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Sample records for scleractinian coral montastrea

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Population density and photosynthetic pigment content in symbiotic dinoflagellates in the Brazilian scleractinian coral Montastrea cavernosa (Linnaeus, 1767

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristiane F. Costa

    2004-06-01

    Full Text Available The seasonal dynamics of cell density and photosynthetic pigment contents of the zooxanthellae hosted by Montastrea cavernosa were investigated on coastal reefs off Picãozinho (06º42'05"/07º07'30"S and 34º48'37"/34º50'00" W, Northeast Brazil between September 1999 and 2000. A distinct pattern of these parameters was found: cell numbers were greater during the rainy season (autumn/winter while photosynthetic pigments were greater during the dry season (summer. Both parameters showed drastic reductions during heavy rains (June and July 1999. We speculate that this pattern is largely influenced by the rain cycles which, owing to their magnitude and frequency, affect the water clarity and the seasonal physiological condition of the cells.A dinâmica sazonal na densidade de células e na concentração de pigmentos fotossintetizantes das zooxantelas de Montastrea cavernosa foram analisados no período setembro/1999 a setembro/2000 nos Recifes do Picãozinho (06º42'05"/07º07'30" S e 34º48'37"/34º50'00" W, Nordeste do Brasil. Verificou-se que existe um padrão distinto entre estes parâmetros, com maior quantidade de células no período chuvoso e maior concentração de pigmentos fotossintetizantes na época de estiagem. Ambos os parâmetros apresentaram, no entanto, uma nítida redução em seus valores nos meses de maiores índices pluviométricos (junho e julho /1999. Especulamos que tal fato deve estar relacionado com o regime de chuvas que pode variar em magnitude e freqüência, afetando a qualidade ótica da água e o estado fisiológico das células.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-07-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Fallout plutonium and natural radionuclides in annual bands of the coral Montastrea annularis, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Benninger, L.K.; Dodge, R.E.

    1986-01-01

    We have investigated the banded coral Montastrea annularis as a recorder of the history of fallout Pu in surface seawater. Thirty annual growth bands representing growth during 'coral years' 1951-1980, were subsampled from M. annularis collected at St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. sup(239,240)Pu was finite in coral years 1954-1980, and the coral Pu record is very simply related to the fallout history of 90 Sr. Peaks in coral Pu in coral years 1959 and 1964 correspond to fallout peaks in 1959 and 1963, respectively. Peak broadening and time lags in the coral Pu record, as compared to the 90 Sr fallout record are consistent with retention of fallout Pu in surface seawater for about two years (characteristic removal time) during the period of major fallout, and possibly longer thereafter. The simplicity of the coral Pu record and its close correspondence with fallout history suggest that sup(239,240)Pu was incorporated into the coral skeleton with constant discrimination relative to Ca; the effects of speciation and oxidation state upon Pu incorporation are presently unknown. (author)

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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

  4. 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...

  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. 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.

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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).

  3. 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).

  4. 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)

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-15

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge R. García-Sais

    2017-07-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  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. 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)

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

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    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    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

  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. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiayuan Liang

    2017-06-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Mapping Prevalence and Incidence of Coral Disease in reef-building corals at two Natural Reserves of the Southwest Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez Viruet, I.; Irizarry-Soto, E.; Ruiz-Valentín, I.

    2016-02-01

    Coral diseases seems to be the main cause of coral reef decline in the Caribbean. Before the bleaching event of 2005, coral reefs in Puerto Rico were dominated by the reef-building taxa: Orbicella annularis, Porites astreoides, Montastrea cavernosa, Agaricia agaracites and Colpophyllia natans. After the event, live-coral cover significantly declined and more than 90% of the scleractinian corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico showed signals of thermal stressors. The prevalence of coral diseases in five reef-building coral (Orbicella annularis, Orbicella franksi, Orbicella faveolata, Porites porites and Pseudiploria strigosa) species was assessed by tagging, photographing, and mapping all diseased and healthy colonies within 10 permanent 40m2 band transects at each inshore and mid-shelf reefs of Belvedere and Punta Guaniquilla Natural Reserves using a random stratified sampling method. Maximum and perpendicular diameter was used to assess coral size using Coral Point Count with Excel Extension. Corals were classified into three size class populations (class I: 0-50cm, class II: 50-100cm and class III: >100 cm). Data was used to develop a GIS-based map containing coral species, size and disease presence. Preliminary results of the inshore area showed a higher disease prevalence in Belvedere natural reserve and for P. strigosa (17.1%) and O. annularis (9.3%). Frequency distribution analysis showed a dominance of O. faveolata at Punta Guaniquilla and Belvedere (127 and 88 individuals respectively). Size class I dominates the distribution of each species within the natural reserves with a higher disease prevalence. Future work include continue prevalence surveys of the outer reef shelf on both natural reserves, monitoring and GIS-based mapping of incidence and resilience through time. This study will help in the assessment of the status of the coral reef of the southwest insular platform.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  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. 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

  4. 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....

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

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. [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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Barium variation in Acropora palmata and Montastrea annularis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pingitore, Nicholas E.; Rangel, Yolanda; Kwarteng, Andrew

    1989-06-01

    The barium contents of Acropora palmata and Montastrea annularis are distinct both in their averages (6 and 9 ppm, respectively) and, more impressively, in their variability (5 to 7 ppm and 6 to 15 ppm). A. palmata contained about 50% more Ba2+ than M. annularis and exhibited more than three times as much variation, as measured by their respective coefficients of variation. In contrast, the means and coefficients of variation of Sr2+ in these groups differed by only 6% and 15%. No obvious environmental or post-depositional causes for the inter-and intra-specific variation of Ba2+ could be found. Previous experiments indicate that the partitioning of Ba2+ into aragonite depends directly on the rate of precipitation. This suggests that Ba2+ does not substitute for Ca2+ but instead is incorporated by occlusion. Since growth rates in A. palmata often exceed those of M. annularis, this appears to be the mechanism which generates higher and more variable concentrations of Ba2+ in A. palmata.

  9. Variation in coral growth rates with depth at Discovery Bay, Jamaica

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Huston, M

    1985-01-01

    Growth rates, determined by X-radiographic measurement of skeletal extension, decreased with depth for four of six species of coral examined at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Growth of Porites astreoides, Montastrea annularis, Colpophyllia natans, and Siderastrea siderea decreased significantly with depth over a 1- to 30-m depth range. In Montastrea cavernosa, the highest growth rate occurred in the middle of the sampled depth range. Agaricia agaricites had no measurable change in growth rate with depth. A compilation of available growth data for Atlantic and Pacific corals shows a strong pattern of highest growth rates a short distance below the surface and a decrease with depth.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. UV-absorbing bacteria in coral mucus and their response to simulated temperature elevations

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Kannapiran, E.; Manikandan, B.; Francis, K.; Arora, S.; Karunya, E.; AmitKumar; Singh, S.K.; Jose, J.

    cervicornis. Mol Mar Biol Biotechnol 4: 345-354 Ritchie KB, Smith GW (2004) Microbial communities of coral surface mucopolysaccharide layers. In: Rosenberg E, Loya Y (eds) Coral health and disease. Springer Verlag, New York, pp 269-263 Ritchie KB, Dennis... JH, McGrath T, Smith GW (1994) Bacteria associated with bleached and nonbleached areas of Montastrea annularis. Proceedings 5th symposium: Natural history of Bahamas. San Salvador, Bahamas, Bahamas field station, pp 75-80 Rohwer F, Seguritan V...

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  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. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian

    2014-09-16

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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. Comparative embryology of eleven species of stony corals (Scleractinia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nami Okubo

    Full Text Available A comprehensive understanding of coral reproduction and development is needed because corals are threatened in many ways by human activity. Major threats include the loss of their photosynthetic symbionts (Symbiodinium caused by rising temperatures (bleaching, reduced ability to calcify caused by ocean acidification, increased storm severity associated with global climate change and an increase in predators caused by runoff from human agricultural activity. In spite of these threats, detailed descriptions of embryonic development are not available for many coral species. The current consensus is that there are two major groups of stony corals, the "complex" and the "robust". In this paper we describe the embryonic development of four "complex" species, Pseudosiderastrea tayamai, Galaxea fascicularis, Montipora hispida, and Pavona Decussata, and seven "robust" species, Oulastrea crispata, Platygyra contorta, Favites abdita, Echinophyllia aspera, Goniastrea favulus, Dipsastraea speciosa (previously Favia speciosa, and Phymastrea valenciennesi (previously Montastrea valenciennesi. Data from both histologically sectioned embryos and whole mounts are presented. One apparent difference between these two major groups is that before gastrulation the cells of the complex corals thus far described (mainly Acropora species spread and flatten to produce the so-called prawn chip, which lacks a blastocoel. Our present broad survey of robust and complex corals reveals that prawn chip formation is not a synapomorphy of complex corals, as Pavona Decussata does not form a prawn chip and has a well-developed blastocoel. Although prawn chip formation cannot be used to separate the two clades, none of the robust corals which we surveyed has such a stage. Many robust coral embryos pass through two periods of invagination, separated by a return to a spherical shape. However, only the second of these periods is associated with endoderm formation. We have therefore

  9. 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.

  10. Abundance of Corals on Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolian, Stephan R.; Sammarco, Paul W.; Porter, Scott A.

    2017-08-01

    Scleractinian, octocoral, and antipatharian corals have colonized many of the offshore oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We surveyed 25 offshore oil and gas platforms for these cnidarians. Few to no corals were detected on inshore, shallow-water structures at data suggest that the offshore platforms located in waters of >25-30 m in the study area are often colonized by these corals. We recommend that structures located in deeper waters should be surveyed for coral and, if the populations are substantial, consider alternate uses for the retired platforms, and leaving them in place, when feasible.

  11. Coral reef condition and benthic sedimentation threat in four regions of south Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scleractinian corals, gorgonian octocorals, sponges and fishes were assessed near the cities of LaParguera, Guánica, Guayanilla, and Jobos along the southern coast of Puerto Rico in November – December 2010. Survey sites were targeted near areas with varying benthic...

  12. 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

  13. SPECTRAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SELECTED HERMATYPIC CORALS FROM GULF OF KACHCHH, INDIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Ray Chaudhury

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Hermatypic, scleractinian corals are the most important benthic substrates in a coral reef ecosystem. The existing, high (spatial resolution, broad-band, multi-spectral, space-borne sensors have limited capability to spatially detect and spectrally discriminate coral substrates. In situ hyperspectral signatures of eight coral targets were collected with the help of Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec spectroradiometer from Paga and Laku Point reefs of Gulf of Kachchh, India to study the spectral behaviour of corals. The eight coral targets consisted of seven live corals representing four distinct colony morphologies and one bleached coral target. The coral spectra were studied over a continuous range of 350 to 1350 nm. The corals strongly reflected in the NIR and MIR regions with regional central maximas located at 820 and 1070 nm respectively. In the visible region the live coral spectra conformed to "brown mode" of coral reflectance with triple-peaked pattern at 575, 600 and 650 nm. All coral spectra are characterized with two distinct absorption features: chlorophyll absorption at 675 nm and water absorption at 975 nm. The live and the bleached corals get distinguished in the visible region over 400 to 600 nm region. Water column over the targets modifies the spectral shape and magnitude. First and second-order derivatives help in identifying spectral windows to distinguish live and bleached corals.

  14. Chemoreception drives plastic consumption in a hard coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Austin S; Seymour, Alexander C; Rittschof, Daniel

    2017-11-15

    The drivers behind microplastic (up to 5mm in diameter) consumption by animals are uncertain and impacts on foundational species are poorly understood. We investigated consumption of weathered, unfouled, biofouled, pre-production and microbe-free National Institute of Standards plastic by a scleractinian coral that relies on chemosensory cues for feeding. Experiment one found that corals ingested many plastic types while mostly ignoring organic-free sand, suggesting that plastic contains phagostimulents. Experiment two found that corals ingested more plastic that wasn't covered in a microbial biofilm than plastics that were biofilmed. Additionally, corals retained ~8% of ingested plastic for 24h or more and retained particles appeared stuck in corals, with consequences for energetics, pollutant toxicity and trophic transfer. The potential for chemoreception to drive plastic consumption in marine taxa has implications for conservation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Bicarbonate transporters in corals point towards a key step in the evolution of cnidarian calcification

    KAUST Repository

    Zoccola, Didier

    2015-06-04

    The bicarbonate ion (HCO3−) is involved in two major physiological processes in corals, biomineralization and photosynthesis, yet no molecular data on bicarbonate transporters are available. Here, we characterized plasma membrane-type HCO3− transporters in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. Eight solute carrier (SLC) genes were found in the genome: five homologs of mammalian-type SLC4 family members, and three of mammalian-type SLC26 family members. Using relative expression analysis and immunostaining, we analyzed the cellular distribution of these transporters and conducted phylogenetic analyses to determine the extent of conservation among cnidarian model organisms. Our data suggest that the SLC4γ isoform is specific to scleractinian corals and responsible for supplying HCO3− to the site of calcification. Taken together, SLC4γ appears to be one of the key genes for skeleton building in corals, which bears profound implications for our understanding of coral biomineralization and the evolution of scleractinian corals within cnidarians.

  16. Bicarbonate transporters in corals point towards a key step in the evolution of cnidarian calcification

    KAUST Repository

    Zoccola, Didier; Ganot, Philippe; Bertucci, Anthony; Caminiti-Segonds, Natacha; Techer, Nathalie; Voolstra, Christian R.; Aranda, Manuel; Tambutté , Eric; Allemand, Denis; Casey, Joseph R; Tambutté , Sylvie

    2015-01-01

    The bicarbonate ion (HCO3−) is involved in two major physiological processes in corals, biomineralization and photosynthesis, yet no molecular data on bicarbonate transporters are available. Here, we characterized plasma membrane-type HCO3− transporters in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. Eight solute carrier (SLC) genes were found in the genome: five homologs of mammalian-type SLC4 family members, and three of mammalian-type SLC26 family members. Using relative expression analysis and immunostaining, we analyzed the cellular distribution of these transporters and conducted phylogenetic analyses to determine the extent of conservation among cnidarian model organisms. Our data suggest that the SLC4γ isoform is specific to scleractinian corals and responsible for supplying HCO3− to the site of calcification. Taken together, SLC4γ appears to be one of the key genes for skeleton building in corals, which bears profound implications for our understanding of coral biomineralization and the evolution of scleractinian corals within cnidarians.

  17. First report of bioaccumulation and bioconcentration of aliphatic hydrocarbons (AHs) and persistent organic pollutants (PAHs, PCBs and PCNs) and their effects on alcyonacea and scleractinian corals and their endosymbiotic algae from the Persian Gulf, Iran: Inter and intra-species differences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ranjbar Jafarabadi, Ali; Riyahi Bakhtiari, Alireza; Aliabadian, Mansour; Laetitia, Hédouin; Shadmehri Toosi, Amirhossein; Yap, Chee Kong

    2018-06-15

    The coral reefs of the Persian Gulf are the most diverse systems of life in the marine environment of the Middle East. Unfortunately, they are highly threatened by local and global stressors, particularly oil pollutants. This is the first quantitative and qualitative study aimed at assessing the concentration and sources of n-alkanes and POPs (PAHs, PCBs and PCNs) in coral tissues, symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae), reef sediments and seawaters in coral reefs of Lark and Kharg in the Persian Gulf, Iran. This work was conducted on eight species of six genera and three families of hard corals and one family of soft coral. A significant variation in the concentration of ∑30n-alkanes and POPs (∑40PAHs, ∑22PCBs and 20PCNs) was found in the decreasing order: zooxanthellae > coral tissue > skeleton > reef sediment > seawater. The bioaccumulation of these compounds was 2-times higher in ahermatypic than in hermatypic corals, among which significant variations were observed in both sites. In Kharg, Porites lutea had the highest mean concentration of ∑30n-alkanes and ∑40PAHs in soft tissue, whereas the lowest values were in Platygyra daedalea. A contrasting trend was documented for ∑22PCBs and 20PCNs, with the highest level reported in soft tissue of P. daedalea and the lowest in P. lutea at Kharg. Compositional pattern of AHs and PAHs demonstrated the predominance of LMW-PAHs and n-alkanes. In skeleton and reef sediments, tetra, penta and tri-CBs were the most abundant PCBs congeners followed by di-CB > hexa-CB > hepta-CB > octa-CB,whiletri-CB > di-CB > tetra-CB > penta-CB > hexa-CB > hepta-CB > octa-CB was observed for soft tissue, zooxanthellae and seawater. The results of RAD test indicated significantly negative correlation between total concentration of these compounds with zooxanthellae density, the chlorophyll-a and C 2 in corals at both reefs. This is the first report on levels, health assessment and

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Community Structure Of Coral Reefs In Saebus Island, Sumenep District, East Java

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizmaadi, Mada; Riter, Johannes; Fatimah, Siti; Rifaldi, Riyan; Yoga, Arditho; Ramadhan, Fikri; Ambariyanto, Ambariyanto

    2018-02-01

    Increasing degradation coral reefs ecosystem has created many concerns. Reduction of this damage can only be done with good and proper management of coral reef ecosystem based on existing condition. The condition of coral reef ecosystem can be determined by assessing its community structure. This study investigates community structure of coral reef ecosystems around Saebus Island, Sumenep District, East Java, by using satellite imagery analysis and field observations. Satellite imagery analysis by Lyzenga methods was used to determine the observation stations and substrate distribution. Field observations were done by using Line Intercept Transect method at 4 stations, at the depth of 3 and 10 meters. The results showed that the percentage of coral reef coverage at the depth of 3 and 10 meters were 64.36% and 59.29%, respectively, and included in fine coverage category. This study found in total 25 genera from 13 families of corals at all stations. The most common species found were Acropora, Porites, and Pocillopora, while the least common species were Favites and Montastrea. Average value of Diversity, Uniformity and Dominancy indices were 2.94, 0.8 and 0.18 which include as medium, high, and low category, respectively. These results suggest that coral reef ecosystems around Saebus Island is in a good condition.

  2. The ;Sardinian cold-water coral province; in the context of the Mediterranean coral ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taviani, M.; Angeletti, L.; Canese, S.; Cannas, R.; Cardone, F.; Cau, A.; Cau, A. B.; Follesa, M. C.; Marchese, F.; Montagna, P.; Tessarolo, C.

    2017-11-01

    A new cold-water coral (CWC) province has been identified in the Mediterranean Sea in the Capo Spartivento canyon system offshore the southern coast of Sardinia. The 'Sardinia cold-water coral province' is characterized in the Nora canyon by a spectacular coral growth dominated by the branching scleractinian Madrepora oculata at a depth of 380-460 m. The general biohermal frame is strengthened by the common occurrence of the solitary scleractinian Desmophyllum dianthus and the occasional presence of Lophelia pertusa. As documented by Remotely Operated Vehicle survey, this area is a hotspot of megafaunal diversity hosting among other also live specimens of the deep oyster Neopycnodonte zibrowii. The new coral province is located between the central Mediterranean CWC provinces (Bari Canyon, Santa Maria di Leuca, South Malta) and the western and northern ones (Melilla, Catalan-Provençal-Ligurian canyons). As for all the best developed CWC situations in the present Mediterranean Sea, the new Sardinian province is clearly influenced by Levantine Intermediate Water which appears to be a main driver for CWC distribution and viability in this basin.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D

    2006-11-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2011-10-03

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S Hoey

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

  7. Long-wavelength photosensitivity in coral planula larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Benjamin M; Cohen, Jonathan H

    2012-04-01

    Light influences the swimming behavior and settlement of the planktonic planula larvae of coral, but little is known regarding the photosensory biology of coral at this or any life-history stage. Here we used changes in the electrical activity of coral planula tissue upon light flashes to investigate the photosensitivity of the larvae. Recordings were made from five species: two whose larvae are brooded and contain algal symbionts (Porites astreoides and Agaricia agaricites), and three whose larvae are spawned and lack algal symbionts (Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata,and Montastrea faveolata). Photosensitivity originated from the coral larva rather than from, or in addition to, its algal symbionts as species with and without symbionts displayed similar tissue-level electrical responses to light. All species exhibited as much (or more) sensitivity to red stimuli as to blue/green stimuli, which is consistent with a role for long-wavelength visible light in the preference for substrata observed during settlement and in facilitating vertical positioning of larvae in the water column.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Montano, Simone; Maggioni, Davide; Arrigoni, Roberto; Seveso, Davide; Puce, Stefania; Galli, Paolo

    2015-01-01

    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

  9. Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper, 1794) in the scleractinian phylogeny and its intraspecific diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Addamo, Anna M; Reimer, James D; Taviani, Marco; Freiwald, André; Machordom, Annie

    2012-01-01

    The cosmopolitan solitary deep-water scleractinian coral Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper, 1794) was selected as a representative model species of the polyphyletic Caryophylliidae family to (1) examine phylogenetic relationships with respect to the principal Scleractinia taxa, (2) check population structure, (3) test the widespread connectivity hypothesis and (4) assess the utility of different nuclear and mitochondrial markers currently in use. To carry out these goals, DNA sequence data from nuclear (ITS and 28S) and mitochondrial (16S and COI) markers were analyzed for several coral species and for Mediterranean populations of D. dianthus. Three phylogenetic methodologies (ML, MP and BI), based on data from the four molecular markers, all supported D. dianthus as clearly belonging to the "robust" clade, in which the species Lophelia pertusa and D. dianthus not only grouped together, but also shared haplotypes for some DNA markers. Molecular results also showed shared haplotypes among D. dianthus populations distributed in regions separated by several thousands of kilometers and by clear geographic barriers. These results could reflect limited molecular and morphological taxonomic resolution rather than real widespread connectivity. Additional studies are needed in order to find molecular markers and morphological features able to disentangle the complex phylogenetic relationship in the Order Scleractinia and to differentiate isolated populations, thus avoiding the homoplasy found in some morphological characters that are still considered in the literature.

  10. Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper, 1794 in the scleractinian phylogeny and its intraspecific diversity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna M Addamo

    Full Text Available The cosmopolitan solitary deep-water scleractinian coral Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper, 1794 was selected as a representative model species of the polyphyletic Caryophylliidae family to (1 examine phylogenetic relationships with respect to the principal Scleractinia taxa, (2 check population structure, (3 test the widespread connectivity hypothesis and (4 assess the utility of different nuclear and mitochondrial markers currently in use. To carry out these goals, DNA sequence data from nuclear (ITS and 28S and mitochondrial (16S and COI markers were analyzed for several coral species and for Mediterranean populations of D. dianthus. Three phylogenetic methodologies (ML, MP and BI, based on data from the four molecular markers, all supported D. dianthus as clearly belonging to the "robust" clade, in which the species Lophelia pertusa and D. dianthus not only grouped together, but also shared haplotypes for some DNA markers. Molecular results also showed shared haplotypes among D. dianthus populations distributed in regions separated by several thousands of kilometers and by clear geographic barriers. These results could reflect limited molecular and morphological taxonomic resolution rather than real widespread connectivity. Additional studies are needed in order to find molecular markers and morphological features able to disentangle the complex phylogenetic relationship in the Order Scleractinia and to differentiate isolated populations, thus avoiding the homoplasy found in some morphological characters that are still considered in the literature.

