51 species in the central Red Sea over three consecutive years, and the month of spawning for an additional 17 species inferred from the presence of mature gametes. Spawning occurs on nights around the full moon, the spawning season lasts at least 4 months from April until July, and observations are consistent with the few other records from the Red Sea. The number of Acropora species spawning was highest in April with 13 species spawning two nights before the full moon in 2011, 13 species spawning on the night of the full moon in 2012, and eight species spawning four nights after the full moon in 2013. The total number of species spawning was high in April, May, and June and involved 15–19 species per month in 2012. Only four species spawned in July 2012. Few regions worldwide have been similarly sampled and include the Philippines, Okinawa in Japan, and Palau, where spawning patterns are very similar to those in the central Red Sea and where corals spawn on nights around the full moon over a period of 3–4 months. In particular, in all four locations, Acropora are among the first species to spawn. Our results add to a growing body of evidence indicating that multi-species spawning synchrony is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages.

  9. Variability of spawning time (lunar day) in Acropora versus merulinid corals: a 7-yr record of in situ coral spawning in Taiwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Che-Hung; Nozawa, Yoko

    2017-12-01

    Despite the global accumulation of coral spawning records over the past three decades, information on inter-annual variation in spawning time is still insufficient, resulting in difficulty in predicting coral spawning time. Here, we present new information on in situ spawning times of scleractinian corals at Lyudao, Taiwan, covering their inter-annual variations over a 7-yr period (2010-2016). Spawning of 42 species from 16 genera in eight families was recorded. The majority were hermaphroditic spawners (38 of 42 species), and their spawning occurred 2-4 h after sunset on 1-11 d after the full moon (AFM), mostly in April and May. There were two distinct patterns in the two dominant taxa, the genus Acropora (14 species) and the family Merulinidae (18 species in eight genera). The annual spawning of Acropora corals mostly occurred on a single night in May with high inter-annual variation of spawning (lunar) days between 1 and 11 d AFM. In contrast, the annual spawning of merulinid corals commonly occurred over 2-3 consecutive nights in two consecutive months, April and May, with the specific range of spawning days around the last quarter moon (between 5 and 8 d AFM). The distinct spawning patterns of these taxa were also documented at Okinawa and Kochi, Japan, where similar long-term monitoring of in situ coral spawning has been conducted. This variability in spawning days implies different regulatory mechanisms of synchronous spawning where Acropora corals might be more sensitive to exogenous environmental factors (hourglass mechanism), compared to merulinid corals, which may rely more on endogenous biological rhythms (oscillator mechanism).

  10. Transcriptome analysis of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarit Karako-Lampert

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinzato, Chuya; Inoue, Mayuri; Kusakabe, Makoto

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuya Shinzato

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

  13. 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.

  14. The threatened Atlantic elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata : population dynamics and their policy implications

    OpenAIRE

    Vardi, Tali

    2011-01-01

    Fossil data from multiple locations indicates that Atlantic elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, formed shallow reefs throughout the Caribbean Sea since the Pleistocene. Beginning in the 1980s A. palmata has declined to a small fraction of its formerly vast extent throughout the region. In 2006, elkhorn coral was the first coral, along with its sister species, staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), to be included on the U.S. Endangered Species List. We used size-based matrix mod...

  15. Weak prezygotic isolating mechanisms in threatened Caribbean Acropora corals.

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    Nicole D Fogarty

    Full Text Available The Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, recently have undergone drastic declines primarily as a result of disease. Previous molecular studies have demonstrated that these species form a hybrid (A. prolifera that varies in abundance throughout the range of the parental distribution. There is variable unidirectional introgression across loci and sites of A. palmata genes flowing into A. cervicornis. Here we examine the efficacy of prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms within these corals including spawning times and choice and no-choice fertilization crosses. We show that these species have subtly different mean but overlapping spawning times, suggesting that temporal isolation is likely not an effective barrier to hybridization. We found species-specific differences in gametic incompatibilities. Acropora palmata eggs were relatively resistant to hybridization, especially when conspecific sperm are available to outcompete heterospecific sperm. Acropora cervicornis eggs demonstrated no evidence for gametic incompatibility and no evidence of reduced viability after aging four hours. This asymmetry in compatibility matches previous genetic data on unidirectional introgression.

  16. Weak prezygotic isolating mechanisms in threatened Caribbean Acropora corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fogarty, Nicole D; Vollmer, Steven V; Levitan, Don R

    2012-01-01

    The Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, recently have undergone drastic declines primarily as a result of disease. Previous molecular studies have demonstrated that these species form a hybrid (A. prolifera) that varies in abundance throughout the range of the parental distribution. There is variable unidirectional introgression across loci and sites of A. palmata genes flowing into A. cervicornis. Here we examine the efficacy of prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms within these corals including spawning times and choice and no-choice fertilization crosses. We show that these species have subtly different mean but overlapping spawning times, suggesting that temporal isolation is likely not an effective barrier to hybridization. We found species-specific differences in gametic incompatibilities. Acropora palmata eggs were relatively resistant to hybridization, especially when conspecific sperm are available to outcompete heterospecific sperm. Acropora cervicornis eggs demonstrated no evidence for gametic incompatibility and no evidence of reduced viability after aging four hours. This asymmetry in compatibility matches previous genetic data on unidirectional introgression.

  17. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James P Gilmour

    Full Text Available Coral spawning on the oceanic reef systems of north-western Australia was recently discovered during autumn and spring, but the degree to which species and particularly colonies participated in one or both of these spawnings was unknown. At the largest of the oceanic reef systems, the participation by colonies in the two discrete spawning events was investigated over three years in 13 species of Acropora corals (n = 1,855 colonies. Seven species spawned during both seasons; five only in autumn and one only in spring. The majority of tagged colonies (n = 218 spawned once a year in the same season, but five colonies from three species spawned during spring and autumn during a single year. Reproductive seasonality was not influenced by spatial variation in habitat conditions, or by Symbiodinium partners in the biannual spawner Acropora tenuis. Colonies of A. tenuis spawning during different seasons separated into two distinct yet cryptic groups, in a bayesian clustering analysis based on multiple microsatellite markers. These groups were associated with a major genetic divergence (G"ST = 0.469, despite evidence of mixed ancestry in a small proportion of individuals. Our results confirm that temporal reproductive isolation is a common feature of Acropora populations at Scott Reef and indicate that spawning season is a genetically determined trait in at least A. tenuis. This reproductive isolation may be punctuated occasionally by interbreeding between genetic groups following favourable environmental conditions, when autumn spawners undergo a second annual gametogenic cycle and spawn during spring.

  18. Comparative sensitivity of six scleractinian corals to temperature and solar radiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scleractinian corals were subjected to six combinations of temperature and solar radiation regimes to evaluate their effects on coral bleaching, survival, and tissue surface area changes during and after an exposure period. A recirculating coral exposure system was coupled to a ...

  19. Effects of irradiance and light spectrum on growth of the scleractinian coral Galaxea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Henkemans, P.; Osinga, R.

    2012-01-01

    Due to global degradation of coral reefs and high demand for scleractinian corals, aquaculture of these marine organisms is gaining importance. To make coral aquaculture economically viable, optimisation of culture protocols is vital. We determined the effects of irradiance and light spectrum on the

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szmant Alina M

    2008-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-02-25

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

  2. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover and sand along camera tow tracks in west Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. 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

  4. Nickel and ocean warming affect scleractinian coral growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-15

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

  5. Ocean acidification effects on calcification in pCO2 acclimated Caribbean scleractinian coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ocean acidification (OA) is projected to increase the acidity of coral reef habitats 2-3 times that of present day pCO2 levels. Many studies have shown the adverse effects on scleractinian calcification when exposed to elevated pCO2 levels, however, in these studies, corals have ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-13

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

  7. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral Stylophora pistillata

    OpenAIRE

    Wijgerde, Tim; van Melis, Anne; Silva, Catarina I. F.; Leal, Miguel C.; Vogels, Luc; Mutter, Claudia; Osinga, Ronald

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced or red-repressed. This study investigated the individual and combined effects of blue and red light on the health, zooxanthellae density, photophysiology and colouration of the scleractinian coral S...

  8. Constraining calcium isotope fractionation (δ44/40Ca) in modern and fossil scleractinian coral skeleton

    OpenAIRE

    Pretet, Chloé; Samankassou, Elias; Felis, Thomas; Reynaud, Stéphanie; Böhm, Florian; Eisenhauer, Anton; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Gattuso, Jean-Pierre; Camoin, Gilbert

    2013-01-01

    The present study investigates the influence of environmental (temperature, salinity) and biological (growth rate, inter-generic variations) parameters on calcium isotope fractionation (δ44/40Ca) in scleractinian coral skeleton to better constrain this record. Previous studies focused on the δ44/40Ca record in different marine organisms to reconstruct seawater composition or temperature, but only few studies investigated corals. This study presents measurements performed on modern corals f...

  9. Regionally isolated populations of an imperiled Caribbean coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, Iliana B; Miller, Margaret W; Hellberg, Michael E

    2005-04-01

    The movements of larvae between marine populations are difficult to follow directly and have been the subject of much controversy, especially in the Caribbean. The debate centres on the degree to which populations are demographically open, such that depleted populations can be replenished by recruitment from distant healthy populations, or demographically closed and thus in need of local management. Given the depressed state of many tropical reef populations, the understanding of these movements now bears critically on the number, placement, and size of marine reserves. Most genetic analyses assume that dispersal patterns have been stable for thousands of generations, thus they commonly reflect past colonization histories more than ongoing dispersal. Recently developed multilocus genotyping approaches, however, have the demonstrated ability to detect both migration and population isolation over far shorter timescales. Previously, we developed five microsatellite markers and demonstrated them to be both Mendelian and coral-specific. Using these markers and Bayesian analyses, we show here that populations of the imperiled reef-building coral, Acropora palmata, have experienced little or no recent genetic exchange between the western and the eastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is identified as an area of mixing between the two subregions. As a consequence of this regional isolation, populations in the western and eastern Caribbean should have the potential to adapt to local conditions and will require population-specific management strategies.

  10. Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedrich W Meyer

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8 and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1 availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834 from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world

  11. Fungia (Verrillofungia) Spinifer spec. nov., a new Scleractinian Coral (Fungiidae) from the Indo-Malayan region

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Claereboudt, M.; Hoeksema, B.W.

    1987-01-01

    Summary: A new Fungia species from the Bismarck Sea is described and its taxonomic position is discussed. INTRODUCTION The Fungiidae have an important place among Indo-Pacific scleractinian reef corals. Many nominal species have been described in this family, but only about 40 of them proved to be

  12. Oxygen and Heterotrophy Affect Calcification of the Scleractinian Coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Jurriaans, S.; Hoofd, M.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Osinga, R.

    2012-01-01

    Heterotrophy is known to stimulate calcification of scleractinian corals, possibly through enhanced organic matrix synthesis and photosynthesis, and increased supply of metabolic DIC. In contrast to the positive long-term effects of heterotrophy, inhibition of calcification has been observed during

  13. Spawning of coral reef invertebrates and a second spawning season for scleractinian corals in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica; Gatins, Remy; Giles, Emily; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane; Berumen, Michael L.

    2016-01-01

    species, as well as a general lack of data for other invertebrates. Here, we document the detailed timing of spawning for 13 scleractinian coral species, one sea anemone, and six echinoderms from an inshore reef off the coast of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

  14. Which Environmental Factors Predict Seasonal Variation in the Coral Health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Feng, Ming; Strickland, Daniel; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration), energy levels (lipid ratio) and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a) and zooxanthellae density) at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April), austral winter 2010 (August)) and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February). These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling) to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio) for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26–28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density) were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host. PMID:23637770

  15. Which environmental factors predict seasonal variation in the coral health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saskia Hinrichs

    Full Text Available The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration, energy levels (lipid ratio and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a and zooxanthellae density at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April, austral winter 2010 (August and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February. These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26-28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia Libro

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Libro, Silvia; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-01-01

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

  18. The influence of light and water flow on the growth and physiology of the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schutter, M.

    2010-01-01

    Background
    Zooxanthellate scleractinian corals are sessile colonial animals that live in symbiosis with photosynthetic algae, the zooxanthellae. They can feed both phototrophically and heterotrophically and produce an external skeleton of calcium carbonate, which process is enhanced by light.

  19. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover along camera tows and ROV tracks in the Auau Channel, Island of Maui, Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  20. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover and sand along camera tows and ROV tracks of West Maui, Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  1. Spawning of coral reef invertebrates and a second spawning season for scleractinian corals in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2016-06-22

    Recent coral spawning observations in the central Red Sea show that most scleractinian species release their gametes in the spring, with a majority of species spawning in April. There is, however, a lack of reproductive data for several other coral species, as well as a general lack of data for other invertebrates. Here, we document the detailed timing of spawning for 13 scleractinian coral species, one sea anemone, and six echinoderms from an inshore reef off the coast of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, in the spring between April and June 2014. Furthermore, inferred from the presence of mature gametes, we report the month of spawning for three additional coral species in the spring. Seven scleractinian coral species were inferred to release their gametes in a second reproductive season, in the autumn, between September and November. This is the first report of a second spawning season in the Arabian region. Biannual spawning has so far been reported on the Great Barrier Reef, in Western Australia, in Indonesia, in Malaysia, in Palau, in Thailand, in Taiwan, and in Western Samoa. © 2016, The American Microscopical Society, Inc.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha

    2011-12-12

    Combined knowledge of the pelagic larval duration of coral species and coral recruitment patterns can provide evidence of inter-reef connectivity and indicate a reef’s ability to recover. We attempted to determine the maximum pelagic larval duration of Acropora humilis. Larvae were reared in a controlled environment unfavorable for settlement. The larvae lived in a pelagic state for a maximum of 29 days, although this is probably an underestimate of actual longevity for this species. Given the information available from the literature with respect to larval dispersal rates, it is not expected that larvae with this longevity will disperse further than 10-20 km from their natal reef, if at all. A long-term recruitment monitoring project was also set up on Abu Shosha Reef, which suffered nearly complete coral loss due to a bleaching event in summer of 2010. In April 2011, 60 settlement plates were placed on the reef. In July, a total of 102 living scleractinian recruits were counted on the plates. While pocilloporids were the most dominant recruits on the reef (57.8%), about 20.6% of living recruits belonged to Acroporidae, a family whose live cover on the reef is extremely low (0.67%). However, the overall mean density of recruits was very low (1.7 living recruits/100cm2) compared to similar studies around the world despite the spawning season having just ended. Fish surveys showed herbivore biomass to be very low compared to other reef systems in the world, but densities were significantly higher than another reef in the Red Sea with about 10 times more live coral cover. Recovery from bleaching for Abu Shosha and similar reefs in the region may be very slow relative to rates observed in other parts of the world if recruitment rates and herbivore communities remain low.

  3. ETIOLOGY OF WHITE POX, A LETHAL DISEASE OF THE CARIBBEAN ELKHORN CORAL, ACROPORA PALMATA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Populations of the shallow-water Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are being decimated by white pox disease, with losses in the Florida Keys typically in excess of 70%. Tissue loss is rapid, averaging 2.5 cm2 day-1. A bacterium isolated from diseased A. palmata was shown...

  4. Coral growth rates revisited after 31 years: what is causing lower extension rates in Acropora palmata?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bak, R.P.M.; Nieuwland, G.; Meesters, H.W.G.

    2009-01-01

    Linear extension of branches in the same Acropora palmata (Lamarck, 1816) population in Curaçao was measured, employing exactly the same methods, in 1971-1973 and in 2002-2004, and the resulting coral growth rates are compared. Linear growth shows the same pattern over seasons in both periods with

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christophe William Vieira

    2016-03-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hume, Benjamin C. C.; D'Angelo, Cecilia; Cunnington, Anna; Smith, Edward G.; Wiedenmann, Jörg

    2014-03-01

    Fatal infestations of land-based Acropora cultures with so-called Acropora- eating flatworms (AEFWs) are a global phenomenon. We evaluate the hypothesis that AEFWs represent a risk to coral reefs by studying the biology and the invasive potential of an AEFW strain from the UK. Molecular analyses identified this strain as Amakusaplana acroporae, a new species described from two US aquaria and one natural location in Australia. Our molecular data together with life history strategies described here suggest that this species accounts for most reported cases of AEFW infestations. We show that local parasitic activity impairs the light-acclimation capacity of the whole host colony. A. acroporae acquires excellent camouflage by harbouring photosynthetically competent, host-derived zooxanthellae and pigments of the green-fluorescent protein family. It shows a preference for Acropora valida but accepts a broad host range. Parasite survival in isolation (5-7 d) potentially allows for an invasion when introduced as non-native species in coral reefs.

  8. Contrasting patterns of changes in abundance following a bleaching event between juvenile and adult scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Álvarez-Noriega, Mariana; Baird, Andrew H.; Bridge, Tom C. L.; Dornelas, Maria; Fontoura, Luisa; Pizarro, Oscar; Precoda, Kristin; Torres-Pulliza, Damaris; Woods, Rachael M.; Zawada, Kyle; Madin, Joshua S.

    2018-06-01

    Coral bleaching events have caused extensive mortality on reefs around the world. Juvenile corals are generally less affected by bleaching than their conspecific adults and therefore have the potential to buffer population declines and seed recovery. Here, we use juvenile and adult abundance data at 20 sites encircling Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, before and after the 2016 bleaching event to quantify: (1) correlates of changes in juvenile abundance following a bleaching event; (2) differences in susceptibility to extreme thermal stress between juveniles and adults. Declines in juvenile abundance were lower at sites closer to the 20-m-depth contour and higher for Acropora and Pocillopora juveniles than for other taxa. Juveniles of Acropora and Goniastrea were less susceptible to bleaching than adults, but the opposite was true for Pocillopora spp. and taxa in the family Merulinidae. Our results indicate that the potential of the juvenile life stage to act as a buffer during bleaching events is taxon-dependent.

  9. Novel transcriptome resources for three scleractinian coral species from the Indo-Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenkel, Carly D; Bay, Line K

    2017-09-01

    Transcriptomic resources for coral species can provide insight into coral evolutionary history and stress-response physiology. Goniopora columna, Galaxea astreata, and Galaxea acrhelia are scleractinian corals of the Indo-Pacific, representing a diversity of morphologies and life-history traits. G. columna and G. astreata are common and cosmopolitan, while G. acrhelia is largely restricted to the coral triangle and Great Barrier Reef. Reference transcriptomes for these species were assembled from replicate colony fragments exposed to elevated (31°C) and ambient (27°C) temperatures. Trinity was used to create de novo assemblies for each species from 92-102 million raw Illumina Hiseq 2 × 150 bp reads. Host-specific assemblies contained 65 460-72 405 contigs, representing 26 693-37 894 isogroups (∼genes) with an average N50 of 2254. Gene name and/or gene ontology annotations were possible for 58% of isogroups on average. Transcriptomes contained 93.1-94.3% of EuKaryotic Orthologous Groups comprising the core eukaryotic gene set, and 89.98-91.92% of the single-copy metazoan core gene set orthologs were complete, indicating fairly comprehensive assemblies. This work expands the complement of transcriptomic resources available for scleractinian coral species, including the first reference for a representative of Goniopora spp. as well as species with novel morphology. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  10. Species profiles: Life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida): Reef-building corals. [Acropora cervicornis; Acropora palmata; Montastraea annularis; Montastraea cavernosa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

    Four species of reef-building corals are considered: elkhorn coral, staghorn coral, common star coral, and large star coral. All four species spawn annually in the fall during hurricane season. Juvenile recruitment is low in all four species. Rapid growth rates of species in the genus Acropora (10 to 20 cm/yr) contrast with slower growth rates of species in the genus Montastraea (1.0 to 2.0 cm/yr), but both species of Montastraea are also important in reef development due to their form and great longevity. Shallow-water colonies of Montastraea survive hurricanes; shallow colonies of Acropora do not. Because of their dependence on photosynthesis for all of their carbon acquisition, the Acropora species reviewed here have a more restricted depth distribution (0 to 30 m) than do the Montastraea species considered (0 to 70 m). All four species are subject to intense predation by the snail predator, Coralliophila. Species of Montastraea are susceptible to infection from blue-green algae, which produce ''black band disease;'' species of Acropora are susceptible to a different, as yet unidentified pathogen, that produces ''white-band'' disease. Increased water turbidity and sedimentation cause reduced growth rates and partial or whole mortality in all four species.

  11. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.; van Melis, A.; Silva, C.I.F.; Leal, M.C.; Vogels, L.; Mutter, C.; Osinga, R.

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-17

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

  13. Epithermal neutron activation analysis of major and trace elements in Red Sea scleractinian corals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abdo, S.Y.; Sherif, M.M.; Frontasyeva, M.V.

    2017-01-01

    Five corals belonging to common scleractinian reef-building species, and collected from Gulf of Suez, Egypt were subjected to neutron activation analysis. The content of 26 elements: Na, Mg, Cl, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Zn, As, Br, Rb, Sr, Sb, I, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Gd, Hf, Th, and U was experimentally determined. Ca and Sr have the highest content i.e. 38.4-39.5% and 0.73-0.78% respectively while, the content of all other elements was within the ranges reported for the worldwide corals. For a better understanding of the coral exoskeleton elemental content, the partition coefficient calculated for all determined elements showed a wide range of values varying from 2 × 10 -4 in the case of Cl to 2 × 10 3 for Ce and other insoluble elements. Although all corals were collected in the vicinity of the Port Suez no traces of anthropogenic contamination were evidenced. (author)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

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

  15. Scleractinian Coral Cover Maps Derived from Classified in situ Seafloor Imagery for Select U.S. Locations in the Pacific from 2001 to 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral cover maps depict percentage of scleractinian (hard) coral cover along survey tracks, overlain on existing bathymetric grids and/or satellite images, for...

  16. Defying Dissolution: Discovery of Deep-Sea Scleractinian Coral Reefs in the North Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baco, Amy R; Morgan, Nicole; Roark, E Brendan; Silva, Mauricio; Shamberger, Kathryn E F; Miller, Kelci

    2017-07-14

    Deep-sea scleractinian coral reefs are protected ecologically and biologically significant areas that support global fisheries. The absence of observations of deep-sea scleractinian reefs in the Central and Northeast Pacific, combined with the shallow aragonite saturation horizon (ASH) and high carbonate dissolution rates there, fueled the hypothesis that reef formation in the North Pacific was improbable. Despite this, we report the discovery of live scleractinian reefs on six seamounts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamount Chain at depths of 535-732 m and aragonite saturation state (Ω arag ) values of 0.71-1.33. Although the ASH becomes deeper moving northwest along the chains, the depth distribution of the reefs becomes shallower, suggesting the ASH is having little influence on their distribution. Higher chlorophyll moving to the northwest may partially explain the geographic distribution of the reefs. Principle Components Analysis suggests that currents are also an important factor in their distribution, but neither chlorophyll nor the available current data can explain the unexpected depth distribution. Further environmental data is needed to elucidate the reason for the distribution of these reefs. The discovery of reef-forming scleractinians in this region is of concern because a number of the sites occur on seamounts with active trawl fisheries.

  17. Is Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) making a comeback in the Virgin Islands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2000-01-01

    White band disease (WBD) ravaged Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) on many coral reefs in the Caribbean in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, including those around St. John and St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands—USVI (Gladfelter 1982, Rogers 1985). Quantitative data, photographs, and anecdotal observations indicate WBD killed large stands of elkhorn coral in the USVI from about 1976 until sometime in the late 1980’s. Branching Acroporid species, which are most susceptible to WBD, are also the most vulnerable to storm damage (Rogers et al. 1982). Since 1979, eight hurricanes have passed near or over the USVI. Because elkhorn coral contributed most of the living coral and determined the physical structure of many shallow reef zones, its demise dramatically altered many areas. But now, some of the reefs in the Virgin Islands once again have large, actively growing colonies of this important, reef-building species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa N. Bednarz

    2017-01-01

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

  20. Sexual systems in scleractinian corals: an unusual pattern in the reef-building species Diploastrea heliopora

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J. R.; Baird, A. H.; Goh, B. P. L.; Chou, L. M.

    2012-09-01

    The sexual system in corals refers to the spatial and temporal pattern of sexual function within an individual coral polyp, colony or population. Although information on sexual systems now exists for over 400 scleractinian species, data are still lacking for some important reef-building taxa. The vast majority of scleractinians are either simultaneous hermaphrodites or gonochoric with other sexual systems rarely occurring. Diploastrea heliopora is one of the most ubiquitous and easily recognised reef-building species in the Indo-West Pacific; however, surprisingly little is known about its reproductive biology. The aim of the present study was to examine the reproductive biology of D. heliopora colonies on chronically impacted, equatorial reefs south of Singapore. Here we show that in Singapore, D. heliopora is a broadcast spawner with predominantly gonochoric polyps. Colonies, however, contained male, female and a low proportion of cosexual polyps during the 14-month sampling period. The most plausible explanation for this is that polyps switch sexes with oogenic and spermatogenic cycles occasionally overlapping. This leads to colony level alternation of sex function within and between breeding seasons. While this sexual system is atypical for scleractinians, it supports molecular evidence that D. heliopora is phylogenetically distinct from species formerly in the family Faviidae.

  1. Genetic Susceptibility, Colony Size, and Water Temperature Drive White-Pox Disease on the Coral Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Muller, Erinn M.; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, g...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chia-Min Hsu

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Feeding sustains photosynthetic quantum yield of a scleractinian coral during thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borell, Esther M; Bischof, Kai

    2008-10-01

    Thermal resistance of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis has been associated with chronic photoinhibition, increased antioxidant activity and protein repair involving high demands of nitrogen and energy. While the relative importance of heterotrophy as a source of nutrients and energy for cnidarian hosts, and as a means of nitrogen acquisition for their zooxanthellae, is well documented, the effect of feeding on the thermal sensitivity of the symbiotic association has been so far overlooked. Here we examine the effect of zooplankton feeding versus starvation on the bleaching susceptibility and photosynthetic activity of photosystem II (PSII) of zooxanthellae in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata in response to thermal stress (daily temperature rises of 2-3 degrees C) over 10 days, employing pulse-amplitude-modulated chlorophyll fluorometry. Fed and starved corals displayed a decrease in daily maximum potential quantum yield (F (v)/F (m)) of PSII, effective quantum yield (F/F (m)') and relative electron transport rates over the course of 10 days. However after 10 days of exposure to elevated temperature, F (v)/F (m) of fed corals was still 50-70% higher than F (v)/F (m) of starved corals. Starved corals showed strong signs of chronic photoinhibition, which was reflected in a significant decline in nocturnal recovery rates of PSII relative to fed corals. This was paralleled by the progressive inability to dissipate excess excitation energy via non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). After 10 days, NPQ of starved corals had decreased by about 80% relative to fed corals. Feeding treatment had no significant effect on chlorophyll a and c (2) concentrations and zooxanthellae densities, but the mitotic indices were significantly lower in starved than in fed corals. Collectively the results indicate that exogenous food may reduce the photophysiological damage of zooxanthellae that typically leads to bleaching and could therefore play an important role in mediating the

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tai Chong Toh

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

  7. Calcification and associated physiological parameters during a stress event in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moya, Aurélie; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Furla, Paola; Richier, Sophie; Tambutté, Eric; Allemand, Denis; Tambutté, Sylvie

    2008-09-01

    High calcification rates observed in reef coral organisms are due to the symbiotic relationship established between scleractinian corals and their photosynthetic dinoflagellates, commonly called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae are known to enhance calcification in the light, a process referred as "light-enhanced calcification". The disruption of the relationship between corals and their zooxanthellae leads to bleaching. Bleaching is one of the major causes of the present decline of coral reefs related to climate change and anthropogenic activities. In our aquaria, corals experienced a chemical pollution leading to bleaching and ending with the death of corals. During the time course of this bleaching event, we measured multiple parameters and could evidence four major consecutive steps: 1) at month 1 (January 2005), the stress affected primarily the photosystem II machinery of zooxanthellae resulting in an immediate decrease of photosystem II efficiency, 2) at month 2, the stress affected the photosynthetic production of O2 by zooxanthellae and the rate of light calcification, 3) at month 3, there was a decrease in both light and dark calcification rates, the appearance of the first oxidative damage in the zooxanthellae, the disruption of symbiosis, 4) and finally the death of corals at month 6.

  8. Diversity of symbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium in scleractinian corals of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhi-Jun DONG; Hui HUANG; Liang-Min HUANG; Yuan-Chao LI

    2009-01-01

    Symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium sp.) in scleractinian corals are important in understanding how coral reefs will respond to global climate change. The present paper reports on the diversity of Symbiodinium sp. in 48 scleractinian coral species from 25 genera and 10 families sampled from the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, which were identified with the use of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA large subunit gene (rDNA). The results showed that: (i) Symbiodinium Clade C was the dominant zooxanthellae in scleractinian corals in the Xisha Islands; (ii) Symbiodinium Clade D was found in the corals Montipora aequituberculata, Galaxea fascicularis, and Plerogyra sinuosa; and (iii) both Symbiodinium Clades C and D were found simultaneously in Montipora digitata, Psammocora contigua, and Galaxeafascicularis. A poor capacity for symbiosis polymorphism, as uncovered by RFLP, in the Xisha Islands indicates that the scleractinian corals have low adaptability to environmental changes. Further studies are needed to investigate zooxanthellae diversity using other molecular markers.

  9. Additive effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature on the branched coral Acropora formosa in Nha Trang, Vietnam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Amid, C.; Olstedt, M.; Gunnarsson, J.S.; Lan, Le H.; Tran Thi Minh, H.; Brink, van den P.J.; Hellström, M.; Tedengren, M.

    2017-01-01

    The combined effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature were studied on the tropical staghorn coral Acropora formosa, in Nha Trang bay, Vietnam. The corals were collected from two different reefs, one close to a polluted fish farm and one in a marine-protected area (MPA). In the

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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    Jorge H. Pinzón C.

    2014-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-09-01

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

  14. Mycosporine-like amino acids in six scleractinian coral species

    OpenAIRE

    Ahmad A. Al-Utaibi; Gul Raze Niaz; Sultan S. Al-Lihaibi*

    2009-01-01

    Mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) were studied in stony coral species (Fungiidae) along the Eastern coast of the Red Sea. Six species - Fungia scutaria, F. danai, F. corona, F. repanda, Ctenactis echinata and Lithophyllor lobata - were examined for MAAs at water depths of 5, 10, 15 and 20 m. Protein and chlorophyll were also determined and showed higher contents in winter than in summer. Generally, the total content of MAAs in summer was found to be approximately three times greater than in...

  15. A unique skeletal microstructure of the deep-sea micrabaciid scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janiszewska, Katarzyna; Stolarski, Jaroslaw; Benzerara, Karim; Meibom, Anders; Mazur, Maciej; Kitahara, Marcelo; Cairns, Stephen D.

    2010-05-01

    Structural and biogeochemical properties of the skeleton of many invertebrates rely on organic matrix-mediated biomineralization processes. Organic matrices, composed of complex assemblages of macromolecules (proteins, polysaccharides), may control nucleation, spatial delineation and organization of basic microstructural units. Biologically controlled mineralization is also suggested for the scleractinian corals whose different, molecularly recognized clades are supported by distinct types of skeletal microstructures. Main differences in scleractinian coral skeletal microstructures suggested so far consist in (1) varying spatial relationships between Rapid Accretion Deposits (RAD, 'centers of calcification') and thickening deposits (TD, 'fibers'), and (2) varying arrangements of biomineral fibers into higher order structures (e.g., bundles of fibers perpendicular to skeletal surfaces in some 'caryophylliid' corals vs. scale-like units with fibers parallel to the surface in acroporiids). However, a common feature of biomineral fibers in corals described thus far was their similar crystallographic arrangement within larger meso-scale structures (bundles of fibers) and continuity between successive growth layers. Herein we show that representatives of the deep-sea scleractinian family Micrabaciidae (genera: Letepsammia, Rhombopsammia, Stephanophyllia, Leptopenus) have thickening deposits composed of irregular meshwork of short (1-2 μm) and extremely thin (ca. 100-300 nm) fibers organized into small bundles (ca. 1-2 μm thick). Longer axes of fibers are aligned within individual bundles that, in turn, show rather irregular arrangement on the growing surfaces and within the skeleton (irregular criss-cross pattern). In contrast to other scleractinians (including deep-water 'caryophylliids', fungiacyathids, and anthemiphyllids sympatric with micrabaciids), growth layers are not distinct. Also the regions of rapid accretion and thickening deposits are not clearly

  16. Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP as an Indicator of Bleaching Tolerance in Scleractinian Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham B. Jones

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Thermal tolerance tests on Acropora millepora, a common Indo-Pacific hard coral, have shown that adult corals can acquire increased thermal tolerance by shuffling existing type C to type D Symbiodinium zooxanthellae when subjected to increased seawater temperatures. We report here dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP concentrations in A. millepora and examine links between DMSP concentrations, zooxanthellae clade, and bleaching tolerance. DMSP analysis on native and transplanted corals from three locations in the Great Barrier Reef indicated that the lower thermal tolerance in type C zooxanthellae coincided with variable DMSP concentrations, whilst the more thermal tolerant type D zooxanthellae had more stable areal DMSP concentrations as seawater temperatures increased. Our results suggest this increased thermal tolerance in type D zooxanthellae may reflect the ability of these coral symbionts to conserve their antioxidant DMSP levels to relatively constant concentrations, enabling the coral to overcome the build-up of oxygen free radicals in the cytoplasm of A. millepora. A conceptual diagram illustrates how the antioxidants DMS (P participate in the bleaching process by scavenging oxygen free radicals and form DMSO, thus moderating coral bleaching and increasing thermotolerance.

  17. 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)

  18. Neogene reef coral assemblages of the Bocas del Toro region, Panama: the rise of Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, J. S.; McNeill, D. F.; Budd, A. F.; Coates, A. G.

    2012-03-01

    Temporal patterns are evaluated in Neogene reef coral assemblages from the Bocas del Toro Basin of Panama in order to understand how reef ecosystems respond to long-term environmental change. Analyses are based on a total of 1,702 zooxanthellate coral specimens collected from six coral-bearing units ranging in age from the earliest Late Miocene to the Early Pleistocene: (1) Valiente Formation (12-11 Ma), (2) Fish Hole Member of the Old Bank Formation (5.8-5.6 Ma), (3) La Gruta Member of the Isla Colon Formation (2.2-1.4 Ma), (4) Ground Creek Member of the Isla Colon Formation (2.2-1.4 Ma), (5) Mimitimbi Member of the Urracá Formation (1.2-0.8 Ma), and (6) Hill Point Member of the Urracá Formation (1.2-0.8 Ma). Over 100 coral species occur in the six units, with faunal assemblages ranging from less than 10% extant taxa (Valiente Formation) to over 85% extant taxa (Ground Creek Member). The collections provide new temporal constraints on the emergence of modern Caribbean reefs, with the La Gruta Member containing the earliest occurrence of large monospecific stands of the dominant Caribbean reef coral Acropora palmata, and the Urracá Formation containing the last fossil occurrences of 15 regionally extinct taxa. Canonical correspondence analysis of 41 Late Miocene to Recent reef coral assemblages from the Caribbean region suggests changes in community structure coincident with effective oceanic closure of the Central American Seaway (~3.5 Ma). These changes, including increased Acropora dominance, may have contributed to a protracted period of elevated extinction debt prior to the major peak in regional coral extinctions (~2-1 Ma).

  19. Regional Conservation Status of Scleractinian Coral Biodiversity in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe Richards

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Preventing the loss of biodiversity is a major challenge in mega-diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs where there is a critical shortage of baseline demographic data. Threatened species assessments play a valuable role in guiding conservation action to manage and mitigate biodiversity loss, but they must be undertaken with precise information at an appropriate spatial scale to provide accurate classifications. Here we explore the regional conservation status of scleractinian corals on isolated Pacific Ocean atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. We compile an integrated regional species list based upon new and historical records, and compare how well the regional threat classifications reflect species level priorities at a global scale. A similar proportion of the 240 species of hard coral recorded in the current survey are classified as Vulnerable at the regional scale as the global scale using the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List criteria (23% and 20% respectively, however there are distinct differences in the composition of species. When local abundance data is taken into account, a far greater proportion of the regional diversity (up to 80% may face an elevated risk of local extinction. These results suggest coral communities on isolated Pacific coral reefs, which are often predicted to be at low risk, are still vulnerable due to the small and fragmented nature of their populations. This reinforces that to adequately protect biodiversity, ongoing threatened species monitoring and the documentation of species-level changes in abundance and distribution is imperative.

