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Sample records for gorgonian coral colonies

  1. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals

    PubMed Central

    Hunt, Laura R.; Smith, Stephanie M.; Downum, Kelsey R.; Mydlarz, Laura D.

    2012-01-01

    Gorgonian corals possess many novel natural products that could potentially mediate coral-bacterial interactions. Since many bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) signals to facilitate colonization of host organisms, regulation of prokaryotic cell-to-cell communication may represent an important bacterial control mechanism. In the present study, we examined extracts of twelve species of Caribbean gorgonian corals, for mechanisms that regulate microbial colonization, such as antibacterial activity and QS regulatory activity. Ethanol extracts of gorgonians collected from Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys showed a range of both antibacterial and QS activities using a specific Pseudomonas aeruginosa QS reporter, sensitive to long chain AHLs and a short chain N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHL) biosensor, Chromobacterium violaceium. Overall, the gorgonian corals had higher antimicrobial activity against non-marine strains when compared to marine strains. Pseudopterogorgia americana, Pseusopterogorgia acerosa, and Pseudoplexuara flexuosa had the highest QS inhibitory effect. Interestingly, Pseudoplexuara porosa extracts stimulated QS activity with a striking 17-fold increase in signal. The stimulation of QS by P. porosa or other elements of the holobiont may encourage colonization or recruitment of specific microbial species. Overall, these results suggest the presence of novel stimulatory QS, inhibitory QS and bactericidal compounds in gorgonian corals. A better understanding of these compounds may reveal insight into coral-microbial ecology and whether a therapeutic potential exists. PMID:22822369

  2. Bloom of the cyanobacterium Moorea bouillonii on the gorgonian coral Annella reticulata in Japan

    PubMed Central

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Isomura, Naoko; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2014-01-01

    Coral populations are in decline due to environmental changes and biological attacks by predators and infectious diseases. Here, we report a localized bloom of the benthic filamentous cyanobacterium Moorea bouillonii (formerly Lyngbya bouillonii) observed exclusively on the gorgonian (sea fan) coral Annella reticulata at around 20 m depth in Japan. The degree of infection has reached 26% among different sizes of Annella colonies. Thick and continuous growth of Moorea may be sustained partly by symbiotic alpheid shrimp, which affix Moorea filaments to gorgonian corals for use as food and shelter. Most filaments get entangled on the coral colony, some penetrate into the stem of the coral with a swollen end like a root hair, which appears to function as an anchor in Annella. In addition to the cyanobacterium–shrimp interaction, the new trait of anchoring by the cyanobacterium into gorgonian coral may contribute to persistence of this bloom. PMID:25112498

  3. Diversity and abundance of invertebrate epifaunal assemblages associated with gorgonians are driven by colony attributes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cúrdia, João; Carvalho, Susana; Pereira, Fábio; Guerra-García, José Manuel; Santos, Miguel N.; Cunha, Marina R.

    2015-06-01

    The present study aimed to explicitly quantify the link between the attributes of shallow-water gorgonian colonies (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea) and the ecological patterns of associated non-colonial epifaunal invertebrates. Based on multiple regression analysis, we tested the contribution of several attributes (colony height, width, and area, fractal dimension as a measure of colony complexity, lacunarity as a measure of the heterogeneity, and "colonial" epibiont cover) to abundance and taxonomic richness of associated assemblages. The results highlight the variation in the response of epifaunal assemblages to the gorgonian colony characteristics. The nature and intensity of the relationships were gorgonian species-dependent and varied from one taxonomic group to another. For both gorgonian species analyzed, the strongest predictor of species richness and abundance of the epifaunal assemblages was "colonial" epibiont cover, possibly due to a trophic effect (direct or indirect enhancement of food availability) combined with the surface available for colonization (species-area effect). Although structural complexity is usually indicated as the main driver for rich and abundant coral-associated assemblages, no significant relationship was observed between fractal dimension and the community descriptors; lacunarity, which reflects the sizes of the inter-branch spaces, was only linked to taxonomic richness in the assemblages associated with Leptogorgia lusitanica. The validity of the paradigm that structural complexity enhances biodiversity may be scale-dependent. In the case of gorgonians, the effect of complexity at the "garden" level may be more relevant than at the individual colony level. This reinforces the need for the conservation of gorgonian aggregation areas as a whole in order to preserve host diversity and size structure.

  4. Evidence for host specificity among dominant bacterial symbionts in temperate gorgonian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    La Rivière, Marie; Garrabou, Joaquim; Bally, Marc

    2015-12-01

    Gorgonian corals serve as key engineering species within Mediterranean rocky-shore communities that have recently suffered from repeated mortality events during warm temperature anomalies. Among the factors that may link thermal conditions with disease outbreaks, a number of bacterial pathogens have been implicated; they may take advantage of decreases in the defenses and/or overall health of the gorgonian hosts. Considering the beneficial role of the resident bacteria in tropical coral holobionts, a detailed characterization of the gorgonian-associated microbial populations is required to better understand the relationships among native microbiota, host fitness, and pathogen susceptibility. In this study, the bacterial communities associated with three sympatric gorgonian species, Eunicella singularis, Eunicella cavolini, and Corallium rubrum, were investigated to provide insight into the stability and the specificity of host-microbe interactions. Natural variations in bacterial communities were detected using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the 16S ribosomal DNA. No major differences were identified between individual colonies sampled in winter or in summer within each gorgonian species. Although hierarchical cluster analysis of the T-RFLP profiles revealed that the three species harbor distinct communities, comparison of the T-RFLP peaks indicated the presence of common bacterial ribotypes. From phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA clone libraries, we identified a bacterial lineage related to the Hahellaceae family within the Oceanospirillales that is shared among E. singularis, E. cavolini, and C. rubrum and that dominates the communities of both species of Eunicella. However, distinct clades of Hahellaceae are harbored by various gorgonian species from Mediterranean and tropical waters, suggesting that these bacteria have formed host-specific symbiotic relationships with gorgonian octocorals. In addition, the relatedness of symbionts

  5. Bioactive Compounds from a Gorgonian Coral Echinomuricea sp. (Plexauridae)

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Hsu-Ming; Hong, Pei-Han; Su, Jui-Hsin; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Lu, Mei-Chin; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wu, Yang-Chang; Li, Jan-Jung; Chen, Jih-Jung; Wang, Wei-Hsien; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2012-01-01

    A new labdane-type diterpenoid, echinolabdane A (1), and a new sterol, 6-epi-yonarasterol B (2), were isolated from a gorgonian coral identified as Echinomuricea sp. The structures of metabolites 1 and 2 were elucidated by spectroscopic methods. Echinolabdane A (1) possesses a novel tetracyclic skeleton with an oxepane ring jointed to an α,β-unsaturated-γ-lactone ring by a hemiketal moiety, and this compound is the first labdane-type diterpenoid to be obtained from marine organisms belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. 6-epi-Yonarasterol B (2) is the first steroid derivative to be isolated from gorgonian coral belonging to the genus Echinomuricea, and this compound displayed significant inhibitory effects on the generation of superoxide anions and the release of elastase by human neutrophils. PMID:22822364

  6. Natural Product Chemistry of Gorgonian Corals of Genus Junceella—Part II

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Yang-Chang; Su, Jui-Hsin; Chou, Tai-Ting; Cheng, Yin-Pin; Weng, Ching-Feng; Lee, Chia-Hung; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wang, Wei-Hsien; Li, Jan-Jung; Lu, Mei-Chin; Kuo, Jimmy; Sheu, Jyh-Horng; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2011-01-01

    The structures, names, bioactivities, and references of 81 new secondary metabolites obtained from gorgonian corals belonging to the genus Junceella are described in this review. All compounds mentioned in this review were obtained from sea whip gorgonian corals Junceella fragilis and Junceella juncea, collected from the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. PMID:22363249

  7. Management implications of fish trap effectiveness in adjacent coral reef and gorgonian habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wolff, Nicholas; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Rogers, Caroline S.; Beets, James P.

    1999-01-01

    A combination of visual census and trap sampling in St. John, USVI indicated that traps performed better in gorgonian habitat than in adjacent coral reef habitat. Although most families were seen more commonly in coral habitat, they were caught more often in gorgonian areas. Traps probably fished more effectively in gorgonian habitats, especially for migrating species, because traps provided shelter in the relatively topographically uniform environment of gorgonian dominated habitats. Recently, trap fishermen on St. John have been moving effort away from traditionally fished nearshore coral reefs and into a variety of more homogeneous habitats such as gorgonian habitat. Consequently, exploitation rates of the already over-harvested reef fish resources may be increasing. Reef fish managers and marine reserve designers should consider limiting trap fishing in gorgonian habitats to slow the decline of reef fisheries.

  8. Early life history of deep-water gorgonian corals may limit their abundance.

    PubMed

    Lacharité, Myriam; Metaxas, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Deep-water gorgonian corals are long-lived organisms found worldwide off continental margins and seamounts, usually occurring at depths of ∼200-1,000 m. Most corals undergo sexual reproduction by releasing a planktonic larval stage that disperses; however, recruitment rates and the environmental and biological factors influencing recruitment in deep-sea species are poorly known. Here, we present results from a 4-year field experiment conducted in the Gulf of Maine (northwest Atlantic) at depths >650 m that document recruitment for 2 species of deep-water gorgonian corals, Primnoa resedaeformis and Paragorgia arborea. The abundance of P. resedaeformis recruits was high, and influenced by the structural complexity of the recipient habitat, but very few recruits of P. arborea were found. We suggest that divergent reproductive modes (P. resedaeformis as a broadcast spawner and P. arborea as a brooder) may explain this pattern. Despite the high recruitment of P. resedaeformis, severe mortality early on in the benthic stage of this species may limit the abundance of adult colonies. Most recruits of this species (∼80%) were at the primary polyp stage, and less than 1% of recruits were at stage of 4 polyps or more. We propose that biological disturbance, possibly by the presence of suspension-feeding brittle stars, and limited food supply in the deep sea may cause this mortality. Our findings reinforce the vulnerability of these corals to anthropogenic disturbances, such as trawling with mobile gear, and the importance of incorporating knowledge on processes during the early life history stages in conservation decisions. PMID:23762358

  9. Early Life History of Deep-Water Gorgonian Corals May Limit Their Abundance

    PubMed Central

    Lacharité, Myriam; Metaxas, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Deep-water gorgonian corals are long-lived organisms found worldwide off continental margins and seamounts, usually occurring at depths of ∼200–1,000 m. Most corals undergo sexual reproduction by releasing a planktonic larval stage that disperses; however, recruitment rates and the environmental and biological factors influencing recruitment in deep-sea species are poorly known. Here, we present results from a 4-year field experiment conducted in the Gulf of Maine (northwest Atlantic) at depths >650 m that document recruitment for 2 species of deep-water gorgonian corals, Primnoa resedaeformis and Paragorgia arborea. The abundance of P. resedaeformis recruits was high, and influenced by the structural complexity of the recipient habitat, but very few recruits of P. arborea were found. We suggest that divergent reproductive modes (P. resedaeformis as a broadcast spawner and P. arborea as a brooder) may explain this pattern. Despite the high recruitment of P. resedaeformis, severe mortality early on in the benthic stage of this species may limit the abundance of adult colonies. Most recruits of this species (∼80%) were at the primary polyp stage, and less than 1% of recruits were at stage of 4 polyps or more. We propose that biological disturbance, possibly by the presence of suspension-feeding brittle stars, and limited food supply in the deep sea may cause this mortality. Our findings reinforce the vulnerability of these corals to anthropogenic disturbances, such as trawling with mobile gear, and the importance of incorporating knowledge on processes during the early life history stages in conservation decisions. PMID:23762358

  10. Stable isotopic composition of deep sea gorgonian corals (Primnoa spp.): a new archive of surface processes.

    SciTech Connect

    Sherwood, O A; Heikoop, J M; Scott, D B; Risk, M J; Guilderson, T P; McKinney, R A

    2005-02-03

    The deep-sea gorgonian coral Primnoa spp. lives in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at depths of 65-3200 m. This coral has an arborescent growth form with a skeletal axis composed of annual rings made from calcite and gorgonin. It has a lifespan of at least several hundred years. It has been suggested that isotopic profiles from the gorgonin fraction of the skeleton could be used to reconstruct long-term, annual-scale variations in surface productivity. We tested assumptions about the trophic level, intra-colony isotopic reproducibility, and preservation of isotopic signatures in a suite of modern and fossil specimens. Measurements of gorgonin {Delta}{sup 14}C and {delta}{sup 15}N indicate that Primnoa spp. feed mainly on zooplankton and/or sinking particulate organic matter (POM{sub SINK}), and not on suspended POM (POM{sub SUSP}) or dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Gorgonin {delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N in specimens from NE Pacific shelf waters, NW Atlantic slope waters, the Sea of Japan, and a South Pacific (Southern Ocean sector) seamount were strongly correlated with Levitus 1994 surface apparent oxygen utilization (AOU; the best available measure of surface productivity), demonstrating coupling between skeletal isotopic ratios and biophysical processes in surface water. Time-series isotopic profiles from different sections along the same colony were identical for {delta}{sup 13}C, while {delta}{sup 15}N profiles became more dissimilar with increasing separation along the colony axis. Similarity in C:N, {delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N between modern and fossil specimens suggest that isotopic signatures are preserved over millennial timescales. Finally, the utility of this new archive was demonstrated by reconstruction of 20th century bomb radiocarbon.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  12. New 9-Hydroxybriarane Diterpenoids from a Gorgonian Coral Briareum sp. (Briareidae)

    PubMed Central

    Su, Yin-Di; Sung, Chun-Sung; Wen, Zhi-Hong; Chen, Yu-Hsin; Chang, Yu-Chia; Chen, Jih-Jung; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wu, Yang-Chang; Sheu, Jyh-Horng; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2016-01-01

    Six new 9-hydroxybriarane diterpenoids, briarenolides ZI–ZVI (1–6), were isolated from a gorgonian coral Briareum sp. The structures of briaranes 1–6 were elucidated by spectroscopic methods and by comparison of their spectroscopic data with those of related analogues. Briarenolides ZII (2) and ZVI (6) were found to significantly inhibit the expression of the pro-inflammatory inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells. PMID:26761004

  13. Ultrastructural observations of the early and late stages of gorgonian coral (Junceella juncea) oocytes.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Sujune; Jhuang, Yating; Spikings, Emma; Sung, Ping-Jyun; Lin, Chiahsin

    2014-08-01

    The developmental oogenesis of gorgonian coral was investigated at the histological level. The objective of this study was to examine and improve the understanding of Junceella juncea oogenesis using ultrastructural methods, such as histological sectioning and transmission electron microscopy. At least three types of yolk materials were observed in this study: yolk body, lipid granules and cortical alveoli. Some of the complex yolk materials were encompassed by concentric or arched layers of smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex in early stage oocytes. Different types of vesicles were found in both early and late stage oocytes and some granules could be seen inside the empty vesicles. This may be a possible method for elaborating complex yolk materials. Homogeneous yolks from different types of inclusions were abundant and the autosynthesis of yolk may be a major mechanism in J. juncea oocytes. This is the first report of the ultrastructural observation of oogenesis in gorgonian coral species using transmission electron microscopy. Our study obtained relatively detailed information at the ultrastructural level, and it provides an overview of the oocyte ultrastucture of the gorgonian coral J. juncea. PMID:24973261