  11. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  12. LEDs light spectrum effect on the success of fragmentation and growth of the leather coral Sarcophyton spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Chambel

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The increasing demand for soft corals is reflected on the high attention of the scientific community during the last decades, with several studies focus on production techniques and optimization of coral husbandry (Schlacher et al., 2007;Sella and Benayahu, 2010. However, coral culture success is influenced by the interaction of different factors, such as water movement, temperature, nutrients, heterotrophic feeding and light conditions (Rocha et al., 2013a. Light plays a key role in the growth, reproduction and physiology of scleractinian corals that host phototrophic symbionts and it has been found that the photoresponse of corals is species-specific. Several studies have already focused on the effects of irradiance on coral and its algal symbionts (Osinga et al., 2011. Although, only a few works have investigated the role of the spectral quality of light on coral photobiology, physiology and growth (Rocha et al., 2013b. In the present study, we hypothesize that light spectrum can influence the growth performance of scleractinian corals when exposed at identical intensities of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR. To test our hypothesis we evaluated the effect of contrasting light spectra with an identical PAR of 70 ± 10 μmol quantam−2.s−1emitted by T8 fluorescent lamps (used as a control treatment and three different colours of Light Emitting Diode (LED, white, blue and red. It was evaluated survival and growth rates of Sarcophyton spp., an important scleractinian coral in the marine aquarium trade and for the bioprospecting of marine natural compounds. Replicated coral fragments were obtained from two mother colonies and were exposed to the four types of light spectrum for a period of 30 days. At the end of the experiment period, the results showed 100% of survival in coral fragments, and specific growth rate (SGR of 0,055 ± 0,09 %/day in control group and 0,091 ± 0,019 %/day, 0,210 ± 0,031 %/day and 0,380 ± 0,245 %/day in

  13. SPATIAL HETEROGENEITY OF PHOTOSYNTHETIC ACTIVITY WITHIN DISEASED CORALS FROM THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roff, George; Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Fine, Maoz

    2008-01-01

    Morphological diagnosis and descriptions of seven disease-like syndromes affecting scleractinian corals were characterized from the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Chl a fluorescence of PSII was measured using an Imaging-PAM (pulse amplitude modulated) fluorometer, enabling visualization...... with white patch syndrome appeared to impact primarily on the symbiotic dinoflagellates, as evidenced by declines in minimum fluorescence (F0) and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm), with no indication of degeneration in the host tissues. Our results suggest that for the majority of coral syndromes from the GBR......, pathogenesis occurs in the host tissue, while the impact on the zooxanthellae populations residing in affected corals is minimal....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. Changes in trace and minor constituents and associated micro-architecture of Montastrea faveolata during time of "stress"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmes, C.W.; Buster, N.A.; Sorauf, J.E.; Hudson, J.H.; Kester, C.

    2003-01-01

    As corals grow, they secrete a calcareous skeleton with the aid of photosynthetic activity of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. The rate of this secretion varies annually which produces annual bands. Entrapped with the carbonate are trace substances that record the chemistry of the surrounding ocean. Detailing these changes in chemistry requires careful high-resolution sampling. New procedures involving laser ablation inductive couple plasma mass spectroscopy (LA-ICP/MS) provides a unique method that does not involve tedious sample preparation. The La-ICP/MS data for a series of Atlantic corals from Looe Key, U.S. Florida Keys shows an intriguing distribution trace and minor elements whose concentrations are related to reported bleaching events. SEM data from the layers exhibit a change in crystal habit concurrent with the changes in chemistry. These changes reflected the affect of the variable influence of the symbiotic algae on the development of the coral skeleton.

  18. Relative Pigment Composition and Remote Sensing Reflectance of Caribbean Shallow-Water Corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan L Torres-Pérez

    Full Text Available Reef corals typically contain a number of pigments, mostly due to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. These pigments usually vary in presence and concentration and influence the spectral characteristics of corals. We studied the variations in pigment composition among seven Caribbean shallow-water Scleractinian corals by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC analysis to further resolve the discrimination of corals. We found a total of 27 different pigments among the coral species, including some alteration products of the main pigments. Additionally, pigments typically found in endolithic algae were also identified. A Principal Components Analysis and a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed the separation of coral species based on pigment composition. All the corals were collected under the same physical environmental conditions. This suggests that pigment in the coral's symbionts might be more genetically-determined than influenced by prevailing physical conditions of the reef. We further investigated the use of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs as a tool for estimating the total pigment concentration of reef corals. Depending on the coral species, the Rrs and the total symbiont pigment concentration per coral tissue area correlation showed 79.5-98.5% confidence levels demonstrating its use as a non-invasive robust technique to estimate pigment concentration in studies of coral reef biodiversity and health.

  19. Relative Pigment Composition and Remote Sensing Reflectance of Caribbean Shallow-Water Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Pérez, Juan L; Guild, Liane S; Armstrong, Roy A; Corredor, Jorge; Zuluaga-Montero, Anabella; Polanco, Ramón

    2015-01-01

    Reef corals typically contain a number of pigments, mostly due to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. These pigments usually vary in presence and concentration and influence the spectral characteristics of corals. We studied the variations in pigment composition among seven Caribbean shallow-water Scleractinian corals by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis to further resolve the discrimination of corals. We found a total of 27 different pigments among the coral species, including some alteration products of the main pigments. Additionally, pigments typically found in endolithic algae were also identified. A Principal Components Analysis and a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed the separation of coral species based on pigment composition. All the corals were collected under the same physical environmental conditions. This suggests that pigment in the coral's symbionts might be more genetically-determined than influenced by prevailing physical conditions of the reef. We further investigated the use of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) as a tool for estimating the total pigment concentration of reef corals. Depending on the coral species, the Rrs and the total symbiont pigment concentration per coral tissue area correlation showed 79.5-98.5% confidence levels demonstrating its use as a non-invasive robust technique to estimate pigment concentration in studies of coral reef biodiversity and health.

  20. Review on hard coral recruitment (Cnidaria: Scleractinia in Colombia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luisa F. Dueñas

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment, defined and measured as the incorporation of new individuals (i.e. coral juveniles into a population, is a fundamentalprocess for ecologists, evolutionists and conservationists due to its direct effect on population structure and function. Because most coralpopulations are self-feeding, a breakdown in recruitment would lead to local extinction. Recruitment indirectly affects both renewal andmaintenance of existing and future coral communities, coral reef biodiversity (bottom-up effect and therefore coral reef resilience. This process has been used as an indirect measure of individual reproductive success (fitness and is the final stage of larval dispersal leading to population connectivity. As a result, recruitment has been proposed as an indicator of coral-reef health in marine protected areas, as well as a central aspect of the decision-making process concerning management and conservation. The creation of management plans to promote impact mitigation, rehabilitation and conservation of the Colombian coral reefs is a necessity that requires firstly, a review and integration of existing literature on scleractinian coral recruitment in Colombia and secondly, larger scale field studies. This motivated us to summarize and analyze all existing information on coral recruitment to determine the state of knowledge, isolate patterns, identify gaps, and suggest future lines of research.

  1. High Latitude Corals Tolerate Severe Cold Spell

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chenae A. Tuckett

    2018-01-01

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

  2. Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn E. Lohr

    2017-11-01

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

  3. Lipid content and composition of oocytes from five coral species: potential implications for future cryopreservation efforts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiahsin Lin

    Full Text Available Given the previously documented importance of lipid concentration and composition in the successful cryopreservation of gorgonian corals, these parameters were assessed in oocytes of five species of scleractinian coral; Platygyra daedalea, Echinopora gemmacea, Echinophyllia aspera, Oxypora lacera and Astreopora expansa. Wax esters, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, and fatty acids were all measured at detectable levels, and the latter were produced at significantly elevated quantities in E. gemmacea, E. aspera, and O. lacera. On the other hand, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, and wax ester were found at significantly higher concentrations in A. expansa oocytes. Triacylglycerol was not present in any species. Interestingly, the total lipid content of oocytes from all five scleractinians was significantly lower than that of oocytes of two gorgonian species, Junceella juncea and Junceella fragilis. As higher total lipid concentrations may be correlated with greater degrees of cellular membrane fluidity at lower temperatures, it stands to reason that gorgonian coral oocytes may be more likely to survive the cryopreservation process than oocytes of scleractinian corals.

  4. 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

  5. Elevated temperatures and bleaching on a high latitude coral reef: the 1988 Bermuda event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Clayton B.; Logan, Alan; Ward, Jack; Luckhurst, Brian; Berg, Carl J.

    1990-03-01

    Sea temperatures were normal in Bermuda during 1987, when Bermuda escaped the episodes of coral bleaching which were prevalent throughout the Caribbean region. Survey transecs in 1988 on 4 6 m reefs located on the rim margin and on a lagoonal patch reef revealed bleaching only of zoanthids between May and July. Transect and tow surveys in August and September revealed bleaching of several coral species; Millepora alcicornis on rim reefs was the most extensively affected. The frequency of bleaching in this species, Montastrea annularis and perhaps Diploria labyrinthiformis was significantly higher on outer reefs than on inshore reefs. This bleaching period coincided with the longest period of elevated sea temperatures in Bermuda in 38 years (28.9 30.9°C inshore, >28° offshore). By December, when temperatures had returned to normal, bleaching of seleractinians continued, but bleaching of M. alcicornis on the outer reefs was greatly reduced. Our observations suggest that corals which normally experience wide temperature ranges are less sensitive to thermal stress, and that high-latitude reef corals are sensitive to elevated temperatures which are within the normal thermal range of corals at lower latitudes.

  6. A unique coral community in the mangroves of Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2017-01-01

    Corals do not typically thrive in mangrove environments. However, corals are growing on and near the prop roots of red mangrove trees in Hurricane Hole, an area within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument under the protection of the US National Park Service in St. John, US Virgin Islands. This review summarizes current knowledge of the remarkable biodiversity of this area. Over 30 scleractinian coral species, about the same number as documented to date from nearby coral reefs, grow here. No other mangrove ecosystems in the Caribbean are known to have so many coral species. This area may be a refuge from changing climate, as these corals weathered the severe thermal stress and subsequent disease outbreak that caused major coral loss on the island’s coral reefs in 2005 and 2006. Shading by the red mangrove trees reduces the stress that leads to coral bleaching. Seawater temperatures in these mangroves are more variable than those on the reefs, and some studies have shown that this variability results in corals with a greater resistance to higher temperatures. The diversity of sponges and fish is also high, and a new genus of serpulid worm was recently described. Continuing research may lead to the discovery of more new species.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Arjen Tilstra

    2017-10-01

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

  8. First record of the Central Indo-Pacific reef coral Oulastrea crispata in the Mediterranean Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. W. HOEKSEMA

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available A live colony of a non-indigenous zooxanthellate scleractinian coral was found in shallow water at the west coast of Corsica, western Mediterranean. Its diameter of 6 cm suggests that it has already survived for some years. It was identified as Oulastrea crispata, a species native on near-shore coral reefs in the central Indo-Pacific with a high tolerance for low water temperatures at high latitudes. Based on its morphology it can be distinguished from other zooxanthellate colonial scleractinians in the Mediterranean. O. crispata has a reputation of being a successful colonizer because it is able to settle on a wide variety of substrata and because it utilizes various reproductive strategies as simultaneous hermaphrodite and producer of asexually derived planulae. Owing to its original distribution range in temperate and subtropical waters, it is likely that it will be able to meet a suitable temperature regime in the Mediterranean for further range expansion.

  9. New records of coral-associated crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura: Carpilioidea, Trapezoidea) from Easter Island.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyko, Christopher B; Mendoza, Jose C E; Castro, Peter

    2017-01-10

    A review is made of those brachyurans that are symbiotic or otherwise associated with scleractinian corals on Easter Island, southeastern Pacific Ocean. A total of seven species is reported, including three species from two families not previously known from the island. Earlier records of Trapezia are analyzed and, although as many as six species have been previously reported, we conclude that only three species are known to occur on the island with certainty.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Fujise

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guowei Zhou

    2017-12-01

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

  13. MICROBIAL COMMUNITY OF BLACK BAND DISEASE ON INFECTION, HEALTHY, AND DEAD PART OF SCLERACTINIAN Montipora sp. COLONY AT SERIBU ISLANDS, INDONESIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ofri Johan

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available It is crucial to understand the microbial community associated with the host when attempting to discern the pathogen responsible for disease outbreaks in scleractinian corals. This study determines changes in the bacterial community associated with Montipora sp. in response to black band disease in Indonesian waters. Healthy, diseased, and dead Montipora sp. (n = 3 for each sample type per location were collected from three different locations (Pari Island, Pramuka Island, and Peteloran Island. DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis was carried out to identify the bacterial community associated with each sample type and histological analysis was conducted to identify pathogens associated with specific tissues. Various Desulfovibrio species were found as novelty to be associated with infection samples, including Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, Desulfovibrio magneticus, and Desulfovibrio gigas, Bacillus benzoevorans, Bacillus farraginis in genus which previously associated with pathogenicity in corals. Various bacterial species associated with uninfected corals were lost in diseased and dead samples. Unlike healthy samples, coral tissues such as the epidermis, endodermis, zooxanthellae were not present on dead samples under histological observation. Liberated zooxanthellae and cyanobacteria were found in black band diseased Montipora sp. samples.

  14. The influence of fire-coral colony size and agonistic behaviour of territorial damselfish on associated coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leal, Isabela Carolina Silva; de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth; da Cunha, Simone Rabelo; Pereira, Pedro Henrique Cipresso

    2015-07-01

    Branching hydrocorals from the genus Millepora play an important ecological role in South Atlantic reefs, where branching scleractinian corals are absent. Previous studies have shown a high proportion of reef fish species using branching fire-coral colonies as shelter, breeding, and feeding sites. However, the effects of Millepora spp. colony size and how the agonistic behaviour of a competitive damselfish affect the associated reef fish community are still unknown. The present study examined how fire-coral colony volume and the presence of a highly territorial and aggressive damselfish (Brazilian endemic Stegastes fuscus) affects the reef fish community associated with the fire-coral Millepora alcicornis. M. alcicornis colonies were surveyed from September 2012 to April 2013 at Tamandaré Reefs off Northeast Brazil. Our results show that the abundance and richness of coral associated fish was positively correlated with M. alcicornis coral colony volume. Additionally, behaviour of S. fuscus, the most abundant reef fish species found associated with fire-coral colonies (almost 57% of the fish community), was also influenced by fire-coral colony volume. There was a clear trend of increased agonistic behaviour and feeding on coral polyps as colony volume increased. This trend was reversed for the non-occupational swimming category, which decreased as M. alcicornis colony volume increased. Behavioural ontogenetic changes were also detected for S. fuscus individuals. Juveniles mainly showed two distinct behaviours: sheltered on coral branches and feeding on coral polyps. In contrast, adults presented greater equitability among the behavioural categories, mostly non-occupational swimming around coral colonies and agonistic behaviour. Lastly, S. fuscus individuals actively defended fire-coral colonies from intruders. A large number of agonistic interactions occurred against potential food competitors, which were mainly roving herbivores, omnivores, and sessile

  15. Histological observations in the Hawaiian reef coral, Porites compressa, affected by Porites bleaching with tissue loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sudek, M.; Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, G.S.; Davy, S.K.

    2012-01-01

    The scleractinian finger coral Porites compressa is affected by the coral disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss (PBTL). This disease initially manifests as bleaching of the coenenchyme (tissue between polyps) while the polyps remain brown with eventual tissue loss and subsequent algal overgrowth of the bare skeleton. Histopathological investigation showed a loss of symbiont and melanin-containing granular cells which was more pronounced in the coenenchyme than the polyps. Cell counts confirmed a 65% reduction in symbiont density. Tissue loss was due to tissue fragmentation and necrosis in affected areas. In addition, a reduction in putative bacterial aggregate densities was found in diseased samples but no potential pathogens were observed.

  16. Temperature shapes coral-algal symbiosis in the South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tong, Haoya; Cai, Lin; Zhou, Guowei; Yuan, Tao; Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Huang, Hui; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2017-01-01

    With the increase in sea surface temperature (SST), scleractinian corals are exposed to bleaching threats but may possess certain flexibilities in terms of their associations with symbiotic algae. Previous studies have shown a close symbiosis between coral the and Symbiodinium; however, the spatial variation of the symbiosis and the attribution underlying are not well understood. In the present study, we examined coral-algal symbiosis in Galaxea fascicularis and Montipora spp. from three biogeographic regions across ~10° of latitude in the South China Sea. Analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) indicated a highly flexible coral-algal symbiosis in both G. fascicularis and Montipora spp. and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that temperature explained 83.2% and 60.1% of the explanatory subclade variations in G. fascicularis and Montipora spp., respectively, which suggested that temperature was the main environmental factor contributing to the diversity of Symbiodinium across the three regions. The geographic specificity of the Symbiodinium phylogeny was identified, revealing possible environmental selection across the three regions. These results suggest that scleractinian corals may have the ability to regulate Symbiodinium community structures under different temperatures and thus be able to adapt to gradual climate change. PMID:28084322

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2016-02-03

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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  1. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

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

  2. High amino acid diversity and positive selection at a putative coral immunity gene (tachylectin-2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hellberg Michael E

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Genes involved in immune functions, including pathogen recognition and the activation of innate defense pathways, are among the most genetically variable known, and the proteins that they encode are often characterized by high rates of amino acid substitutions, a hallmark of positive selection. The high levels of variation characteristic of immunity genes make them useful tools for conservation genetics. To date, highly variable immunity genes have yet to be found in corals, keystone organisms of the world's most diverse marine ecosystem, the coral reef. Here, we examine variation in and selection on a putative innate immunity gene from Oculina, a coral genus previously used as a model for studies of coral disease and bleaching. Results In a survey of 244 Oculina alleles, we find high nonsynonymous variation and a signature of positive selection, consistent with a putative role in immunity. Using computational protein structure prediction, we generate a structural model of the Oculina protein that closely matches the known structure of tachylectin-2 from the Japanese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus, a protein with demonstrated function in microbial recognition and agglutination. We also demonstrate that at least three other genera of anthozoan cnidarians (Acropora, Montastrea and Nematostella possess proteins structurally similar to tachylectin-2. Conclusions Taken together, the evidence of high amino acid diversity, positive selection and structural correspondence to the horseshoe crab tachylectin-2 suggests that this protein is 1 part of Oculina's innate immunity repertoire, and 2 evolving adaptively, possibly under selective pressure from coral-associated microorganisms. Tachylectin-2 may serve as a candidate locus to screen coral populations for their capacity to respond adaptively to future environmental change.

  3. Physical and chemical characteristics of Vietnamese natural corals used as substitutes for bone grafts

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tran Cong Toai; To Phuong Vu; Tran Bac Hai; Doan Binh

    1999-01-01

    Coral has been used as substitutes for bone grafts in France and the United State of American. In Vietnam, research on coral has been done at the Biomaterial Research Laboratory, The University Training Centre since 1994. Among the studies are the determination of physical and chemical characteristics of natural coral blocks obtained by the scientists of the NhaTrang Maritime Institute. We found that it was quite necessary to establish a standard formula for processing coral as biomaterial graft. The selected coral was cut into blocks approximately 1x1x1 cm or 1x1x2 cm and cleaned. We measured the density, porous rate, water loading speed (at room temperature and at boiled temperature with low pressure, mechanical strength and content of soluble protein, chitosan in coral rods. (1140 samples of three types of corals). The density of Porites australiensis was heavier than that of Porites lutea. But, Porites lutea has more porous rate than Porites australiensis. This experiment has also showed that mechanical strength of Porites australiensis was harder than that of Porites lutea. To measure the water loading speed, the coral rods were treated at boiled temperature with low pressure versus at room temperature. We found that the water loading speed of Porites australiensis at boiled temperature was faster than that at room temperature. Porites lutea and Montastrea annuligera showed as the same result. The efficiency of water loading rate is quite low approximately 116 - 121 % for 45 minutes at room temperature versus 135 - 155 % for only I 0 minutes at boiled temperature with low pressure. We measured the content of soluble protein by both Lowry and Biuret methods, the content of soluble protein after washing with 0.9% sodium chloride, 1210 degree C, 60 minutes is very low (below limit of tests). The content of chitosan from dried coral rods treated with HCI 36 - 38 % and NAOH 0.01N is about 0.1 - 0.6 %. Our study determined some physical and chemical characteristics

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  5. Variation in Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages among coral colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, Michael; Bird, Christopher E; Pochon, Xavier; Chasqui, Luis; Chauka, Leonard J; Concepcion, Gregory T; Logan, Dan; Takabayashi, Misaki; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2011-01-05

    Endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are fundamentally important to the biology of scleractinian corals, as well as to a variety of other marine organisms. The genus Symbiodinium is genetically and functionally diverse and the taxonomic nature of the union between Symbiodinium and corals is implicated as a key trait determining the environmental tolerance of the symbiosis. Surprisingly, the question of how Symbiodinium diversity partitions within a species across spatial scales of meters to kilometers has received little attention, but is important to understanding the intrinsic biological scope of a given coral population and adaptations to the local environment. Here we address this gap by describing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages recovered from colonies of the reef building coral Montipora capitata sampled across Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i. A total of 52 corals were sampled in a nested design of Coral Colony(Site(Region)) reflecting spatial scales of meters to kilometers. A diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequences was recovered with the majority of variance partitioning at the level of the Coral Colony. To confirm this result, the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence diversity in six M. capitata colonies were analyzed in much greater depth with 35 to 55 clones per colony. The ITS2 sequences and quantitative composition recovered from these colonies varied significantly, indicating that each coral hosted a different assemblage of Symbiodinium. The diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages retrieved from individual colonies of M. capitata here highlights the problems inherent in interpreting multi-copy and intra-genomically variable molecular markers, and serves as a context for discussing the utility and biological relevance of assigning species names based on Symbiodinium ITS2 genotyping.

  6. 350 Year Cloud Reconstruction Deduced from Northeast Caribbean Coral Proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  8. The effects of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean gorgonian corals and their algal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tamar L Goulet

    Full Text Available Global climate change not only leads to elevated seawater temperatures but also to episodic anomalously high or low temperatures lasting for several hours to days. Scleractinian corals are detrimentally affected by thermal fluctuations, which often lead to an uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium spp. (coral bleaching and potentially coral death. Consequently, on many Caribbean reefs scleractinian coral cover has plummeted. Conversely, gorgonian corals persist, with their abundance even increasing. How gorgonians react to thermal anomalies has been investigated utilizing limited parameters of either the gorgonian, Symbiodinium or the combined symbiosis (holobiont. We employed a holistic approach to examine the effect of an experimental five-day elevated temperature episode on parameters of the host, symbiont, and the holobiont in Eunicea tourneforti, E. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa. These gorgonian corals reacted and coped with 32°C seawater temperatures. Neither Symbiodinium genotypes nor densities differed between the ambient 29.5°C and 32°C. Chlorophyll a and c2 per Symbiodinium cell, however, were lower at 32°C leading to a reduction in chlorophyll content in the branches and an associated reduction in estimated absorbance and increase in the chlorophyll a specific absorption coefficient. The adjustments in the photochemical parameters led to changes in photochemical efficiencies, although these too showed that the gorgonians were coping. For example, the maximum excitation pressure, Qm, was significantly lower at 32°C than at 29.5°C. In addition, although per dry weight the amount of protein and lipids were lower at 32°C, the overall energy content in the tissues did not differ between the temperatures. Antioxidant activity either remained the same or increased following exposure to 32°C further reiterating a response that dealt with the stressor. Taken together, the capability of Caribbean gorgonian corals to modify

  9. Global habitat suitability for framework-forming cold-water corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew J Davies

    Full Text Available Predictive habitat models are increasingly being used by conservationists, researchers and governmental bodies to identify vulnerable ecosystems and species' distributions in areas that have not been sampled. However, in the deep sea, several limitations have restricted the widespread utilisation of this approach. These range from issues with the accuracy of species presences, the lack of reliable absence data and the limited spatial resolution of environmental factors known or thought to control deep-sea species' distributions. To address these problems, global habitat suitability models have been generated for five species of framework-forming scleractinian corals by taking the best available data and using a novel approach to generate high resolution maps of seafloor conditions. High-resolution global bathymetry was used to resample gridded data from sources such as World Ocean Atlas to produce continuous 30-arc second (∼1 km(2 global grids for environmental, chemical and physical data of the world's oceans. The increased area and resolution of the environmental variables resulted in a greater number of coral presence records being incorporated into habitat models and higher accuracy of model predictions. The most important factors in determining cold-water coral habitat suitability were depth, temperature, aragonite saturation state and salinity. Model outputs indicated the majority of suitable coral habitat is likely to occur on the continental shelves and slopes of the Atlantic, South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The North Pacific has very little suitable scleractinian coral habitat. Numerous small scale features (i.e., seamounts, which have not been sampled or identified as having a high probability of supporting cold-water coral habitat were identified in all ocean basins. Field validation of newly identified areas is needed to determine the accuracy of model results, assess the utility of modelling efforts to identify vulnerable marine

  10. The carbonate mineralogy and distribution of habitat-forming deep-sea corals in the southwest pacific region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bostock, Helen C.; Tracey, Dianne M.; Currie, Kim I.; Dunbar, Gavin B.; Handler, Monica R.; Mikaloff Fletcher, Sara E.; Smith, Abigail M.; Williams, Michael J. M.