  20. Pathology of tissue loss (white syndrome) in Acropora sp. corals from the Central Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2011-01-01

    We performed histological examination of 69 samples of Acropora sp. manifesting different types of tissue loss (Acropora White Syndrome-AWS) from Hawaii, Johnston Atoll and American Samoa between 2002 and 2006. Gross lesions of tissue loss were observed and classified as diffuse acute, diffuse subacute, and focal to multifocal acute to subacute. Corals with acute tissue loss manifested microscopic evidence of necrosis sometimes associated with ciliates, helminths, fungi, algae, sponges, or cyanobacteria whereas those with subacute tissue loss manifested mainly wound repair. Gross lesions of AWS have multiple different changes at the microscopic level some of which involve various microorganisms and metazoa. Elucidating this disease will require, among other things, monitoring lesions over time to determine the pathogenesis of AWS and the potential role of tissue-associated microorganisms in the genesis of tissue loss. Attempts to experimentally induce AWS should include microscopic examination of tissues to ensure that potentially causative microorganisms associated with gross lesion are not overlooked.

  1. Decapod crustaceans inhabiting live and dead colonies of three species of Acropora in the Roques Archipelago, Venezuela

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grajal, P. Alejandro; Laughlin, G. Roger

    1984-01-01

    A systematic account is given of the decapod crustaceans found in live and dead colonies of three species of the scleractinian coral Acropora (A. cervicornis, A. palmata, A. prolifera), collected during a 9 month period in a shallow reef flat in the southwestern portion of the Archipelago Los

  2. Global warming and coral reefs: modelling the effect of temperature on Acropora palmata colony growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2007-08-01

    Data on colony growth of the branching coral Acropora palmata from fringing reefs off Discovery Bay on the north coast of Jamaica have been obtained over the period 2002-2007 using underwater photography and image analysis by both SCUBA and remotely using an ROV incorporating twin lasers. Growth modelling shows that while logarithmic growth is an approximate model for growth, a 3:3 rational polynomial function provides a significantly better fit to growth data for this coral species. Over the period 2002-2007, involving several cycles of sea surface temperature (SST) change, the rate of growth of A. palmata was largely proportional to rate of change of SST, with R(2)=0.935. These results have implications for the influence of global warming and climate change on coral reef ecosystems.

  3. Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Bartels, Erich; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Enochs, Ian C.; Kolodziej, G.; Toth, Lauren T.; Manzello, Derek P.

    2017-09-01

    Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef restoration efforts to date. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for 6 months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from PVC trees in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography, and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on grow-out method, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics and suggest that there is genetically based variability in coral calcification performance.

  4. Photosystem II heterogeneity of in hospite zooxanthellae in scleractinian corals exposed to bleaching conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Ross; PeterJ, Ralph

    2006-01-01

    Increased ocean temperatures are thought to be triggering mass coral bleaching events around the world. The intracellular symbiotic zooxanthellae (genus Symbiodinium) are expelled from the coral host, which is believed to be a response to photosynthetic damage within these symbionts. Several sites of impact have been proposed, and here we probe the functional heterogeneity of Photosystem II (PSII) in three coral species exposed to bleaching conditions. As length of exposure to bleaching conditions (32 degrees C and 350 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1)) increased, the QA- reoxidation kinetics showed a rise in the proportion of inactive PSII centers (PSIIx), where QB was unable to accept electrons. PSIIx contributed up to 20% of the total PSII centers in Pocillopora damicornis, 35% in Acropora nobilis and 14% in Cyphastrea serailia. Changes in Fv/Fm and amplitude of the J step along fast induction curves were found to be highly dependent upon the proportion of PSIIx centers within the total pool of PSII reaction centers. Determination of PSII antenna size revealed that under control conditions in the three coral species up to 60% of PSII centers were lacking peripheral light-harvesting complexes (PSIIbeta). In P. damicornis, the proportion of PSIIbeta increased under bleaching conditions and this could be a photoprotective mechanism in response to excess light. The rapid increases in PSIIx and PSIIbeta observed in these corals under bleaching conditions indicates these physiological processes are involved in the initial photochemical damage to zooxanthellae.

  5. Mycosporine-like amino acids in six scleractinian coral species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ahmad A. Al-Utaibi

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available Mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs were studied in stony coral species (Fungiidae along the Eastern coast of the Red Sea. Six species - Fungia scutaria, F. danai, F. corona, F. repanda, Ctenactis echinata and Lithophyllor lobata - were examined for MAAs at water depths of 5, 10, 15 and 20 m. Protein and chlorophyll were also determined and showed higher contents in winter than in summer. Generally, the total content of MAAs in summer was found to be approximately three times greater than in winter. Overall, concentrations of MAAs were greatest at a depth of 5 m. Porphyra-334 was the most abundant MAA in F. Scutaria and F. Danai, whereas asterina-330 was either not detectable (e.g. L. lobata or present in low concentrations (e.g. F. danai, F. repanda and C. echinata. Shinorine was not detected in F. danai or L. lobata. Both C. echinata and L. Lobata had the lowest concentrations of MAAs, presumably because of their large calcareous skeletons. The variation in MAA concentrations among seasons and water depths is probably due to a number of factors, including the intensity of solar radiation, turbidity and phylogenetic variation.

  6. Fast growth may impair regeneration capacity in the branching coral Acropora muricata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denis, Vianney; Guillaume, Mireille M M; Goutx, Madeleine; de Palmas, Stéphane; Debreuil, Julien; Baker, Andrew C; Boonstra, Roxane K; Bruggemann, J Henrich

    2013-01-01

    Regeneration of artificially induced lesions was monitored in nubbins of the branching coral Acropora muricata at two reef-flat sites representing contrasting environments at Réunion Island (21°07'S, 55°32'E). Growth of these injured nubbins was examined in parallel, and compared to controls. Biochemical compositions of the holobiont and the zooxanthellae density were determined at the onset of the experiment, and the photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm ) of zooxanthellae was monitored during the experiment. Acropora muricata rapidly regenerated small lesions, but regeneration rates significantly differed between sites. At the sheltered site characterized by high temperatures, temperature variations, and irradiance levels, regeneration took 192 days on average. At the exposed site, characterized by steadier temperatures and lower irradiation, nubbins demonstrated fast lesion repair (81 days), slower growth, lower zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a concentration and lipid content than at the former site. A trade-off between growth and regeneration rates was evident here. High growth rates seem to impair regeneration capacity. We show that environmental conditions conducive to high zooxanthellae densities in corals are related to fast skeletal growth but also to reduced lesion regeneration rates. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity may be related to limited availability of energetic and cellular resources, consequences of coral holobionts operating at high levels of photosynthesis and associated growth.

  7. Fast growth may impair regeneration capacity in the branching coral Acropora muricata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vianney Denis

    Full Text Available Regeneration of artificially induced lesions was monitored in nubbins of the branching coral Acropora muricata at two reef-flat sites representing contrasting environments at Réunion Island (21°07'S, 55°32'E. Growth of these injured nubbins was examined in parallel, and compared to controls. Biochemical compositions of the holobiont and the zooxanthellae density were determined at the onset of the experiment, and the photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm of zooxanthellae was monitored during the experiment. Acropora muricata rapidly regenerated small lesions, but regeneration rates significantly differed between sites. At the sheltered site characterized by high temperatures, temperature variations, and irradiance levels, regeneration took 192 days on average. At the exposed site, characterized by steadier temperatures and lower irradiation, nubbins demonstrated fast lesion repair (81 days, slower growth, lower zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a concentration and lipid content than at the former site. A trade-off between growth and regeneration rates was evident here. High growth rates seem to impair regeneration capacity. We show that environmental conditions conducive to high zooxanthellae densities in corals are related to fast skeletal growth but also to reduced lesion regeneration rates. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity may be related to limited availability of energetic and cellular resources, consequences of coral holobionts operating at high levels of photosynthesis and associated growth.

  8. Red light represses the photophysiology of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijgerde, Tim; van Melis, Anne; Silva, Catarina I F; Leal, Miguel C; Vogels, Luc; Mutter, Claudia; Osinga, Ronald

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced or red-repressed. This study investigated the individual and combined effects of blue and red light on the health, zooxanthellae density, photophysiology and colouration of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata over 6 weeks. Coral fragments were exposed to blue, red, and combined 50/50% blue red light, at two irradiance levels (128 and 256 μmol m(-2) s(-1)). Light spectrum affected the health/survival, zooxanthellae density, and NDVI (a proxy for chlorophyll a content) of S. pistillata. Blue light resulted in highest survival rates, whereas red light resulted in low survival at 256 μmol m(-2) s(-1). Blue light also resulted in higher zooxanthellae densities compared to red light at 256 μmol m(-2) s(-1), and a higher NDVI compared to red and combined blue red light. Overall, our results suggest that red light negatively affects the health, survival, symbiont density and NDVI of S. pistillata, with a dominance of red over blue light for NDVI.

  9. Red light represses the photophysiology of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim Wijgerde

    Full Text Available Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced or red-repressed. This study investigated the individual and combined effects of blue and red light on the health, zooxanthellae density, photophysiology and colouration of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata over 6 weeks. Coral fragments were exposed to blue, red, and combined 50/50% blue red light, at two irradiance levels (128 and 256 μmol m(-2 s(-1. Light spectrum affected the health/survival, zooxanthellae density, and NDVI (a proxy for chlorophyll a content of S. pistillata. Blue light resulted in highest survival rates, whereas red light resulted in low survival at 256 μmol m(-2 s(-1. Blue light also resulted in higher zooxanthellae densities compared to red light at 256 μmol m(-2 s(-1, and a higher NDVI compared to red and combined blue red light. Overall, our results suggest that red light negatively affects the health, survival, symbiont density and NDVI of S. pistillata, with a dominance of red over blue light for NDVI.

  10. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral Stylophora pistillata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijgerde, Tim; van Melis, Anne; Silva, Catarina I. F.; Leal, Miguel C.; Vogels, Luc; Mutter, Claudia; Osinga, Ronald

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced or red-repressed. This study investigated the individual and combined effects of blue and red light on the health, zooxanthellae density, photophysiology and colouration of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata over 6 weeks. Coral fragments were exposed to blue, red, and combined 50/50% blue red light, at two irradiance levels (128 and 256 μmol m−2 s−1). Light spectrum affected the health/survival, zooxanthellae density, and NDVI (a proxy for chlorophyll a content) of S. pistillata. Blue light resulted in highest survival rates, whereas red light resulted in low survival at 256 μmol m−2 s−1. Blue light also resulted in higher zooxanthellae densities compared to red light at 256 μmol m−2 s−1, and a higher NDVI compared to red and combined blue red light. Overall, our results suggest that red light negatively affects the health, survival, symbiont density and NDVI of S. pistillata, with a dominance of red over blue light for NDVI. PMID:24658108

  11. Clypeotheca, a new skeletal structure in scleractinian corals: a potential stress indicator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nothdurft, L. D.; Webb, G. E.

    2009-03-01

    Physiological responses to environmental stress are increasingly well studied in scleractinian corals. This work reports a new stress-related skeletal structure we term clypeotheca. Clypeotheca was observed in several live-collected common reef-building coral genera and a two to three kya subfossil specimen from Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef and consists of an epitheca-like skeletal wall that seals over the surface of parts of the corallum in areas of stress or damage. It appears to form from a coordinated process wherein neighboring polyps and adjoining coenosarc seal themselves off from the surrounding environment as they contract and die. Clypeotheca forms from inward skeletal centripetal growth at the edges of corallites and by the merging of flange-like outgrowths that surround individual spines over the surface of the coenosteum. Microstructurally, the merged flanges are similar to upside-down dissepiments and true epitheca. Clypeotheca is interpreted primarily as a response to stress that may help protect the colony from invasion of unhealthy tissues by parasites or disease by retracting tissues in areas that have become unhealthy for the polyps. Identification of skeletal responses of corals to environmental stress may enable the frequency of certain types of environmental stress to be documented in past environments. Such data may be important for understanding the nature of reef dynamics through intervals of climate change and for monitoring the effects of possible anthropogenic stress in modern coral reef habitats.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn Patterson Sutherland

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. Expression of putative immune response genes during early ontogeny in the coral Acropora millepora.

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    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    Full Text Available Corals, like many other marine invertebrates, lack a mature allorecognition system in early life history stages. Indeed, in early ontogeny, when corals acquire and establish associations with various surface microbiota and dinoflagellate endosymbionts, they do not efficiently distinguish between closely and distantly related individuals from the same population. However, very little is known about the molecular components that underpin allorecognition and immunity responses or how they change through early ontogeny in corals.Patterns in the expression of four putative immune response genes (apextrin, complement C3, and two CELIII type lectin genes were examined in juvenile colonies of Acropora millepora throughout a six-month post-settlement period using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR. Expression of a CELIII type lectin gene peaked in the fourth month for most of the coral juveniles sampled and was significantly higher at this time than at any other sampling time during the six months following settlement. The timing of this increase in expression levels of putative immune response genes may be linked to allorecognition maturation which occurs around this time in A. millepora. Alternatively, the increase may represent a response to immune challenges, such as would be involved in the recognition of symbionts (such as Symbiodinium spp. or bacteria during winnowing processes as symbioses are fine-tuned.Our data, although preliminary, are consistent with the hypothesis that lectins may play an important role in the maturation of allorecognition responses in corals. The co-expression of lectins with apextrin during development of coral juveniles also raises the possibility that these proteins, which are components of innate immunity in other invertebrates, may influence the innate immune systems of corals through a common pathway or system. However, further studies investigating the expression of these genes in alloimmune-challenged corals are

  17. Expression of putative immune response genes during early ontogeny in the coral Acropora millepora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puill-Stephan, Eneour; Seneca, François O; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2012-01-01

    Corals, like many other marine invertebrates, lack a mature allorecognition system in early life history stages. Indeed, in early ontogeny, when corals acquire and establish associations with various surface microbiota and dinoflagellate endosymbionts, they do not efficiently distinguish between closely and distantly related individuals from the same population. However, very little is known about the molecular components that underpin allorecognition and immunity responses or how they change through early ontogeny in corals. Patterns in the expression of four putative immune response genes (apextrin, complement C3, and two CELIII type lectin genes) were examined in juvenile colonies of Acropora millepora throughout a six-month post-settlement period using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Expression of a CELIII type lectin gene peaked in the fourth month for most of the coral juveniles sampled and was significantly higher at this time than at any other sampling time during the six months following settlement. The timing of this increase in expression levels of putative immune response genes may be linked to allorecognition maturation which occurs around this time in A. millepora. Alternatively, the increase may represent a response to immune challenges, such as would be involved in the recognition of symbionts (such as Symbiodinium spp. or bacteria) during winnowing processes as symbioses are fine-tuned. Our data, although preliminary, are consistent with the hypothesis that lectins may play an important role in the maturation of allorecognition responses in corals. The co-expression of lectins with apextrin during development of coral juveniles also raises the possibility that these proteins, which are components of innate immunity in other invertebrates, may influence the innate immune systems of corals through a common pathway or system. However, further studies investigating the expression of these genes in alloimmune-challenged corals are needed to further

  18. Symbiodinium spp. associated with scleractinian corals from Dongsha Atoll (Pratas), Taiwan, in the South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Tang, Kuo-Hsun; Hsu, Chia-Min; Gan, Chai-Hsia; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Soong, Keryea; Chou, Hong-Nong; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2017-01-01

    Dongsha Atoll (also known as Pratas) in Taiwan is the northernmost atoll in the South China Sea and a designated marine national park since 2007. The marine park's scope of protection covers the bio-resources of its waters in addition to uplands, so it is important to have data logging information and analyses of marine flora and fauna, including their physiology, ecology, and genetics. As part of this effort, we investigated Symbiodinium associations in scleractinian corals from Dongsha Atoll through surveys carried out at two depth ranges (shallow, 1-5 m; and deep, 10-15 m) in 2009 and during a bleaching event in 2010. Symbiodinium composition was assessed using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of 28S nuclear large subunit ribosomal DNA (nlsrDNA). Our results showed that the 796 coral samples from seven families and 20 genera collected in 2009 and 132 coral samples from seven families and 12 genera collected in 2010 were associated with Symbiodinium C, D and C+D. Occurrence of clade D in shallow water (24.5%) was higher compared to deep (14.9%). Due to a bleaching event in 2010, up to 80% of coral species associated with Symbiodinium C underwent moderate to severe bleaching. Using the fine resolution technique of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) in 175 randomly selected coral samples, from 2009 and 2010, eight Symbiodinium C types and two Symbiodinium D types were detected. This study is the first baseline survey on Symbiodinium associations in the corals of Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea, and it shows the dominance of Symbiodinium clade C in the population.

  19. Symbiodinium spp. associated with scleractinian corals from Dongsha Atoll (Pratas, Taiwan, in the South China Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shashank Keshavmurthy

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Dongsha Atoll (also known as Pratas in Taiwan is the northernmost atoll in the South China Sea and a designated marine national park since 2007. The marine park’s scope of protection covers the bio-resources of its waters in addition to uplands, so it is important to have data logging information and analyses of marine flora and fauna, including their physiology, ecology, and genetics. As part of this effort, we investigated Symbiodinium associations in scleractinian corals from Dongsha Atoll through surveys carried out at two depth ranges (shallow, 1–5 m; and deep, 10–15 m in 2009 and during a bleaching event in 2010. Symbiodinium composition was assessed using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP of 28S nuclear large subunit ribosomal DNA (nlsrDNA. Our results showed that the 796 coral samples from seven families and 20 genera collected in 2009 and 132 coral samples from seven families and 12 genera collected in 2010 were associated with Symbiodinium C, D and C+D. Occurrence of clade D in shallow water (24.5% was higher compared to deep (14.9%. Due to a bleaching event in 2010, up to 80% of coral species associated with Symbiodinium C underwent moderate to severe bleaching. Using the fine resolution technique of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE of internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2 in 175 randomly selected coral samples, from 2009 and 2010, eight Symbiodinium C types and two Symbiodinium D types were detected. This study is the first baseline survey on Symbiodinium associations in the corals of Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea, and it shows the dominance of Symbiodinium clade C in the population.

  20. Field Spectroscopy And Spectral Analysis Of Caribbean Scleractinian Reef Corals And Related Benthic Biota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Perez, J. L.; Guild, L. S.; Armstrong, R.; Corredor, J. E.; Polanco, R.; Zuluaga-Montero, A. B.

    2013-05-01

    Coral reefs are highly heterogenic ecosystems with a plethora of photosynthetic organisms forming most of the benthic communities. Usually coral reef benthos is a composite of reef corals, different groups of algae, seagrasses, sandy bottoms, dead rubble, and even mangrove forests living in a relatively small area. The remote characterization of these important tropical ecosystems represents a challenge to scientists, particularly due to the similarity of the spectral signatures among some of these components. As such, we examined the similarities and differences between nine Scleractinian Caribbean shallow-water reef corals' spectral reflectance curves. Samples were also collected from each species for pigment analysis using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Reflectance curves were obtained with the aid of a GER-1500 hand-held field spectroradiometer enclosed in an underwater housing. Our findings showed that even though most of the pigmentation was directly related to the relationship of corals with their symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae), the presence of other endolithic photosynthetic organisms can also contribute to the light absorption of corals and, hence, the reflectance spectra of each species. Also, the relative contribution of chlorophylls vs. carotenes or xanthophylls depends on the coral species with some species relying more on Chlorophyll a and other species relying on Chlorophyl c2 and Peridinin with a small Chlorophyll a component. Pigments associated with the xanthophyll cycle of dinoflagellates (Diadinoxanthin and Diatoxanthin) were detected in most species. Pigments typical of endolithic organisms such as Zeaxanthin, Fucoxanthin, Violaxanthin and Siphonaxanthin were also detected in some coral species. The influence of major pigments on the reflectance curve was evidenced with a 2nd derivative analysis. This could be used to discriminate among most species. Further, an analysis of the integration of the area under the

  1. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover along towed camera sled tracks and AUV dive tracks at Rota Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  2. 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.

  3. Genetic diversity and connectivity in the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis in Florida.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth M Hemond

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Over the past three decades, populations of the dominant shallow water Caribbean corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have been devastated by white-band disease (WBD, resulting in the listing of both species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A key to conserving these threatened corals is understanding how their populations are genetically interconnected throughout the greater Caribbean. Genetic research has demonstrated that gene flow is regionally restricted across the Caribbean in both species. Yet, despite being an important site of coral reef research, little genetic data has been available for the Florida Acropora, especially for the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis. In this study, we present new mitochondrial DNA sequence data from 52 A. cervicornis individuals from 22 sites spread across the upper and lower Florida Keys, which suggest that Florida's A. cervicornis populations are highly genetically interconnected (F(ST = -0.081. Comparison between Florida and existing mtDNA data from six regional Caribbean populations indicates that Florida possesses high levels of standing genetic diversity (h = 0.824 relative to the rest of the greater Caribbean (h = 0.701+/-0.043. We find that the contemporary level of gene flow across the greater Caribbean, including Florida, is restricted (Phi(CT = 0.117, but evidence from shared haplotypes suggests the Western Caribbean has historically been a source of genetic variation for Florida. Despite the current patchiness of A. cervicornis in Florida, the relatively high genetic diversity and connectivity within Florida suggest that this population may have sufficient genetic variation to be viable and resilient to environmental perturbation and disease. Limited genetic exchange across regional populations of the greater Caribbean, including Florida, indicates that conservation efforts for A. cervicornis should focus on maintaining and managing populations locally rather than

  4. Genetic diversity and connectivity in the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2010-01-11

    Over the past three decades, populations of the dominant shallow water Caribbean corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have been devastated by white-band disease (WBD), resulting in the listing of both species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A key to conserving these threatened corals is understanding how their populations are genetically interconnected throughout the greater Caribbean. Genetic research has demonstrated that gene flow is regionally restricted across the Caribbean in both species. Yet, despite being an important site of coral reef research, little genetic data has been available for the Florida Acropora, especially for the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis. In this study, we present new mitochondrial DNA sequence data from 52 A. cervicornis individuals from 22 sites spread across the upper and lower Florida Keys, which suggest that Florida's A. cervicornis populations are highly genetically interconnected (F(ST) = -0.081). Comparison between Florida and existing mtDNA data from six regional Caribbean populations indicates that Florida possesses high levels of standing genetic diversity (h = 0.824) relative to the rest of the greater Caribbean (h = 0.701+/-0.043). We find that the contemporary level of gene flow across the greater Caribbean, including Florida, is restricted (Phi(CT) = 0.117), but evidence from shared haplotypes suggests the Western Caribbean has historically been a source of genetic variation for Florida. Despite the current patchiness of A. cervicornis in Florida, the relatively high genetic diversity and connectivity within Florida suggest that this population may have sufficient genetic variation to be viable and resilient to environmental perturbation and disease. Limited genetic exchange across regional populations of the greater Caribbean, including Florida, indicates that conservation efforts for A. cervicornis should focus on maintaining and managing populations locally rather than relying on larval

  5. Sr/Ca-Sea surface temperature calibration in the branching Caribbean coral Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallup, Christina D.; Olson, Donna M.; Edwards, R. Lawrence; Gruhn, Leah M.; Winter, Amos; Taylor, Frederick W.

    2006-02-01

    We measured Sr/Ca ratios by thermal ionization mass spectrometry in radial and axial growth of modern Caribbean Acropora palmata corals. Comparison of our results with sea surface temperature (SST) allows radial and axial Sr/Ca-SST calibrations of Sr/Ca (mmol/mol) = 11.30 - 0.07072 × SST (°C) and Sr/Ca (mmol/mol) = 11.32 - 0.06281 x SST (°C), respectively. Application of the calibrations to fossil Acropora palmata from the last glacial maximum in Barbados (Guilderson et al., 1994) imply ~7°C cooler conditions than the present, much larger than the 1-1.5° cooling suggested by modern analog technique foraminifera-based estimates (Trend-Staid and Prell, 2002). If the foraminifera-based estimates are correct, then the excess cooling suggested by the Barbados corals could be explained by a 5% shift in the marine Sr/Ca ratio or an addition of ~20% abiotic secondary aragonite.

  6. Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chamberland, V.F.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Brittsan, M.; Carl, M.; Schick, M.; Snowden, S.; Schrier, A.; Petersen, D.

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations provide important ecological functions on shallow Caribbean reefs, many of which were lost when a disease reduced their abundance by more than 95% beginning in the mid-1970s. Since then, a lack of significant recovery has prompted rehabilitation

  7. Deep-sea scleractinian coral age and depth distributions in the northwest Atlantic for the last 225,000 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, L.F.; Adkins, J.F.; Scheirer, D.S.; Fernandez, D.P.; Gagnon, A.; Waller, R.G.

    2007-01-01

    Deep-sea corals have grown for over 200,000 yrs on the New England Seamounts in the northwest Atlantic, and this paper describes their distribution both with respect to depth and time. Many thousands of fossil scleractinian corals were collected on a series of cruises from 2003-2005; by contrast, live ones were scarce. On these seamounts, the depth distribution of fossil Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper, 1794) is markedly different to that of the colonial scleractinian corals, extending 750 m deeper in the water column to a distinct cut-off at 2500 m. This cut-off is likely to be controlled by the maximum depth of a notch-shaped feature in the seamount morphology. The ages of D. dianthus corals as determined by U-series measurements range from modern to older than 200,000 yrs. The age distribution is not constant over time, and most corals have ages from the last glacial period. Within the glacial period, increases in coral population density at Muir and Manning Seamounts coincided with times at which large-scale ocean circulation changes have been documented in the deep North Atlantic. Ocean circulation changes have an effect on coral distributions, but the cause of the link is not known. ?? 2007 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G J; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  11. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zarinah Waheed

    Full Text Available The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39, Agariciidae (n = 30 and Euphylliidae (n = 15. The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51% and good (38%. Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  12. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G. J.; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park. PMID:26719987

  13. Responses of two scleractinian corals to cobalt pollution and ocean acidification.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Biscéré

    Full Text Available The effects of ocean acidification alone or in combination with warming on coral metabolism have been extensively investigated, whereas none of these studies consider that most coral reefs near shore are already impacted by other natural anthropogenic inputs such as metal pollution. It is likely that projected ocean acidification levels will aggravate coral reef health. We first investigated how ocean acidification interacts with one near shore locally abundant metal on the physiology of two major reef-building corals: Stylophora pistillata and Acropora muricata. Two pH levels (pHT 8.02; pCO2 366 μatm and pHT 7.75; pCO2 1140 μatm and two cobalt concentrations (natural, 0.03 μg L-1 and polluted, 0.2 μg L-1 were tested during five weeks in aquaria. We found that, for both species, cobalt input decreased significantly their growth rates by 28% while it stimulated their photosystem II, with higher values of rETRmax (relative Electron Transport Rate. Elevated pCO2 levels acted differently on the coral rETRmax values and did not affect their growth rates. No consistent interaction was found between pCO2 levels and cobalt concentrations. We also measured in situ the effect of higher cobalt concentrations (1.06 ± 0.16 μg L-1 on A. muricata using benthic chamber experiments. At this elevated concentration, cobalt decreased simultaneously coral growth and photosynthetic rates, indicating that the toxic threshold for this pollutant has been reached for both host cells and zooxanthellae. Our results from both aquaria and in situ experiments, suggest that these coral species are not particularly sensitive to high pCO2 conditions but they are to ecologically relevant cobalt concentrations. Our study reveals that some reefs may be yet subjected to deleterious pollution levels, and even if no interaction between pCO2 levels and cobalt concentration has been found, it is likely that coral metabolism will be weakened if they are subjected to additional

  14. Cryptobiota associated to dead Acropora palmata (Scleractinia: Acroporidae coral, Isla Grande, Colombian Caribbean

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    Silvia K. Moreno-Forero

    1998-06-01

    Full Text Available Cryptobiota of dead fragments of five branches in live position and five fallen pieces of the coral Acropora palmata each one of approximate 1dm3, covered by filamentous algae were extracted from the north reef crest of Isla Grande (Colombian Caribbean, in April 1991. There were three groups of organisms according to size and position (on and within the coral: 1 mobile epibenthos, mainly microcrustaceans that live among the filamentous algae 2 boring microcryptobiota, located in the layer between the epilithic organisms and the coral skeleton itself and, 3 perforating macrocryptobionts that bore and penetrate the coral skeleton. Polychaetes, sipuncu-lids, mollusks and crustaceans were most abundant in the last group. There were no differences in macrocryptobiont composition between standing dead branches and fallen fragments. There was a large variation in total biomass and type and density of macro-cryptobionts, possibly associated to stochastic factors such as placement and thickness of branches and small scale variations in recruitmentLa criptobiota de diez fragmentos coralinos muertos de Acropora palmata, de 10 dm3 cada uno, cubiertos de algas filamentosas, se colectó en abril de 1991en la cresta arrecifal de Isla Grande (Caribe colombiano. Se halló tres grupos: 1 móviles epibentónicos asociados a las algas filamentosas y conformados principalmente por microcrustáceos; 2 microcriptobiontes perforantes, ubicados en la capa intermedia entre los organismos epilíticos y el esqueleto del coral y 3 macrocriptobiontes que perforan todo el cuerpo del esqueleto coralino (principalmente poliquetos, sipuncúlidos, moluscos y crustáceos. No se encontraron diferencias en la composición de los macrocriptobiontes que habitan los corales en posición de vida y los fragmentos caidos sobre el fondo. Se presentó una amplia variación en biomasa total, tipo y densidad de macrocriptobiontes, posiblemente asociada a factores estocásticos tales como la

  15. Ocean acidification compromises recruitment success of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Mason, Benjamin; Miller, Margaret; Langdon, Chris

    2010-11-23

    Ocean acidification (OA) refers to the ongoing decline in oceanic pH resulting from the uptake of atmospheric CO(2). Mounting experimental evidence suggests that OA will have negative consequences for a variety of marine organisms. Whereas the effect of OA on the calcification of adult reef corals is increasingly well documented, effects on early life history stages are largely unknown. Coral recruitment, which necessitates successful fertilization, larval settlement, and postsettlement growth and survivorship, is critical to the persistence and resilience of coral reefs. To determine whether OA threatens successful sexual recruitment of reef-building corals, we tested fertilization, settlement, and postsettlement growth of Acropora palmata at pCO(2) levels that represent average ambient conditions during coral spawning (∼400 μatm) and the range of pCO(2) increases that are expected to occur in this century [∼560 μatm (mid-CO(2)) and ∼800 μatm (high-CO(2))]. Fertilization, settlement, and growth were all negatively impacted by increasing pCO(2), and impairment of fertilization was exacerbated at lower sperm concentrations. The cumulative impact of OA on fertilization and settlement success is an estimated 52% and 73% reduction in the number of larval settlers on the reef under pCO(2) conditions projected for the middle and the end of this century, respectively. Additional declines of 39% (mid-CO(2)) and 50% (high-CO(2)) were observed in postsettlement linear extension rates relative to controls. These results suggest that OA has the potential to impact multiple, sequential early life history stages, thereby severely compromising sexual recruitment and the ability of coral reefs to recover from disturbance.

  16. Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Bartels, Erich; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Enochs, Ian C.; Kolodziej, Graham; Toth, Lauren; Manzello, Derek P.

    2017-01-01

    Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef restoration efforts to date. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for 6 months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from PVC trees in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography, and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on grow-out method, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics and suggest that there is genetically based variability in coral calcification performance.

  17. Paleobiogeography of scleractinian reef corals: Changing patterns during the Oligocene-Miocene climatic transition in the Mediterranean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrin, Christine; Bosellini, Francesca R.

    2012-02-01

    During the Oligocene-Miocene Greenhouse-to-Icehouse climatic transition, the biogeography of reef corals or zooxanthellate-like scleractinian corals was gradually changing from a pan-tropical Tethyan Province in the Eocene to three reef-coral Provinces of the Western Atlantic-Caribbean, Indo-Pacific and Mediterranean. Our REEFCORAL database encompasses updated and homogenized data on paleoenvironmental and systematics of scleractinian corals occurring in the Oligocene and Miocene outcrops from circum-Mediterranean regions, provided by most of relatively recently published data in the literature and by the study of published and unpublished collections of coral specimens from the same area, including the important collections housed at the MNHN (Paris) and our own collections. As there is no validated direct criterion for the identification of the coral-zooxanthellate symbiosis in the fossil record, and considering the difficulty to use the biogeochemical approaches in the context of this study, the subjectivity of the morphological criteria and the relative recent age of the fossil corals we are dealing with, a uniformitarian approach has been used for inferring the symbiotic status of scleractinian genera in REEFCORAL. Among the 158 genera included in our database, 93 can be considered as zooxanthellate and 10 have a doubtful zooxanthellate status. This relatively exhaustive database was used to reconstruct the temporal and spatial distribution of scleractinian corals in the Mediterranean during the Oligocene-Miocene time in order to discuss the interplaying effects of the global cooling at that time, the re-organization of the Tethyan realm resulting from the African, Arabian and Eurasian plate collision and the emergence of the Alpine chains, driving the gradual northward movement of the whole region outside the tropical/subtropical belt. It is shown that the structure of the Mediterranean z-coral Oligocene-Miocene paleobiodiversity was characterized by many

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-06-25

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

  20. Gene expression microarray analysis encompassing metamorphosis and the onset of calcification in the scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes-Bermudez, Alejandro; Desalvo, Michael K; Voolstra, Christian R; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Szmant, Alina M; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Medina, Mónica

    2009-01-01

    Similar to many marine invertebrates, scleractinian corals experience a dramatic morphological transformation, as well as a habitat switch, upon settlement and metamorphosis. At this time, planula larvae transform from non-calcifying, demersal, motile organisms into sessile, calcifying, benthic juvenile polyps. We performed gene expression microarray analyses between planulae, aposymbiotic primary polyps, and symbiotic adult tissue to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying coral metamorphosis and early stages of calcification in the Robust/Short clade scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata. Among the annotated genes, the most abundant upregulated transcripts in the planula stage are involved in protein synthesis, chromatin assembly and mitochondrial metabolism; the polyp stage, morphogenesis, protein catabolism and organic matrix synthesis; and the adult stage, sexual reproduction, stress response and symbiosis. We also present evidence showing that the planula and adult transcriptomes are more similar to each other than to the polyp transcriptome. Our results also point to a large number of uncharacterized adult coral-specific genes likely involved in coral-specific functions such as symbiosis and calcification.

  1. Density dependence drives habitat production and survivorship of Acropora cervicornis used for restoration on a Caribbean coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark C Ladd

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available AbstractCoral restoration is gaining traction as a viable strategy to help restore degraded reefs. While the nascent field of coral restoration has rapidly progressed in the past decade, significant knowledge gaps remain regarding the drivers of restoration success that may impede our ability to effectively restore coral reef communities. Here, we conducted a field experiment to investigate the influence of coral density on the growth, habitat production, and survival of corals outplanted for restoration. We used nursery-raised colonies of Acropora cervicornis to experimentally establish populations of corals with either 3, 6, 12, or 24 corals within 4m2 plots, generating a gradient of coral densities ranging from 0.75 corals m-2 to 12 corals m-2. After 13 months we found that density had a significant effect on the growth, habitat production, and survivorship of restored corals. We found that coral survivorship increased as colony density decreased. Importantly, the signal of density dependent effects was context dependent. Our data suggest that positive density dependent effects influenced habitat production at densities of 3 corals m-2, but further increases in density resulted in negative density dependent effects with decreasing growth and survivorship of corals. These findings highlight the importance of density dependence for coral restoration planning and demonstrate the need to evaluate the influence of density for other coral species used for restoration. Further work focused on the mechanisms causing density dependence such as increased herbivory, rapid disease transmission, or altered predation rates are important next steps to advance our ability to effectively restore coral reefs.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2008-01-01

    Seasonal variation in the composition of the algal endosymbiont community and photo-physiology was determined in the corals Pocillopora damicornis, which show high local fidelity to one symbiont type (Symbiodinium C1), and Acropora valida, with a mixed Symbiodinium symbiont community, comprising...... members of both clades A and C. The relative abundances of Symbiodinium types varied over time. A significant decline in symbiont densities in both coral species during the summer of 2005 coincided with a NOAA ‘hotspot' warning for Heron Island. This also coincided with a relative increase in the presence...