  14. Draft Genome Sequence of Vibrio sp. Strain Evh12, a Bacterium Retrieved from the Gorgonian Coral Eunicella verrucosa

    PubMed Central

    Franco, Telma; Califano, Gianmaria; Gonçalves, Ana C. S.; Cúcio, Catarina

    2016-01-01

    To shed light on the associations established between Vibrio species and soft corals in coastal ecosystems, we report here the draft genome sequence of Vibrio sp. strain Evh12, a bacterium that has been isolated from the gorgonian coral Eunicella verrucosa and that shows antagonistic activity against Escherichia coli. PMID:26868405

  15. Nitrogen isotopic records of terrestrial pollution encoded in Floridian and Bahamian gorgonian corals.

    PubMed

    Sherwood, Owen A; Lapointe, Brian E; Risk, Michael J; Jamieson, Robyn E

    2010-02-01

    Stable nitrogen isotope (delta(15)N) analysis has proven an effective "fingerprint" of sewage contamination in coral reef environments; however, short-term variability in nitrogen cycling and isotopic fractionation may obscure long-term trends. Here, we examine delta(15)N signatures in the organic endoskeletons of long-lived (20-40 years) gorgonian corals. Specimens were collected from relatively pristine reefs off Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, and from reefs off southeast Florida heavily impacted by multiple sources of anthropogenic nitrogen. The delta(15)N of the most recently grown skeleton (branch tips) ranged from +2 to +3 per thousand at Green Turtle Cay, and +4.5 to +10 per thousand off Florida. These values closely match the delta(15)N of macroalgae collected from the same locations, indicating that gorgonian corals are isotopically similar to primary producers, and therefore suitable for assessing sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen. Differences in the delta(15)N between younger and older skeleton indicated an overall decline of -0.34 +/- 0.06 per thousand (1 s.e) over the last 20 - 40 years at Green Turtle Cay, reflecting a possible increase in nitrogen fixation and/or atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic nitrogen. Off southeast Florida, there was an overall increase in delta(15)N over the same time period, reflecting increasing wastewater discharges from the rapidly growing population. These results highlight the usefulness of delta(15)N recorded in gorgonians and other long-lived organisms in assessing spatiotemporal patterns of nitrogen sources to coastal marine environments. PMID:20055401

  16. Pregnane steroids from a gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa with anti-flu virus effects.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Wei; Ren, Jinwei; Huang, Qixi; Long, Hailin; Jin, Hongwei; Zhang, Liangren; Liu, Huagang; van Ofwegen, Leen; Lin, Wenhan

    2016-04-01

    Five new pregnane-type steroids namely subergorgols T-X (1-5) and three known analogues (6-8) were isolated from a gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa. The structures of new compounds were determined on the basis of extensive spectroscopic (IR, MS, 1D and 2D NMR) data analyses, in association with photochemical transformation and ECD methods for the configurational assignment. Compounds 1-8 were evaluated for the inhibitory effects against H1N1 virus infected in MDCK cells, while subergorgols T-U and 1,2-dehydroprogesterone exerted potent inhibition against A/WSN/33 virus. PMID:26853156

  17. Estimating Surface Area of Sponges and Marine Gorgonians as Indicators of Habitat Availability on Caribbean Coral Reefs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Surface area and topographical complexity are fundamental attributes of shallow tropical coral reefs and can be used to estimate habitat for fish and invertebrates. This study presents empirical methods for estimating surface area provided by sponges and gorgonians in the Central...

  18. Genomic Insights into Aquimarina sp. Strain EL33, a Bacterial Symbiont of the Gorgonian Coral Eunicella labiata.

    PubMed

    Keller-Costa, Tina; Silva, Rúben; Lago-Lestón, Asunción; Costa, Rodrigo

    2016-01-01

    To address the metabolic potential of symbiotic Aquimarina spp., we report here the genome sequence of Aquimarina sp. strain EL33, a bacterium isolated from the gorgonian coral Eunicella labiata This first-described (to our knowledge) animal-associated Aquimarina genome possesses a sophisticated repertoire of genes involved in drug/antibiotic resistance and biosynthesis. PMID:27540075

  19. Genomic Insights into Aquimarina sp. Strain EL33, a Bacterial Symbiont of the Gorgonian Coral Eunicella labiata

    PubMed Central

    Keller-Costa, Tina; Silva, Rúben; Lago-Lestón, Asunción

    2016-01-01

    To address the metabolic potential of symbiotic Aquimarina spp., we report here the genome sequence of Aquimarina sp. strain EL33, a bacterium isolated from the gorgonian coral Eunicella labiata. This first-described (to our knowledge) animal-associated Aquimarina genome possesses a sophisticated repertoire of genes involved in drug/antibiotic resistance and biosynthesis. PMID:27540075

  20. Lipid Content and Composition during the Oocyte Development of Two Gorgonian Coral Species in Relation to Low Temperature Preservation

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Chiahsin; Wang, Li-Hsueh; Fan, Tung-Yung; Kuo, Fu-Wen

    2012-01-01

    Our previous studies have suggested that chilling sensitivity of coral oocytes may relate to their relatively high lipid intracellular content and lipid composition. The distribution of lipids during the oocyte development was determined here for the first time in two gorgonian species (Junceella juncea and Junceella fragilis). The main lipid classes in the two gorgonian oocytes were total lipid, wax ester, triacylglycerol, total fatty acid, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine. The results indicated that early stage oocytes of J. juncea and J. fragilis were found to have increased lipid content than late stage oocytes. The content of wax ester was significantly higher in the early stage oocytes of two gorgonian corals (51.0±2.5 and 41.7±2.9 µg/mm3/oocyte) than those of late stage oocytes (24.0±1.4 and 30.4±1.2 µg/mm3/oocyte, respectively). A substantial amount of phosphatidylethanolamine and total fatty acid was detected at each stage of oocyte development in two gorgonian ranges from 107 to 42 µg/mm3/oocyte and 106 to 48 µg/mm3/oocyte, whilst low levels of phosphatidylcholine were found in two gorgonian oocytes. The levels of total lipid in the late stage oocytes of J. juncea were significantly higher than those of J. fragilis. The observed differences may partially be related to different habitat preferences as higher lipid levels in J. juncea, a deeper-water coral species exposed to lower temperature seawater, might relate to adjustments of cell membranes in order to increase membrane fluidity. PMID:22848343

  1. Carbonate "clumped" isotope signatures in aragonitic scleractinian and calcitic gorgonian deep-sea corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimball, J.; Tripati, R. E.; Dunbar, R.

    2015-12-01

    Deep-sea corals are a potentially valuable archive of the temperature and ocean chemistry of intermediate and deep waters. Living in near constant temperature, salinity and pH, and having amongst the slowest calcification rates observed in carbonate-precipitating biological organisms, deep-sea corals can provide valuable constraints on processes driving mineral equilibrium and disequilibrium isotope signatures. Here we report new data to further develop "clumped" isotopes as a paleothermometer in deep-sea corals as well as to investigate mineral-specific, taxon-specific, and growth-rate related effects. Carbonate clumped isotope thermometry is based on measurements of the abundance of the doubly-substituted isotopologue 13C18O16O2 in carbonate minerals, analyzed in CO2 gas liberated on phosphoric acid digestion of carbonates and reported as Δ47 values. We analyzed Δ47 in live-collected aragonitic scleractinian (Enallopsammia sp.) and calcitic gorgonian (Isididae and Coralliidae) deep-sea corals, and compared results to published data for other aragonitic scleractinian taxa. Measured Δ47 values were compared to in situ temperatures and the relationship between Δ47 and temperature was determined for each group to investigate taxon-specific effects. We find that aragonitic scleractinian deep-sea corals exhibit higher values than calcitic gorgonian corals and the two groups of coral produce statistically different relationship between Δ47-temperature calibrations. These data are significant in the interpretation of all carbonate "clumped" isotope calibration data as they show that distinct Δ47-temperature calibrations can be observed in different materials recovered from the same environment and analyzed using the same instrumentation, phosphoric acid composition, digestion temperature and technique, CO2 gas purification apparatus, and data handling. There are three possible explanations for the origin of these different calibrations. The offset between the

  2. 9,11-Secosteroids with cytotoxic activity from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jun; Liu, Ling-Li; Zhong, Ba-Lian; Liao, Xiao-Jian; Xu, Shi-Hai

    2015-06-01

    Nine new 9,11-secosterols (1-9), containing the same 3β,6α,11-trihydroxy-9,11-seco-5α-cholest-7-en-9-one steroidal nucleus, whereas possessing an array of structurally diverse side chains, along with fourteen known 9,11-secosterol compounds (10-23), were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa, of which 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and the known compounds 11/12, 20/21 were five pairs of inseparable C-24 epimers. Their structures were established by the extensive analyses of 1D and 2D NMR spectra, high-resolution chemical ionization mass spectrometry (HRCIMS), and by the comparison with literature data. Cytotoxic effect of these metabolites against the growth of HeLa cell lines was evaluated. The result showed that the inhibitory effect of compounds 1-23 varied considerably depending on the nature of the side chain in spite of sharing the same steroidal nucleus. Compound 19, featuring both the absence of hydroxyl group and the presence of double bond in the stigmasterol side chain, exhibited the most potent cytotoxicity with IC50 being 15.1 μM. The preliminary structure activity relationship studies identified some important structural features considerably influencing the biological effect deserved, providing valuable information for chemists and pharmacologists to design and synthesize more effective antitumor agents bearing the 9,11-secosteroid framework. PMID:25796549

  3. The relationship between gorgonian coral (Cnidaria: Gorgonacea) diseases and African dust storms

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weir-Brush, J. R.; Garrison, V.H.; Smith, G.W.; Shinn, E.A.

    2004-01-01

    The number of reports of coral diseases has increased throughout the world in the last 20 years. Aspergillosis, which primarily affects Gorgonia ventalina and G. flabellum, is one of the few diseases to be characterized. This disease is caused by Aspergillus sydowii, a terrestrial fungus with a worldwide distribution. Upon infection, colonies may lose tissue, and ultimately, mortality may occur if the infection is not sequestered. The spores of A. sydowii are <5 ??m, small enough to be easily picked up by winds and dispersed over great distances. Aspergillosis is prevalent in the Caribbean, and it appears that this primarily terrestrial fungus has adapted to a marine environment. It has been proposed that dust storms originating in Africa may be one way in which potential coral pathogens are distributed and deposited into the marine environments of the Caribbean. To test the hypothesis that African dust storms transport and deposit pathogens, we collected air samples from both dust storms and periods of nondust in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Because we focused on fungal pathogens and used A. sydowii as a model, we isolated and cultured fungi on various types of media. Fungi including Aspergillus spp. were isolated from air samples taken from dust events and non-dust events. Twenty-three separate cultures and seven genera were isolated from dust event samples whereas eight cultures from five genera were isolated from non-dust air samples. Three isolates from the Virgin Islands dust event samples morphologically identified as Aspergillus spp. produced signs of aspergillosis in seafans, and the original pathogens were re-isolated from those diseased seafans fulfilling Koch's Postulates. This research supports the hypothesis that African dust storms transport across the Atlantic Ocean and deposit potential coral pathogens in the Caribbean.

  4. Estimating 3-dimensional colony surface area of field corals

    EPA Science Inventory

    Colony surface area is a critical descriptor for biological and physical attributes of reef-building (scleractinian, stony) corals. The three-dimensional (3D) size and structure of corals are directly related to many ecosystem values and functions. Most methods to estimate colony...

  5. Genotyping the clonal structure of a gorgonian coral, Junceella juncea (Anthozoa: Octocorallia), using microsatellite loci

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shang-Yin Vanson; Yu, Hon-Tsen; Fan, Tung-Yung; Dai, Chang-Feng

    2005-11-01

    The identification of different clones is fundamental to the study of population structure among organisms with mixed reproductive modes such as cnidarians. However, due to the low genetic variation of coral mtDNA and contamination by zooxanthellate DNA, very few molecular markers are available for studying the clonal structure of cnidarians. Herein we used four polymorphic loci of microsatellite DNA isolated from a zooxanthellae-free octocoral, Junceella juncea, to study its clonal structure in seven populations collected from three localities in Taiwan. In total, 40 multilocus genotypes were found among 152 colonies, and the number of genotypes (clones) identified in the seven populations ranged from 2 to 16. Each of the 40 multilocus genotypes was restricted to a single population, even where adjacent populations were only 100 m distant. The ratio of observed to expected genotypic diversity (Go:Ge) ranged from 0.217 to 0.650, and Go showed a significant departure from Ge ( p<0.05) at each site indicating that asexual fragmentation may play a major role in the maintenance of established populations. Mean relatedness ( R) values showed that genotypes within reefs were more closely related than those between regions. The results indicate that microsatellites are useful for discerning the clonal structures among and within populations at different spatial scales.

  6. Genetic Diversity and Local Connectivity in the Mediterranean Red Gorgonian Coral after Mass Mortality Events.

    PubMed

    Pilczynska, Joanna; Cocito, Silvia; Boavida, Joana; Serrão, Ester; Queiroga, Henrique

    2016-01-01

    Estimating the patterns of connectivity in marine taxa with planktonic dispersive stages is a challenging but crucial task because of its conservation implications. The red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata is a habitat forming species, characterized by short larval dispersal and high reproductive output, but low recruitment. In the recent past, the species was impacted by mass mortality events caused by increased water temperatures in summer. In the present study, we used 9 microsatellites to investigate the genetic structure and connectivity in the highly threatened populations from the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). No evidence for a recent bottleneck neither decreased genetic diversity in sites impacted by mass mortality events were found. Significant IBD pattern and high global FST confirmed low larval dispersal capability in the red gorgonian. The maximum dispersal distance was estimated at 20-60 km. Larval exchange between sites separated by hundreds of meters and between different depths was detected at each site, supporting the hypothesis that deeper subpopulations unaffected by surface warming peaks may provide larvae for shallower ones, enabling recovery after climatically induced mortality events. PMID:26982334

  7. Genetic Diversity and Local Connectivity in the Mediterranean Red Gorgonian Coral after Mass Mortality Events

    PubMed Central

    Pilczynska, Joanna; Cocito, Silvia; Boavida, Joana; Serrão, Ester; Queiroga, Henrique

    2016-01-01

    Estimating the patterns of connectivity in marine taxa with planktonic dispersive stages is a challenging but crucial task because of its conservation implications. The red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata is a habitat forming species, characterized by short larval dispersal and high reproductive output, but low recruitment. In the recent past, the species was impacted by mass mortality events caused by increased water temperatures in summer. In the present study, we used 9 microsatellites to investigate the genetic structure and connectivity in the highly threatened populations from the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). No evidence for a recent bottleneck neither decreased genetic diversity in sites impacted by mass mortality events were found. Significant IBD pattern and high global FST confirmed low larval dispersal capability in the red gorgonian. The maximum dispersal distance was estimated at 20–60 km. Larval exchange between sites separated by hundreds of meters and between different depths was detected at each site, supporting the hypothesis that deeper subpopulations unaffected by surface warming peaks may provide larvae for shallower ones, enabling recovery after climatically induced mortality events. PMID:26982334

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

    PubMed

    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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21246044

  9. Variation in Symbiodinium ITS2 Sequence Assemblages among Coral Colonies

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21246044

  10. Computational Analysis of Flow Field Inside Coral Colony

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hossain, Md Monir; Staples, Anne

    2015-11-01

    Development of the flow field inside coral colonies is a key issue for understanding coral natural uptake, photosynthesis and wave dissipation capabilities. But most of the computations and experiments conducted earlier, measured the flow outside the coral reef canopies. Experimental studies are also constrained due to the limitation of measurement techniques and limited environmental conditions. Numerical simulations can be an answer to overcome these shortcomings. In this work, a detailed, three-dimensional simulation of flow around a single coral colony was developed to examine the interaction between coral geometry and hydrodynamics. To simplify grid generation and minimize computational cost, Immersed Boundary method (IBM) was implemented. The computation of IBM involves identification of the interface between the solid body and the fluid, establishment of the grid/interface relation and identification of the forcing points on the grid and distribution of the forcing function on the corresponding points. LES was chosen as the framework to capture the turbulent flow field without requiring extensive modeling. The results presented will give insight into internal coral colony flow fields and the interaction between coral and surrounding ocean hydrodynamics.