    2015-06-01

    Habitat-forming deep-sea scleractinian and alcyonacean corals from around the southwest Pacific were analysed for their calcium carbonate mineralogy. Scleractinian coral species Solenosmilia variabilis, Enallopsammia rostrata, Goniocorella dumosa, Madrepora oculata and Oculina virgosa were all found to be 100% aragonitic, while some members of the alcyonacean taxa Keratoisis spp., Lepidisis spp., and Paragorgia spp. were determined to be high magnesium (Mg) calcite (with 8-11 mol% MgCO3) and Primnoa sp. is bimineralic with both aragonite and Mg calcite. The majority of these habitat-forming deep-sea corals are found at intermediate depths (800-1200 m) in the Antarctic Intermediate Waters (AAIW) with low salinities (~34.5), temperatures of 4-8 °C and high oxygen concentrations (>180 μmol/kg) and currently sitting above the aragonite saturation horizon (ASH). However, habitat-forming corals have been recorded from greater depths, in cooler waters (2-4 °C) that are undersaturated with respect to aragonite (Ωaragonite160 μmol/kg. To address the sampling depth bias the coral records were normalised by the number of benthic stations (sampling effort) in the same depth range. This shows that the highest number of corals per sampling effort is between 1000 and 1400 m with corals present in over 5% of the stations at these depths. The normalised records and Boot Strap analyses suggests that scleractinian corals, especially S. variabilis should be present in >1% of stations down to 1800 m water depth, with E. rostrata, M. oculata and G. dumosa slightly shallower. While alcyonacean corals are found in >1% down to 2600 m, with Keratoisis spp. the deepest down to 2600 m, while Lepidisis spp. and Paragorgia spp. found down to 1800 m. This suggests that most species can probably tolerate some undersaturation of aragonite (Ωaragonite=0.8-0.9), with several species/genera (S. variabilis; Keratoisis spp.) even more tolerant of lower carbonate concentrations ([CO3 2 -]), down

  11. INTERSPECIFIC AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR OF THE CORALLIMORPHARIAN CORYNACTIS CALIFORNICA (CNIDARIA: ANTHOZOA): EFFECTS ON SYMPATRIC CORALS AND SEA ANEMONES.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chadwick, Nanette E

    1987-08-01

    Corallimorpharians are sessile cnidarians that are morphologically similar to the actiniarian sea anemones and scleractinian corals. This study describes for the first time the behavioral mechanism and effects of aggression by a corallimorpharian. Polyps of the temperate clonal corallimorpharian Corynactis californica extruded their mesenteries and associated filaments onto members of certain species of sea anemones and corals. They did not exhibit this behavior intraspecifically, and members of different clones of C. californica remained expanded upon contact. In contrast, members of four species of corals and zoanthids responded to contact with C. californica by contracting their tentacles, and members of three sea anemone species bent or moved away, detached from the substrate, or attacked using their aggressive structures. When interspecific contact was prolonged, individuals of C. californica extruded filaments onto, and killed polyps of, the sea anemones Anthopleura elegantissima and Metridium senile within 3 weeks, and the corals Astrangia lajollaensis and Balanophyllia elegans within 4-10 months under laboratory conditions. The use of extruded mesenterial filaments by C. californica to attack members of other anthozoan species is similar to the aggressive behavior exhibited by many scleractinian reef corals. Field observations suggest that C. californica may use this agonistic behavior during interspecific competition for space on hard marine substrate.

  12. Scleractinian Density for Florida Keys national Marine Sanctuary from 1999-2012 (NODC Accession 0123059)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset contains records of scleractinian colony density, within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, compiled from multiple sources. These are: SCREAM,...

  13. Chromium-isotope signatures in scleractinian corals from the Rocas Atoll, Tropical South Atlantic

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pereira, Natan S.; Vögelin, Andrea Regula; Paulukat, Cora Stefanie

    2016-01-01

    Chromium-isotope compositions (expressed as δ53Cr) of recent and ancient skeletal and non-skeletal carbonates are currently explored as a (paleo-) redox-proxy for shallow seawater. The idea behind this approach is that biogenic and non-biogenic carbonates could potentially be used as archives rec...

  14. Modification of light utilization for skeletal growth by water flow in the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schutter, M.; Kranenbarg, S.; Wijffels, R.H.; Verreth, J.A.J.; Osinga, R.

    2011-01-01

    In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the importance of water flow for skeletal growth (rate) becomes higher with increasing irradiance levels (i.e. a synergistic effect) and that such effect is mediated by a water flow modulated effect on net photosynthesis. Four series of nine nubbins of G.

  15. Pink-line syndrome, a physiological crisis in the scleractinian coral Porites lutea

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    the night and oxidative stress during the day due to the evolution of reactive nascent oxygen by the cyanobacterial photosynthesis. Therefore, in order to stop the photosynthetic processes in the cyanobacterial cells, the photosynthetic inhibitor, 3... and increase in numbers. 15 The subsequent increase in photosynthesis by the increased number of symbionts possibly causes oxidative stress to the host cell. The host is induced to produce defense enzyme such as superoxide dismutase, catalase...

  16. Elemental ratios and lipid classes in a coral reef food web under river influence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carreón-Palau, Laura; Parrish, Christopher C.; Pérez-España, Horacio; Aguiñiga-Garcia, Sergio

    2018-05-01

    Coral reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are increasingly suffering from anthropogenic nutrient inputs principally from fertilizers as identified by their δ15N signatures. To determine if primary producers are passively affected by anthropogenic nitrogen enrichment in a coral reef community, carbon: nitrogen ratios (C:N mol mol-1) were measured. The C:N ratio was used as a proxy for nitrogen enrichment in primary producers when the ratio decreases, and for lipid plus carbohydrate in terms of C, and protein in terms of N in primary producers and consumers. Lipid classes and the triacylglycerol to sterol (TAG:ST) ratio were used to evaluate energy storage as an indication of nutritional quality in the six most abundant primary producers, and of nutritional condition in ten ubiquitous consumers in a coral reef in the Gulf of Mexico under river influence. A low C:N ratio revealed nitrogen enrichment in primary producers. Among the lipids, high TAG proportions were detected in phytoplankton and zooxanthellae suggesting that they have a higher nutritional quality in terms of energy, followed by sea grass, mangrove, and macroalgae. During the rainy season TAG:ST increased in primary consumers such as echinoderms, and top predators such as the perciform fish Bodianus rufus, Ocyurus chrysurus and Caranx hippos, suggesting an increase in energy storage. In contrast, TAG:ST decreased in the principal habitat providing coral Montastrea cavernosa, along with a decrease in the phospholipid proportion suggesting a poor nutritional condition. There were three species with no change in their TAG:ST ratio: the sponge Aplysina sp., the masked goby Coryphopterus personatus and the surgeon fish Achanturus chirurgus. The lower value of TAG, TAG:ST ratio and phospholipid proportion in the coral M. cavernosa suggests that the reported abundance of zooplankton does not satisfy the energy demand of M. cavernosa during the rainy season.

  17. Light-induced dissociation of antenna complexes in the symbionts of scleractinian corals correlates with sensitivity to coral bleaching

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hill, R.; Larkum, A. W. D.; Prášil, Ondřej; Kramer, D. M.; Szabó, M.; Kumar, V.; Ralph, P. J.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 31, č. 4 (2012), s. 963-975 ISSN 0722-4028 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAA601410907; GA MŠk(CZ) ED2.1.00/03.0110 Institutional support: RVO:61388971 Keywords : Photoprotection * Non-photochemical quenching * Xanthophyll cycle Subject RIV: EE - Microbiology, Virology Impact factor: 3.662, year: 2012

  18. Identification of microRNAs in the coral Stylophora pistillata.

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2014-03-21

    Coral reefs are major contributors to marine biodiversity. However, they are in rapid decline due to global environmental changes such as rising sea surface temperatures, ocean acidification, and pollution. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses have broadened our understanding of coral biology, but a study of the microRNA (miRNA) repertoire of corals is missing. miRNAs constitute a class of small non-coding RNAs of ∼22 nt in size that play crucial roles in development, metabolism, and stress response in plants and animals alike. In this study, we examined the coral Stylophora pistillata for the presence of miRNAs and the corresponding core protein machinery required for their processing and function. Based on small RNA sequencing, we present evidence for 31 bona fide microRNAs, 5 of which (miR-100, miR-2022, miR-2023, miR-2030, and miR-2036) are conserved in other metazoans. Homologues of Argonaute, Piwi, Dicer, Drosha, Pasha, and HEN1 were identified in the transcriptome of S. pistillata based on strong sequence conservation with known RNAi proteins, with additional support derived from phylogenetic trees. Examination of putative miRNA gene targets indicates potential roles in development, metabolism, immunity, and biomineralisation for several of the microRNAs. Here, we present first evidence of a functional RNAi machinery and five conserved miRNAs in S. pistillata, implying that miRNAs play a role in organismal biology of scleractinian corals. Analysis of predicted miRNA target genes in S. pistillata suggests potential roles of miRNAs in symbiosis and coral calcification. Given the importance of miRNAs in regulating gene expression in other metazoans, further expression analyses of small non-coding RNAs in transcriptional studies of corals should be informative about miRNA-affected processes and pathways.

  19. Temperature and vital effect controls on Bamboo coral (Isididae) isotopegeochemistry: A test of the "lines method"

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hill, T M; Spero, H J; Guilderson, T P; LaVigne, M; Clague, D; Macalello, S; Jang, N

    2011-03-01

    Deep-sea bamboo corals hold promise as long-term climatic archives, yet little information exists linking bamboo coral geochemistry to measured environmental parameters. This study focuses on a suite of 10 bamboo corals collected from the Pacific and Atlantic basins (250-2136 m water depth) to investigate coral longevity, growth rates, and isotopic signatures. Calcite samples for stable isotopes and radiocarbon were collected from the base the corals, where the entire history of growth is recorded. In three of the coral specimens, samples were also taken from an upper branch for comparison. Radiocarbon and growth band width analyses indicate that the skeletal calcite precipitates from ambient dissolved inorganic carbon and that the corals live for 150-300 years, with extension rates of 9-128 {micro}m/yr. A linear relationship between coral calcite {delta}{sup 18}O and {delta}{sup 13}C indicates that the isotopic composition is influenced by vital effects ({delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C slope of 0.17-0.47). As with scleractinian deep-sea corals, the intercept from a linear regression of {delta}{sup 18}O versus {delta}{sup 13}C is a function of temperature, such that a reliable paleotemperature proxy can be obtained, using the 'lines method.' Although the coral calcite {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C slope is maintained throughout the coral base ontogeny, the branches and central cores of the bases exhibit {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C values that are shifted far from equilibrium. We find that a reliable intercept value can be derived from the {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C regression of multiple samples distributed throughout one specimen or from multiple samples within individual growth bands.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pogoreutz, Claudia

    2017-06-28

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

  2. Recent Advances in Understanding the Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S. Hoey

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of coral reefs. Sustained and ongoing increases in ocean temperatures and acidification are altering the structure and function of reefs globally. Here, we summarise recent advances in our understanding of the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals and reef fish. Although there is considerable among-species variability in responses to increasing temperature and seawater chemistry, changing temperature regimes are likely to have the greatest influence on the structure of coral and fish assemblages, at least over short–medium timeframes. Recent evidence of increases in coral bleaching thresholds, local genetic adaptation and inheritance of heat tolerance suggest that coral populations may have some capacity to respond to warming, although the extent to which these changes can keep pace with changing environmental conditions is unknown. For coral reef fishes, current evidence indicates increasing seawater temperature will be a major determinant of future assemblages, through both habitat degradation and direct effects on physiology and behaviour. The effects of climate change are, however, being compounded by a range of anthropogenic disturbances, which may undermine the capacity of coral reef organisms to acclimate and/or adapt to specific changes in environmental conditions.

  3. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Symbiosis regulation in a facultatively symbiotic temperate coral: zooxanthellae division and expulsion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dimond, J.; Carrington, E.

    2008-09-01

    Zooxanthellae mitotic index (MI) and expulsion rates were measured in the facultatively symbiotic scleractinian Astrangia poculata during winter and summer off the southern New England coast, USA. While MI was significantly higher in summer than in winter, mean expulsion rates were comparable between seasons. Corals therefore appear to allow increases in symbiont density when symbiosis is advantageous during the warm season, followed by a net reduction during the cold season when zooxanthellae may draw resources from the coral. Given previous reports that photosynthesis in A. poculata symbionts does not occur below approximately 6°C, considerable zooxanthellae division at 3°C and in darkness suggests that zooxanthellae are heterotrophic at low seasonal temperatures. Finally, examination of expulsion as a function of zooxanthellae density revealed that corals with very low zooxanthellae densities export a significantly greater proportion of their symbionts, apparently allowing them to persist in a stable azooxanthellate state.

  7. Out of their depth? Isolated deep populations of the cosmopolitan coral Desmophyllum dianthus may be highly vulnerable to environmental change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen J Miller

    Full Text Available Deep sea scleractinian corals will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, facing loss of up to 70% of their habitat as the Aragonite Saturation Horizon (below which corals are unable to form calcium carbonate skeletons rises. Persistence of deep sea scleractinian corals will therefore rely on the ability of larvae to disperse to, and colonise, suitable shallow-water habitat. We used DNA sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS, the mitochondrial ribosomal subunit (16S and mitochondrial control region (MtC to determine levels of gene flow both within and among populations of the deep sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus in SE Australia, New Zealand and Chile to assess the ability of corals to disperse into different regions and habitats. We found significant genetic subdivision among the three widely separated geographic regions consistent with isolation and limited contemporary gene flow. Furthermore, corals from different depth strata (shallow 1500 m even on the same or nearby seamounts were strongly differentiated, indicating limited vertical larval dispersal. Genetic differentiation with depth is consistent with the stratification of the Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, the Circumpolar Deep and North Pacific Deep Waters in the Southern Ocean, and we propose that coral larvae will be retained within, and rarely migrate among, these water masses. The apparent absence of vertical larval dispersal suggests deep populations of D. dianthus are unlikely to colonise shallow water as the aragonite saturation horizon rises and deep waters become uninhabitable. Similarly, assumptions that deep populations will act as refuges for shallow populations that are impacted by activities such as fishing or mining are also unlikely to hold true. Clearly future environmental management strategies must consider both regional and depth-related isolation of deep-sea coral populations.

  8. Out of their depth? Isolated deep populations of the cosmopolitan coral Desmophyllum dianthus may be highly vulnerable to environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Karen J; Rowden, Ashley A; Williams, Alan; Häussermann, Vreni

    2011-01-01

    Deep sea scleractinian corals will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, facing loss of up to 70% of their habitat as the Aragonite Saturation Horizon (below which corals are unable to form calcium carbonate skeletons) rises. Persistence of deep sea scleractinian corals will therefore rely on the ability of larvae to disperse to, and colonise, suitable shallow-water habitat. We used DNA sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), the mitochondrial ribosomal subunit (16S) and mitochondrial control region (MtC) to determine levels of gene flow both within and among populations of the deep sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus in SE Australia, New Zealand and Chile to assess the ability of corals to disperse into different regions and habitats. We found significant genetic subdivision among the three widely separated geographic regions consistent with isolation and limited contemporary gene flow. Furthermore, corals from different depth strata (shallow 1500 m) even on the same or nearby seamounts were strongly differentiated, indicating limited vertical larval dispersal. Genetic differentiation with depth is consistent with the stratification of the Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, the Circumpolar Deep and North Pacific Deep Waters in the Southern Ocean, and we propose that coral larvae will be retained within, and rarely migrate among, these water masses. The apparent absence of vertical larval dispersal suggests deep populations of D. dianthus are unlikely to colonise shallow water as the aragonite saturation horizon rises and deep waters become uninhabitable. Similarly, assumptions that deep populations will act as refuges for shallow populations that are impacted by activities such as fishing or mining are also unlikely to hold true. Clearly future environmental management strategies must consider both regional and depth-related isolation of deep-sea coral populations.

  9. Coral bleaching is linked to the capacity of the animal host to supply essential metals to the symbionts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Sauzéat, Lucie; Balter, Vincent

    2018-03-23

    Massive coral bleaching events result in extensive coral loss throughout the world. These events are mainly caused by seawater warming, but are exacerbated by the subsequent decrease in nutrient availability in surface waters. It has therefore been shown that nitrogen, phosphorus or iron limitation contribute to the underlying conditions by which thermal stress induces coral bleaching. Generally, information on the trophic ecology of trace elements (micronutrients) in corals, and on how they modulate the coral response to thermal stress is lacking. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that heterotrophic feeding (i.e. the capture of zooplankton prey by the coral host) and thermal stress induce significant changes in micro element concentrations and isotopic signatures of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. The results obtained first reveal that coral symbionts are the major sink for the heterotrophically acquired micronutrients and accumulate manganese, magnesium and iron from the food. These metals are involved in photosynthesis and antioxidant protection. In addition, we show that fed corals can maintain high micronutrient concentrations in the host tissue during thermal stress and do not bleach, whereas unfed corals experience a significant decrease in copper, zinc, boron, calcium and magnesium in the host tissue and bleach. In addition, the significant increase in δ 65 Cu and δ 66 Zn signature of symbionts and host tissue at high temperature suggests that these isotopic compositions are good proxy for stress in corals. Overall, present findings highlight a new way in which coral heterotrophy and micronutrient availability contribute to coral resistance to global warming and bleaching. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Coral Carbonic Anhydrases: Regulation by Ocean Acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoccola, Didier; Innocenti, Alessio; Bertucci, Anthony; Tambutté, Eric; Supuran, Claudiu T; Tambutté, Sylvie

    2016-06-03

    Global change is a major threat to the oceans, as it implies temperature increase and acidification. Ocean acidification (OA) involving decreasing pH and changes in seawater carbonate chemistry challenges the capacity of corals to form their skeletons. Despite the large number of studies that have investigated how rates of calcification respond to ocean acidification scenarios, comparatively few studies tackle how ocean acidification impacts the physiological mechanisms that drive calcification itself. The aim of our paper was to determine how the carbonic anhydrases, which play a major role in calcification, are potentially regulated by ocean acidification. For this we measured the effect of pH on enzyme activity of two carbonic anhydrase isoforms that have been previously characterized in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. In addition we looked at gene expression of these enzymes in vivo. For both isoforms, our results show (1) a change in gene expression under OA (2) an effect of OA and temperature on carbonic anhydrase activity. We suggest that temperature increase could counterbalance the effect of OA on enzyme activity. Finally we point out that caution must, thus, be taken when interpreting transcriptomic data on carbonic anhydrases in ocean acidification and temperature stress experiments, as the effect of these stressors on the physiological function of CA will depend both on gene expression and enzyme activity.

  11. Coral Carbonic Anhydrases: Regulation by Ocean Acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Didier Zoccola

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Global change is a major threat to the oceans, as it implies temperature increase and acidification. Ocean acidification (OA involving decreasing pH and changes in seawater carbonate chemistry challenges the capacity of corals to form their skeletons. Despite the large number of studies that have investigated how rates of calcification respond to ocean acidification scenarios, comparatively few studies tackle how ocean acidification impacts the physiological mechanisms that drive calcification itself. The aim of our paper was to determine how the carbonic anhydrases, which play a major role in calcification, are potentially regulated by ocean acidification. For this we measured the effect of pH on enzyme activity of two carbonic anhydrase isoforms that have been previously characterized in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. In addition we looked at gene expression of these enzymes in vivo. For both isoforms, our results show (1 a change in gene expression under OA (2 an effect of OA and temperature on carbonic anhydrase activity. We suggest that temperature increase could counterbalance the effect of OA on enzyme activity. Finally we point out that caution must, thus, be taken when interpreting transcriptomic data on carbonic anhydrases in ocean acidification and temperature stress experiments, as the effect of these stressors on the physiological function of CA will depend both on gene expression and enzyme activity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-06-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2008-03-15

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

  15. Integrating microRNA and mRNA expression profiling in Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals.

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Liew, Yi Jin; Carr, Adrian; Micklem, Gos; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2013-01-01

    Animal and plant genomes produce numerous small RNAs (smRNAs) that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally affecting metabolism, development, and epigenetic inheritance. In order to characterize the repertoire of endogenous smRNAs and potential gene targets in dinoflagellates, we conducted smRNA and mRNA expression profiling over 9 experimental treatments of cultures from Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a photosynthetic symbiont of scleractinian corals.

  16. Integrating microRNA and mRNA expression profiling in Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals.

    KAUST Repository

    Baumgarten, Sebastian

    2013-10-12

    Animal and plant genomes produce numerous small RNAs (smRNAs) that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally affecting metabolism, development, and epigenetic inheritance. In order to characterize the repertoire of endogenous smRNAs and potential gene targets in dinoflagellates, we conducted smRNA and mRNA expression profiling over 9 experimental treatments of cultures from Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a photosynthetic symbiont of scleractinian corals.

  17. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  18. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert H Ong

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

  20. Species delimitation in the reef coral genera Echinophyllia and Oxypora (Scleractinia, Lobophylliidae) with a description of two new species

    KAUST Repository

    Arrigoni, Roberto

    2016-09-09

    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 for species evaluation to two closely related genera, Echinophyllia and Oxypora, for which few molecular data are available. A robust multi-locus phylogeny using DNA sequence data across four loci of both mitochondrial (COI, ATP6-NAD4) and nuclear (histone H3, ITS region) origin from 109 coral colonies was coupled with three independent putative species delimitation methods based on barcoding threshold (ABGD) and coalescence theory (PTP, GMYC). Observed overall congruence across multiple genetic analyses distinguished two traditional species (E. echinoporoides and O. convoluta), a species complex composed of E. aspera, E. orpheensis, E. tarae, and O. glabra, whereas O. lacera and E. echinata were indistinguishable with the sequenced loci. The combination of molecular species delimitation approaches and skeletal character observations allowed the description of two new reef coral species, E. bulbosa sp. n. from the Red Sea and E. gallii sp. n. from the Maldives and Mayotte. This work demonstrated the efficiency of multi-locus phylogenetic analyses and recently developed molecular species delimitation approaches as valuable tools to disentangle taxonomic issues caused by morphological ambiguities and to re-assess the diversity of scleractinian corals. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. The influence of coral reef benthic condition on associated fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen M Chong-Seng

    Full Text Available Accumulative disturbances can erode a coral reef's resilience, often leading to replacement of scleractinian corals by macroalgae or other non-coral organisms. These degraded reef systems have been mostly described based on changes in the composition of the reef benthos, and there is little understanding of how such changes are influenced by, and in turn influence, other components of the reef ecosystem. This study investigated the spatial variation in benthic communities on fringing reefs around the inner Seychelles islands. Specifically, relationships between benthic composition and the underlying substrata, as well as the associated fish assemblages were assessed. High variability in benthic composition was found among reefs, with a gradient from high coral cover (up to 58% and high structural complexity to high macroalgae cover (up to 95% and low structural complexity at the extremes. This gradient was associated with declining species richness of fishes, reduced diversity of fish functional groups, and lower abundance of corallivorous fishes. There were no reciprocal increases in herbivorous fish abundances, and relationships with other fish functional groups and total fish abundance were weak. Reefs grouping at the extremes of complex coral habitats or low-complexity macroalgal habitats displayed markedly different fish communities, with only two species of benthic invertebrate feeding fishes in greater abundance in the macroalgal habitat. These results have negative implications for the continuation of many coral reef ecosystem processes and services if more reefs shift to extreme degraded conditions dominated by macroalgae.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Timothy F.; Ulstrup, Karin E.