  3. Highly heterogeneous bacterial communities associated with the South China Sea reef corals Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jie Li

    Full Text Available Coral harbor diverse and specific bacteria play significant roles in coral holobiont function. Bacteria associated with three of the common and phylogenetically divergent reef-building corals in the South China Sea, Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora, were investigated using 454 barcoded-pyrosequencing. Three colonies of each species were sampled, and 16S rRNA gene libraries were constructed individually. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities associated with the three coral species were more diverse than previous estimates based on corals from the Caribbean Sea, Indo-Pacific reefs and the Red Sea. Three candidate phyla, including BRC1, OD1 and SR1, were found for the first time in corals. Bacterial communities were separated into three groups: P. lutea and G. fascicular, A. millepora and seawater. P. lutea and G. fascicular displayed more similar bacterial communities, and bacterial communities associated with A. millepora differed from the other two coral species. The three coral species shared only 22 OTUs, which were distributed in Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and an unclassified bacterial group. The composition of bacterial communities within each colony of each coral species also showed variation. The relatively small common and large specific bacterial communities in these corals implies that bacterial associations may be structured by multiple factors at different scales and that corals may associate with microbes in terms of similar function, rather than identical species.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiayuan Liang

    2017-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-08-07

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

  6. Induction of larval metamorphosis of the coral Acropora millepora by tetrabromopyrrole isolated from a Pseudoalteromonas bacterium.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Tebben

    Full Text Available The induction of larval attachment and metamorphosis of benthic marine invertebrates is widely considered to rely on habitat specific cues. While microbial biofilms on marine hard substrates have received considerable attention as specific signals for a wide and phylogenetically diverse array of marine invertebrates, the presumed chemical settlement signals produced by the bacteria have to date not been characterized. Here we isolated and fully characterized the first chemical signal from bacteria that induced larval metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae (Acropora millepora. The metamorphic cue was identified as tetrabromopyrrole (TBP in four bacterial Pseudoalteromonas strains among a culture library of 225 isolates obtained from the crustose coralline algae Neogoniolithon fosliei and Hydrolithon onkodes. Coral planulae transformed into fully developed polyps within 6 h, but only a small proportion of these polyps attached to the substratum. The biofilm cell density of the four bacterial strains had no influence on the ratio of attached vs. non-attached polyps. Larval bioassays with ethanolic extracts of the bacterial isolates, as well as synthetic TBP resulted in consistent responses of coral planulae to various doses of TBP. The lowest bacterial density of one of the Pseudoalteromonas strains which induced metamorphosis was 7,000 cells mm(-2 in laboratory assays, which is on the order of 0.1-1% of the total numbers of bacteria typically found on such surfaces. These results, in which an actual cue from bacteria has been characterized for the first time, contribute significantly towards understanding the complex process of acroporid coral larval settlement mediated through epibiotic microbial biofilms on crustose coralline algae.

  7. Induction of Larval Metamorphosis of the Coral Acropora millepora by Tetrabromopyrrole Isolated from a Pseudoalteromonas Bacterium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tebben, Jan; Tapiolas, Dianne M.; Motti, Cherie A.; Abrego, David; Negri, Andrew P.; Blackall, Linda L.; Steinberg, Peter D.; Harder, Tilmann

    2011-01-01

    The induction of larval attachment and metamorphosis of benthic marine invertebrates is widely considered to rely on habitat specific cues. While microbial biofilms on marine hard substrates have received considerable attention as specific signals for a wide and phylogenetically diverse array of marine invertebrates, the presumed chemical settlement signals produced by the bacteria have to date not been characterized. Here we isolated and fully characterized the first chemical signal from bacteria that induced larval metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae (Acropora millepora). The metamorphic cue was identified as tetrabromopyrrole (TBP) in four bacterial Pseudoalteromonas strains among a culture library of 225 isolates obtained from the crustose coralline algae Neogoniolithon fosliei and Hydrolithon onkodes. Coral planulae transformed into fully developed polyps within 6 h, but only a small proportion of these polyps attached to the substratum. The biofilm cell density of the four bacterial strains had no influence on the ratio of attached vs. non-attached polyps. Larval bioassays with ethanolic extracts of the bacterial isolates, as well as synthetic TBP resulted in consistent responses of coral planulae to various doses of TBP. The lowest bacterial density of one of the Pseudoalteromonas strains which induced metamorphosis was 7,000 cells mm−2 in laboratory assays, which is on the order of 0.1 –1% of the total numbers of bacteria typically found on such surfaces. These results, in which an actual cue from bacteria has been characterized for the first time, contribute significantly towards understanding the complex process of acroporid coral larval settlement mediated through epibiotic microbial biofilms on crustose coralline algae. PMID:21559509

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  9. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Manzello, Derek; Lirman, Diego

    2017-01-01

    The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  10. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Crawford Drury

    Full Text Available The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  11. High natural gene expression variation in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora: potential for acclimative and adaptive plasticity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Bellantuono, Anthony J; Ridgway, Tyrone; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio

    2013-04-08

    Ecosystems worldwide are suffering the consequences of anthropogenic impact. The diverse ecosystem of coral reefs, for example, are globally threatened by increases in sea surface temperatures due to global warming. Studies to date have focused on determining genetic diversity, the sequence variability of genes in a species, as a proxy to estimate and predict the potential adaptive response of coral populations to environmental changes linked to climate changes. However, the examination of natural gene expression variation has received less attention. This variation has been implicated as an important factor in evolutionary processes, upon which natural selection can act. We acclimatized coral nubbins from six colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora to a common garden in Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, GBR) for a period of four weeks to remove any site-specific environmental effects on the physiology of the coral nubbins. By using a cDNA microarray platform, we detected a high level of gene expression variation, with 17% (488) of the unigenes differentially expressed across coral nubbins of the six colonies (jsFDR-corrected, p natural variation between reef corals when assessing experimental gene expression differences. The high transcriptional variation detected in this study is interpreted and discussed within the context of adaptive potential and phenotypic plasticity of reef corals. Whether this variation will allow coral reefs to survive to current challenges remains unknown.

  12. Lunar Phase Modulates Circadian Gene Expression Cycles in the Broadcast Spawning Coral Acropora millepora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, Aisling K; Willis, Bette L; Harder, Lawrence D; Vize, Peter D

    2016-04-01

    Many broadcast spawning corals in multiple reef regions release their gametes with incredible temporal precision just once per year, using the lunar cycle to set the night of spawning. Moonlight, rather than tides or other lunar-regulated processes, is thought to be the proximate factor responsible for linking the night of spawning to the phase of the Moon. We compared patterns of gene expression among colonies of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora at different phases of the lunar cycle, and when they were maintained under one of three experimentally simulated lunar lighting treatments: i) lunar lighting conditions matching those on the reef, or lunar patterns mimicking either ii) constant full Moon conditions, or iii) constant new Moon conditions. Normal lunar illumination was found to shift both the level and timing of clock gene transcription cycles between new and full moons, with the peak hour of expression for a number of genes occurring earlier in the evening under a new Moon when compared to a full Moon. When the normal lunar cycle is replaced with nighttime patterns equivalent to either a full Moon or a new Moon every evening, the normal monthlong changes in the level of expression are destroyed for most genes. In combination, these results indicate that daily changes in moonlight that occur over the lunar cycle are essential for maintaining normal lunar periodicity of clock gene transcription, and this may play a role in regulating spawn timing. These data also show that low levels of light pollution may have an impact on coral biological clocks. © 2016 Marine Biological Laboratory.

  13. Deep-water scleractinian corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) from 2010-2011 INDEMARES expeditions to the Galicia Bank (Spain, northeast Atlantic).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Altuna, Alvaro

    2017-11-23

    During surveys in the Galicia Bank (northeastern Atlantic) in the years 2010-2011 (INDEMARES project), 25 species of scleractinian corals corals were collected in a depth interval of 744-1764 m. Most interesting species are described and depicted. Additionally, species list and remarks are given for the 23 species dredged in the bank during the 1987 SEAMOUNT 1 expedition at 675-1125 m depth.From a literature review and new records from Galicia Bank given herein, 31 species of scleractinian corals are known from this seamount in a depth interval of 614-1764 m depth. Six are colonial and 25 solitary, with 17 occurring on hard bottoms and 14 on soft bottoms. Desmophyllum dianthus, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata are the most widely distributed species in both number of stations and depth range of specimens collected alive. Some species were recorded outside their previously known bathymetric ranges in the northeastern Atlantic. Javania pseudoalabastra is first documented for the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish faunas. Thrypticotrochus sp. is first collected from the Atlantic Ocean.

  14. Natural disease resistance in threatened staghorn corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven V Vollmer

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-12-08

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

  17. A novel method for the transport and analysis of genetic material from polyps and zooxanthellae of scleractinian corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2003-08-29

    We have developed a new simple method for transport, storage, and analysis of genetic material from the corals Agaricia agaricites, Dendrogyra cylindrica, Eusmilia ancora, Meandrina meandrites, Montastrea annularis, Porites astreoides, Porites furcata, Porites porites, and Siderastrea siderea at room temperature. All species yielded sufficient DNA from a single FTA card (19 microg-43 ng) for subsequent PCR amplification of both coral and zooxanthellar DNA. The D1 and D2 variable region of the large subunit rRNA gene (LSUrDNA) was amplified from the DNA of P. furcata and S. siderea by PCR. Electrophoresis yielded two major DNA bands: an 800-base pair (bp) DNA, which represented the coral ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene, and a 600-bp DNA, which represented the zooxanthellar srRNA gene. Extraction of DNA from the bands yielded between 290 microg total DNA (S. siderea coral DNA) and 9 microg total DNA (P. furcata zooxanthellar DNA). The ability to transport and store genetic material from scleractinian corals without resort to laboratory facilities in the field allows for the molecular study of a far wider range and variety of coral sites than have been studied to date.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-15

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

  19. Gene expression profiles during short-term heat stress; branching vs. massive Scleractinian corals of the Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keren Maor-Landaw

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available It is well-established that there is a hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral genera during heat-stress. However, molecular mechanisms governing these differences are still poorly understood. Here we explored if specific corals possessing different morphologies and different susceptibilities to heat stress may manifest varied gene expression patterns. We examined expression patterns of seven genes in the branching corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora eurystoma and additionally in the massive robust coral, Porites sp. The tested genes are representatives of key cellular processes occurring during heat-stress in Cnidaria: oxidative stress, ER stress, energy metabolism, DNA repair and apoptosis. Varied response to the heat-stress, in terms of visual coral paling, algal maximum quantum yield and host gene expression was evident in the different growth forms. The two branching corals exhibited similar overall responses that differed from that of the massive coral. A. eurystoma that is considered as a susceptible species did not bleach in our experiment, but tissue sloughing was evident at 34 °C. Interestingly, in this species redox regulation genes were up-regulated at the very onset of the thermal challenge. In S. pistillata, bleaching was evident at 34 °C and most of the stress markers were already up-regulated at 32 °C, either remaining highly expressed or decreasing when temperatures reached 34 °C. The massive Porites species displayed severe bleaching at 32 °C but stress marker genes were only significantly elevated at 34 °C. We postulate that by expelling the algal symbionts from Porites tissues, oxidation damages are reduced and stress genes are activated only at a progressed stage. The differential gene expression responses exhibited here can be correlated with the literature well-documented hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral morphologies and genera in Eilat’s coral reef.

  20. Elevated temperature affects development, survivorship, and settlement of the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck 1816).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randall, Carly J; Szmant, Alina M

    2009-12-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures during the late summer have the potential to negatively affect the development and survivorship of the larvae of reef corals that are reproductive during that time of year. Acropora palmata, a major Caribbean hermatype, reproduces annually during August and September. A. palmata populations have severely declined over the past three decades, and recovery will require high recruitment rates. Such recruitment will be limited if larval supply is reduced by elevated temperatures. The effects of elevated temperatures on development, survival, and larval settlement of A. palmata were investigated by culturing newly fertilized eggs at temperatures ranging from 27.5 to 31.5 degrees C. Development was accelerated and the percentage of developmental abnormalities increased at higher temperatures. Embryo mortality peaked during gastrulation, indicating that this complex developmental process is particularly sensitive to elevated temperatures. Larvae cultured at 30 and 31.5 degrees C experienced as much as an 8-fold decrease in survivorship compared to those at 28 degrees C. Additionally, settlement was 62% at 28 degrees C compared to 37% at 31.5 degrees C. These results indicate that embryos and larvae of A. palmata will be negatively affected as sea surface temperatures continue to warm, likely reducing recruitment and the recovery potential of A. palmata on Caribbean reefs.

  1. Genotypic variation influences reproductive success and thermal stress tolerance in the reef building coral, Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, I. B.; Devlin-Durante, M. K.; Polato, N. R.; Xu, D.; Giri, S.; Altman, N. S.; Ruiz, D.; Parkinson, J. E.; Boulay, J. N.

    2013-09-01

    The branching coral Acropora palmata is a foundation species of Caribbean reefs that has been decimated in recent decades by anthropogenic and natural stressors. Declines in population density and genotypic diversity likely reduce successful sexual reproduction in this self-incompatible hermaphrodite and might impede recovery. We investigated variation among genotypes in larval development under thermally stressful conditions. Six two-parent crosses and three four-parent batches were reared under three temperatures and sampled over time. Fertilization rates differed widely with two-parent crosses having lower fertilization rates (5-56 %, mean 22 % ± 22 SD) than batches (from 31 to 87 %, mean 59 % ± 28 SD). Parentage analysis of larvae in batch cultures showed differences in gamete compatibility among parents, coinciding with significant variation in both sperm morphology and egg size. While all larval batches developed more rapidly at increased water temperatures, rate of progression through developmental stages varied among batches, as did swimming speed. Together, these results indicate that loss of genotypic diversity exacerbates already severe limitations in sexual reproductive success of A. palmata. Nevertheless, surviving parental genotypes produce larvae that do vary in their phenotypic response to thermal stress, with implications for adaptation, larval dispersal and population connectivity in the face of warming sea surface temperatures.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. Effects of coal contamination on early life history processes of a reef-building coral, Acropora tenuis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kathryn L E; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Brinkman, Diane L; Burns, Kathryn A; Negri, Andrew P

    2017-01-15

    Successful reproduction and larval dispersal are important for the persistence of marine invertebrate populations, and these early life history processes can be sensitive to marine pollution. Coal is emerging as a contaminant of interest due to the proximity of ports and shipping lanes to coral reefs. To assess the potential hazard of this contaminant, gametes, newly developed embryos, larvae and juveniles of the coral Acropora tenuis were exposed to a range of coal leachate, suspended coal, and coal smothering treatments. Fertilisation was the most sensitive reproductive process tested. Embryo survivorship decreased with increasing suspended coal concentrations and exposure duration, effects on larval settlement varied between treatments, while effects on juvenile survivorship were minimal. Leachate exposures had negligible effects on fertilisation and larval settlement. These results indicate that coral recruitment could be affected by spills that produce plumes of suspended coal particles which interact with gametes and embryos soon after spawning. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  6. Ocean acidification effects on calcification in Caribbean scleractinian coral exposed to elevated pCO2: a potential for acclimation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hankins, C.

    2016-02-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) is projected to increase the acidity of coral reef habitats 2-3 times that of present day pCO2 levels. Many studies have shown the adverse effects on scleractinian calcification when exposed to elevated pCO2 levels, however, no such effects were seen in this study whereby corals were exposed for three months to elevated pCO2 levels. In this study, all corals were kept in culture for one year prior to being used in experimental trials. Data from culture systems shows coral experience a range of pCO2 from 300-600 µatm over the course of a day. This range is attributed to respiration and photosynthesis which also naturally occurs in a reef habitat. Montastrea cavernosa, Orbicella faveolata, and Pseudodiploria clivosa were exposed to their ambient culture conditions (control) or to elevated pCO2 levels of 1000 µatm (IPCC A1F1 scenario). By combining photographic analysis of live tissue area or exposed skeleton with the buoyant weight technique, an area density of each coral fragment was obtained to infer rates of calcification or erosion of skeleton. After three months of experimental exposure, preliminary results suggest that there is no significant difference in calcification or erosion in any of the species tested. Acclimation in the elevated pCO2 culture environment may have conditioned the coral to better withstand high pCO2 levels. Long acclimation periods of coral to near term future pCO2 levels may more accurately predict calcification responses in corals of the future.

  7. A community change in the algal endosymbionts of a scleractinian coral following a natural bleaching event: field evidence of acclimatization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, A M; Berkelmans, R; van Oppen, M J H; Mieog, J C; Sinclair, W

    2008-06-22

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of zooxanthellae they harbour and, when multiple types are present, the relative abundance of types can be experimentally manipulated to increase the thermal limits of individual corals. Although the potential exists for this to translate into substantial thermal acclimatization of coral communities, to date there is no evidence to show that this takes place under natural conditions. In this study, we show field evidence of a dramatic change in the symbiont community of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, after a natural bleaching event in early 2006 in the Keppel Islands (Great Barrier Reef). Before bleaching, 93.5% (n=460) of the randomly sampled and tagged colonies predominantly harboured the thermally sensitive Symbiodinium type C2, while the remainder harboured a tolerant Symbiodinium type belonging to clade D or mixtures of C2 and D. After bleaching, 71% of the surviving tagged colonies that were initially C2 predominant changed to D or C1 predominance. Colonies that were originally C2 predominant suffered high mortality (37%) compared with D-predominant colonies (8%). We estimate that just over 18% of the original A. millepora population survived unchanged leaving 29% of the population C2 and 71% D or C1 predominant six months after the bleaching event. This change in the symbiont community structure, while it persists, is likely to have substantially increased the thermal tolerance of this coral population. Understanding the processes that underpin the temporal changes in symbiont communities is key to assessing the acclimatization potential of reef corals.

  8. Additive effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature on the branched coral Acropora formosa in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amid, C; Olstedt, M; Gunnarsson, J S; Le Lan, H; Tran Thi Minh, H; Van den Brink, P J; Hellström, M; Tedengren, M

    2018-05-01

    The combined effects of the herbicide glyphosate and elevated temperature were studied on the tropical staghorn coral Acropora formosa, in Nha Trang bay, Vietnam. The corals were collected from two different reefs, one close to a polluted fish farm and one in a marine-protected area (MPA). In the laboratory, branches of the corals were exposed to the herbicide glyphosate at ambient (28 °C) and at 3 °C elevated water temperatures (31 °C). Effects of herbicide and elevated temperature were studied on coral bleaching using photography and digital image analysis (new colorimetric method developed here based on grayscale), chlorophyll a analysis, and symbiotic dinoflagellate (Symbiodinium, referred to as zooxanthellae) counts. All corals from the MPA started to bleach in the laboratory before they were exposed to the treatments, indicating that they were very sensitive, as opposed to the corals collected from the more polluted site, which were more tolerant and showed no bleaching response to temperature increase or herbicide alone. However, the combined exposure to the stressors resulted in significant loss of color, proportional to loss in chlorophyll a and zooxanthellae. The difference in sensitivity of the corals collected from the polluted site versus the MPA site could be explained by different symbiont types: the resilient type C3u and the stress-sensitive types C21 and C23, respectively. The additive effect of elevated temperatures and herbicides adds further weight to the notion that the bleaching of coral reefs is accelerated in the presence of multiple stressors. These results suggest that the corals in Nha Trang bay have adapted to the ongoing pollution to become more tolerant to anthropogenic stressors, and that multiple stressors hamper this resilience. The loss of color and decrease of chlorophyll a suggest that bleaching is related to concentration of chloro-pigments. The colorimetric method could be further fine-tuned and used as a precise, non

  9. Primary Life Stage Boron Isotope and Trace Elements Incorporation in Aposymbiotic Acropora millepora Coral under Ocean Acidification and Warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henry C. Wu

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Early-life stages of reef-building corals are vital to coral existence and reef maintenance. It is therefore crucial to study juvenile coral response to future climate change pressures. Moreover, corals are known to be reliable recorders of environmental conditions in their skeletal materials. Aposymbiotic Acropora millepora larvae were cultured in different seawater temperature (27 and 29°C and pCO2 (390 and 750 μatm conditions to understand the impacts of “end of century” ocean acidification (OA and ocean warming (OW conditions on skeletal morphology and geochemistry. The experimental conditions impacted primary polyp juvenile coral skeletal morphology and growth resulting in asymmetric translucent appearances with brittle skeleton features. The impact of OA resulted in microstructure differences with decreased precipitation or lengthening of fasciculi and disorganized aragonite crystals that led to more concentrations of centers of calcifications. The coral skeletal δ11B composition measured by laser ablation MC-ICP-MS was significantly affected by pCO2 (p = 0.0024 and water temperature (p = 1.46 × 10−5. Reconstructed pH of the primary polyp skeleton using the δ11B proxy suggests a difference in coral calcification site and seawater pH consistent with previously observed coral pH up-regulation. Similarly, trace element results measured by laser ablation ICP-MS indicate the impact of pCO2. Primary polyp juvenile Sr/Ca ratio indicates a bias in reconstructed sea surface temperature (SST under higher pCO2 conditions. Coral microstructure content changes (center of calcification and fasciculi due to OA possibly contributed to the variability in B/Ca ratios. Our results imply that increasing OA and OW may lead to coral acclimation issues and species-specific inaccuracies of the commonly used Sr/Ca-SST proxy.

  10. Genetic susceptibility, colony size, and water temperature drive white-pox disease on the coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muller, Erinn M; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes.

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

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    Dustin W Kemp

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

  12. Genetic susceptibility, colony size, and water temperature drive white-pox disease on the coral Acropora palmata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erinn M Muller

    Full Text Available Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  15. Histological observations on the scleractinian coral Porites lutea affected by pink-line syndrome

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    A pink-line syndrome (PLS) was reported in the reef building coral Porites lutea in Kavaratti island of the Lakshadweep archipelago. The affected corals had dead patches colonized by a cyanobacterium Phormidium valderianum and the bordering coral...

  16. Interactive effects of oxygen, carbon dioxide and flow on photosynthesis and respiration in the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osinga, Ronald; Derksen-Hooijberg, Marlous; Wijgerde, Tim; Verreth, Johan A J

    2017-06-15

    Rates of dark respiration and net photosynthesis were measured for six replicate clonal fragments of the stony coral Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767), which were incubated under 12 different combinations of dissolved oxygen (20%, 100% and 150% saturation), dissolved carbon dioxide (9.5 and 19.1 µmol l -1 ) and water flow (1-1.6 versus 4-13 cm s -1 ) in a repeated measures design. Dark respiration was enhanced by increased flow and increased oxygen saturation in an interactive way, which relates to improved oxygen influx into the coral tissue. Oxygen saturation did not influence net photosynthesis: neither hypoxia nor hyperoxia affected net photosynthesis, irrespective of flow and pH, which suggests that hyperoxia does not induce high rates of photorespiration in this coral. Flow and pH had a synergistic effect on net photosynthesis: at high flow, a decrease in pH stimulated net photosynthesis by 14%. These results indicate that for this individual of G. fascicularis , increased uptake of carbon dioxide rather than increased efflux of oxygen explains the beneficial effect of water flow on photosynthesis. Rates of net photosynthesis measured in this study are among the highest ever recorded for scleractinian corals and confirm a strong scope for growth. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  17. Fragmentation in the branching coral Acropora palmata (Lamarck): growth, survivorship, and reproduction of colonies and fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman

    2000-08-23

    Acropora palmata, a branching coral abundant on shallow reef environments throughout the Caribbean, is susceptible to physical disturbance caused by storms. Accordingly, the survivorship and propagation of this species are tied to its capability to recover after fragmentation. Fragments of A. palmata comprised 40% of ramets within populations that had experienced recent storms. While the survivorship of A. palmata fragments was not directly related to the size of fragments, removal of fragments from areas where they settled was influenced by size. Survivorship of fragments was also affected by type of substratum; the greatest mortality (58% loss within the first month) was observed on sand, whereas fragments placed on top of live colonies of A. palmata fused to the underlying tissue and did not experience any losses. Fragments created by Hurricane Andrew on a Florida reef in August 1992 began developing new growth (proto-branches) 7 months after the storm. The number of proto-branches on fragments was dependent on size, but growth was not affected by the size of fragments. Growth-rates of proto-branches increased exponentially with time (1.7 cm year(-1) for 1993-1994, 2.7 cm year(-1) for 1994-1995, 4.2 cm year(-1) for 1995-1996, and 6.5 cm year(-1) for 1996-1997), taking over 4 years for proto-branches to achieve rates comparable to those of adult colonies on the same reef (6.9 cm year(-1)). In addition to the initial mortality and reduced growth-rates, fragmentation resulted in a loss of reproductive potential. Neither colonies that experienced severe fragmentation nor fragments contained gametes until 4 years after the initial damage. Although A. palmata may survive periodic fragmentation, the long-term effects of this process will depend ultimately on the balance between the benefits and costs of this process.

  18. Recruitment failure in Florida Keys Acropora palmata, a threatened Caribbean coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, D. E.; Miller, M. W.; Kramer, K. L.

    2008-09-01

    Recovery of Acropora palmata from its currently imperiled status depends on recruitment, a process which is poorly documented in existing Caribbean coral population studies. A. palmata is thought to be well adapted to proliferate through the recruitment of fragments resulting from physical disturbances, such as moderate intensity hurricanes. This study monitored fifteen 150 m2 fixed study plots on the upper Florida Keys fore-reef for asexual and sexual recruitment from 2004 to 2007. Between July and October 2005, 4 hurricanes passed by the Florida Keys, producing wind speeds on the reef tract of 23 to 33 m s-1. Surveys following the hurricanes documented an average loss of 52% estimated live tissue area within the study plots. The percentage of “branching” colonies in the population decreased from 67% to 42% while “remnant” colonies (isolated patches of tissue on standing skeleton) increased from 11% to 27%. Although some detached branches remained as loose fragments, more than 70% of the 380 fragments observed in the study plots were dead or rapidly losing tissue 3 weeks after Hurricane Dennis. Over the course of the study, only 27 fragments became attached to the substrate to form successful asexual recruits. Meanwhile, of the 18 new, small encrusting colonies that were observed in the study, only 2 were not attributable to asexual origin (i.e., remnant tissue from colonies or fragments previously observed) and are therefore possible sexual recruits. In summary, the 2005 hurricane season resulted in substantial loss of A. palmata from the upper Florida Keys fore-reef from a combination of physical removal and subsequent disease-like tissue mortality, and yielded few recruits of either sexual or asexual origin. Furthermore, the asexual and sexual fecundity of the remaining population is compromised for the near future due to the lack of branches (i.e., “asexual fecundity”) and overall loss of live tissue.

  19. Disease dynamics and potential mitigation among restored and wild staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lohr, Kathryn E.; Cameron, Caitlin M.; Williams, Dana E.; Peters, Esther C.

    2014-01-01

    The threatened status (both ecologically and legally) of Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, has prompted rapidly expanding efforts in culture and restocking, although tissue loss diseases continue to affect populations. In this study, disease surveillance and histopathological characterization were used to compare disease dynamics and conditions in both restored and extant wild populations. Disease had devastating effects on both wild and restored populations, but dynamics were highly variable and appeared to be site-specific with no significant differences in disease prevalence between wild versus restored sites. A subset of 20 haphazardly selected colonies at each site observed over a four-month period revealed widely varying disease incidence, although not between restored and wild sites, and a case fatality rate of 8%. A tropical storm was the only discernable environmental trigger associated with a consistent spike in incidence across all sites. Lastly, two field mitigation techniques, (1) excision of apparently healthy branch tips from a diseased colony, and (2) placement of a band of epoxy fully enclosing the diseased margin, gave equivocal results with no significant benefit detected for either treatment compared to controls. Tissue condition of associated samples was fair to very poor; unsuccessful mitigation treatment samples had severe degeneration of mesenterial filament cnidoglandular bands. Polyp mucocytes in all samples were infected with suspect rickettsia-like organisms; however, no bacterial aggregates were found. No histological differences were found between disease lesions with gross signs fitting literature descriptions of white-band disease (WBD) and rapid tissue loss (RTL). Overall, our results do not support differing disease quality, quantity, dynamics, nor health management strategies between restored and wild colonies of A. cervicornis in the Florida Keys. PMID:25210660

  20. Adaptive divergence in a scleractinian coral: physiological adaptation of Seriatopora hystrix to shallow and deep reef habitats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    van Oppen Madeleine JH

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Divergent natural selection across environmental gradients has been acknowledged as a major driver of population and species divergence, however its role in the diversification of scleractinian corals remains poorly understood. Recently, it was demonstrated that the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix and its algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium are genetically partitioned across reef environments (0-30 m on the far northern Great Barrier Reef. Here, we explore the potential mechanisms underlying this differentiation and assess the stability of host-symbiont associations through a reciprocal transplantation experiment across habitats ('Back Reef', 'Upper Slope' and 'Deep Slope', in combination with molecular (mtDNA and ITS2-DGGE and photo-physiological analyses (respirometry and HPLC. Results The highest survival rates were observed for native transplants (measured 14 months after transplantation, indicating differential selective pressures between habitats. Host-symbiont assemblages remained stable during the experimental duration, demonstrating that the ability to "shuffle" or "switch" symbionts is restricted in S. hystrix. Photo-physiological differences were observed between transplants originating from the shallow and deep habitats, with indirect evidence of an increased heterotrophic capacity in native deep-water transplants (from the 'Deep Slope' habitat. Similar photo-acclimatisation potential was observed between transplants originating from the two shallow habitats ('Back Reef' and 'Upper Slope', highlighting that their genetic segregation over depth may be due to other, non-photo-physiological traits under selection. Conclusions This study confirms that the observed habitat partitioning of S. hystrix (and associated Symbiodinium is reflective of adaptive divergence along a depth gradient. Gene flow appears to be reduced due to divergent selection, highlighting the potential role of ecological mechanisms, in addition to

  1. 78 FR 12702 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-25

    ...; Proposed Reclassification of Elkhorn Acropora palmata and Staghorn Acropora cervicornis Under the... reclassifications of elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) corals under the ESA until April...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Delayed fluorescence as an indicator of the influence of the herbicides Irgarol 1051 and Diuron on hard coral Acropora digitifera.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katsumata, Masakazu; Takeuchi, Ichiro

    2017-11-30

    We examined the effect of two herbicides (Irgarol 1051 and Diuron) on symbiotic dinoflagellates in the hard coral Acropora digitifera using delayed fluorescence (DF), specifically assessing changes in molecular membrane transport, i.e. inflow and outflow rates, and the binding of the herbicides to target proteins in photosystem II. The DF approach is rapid (e.g. measurement time, 60 s) and non-invasive, and can provide data on the extent of a photosynthetic system and the activity of its electron carriers. The DF of A. digitifera is inhibited 2 h after exposure to 1 μg/L of either Irgarol or Diuron. Analysis of DF inhibition over time by a compartment model suggests that Irgarol exposure results in a relatively higher inflow rate and lower outflow rate than does Diuron exposure. This suggests that Irgarol exposure more strongly inhibits photosynthesis and that the coral symbiotic dinoflagellates recover less from inhibition. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Experimental effect of temperature and sedimentation on bleaching of the two Red Sea corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MOHAMMED S.A. AMMAR

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Ammar MSA, Obuid-Allah AH, Al-Hammady MAM. 2013. Experimental effect of temperature and sedimentation on bleaching of the two Red Sea corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis. Nusantara Bioscience 5: 73-83. At 26°C (the control sample, the loss of zooxanthellae by each of the two studied corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora humilis was very low. Cell viability of the two studied corals was similar at 26 and 29°C, but depicted a sharp decline of zooxanthellae lost at 31°C through time. As the temperature increased to 35°C, the loss of zooxanthellae from each host increased both with time and temperature elevation. The coral A. humilis had a higher decrease in its zooxanthellae densities than S. pistillata at the same treatment. Bleaching temperature threshold was 33°C or less for the two species S. pistillata and A. humilis where 51% of their zooxanthellae were lost after 24 h of exposure. In samples exposed to sediment concentration of 0.1 mg/cm2/L, zooxanthellae densities of A. humilis and S. pistillata did not show any decrease after 1 day. However, after 1 days of exposure to 0.5 mg/cm2/L, zooxanthellae densities were significantly different from those of the controls. Increases in sediment concentration to 1 mg/cm2/L caused a decrease in zooxanthellae densities that vary greatly over time. Measurements of zooxanthellae densities of A. humilis and S. pistillata at this stage revealed a highly significant difference between exposed and control sample. At 1 g/cm2/L, the number of zooxanthellae lost from A. humilis was higher than those lost from S. pistillata at same time. It is suggested that, the normal sedimentation rate for A. humilis and S. pistillata to be in an order of 1 mg/cm2/L or less.

  7. Growth anomalies on the coral genera Acropora and Porites are strongly associated with host density and human population size across the Indo-Pacific.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Greta S Aeby

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Growth anomalies (GAs are common, tumor-like diseases that can cause significant morbidity and decreased fecundity in the major Indo-Pacific reef-building coral genera, Acropora and Porites. GAs are unusually tractable for testing hypotheses about drivers of coral disease because of their pan-Pacific distributions, relatively high occurrence, and unambiguous ease of identification. We modeled multiple disease-environment associations that may underlie the prevalence of Acropora growth anomalies (AGA (n = 304 surveys and Porites growth anomalies (PGA (n = 602 surveys from across the Indo-Pacific. Nine predictor variables were modeled, including coral host abundance, human population size, and sea surface temperature and ultra-violet radiation anomalies. Prevalence of both AGAs and PGAs were strongly host density-dependent. PGAs additionally showed strong positive associations with human population size. Although this association has been widely posited, this is one of the first broad-scale studies unambiguously linking a coral disease with human population size. These results emphasize that individual coral diseases can show relatively distinct patterns of association with environmental predictors, even in similar diseases (growth anomalies found on different host genera (Acropora vs. Porites. As human densities and environmental degradation increase globally, the prevalence of coral diseases like PGAs could increase accordingly, halted only perhaps by declines in host density below thresholds required for disease establishment.

  8. Growth anomalies on the coral genera Acropora and Porites are strongly associated with host density and human population size across the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aeby, Greta S.; Williams, Gareth J.; Franklin, Erik C.; Haapkyla, Jessica; Harvell, C. Drew; Neale, Stephen; Page, Cathie A.; Raymundo, Laurie; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Willis, Bette L.; Work, Thierry M.; Davy, Simon K.

    2011-01-01

    Growth anomalies (GAs) are common, tumor-like diseases that can cause significant morbidity and decreased fecundity in the major Indo-Pacific reef-building coral genera, Acropora and Porites. GAs are unusually tractable for testing hypotheses about drivers of coral disease because of their pan-Pacific distributions, relatively high occurrence, and unambiguous ease of identification. We modeled multiple disease-environment associations that may underlie the prevalence of Acropora growth anomalies (AGA) (n = 304 surveys) and Porites growth anomalies (PGA) (n = 602 surveys) from across the Indo-Pacific. Nine predictor variables were modeled, including coral host abundance, human population size, and sea surface temperature and ultra-violet radiation anomalies. Prevalence of both AGAs and PGAs were strongly host density-dependent. PGAs additionally showed strong positive associations with human population size. Although this association has been widely posited, this is one of the first broad-scale studies unambiguously linking a coral disease with human population size. These results emphasize that individual coral diseases can show relatively distinct patterns of association with environmental predictors, even in similar diseases (growth anomalies) found on different host genera (Acropora vs. Porites). As human densities and environmental degradation increase globally, the prevalence of coral diseases like PGAs could increase accordingly, halted only perhaps by declines in host density below thresholds required for disease establishment.

  9. 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

  10. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jessen, Christian; Villa Lizcano, Javier Felipe; Bayer, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Aranda, Manuel; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15)N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.

  11. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Jessen

    Full Text Available Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.

  12. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    KAUST Repository

    Jessen, Christian

    2013-04-22

    Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ (15)N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.

  13. 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

  14. Larval settlement preferences and post-settlement survival of the threatened Caribbean corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Paul, Valerie J.; Arnold, S. N.; Steneck, R. S.

    2010-03-01

    The settlement specificity of two threatened Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, was tested by measuring their rates of larval metamorphosis in response to crustose coralline algae (CCA) and other substrata. In the no-choice experiments, the coral larvae were placed in six treatments: filtered seawater (FSW), a fragment of biofilmed dead skeleton of A. palmata, or a fragment of one of four species of CCA ( Hydrolithon boergesenii, Porolithon pachydermum, Paragoniolithon solubile, and Titanoderma prototypum). Within each CCA treatment, there were three different substrata on which to settle and metamorphose: (1) the CCA surface, (2) the rock under the CCA, or (3) the plastic dish. The 5-day-old larvae of both A. palmata and A. cervicornis had similar rates of total metamorphosis (all substrata combined) in every treatment (excluding FSW) even in the absence of CCA. However, there were differences in larval behavior among the CCA species since the larvae settled and metamorphosed on different substrata in the presence of different CCA species. In the no-choice experiments the larvae of both corals had higher rates of metamorphosis on the top surfaces of H. boergesenii and/or T. prototypum than on P. pachydermum. In the choice experiments, the coral larvae were offered two species of CCA in the same dish. When given a choice, both species of coral larvae had more settlement and metamorphosis on the surface of H. boergesenii or T. prototypum or clean rock than onto the surface of P. solubile. After 6 weeks in the field, transplanted A. palmata recruits had approximately 15% survival on both T. prototypum and H. boergesenii, but A. cervicornis recruits only survived on T. prototypum (13%). Some, but not all, CCA species facilitated the larval settlement and post-settlement survival of these two threatened corals, highlighting the importance of benthic community composition for successful coral recruitment.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    2009-11-01

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

  16. Distribution and abundance of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and prevalence of white-band disease at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayor, Philippe A.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Hillis-Starr, Zandy M.