  11. Telomere shortening in the colonial coral Acropora digitifera during development.

    PubMed

    Tsuta, Hiroki; Shinzato, Chuya; Satoh, Nori; Hidaka, Michio

    2014-03-01

    To test whether telomere length can be used in estimating the age of colonial corals, we used terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length analysis to compare the telomere lengths of the coral Acropora digitifera at three developmental stages: sperm, planula larvae, and polyps of adult colonies. We also compared the mean TRF lengths between branches at the center and periphery of tabular colonies of A. digitifera. A significant difference was observed in the mean TRF lengths in sperm, planulae, and polyps. The mean TRF length was longest in sperm and shortest in polyps from adult colonies. These results suggest that telomere length decreases during coral development and may be useful for estimating coral age. However, the mean TRF length of branches at the center of a table-form colony tended to be longer than that of peripheral branches, although this difference was not statistically significant. This suggests that both the chronological age of polyps and cell proliferation rate influence telomere length in polyps, and that estimating coral age based on telomere length is not a simple endeavor. PMID:24601774

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27190707

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:27190707

  14. Drag reduction by reconfiguration in gorgonians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Derr, Julien; Cornelissen, Annemiek J. M.; Bouchon, Claude; Bouchon, Yolande; Fournier, Jérôme; Moisan, Lionel; Lopez, Pascal Jean; Douady, Stéphane

    2015-11-01

    Gorgonians are polyp colonies over a flexible branched skeleton. Attached to the coral reefs, they are under the continuous oscillations of the swell. We investigate experimentally the drag, under continuous force traction, of Gorgonia Ventalina, which is particular as its branches are highly reconnected to form a flat net (see fan), perpendicular to the swell, and compare it with another branched species (candelstick). We observe a drag which is linear with speed, indicating a strong reconfiguration, which we also documented by imaging the gorgon shape, and transients showing that the gorgon do not always evolve along quasi-static curves. Depending on the size and shape of the gorgon, we observe different details, from a more rigid small gorgon to a flexible long one. A large gorgon with detached fingers, closing on themselves under the current, presents characteristics surprisingly close to a rigid candlestick one, with not much reconfiguration.

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

    PubMed

    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

  16. Repeated loss of coloniality and symbiosis in scleractinian corals

    PubMed Central

    Barbeitos, Marcos S.; Romano, Sandra L.; Lasker, Howard R.

    2010-01-01

    The combination of coloniality and symbiosis in Scleractinia is thought to confer competitive advantage over other benthic invertebrates, and it is likely the key factor for the dominance of corals in tropical reefs. However, the extant Scleractinia are evenly split between zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate species. Most azooxanthellate species are solitary and nearly absent from reefs, but have much wider geographic and bathymetric distributions than reef corals. Molecular phylogenetic analyses have repeatedly recovered clades formed by colonial/zooxanthellate and solitary/azooxanthellate taxa, suggesting that coloniality and symbiosis were repeatedly acquired and/or lost throughout the history of the Scleractinia. Using Bayesian ancestral state reconstruction, we found that symbiosis was lost at least three times and coloniality lost at least six times, and at least two instances in which both characters were lost. All of the azooxanthellate lineages originated from ancestors that were reconstructed as symbiotic, corroborating the onshore–offshore diversification trend recorded in marine taxa. Symbiotic sister taxa of two of these descendant lineages are extant in Caribbean reefs but disappeared from the Mediterranean before the end of the Miocene, whereas extant azooxanthellate lineages have trans-Atlantic distributions. Thus, the phyletic link between reef and nonreef communities may have played an important role in the dynamics of extinction and recovery that marks the evolutionary history of scleractinians, and some reef lineages may have escaped local extinction by diversifying into offshore environments. However, this macroevolutionary mechanism offers no hope of mitigating the effects of climate change on coral reefs in the next century. PMID:20547851

  17. Growing coral larger and faster: micro-colony-fusion as a strategy for accelerating coral cover

    PubMed Central

    Page, Christopher A.; Toonen, Robert J.; Vaughan, David

    2015-01-01

    Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1–3 cm2) fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month) followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm2 per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration. PMID:26500822

  18. Nutrient regime shift in the western North Atlantic indicated by compound-specific δ15N of deep-sea gorgonian corals.

    PubMed

    Sherwood, Owen A; Lehmann, Moritz F; Schubert, Carsten J; Scott, David B; McCarthy, Matthew D

    2011-01-18

    Despite the importance of the nitrogen (N) cycle on marine productivity, little is known about variability in N sources and cycling in the ocean in relation to natural and anthropogenic climate change. Beyond the last few decades of scientific observation, knowledge depends largely on proxy records derived from nitrogen stable isotopes (δ(15)N) preserved in sediments and other bioarchives. Traditional bulk δ(15)N measurements, however, represent the combined influence of N source and subsequent trophic transfers, often confounding environmental interpretation. Recently, compound-specific analysis of individual amino acids (δ(15)N-AA) has been shown as a means to deconvolve trophic level versus N source effects on the δ(15)N variability of bulk organic matter. Here, we demonstrate the first use of δ(15)N-AA in a paleoceanographic study, through analysis of annually secreted growth rings preserved in the organic endoskeletons of deep-sea gorgonian corals. In the Northwest Atlantic off Nova Scotia, coral δ(15)N is correlated with increasing presence of subtropical versus subpolar slope waters over the twentieth century. By using the new δ(15)N-AA approach to control for variable trophic processing, we are able to interpret coral bulk δ(15)N values as a proxy for nitrate source and, hence, slope water source partitioning. We conclude that the persistence of the warm, nutrient-rich regime since the early 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last approximately 1,800 yr. This evidence suggests that nutrient variability in this region is coordinated with recent changes in global climate and underscores the broad potential of δ(15)N-AA for paleoceanographic studies of the marine N cycle. PMID:21199952

  19. Characterizing coral condition using estimates of three-dimensional colony surface area.

    PubMed

    Fisher, William S; Davis, William P; Quarles, Robert L; Patrick, James; Campbell, Jed G; Harris, Peggy S; Hemmer, Becky L; Parsons, Mel

    2007-02-01

    Coral reefs provide shoreline protection, biological diversity, fishery harvests, and tourism, all values that stem from the physically-complex coral infrastructure. Stony corals (scleractinians) construct and maintain the reef through deposition of calcium carbonate. Therefore, assessment of coral reefs requires at least some measurement endpoints that reflect the biological and physical condition of stony corals. Most monitoring programs portray coral quantity as live coral cover, which is the two-dimensional proportion of coral surface to sea floor viewed from above (planar view). The absence of the third dimension, however, limits our ability to characterize coral reef value, physiology, health and sustainability. A three-dimensional (3D) approach more realistically characterizes coral structure available as community habitat and, when combined with estimates of live coral tissue, quantifies the amount of living coral available for photosynthesis, growth and reproduction. A rapid coral survey procedure that coupled 3D coral quantification with more traditional survey measurements was developed and tested in the field. The survey procedure relied on only three underwater observations--species identification, colony size, and proportion of live tissue--made on each colony in the transect. These observations generated a variety of metrics, including several based on 3D colony surface area, that are relevant to reef management. PMID:17225074

  20. Decline in abundance and health state of an Atlantic subtropical gorgonian population.

    PubMed

    Erni Cassola, Gabriel; Pacheco, Matheus S C; Barbosa, Moysés C; Hansen, Dennis M; Ferreira, Carlos E L

    2016-03-15

    Losses in coral cover have been widely reported for the Caribbean. In contrast, much less is known about the health state of the Brazilian reef fauna, which was declared as a priority for Atlantic biodiversity conservation due to its high degree of endemism. In the present study, we assessed the general health state of Phyllogorgia dilatata assemblages at the subtropical reefs of Arraial do Cabo (southeastern Brazil), where observations suggest that the abundance of this endemic gorgonian species has declined. We found that about 49% of the sampled colonies were dead, and 73% of the living colonies were affected by tissue loss. Tissue loss initially manifested as multifocal holes in the planar colonial coenenchyme and peripheral tissue retraction leaving denuded skeletal axes. In combination with other recent studies, our results raise the awareness for an increasingly threatened Southwestern Atlantic reef coral fauna. PMID:26822908

  1. Potent Antifouling Marine Dihydroquinolin-2(1H)-one-Containing Alkaloids from the Gorgonian Coral-Derived Fungus Scopulariopsis sp.

    PubMed

    Shao, Chang-Lun; Xu, Ru-Fang; Wang, Chang-Yun; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Wang, Kai-Ling; Wei, Mei-Yan

    2015-08-01

    Marine biofouling has a major economic impact, especially when it occurs on ship hulls or aquaculture facilities. Since the International Maritime Organization (IMO) treaty to ban the application of organotin-based paints to ships went into effect in 2008, there is an urgent demand for the development of efficient and environmentally friendly antifouling agents. Marine microorganisms have proved to be a potential source of antifouling natural compounds. In this study, six dihydroquinolin-2-one-containing alkaloids, three monoterpenoids combined with a 4-phenyl-3,4-dihydroquinolin-2(1H)-one (1-3) and three 4-phenyl-3,4-dihydroquinolin-2(1H)-one alkaloids (4-6), were isolated from the gorgonian coral-derived fungus Scopulariopsis sp. collected in the South China Sea. These dihydroquinolin-2-one-containing alkaloids were evaluated against the larval settlement of barnacle Balanus amphitrite, and antifouling activity was detected for the first time for this class of metabolites. All of them except 6 showed strong antifouling activity. Compounds 1 and 2 were discovered to be the most promising non-toxic antilarval settlement candidates. Especially, compound 1 is the strongest antifouling compound in nature until now which showed highly potent activity with picomolar level (EC50 17.5 pM) and a very safety and high therapeutic ratio (LC50/EC50 1200). This represents an effective non-toxic, anti-larval settlement structural class of promising antifouling lead compound. PMID:25833409

  2. Decline in condition of gorgonian octocorals on mesophotic reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico: before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etnoyer, Peter J.; Wickes, Leslie N.; Silva, Mauricio; Dubick, J. D.; Balthis, Len; Salgado, Enrique; MacDonald, Ian R.

    2016-03-01

    Hard-bottom `mesophotic' reefs along the `40-fathom' (73 m) shelf edge in the northern Gulf of Mexico were investigated for potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill from the Macondo well in April 2010. Alabama Alps Reef, Roughtongue Reef, and Yellowtail Reef were near the well, situated 60-88 m below floating oil discharged during the DWH spill for several weeks and subject to dispersant applications. In contrast, Coral Trees Reef and Madison Swanson South Reef were far from the DWH spill site and below the slick for less than a week or not at all, respectively. The reefs were surveyed by ROV in 2010, 2011, and 2014 and compared to similar surveys conducted one and two decades earlier. Large gorgonian octocorals were present at all sites in moderate abundance including Swiftia exserta, Hypnogorgia pendula, Thesea spp., and Placogorgia spp. The gorgonians were assessed for health and condition in a before-after-control-impact (BACI) research design using still images captured from ROV video transects. Injury was modeled as a categorical response to proximity and time using logistic regression. Condition of gorgonians at sites near Macondo well declined significantly post-spill. Before the spill, injury was observed for 4-9 % of large gorgonians. After the spill, injury was observed in 38-50 % of large gorgonians. Odds of injury for sites near Macondo were 10.8 times higher post-spill, but unchanged at far sites. The majority of marked injured colonies in 2011 declined further in condition by 2014. Marked healthy colonies generally remained healthy. Background stresses to corals, including fishing activity, fishing debris, and coral predation, were noted during surveys, but do not appear to account for the decline in condition at study sites near Macondo well.

  3. Colony-specific calcification and mortality under ocean acidification in the branching coral Montipora digitata.

    PubMed

    Kavousi, Javid; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Nishida, Kozue; Suzuki, Atsushi; Nojiri, Yukihiro; Nakamura, Takashi

    2016-08-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) threatens calcifying marine organisms including reef-building corals. In this study, we examined the OA responses of individual colonies of the branching scleractinian coral Montipora digitata. We exposed nubbins of unique colonies (n = 15) to ambient or elevated pCO2 under natural light and temperature regimes for 110 days. Although elevated pCO2 exposure on average reduced calcification, individual colonies showed unique responses ranging from declines in positive calcification to negative calcification (decalcification) to no change. Similarly, mortality was greater on average in elevated pCO2, but also showed colony-specific patterns. High variation in colony responses suggests the possibility that ongoing OA may lead to natural selection of OA-tolerant colonies within a coral population. PMID:27290618

  4. Telomere length of the colonial coral Galaxea fascicularis at different developmental stages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuta, H.; Hidaka, M.

    2013-06-01

    The ability to estimate coral age using soft tissue would be useful for population biology or aging studies on corals. In this study, we investigated whether telomere length can be used to estimate coral age. We applied single telomere length analysis to a colonial coral, Galaxea fascicularis, and estimated telomere lengths of specific coral chromosomes at different developmental stages. If the telomere shortened at each cell division, the telomere length of the coral would be longest in sperm and shortest in adult colonies. However, the mean telomere length of sperm, planula larvae, and polyps was approximately 4 kb, with no significant differences among the developmental stages. The telomerase restriction fragment (TRF) analysis also showed no significant difference in the mean TRF length among the developmental stages. Our results suggested that telomere length is maintained during developmental stages and that estimating the age of colonial coral based on telomere length may not be possible. However, our findings can be used to examine avoidance of aging and rejuvenation during regeneration and asexual reproduction in colonial corals.

  5. Light-mediated 15N fractionation in Caribbean gorgonian octocorals: implications for pollution monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, D. M.; Kim, K.; Andras, J. P.; Sparks, J. P.