    2009-06-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. The reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea exhibits parabolic responses to ocean acidification and warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castillo, Karl D; Ries, Justin B; Bruno, John F; Westfield, Isaac T

    2014-12-22

    Anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 over this century are predicted to cause global average surface ocean pH to decline by 0.1-0.3 pH units and sea surface temperature to increase by 1-4°C. We conducted controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the impacts of CO2-induced ocean acidification (pCO2 = 324, 477, 604, 2553 µatm) and warming (25, 28, 32°C) on the calcification rate of the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea, a widespread, abundant and keystone reef-builder in the Caribbean Sea. We show that both acidification and warming cause a parabolic response in the calcification rate within this coral species. Moderate increases in pCO2 and warming, relative to near-present-day values, enhanced coral calcification, with calcification rates declining under the highest pCO2 and thermal conditions. Equivalent responses to acidification and warming were exhibited by colonies across reef zones and the parabolic nature of the corals' response to these stressors was evident across all three of the experiment's 30-day observational intervals. Furthermore, the warming projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the end of the twenty-first century caused a fivefold decrease in the rate of coral calcification, while the acidification projected for the same interval had no statistically significant impact on the calcification rate-suggesting that ocean warming poses a more immediate threat than acidification for this important coral species.

  5. The reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea exhibits parabolic responses to ocean acidification and warming

    OpenAIRE

    Castillo, Karl D.; Ries, Justin B.; Bruno, John F.; Westfield, Isaac T.

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 over this century are predicted to cause global average surface ocean pH to decline by 0.1–0.3 pH units and sea surface temperature to increase by 1–4°C. We conducted controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the impacts of CO2-induced ocean acidification (pCO2 = 324, 477, 604, 2553 µatm) and warming (25, 28, 32°C) on the calcification rate of the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea, a widespread, abundant and keystone reef-...

  6. Organic Carbon Sources and their Transfer in a Gulf of Mexico Coral Reef Ecosystem under River Influence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parrish, C.; Carreón-Palau, L.; del Ángel-Rodríguez, J.; Perez-Espana, H.; Aguiniga-Garcıa, S.

    2016-02-01

    To assess the degree to which coral reefs in a marine protected area have been influenced by terrestrial and anthropogenic organic carbon inputs we used C and N stable isotopes and lipid biomarkers in the Coral Reef System of Veracruz in the southwest Gulf of Mexico. A C and N stable isotope mixing model and a calculated fatty acid (FA) retention factor revealed the primary producer sources that fuel the coral reef food web. Then lipid classes, FA and sterol biomarkers determined production of terrestrial and marine biogenic material of nutritional quality to pelagic and benthic organisms. Finally, coprostanol determined pollutant loading from sewage in the suspended particulate matter. Results indicate that phytoplankton is the major source of essential FA for fish and that dietary energy from terrestrial sources such as mangroves are transferred to juvenile fish, while sea grass non-essential FA are transferred to the entire food web. Sea urchins may be the main consumers of brown macroalgae, while surgeon fish prefer red algae. C and N isotopic values and the C:N ratio suggest that fertilizer is the principal source of nitrogen to macroalgae. Thus nitrogen supply also favored phytoplankton and sea grass growth leading to a better nutritional condition and high retention of organic carbon in the food web members during the rainy season when river influence increases. However, the great star coral Montastrea cavernosa nutritional condition decreased significantly. The nearest river to the Reef System was polluted in the dry season; however, a dilution effect was detected in the rainy season, when some coral reefs were contaminated. In 2013, a new treatment plant started working in the area. We would suggest monitoring δ15N and the C: N ratio in macroalgae as indicators of the nitrogen input and coprostanol as an indicator of human feces pollution in order to verify the efficiency of the new treatment plant as part of the management program of the Reef System.

  7. [Taxonomy and distribution of the hermatypic corals (Scleractinia) of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ketchum, J T; Reyes Bonilla, H

    2001-01-01

    In spite of some recent detailed accounts about the scleractinian corals of the Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, taxonomic work on this fauna has been sparse. Consequently, solid taxonomic background is needed, especially to support further studies at community level. During five field trips (between 1990 and 1995) collections were made at different depths on three of the archipelago islands: Socorro, Clarión and San Benedicto. A total of 250 specimens were collected. Coral identifications were made using co-occurrence methods concomitant with their descriptions, diagnosis and illustrations from a number of publications, and with morphological analysis. Coral distributions were taken from literature. Twenty-two species of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals are described, with their local and world-wide geographic distribution, and each illustrated with macro and microphotographs. Keys to the genera and species of the archipelago are also included. Porites and Pocillopora exhibit the highest species richness with a great intraspecific variation, as well as a number of morphological convergences within and between species which form species complexes, and several new species and morphs. Clarion, the oldest and most isolated island of the archipelago, harbors a number of coral morphs that are probable new species. More than half of the species found at the Revillagigedos are distributed exclusively on oceanic islands of the eastern Pacific and close to one third exist only at this archipelago. The Revillagigedos have strong faunal similarities and share a number of endemics with Clipperton Atoll, all of which support the idea that these islands constitute a separate biogeographic subregion within the eastern Pacific. Lastly, the present document substantiates the hypothesis that the Revillagigedos are important stepping-stone islands for the migration of in-shore marine species from the Central to the eastern Pacific.

  8. 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

  9. Extracellular production and degradation of superoxide in the coral Stylophora pistillata and cultured Symbiodinium.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eldad Saragosti

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Reactive oxygen species (ROS are thought to play a major role in cell death pathways and bleaching in scleractinian corals. Direct measurements of ROS in corals are conspicuously in short supply, partly due to inherent problems with ROS quantification in cellular systems.In this study we characterized the dynamics of the reactive oxygen species superoxide anion radical (O(2(- in the external milieu of the coral Stylophora pistillata. Using a sensitive, rapid and selective chemiluminescence-based technique, we measured extracellular superoxide production and detoxification activity of symbiont (non-bleached and aposymbiont (bleached corals, and of cultured Symbiodinium (from clades A and C. Bleached and non-bleached Stylophora fragments were found to produce superoxide at comparable rates of 10(-11-10(-9 mol O(2(- mg protein(-1 min(-1 in the dark. In the light, a two-fold enhancement in O(2(- production rates was observed in non-bleached corals, but not in bleached corals. Cultured Symbiodinium produced superoxide in the dark at a rate of . Light was found to markedly enhance O(2(- production. The NADPH Oxidase inhibitor Diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI strongly inhibited O(2(- production by corals (and more moderately by algae, possibly suggesting an involvement of NADPH Oxidase in the process. An extracellular O(2(- detoxifying activity was found for bleached and non-bleached Stylophora but not for Symbiodinium. The O(2(- detoxifying activity was partially characterized and found to resemble that of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD.The findings of substantial extracellular O(2(- production as well as extracellular O(2(- detoxifying activity may shed light on the chemical interactions between the symbiont and its host and between the coral and its environment. Superoxide production by Symbiodinium possibly implies that algal bearing corals are more susceptible to an internal build-up of O(2(-, which may in turn be linked to oxidative stress

  10. 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.

  11. 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).

  12. Effects of light, food availability and temperature stress on the function of photosystem II and photosystem I of coral symbionts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mia O Hoogenboom

    Full Text Available Reef corals are heterotrophic coelenterates that achieve high productivity through their photosynthetic dinoflagellate symbionts. Excessive seawater temperature destabilises this symbiosis and causes corals to "bleach," lowering their photosynthetic capacity. Bleaching poses a serious threat to the persistence of coral reefs on a global scale. Despite expanding research on the causes of bleaching, the mechanisms remain a subject of debate.This study determined how light and food availability modulate the effects of temperature stress on photosynthesis in two reef coral species. We quantified the activities of Photosystem II, Photosystem I and whole chain electron transport under combinations of normal and stressful growth temperatures, moderate and high light levels and the presence or absence of feeding of the coral hosts. Our results show that PS1 function is comparatively robust against temperature stress in both species, whereas PS2 and whole chain electron transport are susceptible to temperature stress. In the symbiotic dinoflagellates of Stylophora pistillata the contents of chlorophyll and major photosynthetic complexes were primarily affected by food availability. In Turbinaria reniformis growth temperature was the dominant influence on the contents of the photosynthetic complexes. In both species feeding the host significantly protected photosynthetic function from high temperature stress.Our findings support the photoinhibition model of coral bleaching and demonstrate that PS1 is not a major site for thermal damage during bleaching events. Feeding mitigates bleaching in two scleractinian corals, so that reef responses to temperature stresses will likely be influenced by the coinciding availabilities of prey for the host.

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. Holocene coral patch reef ecology and sedimentary architecture, Northern Belize, Central America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mazzullo, S.J.; Anderson-Underwood, K.E.; Burke, C.D.; Bischoff, W.D. (Wichita State Univ., KS (United States))

    1992-12-01

    Coral patch reefs are major components of Holocene platform carbonate facies systems in tropical and subtropical areas. The biotic composition, growth and relationship to sea level history, and diagenetic attributes of a representative Holocene patch reef ([open quotes]Elmer Reef[close quotes]) in the Mexico Rocks complex in northern Belize are described and compared to those of Holocene patch reefs in southern Belize. Elmer Reef has accumulated in shallow (2.5 m) water over the last 420 yr, under static sea level conditions. Rate of vertical construction is 0.3-0.5 m/100 yr, comparable to that of patch reefs in southern Belize. A pronounced coral zonation exists across Elmer Reef, with Monastrea annularis dominating on its crest and Acropora cervicornis occurring on its windward and leeward flanks. The dominance of Montastrea on Elmer Reef is unlike that of patch reefs in southern Belize, in which this coral assumes only a subordinate role in reef growth relative to that of Acropora palmata. Elmer Reef locally is extensively biodegraded and marine, fibrous aragonite and some bladed high-magnesium calcite cements occur throughout the reef section, partially occluding corallites and interparticle pores in associated sands. Patch reefs in southern Belize have developed as catch-up and keep-up reefs in a transgressive setting. In contrast, the dominant mode of growth of Elmer Reef, and perhaps other patch reefs in Mexico Rocks, appears to be one of lateral rather than vertical accretion. This style of growth occurs in a static sea level setting where there is only limited accommodation space because of the shallowness of the water, and such reefs are referred to as [open quotes]expansion reefs[close quotes]. 39 refs., 8 figs., 2 tabs.

  17. Symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and function determine community responses to global changes: defining critical research areas for coral-Symbiodinium symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabina, Nicholas S; Putnam, Hollie M; Franklin, Erik C; Stat, Michael; Gates, Ruth D

    2013-11-01

    Climate change-driven stressors threaten the persistence of coral reefs worldwide. Symbiotic relationships between scleractinian corals and photosynthetic endosymbionts (genus Symbiodinium) are the foundation of reef ecosystems, and these associations are differentially impacted by stress. Here, we couple empirical data from the coral reefs of Moorea, French Polynesia, and a network theoretic modeling approach to evaluate how patterns in coral-Symbiodinium associations influence community stability under climate change. To introduce the effect of climate perturbations, we simulate local 'extinctions' that represent either the loss of coral species or the ability to engage in symbiotic interactions. Community stability is measured by determining the duration and number of species that persist through the simulated extinctions. Our results suggest that four factors greatly increase coral-Symbiodinium community stability in response to global changes: (i) the survival of generalist hosts and symbionts maximizes potential symbiotic unions; (ii) elevated symbiont diversity provides redundant or complementary symbiotic functions; (iii) compatible symbiotic assemblages create the potential for local recolonization; and (iv) the persistence of certain traits associate with symbiotic diversity and redundancy. Symbiodinium may facilitate coral persistence through novel environmental regimes, but this capacity is mediated by symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and the functional performance of the symbionts. Our model-based approach identifies general trends and testable hypotheses in coral-Symbiodinium community responses. Future studies should consider similar methods when community size and/or environmental complexity preclude experimental approaches. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shai Einbinder

    2016-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Biogeography and molecular diversity of coral symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium around the Arabian Peninsula

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Arif, Chatchanit; Burt, John A.; Dobretsov, Sergey; Roder, Cornelia; Lajeunesse, Todd C.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Aim: Coral reefs rely on the symbiosis between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium making the assessment of symbiont diversity critical to our understanding of ecological resilience of these ecosystems. This study characterizes Symbiodinium diversity around the Arabian Peninsula, which contains some of the most thermally diverse and understudied reefs on Earth. Location: Shallow water coral reefs throughout the Red Sea (RS), Sea of Oman (SO), and Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG). Methods: Next-generation sequencing of the ITS2 marker gene was used to assess Symbiodinium community composition and diversity comprising 892 samples from 46 hard and soft coral genera. Results: Corals were associated with a large diversity of Symbiodinium, which usually consisted of one or two prevalent symbiont types and many types at low abundance. Symbiodinium communities were strongly structured according to geographical region and to a lesser extent by coral host identity. Overall symbiont communities were composed primarily of species from clade A and C in the RS, clade A, C, and D in the SO, and clade C and D in the PAG, representing a gradual shift from C- to D-dominated coral hosts. The analysis of symbiont diversity in an Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU)-based framework allowed the identification of differences in symbiont taxon richness over geographical regions and host genera. Main conclusions: Our study represents a comprehensive overview over biogeography and molecular diversity of Symbiodinium in the Arabian Seas, where coral reefs thrive in one of the most extreme environmental settings on the planet. As such our data will serve as a baseline for further exploration into the effects of environmental change on host-symbiont pairings and the identification and ecological significance of Symbiodinium types from regions already experiencing 'Future Ocean' conditions.

  2. [Coral reefs in the face of ecological threats of XXI century].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, K S

    2015-01-01

    To date, more than a quarter of tropical coral reefs of the World Ocean are believed to be totally de- stroyed. Given the present rates of reefs degradation, this value may be doubled in the nearest 30 years. For the essential part of coastal community, the destruction of coral ecosystems implies the loss of the major food sources, natural protection from storms, and significant (if not the only) revenue from exploi- tation of reefs especially in tourism industry. Finally, the disappearance of low-laying coral islands may threat the local communities by deprivation of living space. Global negative effects include temperature anomalies of sea surface waters and an increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration leading to ocean acidification. Local negative effects are related to in- crease of sedimentation and eutrophication, cyclone and storm passes, coral diseases, chemical pollution, mechanical destruction of corals by humans, anthropogenic depletion of functional groups of fish and invertebrates. An entire set of responses of coral ecosystems to stressful factors on the levels of both separate taxa and ecosystem is discussed. An analysis of published data suggests that with high probability the tropical coral communities will come to collapse stage by the middle of the current century at more than 50% of the area of their biogeographic range, especially in the regions of dense human population. At the most optimistic scenario, complex effect of reviewed negative factors will result in coral ecosystems main- taining in some areas. However, after global transformations, these ecosystems will be dominated by the most resistant taxa, mainly massive and encrusting forms of long-lived species with low growth rates and high competitive ability. Among such taxa, Poritidae demonstrates the highest adaptive capability. At the most pessimistic scenario, scleractinian communities will be replaced by alternative communities of macroalgae and non-calcareous anthozoans.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2015-08-06

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Roder, Cornelia; Bü chel, C; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Biogeography and molecular diversity of coral symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium around the Arabian Peninsula

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2017-01-02

    Aim: Coral reefs rely on the symbiosis between scleractinian corals and intracellular, photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium making the assessment of symbiont diversity critical to our understanding of ecological resilience of these ecosystems. This study characterizes Symbiodinium diversity around the Arabian Peninsula, which contains some of the most thermally diverse and understudied reefs on Earth. Location: Shallow water coral reefs throughout the Red Sea (RS), Sea of Oman (SO), and Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG). Methods: Next-generation sequencing of the ITS2 marker gene was used to assess Symbiodinium community composition and diversity comprising 892 samples from 46 hard and soft coral genera. Results: Corals were associated with a large diversity of Symbiodinium, which usually consisted of one or two prevalent symbiont types and many types at low abundance. Symbiodinium communities were strongly structured according to geographical region and to a lesser extent by coral host identity. Overall symbiont communities were composed primarily of species from clade A and C in the RS, clade A, C, and D in the SO, and clade C and D in the PAG, representing a gradual shift from C- to D-dominated coral hosts. The analysis of symbiont diversity in an Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU)-based framework allowed the identification of differences in symbiont taxon richness over geographical regions and host genera. Main conclusions: Our study represents a comprehensive overview over biogeography and molecular diversity of Symbiodinium in the Arabian Seas, where coral reefs thrive in one of the most extreme environmental settings on the planet. As such our data will serve as a baseline for further exploration into the effects of environmental change on host-symbiont pairings and the identification and ecological significance of Symbiodinium types from regions already experiencing \\'Future Ocean\\' conditions.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meir Sussman

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

  7. Histological observations in the Hawaiian reef coral, Porites compressa, affected by Porites bleaching with tissue loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sudek, M; Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Davy, S K

    2012-10-01

    The scleractinian finger coral Porites compressa is affected by the coral disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss (PBTL). This disease initially manifests as bleaching of the coenenchyme (tissue between polyps) while the polyps remain brown with eventual tissue loss and subsequent algal overgrowth of the bare skeleton. Histopathological investigation showed a loss of symbiont and melanin-containing granular cells which was more pronounced in the coenenchyme than the polyps. Cell counts confirmed a 65% reduction in symbiont density. Tissue loss was due to tissue fragmentation and necrosis in affected areas. In addition, a reduction in putative bacterial aggregate densities was found in diseased samples but no potential pathogens were observed. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Long distance dispersal and connectivity in amphi-Atlantic corals at regional and basin scales.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Flavia L D Nunes

    Full Text Available Among Atlantic scleractinian corals, species diversity is highest in the Caribbean, but low diversity and high endemism are observed in various peripheral populations in central and eastern Atlantic islands and along the coasts of Brazil and West Africa. The degree of connectivity between these distantly separated populations is of interest because it provides insight into processes at both evolutionary and ecological time scales, such as speciation, recruitment dynamics and the persistence of coral populations. To assess connectivity in broadly distributed coral species of the Atlantic, DNA sequence data from two nuclear markers were obtained for six coral species spanning their distributional ranges. At basin-wide scales, significant differentiation was generally observed among populations in the Caribbean, Brazil and West Africa. Concordance of patterns in connectivity among co-distributed taxa indicates that extrinsic barriers, such as the Amazon freshwater plume or long stretches of open ocean, restrict dispersal of coral larvae from region to region. Within regions, dispersal ability appears to be influenced by aspects of reproduction and life history. Two broadcasting species, Siderastrea siderea and Montastraea cavernosa, were able to maintain gene flow among populations separated by as much as 1,200 km along the coast of Brazil. In contrast, brooding species, such as Favia gravida and Siderastrea radians, had more restricted gene flow along the Brazilian coast.

  11. Depth-Independent Reproduction in the Reef Coral Porites astreoides from Shallow to Mesophotic Zones.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel M Holstein

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral ecosystems between 30-150 m may be important refugia habitat for coral reefs and associated benthic communities from climate change and coastal development. However, reduced light at mesophotic depths may present an energetic challenge to the successful reproduction of light-dependent coral organisms, and limit this refugia potential. Here, the relationship of depth and fecundity was investigated in a brooding depth-generalist scleractinian coral, Porites astreoides from 5-37 m in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI using paraffin tissue histology. Despite a trend of increasing planulae production with depth, no significant differences were found in mean peak planulae density between shallow, mid-depth and mesophotic sites. Differential planulae production over depth is thus controlled by P. astreoides coral cover, which peaks at 10 m and ~35 m in the USVI. These results suggest that mesophotic ecosystems are reproductive refuge for P. astreoides in the USVI, and may behave as refugia for P. astreoides metapopulations providing that vertical larval exchanges are viable.

  12. A 350 Year Cloud Cover Reconstruction Deduced from Caribbean Coral Proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winter, Amos; Sammarco, Paul; Mikolajewicz, Uwe; Jury, Mark; Zanchettin, Davide

    2015-04-01

    Clouds are a major factor contributing to climate change with respect to a variety of effects on the earth's climates, primarily radiative effects, amelioration of heating, and regional changes in precipitation patterns. There have been very few studies of decadal and longer term changes in cloud cover in the tropics and sub-tropics, both over land and the ocean. In the tropics, there is great uncertainty regarding how global warming will affect cloud cover. Observational satellite data is so short that it is difficult to discern any temporal trends. The skeletons of scleractinian corals are considered to contain among the best records of high-resolution (sub-annual) environmental variability in the tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Corals generally live in well-mixed coastal regions and can often record environmental conditions of large areas of the upper ocean. This is particularly the case at low latitudes. Scleractinian corals are sessile, epibenthic fauna, and the type of environmental information recorded at the location where the coral has been living is dependent upon the species of coral considered and proxy index of interest. Zooxanthellate hermatypic corals in tropical and sub-tropical seas precipitate CaCO3 skeletons as they grow. This growth is made possible through the manufacture of CaCO3 crystals, facilitated by the zooxanthellae. During the process of crystallization, the holobiont binds carbon of different isotopes into the crystals. Stable carbon isotope concentrations vary with a variety of environmental conditions. In the Caribbean, δ13C in corals of the species Montastraea faveolata can be used as a proxy for changes in cloud cover. In this contribution, we will demonstrate that the stable isotope 13C varies concomitantly with cloud cover and present a new reconstruction of cloud cover over the Caribbean Sea that extends back to the year 1760. We will show that there is good agreement between the main features of our coral proxy record of

  13. Coral reefs - Specialized ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    This paper discusses briefly some aspects that characterize and differentiate coral reef ecosystems from other tropical marine ecosystems. A brief account on the resources that are extractable from coral reefs, their susceptibility to natural...

  14. 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).