    2006-05-01

    In the 1970s and 1980s elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, declined dramatically throughout the Caribbean primarily due to white-band disease (WBD). In 2005, elkhorn coral was proposed for listing as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. WBD was first documented at Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM). Together with hurricanes WBD reduced live elkhorn coral coverage by probably over 90%. In the past decade some recovery has been observed at BIRNM. This study assessed the distribution and abundance of elkhorn coral and estimated the prevalence of WBD at the monument. Within an area of 795 ha, we estimated 97,232 134,371 (95% confidence limits) elkhorn coral colonies with any dimension of connected live tissue greater than one meter, about 3% of which were infected by WBD. Despite some recovery, the elkhorn coral density remains low and WBD may continue to present a threat to the elkhorn coral population.

  17. Geographic and habitat partitioning of genetically distinct zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium) in Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulstrup, K E; Van Oppen, M J H

    2003-12-01

    Intra- and intercolony diversity and distribution of zooxanthellae in acroporid corals is largely uncharted. In this study, two molecular methods were applied to determine the distribution of zooxanthellae in the branching corals Acropora tenuis and A. valida at several reef locations in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Sun-exposed and shaded parts of all colonies were examined. Single-stranded conformational polymorphism analysis showed that individual colonies of A. tenuis at two locations harbour two strains of Symbiodinium belonging to clade C (C1 and C2), whereas conspecific colonies at two other reefs harboured a single zooxanthella strain. A. valida was found to simultaneously harbour strains belonging to two distinct phylogenetic clades (C and D) at all locations sampled. A novel method with improved sensitivity (quantitative polymerase chain reaction using Taqman fluorogenic probes) was used to map the relative abundance distribution of the two zooxanthella clades. At two of the five sampling locations both coral species were collected. At these two locations, composition of the zooxanthella communities showed the same pattern in both coral species, i.e. correlation with ambient light in Pioneer Bay and an absence thereof in Nelly Bay. The results show that the distribution of genetically distinct zooxanthellae is correlated with light regime and possibly temperature in some (but not all) colonies of A. tenuis and A. valida and at some reef locations, which we interpret as acclimation to local environmental conditions.

  18. Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valérie F. Chamberland

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata populations provide important ecological functions on shallow Caribbean reefs, many of which were lost when a disease reduced their abundance by more than 95% beginning in the mid-1970s. Since then, a lack of significant recovery has prompted rehabilitation initiatives throughout the Caribbean. Here, we report the first successful outplanting and long-term survival of A. palmata settlers reared from gametes collected in the field. A. palmata larvae were settled on clay substrates (substrate units and either outplanted on the reef two weeks after settlement or kept in a land-based nursery. After 2.5 years, the survival rate of A. palmata settlers outplanted two weeks after settlement was 6.8 times higher (3.4% than that of settlers kept in a land-based nursery (0.5%. Furthermore, 32% of the substrate units on the reef still harbored one or more well-developed recruit compared to 3% for substrate units kept in the nursery. In addition to increasing survival, outplanting A. palmata settlers shortly after settlement reduced the costs to produce at least one 2.5-year-old A. palmata individual from $325 to $13 USD. Thus, this study not only highlights the first successful long-term rearing of this critically endangered coral species, but also shows that early outplanting of sexually reared coral settlers can be more cost-effective than the traditional approach of nursery rearing for restoration efforts aimed at rehabilitating coral populations.

  19. Gene Expression Patterns during the Early Stages of Chemically Induced Larval Metamorphosis and Settlement of the Coral Acropora millepora

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siboni, Nachshon; Abrego, David; Motti, Cherie A.; Tebben, Jan; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

    The morphogenetic transition of motile coral larvae into sessile primary polyps is triggered and genetically programmed upon exposure to environmental biomaterials, such as crustose coralline algae (CCA) and bacterial biofilms. Although the specific chemical cues that trigger coral larval morphogenesis are poorly understood there is much more information available on the genes that play a role in this early life phase. Putative chemical cues from natural biomaterials yielded defined chemical samples that triggered different morphogenetic outcomes: an extract derived from a CCA-associated Pseudoalteromonas bacterium that induced metamorphosis, characterized by non-attached metamorphosed juveniles; and two fractions of the CCA Hydrolithon onkodes (Heydrich) that induced settlement, characterized by attached metamorphosed juveniles. In an effort to distinguish the genes involved in these two morphogenetic transitions, competent larvae of the coral Acropora millepora were exposed to these predictable cues and the expression profiles of 47 coral genes of interest (GOI) were investigated after only 1 hour of exposure using multiplex RT–qPCR. Thirty-two GOI were differentially expressed, indicating a putative role during the early regulation of morphogenesis. The most striking differences were observed for immunity-related genes, hypothesized to be involved in cell recognition and adhesion, and for fluorescent protein genes. Principal component analysis of gene expression profiles resulted in separation between the different morphogenetic cues and exposure times, and not only identified those genes involved in the early response but also those which influenced downstream biological changes leading to larval metamorphosis or settlement. PMID:24632854

  20. Photosynthetic Acclimation of Symbiodinium in hospite Depends on Vertical Position in the Tissue of the Scleractinian Coral Montastrea curta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lichtenberg, Mads; Larkum, Anthony W. D.; Kühl, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Coral photophysiology has been studied intensively from the colony scale down to the scale of single fluorescent pigment granules as light is one of the key determinants for coral health. We studied the photophysiology of the oral and aboral symbiont band of scleractinian coral Montastrea curta to investigate if different acclimation to light exist in hospite on a polyp scale. By combined use of electrochemical and fiber-optic microsensors for O2, scalar irradiance and variable chlorophyll fluorescence, we could characterize the physical and chemical microenvironment experienced by the symbionts and, for the first time, estimate effective quantum yields of PSII photochemistry and rates of electron transport at the position of the zooxanthellae corrected for the in-tissue gradient of scalar irradiance. The oral- and aboral Symbiodinium layers received ∼71% and ∼33% of surface scalar irradiance, respectively, and the two symbiont layers experience considerable differences in light exposure. Rates of gross photosynthesis did not differ markedly between the oral- and aboral layer and curves of PSII electron transport rates corrected for scalar irradiance in hospite, showed that the light use efficiency under sub-saturating light conditions were similar between the two layers. However, the aboral Symbiodinium band did not experience photosynthetic saturation, even at the highest investigated irradiance where the oral layer was clearly saturated. We thus found a different light acclimation response for the oral and aboral symbiont bands in hospite, and discuss whether such response could be shaped by spectral shifts caused by tissue gradients of scalar irradiance. Based on our experimental finding, combined with previous knowledge, we present a conceptual model on the photophysiology of Symbiodinium residing inside living coral tissue under natural gradients of light and chemical parameters. PMID:26955372

  1. Photosynthetic acclimation of Symbiodinium in hospite depends on vertical position in the tissue of the scleractinian coral Montastrea curta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mads eLichtenberg

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral photophysiology has been studied intensively from the colony scale down to the scale of single fluorescent pigment granules as light is one of the key determinants for coral health. We studied the photophysiology of the oral and aboral symbiont band of scleractinian coral Montastrea curta to investigate if different acclimation to light exist in hospite on a polyp scale. By combined use of electrochemical and fiber-optic microsensors for O2, scalar irradiance and variable chlorophyll fluorescence, we could characterize the physical and chemical microenvironment experienced by the symbionts and, for the first time, estimate effective quantum yields of PSII photochemistry and rates of electron transport at the position of the zooxanthellae corrected for the in-tissue gradient of scalar irradiance. The oral- and aboral Symbiodinium layers received ~71% and ~33% of surface scalar irradiance, respectively, and the two symbiont layers experience considerable differences in light exposure. Rates of gross photosynthesis did not differ markedly between the oral- and aboral layer and curves of PSII electron transport rates corrected for scalar irradiance in hospite, showed that the light use efficiency under sub-saturating light conditions were similar between the two layers. However, the aboral Symbiodinium band did not experience photosynthetic saturation, even at the highest investigated irradiance where the oral layer was clearly saturated. We thus found a different light acclimation response for the oral and aboral symbiont bands in hospite, and discuss whether such response could be shaped by spectral shifts caused by tissue gradients of scalar irradiance. Based on our experimental finding, combined with previous knowledge, we present a conceptual model on the photophysiology of Symbiodinium residing inside living coral tissue under natural gradients of light and chemical parameters.

  2. 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.

  3. Recent origin and semi-permeable species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Stylophora from the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arrigoni, Roberto; Benzoni, Francesca; Terraneo, Tullia I; Caragnano, Annalisa; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-10-07

    Reticulate evolution, introgressive hybridisation, and phenotypic plasticity have been documented in scleractinian corals and have challenged our ability to interpret speciation processes. Stylophora is a key model system in coral biology and physiology, but genetic analyses have revealed that cryptic lineages concealed by morphological stasis exist in the Stylophora pistillata species complex. The Red Sea represents a hotspot for Stylophora biodiversity with six morphospecies described, two of which are regionally endemic. We investigated Stylophora species boundaries from the Red Sea and the associated Symbiodinium by sequencing seven DNA loci. Stylophora morphospecies from the Red Sea were not resolved based on mitochondrial phylogenies and showed nuclear allele sharing. Low genetic differentiation, weak isolation, and strong gene flow were found among morphospecies although no signals of genetic recombination were evident among them. Stylophora mamillata harboured Symbiodinium clade C whereas the other two Stylophora morphospecies hosted either Symbiodinium clade A or C. These evolutionary patterns suggest that either gene exchange occurs through reticulate evolution or that multiple ecomorphs of a phenotypically plastic species occur in the Red Sea. The recent origin of the lineage leading to the Red Sea Stylophora may indicate an ongoing speciation driven by environmental changes and incomplete lineage sorting.

  4. Recent origin and semi-permeable species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Stylophora from the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Arrigoni, Roberto; Benzoni, Francesca; Terraneo, Tullia Isotta; Caragnano, Annalisa; Berumen, Michael L.

    2016-01-01

    Reticulate evolution, introgressive hybridisation, and phenotypic plasticity have been documented in scleractinian corals and have challenged our ability to interpret speciation processes. Stylophora is a key model system in coral biology and physiology, but genetic analyses have revealed that cryptic lineages concealed by morphological stasis exist in the Stylophora pistillata species complex. The Red Sea represents a hotspot for Stylophora biodiversity with six morphospecies described, two of which are regionally endemic. We investigated Stylophora species boundaries from the Red Sea and the associated Symbiodinium by sequencing seven DNA loci. Stylophora morphospecies from the Red Sea were not resolved based on mitochondrial phylogenies and showed nuclear allele sharing. Low genetic differentiation, weak isolation, and strong gene flow were found among morphospecies although no signals of genetic recombination were evident among them. Stylophora mamillata harboured Symbiodinium clade C whereas the other two Stylophora morphospecies hosted either Symbiodinium clade A or C. These evolutionary patterns suggest that either gene exchange occurs through reticulate evolution or that multiple ecomorphs of a phenotypically plastic species occur in the Red Sea. The recent origin of the lineage leading to the Red Sea Stylophora may indicate an ongoing speciation driven by environmental changes and incomplete lineage sorting.

  5. Recent origin and semi-permeable species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Stylophora from the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Arrigoni, Roberto

    2016-10-07

    Reticulate evolution, introgressive hybridisation, and phenotypic plasticity have been documented in scleractinian corals and have challenged our ability to interpret speciation processes. Stylophora is a key model system in coral biology and physiology, but genetic analyses have revealed that cryptic lineages concealed by morphological stasis exist in the Stylophora pistillata species complex. The Red Sea represents a hotspot for Stylophora biodiversity with six morphospecies described, two of which are regionally endemic. We investigated Stylophora species boundaries from the Red Sea and the associated Symbiodinium by sequencing seven DNA loci. Stylophora morphospecies from the Red Sea were not resolved based on mitochondrial phylogenies and showed nuclear allele sharing. Low genetic differentiation, weak isolation, and strong gene flow were found among morphospecies although no signals of genetic recombination were evident among them. Stylophora mamillata harboured Symbiodinium clade C whereas the other two Stylophora morphospecies hosted either Symbiodinium clade A or C. These evolutionary patterns suggest that either gene exchange occurs through reticulate evolution or that multiple ecomorphs of a phenotypically plastic species occur in the Red Sea. The recent origin of the lineage leading to the Red Sea Stylophora may indicate an ongoing speciation driven by environmental changes and incomplete lineage sorting.

  6. Ecological and genetic data indicate recovery of the endangered coral Acropora palmata in Los Roques, Southern Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubillaga, A. L.; Márquez, L. M.; Cróquer, A.; Bastidas, C.

    2008-03-01

    The rapid decline of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata has often been linked with coral reef deterioration in the Caribbean; yet, it remains controversial whether these species are currently recovering or still declining. In this study, the status of ten populations of A. palmata in Los Roques National Park (LRNP), Venezuela is presented. Six of these populations showed signs of recovery. Ten 80 m2 belt-transects were surveyed at each of the ten reef sites. Within belt-transects, each colony was measured (maximum diameter and height) and its status (healthy, diseased or injured) was recorded. Populations in recovery were defined by a dominance of small to medium-sized colonies in densities >1 colony per 10 m2, together with 75% undamaged colonies, a low prevalence of diseases (<10%), and a low density of predators (0.25 snails per colony). Based on allozyme analysis of seven polymorphic loci in four populations ( N = 30), a moderate to high-genetic connectivity among these populations ( F ST = 0.048) was found with a predominance of sexual over asexual reproduction ( N* : N = 1; N go : N = 0.93-1). Both ecological and molecular data support a good prognosis for the recovery of this species in Los Roques.

  7. Composition and biological activities of the aqueous extracts of three scleractinian corals from the Mexican Caribbean: Pseudodiploria strigosa, Porites astreoides and Siderastrea siderea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Arredondo, Alejandro; Rojas-Molina, Alejandra; Ibarra-Alvarado, César; Lazcano-Pérez, Fernando; Arreguín-Espinosa, Roberto; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Judith

    2016-01-01

    Scleractinian corals (stony corals) are the most abundant reef-forming cnidarians found in coral reefs throughout the world. Despite their abundance and ecological importance, information about the diversity of their toxins and their biological activities is very scarce. In this study, the chemical composition and the biological activities of the aqueous extracts of Pseudodiploria strigosa , Porites astreoides and Siderastrea siderea , three scleractinian corals from the Mexican Caribbean, have been assessed for the first time. Toxicity of the extracts was assessed in crickets; the presence of cytolysins was detected by the hemolysis assay; the vasoconstrictor activity was determined by the isolated rat aortic ring assay; the nociceptive activity was evaluated by the formalin test. The presence of phospholipases A 2 (PLA 2 ), serine proteases, and hyaluronidases was determined by enzymatic methods. Low-molecular-weight fractions were obtained by gel filtration chromatography and ultrafiltration. Extracts from the three species were toxic to crickets, induced hemolysis in human and rat erythrocytes, produced vasoconstriction on isolated rat aortic rings, and presented phospholipase A 2 and serine-protease activity. Despite the fact that these corals are not considered to be harmless to humans, the extracts generated significant nociceptive responses. The matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry analysis of the low-molecular-weight fractions revealed the presence of peptides within a mass range of 3000 to 6000 Da. These fractions were toxic to crickets and two of them induced a transitory vasoconstrictor effect on isolated rat aortic rings. This study suggests that scleractinian corals produce low-molecular-weight peptides that are lethal to crickets and induce vasoconstriction.

  8. Variation of the Symbiodinium Community Composition in Scleractinian Corals along a Cross-shelf and Depth Gradient

    KAUST Repository

    Mejia Restrepo, Alejandro

    2017-12-01

    Corals form a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic zooxanthellae from the genus Symbiodinium; the breakdown of this symbiosis results in the phenomenon known as coral bleaching. This relationship is especially vulnerable to high temperature stress, although corals may survive if they have resistant types of symbionts, or switch their community composition towards them. To assess the variation of the symbiont community in different environmental conditions, I recorded the temperature and collected samples from six scleractinian coral species and one calcifying hydrozoan, in two inshore, two mid-shelf, and two offshore reefs at 1, 15, and 30m depth, analyzing Symbiodinium diversity using Next Generation Sequencing with the SymPortal profile typing approach. The temperature was very similar for all points in winter, when coral samples were collected, but variation between points increased until a maximum at summer, with the shallower parts of the inshore reefs showing higher temperatures and the points at 30m depth showing the lowest. The Symbiodinium composition was more similar between samples of the same host species than among samples of the same reefs or depths. Coral species from the Pocilloporidae family and Millepora dichotoma showed specific association with different profile types, specifically, intragenomic variants of Symbiodinium type A1, which appears to be dominant in the Red Sea although it has not been reported for these species in other regions. The other species showed specific associations with types previously reported in other regions, mostly from clade C and D, although also having different types and intragenomic variants. For most cases, certain profile types, which can reflect different species or populations, appeared to be dominant in particular environmental conditions, following a distribution related with depth, reef type, or both. In conclusion, this study showed that the Symbiodinium composition depends more on the host species

  9. Ocean acidification does not affect the physiology of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera during a 5-week experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, A.; Kurihara, H.

    2013-03-01

    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels, is being absorbed by the oceans and is causing ocean acidification. Ocean acidification involves the decrease of both the pH and the calcium carbonate saturation state. Ocean acidification is predicted to impact the physiology of marine organisms and reduce the calcification rates of corals. In the present study, we measured the rates of calcification, respiration, photosynthesis, and zooxanthellae density of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera under near-natural summertime temperature and sunlight for a 5-week period. We found that these key physiological parameters were not affected by both mid-CO2 (pCO2 = 744 ± 38, pH = 7.97 ± 0.02, Ωarag = 2.6 ± 0.1) and high-CO2 conditions (pCO2 = 2,142 ± 205, pH = 7.56 ± 0.04, Ωarag = 1.1 ± 0.2) throughout the 35 days experimental period. Additionally, there was no significant correlation between calcification rate and seawater aragonite saturation (Ωarag). These results suggest that the impacts of ocean acidification on corals physiology may be more complex than have been previously proposed.

  10. Spawning and fertility of F1 hybrids of the coral genus Acropora in the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isomura, Naoko; Iwao, Kenji; Morita, Masaya; Fukami, Hironobu

    2016-09-01

    The role of hybridization through multi-specific synchronous spawning in the evolution of reef-building corals has been discussed since the 1990s, particularly for the genus Acropora. However, F1 hybrids have been reported as common in only one case in the Caribbean, with no evidence of mechanisms that would allow continuous reproduction of the hybrids. In this study, we report for the first time the fecundity of two F1 hybrid colonies produced experimentally from two Indo-Pacific species, A. intermedia and A. florida. These F1 hybrids spawned at the same time as the parental corals. Backcrossing and F1 hybrid crossing were successful in both directions. Furthermore, more than 90% self-fertilization was achieved in an F1 hybrid, although it was negligible in the parental corals. While it is possible that the F1 hybrid was a chimera, these results suggest that some products of interspecific hybridization may persist as the offspring of self-fertilizing F1 hybrids.

  11. Earlier (late Pliocene) first appearance of the Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata: Stratigraphic and evolutionary implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNeill, Donald F.; Budd, Ann F.; Borne, Pamela F.

    1997-10-01

    An integrated stratigraphic study of reefal deposits on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama (Limon, Costa Rica) has discovered a significantly earlier first appearance of the major reef-building coral Acropora palmata. A. palmata is here reported from the early late Pliocene, constrained in age to within the Gauss chron (ca. 3.6 2.6 Ma). This coral was previously thought to have originated in the earliest Pleistocene and has subsequently been used as a Quaternary marker throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas. An earlier appearance in the southern Caribbean implies a diachronous first appearance datum relative to the northern Caribbean. This older age also places A. palmata well within the transition phase of a Pliocene (4 1 Ma) faunal turnover that was marked by widespread extinction and origination of Caribbean coral species. An early late Pliocene origination is coincident with formation of the Isthmus, climate reorganization, and frequent sea-level changes associated with onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciations. The rapid growth and accumulation rates that characterize A. palmata may therefore be adaptive to these fluctuating environmental conditions, enabling its success during the subsequent Pleistocene glacial cycles.

  12. Calicoblastic neoplasms in Acropora palmata, with a review of reports on anomalies of growth and form in corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, E C; Halas, J C; McCarty, H B

    1986-05-01

    Colonies of the elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), possessing raised, whitened, irregularly shaped skeletal protuberances, were discovered at Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks, Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, Key Largo, FL. These lesions exhibited relatively rapid growth and spread along the branches, as polyps were overlaid by coenosteal skeletal material. Histopathological examinations of the soft tissues surrounding and extending into the skeletal masses revealed proliferation of gastrovascular canals and associated calicoblastic epidermis, with loss of normal polyp structures and zooxanthellae. The slightly atypical tumor calicoblasts were cuboidal to columnar, resembling those found in the rapidly growing apical tips. Stable carbon isotope ratios of skeletal samples revealed that the tumor skeleton was isotopically lighter than the skeleton in the normal or apical track regions, indicative of higher tissue metabolic rates and lack of carbon isotope fractionation by zooxanthellae. This condition appears to be a neoplasm of the coral, and it is proposed that it be classified "calicoblastic epithelioma." Several different types of abnormal skeletal deposition, possibly the result of neoplastic processes, have been reported to occur in stony corals and are here reviewed.

  13. Genetic diversity of the Acropora-associated hydrozoans: new insight from the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Maggioni, Davide

    2017-01-21

    To date, four nominal species and several other unidentified species of Zanclea hydrozoans are known to live symbiotically with scleractinians, and recent surveys reported this association also in the Red Sea. Previous molecular studies showed that each coral genus involved in this association hosts only one species or molecular clade of Zanclea, with the only exception being the genus Acropora, which hosts at least two Zanclea species. Moreover, some of the detected genetic lineages were morphologically undistinguishable in the polyp stage, suggesting the presence of cryptic species. In this study, we investigated the morphology and genetic diversity of Acropora-associated Zanclea specimens collected in previous studies in Egypt and Israel, as well as new samples collected in Saudi Arabia. Based on the current data, all the analysed samples were morphologically identical to Zanclea gallii, a species associated with Acropora corals from the Maldives. However, molecular analyses separated the samples collected in the Red Sea from all other coral-associated hydroids. Therefore, phylogenetic reconstructions, haplotype networks, genetic distance analyses and distribution data allowed us to identify a previously unknown cryptic species of Acropora-associated hydroid, here named Zanclea gallii IIa, following a recently proposed molecular nomenclature.

  14. SIMULATED SOLAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION EFFECTS ON 5 SPECIES OF SCLERACTINIAN CORALS

    Science.gov (United States)

    The impact of global climate change factors such as increased temperature and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on coral bleaching are of continued interest to the USEPA. Coral bleaching occurs when symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their pigments are depleted in response to stressors suc...

  15. Red Light Represses the Photophysiology of the Scleractinian Coral Stylophora pistillata

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Melis, A.A.M.; Ferreira Da Silva, C.I.; Leal, M.C.; Vogels, L.; Mutter, C.; Osinga, R.

    2014-01-01

    Light spectrum plays a key role in the biology of symbiotic corals, with blue light resulting in higher coral growth, zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a content and photosynthesis rates as compared to red light. However, it is still unclear whether these physiological processes are blue-enhanced

  16. The Hidden Diversity of Zanclea Associated with Scleractinians Revealed by Molecular Data.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simone Montano

    Full Text Available Scleractinian reef corals have recently been acknowledged as the most numerous host group found in association with hydroids belonging to the Zanclea genus. However, knowledge of the molecular phylogenetic relationships among Zanclea species associated with scleractinians is just beginning. This study, using the nuclear 28S rDNA region and the fast-evolving mitochondrial 16S rRNA and COI genes, provides the most comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Zanclea with a particular focus on the genetic diversity among Zanclea specimens associated with 13 scleractinian genera. The monophyly of Zanclea associated with scleractinians was strongly supported in all nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenetic reconstructions. Furthermore, a combined mitochondrial 16S and COI phylogenetic tree revealed a multitude of hidden molecular lineages within this group (Clades I, II, III, V, VI, VII, and VIII, suggesting the existence of both host-generalist and genus-specific lineages of Zanclea associated with scleractinians. In addition to Z. gallii living in association with the genus Acropora, we discovered four well-supported lineages (Clades I, II, III, and VII, each one forming a strict association with a single scleractinian genus, including sequences of Zanclea associated with Montipora from two geographically separated areas (Maldives and Taiwan. Two host-generalist Zanclea lineages were also observed, and one of them was formed by Zanclea specimens symbiotic with seven scleractinian genera (Clade VIII. We also found that the COI gene allows the recognition of separated hidden lineages in agreement with the commonly recommended mitochondrial 16S as a DNA barcoding gene for Hydrozoa and shows reasonable potential for phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses in the genus Zanclea. Finally, as no DNA sequences are available for the majority of the nominal Zanclea species known, we note that they will be necessary to elucidate the diversity of the

  17. The Hidden Diversity of Zanclea Associated with Scleractinians Revealed by Molecular Data

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone

    2015-07-24

    Scleractinian reef corals have recently been acknowledged as the most numerous host group found in association with hydroids belonging to the Zanclea genus. However, knowledge of the molecular phylogenetic relationships among Zanclea species associated with scleractinians is just beginning. This study, using the nuclear 28S rDNA region and the fast-evolving mitochondrial 16S rRNA and COI genes, provides the most comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Zanclea with a particular focus on the genetic diversity among Zanclea specimens associated with 13 scleractinian genera. The monophyly of Zanclea associated with scleractinians was strongly supported in all nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenetic reconstructions. Furthermore, a combined mitochondrial 16S and COI phylogenetic tree revealed a multitude of hidden molecular lineages within this group (Clades I, II, III, V, VI, VII, and VIII), suggesting the existence of both host-generalist and genus-specific lineages of Zanclea associated with scleractinians. In addition to Z. gallii living in association with the genus Acropora, we discovered four well-supported lineages (Clades I, II, III, and VII), each one forming a strict association with a single scleractinian genus, including sequences of Zanclea associated with Montipora from two geographically separated areas (Maldives and Taiwan). Two host-generalist Zanclea lineages were also observed, and one of them was formed by Zanclea specimens symbiotic with seven scleractinian genera (Clade VIII). We also found that the COI gene allows the recognition of separated hidden lineages in agreement with the commonly recommended mitochondrial 16S as a DNA barcoding gene for Hydrozoa and shows reasonable potential for phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses in the genus Zanclea. Finally, as no DNA sequences are available for the majority of the nominal Zanclea species known, we note that they will be necessary to elucidate the diversity of the Zanclea-scleractinian

  18. Unexpected complexity of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network.

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo

    2011-04-28

    Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.

  19. Unexpected complexity of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network.

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo; Mavromatis, Charalampos Harris; Bayer, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.; Ravasi, Timothy

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.

  20. Microscopic observation of symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals in nutrient-enriched seawater.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Yasuaki; Iguchi, Akira; Inoue, Mayuri; Mori, Chiharu; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Nakamura, Takashi

    2013-03-15

    Symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals, which were grown in the laboratory from the gametes of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera and had settled down onto plastic culture plates, were observed with a microscope under different nutrient conditions. The symbiotic corals successfully removed the surrounding benthic microalgae (BMA), whereas the aposymbiotic corals were in close physical contact with BMA. The areal growth rate of the symbiotic corals was significantly higher than that of the aposymbiotic corals. The addition of nutrients to the culture seawater increased the chlorophyll a content in the symbiotic coral polyps and enhanced the growth of some of the symbiotic corals, however the average growth rate was not significantly affected, most likely because of the competition with BMA. The comparison between the symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals showed that the establishment of a symbiotic association could be imperative for post-settlement juvenile corals to survive in high-nutrient seawater. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. DNA barcode of Acropora hyacinthus of Karimunjawa Archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayanti, D. P.; Indrayanti, E.; Nuryadi, H.; Rintiantono, S. A.; Sabdono, A.

    2018-03-01

    Karimunjawa is one of the earliest marine parks in Indonesia. Karimunjawa National Park (KNP) was designated as a marine conservation area to conserve marine resources from destructive fishing activities. Scleractinian corals in the genus Acropora are among the most dominant distributed in the KNPs, including the species of Acropora hyacinthus. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of intra- and interspecific COI variabilities in A. hyacinthus to analyze genetic diversity and to describe the kinship relationship of the coral between 5 localities of the reefs. Genetic marker Cytochrome Oxidase I of the mitochondrial genome DNA (mtDNA) was used to analyze genetic diversity. Reconstruction of phylogenetic tree and genetic diversity were made by using software MEGA 5.05 (Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis). The results indicate corals A. hyacinthus from five localities of Karimunjawa Archipelago are in the high category of genetic diversity. However, the five populations showed a close genetic relationship of kinship. This is likely due to the small size of the population and few numbers of samples that may not represent the population. The results may aid managers of the park in the selection of appropriate propagules sources which can help to restore important data for conservation and sustain coral reef resources.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. Variation in the health and biochemical condition of the coral Acropora tenuis along two water quality gradients on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocker, Melissa M; Francis, David S; Fabricius, Katharina E; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K

    2017-06-30

    This study explores how plasticity in biochemical attributes, used as indicators of health and condition, enables the coral Acropora tenuis to respond to differing water quality regimes in inshore regions of the Great Barrier Reef. Health attributes were monitored along a strong and weak water quality gradient, each with three reefs at increasing distances from a major river source. Attributes differed significantly only along the strong gradient; corals grew fastest, had the least dense skeletons, highest symbiont densities and highest lipid concentrations closest to the river mouth, where water quality was poorest. High nutrient and particulate loads were only detrimental to skeletal density, which decreased as linear extension increased, highlighting a trade-off. Our study underscores the importance of assessing multiple health attributes in coral reef monitoring. For example, autotrophic indices are poor indicators of coral health and condition, but improve when combined with attributes like lipid content and biomass. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. A survey of cellular reactions to environmental stress and disease in Caribbean scleractinian corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, Esther C.

    1984-03-01

    Despite growing concern about the demise of coral reefs in many areas of the world, few studies have investigated the possibility that bacteria- or virus-caused diseases may be important agents in the disappearance of living coral tissue from reefs, and that their occurrence and transmission may be influenced by natural or man-made changes in water quality, particularly increased sedimentation and turbidity. One forereef site off St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands, and three shallow-water reef sites off Puerto Rico were examined for variations in coral composition, local environmental conditions, and the presence of possible diseases in the stony corals. Visual observations were supplemented with standard histopathological examination under the light microscope of tissues from 257 specimens (representing 9 genera and 13 species), along with additional samples obtained from the Netherlands Antilles, the Grenadines, the Florida Keys and the Smithsonian Coral Reef Microcosm. This procedure proved to be necessary to accurately determine the condition of the colony, to detect the presence of microorganisms, and to correlate tissue health and microparasite infestations with apparent symptoms. These lesions varied with the species and the site. For example, off Guayanilla Bay, three species showed increased or decreased mucosecretory cell development, and another exhibited an unusual microparasite, which may be related to the chronic sedimentation at this site. Although colonies of several species showed signs of “white band disease” at five locations, bacterial colonies composed of Gram-negative rods were present only in acroporid tissues from the relatively pristine St. Croix site and the Netherlands Antilles. The distribution and possible mode of occurrence of these and other diseases and microparasite infestations suggest that acute changes in microhabitat conditions or injuries to individual colonies may be as important to the development of some of these lesions as

  5. Tracking transmission of apicomplexan symbionts in diverse Caribbean corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nathan L Kirk

    Full Text Available Symbionts in each generation are transmitted to new host individuals either vertically (parent to offspring, horizontally (from exogenous sources, or a combination of both. Scleractinian corals make an excellent study system for understanding patterns of symbiont transmission since they harbor diverse symbionts and possess distinct reproductive modes of either internal brooding or external broadcast spawning that generally correlate with vertical or horizontal transmission, respectively. Here, we focused on the under-recognized, but apparently widespread, coral-associated apicomplexans (Protista: Alveolata to determine if symbiont transmission depends on host reproductive mode. Specifically, a PCR-based assay was utilized towards identifying whether planula larvae and reproductive adults from brooding and broadcast spawning scleractinian coral species in Florida and Belize harbored apicomplexan DNA. Nearly all (85.5%; n = 85/89 examined planulae of five brooding species (Porites astreoides, Agaricia tenuifolia, Agaricia agaricites, Favia fragum, Mycetophyllia ferox and adults of P. astreoides were positive for apicomplexan DNA. In contrast, no (n = 0/10 apicomplexan DNA was detected from planulae of four broadcast spawning species (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and Orbicella faveolata and rarely in gametes (8.9%; n = 5/56 of these species sampled from the same geographical range as the brooding species. In contrast, tissue samples from nearly all (92.0%; n = 81/88 adults of the broadcast spawning species A. cervicornis, A. palmata and O. faveolata harbored apicomplexan DNA, including colonies whose gametes and planulae tested negative for these symbionts. Taken together, these data suggest apicomplexans are transmitted vertically in these brooding scleractinian coral species while the broadcast spawning scleractinian species examined here acquire these symbionts horizontally. Notably, these transmission

  6. Tracking transmission of apicomplexan symbionts in diverse Caribbean corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirk, Nathan L; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Miller, Margaret W; Fogarty, Nicole D; Santos, Scott R

    2013-01-01

    Symbionts in each generation are transmitted to new host individuals either vertically (parent to offspring), horizontally (from exogenous sources), or a combination of both. Scleractinian corals make an excellent study system for understanding patterns of symbiont transmission since they harbor diverse symbionts and possess distinct reproductive modes of either internal brooding or external broadcast spawning that generally correlate with vertical or horizontal transmission, respectively. Here, we focused on the under-recognized, but apparently widespread, coral-associated apicomplexans (Protista: Alveolata) to determine if symbiont transmission depends on host reproductive mode. Specifically, a PCR-based assay was utilized towards identifying whether planula larvae and reproductive adults from brooding and broadcast spawning scleractinian coral species in Florida and Belize harbored apicomplexan DNA. Nearly all (85.5%; n = 85/89) examined planulae of five brooding species (Porites astreoides, Agaricia tenuifolia, Agaricia agaricites, Favia fragum, Mycetophyllia ferox) and adults of P. astreoides were positive for apicomplexan DNA. In contrast, no (n = 0/10) apicomplexan DNA was detected from planulae of four broadcast spawning species (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and Orbicella faveolata) and rarely in gametes (8.9%; n = 5/56) of these species sampled from the same geographical range as the brooding species. In contrast, tissue samples from nearly all (92.0%; n = 81/88) adults of the broadcast spawning species A. cervicornis, A. palmata and O. faveolata harbored apicomplexan DNA, including colonies whose gametes and planulae tested negative for these symbionts. Taken together, these data suggest apicomplexans are transmitted vertically in these brooding scleractinian coral species while the broadcast spawning scleractinian species examined here acquire these symbionts horizontally. Notably, these transmission patterns are

  7. Acute tissue death (white syndrome) affects the microenvironment of tabular Acropora corals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Sandra Breum; Vestergaard, Maj; Ainsworth, Tracy D.

    2010-01-01

    White syndrome (WS) is a collective term for coral diseases that cause acute tissue loss, resulting in apparently healthy tissue bordering on exposed skeleton. In this study, the microenvironmental condition and tissue structure of WS-affected tabular acroporid corals were assessed by O2...... microelectrodes and histological techniques. The high spatial resolution of the microelectrode measurements enabled an evaluation of the extent of physiological changes at, and 2 cm away from, the WS border. Respiration of the coral host was decreased on the skeleton-tissue border but was comparable...... to that of healthy corals only 2 cm away from the border. Histological data, however, showed a decrease in mesogloea thickness on and 2 cm away from the WS border, which correlates with a previously observed allocation of photoassimilates away from the WS border. We suggest that there are colony-wide negative...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Lirman

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

  10. 17Beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD) in scleractinian corals and zooxanthellae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blomquist, Charles H; Lima, P H; Tarrant, A M; Atkinson, M J; Atkinson, S

    2006-04-01

    Steroid metabolism studies have yielded evidence of 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD) activity in corals. This project was undertaken to clarify whether there are multiple isoforms of 17beta-HSD, whether activity levels vary seasonally, and if zooxanthellae contribute to activity. 17Beta-HSD activity was characterized in zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate coral fragments collected in summer and winter and in zooxanthellae cultured from Montipora capitata. More specifically, 17beta-HSD activity was characterized with regard to steroid substrate and inhibitor specificity, coenzyme specificity, and Michaelis constants for estradiol (E2) and NADP+. Six samples each of M. capitata and Tubastrea coccinea (three summers, three winters) were assayed with E2 and NADP+. Specific activity levels (pmol/mg protein) varied 10-fold among M. capitata samples and 6-fold among T. coccinea samples. There was overlap of activity levels between summer and winter samples. NADP+/NAD+ activity ratios varied from 1.6 to 22.2 for M. capatita, 2.3 to 3.8 for T. coccinea and 0.7 to 1.1 for zooxanthellae. Coumestrol was the most inhibitory of the steroids and phytoestrogens tested. Our data confirm that corals and zooxanthellae contain 17beta-HSD and are consistent with the presence of more than one isoform of the enzyme.