    2011-09-01

    The stable nitrogen isotope ratio ( δ 15N) of coral tissue is a useful recorder of anthropogenic pollution in tropical marine ecosystems. However, little is known of the natural environmentally induced fractionations that affect our interpretation of coral δ 15N values. In symbiotic scleractinians, light affects metabolic fractionation of N during photosynthesis, which may confound the identification of N pollution between sites of varied depth or turbidity. Given the superiority of octocorals for δ 15N studies, our goal was to quantify the effect of light on gorgonian δ 15N in the context of monitoring N pollution sources. Using field collections, we show that δ 15N declined by 1.4‰ over 20 m depth in two species of gorgonians, the common sea fan, Gorgonia ventalina, and the slimy sea plume, Pseudopterogorgia americana. An 8-week laboratory experiment with P. americana showed that light, not temperature causes this variation, whereby the lowest fractionation of the N source was observed in the highest light treatment. Finally, we used a yearlong reciprocal depth transplant experiment to quantify the time frame over which δ 15N changes in G. ventalina as a function of light regime . Over the year, δ 15N was unchanged and increased slightly in the deep control colonies and shallow colonies transplanted to the deep site, respectively. Within 6 months, colonies transplanted from deep to shallow became enriched by 0.8‰, mirroring the enrichment observed in the shallow controls, which was likely due to the combined effect of an increase in the source δ 15N and reduced fractionation. We conclude that light affects gorgonian δ 15N fractionation and should be considered in sampling designs for N pollution monitoring. However, these fractionations are small relative to differences observed between natural and anthropogenic N sources.

  6. Disturbance Driven Colony Fragmentation as a Driver of a Coral Disease Outbreak

    PubMed Central

    Brandt, Marilyn E.; Smith, Tyler B.; Correa, Adrienne M. S.; Vega-Thurber, Rebecca

    2013-01-01

    In September of 2010, Brewer's Bay reef, located in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), was simultaneously affected by abnormally high temperatures and the passage of a hurricane that resulted in the mass bleaching and fragmentation of its coral community. An outbreak of a rapid tissue loss disease among coral colonies was associated with these two disturbances. Gross lesion signs and lesion progression rates indicated that the disease was most similar to the Caribbean coral disease white plague type 1. Experiments indicated that the disease was transmissible through direct contact between colonies, and five-meter radial transects showed a clustered spatial distribution of disease, with diseased colonies being concentrated within the first meter of other diseased colonies. Disease prevalence and the extent to which colonies were bleached were both significantly higher on unattached colony fragments than on attached colonies, and disease occurred primarily on fragments found in direct contact with sediment. In contrast to other recent studies, disease presence was not related to the extent of bleaching on colonies. The results of this study suggest that colony fragmentation and contact with sediment played primary roles in the initial appearance of disease, but that the disease was capable of spreading among colonies, which suggests secondary transmission is possible through some other, unidentified mechanism. PMID:23437335

  7. Temporal variability in epifaunal assemblages associated with temperate gorgonian gardens.

    PubMed

    Dias, I M; Cúrdia, J; Cunha, M R; Santos, M N; Carvalho, S

    2015-12-01

    The present study is one of the few that investigate the temporal variability of epifaunal assemblages associated with coral species, particularly the octocorals Eunicella gazella and Leptogorgia lusitanica in south Portugal. The results suggest time rather than colony size as a primary driver of the ecological patterns of these assemblages, which were dominated by amphipods, molluscs and polychaetes. Temporal variability was linked to changes in environmental parameters, namely temperature, chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon. Hence, temporal variability must be taken into account for the design of future biodiversity assessment studies, as different patterns may be observed depending on the sampling time. Associated epifaunal assemblages were consistently dominated by resident species (i.e. species present in all sampling periods) and a peak of rare species was observed in the transition from spring to summer following the increase in seawater temperature. Turnover was particularly high in the transition between the spring and summer periods. In both hosts, turnover was higher in the small sized colonies, which harboured less diverse and less abundant assemblages that also differed from those inhabiting larger size colonies. The high levels of diversity associated with gorgonian colonies highlight the need for the conservation of this priority habitat. PMID:26525873

  8. Microbial community compositional shifts in bleached colonies of the Brazilian reef-building coral Siderastrea stellata.

    PubMed

    Lins-de-Barros, Monica M; Cardoso, Alexander M; Silveira, Cynthia B; Lima, Joyce L; Clementino, Maysa M; Martins, Orlando B; Albano, Rodolpho M; Vieira, Ricardo P

    2013-01-01

    The association of metazoan, protist, and microbial communities with Scleractinian corals forms the basis of the coral holobiont. Coral bleaching events have been occurring around the world, introducing changes in the delicate balance of the holobiont symbiotic interactions. In this study, Archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotic phototrophic plastids of bleached colonies of the Brazilian coral Siderastrea stellata were analyzed for the first time, using 16S rRNA gene libraries. Prokaryotic communities were slightly more diverse in healthy than in bleached corals. However, the eukaryotic phototrophic plastids community was more diverse in bleached corals. Archaea phylogenetic analyses revealed a high percentage of Crenarchaeota sequences, mainly related to Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Cenarchaeum symbiosum. Dramatic changes in bacterial community composition were observed in this bleaching episode. The dominant bacterial group was Alphaproteobacteria followed by Gammaproteobacteria in bleached and Betaproteobacteria in healthy samples. Plastid operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from both coral samples were mainly related to red algae chloroplasts (Florideophycea), but we also observed some OTUs related to green algae chloroplasts (Chlorophyta). There seems to be a strong relationship between the Bacillariophyta phylum and our bleached coral samples as clones related to members of the diatom genera Amphora and Nitzschia were detected. The present study reveals information from a poorly investigated coral species and improves the knowledge of coral microbial community shifts that could occur during bleaching episodes. PMID:22864853

  9. Colony-specific investigations reveal highly variable responses among individual corals to ocean acidification and warming.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26009841

  10. Limited Genetic Connectivity between Gorgonian Morphotypes along a Depth Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Gori, Andrea; Lopez-González, Pablo; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Rossi, Sergio; Gili, Josep-Maria; Abbiati, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Gorgonian species show a high morphological variability in relation to the environment in which they live. In coastal areas, parameters such as temperature, light, currents, and food availability vary significantly with depth, potentially affecting morphology of the colonies and the structure of the populations, as well as their connectivity patterns. In tropical seas, the existence of connectivity between shallow and deep populations supported the hypothesis that the deep coral reefs could potentially act as (reproductive) refugia fostering re-colonization of shallow areas after mortality events. Moreover, this hypothesis is not so clear accepted in temperate seas. Eunicella singularis is one of the most common gorgonian species in Northwestern Mediterranean Sea, playing an important role as ecosystem engineer by providing biomass and complexity to the coralligenous habitats. It has a wide bathymetric distribution ranging from about 10 m to 100 m. Two depth-related morphotypes have been identified, differing in colony morphology, sclerite size and shape, and occurrence of symbiotic algae, but not in mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. In the present study the genetic structure of E. singularis populations along a horizontal and bathymetric gradient was assessed using microsatellites and ITS1 sequences. Restricted gene flow was found at 30–40 m depth between the two Eunicella morphotypes. Conversely, no genetic structuring has been found among shallow water populations within a spatial scale of ten kilometers. The break in gene flow between shallow and deep populations contributes to explain the morphological variability observed at different depths. Moreover, the limited vertical connectivity hinted that the refugia hypothesis does not apply to E. singularis. Re-colonization of shallow water populations, occasionally affected by mass mortality events, should then be mainly fueled by larvae from other shallow water populations. PMID:27490900

  11. Limited Genetic Connectivity between Gorgonian Morphotypes along a Depth Gradient.

    PubMed

    Costantini, Federica; Gori, Andrea; Lopez-González, Pablo; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Rossi, Sergio; Gili, Josep-Maria; Abbiati, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Gorgonian species show a high morphological variability in relation to the environment in which they live. In coastal areas, parameters such as temperature, light, currents, and food availability vary significantly with depth, potentially affecting morphology of the colonies and the structure of the populations, as well as their connectivity patterns. In tropical seas, the existence of connectivity between shallow and deep populations supported the hypothesis that the deep coral reefs could potentially act as (reproductive) refugia fostering re-colonization of shallow areas after mortality events. Moreover, this hypothesis is not so clear accepted in temperate seas. Eunicella singularis is one of the most common gorgonian species in Northwestern Mediterranean Sea, playing an important role as ecosystem engineer by providing biomass and complexity to the coralligenous habitats. It has a wide bathymetric distribution ranging from about 10 m to 100 m. Two depth-related morphotypes have been identified, differing in colony morphology, sclerite size and shape, and occurrence of symbiotic algae, but not in mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. In the present study the genetic structure of E. singularis populations along a horizontal and bathymetric gradient was assessed using microsatellites and ITS1 sequences. Restricted gene flow was found at 30-40 m depth between the two Eunicella morphotypes. Conversely, no genetic structuring has been found among shallow water populations within a spatial scale of ten kilometers. The break in gene flow between shallow and deep populations contributes to explain the morphological variability observed at different depths. Moreover, the limited vertical connectivity hinted that the refugia hypothesis does not apply to E. singularis. Re-colonization of shallow water populations, occasionally affected by mass mortality events, should then be mainly fueled by larvae from other shallow water populations. PMID:27490900

  12. The role of coral colony health state in the recovery of lesions

    PubMed Central

    Toledo-Hernandez, Carlos; Mercado-Molina, Alex E.; Pérez, María-Eglée; Sabat, Alberto M.

    2016-01-01

    Coral disease literature has focused, for the most part, on the etiology of the more than 35 coral afflictions currently described. Much less understood are the factors that underpin the capacity of corals to regenerate lesions, including the role of colony health. This lack of knowledge with respect to the factors that influence tissue regeneration significantly limits our understanding of the impact of diseases at the colony, population, and community level. In this study, we experimentally compared tissue regeneration capacity of diseased versus healthy fragments of Gorgonia ventalina colonies at 5 m and 12 m of depth. We found that the initial health state of colonies (i.e., diseased or healthy) had a significant effect on tissue regeneration (healing). All healthy fragments exhibited full recovery regardless of depth treatment, while diseased fragments did not. Our results suggest that being diseased or healthy has a significant effect on the capacity of a sea fan colony to repair tissue, but that environmental factors associated with changes in depth, such as temperature and light, do not. We conclude that disease doesn’t just compromise vital functions such as growth and reproduction in corals but also compromises their capacity to regenerate tissue and heal lesions. PMID:26788423

  13. Diversity, distribution and population size structure of deep Mediterranean gorgonian assemblages (Menorca Channel, Western Mediterranean Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grinyó, Jordi; Gori, Andrea; Ambroso, Stefano; Purroy, Ariadna; Calatayud, Clara; Dominguez-Carrió, Carlos; Coppari, Martina; Lo Iacono, Claudio; López-González, Pablo J.; Gili, Josep-Maria

    2016-06-01

    Gorgonians are a key group of organisms in benthic marine communities with a wide bathymetric and geographical distribution. Although their presence on continental shelves and slopes has been known for more than 100 years, knowledge concerning the ecology of deep gorgonian species is still in a very preliminary stage. To overcome this situation, gorgonian assemblages located at 40-360 m depth were studied over a large geographical area on the continental shelf and upper slope of the Menorca Channel (Western Mediterranean Sea). A quantitative analysis of video transects recorded by a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle, were used to examine the diversity, distribution and demography of gorgonian species. Results showed high gorgonian diversity within this depth range (a total of nine species were observed) compared to Mediterranean coastal areas. Gorgonian assemblages on the continental shelf and upper slope were mostly monospecific (respectively 73% and 76% of occupied sampling units contained one single species), whereas shelf edge assemblages were highly multispecific (92% of occupied sampling units contained several species). This contrasts with the monospecificity of Mediterranean coastal gorgonian assemblages. Gorgonian populations on the continental shelf were mostly dominated by small colonies (88% of measured colonies) with few intermediate and large colonies (12% of measured colonies). In deeper areas small colonies were still dominant (60% of measured colonies), but intermediate and large colonies were much more abundant (40% of measured colonies). This suggests high recruitment rates on the continental shelf, but perturbations (trammel nets, long lines and strong storms) may limit the presence of intermediate and large colonies. Conversely, on the shelf edge and upper slope a more stable environment may allow colonies to reach larger dimensions. The identification and ecological characterization of these deep assemblages further extends

  14. A Connection between Colony Biomass and Death in Caribbean Reef-Building Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Increased sea-surface temperatures linked to warming climate threaten coral reef ecosystems globally. To better understand how corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) respond to environmental change, tissue biomass and Symbiodinium density of seven coral species were measured on various reefs approximately every four months for up to thirteen years in the Upper Florida Keys, United States (1994–2007), eleven years in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas (1995–2006), and four years in Puerto Morelos, Mexico (2003–2007). For six out of seven coral species, tissue biomass correlated with Symbiodinium density. Within a particular coral species, tissue biomasses and Symbiodinium densities varied regionally according to the following trends: Mexico≥Florida Keys≥Bahamas. Average tissue biomasses and symbiont cell densities were generally higher in shallow habitats (1–4 m) compared to deeper-dwelling conspecifics (12–15 m). Most colonies that were sampled displayed seasonal fluctuations in biomass and endosymbiont density related to annual temperature variations. During the bleaching episodes of 1998 and 2005, five out of seven species that were exposed to unusually high temperatures exhibited significant decreases in symbiotic algae that, in certain cases, preceded further decreases in tissue biomass. Following bleaching, Montastraea spp. colonies with low relative biomass levels died, whereas colonies with higher biomass levels survived. Bleaching- or disease-associated mortality was also observed in Acropora cervicornis colonies; compared to A. palmata, all A. cervicornis colonies experienced low biomass values. Such patterns suggest that Montastraea spp. and possibly other coral species with relatively low biomass experience increased susceptibility to death following bleaching or other stressors than do conspecifics with higher tissue biomass levels. PMID:22216307

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    Increased sea-surface temperatures linked to warming climate threaten coral reef ecosystems globally. To better understand how corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) respond to environmental change, tissue biomass and Symbiodinium density of seven coral species were measured on various reefs approximately every four months for up to thirteen years in the Upper Florida Keys, United States (1994-2007), eleven years in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas (1995-2006), and four years in Puerto Morelos, Mexico (2003-2007). For six out of seven coral species, tissue biomass correlated with Symbiodinium density. Within a particular coral species, tissue biomasses and Symbiodinium densities varied regionally according to the following trends: Mexico≥Florida Keys≥Bahamas. Average tissue biomasses and symbiont cell densities were generally higher in shallow habitats (1-4 m) compared to deeper-dwelling conspecifics (12-15 m). Most colonies that were sampled displayed seasonal fluctuations in biomass and endosymbiont density related to annual temperature variations. During the bleaching episodes of 1998 and 2005, five out of seven species that were exposed to unusually high temperatures exhibited significant decreases in symbiotic algae that, in certain cases, preceded further decreases in tissue biomass. Following bleaching, Montastraea spp. colonies with low relative biomass levels died, whereas colonies with higher biomass levels survived. Bleaching- or disease-associated mortality was also observed in Acropora cervicornis colonies; compared to A. palmata, all A. cervicornis colonies experienced low biomass values. Such patterns suggest that Montastraea spp. and possibly other coral species with relatively low biomass experience increased susceptibility to death following bleaching or other stressors than do conspecifics with higher tissue biomass levels. PMID:22216307

  16. Effects of flow and colony morphology on the thermal boundary layer of corals

    PubMed Central

    Jimenez, Isabel M.; Kühl, Michael; Larkum, Anthony W. D.; Ralph, Peter J.