  15. The skeletal organic matrix from Mediterranean coral Balanophyllia europaea influences calcium carbonate precipitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goffredo, Stefano; Vergni, Patrizia; Reggi, Michela; Caroselli, Erik; Sparla, Francesca; Levy, Oren; Dubinsky, Zvy; Falini, Giuseppe

    2011-01-01

    Scleractinian coral skeletons are made mainly of calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite. The mineral deposition occurs in a biological confined environment, but it is still a theme of discussion to what extent the calcification occurs under biological or environmental control. Hence, the shape, size and organization of skeletal crystals from the cellular level through the colony architecture, were attributed to factors as diverse as mineral supersaturation levels and organic mediation of crystal growth. The skeleton contains an intra-skeletal organic matrix (OM) of which only the water soluble component was chemically and physically characterized. In this work that OM from the skeleton of the Balanophyllia europaea, a solitary scleractinian coral endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, is studied in vitro with the aim of understanding its role in the mineralization of calcium carbonate. Mineralization of calcium carbonate was conducted by overgrowth experiments on coral skeleton and in calcium chloride solutions containing different ratios of water soluble and/or insoluble OM and of magnesium ions. The precipitates were characterized by diffractometric, spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. The results showed that both soluble and insoluble OM components influence calcium carbonate precipitation and that the effect is enhanced by their co-presence. The role of magnesium ions is also affected by the presence of the OM components. Thus, in vitro, OM influences calcium carbonate crystal morphology, aggregation and polymorphism as a function of its composition and of the content of magnesium ions in the precipitation media. This research, although does not resolve the controversy between environmental or biological control on the deposition of calcium carbonate in corals, sheds a light on the role of OM, which appears mediated by the presence of magnesium ions.

  16. The Skeletal Organic Matrix from Mediterranean Coral Balanophyllia europaea Influences Calcium Carbonate Precipitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goffredo, Stefano; Vergni, Patrizia; Reggi, Michela; Caroselli, Erik; Sparla, Francesca; Levy, Oren; Dubinsky, Zvy; Falini, Giuseppe

    2011-01-01

    Scleractinian coral skeletons are made mainly of calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite. The mineral deposition occurs in a biological confined environment, but it is still a theme of discussion to what extent the calcification occurs under biological or environmental control. Hence, the shape, size and organization of skeletal crystals from the cellular level through the colony architecture, were attributed to factors as diverse as mineral supersaturation levels and organic mediation of crystal growth. The skeleton contains an intra-skeletal organic matrix (OM) of which only the water soluble component was chemically and physically characterized. In this work that OM from the skeleton of the Balanophyllia europaea, a solitary scleractinian coral endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, is studied in vitro with the aim of understanding its role in the mineralization of calcium carbonate. Mineralization of calcium carbonate was conducted by overgrowth experiments on coral skeleton and in calcium chloride solutions containing different ratios of water soluble and/or insoluble OM and of magnesium ions. The precipitates were characterized by diffractometric, spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. The results showed that both soluble and insoluble OM components influence calcium carbonate precipitation and that the effect is enhanced by their co-presence. The role of magnesium ions is also affected by the presence of the OM components. Thus, in vitro, OM influences calcium carbonate crystal morphology, aggregation and polymorphism as a function of its composition and of the content of magnesium ions in the precipitation media. This research, although does not resolve the controversy between environmental or biological control on the deposition of calcium carbonate in corals, sheds a light on the role of OM, which appears mediated by the presence of magnesium ions. PMID:21799830

  17. Temporal and spatial distributions of cold-water corals in the Drake Passage: insights from the last 35,000 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Margolin, Andrew R.; Robinson, Laura F.; Burke, Andrea; Waller, Rhian G.; Scanlon, Kathryn M.; Roberts, Mark L.; Auro, Maureen E.; van de Flierdt, Tina

    2014-01-01

    Scleractinian corals have a global distribution ranging from shallow tropical seas to the depths of the Southern Ocean. Although this distribution is indicative of the corals having a tolerance to a wide spectrum of environmental conditions, individual species seem to be restricted to a much narrower range of ecosystem variables. One way to ascertain the tolerances of corals, with particular focus on the potential impacts of changing climate, is to reconstruct their growth history across a range of environmental regimes. This study examines the spatial and temporal distribution of the solitary scleractinian corals Desmophyllum dianthus, Gardineria antarctica, Balanophyllia malouinensis, Caryophyllia spp. and Flabellum spp. from five sites in the Drake Passage which cross the major frontal zones. A rapid reconnaissance radiocarbon method was used to date more than 850 individual corals. Coupled with U-Th dating, an age range of present day back to more than 100 thousand years was established for corals in the region. Within this age range there are distinct changes in the temporal and spatial distributions of these corals, both with depth and latitude, and on millennial timescales. Two major patterns that emerge are: (1) D. dianthus populations show clear variability in their occurrence through time depending on the latitudinal position within the Drake Passage. North of the Subantarctic Front, D. dianthus first appears in the late deglaciation (~17,000 years ago) and persists to today. South of the Polar Front, in contrast, early deglacial periods, with a few modern occurrences. A seamount site between the two fronts exhibits characteristics similar to both the northern and southern sites. This shift across the frontal zones within one species cannot yet be fully explained, but it is likely to be linked to changes in surface productivity, subsurface oxygen concentrations, and carbonate saturation state. (2) at locations where multiple genera were dated, differences

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glasl, Bettina; Bongaerts, Pim; Elisabeth, Nathalie H.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Herndl, Gerhard J.; Frade, Pedro R.

    2017-06-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) are generally poorly studied, and our knowledge of lower MCEs (below 60 m depth) is largely limited to visual surveys. Here, we provide a first detailed assessment of the prokaryotic community associated with scleractinian corals over a depth gradient to the lower mesophotic realm (15-85 m). Specimens of three Caribbean coral species exhibiting differences in their depth distribution ranges ( Agaricia grahamae, Madracis pharensis and Stephanocoenia intersepta) were collected with a manned submersible on the island of Curaçao, and their prokaryotic communities assessed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis. Corals with narrower depth distribution ranges (depth-specialists) were associated with a stable prokaryotic community, whereas corals with a broader niche range (depth-generalists) revealed a higher variability in their prokaryotic community. The observed depth effects match previously described patterns in Symbiodinium depth zonation. This highlights the contribution of structured microbial communities over depth to the coral's ability to colonize a broader depth range.

  19. Glacial cold-water coral growth in the Gulf of Cádiz: Implications of increased palaeo-productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wienberg, Claudia; Frank, Norbert; Mertens, Kenneth N.; Stuut, Jan-Berend; Marchant, Margarita; Fietzke, Jan; Mienis, Furu; Hebbeln, Dierk

    2010-10-01

    A set of 40 Uranium-series datings obtained on the reef-forming scleractinian cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata revealed that during the past 400 kyr their occurrence in the Gulf of Cádiz (GoC) was almost exclusively restricted to glacial periods. This result strengthens the outcomes of former studies that coral growth in the temperate NE Atlantic encompassing the French, Iberian and Moroccan margins dominated during glacial periods, whereas in the higher latitudes (Irish and Norwegian margins) extended coral growth prevailed during interglacial periods. Thus it appears that the biogeographical limits for sustained cold-water coral growth along the NE Atlantic margin are strongly related to climate change. By focussing on the last glacial-interglacial cycle, this study shows that palaeo-productivity was increased during the last glacial. This was likely driven by the fertilisation effect of an increased input of aeolian dust and locally intensified upwelling. After the Younger Dryas cold event, the input of aeolian dust and productivity significantly decreased concurrent with an increase in water temperatures in the GoC. This primarily resulted in reduced food availability and caused a widespread demise of the formerly thriving coral ecosystems. Moreover, these climate induced changes most likely caused a latitudinal shift of areas with optimum coral growth conditions towards the northern NE Atlantic where more suitable environmental conditions established with the onset of the Holocene.

  20. Cyphastrea kausti sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia), a new species of reef coral from the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouwmeester, Jessica; Benzoni, Francesca; Baird, Andrew H.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A new scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea kausti sp. n., is described from 13 specimens from the Red Sea. It is characterised by the presence of eight primary septa, unlike the other species of the genus, which have six, ten or 12 primary septa. The new species has morphological affinities with Cyphastrea microphthalma, from which it can be distinguished by the lower number of septa (on average eight instead of ten), and smaller calices and corallites. This species was observed in the northern and central Red Sea and appears to be absent from the southern Red Sea. PMID:25931952

  1. Cyphastrea kausti sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia), a new species of reef coral from the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Bouwmeester, Jessica

    2015-04-16

    A new scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea kausti sp. n., is described from 13 specimens from the Red Sea. It is characterised by the presence of eight primary septa, unlike the other species of the genus, which have six, ten or 12 primary septa. The new species has morphological affinities with Cyphastrea microphthalma, from which it can be distinguished by the lower number of septa (on average eight instead of ten), and smaller calices and corallites. This species was observed in the northern and central Red Sea and appears to be absent from the southern Red Sea.

  2. Benthic O-2 uptake of two cold-water coral communities estimated with the non-invasive eddy correlation technique

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rovelli, Lorenzo; Attard, Karl M.; Bryant, Lee D.

    2015-01-01

    , was a channel-like sound in Northern Norway at a depth of 220 m. Both sites were characterized by the presence of live mounds of the reef framework-forming scleractinian Lophelia pertusa and reef-associated fauna such as sponges, crustaceans and other corals. The measured O-2 uptake at the 2 sites varied...... times higher than the global mean for soft sediment communities at comparable depths. The measurements document the importance of CWC communities for local and regional carbon cycling and demonstrate that the EC technique is a valuable tool for assessing rates of benthic O2 uptake in such complex...

  3. Low Florida coral calcification rates in the Plio-Pleistocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brachert, Thomas C.; Reuter, Markus; Krüger, Stefan; Klaus, James S.; Helmle, Kevin; Lough, Janice M.

    2016-08-01

    In geological outcrops and drill cores from reef frameworks, the skeletons of scleractinian corals are usually leached and more or less completely transformed into sparry calcite because the highly porous skeletons formed of metastable aragonite (CaCO3) undergo rapid diagenetic alteration. Upon alteration, ghost structures of the distinct annual growth bands often allow for reconstructions of annual extension ( = growth) rates, but information on skeletal density needed for reconstructions of calcification rates is invariably lost. This report presents the bulk density, extension rates and calcification rates of fossil reef corals which underwent minor diagenetic alteration only. The corals derive from unlithified shallow water carbonates of the Florida platform (south-eastern USA), which formed during four interglacial sea level highstands dated approximately 3.2, 2.9, 1.8, and 1.2 Ma in the mid-Pliocene to early Pleistocene. With regard to the preservation, the coral skeletons display smooth growth surfaces with minor volumes of marine aragonite cement within intra-skeletal porosity. Within the skeletal structures, voids are commonly present along centres of calcification which lack secondary cements. Mean extension rates were 0.44 ± 0.19 cm yr-1 (range 0.16 to 0.86 cm yr-1), mean bulk density was 0.96 ± 0.36 g cm-3 (range 0.55 to 1.83 g cm-3) and calcification rates ranged from 0.18 to 0.82 g cm-2 yr-1 (mean 0.38 ± 0.16 g cm-2 yr-1), values which are 50 % of modern shallow-water reef corals. To understand the possible mechanisms behind these low calcification rates, we compared the fossil calcification rates with those of modern zooxanthellate corals (z corals) from the Western Atlantic (WA) and Indo-Pacific calibrated against sea surface temperature (SST). In the fossil data, we found a widely analogous relationship with SST in z corals from the WA, i.e. density increases and extension rate decreases with increasing SST, but over a significantly larger

  4. 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

  5. Temporal and spatial variations in the diagenetic fabrics and stable isotopes of Pleistocene corals from the Ironshore Formation of Grand Cayman, British West Indies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Rong; Jones, Brian

    2013-03-01

    On Grand Cayman, the unconformity bounded Units A to F in the Ironshore Formation represent repeated cycles of deposition and subaerial exposure that were associated with the dramatic oscillations in sea levels that characterized the Middle to Late Pleistocene. Montastrea annularis and Acropora palmata, the dominant corals found in Units A to F in the Rogers Wreck Point area and offshore George Town area, reflect these changes with their complex mosaics of marine (aragonite cements, bioerosion, internal sediments) and meteoric (calcitization of coral skeleton, dissolution) diagenetic features. The distribution of the diagenetic fabrics throughout this sequence, however, is not predictable. The randomness in the degree of skeletal calcitization is shown by the lack of systematic variation in calcitization from Units A to F, and the fact that the degree of skeletal calcification in M. annularis is higher than that in A. palmata in the Rogers Wreck Point area but less than in A. palmata in the George Town cores. The stable isotope compositions (δ13C, δ18O) of the corals from Units A to F plot along the same trend line with their positions on that trend reflecting the amount of meteoric diagenesis they have undergone. The variable styles and degrees of diagenesis evident in the corals from the Ironshore Formation reflect (1) the variable impact of intrinsic (e.g., skeletal architecture, porosity of coral) and extrinsic (e.g., sea level, climate) factors during each phase of diagenesis, and (2) temporal effects associated with the diagenetic overprinting that took place during each successive phase of diagenesis. This means that the diagenetic fabrics are not stratigraphically ordered and that it is impossible to correlate specific diagenetic phases with specific sea level lowstands or highstands.

  6. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-08-01

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

  8. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Massive hard coral loss after a severe bleaching event in 2010 at Los Roques, Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carolina Bastidas

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Thermal anomalies have become more severe, frequent and well-documented across the Caribbean for the past 30 years. This increase in temperature has caused coral bleaching resulting in reef decline. At Los Roques National Park, Venezuela, temperature has been monitored at four reef sites. In mid-September 2010, seawater temperature reached 30.85°C at 5 m depth in Los Roques, an archipelago only slightly affected by previous bleaching events. For example, bleaching in Los Roques in 2005 was mild compared to the rest of the Caribbean and to the results in this study. In 2010, seawater temperatures remained above 29.0°C from mid-August until the first week of November, resulting in +16 Degree Heating Weeks by that time. Our annual survey of four reef sites indicated that 72% of 563 scleractinian colonies were partial or totally bleached (white or pale (discolored in October 2010. In February 2011, there were still 46% of coral colonies affected; but most of them were pale and only 2% were bleached. By February, coral cover had declined 4 to 30% per transect, with a mean of 14.3%. Thus, mean coral cover dropped significantly from 45 to 31% cover (a 34% reduction. In addition to bleaching, corals showed a high prevalence (up to 16% of black band disease in October 2010 and of white plague (11% in February 2011. As a consequence, coral mortality is expected to be larger than reported here. Reef surveys since 2002 and personal observations for more than 20 years indicated that this bleaching event and its consequences in Los Roques have no precedent. Our results suggest that reef sites with no previous record of significant deterioration are more likely to become affected by thermal anomalies. However, this archipelago is relatively unaffected by local anthropogenic disturbance and has a high coral recruitment, which may contribute to its recovery

  12. Reprint of - Deep-sea coral and hardbottom habitats on the west Florida slope, eastern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Steve W.; Rhode, Mike; Brooke, Sandra

    2017-09-01

    Until recently, benthic habitats dominated by deep-sea corals (DSC) appeared to be less extensive on the slope of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) than in the northeast Atlantic Ocean or off the southeastern US. There are relatively few bioherms (i.e., coral-built mounds) in the northern GOM, and most DSCs are attached to existing hard substrata (e.g., authigenically formed carbonate). The primary structure-forming, DSC in the GOM is Lophelia pertusa, but structure is also provided by other living and dead scleractinians, antipatharians (black corals), octocorals (gorgonians, soft corals), hydrocorals and sponges, as well as abundant rocky substrata. The best development of DSCs in the GOM was previously documented within Viosca Knoll oil and gas lease blocks 826 and 862/906 (north-central GOM) and on the Campeche Bank (southern GOM in Mexican waters). This paper documents extensive deep reef ecosystems composed of DSC and rocky hard-bottom recently surveyed on the West Florida Slope (WFS, eastern GOM) during six research cruises (2008-2012). Using multibeam sonar, CTD casts, and video from underwater vehicles, we describe the physical and oceanographic characteristics of these deep reefs and provide size or area estimates of deep coral and hardground habitats. The multibeam sonar analyses revealed hundreds of mounds and ridges, some of which were subsequently surveyed using underwater vehicles. Mounds and ridges in <525 m depths were usually capped with living coral colonies, dominated by L. pertusa. An extensive rocky scarp, running roughly north-south for at least 229 km, supported lower abundances of scleractinian corals than the mounds and ridges, despite an abundance of settlement substrata. Areal comparisons suggested that the WFS may exceed other parts of the GOM slope in extent of living deep coral coverage and other deep-reef habitat (dead coral and rock). The complex WFS region warrants additional studies to better understand the influences of oceanography and

  13. Calcification persists with CO2-induced ocean acidification but decreases with warming for the Caribbean coral Siderastrea siderea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castillo, K. D.; Ries, J. B.; Westfield, I. T.; Weiss, J. M.; Bruno, J. F.

    2012-12-01

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2) induced ocean acidification and rising seawater temperatures are identified as two of the greatest threats to modern coral reefs. Within this century, surface seawater pH is expected to decrease by at least 0.3 units, and sea surface temperature is predicted to rise by 1 to 3 °C. However, uncertainty remains as to whether ocean acidification or ocean warming will have a more deleterious impact on coral reefs by the end of the century. Here, we present results of 95-day laboratory experiments in which we investigated the impact of CO2-induced ocean acidification and temperature on the calcification rate of the tropical reef-building zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea. We found that calcification rates for S. siderea, estimated from buoyant weighing, increased as pCO2 increased from a pre-industrial value of 324 ppm to a near-present-day value of 477 ppm, remained unchanged as pCO2 increased from 477 ppm to the predicted end-of-century value of 604 ppm, and only declined at 6-times the modern pCO2 value of 2553 ppm. Corals reared at average pCO2 of 488 ppm and at temperatures of 25 and 32 °C, approximately the lower and upper temperature extremes for this species, calcified at lower rates relative to corals reared at 28 °C under equivalent pCO2. These results support the existing evidence that scleractinian corals such as S. siderea are able to manipulate the carbonate chemistry at their calcification site, enabling them to maintain their calcification rates under elevated pCO2 levels predicted for the end of this century. However, exposure of S. siderea corals to sea surface temperatures predicted for tropical waters for the end of this century grossly impaired their rate of calcification. These findings suggest that ocean warming poses a more immediate threat to the coral S. siderea than does ocean acidification, at least under scenarios (B1, A1T, and B2) predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate

  14. Synchronous changes in coral chromatophore tissue density and skeletal banding as an adaptive response to environmental change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ardisana, R. N.; Miller, C. A.; Sivaguru, M.; Fouke, B. W.

    2013-12-01

    Corals are a key reservoir of biodiversity in coastal, shallow water tropical marine environments, and density banding in their aragonite skeletons is used as a sensitive record of paleoclimate. Therefore, the cellular response of corals to environmental change and its expression in skeletal structure is of significant importance. Chromatophores, pigment-bearing cells within the ectoderm of hermatypic corals, serve to both enhance the photosynthetic activity of zooxanthellae symbionts, as well as protect the coral animal from harmful UV radiation. Yet connections have not previously been drawn between chromatophore tissue density and the development of skeletal density bands. A histological analysis of the coral Montastrea faveolata has therefore been conducted across a bathymetric gradient of 1-20 m on the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao. A combination of field and laboratory photography, serial block face imaging (SBFI), two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM), and 3D image analysis has been applied to test whether M. faveolata adapts to increasing water depth and decreasing photosynthetically active radiation by shifting toward a more heterotrophic lifestyle (decreasing zooxanthellae tissue density, increasing mucocyte tissue density, and decreasing chromatophores density). This study is among the first to collect and evaluate histological data in the spatial context of an entire unprocessed coral polyp. TPLSM was used to optically thin section unprocessed tissue biopsies with quantitative image analysis to yield a nanometer-scale three-dimensional map of the quantity and distribution of the symbionts (zooxanthellae) and a host fluorescent pigments (chromatophores), which is thought to have photoprotective properties, within the context of an entire coral polyp. Preliminary results have offered new insight regarding the three-dimensional distribution and abundance of chromatophores and have identified: (1) M. faveolata tissue collected from 8M SWD do

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1996-06-01

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

  16. Reef Development on Artificial Patch Reefs in Shallow Water of Panjang Island, Central Java

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munasik; Sugiyanto; Sugianto, Denny N.; Sabdono, Agus

    2018-02-01

    Reef restoration methods are generally developed by propagation of coral fragments, coral recruits and provide substrate for coral attachment using artificial reefs (ARs). ARs have been widely applied as a tool for reef restoration in degraded natural reefs. Successful of coral restoration is determined by reef development such as increasing coral biomass, natural of coral recruits and fauna associated. Artificial Patch Reefs (APRs) is designed by combined of artificial reefs and coral transplantation and constructed by modular circular structures in shape, were deployed from small boats by scuba divers, and are suitable near natural reefs for shallow water with low visibility of Panjang Island, Central Java. Branching corals of Acropora aspera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica fragments were transplanted on to each module of two units of artificial patch reefs in different periods. Coral fragments of Acropora evolved high survival and high growth, Porites fragments have moderate survival and low growth, while fragment of Montipora show in low survival and moderate growth. Within 19 to 22 months of APRs deployment, scleractinian corals were recruited on the surface of artificial patch reef substrates. The most recruits abundant was Montastrea, followed by Poritids, Pocilloporids, and Acroporids. We conclude that artificial patch reefs with developed by coral fragments and natural coral recruitment is one of an alternative rehabilitation method in shallow reef with low visibility.

  17. Spatial distribution and abundance of nonindigenous coral genus Tubastraea (Cnidaria, Scleractinia around Ilha Grande, Brazil

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    A. F. Paula

    Full Text Available The distribution and abundance of azooxanthellate coral Tubastraea Lesson, 1829 were examined at different depths and their slope preference was measured on rocky shores on Ilha Grande, Brazil. Tubastraea is an ahermatypic scleractinian nonindigenous to Brazil, which probably arrived on a ship's hull or oil platform in the late 1980's. The exotic coral was found along a great geographic range of the Canal Central of Ilha Grande, extending over a distance of 25 km. The abundance of Tubastraea was quantified by depth, using three different sampling methods: colony density, visual estimation and intercept points (100 for percentage of cover. Tubastraea showed ample tolerance to temperature and desiccation since it was found more abundantly in very shallow waters (0.1-0.5 m, despite the fact that hard substratum is available at greater depths at all the stations sampled. At most sites, 1 to 5 colonies per 0.25 m² were found most frequently, but occasionally more than 50 colonies were found per 0.25 m², indicating a somewhat gregarious spatial distribution for this coral. The coral Tubastraea was found to occupy slopes of every possible angle in the Canal Central of Ilha Grande, but more colonies were found occupying slopes of 80 to 100°. Therefore, its insensitivity to angles of recruitment and its tolerance for different depths makes it an organism with great ecological tolerance, with a potential to colonize new areas and increase its current range in Brazil's coastal waters.

  18. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

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

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

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    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

  20. Species delimitation in the coral genus Goniopora (Scleractinia, Poritidae) from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

    Variable skeletal morphology, genotype induced plasticity, and homoplasy of skeletal structures have presented major challenges for scleractinian coral taxonomy and systematics since the 18th century. Although the recent integration of genetic and micromorphological data is helping to clarify the taxonomic confusion within the order, phylogenetic relationships and species delimitation within most coral genera are still far from settled. In the present study, the species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Goniopora were investigated using 199 colonies from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea and sequencing of four molecular markers: the mitochondrial intergenic spacer between CytB and NAD2, the nuclear ribosomal ITS region, and two single-copy nuclear genes (ATPsβ and CalM). DNA sequence data were analyzed using a variety of methods and exploratory species-delimitation tools. The results were broadly congruent in identifying five distinct molecular lineages within the sequenced Goniopora samples: G. somaliensis/G. savignyi, G. djiboutiensis/G. lobata, G. stokesi, G. albiconus/G. tenuidens, and G. minor/G. gracilis. Although the traditional macromorphological characters used to identify these nine morphospecies were not able to discriminate the obtained molecular clades, informative micromorphological and microstructural features (such as the micro-ornamentation and the arrangement of the columella) were recovered among the five lineages. Moreover, unique in vivo morphologies were associated with the genetic-delimited lineages, further supporting the molecular findings. This study represents the first attempt to identify species boundaries within Goniopora using a combined morpho-molecular approach. The obtained data establish a basis for future taxonomic revision of the genus, which should include colonies across its entire geographical distribution in the Indo-Pacific.