  11. Secondary structure of the rRNA ITS2 region reveals key evolutionary patterns in acroporid corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coleman, Annette W; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2008-10-01

    This study investigates the ribosomal RNA transcript secondary structure in corals as confirmed by compensatory base changes in Isopora/Acropora species. These species are unique versus all other corals in the absence of a eukaryote-wide conserved structural component, the helix III in internal transcriber spacer (ITS) 2, and their variability in the 5.8S-LSU helix basal to ITS2, a helix with pairings identical among all other scleractinian corals. Furthermore, Isopora/Acropora individuals display at least two, and as many as three, ITS sequence isotypes in their genome which appear to be capable of function. From consideration of the conserved elements in ITS2 and flanking regions, it appears that there are three major groups within the IsoporaAcropora lineage: the Isopora + Acropora "longi" group, the large group including Caribbean Acropora + the Acropora "carib" types plus the bulk of the Indo-Pacific Acropora species, and the remaining enigmatic "pseudo" group found in the Pacific. Interbreeding is possible among Caribbean A. palmata and A. cervicornis and among some species of Indo-Pacific Acropora. Recombinant ITS sequences are obvious among these latter, such that morphology (as represented by species name) does not correlate with common ITS sequence. The combination of characters revealed by RNA secondary structure analyses suggests a recent past/current history of interbreeding among the Indo-Pacific Acropora species and a shared ancestry of some of these with the Caribbean Acropora. The unusual absence of helix III of ITS2 of Isopora/Acropora species may have some causative role in the equally unusual instability in the 5.8S-LSU helix basal to ITS2 of this species complex.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Rudi, Edi

    2012-10-01

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

  13. An investigation of the calcification response of the scleractinian coral Astrangia poculata to elevated pCO2 and the effects of nutrients, zooxanthellae and gender

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holcomb, M.; Cohen, A. L.; McCorkle, D. C.

    2012-01-01

    The effects of nutrients and pCO2 on zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate colonies of the temperate scleractinian coral Astrangia poculata (Ellis and Solander, 1786) were investigated at two different temperatures (16 °C and 24 °C). Corals exposed to elevated pCO2 tended to have lower relative calcification rates, as estimated from changes in buoyant weights. Experimental nutrient enrichments had no significant effect nor did there appear to be any interaction between pCO2 and nutrients. Elevated pCO2 appeared to have a similar effect on coral calcification whether zooxanthellae were present or absent at 16 °C. However, at 24 °C, the interpretation of the results is complicated by a significant interaction between gender and pCO2 for spawning corals. At 16 °C, gamete release was not observed, and no gender differences in calcification rates were observed - female and male corals showed similar reductions in calcification rates in response to elevated CO2 (15% and 19% respectively). Corals grown at 24 °C spawned repeatedly and male and female corals exhibited two different growth rate patterns - female corals grown at 24 °C and exposed to CO2 had calcification rates 39% lower than females grown at ambient CO2, while males showed a non-significant decline of 5% under elevated CO2. The increased sensitivity of females to elevated pCO2 may reflect a greater investment of energy in reproduction (egg production) relative to males (sperm production). These results suggest that both gender and spawning are important factors in determining the sensitivity of corals to ocean acidification, and considering these factors in future research may be critical to predicting how the population structures of marine calcifiers will change in response to ocean acidification.

  14. Diurnal productivity and apparent 14C-calcification in the staghorn coral, Acropora acuminata

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barnes, D.J.; Crossland, C.J.

    1978-01-01

    The rate of 14 C-fixation by Acropora acuminata tissues showed a marked increase after dawn. However, maximum 14 C-fixation was not achieved until early afternoon. The apparent 14 C-incorporation rate into the skeleton of whole branches reached a peak around noon. However, the major period of 14 C-deposition occurred from noon to mid-afternoon. The broad peak of 14 C-incorporation into skeleton of whole branches reflects two rate maxima; a late-morning maximum of zooxanthellae-free terminal calices, probably related to translocation of fixed carbon from basal tissues; and an early afternoon maximum for the zooxanthellae-containing basal areas of branches. (author)

  15. Calcification in the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata: variations in apparent skeletal incorporation of radioisotopes due to different methods of processing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crossland, C.J.; Barnes, D.J.

    1977-01-01

    Pieces of branch from the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata were incubated with 45 CaCl 2 and NaH 14 CO 3 under identical conditions in the light or in the dark. Specimens were then processed in different ways. All specimens were placed in N KOH to digest tissues. Some were placed in KOH immediately after incubation; others were placed in KOH after 2 h washing, or after 2 h extraction with methanol-chloroform-water. Specimens were washed in running fresh water or running seawater; some were killed in liquid N 2 before washing. Radioactivity associated with skeleton and tissues was determined. The method of processing profoundly affected the results. In dark incubations, there was up to a four-fold difference in apparent skeletal incorporation of 45 Ca ++ between average values obtained for the different treatments. For 14 C incorporation, there was a difference of up to 2.5 times. In light incubations, skeletal incorporation of both radioisotopes showed a two-fold difference between high and low average values obtained for the different treatments. (orig.) [de

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Haryanti

    2015-06-01

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

  17. Comparative demography of two common scleractinian corals: Orbicella annularis and Porites astreoides

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francisco J. Soto-Santiago

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Background Studies directed at understanding the demography and population dynamics of corals are relatively scarce. This limits our understanding of both the dynamics of coral populations and our capacity to develop management and conservation initiatives directed at conserving such ecosystems. Methods From 2012 to 2014, we collected data on the growth, survival, and recruitment rates of two common Caribbean coral species, the stress-tolerant Orbicella annularis and the weedy Porites astreoides. A set of size-based population matrix model was developed for two localities in Northeastern Puerto Rico and used to estimate population growth rates (λ and determine the life cycle transition(s that contribute the most to spatiotemporal differences in λs. The model was parameterized by following the fate of 100 colonies of each species at the two sites for two years. Results Our data indicate that spatial variability in vital rates of both species was higher than temporal variability. During the first year, populations of O. annularis exhibited λs below equilibrium at Carlos Rosario (0.817 and Palomino (0.694, followed by a considerable decline at both sites during the second year (0.700 and 0.667. Populations of P. astreoides showed higher λs than O. annularis during the first census period at Carlos Rosario (0.898 and Palomino (0.894 with a decline at one of the sites (0.681 and 0.893 during the second census period. Colony fate in both species exhibited a significant interaction with respect to location but not to time (G2 = 20.96; df = 3 for O. annularis and G2 = 9.55; df = 3 for P. astreoides. Discussion The similar variability of λs as well as the similar survival rates for both species during the two-year census period (2012–2014 show similar variability on demographic patterns in space and time. Our results suggest that location rather than time is important for the resiliency in coral colonies. Also, P. astreoides will show higher

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-09-01

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

  19. Microarray analysis reveals transcriptional plasticity in the reef building coral Acropora millepora

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bay, L. K.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Nielsen, H. B.

    2009-01-01

    ) following translocation to a lower light and turbidity environment. Such metabolic downregulation may indicate nonoxidative stress, hibernation or caloric restriction associated with the changed environmental conditions. Green fluorescent protein-related genes were the most differentially expressed and were...... exclusively downregulated; however, green fluorescent protein levels remained unchanged following translocation. Photophysiological responses of corals from both locations were characterized by a decline when introduced to the common laboratory environment but remained healthy (F-v/F-m > 0.6). Declines...

  20. Simulating the Incorporation of Geochemical Proxies into Scleractinian Coral Skeletons: Effects of Different Environmental and Biological Factors and Implications for Paleo-reconstruction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, W.

    2017-12-01

    Chemical and isotopic compositions of scleractinian coral skeletons reflect the physicochemical condition of the seawater in which corals grow. This makes coral skeleton one of the best archives of ocean climate and biogeochemical changes. A number of coral-based geochemical proxies have been developed and applied to reconstruct past seawater conditions, such as temperature, pH, carbonate chemistry and nutrient concentrations. Detailed laboratory and field-based studies of these proxies, however, indicate interpretation of the geochemistry of coral skeletons is not straightforward, due to the presence of `vital effects' and the variations of empirical proxy calibrations among and within different species. This poses challenges for the broad application of many geochemical proxies in corals, and highlights the need to better understand the fundamental processes governing the incorporation of different proxies. Here I present a numerical model that simulates the incorporation of a suite of geochemical proxies into coral skeletons, including δ11B, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, U/Ca, B/Ca and Ba/Ca. This model, building on previous theoretical studies of coral calcification, combines our current understanding of coral calcification mechanism with experimental constraints on the isotope and element partition during carbonate precipitation. It enables quantitative evaluation of the effects of different environmental and biological factors on each proxy. Specifically, this model shows that (1) the incorporation of every proxy is affected by multiple seawater parameters (e.g. temperature, pH, DIC) as opposed to one single parameter, and (2) biological factors, particularly the interplay between enzymatic alkalinity pumping and the exchange of coral calcifying fluid with external seawater, also exert significant controls. Based on these findings, I propose an inverse method for simultaneously reconstructing multiple seawater physicochemical parameters, and compare the performance of this

  1. Assessing Symbiodinium diversity in scleractinian corals via next-generation sequencing-based genotyping of the ITS2 rDNA region

    KAUST Repository

    Arif, Chatchanit; Daniels, Camille; Bayer, Till; Banguera Hinestroza, Eulalia; Barbrook, Adrian; Howe, Christopher J.; LaJeunesse, Todd C.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2014-01-01

    The persistence of coral reef ecosystems relies on the symbiotic relationship between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Genetic evidence indicates that these symbionts are biologically diverse and exhibit discrete patterns of environmental and host distribution. This makes the assessment of Symbiodinium diversity critical to understanding the symbiosis ecology of corals. Here, we applied pyrosequencing to the elucidation of Symbiodinium diversity via analysis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region, a multicopy genetic marker commonly used to analyse Symbiodinium diversity. Replicated data generated from isoclonal Symbiodinium cultures showed that all genomes contained numerous, yet mostly rare, ITS2 sequence variants. Pyrosequencing data were consistent with more traditional denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) approaches to the screening of ITS2 PCR amplifications, where the most common sequences appeared as the most intense bands. Further, we developed an operational taxonomic unit (OTU)-based pipeline for Symbiodinium ITS2 diversity typing to provisionally resolve ecologically discrete entities from intragenomic variation. A genetic distance cut-off of 0.03 collapsed intragenomic ITS2 variants of isoclonal cultures into single OTUs. When applied to the analysis of field-collected coral samples, our analyses confirm that much of the commonly observed Symbiodinium ITS2 diversity can be attributed to intragenomic variation. We conclude that by analysing Symbiodinium populations in an OTU-based framework, we can improve objectivity, comparability and simplicity when assessing ITS2 diversity in field-based studies.

  2. Scleractinian corals (Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae) of Pulau Layang-Layang, Spratly Islands, with a note on Pavona maldivensis (Gardiner, 1905)

    KAUST Repository

    Waheed, Zarinah

    2015-08-12

    Layang-Layang is a small island part of an oceanic atoll in the Spratly Islands off Sabah, Malaysia. As the reef coral fauna in this part of the South China Sea is poorly known, a survey was carried out in 2013 to study the species composition of the scleractinian coral families Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae. A total of 56 species was recorded. The addition of three previously reported coral species brings the total to 59, consisting of 32 Fungiidae, 22 Agariciidae, and five Euphylliidae. Of these, 32 species are new records for Layang-Layang, which include five rarely reported species, i.e., the fungiids Lithophyllon ranjithi, Podabacia sinai, Sandalolitha boucheti, and the agariciids Leptoseris kalayaanensis and L. troglodyta. The coral fauna of Layang-Layang is poor compared to other areas in Sabah, which may be related to its recovery from a crown-of-thorns seastar outbreak in 2010, and its low habitat diversity, which is dominated by reef slopes consisting of steep outer walls. Based on integrative molecular and morphological analyses, a Pavona variety with small and extremely thin coralla was revealed as P. maldivensis. Since specimens from Sabah previously identified as P. maldivensis were found to belong to P. explanulata, the affinities and distinctions of P. maldivensis and P. explanulata are discussed.

  3. Scleractinian corals (Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae) of Pulau Layang-Layang, Spratly Islands, with a note on Pavona maldivensis (Gardiner, 1905)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; Benzoni, Francesca; van der Meij, Sancia E.T.; Terraneo, Tullia I.; Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Layang-Layang is a small island part of an oceanic atoll in the Spratly Islands off Sabah, Malaysia. As the reef coral fauna in this part of the South China Sea is poorly known, a survey was carried out in 2013 to study the species composition of the scleractinian coral families Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae. A total of 56 species was recorded. The addition of three previously reported coral species brings the total to 59, consisting of 32 Fungiidae, 22 Agariciidae, and five Euphylliidae. Of these, 32 species are new records for Layang-Layang, which include five rarely reported species, i.e., the fungiids Lithophyllon ranjithi, Podabacia sinai, Sandalolitha boucheti, and the agariciids Leptoseris kalayaanensis and Leptoseris troglodyta. The coral fauna of Layang-Layang is poor compared to other areas in Sabah, which may be related to its recovery from a crown-of-thorns seastar outbreak in 2010, and its low habitat diversity, which is dominated by reef slopes consisting of steep outer walls. Based on integrative molecular and morphological analyses, a Pavona variety with small and extremely thin coralla was revealed as Pavona maldivensis. Since specimens from Sabah previously identified as Pavona maldivensis were found to belong to Pavona explanulata, the affinities and distinctions of Pavona maldivensis and Pavona explanulata are discussed. PMID:26312025

  4. Assessing Symbiodinium diversity in scleractinian corals via next-generation sequencing-based genotyping of the ITS2 rDNA region

    KAUST Repository

    Arif, Chatchanit

    2014-09-01

    The persistence of coral reef ecosystems relies on the symbiotic relationship between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Genetic evidence indicates that these symbionts are biologically diverse and exhibit discrete patterns of environmental and host distribution. This makes the assessment of Symbiodinium diversity critical to understanding the symbiosis ecology of corals. Here, we applied pyrosequencing to the elucidation of Symbiodinium diversity via analysis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region, a multicopy genetic marker commonly used to analyse Symbiodinium diversity. Replicated data generated from isoclonal Symbiodinium cultures showed that all genomes contained numerous, yet mostly rare, ITS2 sequence variants. Pyrosequencing data were consistent with more traditional denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) approaches to the screening of ITS2 PCR amplifications, where the most common sequences appeared as the most intense bands. Further, we developed an operational taxonomic unit (OTU)-based pipeline for Symbiodinium ITS2 diversity typing to provisionally resolve ecologically discrete entities from intragenomic variation. A genetic distance cut-off of 0.03 collapsed intragenomic ITS2 variants of isoclonal cultures into single OTUs. When applied to the analysis of field-collected coral samples, our analyses confirm that much of the commonly observed Symbiodinium ITS2 diversity can be attributed to intragenomic variation. We conclude that by analysing Symbiodinium populations in an OTU-based framework, we can improve objectivity, comparability and simplicity when assessing ITS2 diversity in field-based studies.

  5. Metabolite profiling of symbiont and host during thermal stress and bleaching in the coral Acropora aspera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hillyer, Katie E.; Dias, Daniel A.; Lutz, Adrian; Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Roessner, Ute; Davy, Simon K.

    2017-03-01

    Rising seawater temperatures pose a significant threat to the persistence of coral reefs. Despite the importance of these systems, major gaps remain in our understanding of how thermal stress and bleaching affect the metabolic networks that underpin holobiont function. We applied gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) metabolomics to detect changes in the intracellular free metabolite pools (polar and semi-polar compounds) of in hospite dinoflagellate symbionts and their coral hosts (and any associated microorganisms) during early- and late-stage thermal bleaching (a reduction of approximately 50 and 70% in symbiont density, respectively). We detected characteristic changes to the metabolite profiles of each symbiotic partner associated with individual cellular responses to thermal, oxidative and osmotic stress, which progressed with the severity of bleaching. Alterations were also indicative of changes to energy-generating and biosynthesis pathways in both partners, with a shift to the increased catabolism of lipid stores. Specifically, in symbiont intracellular metabolite pools, we observed accumulations of multiple free fatty acids, plus the chloroplast-associated antioxidant alpha-tocopherol. In the host, we detected a decline in the abundance of pools of multiple carbohydrates, amino acids and intermediates, in addition to the antioxidant ascorbate. These findings further our understanding of the metabolic changes that occur to symbiont and host (and its associated microorganisms) during thermal bleaching. These findings also provide further insight into the largely undescribed roles of free metabolite pools in cellular homeostasis, signalling and acclimation to thermal stress in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.

  6. Effects of alumina refinery wastewater and signature metal constituents at the upper thermal tolerance of: 2. The early life stages of the coral Acropora tenuis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Negri, Andrew P.; Harford, Andrew J.; Parry, David L.; Dam, Rick A. van

    2011-01-01

    Research highlights: →Methodology to assess relevant toxicants to sensitive early life histories of coral. → Explored the thermal sensitivity of fertilisation and larval metamorphosis in a coral. → First study to identify IC 50 s for Al, Ga and V in corals (at summer temperature). → First study to test the effects of an alumina outfall wastewater on coral. → Found additive effects of wastewater and high SST on fertilisation and metamorphosis. - Abstract: The success of early life history transitions of the coral Acropora tenuis were used as endpoints to evaluate thermal stress and the effects of wastewater discharged to a tropical marine environment. The studies assessed the effects of: (i) temperature; (ii) three signature metals of the wastewater, aluminium (Al), vanadium (V) and gallium (Ga); and (iii) the wastewater (at 27 o C and 32 o C) on fertilisation and larval metamorphosis. The median inhibition temperatures for fertilisation and metamorphosis were 32.8 o C and 33.0 o C, respectively. Fertilisation IC 50 s for Al, V and Ga were 2997, 2884 and 3430 μg L -1 , respectively. Metamorphosis IC 50 s for Al, V and Ga were 1945, 675 and 3566 μg L -1 , respectively. The wastewater only affected fertilisation and metamorphosis at moderate concentrations (IC 50 s = 63% and 67%, v/v, respectively, at 27 o C), posing a low risk to this species in the field. The effects of wastewater and temperature on fertilisation and metamorphosis were additive.

  7. Bacterial community structure associated with white band disease in the elkhorn coral Acropora palmata determined using culture-independent 16S rRNA techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pantos, Olga; Bythell, John C

    2006-03-23

    Culture-independent molecular (16S ribosomal RNA) techniques showed distinct differences in bacterial communities associated with white band disease (WBD) Type I and healthy elkhorn coral Acropora palmata. Differences were apparent at all levels, with a greater diversity present in tissues of diseased colonies. The bacterial community associated with remote, non-diseased coral was distinct from the apparently healthy tissues of infected corals several cm from the disease lesion. This demonstrates a whole-organism effect from what appears to be a localised disease lesion, an effect that has also been recently demonstrated in white plague-like disease in star coral Montastraea annularis. The pattern of bacterial community structure changes was similar to that recently demonstrated for white plague-like disease and black band disease. Some of the changes are likely to be explained by the colonisation of dead and degrading tissues by a micro-heterotroph community adapted to the decomposition of coral tissues. However, specific ribosomal types that are absent from healthy tissues appear consistently in all samples of each of the diseases. These ribotypes are closely related members of a group of alpha-proteobacteria that cause disease, notably juvenile oyster disease, in other marine organisms. It is clearly important that members of this group are isolated for challenge experiments to determine their role in the diseases.

  8. Growth and demography of the solitary scleractinian coral Leptopsammia pruvoti along a sea surface temperature gradient in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erik Caroselli

    Full Text Available The demographic traits of the solitary azooxanthellate scleractinian Leptopsammia pruvoti were determined in six populations on a sea surface temperature (SST gradient along the western Italian coasts. This is the first investigation of the growth and demography characteristics of an azooxanthellate scleractinian along a natural SST gradient. Growth rate was homogeneous across all populations, which spanned 7 degrees of latitude. Population age structures differed between populations, but none of the considered demographic parameters correlated with SST, indicating possible effects of local environmental conditions. Compared to another Mediterranean solitary scleractinian, Balanophyllia europaea, zooxanthellate and whose growth, demography and calcification have been studied in the same sites, L. pruvoti seems more tolerant to temperature increase. The higher tolerance of L. pruvoti, relative to B. europaea, may rely on the absence of symbionts, and thus the lack of an inhibition of host physiological processes by the heat-stressed zooxanthellae. However, the comparison between the two species must be taken cautiously, due to the likely temperature differences between the two sampling depths. Increasing research effort on determining the effects of temperature on the poorly studied azooxanthellate scleractinians may shed light on the possible species assemblage shifts that are likely to occur during the current century as a consequence of global climatic change.

  9. Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdul, N. A.; Mortlock, R. A.; Wright, J. D.; Fairbanks, R. G.

    2016-02-01

    The Younger Dryas climate event occurred during the middle of the last deglacial cycle and is marked by an abrupt shift in the North Atlantic polar front almost to its former glacial position, trending east to west. Using high-precision and high-accuracy U-Th-dated Barbados reef crest coral, Acropora palmata, we generate a detailed sea level record from 13.9 to 9000 years before present (kyr B.P.) and reconstruct the ice volume response to the Younger Dryas cooling. From the mid-Allerød (13.9 kyr B.P.) to the end of the Younger Dryas (11.65 kyr B.P.), rates of sea level rise decreased smoothly from 20 mm yr-1 to 4 mm yr-1, culminating in a 400 year "slow stand" before accelerating into meltwater pulse 1B (MWP-1B). The MWP-1B event at Barbados is better constrained as beginning by 11.45 kyr B.P. and ending at 11.1 kyr B.P. during which time sea level rose 14 ± 2 m and rates of sea level rise reached 40 mm yr-1. We propose that MWP-1B is the direct albeit lagged response of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets to the rapid warming marking the end of the Younger Dryas coinciding with rapid warming in the circum-North Atlantic region and the polar front shift from its zonal to meridional position 11.65 kyr B.P. As predicted by glaciological models, the ice sheet response to rapid North Atlantic warming was lagged by 400 years due to the thermal inertia of large ice sheets. The regional circum-North Atlantic Younger Dryas climate event is elevated to a global response through sea level changes, starting with the global slowdown in sea level rise during the Younger Dryas and culminating with MWP-1B. No meltwater pulses are evident at the initiation of the Younger Dryas climate event as is often speculated.

  10. Variation of the Symbiodinium Community Composition in Scleractinian Corals along a Cross-shelf and Depth Gradient

    KAUST Repository

    Mejia Restrepo, Alejandro

    2017-01-01

    Corals form a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic zooxanthellae from the genus Symbiodinium; the breakdown of this symbiosis results in the phenomenon known as coral bleaching. This relationship is especially vulnerable to high temperature

  11. A community change in the algal endosymbionts of a scleractinian coral following a natural bleaching event: field evidence of acclimatization

    OpenAIRE

    Jones, A.M; Berkelmans, R; van Oppen, M.J.H; Mieog, J.C; Sinclair, W

    2008-01-01

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of zooxanthellae they harbour and, when multiple types are present, the relative abundance of types can be experimentally manipulated to increase the thermal limits of individual corals. Although the potential...

  12. A community change in the algal endosymbionts of a scleractinian coral following a natural bleaching event : field evidence of acclimatization

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jones, A. M.; Berkelmans, R.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Mieog, J. C.; Sinclair, W.

    2008-01-01

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of

  13. Food availability and pCO2 impacts on planulation, juvenile survival, and calcification of the azooxanthellate scleractinian coral, Balanophyllia elegans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crook, E. D.; Cooper, H.; Potts, D. C.; Lambert, T.; Paytan, A.

    2013-05-01

    Ocean acidification, the assimilation of atmospheric CO2 by the oceans that decreases the pH and CaCO3 saturation state (Ω) of seawater, is projected to have severe consequences for calcifying organisms. Strong evidence suggests that tropical reef-building corals containing algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) will experience dramatic declines in calcification over the next century. The responses of azooxanthellate corals to ocean acidification are less well understood, and because they cannot obtain extra photosynthetic energy from symbionts, they provide a system for studying the direct effects of acidification on the energy available for calcification. The orange cup coral Balanophyllia elegans is a solitary, azooxanthellate scleractinian species common on the California coast where it thrives in the low pH waters of an upwelling regime. During an 8 month study, we addressed the effects of three pCO2 treatments (410, 770, and 1230 μatm) and two feeding frequencies (High Food and Low Food) on adult Balanophyllia elegans planulation (larval release) rates, and on the survival, growth, and calcification of their juvenile offspring. Planulation rates were affected by food level but not pCO2, while juvenile survival was highest under 410 μatm and High Food conditions. Our results suggest that feeding rate has a greater impact on calcification of B. elegans than pCO2. Net calcification was positive even at 1230 μatm (~ 3 times current atmospheric pCO2), although the increase from 410 to 1230 μatm reduced overall calcification by ~ 25-45%, and reduced skeletal density by ~ 35-45%. Higher pCO2 also altered aragonite crystal morphology significantly. We discuss how feeding frequency affects azooxanthellate coral calcification, and how B. elegans may respond to ocean acidification in coastal upwelling waters.

  14. Expression of hsp70, hsp90 and hsf1 in the reef coral Acropora digitifera under prospective acidified conditions over the next several decades

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masako Nakamura

    2012-02-01

    Ocean acidification is an ongoing threat for marine organisms due to the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Seawater acidification has a serious impact on physiologic processes in marine organisms at all life stages. On the other hand, potential tolerance to external pH changes has been reported in coral larvae. Information about the possible mechanisms underlying such tolerance responses, however, is scarce. In the present study, we examined the effects of acidified seawater on the larvae of Acropora digitifera at the molecular level. We targeted two heat shock proteins, Hsp70 and Hsp90, and a heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1, because of their importance in stress responses and in early life developmental stages. Coral larvae were maintained under the ambient and elevated CO2 conditions that are expected to occur within next 100 years, and then we evaluated the expression of hsps and hsf1 by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR. Expression levels of these molecules significantly differed among target genes, but they did not change significantly between CO2 conditions. These findings indicate that the expression of hsps is not changed due to external pH changes, and suggest that tolerance to acidified seawater in coral larvae may not be related to hsp expression.

  15. Coral larvae for restoration and research: a large-scale method for rearing Acropora millepora larvae, inducing settlement, and establishing symbiosis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Joseph Pollock

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Here we describe an efficient and effective technique for rearing sexually-derived coral propagules from spawning through larval settlement and symbiont uptake with minimal impact on natural coral populations. We sought to maximize larval survival while minimizing expense and daily husbandry maintenance by experimentally determining optimized conditions and protocols for gamete fertilization, larval cultivation, induction of larval settlement by crustose coralline algae, and inoculation of newly settled juveniles with their dinoflagellate symbiont Symbiodinium. Larval rearing densities at or below 0.2 larvae mL−1 were found to maximize larval survival and settlement success in culture tanks while minimizing maintenance effort. Induction of larval settlement via the addition of a ground mixture of diverse crustose coralline algae (CCA is recommended, given the challenging nature of in situ CCA identification and our finding that non settlement-inducing CCA assemblages do not inhibit larval settlement if suitable assemblages are present. Although order of magnitude differences in infectivity were found between common Great Barrier Reef Symbiodinium clades C and D, no significant differences in Symbiodinium uptake were observed between laboratory-cultured and wild-harvested symbionts in each case. The technique presented here for Acropora millepora can be adapted for research and restoration efforts in a wide range of broadcast spawning coral species.

  16. Suppression of NF-κB signal pathway by NLRC3-like protein in stony coral Acropora aculeus under heat stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhi; Wu, Yibo; Zhang, Chengkai; Li, Can; Chen, Guangmei; Yu, Xiaopeng; Shi, Xiaowei; Xu, Yanlai; Wang, Lingui; Huang, Bo

    2017-08-01

    Heat stress is the most common factor for coral bleaching, which has increased both in frequency and severity due to global warming. In the present study, the stony coral Acropora aculeus was subjected to acute heat stress and entire transcriptomes were sequenced via the next generation sequencing platform. Four paired-end libraries were constructed and sequenced in two groups, including a control and a heat stress group. A total of 120,319,751 paired-end reads with lengths of 2 × 100 bp were assembled and 55,021 coral-derived genes were obtained. After read mapping and abundance estimation, 9110 differentially expressed genes were obtained in the comparison between the control and heat stress group, including 4465 significantly upregulated and 4645 significantly downregulated genes. Twenty-three GO terms in the Biological Process category were overrepresented for significantly upregulated genes, and divided into six groups according to their relationship. These three groups were related to the NF-κB signal pathway, and the remaining three groups were relevant for pathogen response, immunocyte activation and protein ubiquitination. Forty-three common genes were found in four GO terms, which were directly related to the NF-κB signal pathway. These included 2 NACHT, LRR, PYD domains-containing protein, 5 nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein, 29 NLRC3-like protein, 4 NLRC5-like protein, and 3 uncharacterized protein. For significantly downregulated genes, 27 overrepresented GO terms were found in the Biological Process category, which were relevant to protein ubiquitination and ATP metabolism. Our results indicate that heat stress suppressed the immune response level via the NLRC3-like protein, the fine-tuning of protein turnover activity, and ATP metabolism. This might disrupt the balance of coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis and result in the bleaching of the coral A. aculeus. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-11-16

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha

    2011-01-01

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

  19. The effect of changing seawater Ca and Mg concentrations upon the distribution coefficients of Mg and Sr in the skeletons of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giri, Sharmila J.; Swart, Peter K.; Devlin, Quinn B.

    2018-02-01

    The skeletal composition of calcifying organisms, in particular Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios, have been widely used to understand fluctuations in seawater chemistry throughout the Phanerozoic. While the success of applying these data to the geologic record depends on a knowledge of the distribution coefficients for these elements (DMg and DSr), there are scarcely any studies which have described how these values vary as a result of changing seawater Mg/Ca ratios. To address this, we have cultured the scleractinian coral, Pocillopora damicornis, in seawater with ranges of Mg and Ca concentrations. Here, we demonstrate that Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of coral skeletons correlate with total seawater Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca molar ratios, but that apparent DMg and DSr values do not remain constant across the range of experimental seawater treatments, with DMg values significantly increasing with seawater Mg/Ca ratios and DSr values significantly increasing with seawater Ca concentrations. These trends are not rate dependent and may be best explained by a Rayleigh distillation model, in which the calcifying space is semi-isolated from seawater during skeletogenesis (i.e. leaky). As there is a slight increase in DMg and decrease in DSr values between our "Jurassic" and "Modern" seawater treatments, the application of a constant distribution coefficient to estimate changes in ancient seawater chemistry may underestimate seawater Mg/Ca ratios and overestimate Sr/Ca throughout the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. We suggest that interpretations of seawater chemistry from fossil corals may be improved by using the relationships derived for skeletal and seawater Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios established by our experiments, as they incorporate the effect of seawater Mg/Ca ratios on skeletal Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios.

  20. The effect of different flow regimes on the growth and metabolic rates of the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schutter, M.; Crocker, J.; Paijmans, A.J.; Janse, M.; Osinga, R.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Wijffels, R.H.

    2010-01-01

    To study the effect of water flow on coral growth, four series of ten coral nubbins of Galaxea fascicularis were exposed to four different flow regimes (0, 10, 20, and 25 cm s-1, bidirectional flow) for 42 weeks. Buoyant weight, surface area, and polyp number were measured at regular intervals. Net

  1. Effects of nutrient enrichment on the release of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen by the scleractinian coral Montipora digitata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Y.; Ogawa, H.; Miyajima, T.

    2010-09-01

    The effects of nutrient enrichment on the release of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen (DOC and DON, respectively) from the coral Montipora digitata were investigated in the laboratory. Nitrate (NO3 -) and phosphate (PO4 3-) were supplied to the aquarium to get the final concentrations of 10 and 0.5 μmol l-1, respectively, and the corals were incubated for 8 days. The release rate of DON per unit coral surface area significantly decreased after the nutrient enrichment, while the release rate of DOC was constant. Because the chlorophyll a (chl a) content of zooxanthellae per unit surface area increased, the release rate of DOC significantly decreased when normalized to unit chl a. These results suggested that the incorporation of NO3 - and PO4 3- stimulated the synthesis of new cellular components in the coral colonies and consequently, reduced extracellular release of DOC and DON. Actually, significant increase in N and P contents relative to C content was observed in the coral’s tissue after the nutrient enrichment. The present study has concluded that inorganic nutrient enrichment not only affects coral-algal metabolism inside the colony but also affects a microbial community around the coral because the organic matter released from corals functions as energy carrier in the coral reef ecosystem.

  2. Inhibition in fertilisation of coral gametes following exposure to nickel and copper.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gissi, Francesca; Stauber, Jenny; Reichelt-Brushett, Amanda; Harrison, Peter L; Jolley, Dianne F

    2017-11-01

    The mining and production of nickel in tropical regions have the potential to impact on ecologically valuable tropical marine ecosystems. Currently, few data exist to assess the risks of nickel exposure to tropical ecosystems and to derive ecologically relevant water quality guidelines. In particular, data are lacking for keystone species such as scleractinian corals, which create the complex structural reef habitats that support many other marine species. As part of a larger study developing risk assessment tools for nickel in the tropical Asia-Pacific region, we investigated the toxicity of nickel on fertilisation success in three species of scleractinian corals: Acropora aspera, Acropora digitifera and Platygyra daedalea. In the literature, more data are available on the effects of copper on coral fertilisation, so to allow for comparisons with past studies, the toxicity of copper to A. aspera and P. daedalea was also determined. Overall, copper was more toxic than nickel to the fertilisation success of the species tested. Acropora aspera was the most sensitive species to nickel (NOEC 4610µg Ni/L). Acropora aspera was also the more sensitive species to copper with an EC10 of 5.8µg Cu/L. The EC10 for P. daedalea was 16µg Cu/L, similar to previous studies. This is the first time that the toxicity of nickel on fertilisation success in Acropora species has been reported, and thus provides valuable data that can contribute to the development of reliable water quality guidelines for nickel in tropical marine waters. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  3. 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.

  4. Genome-wide survey of single-nucleotide polymorphisms reveals fine-scale population structure and signs of selection in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meghann K. Devlin-Durante

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The advent of next-generation sequencing tools has made it possible to conduct fine-scale surveys of population differentiation and genome-wide scans for signatures of selection in non-model organisms. Such surveys are of particular importance in sharply declining coral species, since knowledge of population boundaries and signs of local adaptation can inform restoration and conservation efforts. Here, we use genome-wide surveys of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, to reveal fine-scale population structure and infer the major barrier to gene flow that separates the eastern and western Caribbean populations between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The exact location of this break had been subject to discussion because two previous studies based on microsatellite data had come to differing conclusions. We investigate this contradiction by analyzing an extended set of 11 microsatellite markers including the five previously employed and discovered that one of the original microsatellite loci is apparently under selection. Exclusion of this locus reconciles the results from the SNP and the microsatellite datasets. Scans for outlier loci in the SNP data detected 13 candidate loci under positive selection, however there was no correlation between available environmental parameters and genetic distance. Together, these results suggest that reef restoration efforts should use local sources and utilize existing functional variation among geographic regions in ex situ crossing experiments to improve stress resistance of this species.

  5. Genome-wide survey of single-nucleotide polymorphisms reveals fine-scale population structure and signs of selection in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devlin-Durante, Meghann K; Baums, Iliana B

    2017-01-01

    The advent of next-generation sequencing tools has made it possible to conduct fine-scale surveys of population differentiation and genome-wide scans for signatures of selection in non-model organisms. Such surveys are of particular importance in sharply declining coral species, since knowledge of population boundaries and signs of local adaptation can inform restoration and conservation efforts. Here, we use genome-wide surveys of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata , to reveal fine-scale population structure and infer the major barrier to gene flow that separates the eastern and western Caribbean populations between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The exact location of this break had been subject to discussion because two previous studies based on microsatellite data had come to differing conclusions. We investigate this contradiction by analyzing an extended set of 11 microsatellite markers including the five previously employed and discovered that one of the original microsatellite loci is apparently under selection. Exclusion of this locus reconciles the results from the SNP and the microsatellite datasets. Scans for outlier loci in the SNP data detected 13 candidate loci under positive selection, however there was no correlation between available environmental parameters and genetic distance. Together, these results suggest that reef restoration efforts should use local sources and utilize existing functional variation among geographic regions in ex situ crossing experiments to improve stress resistance of this species.