    2011-01-01

    The thermal microenvironment of corals and the thermal effects of changing flow and radiation are critical to understanding heat-induced coral bleaching, a stress response resulting from the destruction of the symbiosis between corals and their photosynthetic microalgae. Temperature microsensor measurements at the surface of illuminated stony corals with uneven surface topography (Leptastrea purpurea and Platygyra sinensis) revealed millimetre-scale variations in surface temperature and thermal boundary layer (TBL) that may help understand the patchy nature of coral bleaching within single colonies. The effect of water flow on the thermal microenvironment was investigated in hemispherical and branching corals (Porites lobata and Stylophora pistillata, respectively) in a flow chamber experiment. For both coral types, the thickness of the TBL decreased exponentially from 2.5 mm at quasi-stagnant flow (0.3 cm s−1), to 1 mm at 5 cm s−1, with an exponent approximately 0.5 consistent with predictions from the heat transfer theory for simple geometrical objects and typical of laminar boundary layer processes. Measurements of mass transfer across the diffusive boundary layer using O2 microelectrodes revealed a greater exponent for mass transfer when compared with heat transfer, indicating that heat and mass transfer at the surface of corals are not exactly analogous processes. PMID:21602322

  17. Photophysiology and daily primary production of a temperate symbiotic gorgonian.

    PubMed

    Ferrier-Pagès, C; Reynaud, S; Béraud, E; Rottier, C; Menu, D; Duong, G; Gévaert, F

    2015-01-01

    Gorgonians are one of the most important benthic components of tropical and temperate areas, and play a fundamental role as ecosystem engineers. Although global warming and pollution increasingly threaten them, the acquisition of nutrients, which is a key process in fitness and stress resistance, has been poorly investigated in such species. This study has thus used an advanced in situ incubation chamber for the first time with gorgonians, to assess the daily acquisition of nutrients and the photophysiology of the Mediterranean symbiotic species, Eunicella singularis. The xanthophyll cycle was assessed in parallel. This work has revealed that E. singularis presents a different functioning than the Mediterranean symbiotic corals. This gorgonian indeed relies on both autotrophy and heterotrophy in summer to optimize its energetic budget, while corals mainly shift to autotrophy for their respiratory needs and tissue growth. In addition, although E. singularis lives in the same depths/locations, and harbours the same symbiont genotype than the corals, the photosynthetic performances of their respective symbionts are significantly different. Indeed, E. singularis acquired 2-3 times less autotrophic carbon from its symbionts than corals, but maintained a positive carbon budget by reducing respiration rates, and by presenting maximal photosynthetic rates throughout the day, suggesting a very efficient light utilization. Almost no photoinhibition was observed under very high light levels, because of the induction of a xanthophyll photoprotection process. These results help understanding why gorgonians often dominate many benthic ecosystems. PMID:25255987

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

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M James C

    2007-08-01

    Data on colony growth of the branching coral Acropora palmata from fringing reefs off Discovery Bay on the north coast of Jamaica have been obtained over the period 2002-2007 using underwater photography and image analysis by both SCUBA and remotely using an ROV incorporating twin lasers. Growth modelling shows that while logarithmic growth is an approximate model for growth, a 3:3 rational polynomial function provides a significantly better fit to growth data for this coral species. Over the period 2002-2007, involving several cycles of sea surface temperature (SST) change, the rate of growth of A. palmata was largely proportional to rate of change of SST, with R(2)=0.935. These results have implications for the influence of global warming and climate change on coral reef ecosystems. PMID:17631417

  19. Vertical structure of turbulence within a depression surrounded by coral reef colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zhi-Cheng

    2015-09-01

    Turbulence is important in coral reefs but is difficult to measure in the field. In this paper, I present in situ measurements of waves, currents, and turbulence to study the vertical structure of turbulence within a depression (curved channel) that is surrounded by coral reef colonies on a fringing reef in Hobihu, Nan-Wan Bay, southern Taiwan. Turbulence was measured using a dual-velocimetry technique, and wave bias contamination in the turbulence is controlled using ogive curve testing of the turbulent shear stress (TSS). The observed turbulent dissipation rate ( ɛ) is approximately five times greater than simultaneous observations over the nearby sandy bottom site, which indicates stronger mixing within the coral reef than on sandy bottoms. The low ratio of the TSS to the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and sweeping events indicate that energetic momentum is transported downward into the depression of the coral reef canopies. The observed value of ɛ exceeds the shear production rate, which suggests that transport terms or other source terms might be important. Direct evaluation of the transport terms suggests that vertical turbulent transport and advection are significant mechanisms that diffuse and convect the TKE downward into the depression. The observed TSS can be described well by the Prandtl-von Kármán eddy viscosity model and a two-equation turbulence model, which suggests that it is possible to develop a physically based model to quantify nutrient uptake and mass transfer in coral reefs under complex wave-current coastal flows.

  20. Coral colony tissue damage in six species of reef-building corals: partial mortality in relation with depth and surface area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meesters, Erik H.; Wesseling, Ineke; Bak, Rolf P. M.

    1997-05-01

    Partial mortality and its relation with colony size was assessed in colonies of 6 species of reef-building corals (Scleractinia) at three sites in 2 depth zones, reef terrace (7 m) and fore-reef slope (18 m), on the fringing reefs of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. Partial mortality is manifest on coral colonies as tissue lesions which have not been closed by the surrounding tissue. Two types of lesions were distinguished: (1) Type I lesions, completely enclosed by living tissue, and (2) Type II lesions, not completely surrounded by tissue and open to the edge of the colony. These lesion types differed in occurrence and lesion size-frequency distributions, as well as in relation to variation in colony surface area and morphology. The percentage of undamaged colonies decreased with increasing colony size and lesion number increased logarithmically with colony surface area. Larger colonies have little chance to escape partial mortality. The abundance of Type I lesions was significantly less on the reef slope, while the number of Type II lesions was greater. This is probably caused by a relative increase of the colony circumference because colony height is reduced on the reef slope. Median lesion sizes ranged from 0.5 to 3 cm 2 for Type I lesions and from 2 to 60 cm 2 for Type I1 lesions. Type I1 lesions covered a much larger colony area than Type I lesions, suggesting that bottom-associated causes are relatively important with respect to partial mortality. Species and colonies with large circumference relative to total colony surface area, such as plate-like and small colonies, were particularly susceptible to partial mortality by Type II lesions. Whole-colony mortality rate of small juvenile corals was very high, but dropped abruptly with increasing size, probably at the time that growth direction changes from horizontal to vertical. This `escape in height' makes corals less susceptible to partial mortality and represents an important life history characteristic

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

    PubMed

    Muller, Erinn M; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes. PMID:25372835

  2. Colony size-frequency distribution of pocilloporid juvenile corals along a natural environmental gradient in the Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Lozano-Cortés, Diego F; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

    Coral colony size-frequency distributions can be used to assess population responses to local environmental conditions and disturbances. In this study, we surveyed juvenile pocilloporids, herbivorous fish densities, and algal cover in the central and southern Saudi Arabian Red Sea. We sampled nine reefs with different disturbance histories along a north-south natural gradient of physicochemical conditions (higher salinity and wider temperature fluctuations in the north, and higher turbidity and productivity in the south). Since coral populations with negatively skewed size-frequency distributions have been associated with unfavorable environmental conditions, we expected to find more negative distributions in the southern Red Sea, where corals are potentially experiencing suboptimal conditions. Although juvenile coral and parrotfish densities differed significantly between the two regions, mean colony size and size-frequency distributions did not. Results suggest that pocilloporid colony size-frequency distribution may not be an accurate indicator of differences in biological or oceanographic conditions in the Red Sea. PMID:26520210

  3. Water flow and coral colony size: Interhabitat comparisons of the octocoral Alcyonium siderium

    PubMed Central

    Sebens, K. P.

    1984-01-01

    Colonies of the octocoral Alcyonium siderium Verrill form aggregations on subtidal vertical rock walls in the Gulf of Maine. Maximum and mean colony sizes increase dramatically from protected embayments to sites exposed to ocean swells and from the bottom to the top of each vertical wall studied. Water movement along the substratum, generated by surface waves and tides, also increases along both gradients. Although plankton concentrations were similar at all sites during a 2-yr period, increased encounter rates of zooplankton with coral tentacles will result in greater energy intake and, thus, faster growth rates at the more exposed sites with greater flow. Other hypotheses for the proximate cause of the size gradient, such as differential mortality of large colonies or generally higher mortality rates at the protected site, are not consistent with available data. PMID:16593509

  4. Control of aragonite deposition in colonial corals by intra-skeletal macromolecules.

    PubMed

    Falini, Giuseppe; Reggi, Michela; Fermani, Simona; Sparla, Francesca; Goffredo, Stefano; Dubinsky, Zvy; Levi, Oren; Dauphin, Yannicke; Cuif, Jean-Pierre

    2013-08-01

    Scleractinian coral skeletons are composed mainly of aragonite in which a small percentage of organic matrix (OM) molecules is entrapped. It is well known that in corals the mineral deposition occurs in a biological confined nucleation site, but it is still unclear to what extent the calcification is controlled by OM molecules. Hence, the shape, size and organization of skeletal crystals from the fiber level through the colony architecture, were also attributed to factors as diverse as nucleation site mineral supersaturation and environmental factors in the habitat. In this work the OMs were extracted from the skeleton of three colonial corals, Acropora digitifera, Lophelia pertusa and Montipora caliculata. A. digitifera has a higher calcification rate than the other two species. OM molecules were characterized and their CaCO3 mineralization activity was evaluated by experiments of overgrowth on coral skeletons and of precipitation from solutions containing OM soluble and insoluble fractions and magnesium ions. The precipitates were characterized by spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. The results showed that the OM molecules of the three coral share similar features, but differ from those associated with mollusk shells. However, A. digitifera OM shows peculiarities from those from L. pertusa and M. caliculata. The CaCO3 overgrowth and precipitation experiments confirm the singularity of A. digitifera OM molecules as mineralizers. Moreover, their comparison indicates that only specific molecules are involved in the polymorphism control and suggests that when the whole extracted materials are used the OM's main effect is on the control of particles' shape and morphology. PMID:23669627

  5. Clustered parrotfish feeding scars trigger partial coral mortality of massive Porites colonies on the inshore Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welsh, J. Q.; Bonaldo, R. M.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2015-03-01

    Coral predation by parrotfishes can cause damage to coral colonies, but research into the dynamics of their feeding scars on Indo-Pacific corals is limited. We monitored feeding scars of the parrotfish Chlorurus microrhinos on massive Porites colonies at Orpheus Island (inshore Great Barrier Reef) over 4 months. Of the 30 marks monitored, 11 were single feeding scars, which all healed completely. The remaining 19 feeding marks consisted of clusters of scars. Eight began to recover, while 11 increased in size by 1,576 ± 252 % (mean ± SE). A logistic regression predicted that a single feeding scar on a Porites colony had a 97 % probability of healing; however, where more than three feeding scars were present, this dropped below 50 %. As excavating parrotfishes in the Indo-Pacific often take multiple focused bites, they may have a significant impact on the growth and mortality of massive Porites colonies at Orpheus Island.

  6. Defining fundamental niche dimensions of corals: synergistic effects of colony size, light, and flow.

    PubMed

    Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R

    2009-03-01

    The "fundamental niche" is the range of conditions under which an organism can survive and reproduce, measured in the absence of biotic interactions. Niche measurements are often based on statistical relationships between species presence and measured environmental variables, or inferred from measured responses of species along hypothesized niche axes. In this study, we use novel, process-based models of how irradiance and gas diffusion influence photosynthesis and respiration to predict niche dimensions for three coral species: Acropora nasuta, Montipora foliosa, and Leptoria phrygia. We use a combination of mathematical modeling, laboratory experiments, and field observations to establish the link between energy acquisition and the dominant environmental gradients on reefs: light intensity and water flow velocity. Our approach allows us to quantify how the shape of the niche varies in response to light and flow conditions. The model predicts that, due to its higher photosynthetic capacity, the branching coral A. nasuta has a positive energy balance over awider range of conditions than both a massive species (L. phrygia) and a foliose species (M. foliosa). Moreover, colony size influences niche width, with larger colonies of all three species achieving a positive energy balance over a broader range of conditions than small colonies. Comparison of model predictions with field data demonstrated that tissue biomass and reproductive output are significantly and positively correlated with predicted energy acquisition. These results show how interactions between light and flow determine organism performance along environmental gradients on coral reefs. In addition, this study demonstrates the utility of process-based models for quantifying how physiology influences ecology, and for predicting the ecological consequences of varying environmental conditions. PMID:19341146

  7. The World's largest known Gorgonian.

    PubMed

    Watling, Les; Rowley, Sonia; Guinotte, John

    2013-01-01

    Gorgonians in the deep sea can be much larger than their shallow water counterparts, but there are only a few scattered measurements. We have estimated the size of a chrysogorgiid gorgonian, Iridogorgia magnispiralis Watling 2007, observed from a submersible on Twin Banks in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, as being 5.7 m tall. PMID:26131507

  8. Insights on Coral Adaptation from Polyp and Colony Morphology, Skeletal Density Banding and Carbonate Depositional Facies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oehlert, A. M.; Hill, C. A.; Piggot, A. M.; Fouke, B. W.

    2008-12-01

    As one of the core reservoirs of primary production in the world's oceans, tropical coral reefs support a complex ecosystem that directly impacts over ninety percent of marine organisms at some point in their life cycle. Corals themselves are highly complex organisms and exhibit a range of growth forms that range from branching to massive, foliaceous, columnar, encrusting, free living and laminar coralla. Fierce competition over scarce resources available to each individual coral species creates niche specialization. Throughout the Phanerozic geological record, this has driven speciation events and created distinct skeletal growth morphologies that have differential abilities in feeding strategy. In turn, this has presumably led to the development of niche specialization that can be quantitatively measured through hierarchical morphological differences from the micrometer to the meter scale. Porter (1976) observed significant differences in skeletal morphology between Caribbean coral species that reflects an adaptive geometry based on feeding strategy. Within the Montastraea species complex there are four major morphologies; columnar, bouldering, irregular mounding, and skirted. Each morphotype can be found forming high abundance along the bathymetric gradient of coral reefs that grow along the leeward coast of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. We have undertaken a study to determine the relative relationships amongst coral morphology, skeletal density and feeding strategy by comparing the morphometric measurements of individual polyps as well as the entire colony along spatial and bathymetric gradients. Polyp diameter, mouth size, interpolyp area, and interpolyp distance were measured from high-resolution images taken on a stereoscope, and evaluated with AxioVision image analysis software. These high-resolution optical analyses have also revealed new observations regarding folded tissue structures of the outer margin of polyps in the Montastrea complex. Skeletal

  9. Breakdown of coral colonial form under reduced pH conditions is initiated in polyps and mediated through apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Kvitt, Hagit; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Maor-Landaw, Keren; Zandbank, Keren; Kushmaro, Ariel; Rosenfeld, Hanna; Fine, Maoz; Tchernov, Dan

    2015-02-17

    Certain stony corals can alternate between a calcifying colonial form and noncalcifying solitary polyps, supporting the hypothesis that corals have survived through geologic timescale periods of unfavorable calcification conditions. However, the mechanisms enabling this biological plasticity are yet to be identified. Here we show that incubation of two coral species (Pocillopora damicornis and Oculina patagonica) under reduced pH conditions (pH 7.2) simulating past ocean acidification induce tissue-specific apoptosis that leads to the dissociation of polyps from coenosarcs. This in turn leads to the breakdown of the coenosarc and, as a consequence, to loss of coloniality. Our data show that apoptosis is initiated in the polyps and that once dissociation between polyp and coenosarc terminates, apoptosis subsides. After reexposure of the resulting solitary polyps to normal pH (pH 8.2), both coral species regenerated coenosarc tissues and resumed calcification. These results indicate that regulation of coloniality is under the control of the polyp, the basic modular unit of the colony. A mechanistic explanation for several key evolutionarily important phenomena that occurred throughout coral evolution is proposed, including mechanisms that permitted species to survive the third tier of mass extinctions. PMID:25646434