  1. Species delimitation in the coral genus Goniopora (Scleractinia, Poritidae) from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Terraneo, Tullia Isotta

    2016-06-16

    Variable skeletal morphology, genotype induced plasticity, and homoplasy of skeletal structures have presented major challenges for scleractinian coral taxonomy and systematics since the 18th century. Although the recent integration of genetic and micromorphological data is helping to clarify the taxonomic confusion within the order, phylogenetic relationships and species delimitation within most coral genera are still far from settled. In the present study, the species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Goniopora were investigated using 199 colonies from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea and sequencing of four molecular markers: the mitochondrial intergenic spacer between CytB and NAD2, the nuclear ribosomal ITS region, and two single-copy nuclear genes (ATPsβ and CalM). DNA sequence data were analyzed using a variety of methods and exploratory species-delimitation tools. The results were broadly congruent in identifying five distinct molecular lineages within the sequenced Goniopora samples: G. somaliensis/G. savignyi, G. djiboutiensis/G. lobata, G. stokesi, G. albiconus/G. tenuidens, and G. minor/G. gracilis. Although the traditional macromorphological characters used to identify these nine morphospecies were not able to discriminate the obtained molecular clades, informative micromorphological and microstructural features (such as the micro-ornamentation and the arrangement of the columella) were recovered among the five lineages. Moreover, unique in vivo morphologies were associated with the genetic-delimited lineages, further supporting the molecular findings. This study represents the first attempt to identify species boundaries within Goniopora using a combined morpho-molecular approach. The obtained data establish a basis for future taxonomic revision of the genus, which should include colonies across its entire geographical distribution in the Indo-Pacific.

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

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    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.

  4. Location-specific responses to thermal stress in larvae of the reef-building coral Montastraea faveolata.

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    Nicholas R Polato

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The potential to adapt to a changing climate depends in part upon the standing genetic variation present in wild populations. In corals, the dispersive larval phase is particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental stress. Larval survival and response to stress during dispersal and settlement will play a key role in the persistence of coral populations.To test the hypothesis that larval transcription profiles reflect location-specific responses to thermal stress, symbiont-free gametes from three to four colonies of the scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata were collected from Florida and Mexico, fertilized, and raised under mean and elevated (up 1 to 2 degrees C above summer mean temperatures. These locations have been shown to exchange larvae frequently enough to prevent significant differentiation of neutral loci. Differences among 1,310 unigenes were simultaneously characterized using custom cDNA microarrays, allowing investigation of gene expression patterns among larvae generated from wild populations under stress. Results show both conserved and location-specific variation in key processes including apoptosis, cell structuring, adhesion and development, energy and protein metabolism, and response to stress, in embryos of a reef-building coral.These results provide first insights into location-specific variation in gene expression in the face of gene flow, and support the hypothesis that coral host genomes may house adaptive potential needed to deal with changing environmental conditions.

  5. Reproductive output of a non-zooxanthellate temperate coral is unaffected by temperature along an extended latitudinal gradient.

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    Valentina Airi

    Full Text Available Global environmental change, in marine ecosystems, is associated with concurrent shifts in water temperature, circulation, stratification, and nutrient input, with potentially wide-ranging biological effects. Variations in seawater temperature might alter physiological functioning, reproductive efficiency, and demographic traits of marine organisms, leading to shifts in population size and abundance. Differences in temperature tolerances between organisms can identify individual and ecological characteristics, which make corals able to persist and adapt in a climate change context. Here we investigated the possible effect of temperature on the reproductive output of the solitary non-zooxanthellate temperate coral Leptopsammia pruvoti, along an 8° latitudinal gradient. Samples have been collected in six populations along the gradient and each polyp was examined using histological and cyto-histometric analyses. We coupled our results with previous studies on the growth, demography, and calcification of L. pruvoti along the same temperature gradient, and compared them with those of another sympatric zooxanthellate coral Balanophyllia europaea to understand which trophic strategy makes the coral more tolerant to increasing temperature. The non-zooxanthellate species seemed to be quite tolerant to temperature increases, probably due to the lack of the symbiosis with zooxanthellae. To our knowledge, this is the first field investigation of the relationship between reproductive output and temperature increase of a temperate asymbiotic coral, providing novel insights into the poorly studied non-zooxanthellate scleractinians.

  6. Reproductive output of a non-zooxanthellate temperate coral is unaffected by temperature along an extended latitudinal gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Airi, Valentina; Prantoni, Selena; Calegari, Marco; Lisini Baldi, Veronica; Gizzi, Francesca; Marchini, Chiara; Levy, Oren; Falini, Giuseppe; Dubinsky, Zvy; Goffredo, Stefano

    2017-01-01

    Global environmental change, in marine ecosystems, is associated with concurrent shifts in water temperature, circulation, stratification, and nutrient input, with potentially wide-ranging biological effects. Variations in seawater temperature might alter physiological functioning, reproductive efficiency, and demographic traits of marine organisms, leading to shifts in population size and abundance. Differences in temperature tolerances between organisms can identify individual and ecological characteristics, which make corals able to persist and adapt in a climate change context. Here we investigated the possible effect of temperature on the reproductive output of the solitary non-zooxanthellate temperate coral Leptopsammia pruvoti, along an 8° latitudinal gradient. Samples have been collected in six populations along the gradient and each polyp was examined using histological and cyto-histometric analyses. We coupled our results with previous studies on the growth, demography, and calcification of L. pruvoti along the same temperature gradient, and compared them with those of another sympatric zooxanthellate coral Balanophyllia europaea to understand which trophic strategy makes the coral more tolerant to increasing temperature. The non-zooxanthellate species seemed to be quite tolerant to temperature increases, probably due to the lack of the symbiosis with zooxanthellae. To our knowledge, this is the first field investigation of the relationship between reproductive output and temperature increase of a temperate asymbiotic coral, providing novel insights into the poorly studied non-zooxanthellate scleractinians.

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

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    Esther Rubio-Portillo

    2018-01-01

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

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

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    Edwin A. Hernández-Delgado

    2014-09-01

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

  9. ATP Supply May Contribute to Light-Enhanced Calcification in Corals More Than Abiotic Mechanisms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giovanni Galli

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Zooxanthellate corals are known to increase calcification rates when exposed to light, a phenomenon called light-enhanced calcification that is believed to be mediated by symbionts' photosynthetic activity. There is controversy over the mechanism behind this phenomenon, with hypotheses coarsely divided between abiotic and biologically-mediated mechanisms. At the same time, accumulating evidence shows that calcification in corals relies on active ion transport to deliver the skeleton building blocks into the calcifying medium, making it is an energetically costly activity. Here we build on generally accepted conceptual models of the coral calcification machinery and conceptual models of the energetics of coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis to develop a model that can be used to isolate the biologically-mediated and abiotic effects of photosynthesis, respiration, temperature, and seawater chemistry on coral calcification rates and related metabolic costs. We tested this model on data from the Mediterranean scleractinian Cladocora caespitosa, an acidification resistant species. We concluded that most of the variation in calcification rates due to photosynthesis, respiration and temperature can be attributed to biologically-mediated mechanisms, in particular to the ATP supplied to the active ion transports. Abiotic effects are also present but are of smaller magnitude. Instead, the decrease in calcification rates caused by acidification, albeit small, is sustained by both abiotic and biologically-mediated mechanisms. However, there is a substantial extra cost of calcification under acidified conditions. Based on these findings and on a literature review we suggest that the energy aspect of coral calcification might have been so far underappreciated.

  10. Integrating physiological and biomechanical drivers of population growth over environmental gradients on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-03-15

    Coral reefs exhibit marked spatial and temporal variability, and coral reef organisms exhibit trade-offs in functional traits that influence demographic performance under different combinations of abiotic environmental conditions. In many systems, trait trade-offs are modelled using an energy and/or nutrient allocation framework. However, on coral reefs, differences in biomechanical vulnerability have major demographic implications, and indeed are believed to play an essential role in mediating species coexistence because highly competitive growth forms are vulnerable to physical dislodgment events that occur with high frequency (e.g. annual summer storms). Therefore, an integrated energy allocation and biomechanics framework is required to understand the effect of physical environmental gradients on species' demographic performance. However, on coral reefs, as in most ecosystems, the effects of environmental conditions on organisms are measured in different currencies (e.g. lipid accumulation, survival and number of gametes), and thus the relative contributions of these effects to overall capacity for population growth are not readily apparent. A comprehensive assessment of links between the environment and the organism, including those mediated by biomechanical processes, must convert environmental effects on individual-level performance (e.g. survival, growth and reproduction) into a common currency that is relevant to the capacity to contribute to population growth. We outline such an approach by considering the population-level performance of scleractinian reef corals over a hydrodynamic gradient, with a focus on the integrating the biomechanical determinants of size-dependent coral colony dislodgment as a function of flow, with the effects of flow on photosynthetic energy acquisition and respiration.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-06-01

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

  12. Species-Specific Coral Calcification Responses to the Extreme Environment of the Southern Persian Gulf

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    Emily J. Howells

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available 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 (<20 to >34°C, chronic hypersalinity (>43 psu and frequent light limitation (<100 μmol photons m−2 s−1. We compared annual rates of calcification for two of the most common coral species in the region (Platygyra daedalea and Cyphastrea microphthalma along marked gradients in environmental conditions in the southern Persian Gulf and into the Oman Sea. Overall calcification rates were 32% higher in P. daedalea colonies (x = 1.103 g cm−2 y−1, n = 46 than in C. microphthalma (x = 0.835 g cm−2 y−1, n = 37, probably reflecting inter-specific differences in energy allocation and skeletal density. There was also considerable variation in calcification rates among individual colonies from the same locations that was unrelated to depth or photosymbiont type. However, most interestingly, P. daedalea and C. microphthalma exhibited contrasting trends in mean annual calcification rates across locations. For P. daedalea, calcification rates were lowest at Delma, where the minimum temperatures were lowest and salinity was highest, and increased across the southern Persian Gulf with increases in minimum temperatures and decreases in salinity. These data suggest that calcification rates of P. daedalea are most constrained by minimum temperatures, which is consistent with the strong relationship between annual calcification rates and minimum local temperatures recorded across the Indo-Pacific. Conversely, linear extension and calcification of C. microphthalma in the southern Persian Gulf was lowest at Ras Ghanada, where there was lowest light and highest maximum temperatures. These data reveal striking taxonomic differences in

  13. Symbiodinium genotypic and environmental controls on lipids in reef building corals.

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    Timothy F Cooper

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Lipids in reef building corals can be divided into two classes; non-polar storage lipids, e.g. wax esters and triglycerides, and polar structural lipids, e.g. phospholipids and cholesterol. Differences among algal endosymbiont types are known to have important influences on processes including growth and the photobiology of scleractinian corals yet very little is known about the role of symbiont types on lipid energy reserves. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The ratio of storage lipid and structural lipid fractions of Scott Reef corals were determined by thin layer chromatography. The lipid fraction ratio varied with depth and depended on symbiont type harboured by two corals (Seriatopora hystrix and Pachyseris speciosa. S. hystrix colonies associated with Symbiodinium C1 or C1/C# at deep depths (>23 m had lower lipid fraction ratios (i.e. approximately equal parts of storage and structural lipids than those with Symbiodinium D1 in shallow depths (<23 m, which had higher lipid fraction ratios (i.e. approximately double amounts of storage relative to structural lipid. Further, there was a non-linear relationship between the lipid fraction ratio and depth for S. hystrix with a modal peak at ∼23 m coinciding with the same depth as the shift from clade D to C types. In contrast, the proportional relationship between the lipid fraction ratio and depth for P. speciosa, which exhibited high specificity for Symbiodinium C3 like across the depth gradient, was indicative of greater amounts of storage lipids contained in the deep colonies. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study has demonstrated that Symbiodinium exert significant controls over the quality of coral energy reserves over a large-scale depth gradient. We conclude that the competitive advantages and metabolic costs that arise from flexible associations with divergent symbiont types are offset by energetic trade-offs for the coral host.

  14. Unlocking the coral calcification process: Insights from boron isotope measurements and a skeletal growth model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mollica, N. R.; Guo, W.; Cohen, A. L.; Huang, K. F.; Foster, G. L.; Donald, H.; Solow, A.

    2017-12-01

    Carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals are important archives of ocean climate and environmental change. However, corals don't accrete their skeletons directly from ambient seawater, but from a calcifying fluid whose composition is strongly regulated. There is mounting evidence that the carbonate chemistry of this calcifying fluid significantly impacts the amount of carbonate the coral can precipitate, which in turn affects the geochemical composition of the skeleton produced. However the mechanistic link between calcifying fluid (cf) chemistry, particularly the up-regulation of pHcf and thereby aragonite saturation state (Ωcf), and coral calcification is not well understood. We explored this link by combining boron isotope measurements with in situ measurements of seawater temperature, salinity, and DIC to estimate Ωcf of nine Porites corals from four Pacific reefs. Associated calcification rates were quantified for each core via CT scanning. We do not observe a relationship between calcification rates and Ωcf or Ωsw. Instead, when we deconvolve calcification into linear extension and skeletal density, a significant correlation is observed between density and Ωcf, and also Ωsw while extension does not correlate with either. These observations are consistent with the two-step model of coral calcification, in which skeleton is secreted in two distinct phases: vertical extension creating new skeletal elements, followed by lateral thickening of existing elements that are covered by living tissue. We developed a numerical model of Porites skeletal growth that builds on this two-step model and links skeletal density with the external seawater environment via its influence on the chemistry of coral calcifying fluid. We validated the model using existing coral skeletal datasets from six Porites species collected across five reef sites, and quantified the effects of each seawater parameter (e.g. temperature, pH, DIC) on skeletal density. Our findings illustrate

  15. Cellular membrane accommodation of copper-induced oxidative conditions in the coral Seriatopora caliendrum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tang, Chuan-Ho, E-mail: chtang@nmmba.gov.tw [Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC (China); National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC (China); Lin, Ching-Yu [Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC (China); Lee, Shu-Hui [Center of General Education, National Kaohsiung Marine University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC (China); Wang, Wei-Hsien [National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC (China); Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources and Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC (China)

    2014-03-01

    Highlights: • Coral cells alter membrane lipid to accommodate copper-induce oxidative conditions • Coral membrane repair occur due to lipid alterations • Zooxanthellae release results from membrane repair by symbiosome fusion • Copper-induced lipid alterations perturb membrane-related functions in coral cells • Copper chronic effect on coral fitness are related to long-term membrane perturbation - Abstract: Oxidative stress has been associated with copper-induced toxicity in scleractinian corals. To gain insight into the accommodation of the cellular membrane to oxidative conditions, a pocilloporid coral, Seriatopora caliendrum, was exposed to copper at distinct, environmentally relevant dose for various lengths of time. Glycerophosphocholine profiling of the response of the coral to copper exposure was characterized using a validated method. The results indicate that coral lipid metabolism is programmed to induce membrane alterations in response to the cellular deterioration that occurs during the copper exposure period. Decreasing lyso-phosphatidylcholines and exchanging polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines for polyunsaturated plasmanylcholines were the initial actions taken to prevent membrane permeabilization. To relax/resist the resulting membrane strain caused by cell/organelle swelling, the coral cells inversely exchanged polyunsaturated plasmanylcholines for polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines and further increased the levels of monounsaturated glycerophosphocholines. At the same time, the levels of saturated phosphatidylcholines were also increased to increase membrane rigidity and protect against oxidative attack. Interestingly, such alterations in lipid metabolism were also required for membrane fusion to repair the deteriorated membranes by repopulating them with proximal lipid reservoirs, similar to symbiosome membranes. Additionally, increasing saturated and monounsaturated plasmanylcholines and inhibiting the suppression of saturated lyso

  16. Cellular membrane accommodation of copper-induced oxidative conditions in the coral Seriatopora caliendrum

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tang, Chuan-Ho; Lin, Ching-Yu; Lee, Shu-Hui; Wang, Wei-Hsien

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • Coral cells alter membrane lipid to accommodate copper-induce oxidative conditions • Coral membrane repair occur due to lipid alterations • Zooxanthellae release results from membrane repair by symbiosome fusion • Copper-induced lipid alterations perturb membrane-related functions in coral cells • Copper chronic effect on coral fitness are related to long-term membrane perturbation - Abstract: Oxidative stress has been associated with copper-induced toxicity in scleractinian corals. To gain insight into the accommodation of the cellular membrane to oxidative conditions, a pocilloporid coral, Seriatopora caliendrum, was exposed to copper at distinct, environmentally relevant dose for various lengths of time. Glycerophosphocholine profiling of the response of the coral to copper exposure was characterized using a validated method. The results indicate that coral lipid metabolism is programmed to induce membrane alterations in response to the cellular deterioration that occurs during the copper exposure period. Decreasing lyso-phosphatidylcholines and exchanging polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines for polyunsaturated plasmanylcholines were the initial actions taken to prevent membrane permeabilization. To relax/resist the resulting membrane strain caused by cell/organelle swelling, the coral cells inversely exchanged polyunsaturated plasmanylcholines for polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines and further increased the levels of monounsaturated glycerophosphocholines. At the same time, the levels of saturated phosphatidylcholines were also increased to increase membrane rigidity and protect against oxidative attack. Interestingly, such alterations in lipid metabolism were also required for membrane fusion to repair the deteriorated membranes by repopulating them with proximal lipid reservoirs, similar to symbiosome membranes. Additionally, increasing saturated and monounsaturated plasmanylcholines and inhibiting the suppression of saturated lyso

  17. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-02-01

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

  18. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-17

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

  20. Analysis of coral mucus as an improved medium for detection of enteric microbes and for determining patterns of sewage contamination in reef environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lipp, Erin K.; Griffin, Dale W.

    2004-01-01

    Traditional fecal indicator bacteria are often subject to a high degree of die-off and dilution in tropical marine waters, particularly in offshore areas such as coral reefs. Furthermore, these microbes are often not associated with human waste, and their presence may not be indicative of health risk. To address the offshore extent of wastewater contamination in the Florida Keys reef tract, we assayed coral surfaces for the presence of human-specific enteric viruses. The overlying water column and surface mucopolysaccharide (mucus) layers from scleractinian corals were sampled from three stations along a nearshore-to-offshore transect beginning at Long Key in the middle Florida Keys, USA. Samples were assayed for standard bacterial water quality indicators (fecal coliform bacteria and enterococci) and for human enteroviruses by direct reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The concentration of the bacterial indicators was greatest at the nearshore station in both the water column and corals, and decreased with distance from shore; no indicator bacteria were detected at the offshore station. Whereas human enteroviruses were not detected in any of the water column samples, they were detected in 50–80% of coral mucus samples at each station. These data provide evidence that human sewage is impacting the reef tract up to ~6.5 km from shore in the middle Florida Keys and that coral mucus is an efficient trap for viral markers associated with anthropogenic pollution.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-03-17

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

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    Sung-Yin Yang

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

  5. Cyphastrea salae, a new species of hard coral from Lord Howe Island, Australia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baird, Andrew H; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Huang, Danwei

    2017-01-01

    A new zooxanthellate reef-dwelling scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea salae sp. n. (Scleractinia, Merulinidae), is described from Lord Howe Island Australia. The new species can be distinguished morphologically from the only other congeneric species on Lord Howe Island, C. microphthalma , by the number of primary septa (12 vs. 10) and the much taller corallites (mean ± SE: 1.0 ± 0.07 mm v 0.4 ± 0.04 mm). The relationship of C. salae to four of the other eleven currently accepted species in the genus was explored through analyses of nuclear (28S rDNA) and mitochondrial (noncoding intergenic region) gene sequences. Cyphastrea salae sp. n. forms a strongly supported clade that is distinct from a clade containing three species found commonly in Australia, C. chalcidicum , C. serailia , and C. microphthalma . One specimen was also found in the Solitary Islands, another high latitude location in south-eastern Australia. The discovery of a new species in the genus Cyphastrea on high latitude reefs in south-eastern Australia suggests that other new species might be found among more diverse genera represented here and that the scleractinian fauna of these isolated locations is more distinct than previously recognised.

  6. Cyphastrea salae, a new species of hard coral from Lord Howe Island, Australia (Scleractinia, Merulinidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew H. Baird

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available A new zooxanthellate reef-dwelling scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea salae sp. n. (Scleractinia, Merulinidae, is described from Lord Howe Island Australia. The new species can be distinguished morphologically from the only other congeneric species on Lord Howe Island, C. microphthalma, by the number of primary septa (12 vs. 10 and the much taller corallites (mean ± SE: 1.0 ± 0.07 mm v 0.4 ± 0.04 mm. The relationship of C. salae to four of the other eleven currently accepted species in the genus was explored through analyses of nuclear (28S rDNA and mitochondrial (noncoding intergenic region gene sequences. Cyphastrea salae sp. n. forms a strongly supported clade that is distinct from a clade containing three species found commonly in Australia, C. chalcidicum, C. serailia, and C. microphthalma. One specimen was also found in the Solitary Islands, another high latitude location in south-eastern Australia. The discovery of a new species in the genus Cyphastrea on high latitude reefs in south-eastern Australia suggests that other new species might be found among more diverse genera represented here and that the scleractinian fauna of these isolated locations is more distinct than previously recognised.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-12-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Implications of coral harvest and transplantation on reefs in northwestern Dominica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W Bruckner

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available In June, 2002, the government of Dominica requested assistance in evaluating the coral culture and transplantation activities being undertaken by Oceanographic Institute of Dominica (OID, a coral farm culturing both western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific corals for restoration and commercial sales. We assessed the culture facilities of OID, the condition of reefs, potential impacts of coral collection and benefits of coral transplantation. Coral reefs (9 reefs, 3-20m depth were characterized by 35 species of scleractinian corals and a live coral cover of 8-35%. Early colonizing, brooders such as Porites astreoides (14.8% of all corals, P. porites (14.8%, Meandrina meandrites (14.7% and Agaricia agaricites (9.1% were the most abundant corals, but colonies were mostly small (mean=25cm diameter. Montastraea annularis (complex was the other dominant taxa (20.8% of all corals and colonies were larger (mean=70cm. Corals (pooled species were missing an average of 20% of their tissue, with a mean of 1.4% recent mortality. Coral diseases affected 6.4% of all colonies, with the highest prevalence at Cabrits West (11.0%, Douglas Bay (12.2% and Coconut Outer reef (20.7%. White plague and yellow band disease were causing the greatest loss of tissue, especially among M. annularis (complex, with localized impacts from corallivores, overgrowth by macroalgae, storm damage and sedimentation. While the reefs appeared to be undergoing substantial decline, restoration efforts by OID were unlikely to promote recovery. No Pacific species were identified at OID restoration sites, yet species chosen for transplantation with highest survival included short-lived brooders (Agaricia and Porites that were abundant in restoration sites, as well as non-reef builders (Palythoa and Erythropodium that monopolize substrates and overgrow corals. The species of highest value for restoration (massive broadcast spawners showed low survivorship and unrestored populations of these species

  10. 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.