  6. Forgotten in the taxonomic literature: Resurrection of the scleractinian coral genus Sclerophyllia (Scleractinia, Lobophylliidae) from the Arabian Peninsula and its phylogenetic relationships

    KAUST Repository

    Arrigoni, Roberto

    2014-11-21

    The monospecific scleractinian coral genus Sclerophyllia Klunzinger, 1879 was originally described from Al-Qusayr (Egypt) in the Red Sea based on a series of solitary specimens. Thenceforth, it has been considered a junior synonym of Symphyllia and Cynarina based on corallum macromorphology. In this study, several specimens of Sclerophyllia margariticola were collected on the coasts of Saudi Arabia in the northern and central Red Sea. Four molecular markers were sequenced, COI and the intergenic spacer between COI and l-rRNA from mitochondrial DNA and Histone H3 and ribosomal ITS2 from nuclear DNA. Phylogenetic trees and haplotype network analyses show that S. margariticola belongs to the family Lobophylliidae and that it is closely related to Acanthastrea maxima, an uncommon species from waters around the Arabian peninsula (the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf). Sclerophyllia margariticola and A. maxima share several macro- and micromorphological characters, such as the presence of free septa, high elliptical septal teeth perpendicular to the septal margin, irregular lobate tips, very wide tooth spacing, a very strong granulation with granules scattered all along the septal sides, and a palisade interarea structure, and their micromorphology differs substantially from that of Acanthastrea echinata, the type species of Acanthastrea. Therefore, we formally resurrect Sclerophyllia, provide a revised diagnosis for the genus, and move A. maxima into Sclerophyllia.

  7. Prevalence of skeletal tissue growth anomalies in a scleractinian coral: Turbinaria mesenterina of Malvan Marine Sanctuary, eastern Arabian Sea

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Hussain, A.; De, K.; Thomas, L.; Nagesh, R.; Mote, S.; Ingole, B.S.

    (1998), ultra- violet radiation-induced cell damage is a potential mechanism leading to growth anomalies in corals. The severity may be related to exposure to environ- mental stressors such as light, high levels of sedimen- tation (Riegl et al. 1996... west coast of India. The patch reef, located in the core area of the MMS’s MPA harbours 74 species of fishes, 73 species of sea weeds and 9 coral species, as well as 181 other associated flora and fauna species (Parulekar 1981). Two sites were selected...

  8. Interactive effects of oxygen, carbon dioxide and flow on photosynthesis and respiration in the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Osinga, Ronald; Derksen-Hooijberg, Marlous; Wijgerde, Tim; Verreth, Johan A.J.

    2017-01-01

    Rates of dark respiration and net photosynthesis were measured for six replicate clonal fragments of the stony coral Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767), which were incubated under 12 different combinations of dissolved oxygen (20%, 100% and 150% saturation), dissolved carbon dioxide (9.5 and

  9. Ocean acidification effects on Caribbean scleractinian coral calcification using a recirculating system: a novel approach to OA research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Projected increases in ocean pCO2 levels are likely to affect calcifying organisms more rapidly and to a greater extent than any other marine organisms. The effects of ocean acidification (OA) has been documented in numerous species of corals in both laboratory and field studies....

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  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. In-situ effects of eutrophication and overfishing on physiology and bacterial diversity of the red sea coral Acropora hemprichii.

    KAUST Repository

    Jessen, Christian; Lizcano, Javier; Bayer, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Aranda, Manuel; Wild, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2013-01-01

    pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral

  15. Taxonomy and life history of the Acropora-eating flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae nov. sp. (Polycladida: Prosthiostomidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rawlinson, K. A.; Gillis, J. A.; Billings, R. E.; Borneman, E. H.

    2011-09-01

    Efforts to culture and conserve acroporid corals in aquaria have led to the discovery of a corallivorous polyclad flatworm (known as AEFW - Acropora-eating flatworm), which, if not removed, can eat entire colonies. Live observations of the AEFW, whole mounts, serial histological sections and comparison of 28S rDNA sequences with other polyclads reveal that this is a new species belonging to the family Prosthiostomidae Lang, 1884 and previously monospecific genus Amakusaplana (Kato 1938). Amakusaplana acroporae is distinguished from Amakusaplana ohshimai by a different arrangement and number of eyes, a large seminal vesicle and dorsoventrally compressed shell gland pouch. Typical of the genus, A. acroporae, lacks a ventral sucker and has a small notch at the midline of the anterior margin. Nematocysts and a Symbiodinium sp. of dinoflagellate from the coral are abundantly distributed in the gut and parenchyma. Individual adults lay multiple egg batches on the coral skeleton, each egg batch has 20-26 egg capsules, and each capsule contains between 3-7 embryos. Embryonic development takes approximately 21 days, during which time characteristics of a pelagic life stage (lobes and ciliary tufts) develop but are lost before hatching. The hatchling is capable of swimming but settles to the benthos quickly, and no zooxanthellae were observed in the animal at this stage. We suggest that intracapsular metamorphosis limits the dispersal potential of hatchlings and promotes recruitment of offspring into the natal habitat. The evolutionary and ecological significance of retaining lobes and ciliary tufts in the embryo are discussed. Camouflage, high fecundity and possible dispersal dimorphisms probably explain how Amakusaplana acroporae can cause Acropora sp. mortality in aquaria where natural predators may be absent.

  16. Effect of Elevated Carbon Dioxide on Two Scleractinian Corals: Porites cylindrica (Dana, 1846 and Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus, 1767

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yii-Siang Hii

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This study reveals the effect of elevated pCO2 on Porites cylindrica and Galaxea fascicularis. The corals responded differently under elevated pCO2. Zooxanthellae cell density, cell mitotic index, and photosynthesis rate of P. cylindrica decreased drastically under the elevated pCO2. At the end of the experiment, P. cylindrica suffered from a declining calcium carbonate precipitation rate. G. fascicularis increased its respiration rate and expelled 71% of its symbiotic zooxanthellae algae under elevated pCO2. Photosynthetic pigments in the remaining zooxanthellae algae increased from 1.85 to 11.5 times to sustain its photosynthetic outputs. At the end of the experiment, G. fascicularis managed to increase the rate of its calcium carbonate precipitation. Increase pCO2 in the atmosphere may affect species diversity of coral reefs.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

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

  18. Late Cretaceous scleractinian corals from the rocky shore of Ivö Klack, southern Sweden, including some of the northernmost zooxanthellate corals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Anne Mehlin; Floris, S; Surlyk, Finn

    2011-01-01

    A relatively low diversity coral fauna comprising eight zooxanthellate, three azooxanthellate, and one unidentified species is described from a Late Cretaceous rocky shore at Ivö Klack, southern Sweden. All species, except the solitary azooxanthellate Paracyathus? sp., are represented by one or two...

  19. Age and intraspecific diversity of resilient Acropora communities in Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin, Adele; Greer, Lisa; Humston, Robert; Devlin-Durante, Meghann; Cabe, Paul; Lescinsky, Halard; Wirth, Karl; Allen Curran, H.; Baums, Iliana B.

    2017-12-01

    The corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis are important Caribbean reef-builders that have faced significant mortality in recent decades. While many studies have focused on the recent demise of these species, data from areas where Acropora spp. have continued to thrive are limited. Understanding the genetic diversity, recruitment, and temporal continuity of healthy populations of these threatened Acropora spp. and the hybrid they form (" Acropora prolifera") may provide insights into the demographic processes governing them. We studied three reef sites with abundant A. cervicornis, A. palmata, and hybrid Acropora populations offshore of Ambergris Caye, Belize at Coral Gardens, Manatee Channel, and Rocky Point. Samples were collected from all three Acropora taxa. We used microsatellite markers to determine: (1) genotypic diversity; (2) dominant reproductive mode supporting local recruitment; (3) minimum and maximum genet age estimates for all three acroporids; and (4) the history of hybrid colonization at these sites. We found that Acropora populations were highly clonal with local recruitment primarily occurring through asexual fragmentation. We also estimated the ages of 10 Acropora genets using recent methodology based on somatic mutation rates from genetic data. Results indicate minimum ages of 62-409 yr for A. cervicornis, 187-561 yr for A. palmata, and 156-281 yr for the Acropora hybrids at these sites. Our data indicate that existing A. cervicornis, A. palmata, and Acropora hybrid genets persisted during the 1980s Caribbean-wide Acropora spp. collapse, suggesting that these sites have been a refuge for Caribbean Acropora corals. Additionally, our data suggest that formation of extant hybrid Acropora genets pre-dates the widespread collapse of the parent taxa.

  20. 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

  1. IMPACT OF BLEACHING STRESS ON THE FUNCTION OF THE OXYGEN EVOLVING COMPLEX OF ZOOXANTHELLAE FROM SCLERACTINIAN CORALS(1).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Ross; Ralph, Peter J

    2008-04-01

    Global climate change is leading to the rise of ocean temperatures and is triggering mass coral bleaching events on reefs around the world. The expulsion of the symbiotic dinoflagellate algae is believed to occur as a result of damage to the photosynthetic apparatus of these symbionts, although the specific site of initial impact is yet to be conclusively resolved. Here, the sensitivity of the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) to bleaching stress was studied as well as its natural variation between seasons. The artificial electron donor, diphenyl carbazide (DPC), was added to cultured, freshly isolated and expelled (bleaching treatments only) zooxanthellae suspensions. Chl a fluorescence and oxygen production measurements showed that upon addition of DPC, no restoration of diminished photochemical efficiency occurred under control or bleaching conditions. This result was consistent between 12 h and 5 d bleaching treatments on Pocilloporadamicornis, indicating that the OEC is not the primary site of damage, and that zooxanthellae expulsion from the host is a nonselective process with respect to the functioning of the OEC. Further experiments measuring fast induction curves (FICs) revealed that in both summer and winter, the temperature when OEC function was lost occurred between 7°C and 14°C above the sea surface temperature. FIC and oxygen production measurements of P. damicornis during exposure to bleaching stress demonstrated that the thermotolerance of the OEC increased above the temperature of the bleaching treatment over a 4 h period. This finding indicates that the OEC has the capacity to acclimate between seasons and remains functional at temperatures well above bleaching thresholds. © 2008 Phycological Society of America.

  2. CRCP-Acropora palmata snail corallivore removal evaluation

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Corallivorous snail feeding scars are a common source of tissue loss for the threatened coral Acropora palmata, accounting for roughly one quarter of tissue loss in...

  3. Coral thermal tolerance: tuning gene expression to resist thermal stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anthony J Bellantuono

    Full Text Available The acclimatization capacity of corals is a critical consideration in the persistence of coral reefs under stresses imposed by global climate change. The stress history of corals plays a role in subsequent response to heat stress, but the transcriptomic changes associated with these plastic changes have not been previously explored. In order to identify host transcriptomic changes associated with acquired thermal tolerance in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora, corals preconditioned to a sub-lethal temperature of 3°C below bleaching threshold temperature were compared to both non-preconditioned corals and untreated controls using a cDNA microarray platform. After eight days of hyperthermal challenge, conditions under which non-preconditioned corals bleached and preconditioned corals (thermal-tolerant maintained Symbiodinium density, a clear differentiation in the transcriptional profiles was revealed among the condition examined. Among these changes, nine differentially expressed genes separated preconditioned corals from non-preconditioned corals, with 42 genes differentially expressed between control and preconditioned treatments, and 70 genes between non-preconditioned corals and controls. Differentially expressed genes included components of an apoptotic signaling cascade, which suggest the inhibition of apoptosis in preconditioned corals. Additionally, lectins and genes involved in response to oxidative stress were also detected. One dominant pattern was the apparent tuning of gene expression observed between preconditioned and non-preconditioned treatments; that is, differences in expression magnitude were more apparent than differences in the identity of genes differentially expressed. Our work revealed a transcriptomic signature underlying the tolerance associated with coral thermal history, and suggests that understanding the molecular mechanisms behind physiological acclimatization would be critical for the modeling of reefs

  4. Comment on "Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reefal crest coral Acropora palmata" by N. A. Abdul et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bard, Edouard; Hamelin, Bruno; Deschamps, Pierre; Camoin, Gilbert

    2016-12-01

    Based on new U-Th ages of corals drilled offshore Barbados, Abdul et al. (2016) have confirmed the existence of the abrupt stratigraphic feature called meltwater pulse 1B (MWP-1B), which they interpret as being due to a very large and global sea level step change dated at about 11.3 kyr before present (approximately 15 m and equivalent to twice the amount of water stored in the present Greenland ice sheet). This contrasts with the Tahiti record, in which MWP-1B is essentially absent or very small, as Carlson and Clark (2012) and Lambeck et al. (2014) also conclude in their recent reviews of deglacial sea levels at the global scale. However, the evidence provided by Abdul et al. and their main conclusions are not convincing as they are affected by the following three main problems, which may explain the apparent discrepancies: Problem #1/Barbados is located in a subduction zone, which was also active throughout the Late Glacial period. Furthermore, the Barbados cores studied by Abdul et al. were drilled on both sides of the extension of a tectonic feature identified at the southern tip of Barbados (South Point) as underlined by several studies of the Barbados stratigraphy. Problem #2/Fossil samples of Acropora palmata may not be reliable sea level markers during rapid and large sea level rises. Indeed, the asexual reproduction strategy of this species may not be optimal to keep up when the water depth is increasing very rapidly. This may in part explain why the living depth of A. palmata at Barbados was significantly greater than 5 m during some periods of the last deglaciation, notably between 14.5 and 14 kyr B.P. and possibly between 14 and 11.5 kyr B.P. Problem #3/The slow glacio-isostatic adjustment and the rapid responses due to gravitational changes of ice and water masses complicate the interpretation of individual relative sea level (RSL) records at specific locations. Therefore, the Barbados and Tahiti record cannot be compared directly in terms of absolute

  5. Molecular Identification and Genetic Diversity of Acropora hyacinthus from Boo and Deer Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayanti, DP; Indrayanti, E.; Nuryadi, H.; Dewi, RA; Sabdono, A.

    2018-02-01

    Indonesia lies at the centre of biodiversity for corals. However, the reefs suffered from extensive human exploitation. Marine Protected Areas is thought to be best solution to protect coral reefs ecosystem. Understanding genetic diversity is crucial for effective management of the MPAs, however genetic diversity is rarely been corporate in designing an MPA. Moreover, many MPAs are uneffectively manage due to poor designated and demarcated.Raja Ampat which is located in western tip of West Papua, was designated as a park to mitigatethreatsand protect the valuable marine resources.Scleractinian corals in the genus Acropora are among the most dominant distributed in Raja Ampat waters, including the species of Acroporahyacinthus. The research aimed to analyze genetic diversity and to describe the kinship relationship of Acroporahyacinthus between 2 populations: Boo Island and Deer Island, Raja Ampat. Genetic marker Cytochrome Oxidase I (CO I) of the mitochondrial genome DNA (mtDNA) was used to analyze genetic diversity. Reconstruction of phylogenetic tree and genetic diversity were made by usingsoftware MEGA 5.05 (Moleculer Evolutionary Genetics Analysis). The results of this research indicatecorals A. hyacinthus from Boo Island and Deer Island Raja Ampat are in the low category of genetic diversity and overall had a close genetic relationship of kinship. This is likely due to the small size of the population and few numbers of samples that may not represent the population.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  8. Real-time PCR reveals a high incidence of Symbiodinium clade D at low levels in four scleractinian corals across the Great Barrier Reef : implications for symbiont shuffling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J. C.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Cantin, N. E.; Stam, W. T.; Olsen, J. L.

    Reef corals form associations with an array of genetically and physiologically distinct endosymbionts from the genus Symbiodinium. Some corals harbor different clades of symbionts simultaneously, and over time the relative abundances of these clades may change through a process called symbiont

  9. Scleractinian species richness for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary from 1996-2012 (NODC Accession 0123059)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset contains records of scleractinian species richness compiled from multiple sources. These are: CREMP, SCREAM, AGRRA, and FRRP CREMP: Coral Reef...

  10. Genetic Connectivity in Scleractinian Corals across the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Oil/Gas Platforms, and Relationship to the Flower Garden Banks

    OpenAIRE

    Sammarco, Paul W.; Brazeau, Daniel A.; Sinclair, James

    2012-01-01

    The 3,000 oil/gas structures currently deployed in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) provide hard substratum for marine organisms in a region where such has been rare since the Holocene. The major exception to this are the Flower Garden Banks (FGB). Corals are known to have colonized oil/gas platforms around the FGB, facilitating biogeographic expansion. We ask the question, what are the patterns of genetic affinity in these coral populations. We sampled coral tissue from populations of two s...

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2015-12-14

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

  13. [Influence of sediments and tungsten traces on the skeletal structure of Pseudodiploria: a reef building scleractinian coral from the Veracruz Reef System National Park, Mexico].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colín-García, Norberto A; Campos, Jorge E; Tello-Musi, Jose Luis; Arias-González, Jesús E

    2016-09-01

    Coral reefs are under intense conditions of stress caused by the anthropogenic activities in coastal areas and the increase of human population. Water effluents from urban and industrial areas carry large amounts of sediments and pollutants affecting corals populations, inducing bioerosion, increasing diseases and promoting the development of algae that compete for space with corals. In the Veracruz Reef System National Park (VRSNP) coral reefs are strongly affected by human activities carried out in the area. Gallega and Galleguilla reefs are among the most affected by wastewater discharges from the industrial (petrochemical and metallurgical) and urban areas in their vicinity. To assess the potential impact of this contamination on corals in the VRSNP, a chemical composition and morphology study of 76 Pseudodiploria colonies collected in reefs Gallega, Galleguilla, Isla Verde and Isla de Enmedio, was performed. Fragments of ~10 cm2 were collected and boric acid at 0.5 % was used to remove tissue from the skeleton; once clean, the morphology of each sample was determined with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Subsequently, to test the chemical composition, an energy dispersion spectroscopy of X-ray chemical microanalysis (EDSX) was performed in the SEM. We found that corals from Gallega and Galleguilla reefs, located closer to human populations, presented high levels of tungsten and the skeleton exhibited multiple perforations. In contrast, corals from the farthest offshore reefs (Isla Verde and Isla de Enmedio) exhibited lower levels of tungsten and fewer perforations in their skeleton. These results demonstrated that anthropogenic activities in the NPVRS are affecting corals skeleton, highly damaging and promoting their bioerosion. The presence of traces of tungsten in the skeleton of corals is an evidence of the damage that waste discharges are causing to coral reefs. Discharges of large amounts of contaminants promoted the growth of harmful species that

  14. Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  15. Larval settlement: the role of surface topography for sessile coral reef invertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whalan, Steve; Wahab, Muhammad A Abdul; Sprungala, Susanne; Poole, Andrew J; de Nys, Rocky

    2015-01-01

    For sessile marine invertebrates with complex life cycles, habitat choice is directed by the larval phase. Defining which habitat-linked cues are implicated in sessile invertebrate larval settlement has largely concentrated on chemical cues which are thought to signal optimal habitat. There has been less effort establishing physical settlement cues, including the role of surface microtopography. This laboratory based study tested whether surface microtopography alone (without chemical cues) plays an important contributing role in the settlement of larvae of coral reef sessile invertebrates. We measured settlement to tiles, engineered with surface microtopography (holes) that closely matched the sizes (width) of larvae of a range of corals and sponges, in addition to surfaces with holes that were markedly larger than larvae. Larvae from two species of scleractinian corals (Acropora millepora and Ctenactis crassa) and three species of coral reef sponges (Luffariella variabilis, Carteriospongia foliascens and Ircinia sp.,) were used in experiments. L. variabilis, A. millepora and C. crassa showed markedly higher settlement to surface microtopography that closely matched their larval width. C. foliascens and Ircinia sp., showed no specificity to surface microtopography, settling just as often to microtopography as to flat surfaces. The findings of this study question the sole reliance on chemical based larval settlement cues, previously established for some coral and sponge species, and demonstrate that specific physical cues (surface complexity) can also play an important role in larval settlement of coral reef sessile invertebrates.

  16. Validation of commercial ERK antibodies against the ERK orthologue of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata [version 1; referees: 1 approved, 2 approved with reservations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucile Courtial

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK signalling pathway controls key cellular processes, such as cell cycle regulation, cell fate determination and the response to external stressors. Although ERK functions are well studied in a variety of living organisms ranging from yeast to mammals, its functions in corals are still poorly known. The present work aims to give practical tools to study the expression level of ERK protein and the activity of the ERK signalling pathway in corals. The antibody characterisation experiment was performed five times and identical results were obtained. The present study validated the immune-reactivity of commercially available antibodies directed against ERK and its phosphorylated/activated forms on protein extracts of the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata.

  17. Effects of warming, acidification, and reef-zone on the calcification of four Caribbean scleractinian corals of the Belize Barrier Reef System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bove, C. B.; Ries, J. B.; Davies, S. W.; Westfield, I. T.; Castillo, K.

    2016-02-01

    Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2) has caused ocean temperature to increase and ocean pH to decrease, raising concerns about the health of marine organisms. Previous studies have shown that corals are particularly vulnerable to these stressors, most likely due to their narrow thermal tolerance and use of carbonate ions in calcification, although response patterns vary across taxa. We conducted laboratory experiments for 95 days to investigate the independent and interactive effects of ocean warming (28, 31 °C) and acidification on the calcification rate and skeletal properties of four abundant and ubiquitously distributed Caribbean coral species (Pseudodiploria strigosa, Siderastrea siderea, Porites astreoides, Undaria tenuifolia) collected from nearshore and forereef environments of the Belize Barrier Reef. Aragonite saturation states of 3.9, 3.2, 2.2, and 0.7, constrained by total alkalinity measured via closed-cell potentiometric titration and dissolved inorganic carbon measured via coulometry, were attained by sparging natural seawater with air-CO2 mixtures formulated at 280, 400, 700, and 2800 ppmv pCO2, respectively. Temperature and pCO2 were fully crossed (N=3 tanks per treatment) and corals were gradually exposed to treatment conditions over a 30-day period, followed by an additional 30-day acclimation. Rates of linear skeletal extension were measured relative to a calcein spike emplaced in the coral skeletons at the start of the experiment, and net calcification rates were determined from coral buoyant weights obtained every 30 days. Initial results show that corals in all treatments continued to calcify on a net basis, however, the effect of warming on net calcification rates of P. asteroids and U. tenuifolia became more negative at lower saturation states. In addition, nearshore U. tenuifolia calcified faster than forereef conspecifics in all treatments.

  18. Dispersal capacity and genetic relatedness in Acropora cervicornis on the Florida Reef Tract

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Paris, Claire B.; Kourafalou, Vassiliki H.; Lirman, Diego

    2018-06-01

    Sexual reproduction in scleractinian corals is a critical component of species recovery, fostering population connectivity and enhancing genetic diveristy. The relative contribution of sexual reproduction to both connectivity and diversity in Acropora cervicornis may be variable due to this species' capacity to reproduce effectively by fragmentation. Using a biophysical model and genomic data in this threatened species, we construct potential connectivity pathways on the Florida Reef Tract (FRT) and compare them to inferred migration rates derived from next-generation sequencing, using a link and node-based approach. Larval connectivity on the FRT can be divided into two zones: the northern region, where most transport is unidirectional to the north with the Florida Current, and the southern region that is more dynamic and exhibits complex spatial patterns. These biophysical linkages are poorly correlated with genetic connectivity patterns, which resolve many reciprocal connections and suggest a less sparse network. These results are difficult to reconcile with genetic data which indicate that individual reefs are diverse, suggesting important contributions of sexual reproduction and recruitment. Larval connectivity models highlight potential resources for recovery, such as areas with high larval export like the Lower Keys, or areas that are well connected to most other regions on the FRT, such as the Dry Tortugas.

  19. High tolerance to temperature and salinity change should enable scleractinian coral Platygyra acuta from marginal environments to persist under future climate change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Apple Pui Yi Chui

    Full Text Available With projected changes in the marine environment under global climate change, the effects of single stressors on corals have been relatively well studied. However, more focus should be placed on the interactive effects of multiple stressors if their impacts upon corals are to be assessed more realistically. Elevation of sea surface temperature is projected under global climate change, and future increases in precipitation extremes related to the monsoon are also expected. Thus, the lowering of salinity could become a more common phenomenon and its impact on corals could be significant as extreme precipitation usually occurs during the coral spawning season. Here, we investigated the interactive effects of temperature [24, 27 (ambient, 30, 32°C] and salinity [33 psu (ambient, 30, 26, 22, 18, 14 psu] on larval settlement, post-settlement survival and early growth of the dominant coral Platygyra acuta from Hong Kong, a marginal environment for coral growth. The results indicate that elevated temperatures (+3°C and +5°C above ambient did not have any significant effects on larval settlement success and post-settlement survival for up to 56 days of prolonged exposure. Such thermal tolerance was markedly higher than that reported in the literature for other coral species. Moreover, there was a positive effect of these elevated temperatures in reducing the negative effects of lowered salinity (26 psu on settlement success. The enhanced settlement success brought about by elevated temperatures, together with the high post-settlement survival recorded up to 44 and 8 days of exposure under +3°C and +5°C ambient respectively, resulted in the overall positive effects of elevated temperatures on recruitment success. These results suggest that projected elevation in temperature over the next century should not pose any major problem for the recruitment success of P. acuta. The combined effects of higher temperatures and lowered salinity (26 psu could

  20. CRCP-Acropora spp. distribution in the upper Florida Keys 2013-2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set is derived from visual surveys by snorkelers using handheld GPS units to map extant live colonies of the threatened corals Acropora palmata and A....

  1. CRCP-Acropora spp. distribution in the upper Florida Keys 2013-2015 (NCEI Accession 0157538)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains data from visual surveys by snorkelers using handheld GPS units to map extant live colonies of the threatened corals Acropora palmata and A....

  2. Acropora Presence/Absence in Surveyed Waters of Florida 1996-2008

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — On May 9, 2006, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) listed staghorn and elkhorn corals (Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata) as...

  3. Changes in growth, vitality, and habitat value of Acropora cervicornis in the US Caribbean

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The project was planned to document the habitat value of Acropora cervicornis, staghorn coral, colonies or stands/thickets as they changed in configuration through...

  4. Scleractinian corals (Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae) of Pulau Layang-Layang, Spratly Islands, with a note on Pavona maldivensis (Gardiner, 1905)

    KAUST Repository

    Waheed, Zarinah; Benzoni, Francesca; van der Meij, Sancia E. T.; Terraneo, Tullia Isotta; Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-01-01

    Layang-Layang is a small island part of an oceanic atoll in the Spratly Islands off Sabah, Malaysia. As the reef coral fauna in this part of the South China Sea is poorly known, a survey was carried out in 2013 to study the species composition

  5. Changes in scleractinian coral Seriatopora hystrix morphology and its endocellular Symbiodinium characteristics along a bathymetric gradient from shallow to mesophotic reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nir, O.; Gruber, D. F.; Einbinder, S.; Kark, S.; Tchernov, D.

    2011-12-01

    The algae living endosymbiotically within coral are thought to increase algal pigmentation with increasing depth to capture the diminishing light. Here, we follow distribution of the hermatypic coral Seriatopora hystrix along a 60-m bathymetric gradient in the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea, to study coral ecophysiology and response to light regimes. Combining work on coral morphology, pigment content and genotyping of the photosymbiont, we found that total chlorophyll concentration per zooxanthellae cell and the dark- and light-acclimated quantum yield of photosystem II did not vary significantly along the 60-m gradient. However, the chlorophyll a/c ratio increased with depth. This suggests that the symbiotic algae in S. hystrix possess a mechanism for acclimatization or adaptation that differs from previously described pathways. The accepted photoacclimatory process involves an increase in chlorophyll content per alga as light intensity decreases. Based on corallite and branch morphology, this research suggests that S. hystrix has two depth-dependent ecophenotypes. Above 10 m depth, S. hystrix exhibits sturdier colony configurations with thick branches, while below 30 m depth, colonies are characterized by thin branches and the presence of a larger polyp area. Between 10 and 30 m depth, both ecophenotypes are present, suggesting that corallite morphology may act as another axis of photoacclimation with depth.

  6. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    OpenAIRE

    Katherine E. Wirt; Pamela Hallock; David Palandro; Kathleen Semon Lunz

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto R...

  7. Impacts of food availability and pCO2 on planulation, juvenile survival, and calcification of the azooxanthellate scleractinian coral Balanophyllia elegans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crook, E. D.; Cooper, H.; Potts, D. C.; Lambert, T.; Paytan, A.

    2013-11-01

    Ocean acidification, the assimilation of atmospheric CO2 by the oceans that decreases the pH and CaCO3 saturation state (Ω) of seawater, is projected to have severe adverse consequences for calcifying organisms. While strong evidence suggests calcification by tropical reef-building corals containing algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) will decline over the next century, likely responses of azooxanthellate corals to ocean acidification are less well understood. Because azooxanthellate corals do not obtain photosynthetic energy from symbionts, they provide a system for studying the direct effects of acidification on energy available for calcification. The solitary azooxanthellate orange cup coral Balanophyllia elegans often lives in low-pH, upwelled waters along the California coast. In an 8-month factorial experiment, we measured the effects of three pCO2 treatments (410, 770, and 1220 μatm) and two feeding frequencies (3-day and 21-day intervals) on "planulation" (larval release) by adult B. elegans, and on the survival, skeletal growth, and calcification of newly settled juveniles. Planulation rates were affected by food level but not pCO2. Juvenile mortality was highest under high pCO2 (1220 μatm) and low food (21-day intervals). Feeding rate had a greater impact on calcification of B. elegans than pCO2. While net calcification was positive even at 1220 μatm (~3 times current atmospheric pCO2), overall calcification declined by ~25-45%, and skeletal density declined by ~35-45% as pCO2 increased from 410 to 1220 μatm. Aragonite crystal morphology changed at high pCO2, becoming significantly shorter but not wider at 1220 μatm. We conclude that food abundance is critical for azooxanthellate coral calcification, and that B. elegans may be partially protected from adverse consequences of ocean acidification in habitats with abundant heterotrophic food.

  8. Species identity and depth predict bleaching severity in reef-building corals: shall the deep inherit the reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muir, Paul R; Marshall, Paul A; Abdulla, Ameer; Aguirre, J David

    2017-10-11

    Mass bleaching associated with unusually high sea temperatures represents one of the greatest threats to corals and coral reef ecosystems. Deeper reef areas are hypothesized as potential refugia, but the susceptibility of Scleractinian species over depth has not been quantified. During the most severe bleaching event on record, we found up to 83% of coral cover severely affected on Maldivian reefs at a depth of 3-5 m, but significantly reduced effects at 24-30 m. Analysis of 153 species' responses showed depth, shading and species identity had strong, significant effects on susceptibility. Overall, 73.3% of the shallow-reef assemblage had individuals at a depth of 24-30 m with reduced effects, potentially mitigating local extinction and providing a source of recruits for population recovery. Although susceptibility was phylogenetically constrained, species-level effects caused most lineages to contain some partially resistant species. Many genera showed wide variation between species, including Acropora, previously considered highly susceptible. Extinction risk estimates showed species and lineages of concern and those likely to dominate following repeated events. Our results show that deeper reef areas provide refuge for a large proportion of Scleractinian species during severe bleaching events and that the deepest occurring individuals of each population have the greatest potential to survive and drive reef recovery. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. The Biology and Economics of Coral Growth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Calcification process dynamics in coral primary polyps as observed using a calcein incubation method

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yoshikazu Ohno

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Calcification processes are largely unknown in scleractinian corals. In this study, live confocal imaging was used to elucidate the spatiotemporal dynamics of the calcification process in aposymbiotic primary polyps of the coral species Acropora digitifera. The fluorophore calcein was used as a calcium deposition marker and a visible indicator of extracellular fluid distribution at the tissue-skeleton interface (subcalicoblastic medium, SCM in primary polyp tissues. Under continuous incubation in calcein-containing seawater, initial crystallization and skeletal growth were visualized among the calicoblastic cells in live primary polyp tissues. Additionally, the distribution of calcein-stained SCM and contraction movements of the pockets of SCM were captured at intervals of a few minutes. Our experimental system provided several new insights into coral calcification, particularly as a first step in monitoring the relationship between cellular dynamics and calcification in vivo. Our study suggests that coral calcification initiates at intercellular spaces, a finding that may contribute to the general understanding of coral calcification processes.

  11. Genetic connectivity in scleractinian corals across the Northern Gulf of Mexico: oil/gas platforms, and relationship to the Flower Garden Banks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul W Sammarco

    Full Text Available The 3,000 oil/gas structures currently deployed in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM provide hard substratum for marine organisms in a region where such has been rare since the Holocene. The major exception to this are the Flower Garden Banks (FGB. Corals are known to have colonized oil/gas platforms around the FGB, facilitating biogeographic expansion. We ask the question, what are the patterns of genetic affinity in these coral populations. We sampled coral tissue from populations of two species occurring on oil and gas platforms: Madracis decactis (hermatype and Tubastraea coccinea (invasive ahermatype. We sampled 28 platforms along four transects from 20 km offshore to the continental shelf edge off 1 Matagorda Island, TX; 2 Lake Sabine, TX; 3 Terrebonne Bay, LA; and 4 Mobile, AL. The entire population of M. decactis was sampled between depths of 5 m and 37 m. T. coccinea populations were sub-sampled. Genetic variation was assessed using the PCR-based Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs. Data were analyzed via AFLPOP and STRUCTURE. Genetic connectivity among M. decactis platform populations was highest near the FGB and decreased to the east. Connectivity increased again in the eastern sector, indicating isolation between the populations from different sides of the Mississippi River (Transects 3 and 4. A point-drop in genetic affinity (relatedness at the shelf edge south of Terrebonne Bay, LA indicated a population differing from all others in the northern GOM. Genetic affinities among T. coccinea were highest in the west and decreased to the east. Very low genetic affinities off Mobile, AL indicated a dramatic difference between those populations and those west of the Mississippi River, apparently a formidable barrier to larval dispersal.

  12. Genetic connectivity in scleractinian corals across the Northern Gulf of Mexico: oil/gas platforms, and relationship to the Flower Garden Banks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sammarco, Paul W; Brazeau, Daniel A; Sinclair, James

    2012-01-01

    The 3,000 oil/gas structures currently deployed in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) provide hard substratum for marine organisms in a region where such has been rare since the Holocene. The major exception to this are the Flower Garden Banks (FGB). Corals are known to have colonized oil/gas platforms around the FGB, facilitating biogeographic expansion. We ask the question, what are the patterns of genetic affinity in these coral populations. We sampled coral tissue from populations of two species occurring on oil and gas platforms: Madracis decactis (hermatype) and Tubastraea coccinea (invasive ahermatype). We sampled 28 platforms along four transects from 20 km offshore to the continental shelf edge off 1) Matagorda Island, TX; 2) Lake Sabine, TX; 3) Terrebonne Bay, LA; and 4) Mobile, AL. The entire population of M. decactis was sampled between depths of 5 m and 37 m. T. coccinea populations were sub-sampled. Genetic variation was assessed using the PCR-based Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs). Data were analyzed via AFLPOP and STRUCTURE. Genetic connectivity among M. decactis platform populations was highest near the FGB and decreased to the east. Connectivity increased again in the eastern sector, indicating isolation between the populations from different sides of the Mississippi River (Transects 3 and 4). A point-drop in genetic affinity (relatedness) at the shelf edge south of Terrebonne Bay, LA indicated a population differing from all others in the northern GOM. Genetic affinities among T. coccinea were highest in the west and decreased to the east. Very low genetic affinities off Mobile, AL indicated a dramatic difference between those populations and those west of the Mississippi River, apparently a formidable barrier to larval dispersal.

  13. Trehalose is a chemical attractant in the establishment of coral symbiosis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary Hagedorn

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have evolved with a crucial symbiosis between photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium and their cnidarian hosts (Scleractinians. Most coral larvae take up Symbiodinium from their environment; however, the earliest steps in this process have been elusive. Here we demonstrate that the disaccharide trehalose may be an important signal from the symbiont to potential larval hosts. Symbiodinium freshly isolated from Fungia scutaria corals constantly released trehalose (but not sucrose, maltose or glucose into seawater, and released glycerol only in the presence of coral tissue. Spawning Fungia adults increased symbiont number in their immediate area by excreting pellets of Symbiodinium, and when these naturally discharged Symbiodinium were cultured, they also released trehalose. In Y-maze experiments, coral larvae demonstrated chemoattractant and feeding behaviors only towards a chamber with trehalose or glycerol. Concomitantly, coral larvae and adult tissue, but not symbionts, had significant trehalase enzymatic activities, suggesting the capacity to utilize trehalose. Trehalase activity was developmentally regulated in F. scutaria larvae, rising as the time for symbiont uptake occurs. Consistent with the enzymatic assays, gene finding demonstrated the presence of a trehalase enzyme in the genome of a related coral, Acropora digitifera, and a likely trehalase in the transcriptome of F. scutaria. Taken together, these data suggest that adult F. scutaria seed the reef with Symbiodinium during spawning and the exuded Symbiodinium release trehalose into the environment, which acts as a chemoattractant for F. scutaria larvae and as an initiator of feeding behavior- the first stages toward establishing the coral-Symbiodinium relationship. Because trehalose is a fixed carbon compound, this cue would accurately demonstrate to the cnidarian larvae the photosynthetic ability of the potential symbiont in the ambient environment. To our

  14. Skeletal mineralogy of coral recruits under high temperature and pCO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, T.; Clode, P. L.