  10. Breakdown of coral colonial form under reduced pH conditions is initiated in polyps and mediated through apoptosis

    PubMed Central

    Kvitt, Hagit; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Maor-Landaw, Keren; Zandbank, Keren; Kushmaro, Ariel; Rosenfeld, Hanna; Fine, Maoz; Tchernov, Dan

    2015-01-01

    Certain stony corals can alternate between a calcifying colonial form and noncalcifying solitary polyps, supporting the hypothesis that corals have survived through geologic timescale periods of unfavorable calcification conditions. However, the mechanisms enabling this biological plasticity are yet to be identified. Here we show that incubation of two coral species (Pocillopora damicornis and Oculina patagonica) under reduced pH conditions (pH 7.2) simulating past ocean acidification induce tissue-specific apoptosis that leads to the dissociation of polyps from coenosarcs. This in turn leads to the breakdown of the coenosarc and, as a consequence, to loss of coloniality. Our data show that apoptosis is initiated in the polyps and that once dissociation between polyp and coenosarc terminates, apoptosis subsides. After reexposure of the resulting solitary polyps to normal pH (pH 8.2), both coral species regenerated coenosarc tissues and resumed calcification. These results indicate that regulation of coloniality is under the control of the polyp, the basic modular unit of the colony. A mechanistic explanation for several key evolutionarily important phenomena that occurred throughout coral evolution is proposed, including mechanisms that permitted species to survive the third tier of mass extinctions. PMID:25646434

  11. Vertical structure of wave-current turbulence within coral-reef colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zhi-Cheng

    2015-04-01

    We present in situ measurements of waves, currents, and turbulence to study the vertical structure of turbulence within a channel that is surrounded by coral-reef colonies of a fringing reef in Hobihu, Nan-Wan Bay, southern Taiwan. Turbulence was measured using a dual velocimetry technique, and wave bias contamination in the turbulence is controlled using ogive curve testing of the turbulent shear stress (TSS). The observed turbulent dissipation rate is approximately 5 times greater than simultaneous observations over the nearby sandy bottom site, which indicates stronger mixing in the coral reef than on sandy bottoms. The low ratio of the TSS to the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and sweeping events indicate that energetic momentum is transported downward into the channel of the coral-reef canopies. The observed value of turbulent dissipation rate exceeds the shear production rate, which suggests that transport terms or other source terms might be important. Direct evaluation of the transport terms suggests that vertical turbulent transport and advection are significant mechanisms that diffuse and convect the TKE downward into the channel. The observed TSS can be described well by the Prandtl-von Kármán eddy viscosity model and a two-equation turbulent model. This study may contribute to other theoretical, observational, and numerical studies in pursuing more understanding and modeling for turbulent mixing of wave-current flows in coastal zones.

  12. East African Soil Erosion Recorded in a 300 Year old Coral Colony From Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunbar, R. B.; Fleitmann, D.; McCulloch, M.; Mudelsee, M.; Vuille, M.; McClanahan, T.; Cole, J.; Eggins, S.

    2006-12-01

    Soil erosion threatens the food security of 2.6 billion people worldwide. The situation is particularly dire in East and Sub-Saharan Africa where per capita food production has declined over the past 45 years. Erosion and the resultant loss of fertile soil is a key socio-economic and ecological problem in Kenya, affecting all sectors of its economy and damaging marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The temporal pattern of soil erosion is almost unknown and currently only sparse and rather anecdotal information exists. To aid in filling this gap of knowledge, we present a 300-year long Barium record from two Kenyan coral colonies (Porites sp., 3°15'S, 40°9' E; Malindi Marine National Park) that documents a dynamic history of soil erosion in the Sabaki river drainage basin. To reconstruct Sabaki River sediment flux to the Malindi coral reef Ba/Ca ratios were measured in the skeleton of two Porites colonies (Mal 96-1 and Mal 95-3). Well-developed annual bands allow us to develop annually precise chronologies. Ba/Ca ratios were measured in core Mal 96-1 at continuous 40 μm intervals (~400 to 500 samples yr-1) using laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA- ICP-MS). To test for reproducibility and accuracy of the Mal 96-1 Ba/Ca profile, coral core Mal 95-3 was analyzed at lower resolution (1 to 12 samples yr-1) using discrete micro-drill sampling and isotope dilution ICP-MS. The close similarity between both coral Ba/Ca profiles, in absolute values as well as general pattern, underscores the accuracy of the LA-ICP-MS technique and adds confidence to our interpretation of the 300 year long Mal 96-1 Ba/Ca profile. The Ba/Ca coral proxy record shows that while the sediment flux from the Sabaki River is nearly constant between 1700 and 1900, a continuous rise in sediment flux is observed since 1900, reflecting steadily increasing demographic pressure on land use. The peak in suspended sediment load and hence soil erosion recorded at the Malindi reef

  13. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  14. Coral habitat in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska: depth distribution, fine-scale species associations, and fisheries interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stone, R. P.

    2006-05-01

    The first in situ exploration of Aleutian Island coral habitat was completed in 2002 to determine the distribution of corals, to examine fine-scale associations between targeted fish species and corals, and to investigate the interaction between the areas’ diverse fisheries and coral habitat. Corals, mostly gorgonians and hydrocorals, were present on all 25 seafloor transects and at depths between 27 and 363 m, but were most abundant between 100 and 200 m depth. Mean coral abundance (1.23 colonies m-2) far exceeded that reported for other high-latitude ecosystems and high-density coral gardens (3.85 colonies m-2) were observed at seven locations. Slope and offshore pinnacle habitats characterized by exposed bedrock, boulders, and cobbles generally supported the highest abundances of coral and fish. Overall, 85% of the economically important fish species observed on transects were associated with corals and other emergent epifauna. Disturbance to the seafloor from bottom-contact fishing gear was evident on 88% of the transects, and approximately 39% of the total area of the seafloor observed had been disturbed. Since cold-water corals appear to be a ubiquitous feature of seafloor habitats in the Aleutian Islands, fisheries managers face clear challenges integrating coral conservation into an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

  15. CHARACTERIZING CORAL CONDITION USING ESTIMATES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL COLONY SURFACE AREA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs provide shoreline protection, biological diversity, fishery harvets, and tourism, all values that stem from the physically-complex coral infrastructure. Stony corals (scleractinianss) construct and maintain the reef through deposition of calcium carbonate. Therefore...

  16. Development of Cryopreservation Techniques for Gorgonian (Junceella juncea) Oocytes through Vitrification.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Sujune; Yen, Wish; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop; Lin, Chiahsin

    2015-01-01

    Gorgonian corals are slowly declining due to human interaction and environmental impacts. Cryopreservation of gorgonian corals is an ex-situ method of conservation, ensuring future reproduction. The present study assessed the vitrification properties of cryoprotectant (CPT) mixtures using the cryotop, cryoloop and open pulled straw (OPS) cryopereservation methods prior to experimentation on gorgonian (Junceella juncea) oocytes. Investigations of the equilibration and vitrification solutions' (ES and VS) effect on oocytes throughout different incubation periods were conducted. The cryotop method was found to be the most successful in ensuring vitrification. The most favourable VS was composed of propylene glycol (PG), ethylene glycol (EG) and methanol with concentrations of 3.5 M, 1.5 M and 2 M respectively. Experiments were performed using the cryotop method to cryopreserve Junceella juncea oocytes using VS2, the solution had the least impact on oocytes at 5°C rather than at 26°C. The success of the vitrification procedures was determined by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels in cooled-thaw oocytes and the highest viability obtained from the present study was 76.6 ± 6.2%. This study provides information regarding gorgonian corals' tolerance and viability throughout vitrification to further advance the vitrification protocol on whip corals. PMID:26010144

  17. Controls on coral-ground development along the northern Mesoamerican Reef tract.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa E; Jordán-Garza, Adán G; Maldonado, Miguel A; Blanchon, Paul

    2011-01-01

    Coral-grounds are reef communities that colonize rocky substratum but do not form framework or three-dimensional reef structures. To investigate why, we used video transects and underwater photography to determine the composition, structure and status of a coral-ground community located on the edge of a rocky terrace in front of a tourist park, Xcaret, in the northern Mesoamerican Reef tract, Mexico. The community has a relatively low coral, gorgonian and sponge cover (<10%) and high algal cover (>40%). We recorded 23 species of Scleractinia, 14 species of Gorgonacea and 30 species of Porifera. The coral community is diverse but lacks large coral colonies, being dominated instead by small, sediment-tolerant, and brooding species. In these small colonies, the abundance of potentially lethal interactions and partial mortality is high but decreases when colonies are larger than 40 cm. Such characteristics are consistent with an environment control whereby storm waves periodically remove larger colonies and elevate sediment flux. The community only survives these storm conditions due to its slope-break location, which ensures lack of burial and continued local recruitment. A comparison with similar coral-ground communities in adjacent areas suggests that the narrow width of the rock terrace hinders sediment stabilization, thereby ensuring that communities cannot escape bottom effects and develop into three-dimensional reef structures on geological time scales. PMID:22194839

  18. Controls on Coral-Ground Development along the Northern Mesoamerican Reef Tract

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa E.; Jordán-Garza, Adán G.; Maldonado, Miguel A.; Blanchon, Paul

    2011-01-01

    Coral-grounds are reef communities that colonize rocky substratum but do not form framework or three-dimensional reef structures. To investigate why, we used video transects and underwater photography to determine the composition, structure and status of a coral-ground community located on the edge of a rocky terrace in front of a tourist park, Xcaret, in the northern Mesoamerican Reef tract, Mexico. The community has a relatively low coral, gorgonian and sponge cover (<10%) and high algal cover (>40%). We recorded 23 species of Scleractinia, 14 species of Gorgonacea and 30 species of Porifera. The coral community is diverse but lacks large coral colonies, being dominated instead by small, sediment-tolerant, and brooding species. In these small colonies, the abundance of potentially lethal interactions and partial mortality is high but decreases when colonies are larger than 40 cm. Such characteristics are consistent with an environment control whereby storm waves periodically remove larger colonies and elevate sediment flux. The community only survives these storm conditions due to its slope-break location, which ensures lack of burial and continued local recruitment. A comparison with similar coral-ground communities in adjacent areas suggests that the narrow width of the rock terrace hinders sediment stabilization, thereby ensuring that communities cannot escape bottom effects and develop into three-dimensional reef structures on geological time scales. PMID:22194839

  19. Vectored dispersal of Symbiodinium by larvae of a Caribbean gorgonian octocoral.

    PubMed

    Wirshing, Herman H; Feldheim, Kevin A; Baker, Andrew C

    2013-09-01

    The ability of coral reefs to recover from natural and anthropogenic disturbance is difficult to predict, in part due to uncertainty regarding the dispersal capabilities and connectivity of their reef inhabitants. We developed microsatellite markers for the broadcast spawning gorgonian octocoral Eunicea (Plexaura) flexuosa (four markers) and its dinoflagellate symbiont, Symbiodinium B1 (five markers), and used them to assess genetic connectivity, specificity and directionality of gene flow among sites in Florida, Panama, Saba and the Dominican Republic. Bayesian analyses found that most E. flexuosa from the Florida reef tract, Saba and the Dominican Republic were strongly differentiated from many E. flexuosa in Panama, with the exception of five colonies from Key West that clustered with colonies from Panama. In contrast, Symbiodinium B1 was more highly structured. At least seven populations were detected that showed patterns of isolation by distance. The symbionts in the five unusual Key West colonies also clustered with symbionts from Panama, suggesting these colonies are the result of long-distance dispersal. Migration rate tests indicated a weak signal of northward immigration from the Panama population into the lower Florida Keys. As E. flexuosa clonemates only rarely associated with the same Symbiodinium B1 genotype (and vice versa), these data suggest a dynamic host-symbiont relationship in which E. flexuosa is relatively well dispersed but likely acquires Symbiodinium B1 from highly structured natal areas prior to dispersal. Once vectored by host larvae, these symbionts may then spread through the local population, and/or host colonies may acquire different local symbiont genotypes over time. PMID:23980762

  20. Deep Coral Oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea

    PubMed Central

    Bo, Marzia; Canese, Simonepietro; Spaggiari, Costanza; Pusceddu, Antonio; Bertolino, Marco; Angiolillo, Michela; Giusti, Michela; Loreto, Maria Filomena; Salvati, Eva; Greco, Silvestro; Bavestrello, Giorgio

    2012-01-01

    A Mediterranean “roche du large” ecosystem, represented by four rocky shoals, located a few miles apart on a muddy bottom at 70–130 m depth in the gulf of St. Eufemia (Calabria, South Tyrrhenian Sea), was studied by means of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) photo imaging. The shoals host highly diversified coral communities, mainly composed of arborescent colonies of gorgonians (Callogorgia verticillata, Paramuricea clavata, Paramuricea macrospina, Bebryce mollis, Villogorgia bebrycoides, Corallium rubrum, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa), and antipatharians (Antipathella subpinnata, Antipathes dichotoma and Parantipathes larix). The coral colonies reach high densities (up to ca. 17 colonies m−2) and large sizes, such as the over 1.5 m wide antipatharian colonies. We hypothesized that the abundance and composition of the coral assemblages differed significantly among the rocky shoals and with respect to the surrounding soft bottoms. Various environmental variables were tested as possible explanatory factors of the observed differences. Moreover, due to their off-coast localization, we report here that these unique ecosystems are potentially subjected to a strong pressure from the local fishing activities, which were tentatively characterized. The recorded coral β-diversity among the shoals supports the hypothesis that these habitats behave like small oases of hard substrata interspersed in a muddy bottom. Because of their intrinsic beauty and rarity and their biological and ecological value, we stress the need of specific actions aimed at the urgent protection of these oases of biodiversity. PMID:23185468

  1. Deep coral oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea.

    PubMed

    Bo, Marzia; Canese, Simonepietro; Spaggiari, Costanza; Pusceddu, Antonio; Bertolino, Marco; Angiolillo, Michela; Giusti, Michela; Loreto, Maria Filomena; Salvati, Eva; Greco, Silvestro; Bavestrello, Giorgio

    2012-01-01

    A Mediterranean "roche du large" ecosystem, represented by four rocky shoals, located a few miles apart on a muddy bottom at 70-130 m depth in the gulf of St. Eufemia (Calabria, South Tyrrhenian Sea), was studied by means of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) photo imaging. The shoals host highly diversified coral communities, mainly composed of arborescent colonies of gorgonians (Callogorgia verticillata, Paramuricea clavata, Paramuricea macrospina, Bebryce mollis, Villogorgia bebrycoides, Corallium rubrum, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa), and antipatharians (Antipathella subpinnata, Antipathes dichotoma and Parantipathes larix). The coral colonies reach high densities (up to ca. 17 colonies m(-2)) and large sizes, such as the over 1.5 m wide antipatharian colonies. We hypothesized that the abundance and composition of the coral assemblages differed significantly among the rocky shoals and with respect to the surrounding soft bottoms. Various environmental variables were tested as possible explanatory factors of the observed differences. Moreover, due to their off-coast localization, we report here that these unique ecosystems are potentially subjected to a strong pressure from the local fishing activities, which were tentatively characterized. The recorded coral β-diversity among the shoals supports the hypothesis that these habitats behave like small oases of hard substrata interspersed in a muddy bottom. Because of their intrinsic beauty and rarity and their biological and ecological value, we stress the need of specific actions aimed at the urgent protection of these oases of biodiversity. PMID:23185468

  2. The effect of species and colony size on the bleaching response of reef-building corals in the Florida Keys during the 2005 mass bleaching event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandt, M. E.