  11. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  12. All Framing Corals

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  13. Corals and Sclerosponges

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  14. Bacterial communities associated with Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS) on three western Indian Ocean (WIO) coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Séré, Mathieu G; Tortosa, Pablo; Chabanet, Pascale; Turquet, Jean; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Schleyer, Michael H

    2013-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Porites lutea, an important reef-building coral on western Indian Ocean reefs (WIO), is affected by a newly-reported white syndrome (WS) the Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Histopathology and culture-independent molecular techniques were used to characterise the microbial communities associated with this emerging disease. Microscopy showed extensive tissue fragmentation generally associated with ovoid basophilic bodies resembling bacterial aggregates. Results of 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed a high variability between bacterial communities associated with PWPS-infected and healthy tissues in P. lutea, a pattern previously reported in other coral diseases such as black band disease (BBD), white band disease (WBD) and white plague diseases (WPD). Furthermore, substantial variations in bacterial communities were observed at the different sampling locations, suggesting that there is no strong bacterial association in Porites lutea on WIO reefs. Several sequences affiliated with potential pathogens belonging to the Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae were identified, mainly in PWPS-infected coral tissues. Among them, only two ribotypes affiliated to Shimia marina (NR043300.1) and Vibrio hepatarius (NR025575.1) were consistently found in diseased tissues from the three geographically distant sampling localities. The role of these bacterial species in PWPS needs to be tested experimentally.

  15. Unraveling the structure and composition of Varadero Reef, an improbable and imperiled coral reef in the Colombian Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valeria Pizarro

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are commonly associated with oligotrophic, well-illuminated waters. In 2013, a healthy coral reef was discovered in one of the least expected places within the Colombian Caribbean: at the entrance of Cartagena Bay, a highly-polluted system that receives industrial and sewage waste, as well as high sediment and freshwater loads from an outlet of the Magdalena River (the longest and most populated river basin in Colombia. Here we provide the first characterization of Varadero Reef’s geomorphology and biological diversity. We also compare these characteristics with those of a nearby reference reef, Barú Reef, located in an area much less influenced by the described polluted system. Below the murky waters, we found high coral cover of 45.1% (±3.9; up to 80% in some sectors, high species diversity, including 42 species of scleractinian coral, 38 of sponge, three of lobster, and eight of sea urchin; a fish community composed of 61 species belonging to 24 families, and the typical zonation of a Caribbean fringing reef. All attributes found correspond to a reef that, according to current standards should be considered in “good condition”. Current plans to dredge part of Varadero threaten the survival of this reef. There is, therefore, an urgent need to describe the location and characteristics of Varadero as a first step towards gaining acknowledgement of its existence and garnering inherent legal and environmental protections.

  16. Occurrence of thraustochytrid fungi in corals and coral mucus

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, S.; Balasubramanian

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

  17. First report on large scleractinian (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) accumulations in cold-temperate shallow water of south Chilean fjords

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Försterra, G.; Häussermann, V.

    2003-01-01

    South Chilean fjords contain an astonishing diverse benthic macrofauna of which anthozoans form a major portion. Azooxanthellate solitary scleractinians, which were hitherto known from major depths, were found as shallow as 8 m during several expeditions to the south Chilean fjord region. At some

  18. Localization of early germ cells in a stony coral, Euphyllia ancora: potential implications for a germline stem cell system in coral gametogenesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shikina, Shinya; Chung, Yi-Jou; Wang, Hsiang-Ming; Chiu, Yi-Ling; Shao, Zih-Fang; Lee, Yan-Horn; Chang, Ching-Fong

    2015-06-01

    Most corals exhibit annual or multiple gametogenic cycles. Thus far, coral gametogenesis has been studied in many species and locations during the past three decades; however, currently, only a few papers exist that describe the origin of germ cells, such as germline stem cells (GSCs), which support the continuous production of gametes in every reproductive cycle. To address this issue, in this study, we focused on and identified piwi gene, which has been used as a marker of germline cells, including GSCs, in various metazoans, in a scleractinian coral, Euphyllia ancora. Reverse-transcription PCR and Western blotting analyses revealed that E. ancora piwi-like ( Eapiwi) is expressed in mesentery tissues where the sites of gametogenesis are located for both sexes. Immunohistochemistry with a specific antibody against Eapiwi revealed strong immunoreactivity in the spermatogonia in males and in the oogonia and early oocytes in females, demonstrating that Eapiwi could be used as an early germ cell marker in E. ancora. Subsequent immunohistochemical analyses regarding the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of early germ cells in mesentery tissues revealed that early germ cells were present throughout the year in the mesentery tissue we examined, regardless of the sexual reproductive cycle. In particular, small numbers of early germ cells were observed in specific sites of mesentery tissues with fully matured gonads in both sexes. These early germ cells were not released together with mature gametes during the spawning period and remained in the mesentery tissues. These results suggested that these early germ cells most likely serve as a reservoir of germline cells and that some of these cells would produce differentiated germ cells for the upcoming sexual reproduction period; hence, these cells would function as GSCs. Our data provide new information for understanding continuous gamete production in corals.

  19. Soft coral abundance on the central Great Barrier Reef: effects of Acanthaster planci, space availability, and aspects of the physical environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, K. E.

    1997-07-01

    The distribution and abundance of soft coral genera on reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef was investigated in relation to reef position, recent history of disturbance, wave exposure, substratum slope and depth. Eighty-five 25 m long transects were surveyed at 10 m depth on windward sides of 14 mid- and outer-shelf reefs. A further 75 transects in different zones on one mid-shelf reef (Davies Reef) between 5 and 30 m depth were investigated. The crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci had caused large-scale mortality of scleractinians on eight of these reefs five to ten years prior to the study, and as a result, scleractinian cover was only 35-55% of that on the six unimpacted reefs. On the impacted reefs, stony corals with massive and encrusting growths form had smaller average colony diameters but similar or slightly lower numerical abundance. In contrast, mean colony size, cover and abundance of branching stony corals showed no difference between impacted and unimpacted reefs. Twenty-four genera of soft corals (in eight families) were recorded, and none showed different abundance or cover in areas of former A. planci impact, compared to unaffected sites. Similarly, no difference was detected among locations in the numbers or area cover of sponges, tunicates, zoanthids, Halimeda or other macro-algae. Mean soft coral cover was 2 to 5% at 10 m on sheltered mid-shelf reefs, and 12 to 17% on more current-exposed reefs. Highest cover and abundances generally occurred on platforms of outer-shelf reefs exposed to relatively strong currents but low wave energy. On Davies Reef, cover and colony numbers of the families Nephtheidae and Xeniidae were low within the zone of wave impact, in flow-protected bays and lagoons, on shaded steep slopes, and at depths above 10 and below 25 m. In contrast, distributions of genera of the family Alcyoniidae were not related to these physical parameters. The physical conditions of a large proportion of habitats appear "sub

  20. 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.

  1. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till

    2017-01-01

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

  2. DOC concentrations across a depth-dependent light gradient on a Caribbean coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Benjamin; Meesters, Erik H; van Duyl, 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 column. As the DOC release of BPP increases with increasing light availability, elevated DOC concentrations near them will, in part, also depend on light availability. Consequently, DOC concentrations are likely to be higher on the shallow, well-lit reef terrace than in deeper sections on the fore reef slope. We measured in situ DOC concentrations and light intensity in close proximity to the reef alga Dictyota sp. and the scleractinian coral Orbicella faveolata along a depth-dependent light gradient from 5 to 20 m depth and compared these to background concentrations in the water column. At 10 m (intermediate light), DOC concentrations near Dictyota sp. were elevated by 15 µmol C L -1 compared to background concentrations in the water column, but not at 5 and 20 m (high and low light, respectively), or near O. faveolata at any of the tested depths. DOC concentrations did not differ between depths and thereby light environments for any of the tested water types. However, water type and depth appear to jointly affect in situ DOC concentrations across the tested depth-dependent light gradient. Corroborative ex situ measurements of excitation pressure on photosystem II suggest that photoinhibition in Dictyota sp. is likely to occur at light intensities that are commonly present on Curaçaoan coral reefs under high light levels at 5 m depth during midday. Photoinhibition may have thereby reduced the DOC release of Dictyota sp. and DOC concentrations in its close proximity. Our results indicate that the occurrence of elevated DOC concentrations did not follow a natural light gradient across depth. Instead, a combination of multiple factors, such as water type, light

  3. DOC concentrations across a depth-dependent light gradient on a Caribbean coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin Mueller

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available 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 column. As the DOC release of BPP increases with increasing light availability, elevated DOC concentrations near them will, in part, also depend on light availability. Consequently, DOC concentrations are likely to be higher on the shallow, well-lit reef terrace than in deeper sections on the fore reef slope. We measured in situ DOC concentrations and light intensity in close proximity to the reef alga Dictyota sp. and the scleractinian coral Orbicella faveolata along a depth-dependent light gradient from 5 to 20 m depth and compared these to background concentrations in the water column. At 10 m (intermediate light, DOC concentrations near Dictyota sp. were elevated by 15 µmol C L−1 compared to background concentrations in the water column, but not at 5 and 20 m (high and low light, respectively, or near O. faveolata at any of the tested depths. DOC concentrations did not differ between depths and thereby light environments for any of the tested water types. However, water type and depth appear to jointly affect in situ DOC concentrations across the tested depth-dependent light gradient. Corroborative ex situ measurements of excitation pressure on photosystem II suggest that photoinhibition in Dictyota sp. is likely to occur at light intensities that are commonly present on Curaçaoan coral reefs under high light levels at 5 m depth during midday. Photoinhibition may have thereby reduced the DOC release of Dictyota sp. and DOC concentrations in its close proximity. Our results indicate that the occurrence of elevated DOC concentrations did not follow a natural light gradient across depth. Instead, a combination of multiple factors, such as water type

  4. Differential sensitivity of coral larvae to natural levels of ultraviolet radiation during the onset of larval competence.

    KAUST Repository

    Aranda, Manuel

    2011-07-01

    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 embryonic stages of some coral species are highly buoyant and remain near the sea surface for prolonged periods of time and may therefore be the most sensitive life stages with respect to UVR. Here, we analysed gene expression changes in five developmental stages of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata to natural levels of UVR using high-density cDNA microarrays (10 930 clones). We found that larvae exhibit low sensitivity to natural levels of UVR during early development as reflected by comparatively few transcriptomic changes in response to UVR. However, we identified a time window of high UVR sensitivity that coincides with the motile planula stage and the onset of larval competence. These processes have been shown to be affected by UVR exposure, and the transcriptional changes we identified explain these observations well. Our analysis of differentially expressed genes indicates that UVR alters the expression of genes associated with stress response, the endoplasmic reticulum, Ca(2+) homoeostasis, development and apoptosis during the motile planula stage and affects the expression of neurogenesis-related genes that are linked to swimming and settlement behaviour at later stages. Taken together, our study provides further data on the impact of natural levels of UVR on coral larvae. Furthermore, our results might allow a better prediction of settlement and recruitment rates after coral spawning events if UVR climate data are taken into account.

  5. 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.

  6. Coral Patch seamount (NE Atlantic – a sedimentological and megafaunal reconnaissance based on video and hydroacoustic surveys

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Wienberg

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available The present study provides new knowledge about the so far largely unexplored Coral Patch seamount which is located in the NE Atlantic Ocean half-way between the Iberian Peninsula and Madeira. For the first time a detailed hydroacoustic mapping (MBES in conjunction with video surveys (ROV, camera sled were performed to describe the sedimentological and biological characteristics of this sub-elliptical ENE-WSW elongated seamount. Video observations were restricted to the southwestern summit area of Coral Patch seamount (water depth: 560–760 m and revealed that this part of the summit is dominated by exposed hard substrate, whereas soft sediment is just a minor substrate component. Although exposed hardgrounds are dominant for this summit area and, thus, offer suitable habitat for settlement by benthic organisms, the benthic megafauna shows rather scarce occurrence. In particular, scleractinian framework-building cold-water corals are apparently rare with very few isolated and small-sized live occurrences of the species Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. In contrast, dead coral framework and coral rubble are more frequent pointing to a higher abundance of cold-water corals on Coral Patch during the recent past. This is even supported by the observation of fishing lines that got entangled with rather fresh-looking coral frameworks. Overall, long lines and various species of commercially important fish were frequently observed emphasising the potential of Coral Patch as an important target for fisheries that may have impacted the entire benthic community. Hydroacoustic seabed classification covered the entire summit of Coral Patch and its northern and southern flanks (water depth: 560–2660 m and revealed extended areas dominated by mixed and soft sediments at the northern flank and to a minor degree at its easternmost summit and southern flank. Nevertheless, these data also predict most of the summit area to be dominated by exposed bedrock

  7. A sea water barrier to coral gene flow.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lessios, H A

    2012-11-01

    Land is not the only barrier to dispersal encountered by marine organisms. For sedentary shallow water species, there is an additional, marine barrier, 5000 km of uninterrupted deep-water stretch between the central and the eastern Pacific. This expanse of water, known as the ‘Eastern Pacific Barrier’, has been separating faunas of the two oceanic regions since the beginning of the Cenozoic. Species with larvae that cannot stay in the plankton for the time it takes to cross between the two sides have been evolving independently. That the eastern Pacific does not share species with the rest of the Pacific was obvious to naturalists two centuries ago (Darwin 1860). Yet, this rule has exceptions. A small minority of species are known to straddle the Eastern Pacific Barrier. One such exception is the scleractinian coral Porites lobata (Fig. 1). This species is spread widely throughout the Indo-Pacific, where it is one of the major reef-builders, but it is also encountered in the eastern Pacific. Are eastern and central Pacific populations of this coral connected by gene flow? In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Baums et al. (2012) use microsatellite data to answer this question. They show that P. lobata populations in the eastern Pacific are cut off from genetic influx from the rest of the Pacific. Populations within each of the two oceanic regions are genetically connected (though those in the Hawaiian islands are also isolated). Significantly, the population in the Clipperton Atoll, the westernmost island in the eastern Pacific, genetically groups with populations from the central Pacific, suggesting that crossing the Eastern Pacific Barrier by P. lobata propagules does occasionally occur.

  8. Biogeochemical analysis of the calcification patterns of cold-water corals Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa along contact surfaces with calcified tubes of the symbiotic polychaete Eunice norvegica: Evaluation of a 'mucus' calcification hypothesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oppelt, Alexandra; López Correa, Matthias; Rocha, Carlos

    2017-09-01

    The scleractinian cold-water corals (CWCs), including the species Madrepora oculata and especially Lophelia pertusa, have been studied extensively in an attempt to decipher environmental signals recorded during biomineralisation in order to extract environmental chronologies. However, understanding the mechanisms of carbonate precipitation is a prerequisite to interpret variations in geochemical signatures locked into the skeleton during coral growth; to date results are still inconclusive. Here a novel approach, comparing the calcification patterns within the coral microstructure of species L. pertusa and M. oculata and the geochemistry along the contact surfaces with calcified polychaete tubes is undertaken to provide additional information on the mechanisms of biomineralisation in colonial corals. The fact that no significant difference in microstructures, variations in growth rate, or geochemical composition between the corallite theca and the calcified polychaete tube was detectable leads to the conclusion that both have been deposited by the coral tissue in L. pertusa and M. oculata. Based on prior knowledge on the symbiotic relationship between CWCs and the polychaete Eunice norvegica, an involvement of mucus in the calcification of the parchment tubes had been suspected. However, we found only evidence for aragonite precipitated by coral tissue, without evidence for an involvement of mucus in the calcification.

  9. Calcification rates of the Caribbean reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea adversely affected by both seawater warming and CO2-induced ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horvath, K. M.; Connolly, B. D.; Westfield, I. T.; Chow, E.; Castillo, K. D.; Ries, J. B.

    2013-05-01

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that atmospheric pCO2 will increase to ca. 550-950 ppm by the end of the century, primarily due to the anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, and cement production. This is predicted to cause SST to increase by 1-3 °C and seawater pH to decrease by 0.1-0.3 units. Laboratory studies have shown that warming depresses calcification rates of scleractinian corals and that acidification yields mixed effects on coral calcification. With both warming and ocean acidification predicted for the next century, we must constrain the interactive effects of these two CO2-induced stressors on scleractinian coral calcification. Here, we present the results of experiments designed to assess the response of the scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea to both ocean warming and acidification. Coral fragments (12/tank) were reared for 60 days under three temperatures (25.1± 0.02 °C, 28.0± 0.02 °C, 31.8± 0.02 °C) at near modern pCO2 (436 ± 7) and near the highest IPCC estimate for atmospheric pCO2 for the year 2100 AD (883 ± 16). Each temperature and pCO2 treatment was executed in triplicate and contained similarly sized S. Siderea fragments obtained from the same suite of coral colonies equitably distributed amongst the nearshore, backreef, and forereef zones of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System off the coast of southern Belize. Individual coral fragments were hand fed Artemia sp. to satiation twice weekly. Weekly seawater samples (250 ml) were collected and analyzed for dissolved inorganic carbon via coulometry and total alkalinity via closed-cell potentiometric titration. Seawater pCO2, pH, carbonate ion concentration, bicarbonate ion concentration, aqueous CO2, and aragonite saturation state (ΩA) were calculated with the program CO2SYS. Under near-modern atmospheric pCO2 of ca. 436 ± 7 ppm, seawater warming from 25 to 28 to 32°C caused coral calcification rates (estimated from change in

  10. The diversity and biogeography of Western Indian Ocean reef-building corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Obura

    Full Text Available This study assesses the biogeographic classification of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO on the basis of the species diversity and distribution of reef-building corals. Twenty one locations were sampled between 2002 and 2011. Presence/absence of scleractinian corals was noted on SCUBA, with the aid of underwater digital photographs and reference publications for species identification. Sampling effort varied from 7 to 37 samples per location, with 15 to 45 minutes per dive allocated to species observations, depending on the logistics on each trip. Species presence/absence was analyzed using the Bray-Curtis similarity coefficient, followed by cluster analysis and multi-dimensional scaling. Total (asymptotic species number per location was estimated using the Michaelis-Menten equation. Three hundred and sixty nine coral species were named with stable identifications and used for analysis. At the location level, estimated maximum species richness ranged from 297 (Nacala, Mozambique to 174 (Farquhar, Seychelles. Locations in the northern Mozambique Channel had the highest diversity and similarity, forming a core region defined by its unique oceanography of variable meso-scale eddies that confer high connectivity within this region. A distinction between mainland and island fauna was not found; instead, diversity decreased radially from the northern Mozambique Channel. The Chagos archipelago was closely related to the northern Mozambique Channel region, and analysis of hard coral data in the IUCN Red List found Chagos to be more closely related to the WIO than to the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka. Diversity patterns were consistent with primary oceanographic drivers in the WIO, reflecting inflow of the South Equatorial Current, maintenance of high diversity in the northern Mozambique Channel, and export from this central region to the north and south, and to the Seychelles and Mascarene islands.

  11. Physiological response of the Caribbean Coral O. annularis to Pollution Gradients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, E. L.; Sivaguru, M.; Fouke, B. W.

    2014-12-01

    Orbicella annularis is an abundant ecological cornerstone framework-building Scleractinian coral throughout the Caribbean Sea. The O. annularis holobiont (biotic and abiotic components of the coral) is negatively impacted by increased exposure to anthropogenic pollution. This is consistently evidenced by altered tissue cellular composition, and skeletal structure. The O. annularis' holobiont is weakened by increased exposure to sewage and ship bilge pollution. Pollution exposure is characterized by decreased skeletal growth, as well as decreased zooxanthellae and chromatophore tissue cell densities. Healthy colonies studied at five sites on the leeward coast of Curacao, along a systematically decreasing pollution concentration, were sampled from the back-reef depositional facies of a protected fringing reef tract. A unidirectional oceanographic current flows to the NW past the city of Willemstad, a large point source of human sewage and ship bilge. This setting creates an ideal natural laboratory for in situ experimentation that quantitatively tracks the impact to coral physiology along a gradient from unimpacted to polluted seawater. Our lab has established laser scanning microscopy for three-dimensional (3D) quantification of zooxanthellae, and chromatophore cellular tissue density. X-ray computed tomography (BioCT) was used for analysis of skeletal density. Zooxanthellae density decreased as pollution concentration increased. Chromatophore density showed no significant relationship with pollution concentration but varied dramatically within each site. This suggests zooxanthellae density is highly impacted by environmental stress while variation in chromatophore density is driven by genetic variation. These results will be used to create a new model for environmental impacts on coral physiology and skeletal growth.

  12. Tropical seagrass meadows modify seawater carbon chemistry: implications for coral reefs impacted by ocean acidification

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Unsworth, Richard K F; Collier, Catherine J; Henderson, Gideon M; McKenzie, Len J

    2012-01-01

    Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and utilize large amounts of inorganic carbon. In this study, the effect of seagrass productivity on seawater carbonate chemistry and coral calcification was modelled on the basis of an analysis of published data. Published data (11 studies, 64 records) reveal that seagrass meadows in the Indo-Pacific have an 83% chance of being net autotrophic, resulting in an average net sink of 155 gC m −2 yr −1 . The capacities for seagrass productivity were analysed using an empirical model to examine the effect on seawater carbonate chemistry. Our analyses indicate that increases in pH of up to 0.38 units, and Ω arag increases of 2.9 are possible in the presence of seagrass meadows (compared to their absence) with the precise values of these increases dependent on water residence time (tidal flushing) and water depth. In shallow water reef environments, Scleractinian coral calcification downstream of seagrass has the potential to be ≈18% greater than in an environment without seagrass. If this potential benefit to reef calcifiers is supported by further study it offers a potential tool in marine park management at a local scale. The applicability of this will depend upon local physical conditions as well as the spatial configuration of habitats, and the factors that influence their productivity. This novel study suggests that, in addition to their importance to fisheries, sediment stabilization and primary production, seagrass meadows may enhance coral reef resilience to future ocean acidification. (letter)

  13. Spatio-temporal analyses of Symbiodinium physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa along large-scale nutrient and temperature gradients in the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawall, Yvonne; Al-Sofyani, Abdulmohsin; Banguera-Hinestroza, Eulalia; Voolstra, Christian R

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Spatio-temporal analyses of Symbiodinium physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa along large-scale nutrient and temperature gradients in the Red Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yvonne Sawall

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Sawall, Yvonne

    2014-08-19

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

  16. A perforated gastrovascular cavity in the symbiotic deep-water coral Leptoseris fragilis: A new strategy to optimize heterotrophic nutrition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlichter, Dietrich

    1991-12-01

    The organization of the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Leptoseris fragilis was studied. The architecture of the corallite and the histology of the polyparium were analysed for adaptations that enable efficient capture and retention of suspended particles which would increase energy supply. The data indicate that the gastrovascular system of L. fragilis is not a blind but a flowthrough system. Water entering the coelenteron through the mouth leaves the body not only through the mouth but also through microscopic pores (≂ 1 2 μm) which are located near the crests of the sclerosepta in the oral epithelia. Irrigation is achieved by flagellar and probably also by muscular activity. This type of filtration enables L. fragilis, which lacks tentacles, to utilize suspended organic material including bacteria. The supposed suspension feeding in combination with effective photoadaptations (presented in former communications) seems to be the basis for the survival of L. fragilis in an extreme habitat (between-95 and-145 m) and for its, successful competion with other scleractinian species provided with larger catching surfaces, and with other invertebrates depending on filter feeding.

  17. Do three massive coral species from the same reef record the same SST signal? A test from the Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeLong, K.L.; Poore, R.Z.; Reich, C.D.; Flannery, J.A.; Maupin, Christopher R.; Quinn, T.M.