    2016-03-01

    Aragonite, which is the polymorph of CaCO3 precipitated by modern corals during skeletal formation, has a higher solubility than the more stable polymorph calcite. This higher solubility may leave animals that produce aragonitic skeletons more vulnerable to anthropogenic ocean acidification. It is therefore important to determine whether scleractinian corals have the plasticity to adapt and produce calcite in their skeletons in response to changing environmental conditions. Both high pCO2 and lower Mg / Ca ratios in seawater are thought to have driven changes in the skeletal mineralogy of major marine calcifiers in the past ˜ 540 Ma. Experimentally reduced Mg / Ca ratios in ambient seawater have been shown to induce some calcite precipitation in both adult and newly settled modern corals; however, the impact of high pCO2 on the mineralogy of recruits is unknown. Here we determined the skeletal mineralogy of 1-month-old Acropora spicifera coral recruits grown under high temperature (+3 °C) and pCO2 (˜ 900 µatm) conditions, using X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. We found that newly settled coral recruits produced entirely aragonitic skeletons regardless of the treatment. Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone is unlikely to drive changes in the skeletal mineralogy of young corals. Not having an ability to switch from aragonite to calcite precipitation may leave corals and ultimately coral reef ecosystems more susceptible to predicted ocean acidification. An important area for prospective research would be the investigation of the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg / Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  15. Examination of species boundaries in the Acropora cervicornis group (Scleractinia, cnidaria) using nuclear DNA sequence analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oppen, M J; Willis, B L; Vugt, H W; Miller, D J

    2000-09-01

    Although Acropora is the most species-rich genus of the scleractinian (stony) corals, only three species occur in the Caribbean: A. cervicornis, A. palmata and A. prolifera. Based on overall coral morphology, abundance and distribution patterns, it has been suggested that A. prolifera may be a hybrid between A. cervicornis and A. palmata. The species boundaries among these three morphospecies were examined using DNA sequence analyses of the nuclear Pax-C 46/47 intron and the ribosomal DNA Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1 and ITS2) and 5.8S regions. Moderate levels of sequence variability were observed in the ITS and 5.8S sequences (up to 5.2% overall sequence difference), but variability within species was as large as between species and all three species carried similar sequences. Since this is unlikely to represent a shared ancestral polymorphism, the data suggest that introgressive hybridization occurs among the three species. For the Pax-C intron, A. cervicornis and A. palmata had very distinct allele frequencies and A. cervicornis carried a unique allele at a frequency of 0.769 (although sequence differences between alleles were small). All A. prolifera colonies examined were heterozygous for the Pax-C intron, whereas heterozygosity was only 0.286 and 0.333 for A. cervicornis and A. palmata, respectively. These data support the hypothesis that A. prolifera is the product of hybridization between two species that have a different allelic composition for the Pax-C intron, i.e. A. cervicornis and A. palmata. We therefore suggest that A. prolifera is a hybrid between A. cervicornis and A. palmata, which backcrosses with the parental species at low frequency.

  16. The last two centuries of lead pollution in the southern Gulf of Mexico recorded in the annual bands of the scleractinian coral Orbicella faveolata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horta-Puga, Guillermo; Carriquiry, José D

    2014-05-01

    Lead (Pb) pollution history (1855-2001 A.D.) of the southern Gulf of Mexico (SGM) was reconstructed from the geochemical record contained in the annual bands of the hermatypic coral Orbicella faveolata from the Veracruz Reef System, Mexico. Pb concentrations ranged from 5.5 μg/g in 1889-23.6 μg/g in 1992, with an average of 10.0 ± 4.1 μg/g. These high concentrations are evidence of a highly polluted environment. High statistical correlations were observed between the annual Pb coral time-series and both, the production of alkyl-lead gasoline in Mexico during the second half of the twentieth century (r = 0.86, p lead in North America for the 1900-1940 years period (r = 0.73, p < 0.001). Hence, this research provides evidence that these two processes generated Pb-rich aerosols that were atmospherically transported, increasing the environmental levels of Pb in the SGM.

  17. Thermal regime and host clade, rather than geography, drive Symbiodinium and bacterial assemblages in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis sensu lato.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brener-Raffalli, Kelly; Clerissi, Camille; Vidal-Dupiol, Jeremie; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Bonhomme, François; Pratlong, Marine; Aurelle, Didier; Mitta, Guillaume; Toulza, Eve

    2018-02-20

    Although the term holobiont has been popularized in corals with the advent of the hologenome theory of evolution, the underlying concepts are still a matter of debate. Indeed, the relative contribution of host and environment and especially thermal regime in shaping the microbial communities should be examined carefully to evaluate the potential role of symbionts for holobiont adaptation in the context of global changes. We used the sessile, long-lived, symbiotic and environmentally sensitive reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis to address these issues. We sampled Pocillopora damicornis colonies corresponding to two different mitochondrial lineages in different geographic areas displaying different thermal regimes: Djibouti, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Taiwan. The community composition of bacteria and the algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium were characterized using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer, ITS2, respectively. Bacterial microbiota was very diverse with high prevalence of Endozoicomonas, Arcobacter, and Acinetobacter in all samples. While Symbiodinium sub-clade C1 was dominant in Taiwan and New Caledonia, D1 was dominant in Djibouti and French Polynesia. Moreover, we also identified a high background diversity (i.e., with proportions world.

  18. Regional restoration benchmarks for Acropora cervicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A.; Lirman, Diego; Bartels, Erich; Gilliam, David S.; Goergen, Elizabeth A.; Griffin, Sean P.; Johnson, Meaghan E.; Lustic, Caitlin; Maxwell, Kerry; Walter, Cory S.

    2017-12-01

    Coral gardening plays an important role in the recovery of depleted populations of threatened Acropora cervicornis in the Caribbean. Over the past decade, high survival coupled with fast growth of in situ nursery corals have allowed practitioners to create healthy and genotypically diverse nursery stocks. Currently, thousands of corals are propagated and outplanted onto degraded reefs on a yearly basis, representing a substantial increase in the abundance, biomass, and overall footprint of A. cervicornis. Here, we combined an extensive dataset collected by restoration practitioners to document early (1-2 yr) restoration success metrics in Florida and Puerto Rico, USA. By reporting region-specific data on the impacts of fragment collection on donor colonies, survivorship and productivity of nursery corals, and survivorship and productivity of outplanted corals during normal conditions, we provide the basis for a stop-light indicator framework for new or existing restoration programs to evaluate their performance. We show that current restoration methods are very effective, that no excess damage is caused to donor colonies, and that once outplanted, corals behave just as wild colonies. We also provide science-based benchmarks that can be used by programs to evaluate successes and challenges of their efforts, and to make modifications where needed. We propose that up to 10% of the biomass can be collected from healthy, large A. cervicornis donor colonies for nursery propagation. We also propose the following benchmarks for the first year of activities for A. cervicornis restoration: (1) >75% live tissue cover on donor colonies; (2) >80% survivorship of nursery corals; and (3) >70% survivorship of outplanted corals. Finally, we report productivity means of 4.4 cm yr-1 for nursery corals and 4.8 cm yr-1 for outplants as a frame of reference for ranking performance within programs. Such benchmarks, and potential subsequent adaptive actions, are needed to fully assess the

  19. 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.

  20. Reply to comment by E. Bard et al. on "Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata" by N. A. Abdul et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mortlock, Richard A.; Abdul, Nicole A.; Wright, James D.; Fairbanks, Richard G.

    2016-12-01

    Abdul et al. (2016) presented a detailed record of sea level at Barbados (13.9-9 kyr B.P.) tightly constraining the timing and amplitude during the Younger Dryas and Meltwater Pulse 1B (MWP-1B) based on U-Th dated reef crest coral species Acropora palmata. The Younger Dryas slow stand and the large (14 m) rapid sea level jump are not resolved in the Tahiti record. Tahiti sea level estimates are remarkably close to the Barbados sea level curve between 13.9 and 11.6 kyr but fall below the Barbados sea level curve for a few thousand years following MWP-1B. By 9 kyr the Tahiti sea level estimates again converge with the Barbados sea level curve. Abdul et al. (2016) concluded that Tahiti reefs at the core sites did not keep up with intervals of rapidly rising sea level during MWP-1B. We counter Bard et al. (2016) by showing (1) that there is no evidence for a hypothetical fault in Oistins Bay affecting one of the Barbados coring locations, (2) that the authors confuse the rare occurrences of A. palmata at depths >5 m with the "thickets" of A. palmata fronds representing the reef-crest facies, and (3) that uncertainties in depth habitat proxies largely account for differences in Barbados and Tahiti sea level differences curves with A. palmata providing the most faithful proxy. Given the range in Tahiti paleodepth uncertainties at the cored sites, the most parsimonious explanation remains that Tahiti coralgal ridges did not keep up with the sea level rise of MWP-1B.

  1. Acropora Presence/Absence in Surveyed Waters of Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands 2001-2006

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — On May 9, 2006, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) listed staghorn and elkhorn corals (Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata) as...

  2. CRCP-Acropora palmata fragment outplants: evaluating the performance in the Upper Florida Keys from 2014 to 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Much progress has been made in the last decade in the propagation of Acropora spp. corals for restoration. Since 2008, much effort in Florida and US Caribbean...

  3. Population Monitoring of Acropora palmata and its predator, Coralliophila abbreviata, in the upper Florida Keys 1998 to 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This record refers to ongoing population surveys of corallivorous snail, C. abbreviata, and two of its coral hosts, Acropora palmata, and Montastraea spp at six reef...

  4. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam G Marsh

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis. Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to

  5. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsh, Adam G; Hoadley, Kenneth D; Warner, Mark E

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG) motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera) and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis). Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS) are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to environmental stress in

  6. Sharing the slope: depth partitioning of agariciid corals and associated Symbiodinium across shallow and mesophotic habitats (2-60 m) on a Caribbean reef.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. The role of skeletal micro-architecture in diagenesis and dating of Acropora palmata

    OpenAIRE

    Tomiak, P. J.; Andersen, M. B.; Hendy, E. J.; Potter, E. K.; Johnson, K. G.; Penkman, K. E H

    2016-01-01

    Past variations in global sea-level reflect continental ice volume, a crucial factor for understanding the Earth’s climate system. The Caribbean coral Acropora palmata typically forms dense stands in very shallow water and therefore fossil samples mark past sea-level. Uranium-series methods are commonly used to establish a chronology for fossil coral reefs, but are compromised by post mortem diagenetic changes to coral skeleton. Current screening approaches are unable to identify all altered ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  9. Coral-zooxanthellae meta-transcriptomics reveals integrated response to pollutant stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gust, Kurt A; Najar, Fares Z; Habib, Tanwir; Lotufo, Guilherme R; Piggot, Alan M; Fouke, Bruce W; Laird, Jennifer G; Wilbanks, Mitchell S; Rawat, Arun; Indest, Karl J; Roe, Bruce A; Perkins, Edward J

    2014-07-12

    Corals represent symbiotic meta-organisms that require harmonization among the coral animal, photosynthetic zooxanthellae and associated microbes to survive environmental stresses. We investigated integrated-responses among coral and zooxanthellae in the scleractinian coral Acropora formosa in response to an emerging marine pollutant, the munitions constituent, 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5 triazine (RDX; 5 day exposures to 0 (control), 0.5, 0.9, 1.8, 3.7, and 7.2 mg/L, measured in seawater). RDX accumulated readily in coral soft tissues with bioconcentration factors ranging from 1.1 to 1.5. Next-generation sequencing of a normalized meta-transcriptomic library developed for the eukaryotic components of the A. formosa coral holobiont was leveraged to conduct microarray-based global transcript expression analysis of integrated coral/zooxanthellae responses to the RDX exposure. Total differentially expressed transcripts (DET) increased with increasing RDX exposure concentrations as did the proportion of zooxanthellae DET relative to the coral animal. Transcriptional responses in the coral demonstrated higher sensitivity to RDX compared to zooxanthellae where increased expression of gene transcripts coding xenobiotic detoxification mechanisms (i.e. cytochrome P450 and UDP glucuronosyltransferase 2 family) were initiated at the lowest exposure concentration. Increased expression of these detoxification mechanisms was sustained at higher RDX concentrations as well as production of a physical barrier to exposure through a 40% increase in mucocyte density at the maximum RDX exposure. At and above the 1.8 mg/L exposure concentration, DET coding for genes involved in central energy metabolism, including photosynthesis, glycolysis and electron-transport functions, were decreased in zooxanthellae although preliminary data indicated that zooxanthellae densities were not affected. In contrast, significantly increased transcript expression for genes involved in cellular energy production

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sung-Yin Yang

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

  11. CRCP-Acropora palmata fragment outplants: evaluating the performance in the Upper Florida Keys from 2014 to 2016 (NCEI Accession 0161630)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset contains condition and size of outplanted, cultured fragments of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, observed in two separate experiments. Data tables give...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jessica A. Conlan

    2017-08-01

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

  13. Differential sensitivity of coral larvae to natural levels of ultraviolet radiation during the onset of larval competence.

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel; Banaszak, Anastazia T; Bayer, Till; Luyten, James; Medina, Mó nica; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2011-01-01

    Scleractinian corals are the major builders of the complex structural framework of coral reefs. They live in tropical waters around the globe where they are frequently exposed to potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The eggs and early

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

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Piccinetti, C.C.; Ricci, R.; Pennesi, C.; Radaelli, G.; Totti, C.; Norici, A.; Giordano, Mario; Olivotto, I.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 6, MAR 8 (2016), s. 22679 ISSN 2045-2322 Institutional support: RVO:61388971 Keywords : DIATOM THALASSIOSIRA-PSEUDONANA * STYLOPHORA-PISTILLATA * SCLERACTINIAN CORALS Subject RIV: EE - Microbiology, Virology Impact factor: 4.259, year: 2016

  15. Colony-specific investigations reveal highly variable responses among individual corals to ocean acidification and warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavousi, Javid; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Nakamura, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    As anthropogenic climate change is an ongoing concern, scientific investigations on its impacts on coral reefs are increasing. Although impacts of combined ocean acidification (OA) and temperature stress (T) on reef-building scleractinian corals have been studied at the genus, species and population levels, there are little data available on how individual corals respond to combined OA and anomalous temperatures. In this study, we exposed individual colonies of Acropora digitifera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica to four pCO2-temperature treatments including 400 μatm-28 °C, 400 μatm-31 °C, 1000 μatm-28 °C and 1000 μatm-31 °C for 26 days. Physiological parameters including calcification, protein content, maximum photosynthetic efficiency, Symbiodinium density, and chlorophyll content along with Symbiodinium type of each colony were examined. Along with intercolonial responses, responses of individual colonies versus pooled data to the treatments were investigated. The main results were: 1) responses to either OA or T or their combination were different between individual colonies when considering physiological functions; 2) tolerance to either OA or T was not synonymous with tolerance to the other parameter; 3) tolerance to both OA and T did not necessarily lead to tolerance of OA and T combined (OAT) at the same time; 4) OAT had negative, positive or no impacts on physiological functions of coral colonies; and 5) pooled data were not representative of responses of all individual colonies. Indeed, the pooled data obscured actual responses of individual colonies or presented a response that was not observed in any individual. From the results of this study we recommend improving experimental designs of studies investigating physiological responses of corals to climate change by complementing them with colony-specific examinations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Phototoxic effects of PAH and UVA exposure on molecular responses and developmental success in coral larvae

    KAUST Repository

    Overmans, Sebastian

    2018-03-09

    Exposure to polycyclic aromatic carbons (PAHs) poses a growing risk to coral reefs due to increasing shipping and petroleum extraction in tropical waters. Damaging effects of specific PAHs can be further enhanced by the presence of ultraviolet radiation, known as phototoxicity. We tested phototoxic effects of the PAHs anthracene and phenanthrene on larvae of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis in the presence and absence of UVA (320–400 nm). Activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme was reduced by anthracene while phenanthrene and UVA exposure did not have any effect. Gene expression of MnSod remained constant across all treatments. The genes Catalase, Hsp70 and Hsp90 showed increased expression levels in larvae exposed to anthracene, but not phenanthrene. Gene expression of p53 was upregulated in the presence of UVA, but downregulated when exposed to PAHs. The influence on stress-related biochemical pathways and gene expresson in A. tenuis larvae was considerably greater for anthracene than phenanthrene, and UVA-induced phototoxicity was only evident for anthracene. The combined effects of UVA and PAH exposure on larval survival and metamorphosis paralleled the sub-lethal stress responses, clearly highlighting the interaction of UVA on anthracene toxicity and ultimately the coral’s development.

  18. Phototoxic effects of PAH and UVA exposure on molecular responses and developmental success in coral larvae

    KAUST Repository

    Overmans, Sebastian; Nordborg, Mikaela; Rua, Ruben Diaz; Brinkman, Diane L.; Negri, Andrew P.; Agusti, Susana

    2018-01-01

    Exposure to polycyclic aromatic carbons (PAHs) poses a growing risk to coral reefs due to increasing shipping and petroleum extraction in tropical waters. Damaging effects of specific PAHs can be further enhanced by the presence of ultraviolet radiation, known as phototoxicity. We tested phototoxic effects of the PAHs anthracene and phenanthrene on larvae of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis in the presence and absence of UVA (320–400 nm). Activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme was reduced by anthracene while phenanthrene and UVA exposure did not have any effect. Gene expression of MnSod remained constant across all treatments. The genes Catalase, Hsp70 and Hsp90 showed increased expression levels in larvae exposed to anthracene, but not phenanthrene. Gene expression of p53 was upregulated in the presence of UVA, but downregulated when exposed to PAHs. The influence on stress-related biochemical pathways and gene expresson in A. tenuis larvae was considerably greater for anthracene than phenanthrene, and UVA-induced phototoxicity was only evident for anthracene. The combined effects of UVA and PAH exposure on larval survival and metamorphosis paralleled the sub-lethal stress responses, clearly highlighting the interaction of UVA on anthracene toxicity and ultimately the coral’s development.

  19. Nota sobre la densidad y tasa de depredación de Coralliophila abbreviata y Coralliophila caribaea sobre colonias jóvenes de Acropora palmata en un arrecife deteriorado de Cayo Sombrero, Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela Note on density and predation rate of Coralliophila abbreviata and Coralliophila caribaea on juvenile colonies of Acropora palmata in a deteriorated coral reef of Cayo Sombrero, Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos del Mónaco

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Los arrecifes del Parque Nacional Morrocoy (PNM se encuentran actualmente impactados. Posterior a la mortandad masiva ocurrida en 1996, ha habido indicios de recuperación de Acropora palmata. Este proceso podría ser retrasado por Coralliophila. Se observaron solamente tres colonias de A. palmata en todo un arrecife de Cayo Sombrero. En julio 2005 estas presentaron densidades de Coralliophila abbreviata de 4, 0 y 2 ind/col y de Coralliophila caribaea de 22, 14 y 0 ind/col y, en enero 2006 las densidades fueron: 8, 0 y 4 ind/col de C abbreviata y 22, 14 y 0 ind/col de C caribaea. En las tres colonias se observaron cuatro lesiones (dos de cada depredador. Hubo pérdida de tejido de 66,14 cm a 162,85 cm en las lesiones ocasionadas por C abbreviata, con tasa de depredación de 0,52 cm día-1 en una de ellas, mientras que en otra fue de 37,41 a 72,50 cm con tasa de depredación de 0,19 cm día-1 . Las lesiones generadas por C caribaea no cambiaron. Es probable que el efecto de Coralliophila afecte la recuperación de A. palmata en el PNM, considerando la alta densidad de depredadores y la escasa abundancia de este coral en este parque.The coral reefs of Morrocoy National Park are currently deteriorated. After the massive mortality of 1996, Acropora palmata has shown some signs of recovery, a process that could be hampered by Coralliophila. We observed only three colonies of A. palmata in an entire reef in Cayo Sombrero. In July 2005, these colonies registered Coralliophila abbreviata densities of 4, 0, and 2 ind/col and Coralliophila caribaea densities of 22, 14, and 0 ind/col; in January 2006, said densities were 8, 0, and 4 ind/col (C. abbreviaté and 22, 14, and 0 ind/col (C. caribaea. Four sites of damage (two per predator were observed in the three colonies. In one colony, C abbreviata caused a loss of tissue of 66.14 to 162.85 cm , indicating a predation rate of 0.52 cm² day-1. In the other colony, the damage ranged from 37.41 to 72.50 cm2

  20. Population assessment of Acropora palmata (Scleractinia: Acroporidae: relationship between habitat and reef associated species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Martínez

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Three decades ago, Acropora palmata was one of the main reef-building coral species throughout the Caribbean, forming an essential component of the structural complexity of shallow coral reef habitats. These colonies still provide microhabitats for settlement, food and shelter to many vertebrates and invertebrates. The recent decline of A. palmata has been followed by a significant loss in spatial heterogeneity and possibly in species diversity. Studies addressing whether dead and living stands of Acropora hold different fish and benthic assemblages are scarce. The status of Acropora colonies and their associated species were assessed in October 2012, at two reef zones of Cayo Sombrero, Venezuela. Visual censuses of fish abundance and the number of macrofaunal individuals were recorded for both live and dead zones. Living Acropora colonies had the lowest abundance (˂31%. In both zoned the fish community was dominated by damselfishes (˂53% and wrasses (˂36%, the benthic macrofauna by peracarid crustaceans (˂40% and polychaetes (˂38%. Fish and benthic communities were not correlated with the condition (live or dead of the Acropora habitats; possibly branching structures provide the necessary shelter and protection no matter if they are dead or alive. More replication is necessary to test this unexpected result.

  1. Differential regulation by heat stress of novel cytochrome P450 genes from the dinoflagellate symbionts of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosic, Nedeljka N; Pernice, Mathieu; Dunn, Simon; Dove, Sophie; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2010-05-01

    Exposure to heat stress has been recognized as one of the major factors leading to the breakdown of the coral-alga symbiosis and coral bleaching. Here, we describe the presence of three new cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes from the reef-building coral endosymbiont Symbiodinium (type C3) and changes in their expression during exposure to severe and moderate heat stress conditions. Sequence analysis of the CYP C-terminal region and two conserved domains, the "PERF" and "heme-binding" domains, confirmed the separate identities of the CYP genes analyzed. In order to explore the effects of different heat stress scenarios, samples of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora were exposed to elevated temperatures incrementally over an 18-h period (rapid thermal stress) and over a 120-h period (gradual thermal stress). After 18 h of gradual heating and incubation at 26 degrees C, the Symbiodinium CYP mRNA pool was approximately 30% larger, while a further 6 degrees C increase to a temperature above the average sea temperature (29 degrees C after 72 h) resulted in a 2- to 4-fold increase in CYP expression. Both rapid heat stress and gradual heat stress at 32 degrees C resulted in 50% to 90% decreases in CYP gene transcript abundance. Consequently, the initial upregulation of expression of CYP genes at moderately elevated temperatures (26 degrees C and 29 degrees C) was followed by a decrease in expression under the greater thermal stress conditions at 32 degrees C. These findings indicate that in the coral-alga symbiosis under heat stress conditions there is production of chemical stressors and/or transcriptional factors that regulate the expression of genes, such as the genes encoding cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, that are involved in the first line of an organism's chemical defense.

  2. High reproductive synchrony of Acropora (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2015-01-05

    Coral spawning in the northern Gulf of Aqaba has been reported to be asynchronous, making it almost unique when compared to other regions in the world. Here, we document the reproductive condition of Acropora corals in early June 2014 in Dahab, in the Gulf of Aqaba, 125 km south of previous studies conducted in Eilat, Israel. Seventy-eight percent of Acropora colonies from 14 species had mature eggs, indicating that most colonies will spawn on or around the June full moon, with a very high probability of multi-species synchronous spawning. Given the proximity to Eilat, we predict that a comparable sampling protocol would detect similar levels of reproductive synchrony throughout the Gulf of Aqaba consistent with the hypothesis that high levels of spawning synchrony are a feature of all speciose coral assemblages.

  3. Environmental controls of coral growth: Data driven multi-scale analyses of rates and patterns of growth in massive Porites corals around the Thai-Malay Peninsula

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tanzil, J.T.I.

    2013-01-01

    Scleractinian corals produce large amounts of calcium carbonate as they grow, sustaining the three-dimensional reef framework that supports the high productivity and biodiversity associated with tropical coral reefs. The rate of skeletal growth of corals is therefore not only essential for their

  4. Corals hosting symbiotic hydrozoans are less susceptible to predation and disease

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone; Fattorini, Simone; Parravicini, Valeriano; Berumen, Michael L.; Galli, Paolo; Maggioni, Davide; Arrigoni, Roberto; Seveso, Davide; Strona, Giovanni

    2017-01-01

    for our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs, and for their conservation in the current scenario of global change, because it suggests that symbiotic hydrozoans may play an active role in protecting their scleractinian hosts from stresses induced

  5. Survival and growth of the giant clam larvae utilizing zooxanthellae from Acropora valenciennesi, Tridacna crocea and Sarcophyton trocheliophorum

    OpenAIRE

    A. Niartiningsih; Magdalena Litaay; Niradhyna W. M

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to know the survival and growth of the giant clam larvae given zooxanthellae from different host. The field experiment was conducted from September ???November 2006 at hatchery of Marine Field Station Barrang Lompo Island, Makassar. Zooxanthellae hosts used were: (A) Table coral (Acropora valenciennesi); (B) Tridacna crocea, (C) soft coral (Sarcophyton trocheliophorum) and (D) control (no additional zooxanthellae). The Complete Randomized Design with four treatments ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  7. SYMBIODINIUM ISOLATES FROM STONY CORAL: ISOLATION, GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS AND EFFECTS OF UV IRRADIATION

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symbiodinium spp. Isolates from Stony Coral: Isolation, Growth Characteristics and Effects of UV Irradiation (Abstract). J. Phycol. 37(3):42-43.Symbiodinium species were isolated from Montipora capitata, Acropora palmata and two field samples of Porites porites. Cultures ...

  8. 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.

  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. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine E. Wirt

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Island reef tracts were used to generate potential-habitat polygons using buffers that incorporated 95% and 99% of reported observations of Acropora spp. Locations of 92% of A. palmata observations and 84% of A. cervicornis observations coincided with mapped coral reef or hard-bottom habitat throughout the study area. These results indicate that potential habitat for A. palmata is currently well defined throughout this region, but that potential habitat for A. cervicornis is more variable and has a wider range than that for A. palmata. This study provides a novel method of combining data sets at various geographic spatial scales and may be used to inform and refine the current National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration critical habitat map.

  12. Species delimitation in the reef coral genera Echinophyllia and Oxypora (Scleractinia, Lobophylliidae) with a description of two new species

    KAUST Repository

    Arrigoni, Roberto; Berumen, Michael L.; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Terraneo, Tullia Isotta; Baird, Andrew H.; Payri, Claude; Benzoni, Francesca

    2016-01-01

    Scleractinian corals are affected by environment-induced phenotypic plasticity and intraspecific morphological variation caused by genotype. In an effort to identify new strategies for resolving this taxonomic issue, we applied a molecular approach

  13. Microbial composition of biofilms associated with lithifying rubble of Acropora palmata branches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltrán, Yislem; Cerqueda-García, Daniel; Taş, Neslihan; Thomé, Patricia E; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Falcón, Luisa I

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, but are rapidly declining due to global-warming-mediated changes in the oceans. Particularly for the Caribbean region, Acropora sp. stony corals have lost ∼80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. We analyzed the microbial composition of biofilms that colonize and lithify dead Acropora palmata rubble in the Mexican Caribbean and identified the microbial assemblages that can persist under scenarios of global change, including high temperature and low pH. Lithifying biofilms have a mineral composition that includes aragonite and magnesium calcite (16 mole% MgCO(3)) and calcite, while the mineral phase corresponding to coral skeleton is basically aragonite. Microbial composition of the lithifying biofilms are different in comparison to surrounding biotopes, including a microbial mat, water column, sediments and live A. palmata microbiome. Significant shifts in biofilm composition were detected in samples incubated in mesocosms. The combined effect of low pH and increased temperature showed a strong effect after two-week incubations for biofilm composition. Findings suggest that lithifying biofilms could remain as a secondary structure on reef rubble possibly impacting the functional role of coral reefs. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. When forms meet genes: revision of the scleractinian genera Micromussa and Homophyllia (Lobophylliidae) with a description of two new species and one new genus

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Arrigoni, R.; Benzoni Danwei Huang, Hironobu Fukami, Chaolun Allen Chen, Michael L. Berumen, Mia Hoogenboom, Damian P. Thomson, Bert W. Hoeksema, Ann F. Budd, Yuna Zayasu, Tullia I. Terraneo, Yuko F. Kitano, Andrew H. Baird F.; Huang, D.; Fukami, H.; Chen, C.A.; Berumen, M.L.; Hoogenboom, M.; Thomson, D.P.; Hoeksema, B.W.; Budd, A.F.; Zayasu, Y.; Terraneo, T.I.; Kitano, Y.F.; Baird, A.H.

    2016-01-01

    The scleractinian family Lobophylliidae is undergoing a major taxonomic revision thanks to the combination of molecular and morphological data. In this study, we investigate the evolutionary relationships and the macro- and micromorphology of six nominal coral species belonging to two of the nine

  15. Differential larval settlement responses of Porites astreoides and Acropora palmata in the presence of the green alga Halimeda opuntia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, K.; Sneed, J. M.; Paul, V. J.

    2016-06-01

    Settlement is critical to maintaining coral cover on reefs, yet interspecific responses of coral planulae to common benthic macroalgae are not well characterized. Larval survival and settlement of two Caribbean reef-building corals, the broadcast-spawner Acropora palmata and the planulae-brooder Porites astreoides, were quantified following exposure to plastic algae controls and the green macroalga Halimeda opuntia. Survival and settlement rates were not significantly affected by the presence of H. opuntia in either species. However, ~10 % of P. astreoides larvae settled on the surface of the macroalga, whereas larvae of A. palmata did not. It is unlikely that corals that settle on macroalgae will survive post-settlement; therefore, H. opuntia may reduce the number of P. astreoides and other non-discriminatory larvae that survive to adulthood. Our results suggest that the presence of macroalgae on impacted reefs can have unexpected repercussions for coral recruitment and highlight discrepancies in settlement specificity between corals with distinct life history strategies.

  16. Temporal variations in metabolic and autotrophic indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera--implications for monitoring projects.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saskia Hinrichs

    Full Text Available Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal. We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a, zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield and relative electron transport rate (rETR for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia in August 2010 (austral winter and February 2011 (austral summer. Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal and short-term (diel coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time

  17. Temporal variations in metabolic and autotrophic indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera--implications for monitoring projects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L; Waite, Anya M

    2013-01-01

    Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal). We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration) and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a), zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield) and relative electron transport rate (rETR)) for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in August 2010 (austral winter) and February 2011 (austral summer). Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (diel) coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time-lag effect has

  18. Temporal Variations in Metabolic and Autotrophic Indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera – Implications for Monitoring Projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal). We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration) and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a), zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield) and relative electron transport rate (rETR)) for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in August 2010 (austral winter) and February 2011 (austral summer). Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (diel) coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time-lag effect has

  19. 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

  20. Specializing on vulnerable habitat: Acropora selectivity among damselfish recruits and the risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonin, M. C.

    2012-03-01

    Coral reef habitats are increasingly being degraded and destroyed by a range of disturbances, most notably climate-induced coral bleaching. Habitat specialists, particularly those associated with susceptible coral species, are clearly among the most vulnerable to population decline or extinction. However, the degree of specialization on coral microhabitats is still unclear for one of the most ubiquitous, abundant and well studied of coral reef fish families—the damselfishes (Pomacentridae). Using high taxonomic resolution surveys of microhabitat use and availability, this study provides the first species-level description of patterns of Acropora selectivity among recruits of 10 damselfish species in order to determine their vulnerability to habitat degradation. In addition, surveys of the bleaching susceptibility of 16 branching coral species revealed which preferred recruitment microhabitats are at highest risk of decline as a result of chronic coral bleaching. Four species (i.e., Chrysiptera parasema, Pomacentrus moluccensis, Dascyllus melanurus and Chromis retrofasciata) were identified as highly vulnerable because they used only branching hard corals as recruitment habitat and primarily associated with only 2-4 coral species. The bleaching surveys revealed that five species of Acropora were highly susceptible to bleaching, with more than 50% of colonies either severely bleached or already dead. These highly susceptible corals included two of the preferred microhabitats of the specialist C. parasema and represented a significant proportion of its total recruitment microhabitat. In contrast, highly susceptible corals were rarely used by another specialist, P. moluccensis, suggesting that this species faces a lower risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss compared to C. parasema. As degradation to coral reef habitats continues, specialists will increasingly be forced to use alternative recruitment microhabitats, and this is likely to reduce population

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Settlement induction of Acropora palmata planulae by a GLW-amide neuropeptide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erwin, P. M.; Szmant, A. M.

    2010-12-01

    Complex environmental cues dictate the settlement of coral planulae in situ; however, simple artificial cues may be all that is required to induce settlement of ex situ larval cultures for reef re-seeding and restoration projects. Neuropeptides that transmit settlement signals and initiate the metamorphic cascade have been isolated from hydrozoan taxa and shown to induce metamorphosis of reef-building Acropora spp. in the Indo-Pacific, providing a reliable and efficient settlement cue. Here, the metamorphic activity of six GLW-amide cnidarian neuropeptides was tested on larvae of the Caribbean corals Acropora palmata, Montastraea faveolata and Favia fragum. A. palmata planulae were induced to settle by the exogenous application of the neuropeptide Hym-248 (concentrations ≥1 × 10-6 M), achieving 40-80% attachment and 100% metamorphosis of competent planulae (≥6 days post-fertilization) during two spawning seasons; the remaining neuropeptides exhibited no activity. Hym-248 exposure rapidly altered larval swimming behavior (96% metamorphosis after 6 h. In contrast , M. faveolata and F. fragum planulae did not respond to any GLW-amides tested, suggesting a high specificity of neuropeptide activators on lower taxonomic scales in corals. Subsequent experiments for A. palmata revealed that (1) the presence of a biofilm did not enhance attachment efficiency when coupled with Hym-248 treatment, (2) neuropeptide-induced settlement had no negative effects on early life-history developmental processes: zooxanthellae acquisition and skeletal secretion occurred within 12 days, colonial growth occurred within 36 days, and (3) Hym-248 solutions maintained metamorphic activity following storage at room temperature (10 days), indicating its utility in remote field settings. These results corroborate previous studies on Indo-Pacific Acropora spp. and extend the known metamorphic activity of Hym-248 to Caribbean acroporids. Hym-248 allows for directed and reliable settlement of

  4. ROLE OF CORAL DISEASES AND ANTHROPOGENIC STRESSORS ON TROPIC MARINE CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stony (scleractinian) and soft (octocorals) corals throughout the Western Atlantic have been affected by several fatal diseases in the last two decades. In many locations the communities have not recovered from these diseases and the ecosystem has permanently changed. Several hyp...