    2009-12-01

    Understanding the variation in coral bleaching response is necessary for making accurate predictions of population changes and the future state of reefs in a climate of increasing thermal stress events. Individual coral colonies, belonging to inshore patch reef communities of the Florida Keys, were followed through the 2005 mass bleaching event. Overall, coral bleaching patterns followed an index of accumulated thermal stress more closely than in situ temperature measurements. Eight coral species ( Colpophyllia natans, Diploria strigosa, Montastraea cavernosa, M. faveolata, Porites astreoides, P. porites, Siderastrea siderea, and Stephanocoenia intersepta), representing >90% of the coral colonies studied, experienced intense levels of bleaching, but responses varied. Bleaching differed significantly among species: Colpophyllia natans and Diploria strigosa were most susceptible to thermal stress, while Stephanocoenia intersepta was the most tolerant. For colonies of C. natans, M. faveolata, and S. siderea, larger colonies experienced more extensive bleaching than smaller colonies. The inshore patch reef communities of the Florida Keys have historically been dominated by large colonies of Montastraea sp. and Colpophyllia natans. These results provide evidence that colony-level differences can affect bleaching susceptibility in this habitat and suggest that the impact of future thermal stress events may be biased toward larger colonies of dominant reef-building species. Predicted increases in the frequency of mass bleaching and subsequent mortality may therefore result in significant structural shifts of these ecologically important communities.

  3. Growth Dynamics of the Threatened Caribbean Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis: Influence of Host Genotype, Symbiont Identity, Colony Size, and Environmental Setting

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Declining Coral Skeletal Extension for Forereef Colonies of Siderastrea siderea on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, Southern Belize

    PubMed Central

    Castillo, Karl D.; Ries, Justin B.; Weiss, Jack M.

    2011-01-01

    Background Natural and anthropogenic stressors are predicted to have increasingly negative impacts on coral reefs. Understanding how these environmental stressors have impacted coral skeletal growth should improve our ability to predict how they may affect coral reefs in the future. We investigated century-scale variations in skeletal extension for the slow-growing massive scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea inhabiting the forereef, backreef, and nearshore reefs of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in the western Caribbean Sea. Methodology/Principal Findings Thirteen S. siderea cores were extracted, slabbed, and X-rayed. Annual skeletal extension was estimated from adjacent low- and high-density growth bands. Since the early 1900s, forereef S. siderea colonies have shifted from exhibiting the fastest to the slowest average annual skeletal extension, while values for backreef and nearshore colonies have remained relatively constant. The rates of change in annual skeletal extension were −0.020±0.005, 0.011±0.006, and −0.008±0.006 mm yr−1 per year [mean±SE] for forereef, backreef, and nearshore colonies respectively. These values for forereef and nearshore S. siderea were significantly lower by 0.031±0.008 and by 0.019±0.009 mm yr−1 per year, respectively, than for backreef colonies. However, only forereef S. siderea exhibited a statistically significant decline in annual skeletal extension over the last century. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that forereef S. siderea colonies are more susceptible to environmental stress than backreef and nearshore counterparts, which may have historically been exposed to higher natural baseline stressors. Alternatively, sediment plumes, nutrients, and pollution originating from watersheds of Guatemala and Honduras may disproportionately impact the forereef environment of the MBRS. We are presently reconstructing the history of environmental stressors that have impacted the MBRS to constrain

  5. Airborne lidar sensing of massive stony coral colonies on patch reefs in the northern Florida reef tract

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brock, J.C.; Wright, C.W.; Kuffner, I.B.; Hernandez, R.; Thompson, P.

    2006-01-01

    In this study we examined the ability of the NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) to discriminate cluster zones of massive stony coral colonies on northern Florida reef tract (NFRT) patch reefs based on their topographic complexity (rugosity). Spatially dense EAARL laser submarine topographic soundings acquired in August 2002 were used to create a 1-m resolution digital rugosity map for adjacent NFRT study areas characterized by patch reefs (Region A) and diverse substratums (Region B). In both regions, sites with lidar-sensed rugosities above 1.2 were imaged by an along-track underwater videography system that incorporated the acquisition of instantaneous GPS positions. Subsequent manual interpretation of videotape segments was performed to identify substratum types that caused elevated lidar-sensed rugosity. Our study determined that massive coral colony formation, modified by subsequent physical and biological processes that breakdown patch reef framework, was the primary source of topographic complexity sensed by the EAARL in the NFRT. Sites recognized by lidar scanning to be topographically complex preferentially occurred around the margins of patch reefs, constituted a minor fraction of the reef system, and usually reflected the presence of massive coral colonies in cluster zones, or their derivatives created by mortality, bioerosion, and physical breakdown.

  6. Development of Cryopreservation Techniques for Gorgonian (Junceella juncea) Oocytes through Vitrification

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Sujune; Yen, Wish; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop; Lin, Chiahsin

    2015-01-01

    Gorgonian corals are slowly declining due to human interaction and environmental impacts. Cryopreservation of gorgonian corals is an ex-situ method of conservation, ensuring future reproduction. The present study assessed the vitrification properties of cryoprotectant (CPT) mixtures using the cryotop, cryoloop and open pulled straw (OPS) cryopereservation methods prior to experimentation on gorgonian (Junceella juncea) oocytes. Investigations of the equilibration and vitrification solutions’ (ES and VS) effect on oocytes throughout different incubation periods were conducted. The cryotop method was found to be the most successful in ensuring vitrification. The most favourable VS was composed of propylene glycol (PG), ethylene glycol (EG) and methanol with concentrations of 3.5M, 1.5M and 2M respectively. Experiments were performed using the cryotop method to cryopreserve Junceella juncea oocytes using VS2, the solution had the least impact on oocytes at 5°C rather than at 26°C. The success of the vitrification procedures was determined by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels in cooled-thaw oocytes and the highest viability obtained from the present study was 76.6 ± 6.2%. This study provides information regarding gorgonian corals’ tolerance and viability throughout vitrification to further advance the vitrification protocol on whip corals. PMID:26010144

  7. Effects of a mass mortality event on gorgonian reproduction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linares, C.; Coma, R.; Zabala, M.

    2008-03-01

    The impact of a disturbance is normally measured in terms of its effects on adult mortality, whilst the less obvious impact on reproductive biology is generally ignored. Although previous studies have contributed to understanding the effects of a mass mortality of gorgonians in 1999 at NW Mediterranean Sea, none of them have considered its impact on reproduction. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of mass mortality events on the reproduction of the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata, and examine the effect of the damage 1 year (June 2000) and 2 years (June 2001) after the event. The reproductive parameters of female colonies were more affected than those of males. In female colonies that were moderately or severely damaged, the proportion of fertile polyps decreased by about 22-35%, whilst in the worst affected males there was only a 12% decrease. Female colonies showed a progressive decrease in gonadal biomass with increasing damage to a maximum reduction of 73-75% of oocyte production observed in colonies with >33% injury. In contrast, in males, the gonadal biomass decreased rapidly for colonies with 5% of injured surface, with a reduction in spermary production of 49-64%. The same pattern of decrease in gonadal output compared to the extent of the injury was observed in 2001, two years after the mass mortality event. This indicated that the observed pattern was a response to the extent of the injury rather than a direct effect of the event. These severe effects on the reproduction of the red gorgonian species have implications for the recovery of affected populations in the long-term. This study demonstrated that an evaluation of the impact over different demographic parameters is needed to understand all the consequences of these disturbances.

  8. Effect of colony size and surrounding substrate on corals experiencing a mild bleaching event on Heron Island reef flat (southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortiz, J. C.; Gomez-Cabrera, M. Del C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2009-12-01

    In January-May 2006, Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef experienced a mild bleaching event. The effect of colony size, morphology and surrounding substrate on the extent of bleaching was explored. In contrast with previous studies, colony size did not influence bleaching sensitivity, suggesting that there may be a threshold of light and temperature stress beyond which size plays a role. Also contrasting with previous studies, massive corals were more affected by bleaching than branching corals. Massive corals surrounded by sand were more affected than the ones surrounded by rubble or dead coral. It is hypothesized that light reflectance from sand increases stress levels experienced by the colonies. This effect is maximized in massive corals as opposed to branching corals that form dense thickets on Heron Island. These results emphasize the importance of the ecological dynamics of coral communities experiencing low, moderate and high levels of bleaching for the understanding of how coral communities may change under the stress of climate change.

  9. Patterns in abundance and size of two deep-water gorgonian octocorals, in relation to depth and substrate features off Nova Scotia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, Shana; Metaxas, Anna; Sameoto, Jessica; Lawton, Peter

    2009-12-01

    Deep-water corals form unique ecosystems, yet very little is known about factors that regulate their distribution and growth. The abundance and size of two deep-water gorgonian coral species, Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis, and their relationship with depth and substratum cover, were investigated at Northeast Channel, off Nova Scotia, in July 2006. This is the first study to measure abundance and size of these two coral species at depths >500 m in the Canadian Atlantic region. A total of 5 transects between 500 and 1000 m depth were examined using video collected by the remotely operated vehicle ROPOS. Abundance of both species was patchy, but higher at these deeper depths than at <500 m. Abundance generally declined with depth, and was moderately correlated with cover of hard substratum (cobble, boulder, bedrock). These relationships were stronger and less variable for P. resedaeformis than for P. arborea, suggesting that factors such as topographic relief may play an additional role in regulating distributions of P. arborea. Maximum colony height was 125 and 240 cm for P. resedaeformis and P. arborea, respectively, and much greater than recorded for depths <500 m. Overall, colony height and depth relationships were strong for both species, but variable among transects. P. resedaeformis showed a negative relationship with depth, while the opposite was observed for P. arborea, suggesting that the two species are affected differently by factors that vary with depth (e.g. temperature, fishing disturbance). Relationships between colony size and size of attachment stone were stronger for P. arborea, especially for overturned colonies, than for P. resedaeformis, suggesting that availability of suitably coarse substrate may be more important for the long-term persistence of P. arborea colonies.

  10. Methods and measurement variance for field estimations of coral colony planar area using underwater photographs and semi-automated image segmentation.

    PubMed

    Neal, Benjamin P; Lin, Tsung-Han; Winter, Rivah N; Treibitz, Tali; Beijbom, Oscar; Kriegman, David; Kline, David I; Greg Mitchell, B

    2015-08-01

    Size and growth rates for individual colonies are some of the most essential descriptive parameters for understanding coral communities, which are currently experiencing worldwide declines in health and extent. Accurately measuring coral colony size and changes over multiple years can reveal demographic, growth, or mortality patterns often not apparent from short-term observations and can expose environmental stress responses that may take years to manifest. Describing community size structure can reveal population dynamics patterns, such as periods of failed recruitment or patterns of colony fission, which have implications for the future sustainability of these ecosystems. However, rapidly and non-invasively measuring coral colony sizes in situ remains a difficult task, as three-dimensional underwater digital reconstruction methods are currently not practical for large numbers of colonies. Two-dimensional (2D) planar area measurements from projection of underwater photographs are a practical size proxy, although this method presents operational difficulties in obtaining well-controlled photographs in the highly rugose environment of the coral reef, and requires extensive time for image processing. Here, we present and test the measurement variance for a method of making rapid planar area estimates of small to medium-sized coral colonies using a lightweight monopod image-framing system and a custom semi-automated image segmentation analysis program. This method demonstrated a coefficient of variation of 2.26% for repeated measurements in realistic ocean conditions, a level of error appropriate for rapid, inexpensive field studies of coral size structure, inferring change in colony size over time, or measuring bleaching or disease extent of large numbers of individual colonies. PMID:26156316

  11. Primary Production and Photoadaptation in Light- and Shade-Adapted Colonies of the Symbiotic Coral, Stylophora pistillata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, J. W.; Muscatine, L.; Dubinsky, Z.; Falkowski, P. G.

    1984-08-01

    Photoadaptation by photosynthetic organisms to lowered light intensities occurs in part through changes in pigment concentrations and in characteristics of the photosynthetic response curve. We have characterized photoadaptive responses of light- and shade-adapted colonies of the reef coral Stylophora pistillata, which possesses symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) and grows naturally under a variety of light intensities in the highly cavernous reefs of the Red Sea. Shade-adapted corals have significantly more chlorophyll per individual zooxanthella cell than light-adapted corals (2.98 compared to 12.97 pg chlorophyll a per cell), but not a significantly different number of cells per unit area (1.00 × 106 cells per square centimetre), with the result that the mass of chlorophyll per unit area is greater for shade-adapted corals than for light-adapted corals. Tissue nitrogen content per unit area is significantly lower (p < 0.05) in shade-adapted corals, correlating with a decrease in polyp density (0.10 > p > 0.05) in shade forms. These biomass characteristics are concomitant with a variety of functional responses to natural light intensities. Rate of photosynthesis at saturating light intensities is the same per unit area in both forms (20.2 μ g O2 cm-2 h-1 for shade specimens; 18.8 for light specimens); but it is significantly different when measured by amount of chlorophyll (1.6 μ g O2 (chl a)-1 h-1 for shade specimens compared with 5.0 for light specimens). The initial slope of the P:I curve, α , is significantly higher for shade specimens by area (0.21 for shade corals compared with 0.12 for light corals), but significantly lower for shade specimens by amount of chlorophyll a (0.01 for specimens from shade compared to 0.04 for specimens growing in the light). Ik (the point at which maximum production begins) is significantly lower for shade specimens (138 μ mol m-2 s-1 for shade compared to 273 for light), and likewise Ic (the compensation point at which net

  12. Comparison of the cryo-tolerance of vitrified gorgonian oocytes.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Sujune; Yang, Vivian; Lin, Chiahsin

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs have been declining considerably in recent years because of changes to the environment and climate. The cryopreservation of coral gametes is an essential alternative method that yields immense success in preserving corals. This study focuses on developing vitrification techniques for Junceella fragilis and Ellisella robusta oocytes, and presents a comparison on the cryotolerance of their vitrified oocytes. The results revealed that these coral oocytes could be preserved for a longer period in equilibration solution 2 and vitrification solution (VS) 2 at 5 °C than at 26 °C. Oocyte viability decreased significantly when VS2 was used for >4 min at 26 °C compared with the control. Cryoprotectant tolerance was higher in E. robusta oocytes than in J. fragilis oocytes. However, E. robusta was determined to be more cryo-tolerant, with differences attributed to their habitats, thus making E. robusta is likely a superior candidate species for further study. The results of this study on the effects of coral cryopreservation provide a foundation for developing protocols further for the cryopreservation of the oocytes of gorgonian corals. PMID:26984101

  13. Comparison of the cryo-tolerance of vitrified gorgonian oocytes

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Sujune; Yang, Vivian; Lin, Chiahsin

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs have been declining considerably in recent years because of changes to the environment and climate. The cryopreservation of coral gametes is an essential alternative method that yields immense success in preserving corals. This study focuses on developing vitrification techniques for Junceella fragilis and Ellisella robusta oocytes, and presents a comparison on the cryotolerance of their vitrified oocytes. The results revealed that these coral oocytes could be preserved for a longer period in equilibration solution 2 and vitrification solution (VS) 2 at 5 °C than at 26 °C. Oocyte viability decreased significantly when VS2 was used for >4 min at 26 °C compared with the control. Cryoprotectant tolerance was higher in E. robusta oocytes than in J. fragilis oocytes. However, E. robusta was determined to be more cryo-tolerant, with differences attributed to their habitats, thus making E. robusta is likely a superior candidate species for further study. The results of this study on the effects of coral cryopreservation provide a foundation for developing protocols further for the cryopreservation of the oocytes of gorgonian corals. PMID:26984101

  14. Link between variation in skeletal isotopes (C,O) and tissue stable isotopes (C,N) of holobiont, polyp and zooxanthellae from coral colonies of Madracis spp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maier, C.; Pätzold, J.; Schouten, S.; Bak, R. P. M.