    2010-01-01

    Paleoclimatologists have reconstructed century-long records of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Pacific using the Sr/Ca of massive corals, whereas similar reconstructions in the Atlantic have not proceeded at the same pace. Past research in the Florida Keys has focused on Montastrea spp., an abundant and fast-growing massive coral, thus a good candidate for climate reconstructions. However, coral records from the Florida Keys are complicated by freshwater flux, which varies the Sr/Ca in seawater, thus confounding the Sr/Ca to SST signal. In this research, we compared the monthly Sr/Ca variations in three massive corals species (Montastraea faveolata, Diploria strigosa, and Siderastrea siderea) from the same reef in the nearly pristine Dry Tortugas National Park (24.70N, 82.80W) at the southwestern extent of the Florida Keys. This location is ideal for a calibration study as hourly water temperature records are available and the remote reef is far from mainland freshwater influence. These corals experienced the same environmental conditions (water depth, clarity, Sr/Ca of seawater, etc.) but differ in the mean annual growth rates (0.86 ±0.10 (1σ) cm/year M. faveolata; 0.67 ±0.04 (1σ) cm/year D. strigosa; 0.44 ±0.04 (1σ) cm/year S. siderea). The mean Sr/Ca values are not the same but decrease with mean annual growth rates (9.201 ±0.091 (1σ) mmol/mol M. faveolata; 9.177 ±0.081 (1σ) mmol/mol D. strigosa; 8.964 ±0.12 (1σ) mmol/mol S. siderea), thus supporting the “vital effect” or biological differences during calcification between coral species. The amplitude of the seasonal cycle in Sr/Ca varies with the slower growing S. sidereahaving the largest mean amplitude and D. strigosa the smallest (0.340 mmol/mol S. siderea; 0.284 mmol/mol M. faveolata; 0.238 mmol/mol D. strigosa). We confirmed our sampling methods by conducting several intracolony and intercolony coral Sr/Ca replication tests and found a high correlation in all tests (>0.95

  18. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  19. Raiding the Coral Nurseries?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-08-01

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

  20. Stable Carbon Isotopes (δ 13C) in Coral Skeletons: Experimental Approach and Applications for Paleoceanography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, A. G.

    2004-12-01

    Scleractinian corals obtain fixed carbon via photosynthesis by their endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) and via hetertrophy (injestion of zooplankton, δ 13C ≈ -17 to -22‰ ). Carbon dioxide (CO2) used for photosynthesis is obtained from seawater (δ 13C ≈ 0%) or from respired CO2 within the coral host. The δ 13C of the carbon used in the formation of the underlying coral skeleton is fractionated as a result of both of these metabolic processes. Here I have pooled evidence from several field and tank experiments on the effect of photosynthesis and heterotrophy of coral skeletal δ 13C. In the experiments, decreases in light levels due to shading or depth resulted in a significant decrease in skeletal δ 13C in all species studied (Pavona gigantea, Pavona clavus, Porites compressa). Decreases in photosynthesis in bleached corals also resulted in a decrease in skeletal δ 13C compared to non-bleached corals growing under the same conditions and at the same location. Skeletal δ 13C also decreased at higher than normal light levels most likely due to photoinhibition. Thus, decreases in photosynthesis due to reduced light levels, due to bleaching-induced decreases in chlorophyll a concentrations, or due to photodamage-induced decreases in functional cholorphyll a, results in significant δ 13C decreases. Comprehensive interpretation of all of the data showed that changes in photosynthesis itself can drive the changes in δ 13C. In field experiments, the addition of natural concentrations of zooplankton to the diet resulted in decreases in skeletal δ 13C. Such a decrease was more pronounced with depth and in P. gigantea compared to P. clavus. In situ feeding experiments have since confirmed these findings. However under tank conditions with unaturally high feeding rates, enhanced nitrogen supply in the diet can disrupt the coral-algal symbiosis, stimlate zooxanthellae growth and photosynthesis, and cause an incrase in skeletal δ 13C. It is proposed that under

  1. U-series vs 14C ages of deep-sea corals from the southern Labrador Sea: Sporadic development of corals and geochemical processes hampering estimation of ambient water ventilation ages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hillaire-Marcel, Claude; Maccali, Jenny; Ménabréaz, Lucie; Ghaleb, Bassam; Blénet, Aurélien; Edinger, Evan

    2017-04-01

    Deep-sea scleractinian corals were collected with the remotely operated ROPOS vehicle off Newfounland. Fossil specimens of Desmophyllum dianthus were raised from coral graveyards at Orphan Knoll (˜1700m depth) and Flemish cap (˜2200 m depth), while live specimens were collected directly in overlying steep rock slopes. D. dianthus has an aragonitic skeleton and is thus particularly suited for U-Th dating. We obtained > 70 U-series ages along with > 20 14C measurements. Results display a discrete age distribution with two age clusters: a Bølling-Allerød and Holocene cluster with > 20 samples, and a Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5c cluster with ˜50 samples. Only two samples lay outside these clusters, at ˜ 64 ka and at ˜181 ka. Contrary to the New England seamounts where coral presence seems to have been continue through the last 70 ka, Orphan Knoll and Flemish Cap graveyards are marked by the absence of preserved specimens from MIS 2 to MIS 4 and throughout MIS 6. For filter-feeding deep-sea corals, access to food-rich waters is essential. Hence the Holocene and MIS 5 clusters observed in the Labrador basin might represent intervals linked to high food availability, either through production in the overlying water column, more effectively in relation to particulate and dissolved organic carbon transport via an active Western Boundary Undercurrent. Comparison of 230Th-ages vs 14C-ages in order to document changes in ventilation ages of the ambient water masses is equivocal due to the presence of some diagenetic and/or initial 230Th-excess. In addition, discrete diagenetic U-fluxes can be documented from 234U/238U vs 230Th/238U data. They point to a recent winnowing of sediment overlying the fossil corals that we link to the Holocene intensification of the Western Boundary Undercurrent, which resulted in driving Fe-Mn coatings.

  2. 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.

  3. Coral uptake of inorganic phosphorus and nitrogen negatively affected by simultaneous changes in temperature and pH.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire Godinot

    Full Text Available The effects of ocean acidification and elevated seawater temperature on coral calcification and photosynthesis have been extensively investigated over the last two decades, whereas they are still unknown on nutrient uptake, despite their importance for coral energetics. We therefore studied the separate and combined impacts of increases in temperature and pCO(2 on phosphate, ammonium, and nitrate uptake rates by the scleractinian coral S. pistillata. Three experiments were performed, during 10 days i at three pH(T conditions (8.1, 7.8, and 7.5 and normal temperature (26°C, ii at three temperature conditions (26°, 29°C, and 33°C and normal pH(T (8.1, and iii at three pH(T conditions (8.1, 7.8, and 7.5 and elevated temperature (33°C. After 10 days of incubation, corals had not bleached, as protein, chlorophyll, and zooxanthellae contents were the same in all treatments. However, photosynthetic rates significantly decreased at 33°C, and were further reduced for the pH(T 7.5. The photosynthetic efficiency of PSII was only decreased by elevated temperature. Nutrient uptake rates were not affected by a change in pH alone. Conversely, elevated temperature (33°C alone induced an increase in phosphate uptake but a severe decrease in nitrate and ammonium uptake rates, even leading to a release of nitrogen into seawater. Combination of high temperature (33°C and low pH(T (7.5 resulted in a significant decrease in phosphate and nitrate uptake rates compared to control corals (26°C, pH(T = 8.1. These results indicate that both inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism may be negatively affected by the cumulative effects of ocean warming and acidification.

  4. Nutritional status and metabolism of the coral Stylophora subseriata along a eutrophication gradient in Spermonde Archipelago (Indonesia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawall, Y.; Teichberg, M. C.; Seemann, J.; Litaay, M.; Jompa, J.; Richter, C.

    2011-09-01

    Coral responses to degrading water quality are highly variable between species and depend on their trophic plasticity, acclimatization potential, and stress resistance. To assess the nutritional status and metabolism of the common scleractinian coral, Stylophora subseriata, in situ experiments were carried along a eutrophication gradient in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. Coral fragments were incubated in light and dark chambers to measure photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification in a number of shallow reefs along the gradient. Chlorophyll a (chl a), protein content, maximum quantum yield ( F v/ F m), and effective quantum yield (Φ PS II) were measured on the zooxanthellae, in addition to host tissue protein content and biomass. Photosynthetic rates were 2.5-fold higher near-shore than mid-shelf due to higher areal zooxanthellae and chl a concentrations and a higher photochemical efficiency (Φ PS II). A 2- and 3-fold increase in areal host tissue protein and biomass was found, indicating a higher nutritional supply in coastal waters. Dark respiration, however, showed no corresponding changes. There was a weak correlation between calcification and photosynthesis (Pearson r = 0.386) and a lack of metabolic stress, as indicated by constant respiration and F v/ F m and the "clean" and healthy appearance of the colonies in spite of high turbidity in near-shore waters. The latter suggests that part of the energetic gains through increased auto- and heterotrophy were spent on metabolic expenditures, e.g., mucus production. While coastal pollution is always deleterious to the reef ecosystem as a whole, our results show that the effect on corals may not always be negative. Thus, S. subseriata may be one of the few examples of corals actually profiting from land-based sources of pollution.

  5. Coral Uptake of Inorganic Phosphorus and Nitrogen Negatively Affected by Simultaneous Changes in Temperature and pH

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godinot, Claire; Houlbrèque, Fanny

    2011-01-01

    The effects of ocean acidification and elevated seawater temperature on coral calcification and photosynthesis have been extensively investigated over the last two decades, whereas they are still unknown on nutrient uptake, despite their importance for coral energetics. We therefore studied the separate and combined impacts of increases in temperature and pCO2 on phosphate, ammonium, and nitrate uptake rates by the scleractinian coral S. pistillata. Three experiments were performed, during 10 days i) at three pHT conditions (8.1, 7.8, and 7.5) and normal temperature (26°C), ii) at three temperature conditions (26°, 29°C, and 33°C) and normal pHT (8.1), and iii) at three pHT conditions (8.1, 7.8, and 7.5) and elevated temperature (33°C). After 10 days of incubation, corals had not bleached, as protein, chlorophyll, and zooxanthellae contents were the same in all treatments. However, photosynthetic rates significantly decreased at 33°C, and were further reduced for the pHT 7.5. The photosynthetic efficiency of PSII was only decreased by elevated temperature. Nutrient uptake rates were not affected by a change in pH alone. Conversely, elevated temperature (33°C) alone induced an increase in phosphate uptake but a severe decrease in nitrate and ammonium uptake rates, even leading to a release of nitrogen into seawater. Combination of high temperature (33°C) and low pHT (7.5) resulted in a significant decrease in phosphate and nitrate uptake rates compared to control corals (26°C, pHT = 8.1). These results indicate that both inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism may be negatively affected by the cumulative effects of ocean warming and acidification. PMID:21949839

  6. Pachyseris inattesa sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia): A new reef coral species from the red sea and its phylogenetic relationships

    KAUST Repository

    Terraneo, Tullia I.; Berumen, Michael L.; Arrigoni, Roberto; Waheed, Zarinah; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Caragnano, Annalisa; Stefani, Fabrizio; Benzoni, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    A new scleractinian coral species, Pachyseris inattesa sp. n., is described from the Red Sea. Despite a superficial resemblance with some species in the agariciid genus Leptoseris with which it has been previously confused, P. inattesa sp. n. has micro-morphological characters typical of the genus Pachyseris. This genus, once part of the Agariciidae, is comprised of five extant species and is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. It is currently incertae sedis as a result of recent molecular analysis and appears to be closely related to the Euphylliidae. A molecular phylogenetic reconstruction including P. inattesa sp. n., the genus type species P. rugosa, and P. speciosa, all present in the Red Sea, was performed using the mitochondrial intergenic spacer between COI and 16S-rRNA. The results confirm that P. inattesa sp. n. is a monophyletic lineage closely related to the other Pachyseris species examined. © Tullia I. Terraneo et al.

  7. Pachyseris inattesa sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia): A new reef coral species from the red sea and its phylogenetic relationships

    KAUST Repository

    Terraneo, Tullia I.

    2014-08-13

    A new scleractinian coral species, Pachyseris inattesa sp. n., is described from the Red Sea. Despite a superficial resemblance with some species in the agariciid genus Leptoseris with which it has been previously confused, P. inattesa sp. n. has micro-morphological characters typical of the genus Pachyseris. This genus, once part of the Agariciidae, is comprised of five extant species and is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. It is currently incertae sedis as a result of recent molecular analysis and appears to be closely related to the Euphylliidae. A molecular phylogenetic reconstruction including P. inattesa sp. n., the genus type species P. rugosa, and P. speciosa, all present in the Red Sea, was performed using the mitochondrial intergenic spacer between COI and 16S-rRNA. The results confirm that P. inattesa sp. n. is a monophyletic lineage closely related to the other Pachyseris species examined. © Tullia I. Terraneo et al.

  8. 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.

  9. Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crane, Nicole L; Nelson, Peter; Abelson, Avigdor; Precoda, Kristin; Rulmal, John; Bernardi, Giacomo; Paddack, Michelle

    2017-01-01

    The dynamic relationship between reefs and the people who utilize them at a subsistence level is poorly understood. This paper characterizes atoll-scale patterns in shallow coral reef habitat and fish community structure, and correlates these with environmental characteristics and anthropogenic factors, critical to conservation efforts for the reefs and the people who depend on them. Hierarchical clustering analyses by site for benthic composition and fish community resulted in the same 3 major clusters: cluster 1-oceanic (close proximity to deep water) and uninhabited (low human impact); cluster 2-oceanic and inhabited (high human impact); and cluster 3-lagoonal (facing the inside of the lagoon) and inhabited (highest human impact). Distance from village, reef exposure to deep water and human population size had the greatest effect in predicting the fish and benthic community structure. Our study demonstrates a strong association between benthic and fish community structure and human use across the Ulithi Atoll (Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia) and confirms a pattern observed by local people that an 'opportunistic' scleractinian coral (Montipora sp.) is associated with more highly impacted reefs. Our findings suggest that small human populations (subsistence fishing) can nevertheless have considerable ecological impacts on reefs due, in part, to changes in fishing practices rather than overfishing per se, as well as larger global trends. Findings from this work can assist in building local capacity to manage reef resources across an atoll-wide scale, and illustrates the importance of anthropogenic impact even in small communities.

  10. Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole L Crane

    Full Text Available The dynamic relationship between reefs and the people who utilize them at a subsistence level is poorly understood. This paper characterizes atoll-scale patterns in shallow coral reef habitat and fish community structure, and correlates these with environmental characteristics and anthropogenic factors, critical to conservation efforts for the reefs and the people who depend on them. Hierarchical clustering analyses by site for benthic composition and fish community resulted in the same 3 major clusters: cluster 1-oceanic (close proximity to deep water and uninhabited (low human impact; cluster 2-oceanic and inhabited (high human impact; and cluster 3-lagoonal (facing the inside of the lagoon and inhabited (highest human impact. Distance from village, reef exposure to deep water and human population size had the greatest effect in predicting the fish and benthic community structure. Our study demonstrates a strong association between benthic and fish community structure and human use across the Ulithi Atoll (Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia and confirms a pattern observed by local people that an 'opportunistic' scleractinian coral (Montipora sp. is associated with more highly impacted reefs. Our findings suggest that small human populations (subsistence fishing can nevertheless have considerable ecological impacts on reefs due, in part, to changes in fishing practices rather than overfishing per se, as well as larger global trends. Findings from this work can assist in building local capacity to manage reef resources across an atoll-wide scale, and illustrates the importance of anthropogenic impact even in small communities.

  11. Embryogenesis and larval biology of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ann I Larsson

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral reefs form spectacular and highly diverse ecosystems in the deep sea but little is known about reproduction, and virtually nothing about the larval biology in these corals. This study is based on data from two locations of the North East Atlantic and documents the first observations of embryogenesis and larval development in Lophelia pertusa, the most common framework-building cold-water scleractinian. Embryos developed in a more or less organized radial cleavage pattern from ∼ 160 µm large neutral or negatively buoyant eggs, to 120-270 µm long ciliated planulae. Embryogenesis was slow with cleavage occurring at intervals of 6-8 hours up to the 64-cell stage. Genetically characterized larvae were sexually derived, with maternal and paternal alleles present. Larvae were active swimmers (0.5 mm s(-1 initially residing in the upper part of the water column, with bottom probing behavior starting 3-5 weeks after fertilization. Nematocysts had developed by day 30, coinciding with peak bottom-probing behavior, and possibly an indication that larvae are fully competent to settle at this time. Planulae survived for eight weeks under laboratory conditions, and preliminary results indicate that these planulae are planktotrophic. The late onset of competency and larval longevity suggests a high dispersal potential. Understanding larval biology and behavior is of paramount importance for biophysical modeling of larval dispersal, which forms the basis for predictions of connectivity among populations.

  12. Endosymbiotic copepods may feed on zooxanthellae from their coral host, Pocillopora damicornis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Y.-R.; Dai, C.-F.

    2010-03-01

    The Xarifiidae is one of the most common families of endosymbiotic copepods that live in close association with scleractinian corals. Previous studies on xarifiids primarily focused on their taxonomy and morphology, while their influence on corals is still unknown. In this study, we collected a total of 1,579 individuals belonging to 6 species of xarifiids from 360 colonies of Pocillopora damicornis at Nanwan Bay, southern Taiwan from July 2007 to May 2008. Furthermore, using optical and electron microscopic observations, we examined the gut contents of Xarifia fissilis, the most abundant species of the Xarifiidae that we collected. We found that the gut of X. fissilis was characterized by a reddish-brown color due to the presence of numerous unicellular algae with diameters of 5-10 μm. TEM observations indicated that the unicellular algae possessed typical characteristics of Symbiodinium including a peripheral chloroplast, stalked pyrenoids, starch sheaths, mesokaryotic nuclei, amphiesmas, an accumulation body, and mitochondria. After starving the isolated X. fissilis in the light and dark (light intensity: 140 μmol photon m-2 s-1; photoperiod: 12 h light/12 h dark) for 2 weeks, fluorescence was clearly visible in its gut and fecal pellets under fluorescent microscopic observations. The cultivation experiment supports the hypothesis that the unicellular algae were beneficial to the survival of X. fissilis under light conditions, possibly through transferring photosynthates to the hosts. These results suggest that X. fissilis may consume and retain unicellular algae for further photosynthesis.

  13. Environmental drivers of distribution and reef development of the Mediterranean coral Cladocora caespitosa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chefaoui, Rosa M.; Casado-Amezúa, Pilar; Templado, José

    2017-12-01

    Cladocora caespitosa is the only Mediterranean scleractinian similar to tropical reef-building corals. While this species is part of the recent fossil history of the Mediterranean Sea, it is currently considered endangered due to its decline during the last decades. Environmental factors affecting the distribution and persistence of extensive bank reefs of this endemic species across its whole geographic range are poorly understood. In this study, we examined the environmental response of C. caespitosa and its main types of assemblages using ecological niche modeling and ordination analysis. We also predicted other suitable areas for the occurrence of the species and assessed the conservation effectiveness of Mediterranean marine protected areas (MPAs) for this coral. We found that phosphate concentration and wave height were factors affecting both the occurrence of this versatile species and the distribution of its extensive bioconstructions in the Mediterranean Sea. A set of factors (diffuse attenuation coefficient, calcite and nitrate concentrations, mean wave height, sea surface temperature, and shape of the coast) likely act as environmental barriers preventing the species from expansion to the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea. Uncertainties in our large-scale statistical results and departures from previous physiological and ecological studies are also discussed under an integrative perspective. This study reveals that Mediterranean MPAs encompass eight of the ten banks and 16 of the 21 beds of C. caespitosa. Preservation of water clarity by avoiding phosphate discharges may improve the protection of this emblematic species.

  14. 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.

  15. Health status evaluation of shallow coral reefs in Cahuita and Manzanillo, Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Araya-Vargas

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Sedimentation, increased tourism, coral diseases and high ocean temperatures have become a permanent threat to reef areas worldwide. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the health status of the shallow reefs in Cahuita and Manzanillo, Limon, Costa Rica. A database, including species of all colonial sessile cnidarians and their known diseases, was created for the studied area. Subsequently, 15 transects were surveyed along the coast in 1-3 m deep bands of 10 x 1 m following the AGRRA V5.4 protocol. Of the 27 species found, 21 were reported from Cahuita and 23 from Manzanillo. The shallow coral reefs’ health status in both sites was good in terms of diseases, bleaching and mortality due to their low incidence. Sessile cnidarians’ species composition, colonies’ sizes and coverage were dominated by massive and lobate scleractinians such as Pseudodiploria clivosa and Siderastrea siderea. Macroalgal coverage was low (below 20% and mostly represented by brown algae. Sea urchins’ densities were also low (below 1 ind/m2 except for Echinometra viridis in Manzanillo and they trend to continue decreasing as the years go by.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wahl, Martin; Al Sofyani, Abdulmohsin; Saha, Mahasweta; Kruse, Inken; Lenz, Mark; Sawall, Yvonne

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  19. Age of overwash and rate of relative sea-level rise inferred from detrital heads and microatolls of medieval corals at Anegada, British Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jennifer, W.; Feuillet, N.; Robert, H.; Brian, A.; Ten Brink, U. S.; Deschamps, P.; Tuttle, M. P.; Wei, Y.; Fuentes, Z.

    2012-12-01

    Coral boulders deposited on Anegada, an island 120 km south of the Puerto Rico Trench, record overwash dated to AD 1200-1450 and relative sea-level changes that preceded it. Composed largely of Pleistocene limestone, Anegada is less than 8 m above sea level and is fringed on the north and east by a coral reef where Atlantic Ocean waves break. The lowest parts of the island were washed over from the north in AD 1650-1800, as judged from landforms and deposits reported previously (doi:10.1007/s11069-010-9622-6). The coral boulders indicate overwash of higher elevation and earlier age. The boulders were apparently torn from the adjacent reef by a tsunami of nearby origin, as inferred in companion abstracts on geology and modeling. We found the corals scattered in five areas inland from the north shore. Two of the areas show solitary coral heads 1500 m from the reef. The boulders are more numerous in the three other areas, where they are up to 500-700 m from the reef and up to 4 m above sea level. Some were transported over beach ridges or through breaches cut into them. Others are hundreds of meters inland from a modern storm berm. Most rest on the Pleistocene limestone. Many are overturned. Most are broken but few are whole. The largest measured diameter is 2 m and the greatest measured height is 1 m. Most of the boulders are of the brain coral Diploria strigosa, but smaller Porites asteroides and Montastrea annularis are also present. Some of the D. strigosa retain the rounded shape typical of living heads and are dimpled with holes perhaps left by feather-duster worms. The preservation of these features suggests that many of the boulders came ashore alive. We avoided dating a head that shows field evidence for death before transport; an erosional surface cuts across its youngest growth bands and is covered with the remains of encrusting marine organisms. Among the 18 coral boulders dated, 13 form a young group with ages in the range 890±25 to 1020±25 14C yr BP

  20. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  1. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  3. Interactive Effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on Growth, Fitness and Survival of the Cold-Water Coral Lophelia pertusa under Different Food Availabilities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janina V. Büscher

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water corals are important bioengineers that provide structural habitat for a diverse species community. About 70% of the presently known scleractinian cold-water corals are expected to be exposed to corrosive waters by the end of this century due to ocean acidification. At the same time, the corals will experience a steady warming of their environment. Studies on the sensitivity of cold-water corals to climate change mainly concentrated on single stressors in short-term incubation approaches, thus not accounting for possible long-term acclimatisation and the interactive effects of multiple stressors. Besides, pr