  5. Resilience of the prokaryotic microbial community of Acropora digitifera to elevated temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gajigan, Andrian P; Diaz, Leomir A; Conaco, Cecilia

    2017-08-01

    The coral is a holobiont formed by the close interaction between the coral animal and a diverse community of microorganisms, including dinoflagellates, bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses. The prokaryotic symbionts of corals are important for host fitness but are also highly sensitive to changes in the environment. In this study, we used 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing to examine the response of the microbial community associated with the coral, Acropora digitifera, to elevated temperature. The A. digitifera microbial community is dominated by operational taxonomic unit (OTUs) affiliated with classes Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria. The prokaryotic community in the coral tissue is distinct from that of the mucus and the surrounding seawater. Remarkably, the overall microbial community structure of A. digitifera remained stable for 10 days of continuous exptosure at 32°C compared to corals maintained at 27°C. However, the elevated temperature regime resulted in a decrease in the abundance of OTUs affiliated with certain groups of bacteria, such as order Rhodobacterales. On the other hand, some OTUs affiliated with the orders Alteromonadales, Vibrionales, and Flavobacteriales, which are often associated with diseased and stressed corals, increased in abundance. Thus, while the A. digitifera bacterial community structure appears resilient to higher temperature, prolonged exposure and intensified stress results in changes in the abundance of specific microbial community members that may affect the overall metabolic state and health of the coral holobiont. © 2017 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Reef-scale trends in Florida Acropora spp. abundance and the effects of population enhancement

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Margaret W. Miller

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Since the listing of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, increasing investments have been made in propagation of listed corals (primarily A. cervicornis, A. palmata to a much lesser extent in offshore coral nurseries and outplanting cultured fragments to reef habitats. This investment is superimposed over a spatiotemporal patchwork of ongoing disturbances (especially storms, thermal bleaching, and disease as well as the potential for natural population recovery. In 2014 and 2015, we repeated broad scale (>50 ha, low precision Acropora spp. censuses (i.e., direct observation by snorkelers documented via handheld GPS originally conducted in appropriate reef habitats during 2005–2007 to evaluate the trajectory of local populations and the effect of population enhancement. Over the decade-long study, A. palmata showed a cumulative proportional decline of 0.4 –0.7x in colony density across all sites, despite very low levels of outplanting at some sites. A. cervicornis showed similar proportional declines at sites without outplanting. In contrast, sites that received A. cervicornis outplants showed a dramatic increase in density (over 13x. Indeed, change in A. cervicornis colony density was significantly positively correlated with cumulative numbers of outplants across sites. This study documents a substantive reef-scale benefit of Acropora spp. population enhancement in the Florida Keys, when performed at adequate levels, against a backdrop of ongoing population decline.

  7. Unusual “Knob-Like Chimney” Growth Forms on Acropora Species in the Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Rivera-Sosa

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available This manuscript provides new insights on an unusual morphological plasticity growth form on Acropora spp. in the Caribbean. This abnormal knob-shaped growth is thought to be a progression from the damselfish “chimneys” that are commonly seen in coral-algal farms. However, the diameters of the observed knobs tend to be much larger on Acropora palmata, where they range from 1.37 to 5.44 cm in diameter, and they tend to be slightly smaller on A. prolifera, where they range from 1.1 to 2.72 cm in diameter. These knob-like chimney growths can affect entire colonies. The knobs are mostly covered with live tissue, while some knobs compete with turf algae. We hypothesize that these growths may be linked to stress from multiple predation and environmental conditions. Local stressors could synergistically influence the regeneration of scarred tissue and skeleton that result from predatory lesions, possibly leading to the formation of the knobs. Therefore, we provide preliminary data from a shallow reef site in coastal Honduras located within the Mesoamerican region where we found the knobs. To the best of our knowledge, the conditions that drive the occurrence of these unusual “knob-like chimneys” on Acropora spp. have not been previously assessed. Thus, we propose a series of guidelines to research the coral morphological plasticity that may be linked to this knob-like chimney phenomenon.

  8. Reef-scale trends in Florida Acropora spp. abundance and the effects of population enhancement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Margaret W; Kerr, Katryna; Williams, Dana E

    2016-01-01

    Since the listing of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, increasing investments have been made in propagation of listed corals (primarily A. cervicornis , A. palmata to a much lesser extent) in offshore coral nurseries and outplanting cultured fragments to reef habitats. This investment is superimposed over a spatiotemporal patchwork of ongoing disturbances (especially storms, thermal bleaching, and disease) as well as the potential for natural population recovery. In 2014 and 2015, we repeated broad scale (>50 ha), low precision Acropora spp. censuses (i.e., direct observation by snorkelers documented via handheld GPS) originally conducted in appropriate reef habitats during 2005-2007 to evaluate the trajectory of local populations and the effect of population enhancement. Over the decade-long study, A. palmata showed a cumulative proportional decline of 0.4 -0.7x in colony density across all sites, despite very low levels of outplanting at some sites. A. cervicornis showed similar proportional declines at sites without outplanting. In contrast, sites that received A. cervicornis outplants showed a dramatic increase in density (over 13x). Indeed, change in A. cervicornis colony density was significantly positively correlated with cumulative numbers of outplants across sites. This study documents a substantive reef-scale benefit of Acropora spp. population enhancement in the Florida Keys, when performed at adequate levels, against a backdrop of ongoing population decline.

  9. Some rare Indo-Pacific coral species are probable hybrids.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe T Richards

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs worldwide face a variety of threats and many coral species are increasingly endangered. It is often assumed that rare coral species face higher risks of extinction because they have very small effective population sizes, a predicted consequence of which is decreased genetic diversity and adaptive potential. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we show that some Indo-Pacific members of the coral genus Acropora have very small global population sizes and are likely to be unidirectional hybrids. Whether this reflects hybrid origins or secondary hybridization following speciation is unclear. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The interspecific gene flow demonstrated here implies increased genetic diversity and adaptive potential in these coral species. Rare Acropora species may therefore be less vulnerable to extinction than has often been assumed because of their propensity for hybridization and introgression, which may increase their adaptive potential.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tilstra, Arjen; Wijgerde, Tim; Dini-Andreote, Francisco; Eriksson, Britas Klemens; Salles, Joana Falcão; Pen, Ido; Osinga, Ronald; Wild, Christian

    2017-01-01

    Recent research suggests that prior exposure of several months to elevated irradiance induces enhanced thermal tolerance in scleractinian corals. While this tolerance has been reported at the species level, individual coral colonies may react differently due to individual variability in thermal

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

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

  12. DOC concentrations across a depth-dependent light gradient on a Caribbean coral reef

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mueller, Benjamin; Meesters, Erik H.; Duyl, Van Fleur C.

    2017-01-01

    Photosynthates released by benthic primary producers (BPP), such as reef algae and scleractinian corals, fuel the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) production on tropical coral reefs. DOC concentrations near BPP have repeatedly been observed to be elevated compared to those in the surrounding water

  13. 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.

  14. Long-term growth rates and effects of bleaching in Acropora hyacinthus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gold, Zachary; Palumbi, Stephen R.

    2018-03-01

    Understanding the response of coral growth to natural variation in the environment, as well as to acute temperature stress under current and future climate change conditions, is critical to predicting the future health of coral reef ecosystems. As such, ecological surveys are beginning to focus on corals that live in high thermal stress environments to understand how future coral populations may adapt to climate change. We investigated the relationship between coral growth, thermal microhabitat, symbionts type, and thermal acclimatization of four species of the Acropora hyacinthus complex in back-reef lagoons in American Samoa. Coral growth was measured from August 2010 to April 2016 using horizontal planar area of coral colonies derived from photographs and in situ maximum width measurements. Despite marked intraspecific variation, we found that planar colony growth rates were significantly different among cryptic species. The highly heat tolerant A. hyacinthus variant "HE" increased in area an average of 2.9% month-1 (0.03 cm average mean radial extension month-1). By contrast, the three less tolerant species averaged 6.1% (0.07 cm average mean radial extension month-1). Planar growth rates were 40% higher on average in corals harboring Clade C versus Clade D symbiont types, although marked inter-colony variation in growth rendered this difference nonsignificant. Planar growth rates for all four species dropped to near zero following a 2015 bleaching event, independent of the visually estimated percent area of bleaching. Within 1 yr, growth rates recovered to previous levels, confirming previous studies that found sublethal effects of thermal stress on coral growth. Long-term studies of individual coral colonies provide an important tool to measure impacts of environmental change and allow integration of coral physiology, genetics, symbionts, and microclimate on reef growth patterns.

  15. Species-specific coral calcification responses to the extreme environment of the southern Persian Gulf

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Howells, Emily J.; Dunshea, Glenn John; McParland, Dain

    2018-01-01

    Sustained accretion of calcium carbonate (mostly by scleractinian corals) is fundamental for maintaining the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems, but may be greatly constrained by extreme and rapidly changing environmental conditions. Corals in the southern Persian Gulf already...... experience extreme temperature ranges ( 34°C), chronic hypersalinity (> 43 psu) and frequent light limitation (coral species in the region (Platygyra daedalea and Cyphastrea microphthalma) along marked...... Persian Gulf was lowest at Ras Ghanada, where there was lowest light and highest maximum temperatures. These data reveal striking taxonomic differences in the specific environmental constraints on coral calcification, which will further reinforce changes in the structure of coral assemblages with ongoing...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    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 (14)C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora

  17. 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.

  18. Environmental Drivers of Variation in Bleaching Severity of Acropora Species during an Extreme Thermal Anomaly

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mia O. Hoogenboom

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available High sea surface temperatures caused global coral bleaching during 2015–2016. During this thermal stress event, we quantified within- and among-species variability in bleaching severity for critical habitat-forming Acropora corals. The objective of this study was to understand the drivers of spatial and species-specific variation in the bleaching susceptibility of these corals, and to evaluate whether bleaching susceptibility under extreme thermal stress was consistent with that observed during less severe bleaching events. We surveyed and mapped Acropora corals at 10 sites (N = 596 around the Lizard Island group on the northern Great Barrier Reef. For each colony, bleaching severity was quantified using a new image analysis technique, and we assessed whether small-scale environmental variables (depth, microhabitat, competition intensity and species traits (colony morphology, colony size, known symbiont clade association explained variation in bleaching. Results showed that during severe thermal stress, bleaching of branching corals was linked to microhabitat features, and was more severe at reef edge compared with lagoonal sites. Bleaching severity worsened over a very short time-frame (~1 week, but did not differ systematically with water depth, competition intensity, or colony size. At our study location, within- and among-species variation in bleaching severity was relatively low compared to the level of variation reported in the literature. More broadly, our results indicate that variability in bleaching susceptibility during extreme thermal stress is not consistent with that observed during previous bleaching events that have ranged in severity among globally dispersed sites, with fewer species escaping bleaching during severe thermal stress. In addition, shaded microhabitats can provide a refuge from bleaching which provides further evidence of the importance of topographic complexity for maintaining the biodiversity and ecosystem

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Is Echinometra viridis facilitating a phase shift on an Acropora cervicornis patch reef in Belize?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanic, C. M.; Greer, L.; Norvell, D.; Benson, W.; Curran, H.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef health is in rapid decline across the Caribbean due to a number of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. A phase shift from coral- to macroalgae-dominant reefs is pervasive and has been well documented. Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral) has been particularly affected by this shift due to mass mortality of this species since the 1980s. In recent years few Caribbean A. cervicornis refugia have been documented. This study characterizes the relationship between coral and grazing urchins on a rare patch reef system dominated by A. cervicornis off the coast of Belize. To assess relative abundance of live A. cervicornis and the urchin Echinometra viridis, photographs and urchin abundance data were collected from 132 meter square quadrats along five transects across the reef. Photographs were digitized and manually segmented using Adobe Illustrator, and percent live coral cover and branch tip densities were calculated using Matlab. Mean percent live coral cover across all transects was 24.4 % with a high of 65% live coral per meter square. Average urchin density was 18.5 per quadrat, with an average density per transect ranging from 22.1 to 0.5 per quadrat. Up to over 400 live A. cervicornis branch tips per quadrat were observed. Data show a positive correlation between E. viridis abundance and live A. cervicornis, suggesting that these urchins are facilitating recovery or persistence of this endangered coral species. These results suggest the relationship between E. viridis and A. cervicornis could be a key element in a future reversal of the coral to macroalgae phase shift on some Caribbean coral reefs.

  2. The host transcriptome remains unaltered during the establishment of coral-algal symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voolstra, Christian R; Schwarz, Jodi A; Schnetzer, Julia; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Desalvo, Michael K; Szmant, Alina M; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Mónica

    2009-05-01

    Coral reefs are based on the symbiotic relationship between corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. We followed gene expression of coral larvae of Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata after exposure to Symbiodinium strains that differed in their ability to establish symbioses. We show that the coral host transcriptome remains almost unchanged during infection by competent symbionts, but is massively altered by symbionts that fail to establish symbioses. Our data suggest that successful coral-algal symbioses depend mainly on the symbionts' ability to enter the host in a stealth manner rather than a more active response from the coral host.

  3. Acropora interbranch skeleton Sr/Ca ratios: Evaluation of a potential new high-resolution paleothermometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadler, James; Nguyen, Ai D.; Leonard, Nicole D.; Webb, Gregory E.; Nothdurft, Luke D.

    2016-04-01

    The majority of coral geochemistry-based paleoclimate reconstructions in the Indo-Pacific are conducted on selectively cored colonies of massive Porites. This restriction to a single genus may make it difficult to amass the required paleoclimate data for studies that require deep reef coring techniques. Acropora, however, is a highly abundant coral genus in both modern and fossil reef systems and displays potential as a novel climate archive. Here we present a calibration study for Sr/Ca ratios recovered from interbranch skeleton in corymbose Acropora colonies from Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef. Significant intercolony differences in absolute Sr/Ca ratios were normalized by producing anomaly plots of both coral geochemistry and instrumental water temperature records. Weighted linear regression of these anomalies from the lagoon and fore-reef slope provide a sensitivity of -0.05 mmol/mol °C-1, with a correlation coefficient (r2 = 0.65) comparable to those of genera currently used in paleoclimate reconstructions. Reconstructions of lagoon and reef slope mean seasonality in water temperature accurately identify the greater seasonal amplitude observed in the lagoon of Heron Reef. A longer calibration period is, however, required for reliable reconstructions of annual mean water temperatures.

  4. Fungi in Porites lutea: Association with healthy and diseased corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    It is found that fungi to occur regularly in healthy, partially dead, bleached and pink-line syndrome (PLS)-affected scleractinian coral, Porites lutea, in the reefs of Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea. Mostly terrestrial species of fungi were isolated...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Colony geometry and structural complexity of the endangered species Acropora cervicornis partly explains the structure of their associated fish assemblage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A; Cappelletto, Jose; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    In the past decade, significant efforts have been made to describe fish-habitat associations. However, most studies have oversimplified actual connections between fish assemblages and their habitats by using univariate correlations. The purpose of this study was to identify the features of habitat forming corals that facilitate and influences assemblages of associated species such as fishes. For this we developed three-dimensional models of colonies of Acropora cervicornis to estimate geometry (length and height), structural complexity (i.e., volume, density of branches, etc.) and biological features of the colonies (i.e., live coral tissue, algae). We then correlated these colony characteristics with the associated fish assemblage using multivariate analyses. We found that geometry and complexity were better predictors of the structure of fish community, compared to other variables such as percentage of live coral tissue or algae. Combined, the geometry of each colony explained 40% of the variability of the fish assemblage structure associated with this coral species; 61% of the abundance and 69% of fish richness, respectively. Our study shows that three-dimensional reconstructions of discrete colonies of Acropora cervicornis provides a useful description of the colonial structural complexity and may explain a great deal of the variance in the structure of the associated coral reef fish community. This demonstration of the strongly trait-dependent ecosystem role of this threatened species has important implications for restoration and conservation efforts.

  7. Colony geometry and structural complexity of the endangered species Acropora cervicornis partly explains the structure of their associated fish assemblage

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Esteban A. Agudo-Adriani

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available In the past decade, significant efforts have been made to describe fish-habitat associations. However, most studies have oversimplified actual connections between fish assemblages and their habitats by using univariate correlations. The purpose of this study was to identify the features of habitat forming corals that facilitate and influences assemblages of associated species such as fishes. For this we developed three-dimensional models of colonies of Acropora cervicornis to estimate geometry (length and height, structural complexity (i.e., volume, density of branches, etc. and biological features of the colonies (i.e., live coral tissue, algae. We then correlated these colony characteristics with the associated fish assemblage using multivariate analyses. We found that geometry and complexity were better predictors of the structure of fish community, compared to other variables such as percentage of live coral tissue or algae. Combined, the geometry of each colony explained 40% of the variability of the fish assemblage structure associated with this coral species; 61% of the abundance and 69% of fish richness, respectively. Our study shows that three-dimensional reconstructions of discrete colonies of Acropora cervicornis provides a useful description of the colonial structural complexity and may explain a great deal of the variance in the structure of the associated coral reef fish community. This demonstration of the strongly trait-dependent ecosystem role of this threatened species has important implications for restoration and conservation efforts.

  8. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  10. The Acropora inheritance: A reinterpretation of the development of fringing reefs in Barbados, West Indies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, John B.

    1984-11-01

    The discovery of the widespread occurrence of the remains of the reef coral Acropora palmata within the fabric of the fringing reefs on the west coast of Barbados requires a new interpretation of their Holocene development. Radiocarbon dating of the A. palmata framework suggests that reef construction by this species began as early as 2,300 years B.P. A. palmata probably flourished in Barbados into the present century but has now declined. The present fringing reefs are characterized by a core and base of A. palmata upon which subsequent colonization took place, especially by Montastrea annularis, Porites porites and coralline algae.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Establishment of coral-algal symbiosis requires attraction and selection.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hiroshi Yamashita

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are based on coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis. During the initiation of symbiosis, majority of corals acquire their own zooxanthellae (specifically from the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium from surrounding environments. The mechanisms underlying the initial establishment of symbiosis have attracted much interest, and numerous field and laboratory experiments have been conducted to elucidate this establishment. However, it is still unclear whether the host corals selectively or randomly acquire their symbionts from surrounding environments. To address this issue, we initially compared genetic compositions of Symbiodinium within naturally settled about 2-week-old Acropora coral juveniles (recruits and those in the adjacent seawater as the potential symbiont source. We then performed infection tests using several types of Symbiodinium culture strains and apo-symbiotic (does not have Symbiodinium cells yet Acropora coral larvae. Our field observations indicated apparent preference toward specific Symbiodinium genotypes (A1 and D1-4 within the recruits, despite a rich abundance of other Symbiodinium in the environmental population pool. Laboratory experiments were in accordance with this field observation: Symbiodinium strains of type A1 and D1-4 showed higher infection rates for Acropora larvae than other genotype strains, even when supplied at lower cell densities. Subsequent attraction tests revealed that three Symbiodinium strains were attracted toward Acropora larvae, and within them, only A1 and D1-4 strains were acquired by the larvae. Another three strains did not intrinsically approach to the larvae. These findings suggest the initial establishment of corals-Symbiodinium symbiosis is not random, and the infection mechanism appeared to comprise two steps: initial attraction step and subsequent selective uptake by the coral.

  14. The relative abundance of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) among other zwitterions in branching coral at Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swan, Hilton B; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth S M; Jones, Graham B; Eyre, Bradley D

    2017-07-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and eleven other target zwitterions were quantified in the branch tips of six Acropora species and Stylophora pistillata hard coral growing on the reef flat surrounding Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS) was used for sample analysis with isotope dilution MS applied to quantify DMSP. The concentration of DMSP was ten times greater in A. aspera than A. valida, with this difference being maintained throughout the spring, summer and winter seasons. In contrast, glycine betaine was present in significantly higher concentrations in these species during the summer than the winter. Exposure of branch tips of A. aspera to air and hypo-saline seawater for up to 1 h did not alter the concentrations of DMSP present in the coral when compared with control samples. DMSP was the most abundant target zwitterion in the six Acropora species examined, ranging from 44-78% of all target zwitterions in A. millepora and A. aspera, respectively. In contrast, DMSP only accounted for 7% in S. pistillata, with glycine betaine and stachydrine collectively accounting for 88% of all target zwitterions in this species. The abundance of DMSP in the six Acropora species examined points to Acropora coral being an important source for the biogeochemical cycling of sulfur throughout the GBR, since this reef-building branching coral dominates the coral cover of the GBR. Graphical Abstract HILIC-MS extracted ion chromatogram showing zwitterionic metabolites from the branching coral Acropora isopora.

  15. Distribution and morphology of growth anomalies in Acropora from the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Coles, Steve L.

    2008-01-01

    We assessed the distribution and prevalence of growth anomalies (GAs) in Acropora from French Frigate Shoals (Hawaii, USA), Johnston Atoll and Tutuila (American Samoa), developed a nomenclature for gross morphology, characterized GAs at the cellular level and obtained preliminary indices of their spatial patterns and progression within coral colonies. Acropora GAs were found in all 3 regions, but the distribution, variety and prevalence of Acropora GAs was highest in American Samoa. GAs were grouped into 7 gross morphologies (exophytic, bosselated, crateriform, nodular, vermiform, fimbriate or annular). On histology, GAs consisted of hyperplastic basal body wall (calicodermis, mesoglea and gastrodermis apposed to skeleton) with 3 distinct patterns of necrosis. There was no evidence of anaplasia or mitotic figures (common but not necessarily required morphologic indicators of neoplasia). Compared to normal tissues, GAs had significantly fewer polyps, zooxanthellae within the gastrodermis of the coenenchyme, mesenterial filaments and gonads but significantly more necrosis. On 2 colonies with GAs monitored at 2 points over 11 mo, numbers of GAs per colony increased from 0.9 to 3 times the original number seen, and significant clustering of GAs occurred within colonies. The evidence of GAs being true neoplasias (tumors) is mixed, so a cautionary approach is urged in use of morphologic terminology.

  16. 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

  17. Mucus sugar content shapes the bacterial community structure in thermally stressed Acropora muricata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonny T.M. Lee

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26°C to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed that, at lower temperatures, the main components of mucus were N-acetyl glucosamine and C6 sugars, but these constituted a significantly lower proportion of the mucus in thermally-stressed corals. The change in the mucus composition coincided with a shift from a γ-Proteobacteria- to a Verrucomicrobiae- and α-Proteobacteria-dominated community in the coral mucus. Bacteria in the class Cyanobacteria also started to become prominent in the mucus when the coral was thermally stressed. The increase in the relative abundance of the Verrucomicrobiae at higher temperature was strongly associated with a change in the proportion of fucose, glucose and mannose in the mucus. Increase in the relative abundance of α-Proteobacteria were associated with GalNAc and glucose, while the drop in relative abundance of γ-Proteobacteria at high temperature coincided with changes in fucose and mannose. Cyanobacteria were highly associated with arabinose and xylose. Changes in mucus composition and the bacterial community in the mucus layer occurred at 29°C, which were prior to visual signs of coral bleaching at 31°C. A compositional change in the coral mucus, induced by thermal stress could therefore be a key factor leading to a shift in the associated bacterial community. This, in turn, has the potential to impact the physiological function of the coral holobiont.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-05

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    We propose ‘the moving target hypothesis’ to describe the aetiology of a contemporary coral disease that differs from that of its historical disease state. Hitting the target with coral disease aetiology is a complex pursuit that requires understanding of host and environment, and may lack a single pathogen solution. White pox disease (WPX) affects the Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Acroporid serratiosis is a form of WPX for which the bacterial pathogen (Serratia marcescens) has been established. We used long-term (1994–2014) photographic monitoring to evaluate historical and contemporary epizootiology and aetiology of WPX affecting A. palmata at eight reefs in the Florida Keys. Ranges of WPX prevalence over time (0–71.4%) were comparable for the duration of the 20-year study. Whole colony mortality and disease severity were high in historical (1994–2004), and low in contemporary (2008–2014), outbreaks of WPX. Acroporid serratiosis was diagnosed for some historical (1999, 2003) and contemporary (2012, 2013) outbreaks, but this form of WPX was not confirmed for all WPX cases. Our results serve as a context for considering aetiology as a moving target for WPX and other coral diseases for which pathogens are established and/or candidate pathogens are identified. Coral aetiology investigations completed to date suggest that changes in pathogen, host and/or environment alter the disease state and complicate diagnosis. PMID:26880837

  20. Larval settlement preferences of Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata in response to diverse red algae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S. N.; Paul, V. J.; Steneck, R. S.

    2014-03-01

    Settlement specificity can regulate recruitment but remains poorly understood for coral larvae. We studied larvae of the corals, Acropora palmata and Montastraea faveolata, to determine their rates of settlement and metamorphosis in the presence of ten species of red algae, including eight species of crustose coralline algae, one geniculated coralline and one encrusting peyssonnelid. Twenty to forty percent of larvae of A. palmata settled on coralline surfaces of Hydrolithon boergesenii, Lithoporella atlantica, Neogoniolithon affine, and Titanoderma prototypum, whereas none settled and metamorphosed on Neogoniolithon mamillare. Larvae of M. faveolata had 13-25 % settlement onto the surface of Amphiroa tribulus, H. boergesenii, N. affine, N. munitum, and T. prototypum, but had no settlement on the surface of N. mamillare, Porolithon pachydermum, and a noncoralline crust Peyssonnelia sp. Some of these algal species were common on Belizean reefs, but the species that induced the highest rates of larval settlement and metamorphosis tended to be rare and primarily found in low-light environments. The shallow coral, A. palmata, and the deeper coral, M. faveolata, both had increased larval settlement rates in the presence of only a few species of red algae found at deeper depths suggesting that patterns of coral distribution can only sometimes be related to the distribution of red algae species.

  1. 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.

  2. Climate change, global warming and coral reefs: modelling the effects of temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2008-10-01

    Climate change and global warming have severe consequences for the survival of scleractinian (reef-building) corals and their associated ecosystems. This review summarizes recent literature on the influence of temperature on coral growth, coral bleaching, and modelling the effects of high temperature on corals. Satellite-based sea surface temperature (SST) and coral bleaching information available on the internet is an important tool in monitoring and modelling coral responses to temperature. Within the narrow temperature range for coral growth, corals can respond to rate of temperature change as well as to temperature per se. We need to continue to develop models of how non-steady-state processes such as global warming and climate change will affect coral reefs.

  3. Morphology offers no clues to asexual vs. sexual origin of small Acropora cervicornis (Scleractinia: Acroporidae colonies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. E Williams

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Sexual recruitment of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is accepted to be very rare. Instead, these branching corals proliferate through fragmentation leading to dense mono-specific and possibly monoclonal stands. For acroporid corals, which have suffered drastic population declines, dominance of asexual reproduction results in low levels of genotypic diversity and limited ability to re-colonize extirpated areas. Small colonies with a single encrusting, symmetrical base, and few incipient branches are frequently presumed to be the result of a settled planula (i.e. sexual reproduction. Here, we show that colonies fitting this description (i.e., presumed sexual recruits can result from asexual fragmentation. Acropora cervicornis colonies (~20 cm diameter were tagged and observed over eighteen months. In several cases, colony offshoots fused with the adjacent substrate forming secondary disc-like attachment points. Following natural fragmentation, these discs of tissue became separated from the original colony, and were observed to heal and give rise to smaller colonies with striking similarity to the expected morphology of a sexual recruit. Thus, presuming a colony is a sexual recruit based on appearance is unreliable and may lead to inflated expectations of genetic diversity among populations. The accurate assessment of recruitment and genetic diversity is crucial to predicting the recovery potential of these imperiled and ecologically irreplaceable reef corals. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3: 145-151. Epub 2007 Jan. 15.Se ha aceptado que el reclutamiento sexual del coral asta de venado, Acropora cervicornis, es muy raro. Por el contrario, estos corales ramificados proliferan a través de fragmentación, generando densas bases monoespecíficas e incluso monoclonales. Para corales acropóridos, los cuales han sufrido disminuciones de población drásticas, la dominancia de reproducción asexual resulta en bajos niveles de diversidad genot

  4. Physical and mechanical properties evaluation of Acropora palmata coralline species for bone substitution applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez, K; Camero, S; Alarcón, M E; Rivas, A; González, G

    2002-05-01

    The search for ideal materials for bone substitution has been a challenge for many decades. Numerous natural and synthetic materials have been studied. For this application, exoskeletons of coral have been considered a good alternative given its tendency to resorption, biocompatibility and similarity to the mineral bone phase. Very few studies of these materials consider a detailed analysis of the structure-property relationship. The purpose of this work was to carry out the microstructural characterization of a coralline species named Acropora palmata and the determination of the mechanical and physico-chemical properties. Measurements of hardness, compressive strength, bulk density and apparent porosity were performed. From these results it was determined that this marine coral species could be an alternative xenograft due to its mechanical properties and osteoconductive nature.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Viruses: agents of coral disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-03-23

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javid Kavousi

    2014-09-01

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

  10. Light intensity, photoperiod duration, daily light flux and coral growth of Galaxea fascicularis in an aquarium setting: a matter of photons?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schutter, M.; Ven, R.M.; Janse, M.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Wijffels, R.H.; Osinga, R.

    2012-01-01

    Light is one of the most important abiotic factors influencing the (skeletal) growth of scleractinian corals. Light stimulates coral growth by the process of light-enhanced calcification, which is mediated by zooxanthellar photosynthesis. However, the quantity of light that is available for daily

  11. The potential of the coral species Porites astreoides as a paleoclimate archive for the Tropical South Atlantic Ocean

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pereira, Natan S.; Sial, Alcides N.; Frei, Robert

    2017-01-01

    , Red Sea and Caribbean, but lack for the Equatorial South Atlantic. Here we present coral-based records of Sr/Ca, δ18O and δ13C and the first δ18O–SST calibration for the scleractinian coral species Porites astreoides from the Rocas Atoll, Equatorial South Atlantic. The investigated geochemical proxies...

  12. Genet-specific spawning patterns in Acropora palmata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, M. W.; Williams, D. E.; Fisch, J.

    2016-12-01

    The broadcast spawning elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, requires outcrossing among different genets for effective fertilization. Hence, a low density of genets in parts of its range emphasizes the need for precise synchrony among neighboring genets as sperm concentration dilutes rapidly in open-ocean conditions. We documented the genet-specific nightly occurrence of spawning of A. palmata over 8 yr in a depauperate population in the Florida Keys to better understand this potential reproductive hurdle. The observed population failed to spawn within the predicted monthly window (nights 2-6 after the full moon in August) in three of the 8 yr of observation; negligible spawning was observed in a fourth year. Moreover, genet-specific patterns are evident in that (1) certain genets have significantly greater odds of spawning overall and (2) certain genets predictably spawn on the earlier and others on the later lunar nights within the predicted window. Given the already low genet density in this population, this pattern implies a substantial degree of wasted reproductive effort and supports the hypothesis that depensatory factors are impairing recovery in this species.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian

    2014-09-16

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Effects of temperature and UVR on organic matter fluxes and the metabolic activity of Acropora muricata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucile Courtial

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events are predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes depends on many factors, including the magnitude of thermal stress and irradiance. The interactions among these two factors, and in particular with ultra-violet radiation (UVR, the most harmful component of light, are more complex than assumed, and are not yet well understood. This paper explores the individual and combined effects of temperature and UVR on the metabolism of Acropora muricata, one of the most abundant coral species worldwide. Particulate and dissolved organic matter (POM/DOM fluxes and organic matter (OM degradation by the mucus-associated bacteria were also monitored in all conditions. The results show that UVR exposure exacerbated the temperature-induced bleaching, but did not affect OM fluxes, which were only altered by seawater warming. Temperature increase induced a shift from POM release and DOM uptake in healthy corals to POM uptake and DOM release in stressed ones. POM uptake was linked to a significant grazing of pico- and nanoplankton particles during the incubation, to fulfil the energetic requirements of A. muricata in the absence of autotrophy. Finally, OM degradation by mucus-associated bacterial activity was unaffected by UVR exposure, but significantly increased under high temperature. Altogether, our results demonstrate that seawater warming and UVR not only affect coral physiology, but also the way corals interact with the surrounding seawater, with potential consequences for coral reef biogeochemical cycles and food webs.

  1. Trend in coral-algal phase shift in the Mandapam group of islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machendiranathan, M.; Senthilnathan, L.; Ranith, R.; Saravanakumar, A.; Thangaradjou, T.; Choudhry, S. B.; Sasamal, S. K.

    2016-12-01

    The present study revealed proliferation of macro-algae modifying coral reef ecosystems in a different manner due to diseases and sedimentations in the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Benthic surveys were conducted with major attack of seven coral reefs diseases with high sedimentation rate, nine species of fleshy macro-algae ( Turbinaria ornata, Turbinaria conaides, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Padina gymnosphora, Sargassum wightii, Ulva reticulata and Calurpa lentillifera) proliferation against major corals life forms (Acropora branching, Acropora digitate, Acropora tabulate, coral massive, coral submassive, coral foliose and coral encrusting). The results confirm that diseased corals most favor to macro-algae growth (15.27%) rather than the sedimentation covered corals (8.24 %). In the degradation of coral life forms, massive corals were more highly damaged (7.05%) than any other forms. Within a short period of time (May to September), coral coverage shrank to 17.4% from 21.9%, macro-algae increased 23.51% and the average sedimentation rate attained 77.52 mg cm-2d-1 with persisting coral reef diseases of 17.59%. The Pearson correlation showed that the coral cover decreased with increasing macro-algae growth, which was statistically significant ( r = -0.774, n = 100, P K. alvarezii, P. gymnosphora and C. lentillifera increased with percentages of 6.0, 5.8, 5.7, 4.9, 4.2, 3.7, 2.7 and 1.9, respectively. If this trend continues, the next generation of new recruit corals will undoubtedly lead to a phase shift in Gulf of Mannar corals.

  2. Lithifying Microbes Associated to Coral Rubbles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltran, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial communities taking part in calcium carbonate lithification processes are particularly relevant to coral reef formation in as much as this lithification allows the stabilization of secondary reef structure. This second framework promotes long-term permanence of the reef, favoring the establishment of macro-reef builders, including corals. The reef-bacterial crusts formed by microbial communities are composed of magnesium calcite. Although prokaryotes are not proper calcifiers, carbonate precipitation can be induced by their metabolic activity and EPS production. Coral reefs are rapidly declining due to several variables associated to environmental change. Specifically in the Caribbean, stony coral Acropora palmata have suffered damage due to diseases, bleaching and storms. Some reports show that in highly disturbed areas wide ridges of reef rubbles are formed by biological and physical lithification. In this study we explore microbial diversity associated to lithified rubbles left after the great decline of reef-building A. palmata.

  3. Corals hosting symbiotic hydrozoans are less susceptible to predation and disease

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone

    2017-12-20

    In spite of growing evidence that climate change may dramatically affect networks of interacting species, whether-and to what extent-ecological interactions can mediate species\\' responses to disturbances is an open question. Here we show how a largely overseen association such as that between hydrozoans and scleractinian corals could be possibly associated with a reduction in coral susceptibility to ever-increasing predator and disease outbreaks. We examined 2455 scleractinian colonies (from both Maldivian and the Saudi Arabian coral reefs) searching for non-random patterns in the occurrence of hydrozoans on corals showing signs of different health conditions (i.e. bleaching, algal overgrowth, corallivory and different coral diseases). We show that, after accounting for geographical, ecological and co-evolutionary factors, signs of disease and corallivory are significantly lower in coral colonies hosting hydrozoans than in hydrozoan-free ones. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs, and for their conservation in the current scenario of global change, because it suggests that symbiotic hydrozoans may play an active role in protecting their scleractinian hosts from stresses induced by warming water temperatures.

  4. 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.

  5. Preliminary geochemical results of corals from the Puerto Morelos Reef, Southeastern Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marquez, N.; Kasper, J.

    2012-04-01

    A microprobe (MB), major, trace and rare earth elements (REE) analyses were carried out in three coral species Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis and Gorgonia ventalina at Puerto Morelos, Reef, Southeastern Mexico. This was done to assess the degree in which the corals developed under the different chemical-physical natural and artificial conditions. The corals were cut at the top and middle and based upon the observations by using the MB analysis, results showed the highest concentrations of Ag, Cu, Cr, Ni, S, Sr, Zn y Zr in Gorgonia Ventalina suggesting an impact coming from the industrial discharges and/or rusting of boats in the area. The results of X-ray fluorescence analysis for major and trace elements showed that the Fe , Sr and Zr increase their content in the skeletons of Acropora palmata y Gorgonia ventalina also asociated with the presence of human activity since the area is composed mainly by carbonate source sediments. The rare earth elements (REE) analysis showed that the negative anomaly of Ce suggests a well oxygenated, highly oxidative modern shallow waters, and high nutrients related to suspended matter for Acropora Palmata, Acropora cervicornis y Gorgonia ventalina, The Positive Eu anomaly in the corals are due to the development of the reef linked to the concentration of waters enriched in La. The Nd/Yb ratio indicates a shallow water development for the corals. This is also supported by the Ce/Ce* vs. Pr/Pr* ratios that indicate shallow marine waters in the development of the three corals studied (Ce*= 0.5La+0.5Pr and Pr*= 0.5Ce+0.5Nd). Enrichment of heavy rare earth elements (Gd-Lu) in the corals may be associated with high pH values and CO, OH- ions in the sea water.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

  7. Widespread occurrence of mycosporine-like amino acid compounds in scleractinians from French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teai, T.; Drollet, J. H.; Bianchini, J.-P.; Cambon, A.; Martin, P. M. V.

    1997-07-01

    A survey of 23 species of scleractinians, belonging to seven families and 8 genera, collected from two different areas in French Polynesia, showed that all specimens possessed between four and seven UV-absorbing compounds, identified as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). In all, 11 different MAAs molecules were found, of which two were previously unknown. Palythine and mycosporine-glycine were the most abundant MAAs in the corals. With few exceptions, most specimens of each species possessed the same pattern of MAAs. Similarly, species from the same genus also had very similar qualitative composition of MAAs, although quantities of individuals MAAs varied from specimen to specimen. This suggests that MAAs are ancient and evolutionarily well conserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-02-01

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