    2003-04-01

    The branching corals M. mirabilis, M. carmabi and M. formosa are abundant species in reefs of Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles). The species are adapted to different depths, growing in shallow (<20 m), intermediate (˜30 m) and deep waters (>40 m), respectively. With increasing water depth, a shift from a strongly autotrophic to a more heterotrophic life style can be expected. This should be detectable in both skeletal and tissue isotopes. If coral metabolism is mainly supplied by photosynthesis, the δ13C of zooxanthellae and polyp tissue should be the same indicating a complete carbon recycling between algal symbiont (zooxanthellae) and coral host. For the skeleton two major trends were observed for both oxygen and carbon stable isotopes: 1) values got heavier with increasing water depth and 2) values were more depleted at the fast growing colony tips than at the slow growing shaded side or base of a colony. We found large intra-colony variations of the skeletal δ13C signal within colonies of the deep-adapted coral M. formosa, with low δ13C signals being comparable to those of the shallow water coral. For the tissue the δ13C values of the holobiont ranged from -16.5 permil at shallow to -22 permil for the deep corals. At tips of colonies the tissue δ13C of zooxanthellae was heavier than the δ13C of the polyp tissue. Surprisingly, the magnitude of this offset was consistent over the whole depth range. Expected was that the difference in δ13C between zooxanthellae and polyp should increase with increasing water depth reflecting a shift from autotrophy to heterotrophy. The overall decrease in tissue δ13C with increasing depth hints at increased heterotrophic feeding, with the rate of carbon recycling between polyp host and symbiont being maintained over this depth gradient. On intra-colony scale (between tip and side of a colony), the tissue δ13C only differs by 0.5 permil and this difference is consistent at all depths (and hence the same for all species

  15. Multi-colony calibrations of coral Ba/Ca with a contemporaneous in situ seawater barium record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LaVigne, Michèle; Grottoli, Andréa G.; Palardy, James E.; Sherrell, Robert M.

    2016-04-01

    The coral skeleton barium to calcium ratio (Ba/Cacoral), a proxy for seawater barium concentrations (BaSW), has been interpreted as a tracer of upwelling based on the characteristic "nutrient like" depth profile of BaSW. However, in some tropical regions, such as the Gulf of Panamá, substantial influence of terrestrial runoff inputs and differences between the vertical distribution of BaSW and that of the major nutrients (nitrate and phosphate) in the upper water column can complicate the interpretation of Ba/Cacoral as an upwelled nutrient proxy. In the Gulf of Panamá, contemporaneous Ba/Cacoral records from multiple colonies of Porites lobata, Pavona gigantea, and Pavona clavus corals record a nearly twofold change in surface water BaSW as a 20-70% increase in skeletal Ba/Ca with excellent correlation among Ba/Ca records from co-located colonies (r = 0.86-0.99). These results provide, for the first time, an absolute calibration of the coral Ba proxy with a contemporaneous BaSW record. Compiling the Ba/Cacoral records from three co-located colonies of each species into taxon-specific composite regressions reveals strong statistically significant correlations with the BaSW time-series record (p < 0.001). Differences among taxa in regression slope, y-intercept, and average distribution coefficient, as well as a demonstration of the application of the P. clavus calibration to a previously published Ba/Cacoral record, emphasize the necessity of using taxon-specific calibrations to reconstruct changes in BaSW with accuracy. These results support the application of Ba/Cacoral to reconstruct past changes in absolute BaSW concentrations, adding an important tool to the collection of geochemical proxies for reconstructing surface ocean biogeochemical processes in the past.

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

    PubMed Central

    Herler, Jürgen; Dirnwöber, Markus

    2011-01-01

    Estimating the impacts of global and local threats on coral reefs requires monitoring reef health and measuring coral growth and calcification rates at different time scales. This has traditionally been mostly performed in short-term experimental studies in which coral fragments were grown in the laboratory or in the field but measured ex situ. Practical techniques in which growth and measurements are performed over the long term in situ are rare. Apart from photographic approaches, weight increment measurements have also been applied. Past buoyant weight measurements under water involved a complicated and little-used apparatus. We introduce a new method that combines previous field and laboratory techniques to measure the buoyant weight of entire, transplanted corals under water. This method uses an electronic balance fitted into an acrylic glass underwater housing and placed atop of an acrylic glass cube. Within this cube, corals transplanted onto artificial bases can be attached to the balance and weighed at predetermined intervals while they continue growth in the field. We also provide a set of simple equations for the volume and weight determinations required to calculate net growth rates. The new technique is highly accurate: low error of weight determinations due to variation of coral density (< 0.08%) and low standard error (< 0.01%) for repeated measurements of the same corals. We outline a transplantation technique for properly preparing corals for such long-term in situ experiments and measurements. PMID:22049248

  17. Pinnisterols A–C, New 9,11-Secosterols from a Gorgonian Pinnigorgia sp.

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Yu-Chia; Kuo, Liang-Mou; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Yeh, Jessica; Wen, Zhi-Hong; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wu, Yang-Chang; Lin, Chan-Shing; Sheu, Jyh-Horng; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2016-01-01

    Three new 9,11-secosterols, pinnisterols A–C (1–3), were isolated from a gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp., collected off the waters of Taiwan. The structures of these compounds were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic methods. The new sterols 1 and 3 displayed significant inhibitory effects on the generation of superoxide anions and the release of elastase by human neutrophils, and sterol 1 was found to show moderate cytotoxicity in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). PMID:26751457

  18. Gorgonian disease outbreak in the Gulf of Naples: pathology reveals cyanobacterial infection linked to elevated sea temperatures.

    PubMed

    Carella, F; Aceto, S; Saggiomo, M; Mangoni, O; De Vico, G

    2014-08-21

    In recent years, mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea have been documented to coincide with the increased seawater temperatures associated with global climate change. Following a disease outbreak in gorgonians during the summer seasons of 2008 and 2009 in the Gulf of Naples (Tyrrhenian Sea), we conducted gross and microscopic analyses of healthy and diseased specimens of Eunicella cavolinii and E. singularis using both light and electron microscopy (SEM). Macroscopically, diseased colonies exhibited evident tissue thinning, and dead colonies showed a complete loss of polyps and coenenchyme, exposing their skeletons to settlement by fouling organisms. Histopathology revealed chronic inflammatory lesions at the polyp and axial level, characterized by amoebocyte infiltration of tissue accompanied by new apposition of melanin/gorgonin sheets. We interpreted this response as a defense against different kinds of pathogens-identified as mainly a heterogeneous consortium of filamentous cyanobacteria-and which gradually led to enlargement and hardening of the coral axis, which resembled a wood-like structure at the final stage of the disease. These processes elicited the formation of multiple inflammatory nodules and capsules, some of which were macroscopically visible. A parallel 16S rRNA and ITS analysis of the diseased tissue identified Synechococcus, Arthrospira and other uncultured cyanobacteria grouped within the Oscillatoriales. These results suggest that a cyanobacterial consortium is involved in the pathogenesis of the inflammatory disease leading to the mortality of Gorgoniaceae in the area. Finally, there were anomalously high temperatures (up to 25°C) between 10 and 20 m depth during the sampling period, particularly in June 2009. This supports the hypothesis that the coral skeleton may serve as a reservoir for the pathogens in cooler seasons, with warmer conditions leading to pathogen reactivation and recurring mortality

  19. Reduced calcification and lack of acclimatization by coral colonies growing in areas of persistent natural acidification

    PubMed Central

    Crook, Elizabeth D.; Cohen, Anne L.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Hernandez, Laura; Paytan, Adina

    2013-01-01

    As the surface ocean equilibrates with rising atmospheric CO2, the pH of surface seawater is decreasing with potentially negative impacts on coral calcification. A critical question is whether corals will be able to adapt or acclimate to these changes in seawater chemistry. We use high precision CT scanning of skeletal cores of Porites astreoides, an important Caribbean reef-building coral, to show that calcification rates decrease significantly along a natural gradient in pH and aragonite saturation (Ωarag). This decrease is accompanied by an increase in skeletal erosion and predation by boring organisms. The degree of sensitivity to reduced Ωarag measured on our field corals is consistent with that exhibited by the same species in laboratory CO2 manipulation experiments. We conclude that the Porites corals at our field site were not able to acclimatize enough to prevent the impacts of local ocean acidification on their skeletal growth and development, despite spending their entire lifespan in low pH, low Ωarag seawater. PMID:23776217

  20. Reproductive biology of the deep-water coral Acanella arbuscula (Phylum Cnidaria: Class Anthozoa: Order Alcyonacea), northwest Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beazley, Lindsay I.; Kenchington, Ellen L.

    2012-10-01

    Knowledge of the reproductive life-history of deep-water corals is important for assessing their vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts. Yet, the reproductive biology of many deep-water corals, especially members of the subclass Octocorallia, has not been examined. We used histological techniques to describe the reproductive biology of the deep-water gorgonian coral Acanella arbuscula from the northwest Atlantic. All colonies examined were gonochoric, and no embryos or planula larvae were observed in the polyps. Mean polyp-level fecundity (females: 21.0±17.5 oocytes polyp-1, and males: 13.9±13.5 sperm sacs polyp-1) is high compared to other deep-water gorgonians, and polyps closer to the branch tips had the highest fecundities in both females and males. The presence of large oocytes (maximum diameter 717.8 μm) suggests that A. arbuscula produces lecithotrophic larvae. Despite the potentially high fecundity and small size at first reproduction, the paucity of information on dispersal and recruitment, combined with its longevity, vulnerability to bottom fishing gear, and ecological role as a structure-forming species, still warrants the classification of A. arbuscula as a vulnerable marine ecosystem indicator.

  1. A spatial and vertical comparison of coral Sr/Ca variations and growth rates in Montastraea faveolata colonies in Veracruz, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cobb, R. M.; DeLong, K. L.; Richey, J. N.; Flannery, J. A.; Kilbourne, K. H.; Smith, J. M.; Quinn, T. M.; Hudson, J. H.

    2013-12-01

    The massive coral genera Montastraea spp. is ubiquitous in modern and fossil coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea making this genus a potential archive for paleoclimate reconstructions. Interpretation of modern and fossil coral records requires understanding the origins of variability in coral geochemical variations on scales ranging from intracolony to regional as well as differing water depths. In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey recovered cores from five Montastraea faveolata colonies offshore of Veracruz, Mexico (19.06°N, 96.93°W) in water depths from 2.7 m to 12.2 m. The average linear extension per year based on x-radiograph analysis is similar (8.1 and 8.6, ×1.9 mm/yr, 1σ; n=31) for colonies at water depths of 2.7 and 4.3 m, respectively, for the interval from 1963 to 1991. Progressively slower extension rates are observed for deeper colonies (7.6 × 1.8, 7.5 × 1.9, and 4.5 × 1.5 mm/yr, 1σ; n=31) for 5.8, 6.1 and 12.2 m, respectively. Correlation coefficients among annual linear extension records vary between 0.00 and 0.40 (n=31) with the lowest correlation between colonies in close proximity (~1 km) and highest between colonies furthest apart (~250 km). We analyzed coral Sr/Ca at approximately 18 samples per year (0.5 mm/sample) along corallite thecal walls parallel to the slab surface for the interval from 1982 to 1991. This geochemical proxy for SST reveals seasonal variations within the coral skeleton that correspond to the high- and low-density bands in the coral slab, which represent one year of growth. Our linear regression of coral Sr/Ca from a single core (5.8 m water depth) to the Optimum Interpolation sea surface temperature (OISST; Reynolds et al., 2002) results in a slope of -0.049 (×0.024 mmol/mol/°C, 1σ; n=100; r2=0.52), which is slightly greater than the slope of other published Montastraea calibrations, but less than those reported for Porites spp. An alternative calibration method is to examine mean coral Sr/Ca with

  2. New Famennian colonial coral (Rugosa) from the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland): an example of local evolution after Frasnian-Famennian extinction.

    PubMed

    Berkowski, Błażej; Zapalski, Mikołaj K; Wrzołek, Tomasz

    2016-04-01

    Colonial rugose corals are extremely rare in the fossil record after the Late Devonian (Frasnian-Famennian) extinction event. Here, we report a new genus and species, Famastraea catenata, from the late Famennian of the western part of the Holy Cross Mountains (Kowala) in Poland. Although this taxon is colonial, it displays many morphological characters very close to the typically late Famennian solitary species Palaeosmilia aquisgranensis (Frech, 1885), described earlier from the same locality. Hence, we postulate that F. catenata is derived from P. aquisgranensis. In contrast to other Famennian colonial rugose corals, the new taxon represents an example of local evolution within the group of so-called 'Strunian' corals. Consequently, we postulate that the new taxon represents a new colonial rugose fauna, which, however, did not survive the subsequent Late Devonian crisis (i.e. Hangenberg event). F. catenata most probably inhabited deeper water settings, possibly near the boundary between the euphotic and dysphotic zones, as inferred from many other benthic taxa described from this locality. PMID:26983709

  3. New Famennian colonial coral (Rugosa) from the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland): an example of local evolution after Frasnian-Famennian extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkowski, Błażej; Zapalski, Mikołaj K.; Wrzołek, Tomasz

    2016-04-01

    Colonial rugose corals are extremely rare in the fossil record after the Late Devonian (Frasnian-Famennian) extinction event. Here, we report a new genus and species, Famastraea catenata, from the late Famennian of the western part of the Holy Cross Mountains (Kowala) in Poland. Although this taxon is colonial, it displays many morphological characters very close to the typically late Famennian solitary species Palaeosmilia aquisgranensis (Frech, 1885), described earlier from the same locality. Hence, we postulate that F. catenata is derived from P. aquisgranensis. In contrast to other Famennian colonial rugose corals, the new taxon represents an example of local evolution within the group of so-called `Strunian' corals. Consequently, we postulate that the new taxon represents a new colonial rugose fauna, which, however, did not survive the subsequent Late Devonian crisis (i.e. Hangenberg event). F. catenata most probably inhabited deeper water settings, possibly near the boundary between the euphotic and dysphotic zones, as inferred from many other benthic taxa described from this locality.

  4. Inter-Colony Fidelity of Sr/Ca Variability in the Massive Caribbean Coral Siderastrea siderea: a Sub-Fossil Example

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maupin, C. R.; Quinn, T. M.; Poore, R. Z.; Lin, K.; Shen, C.

    2008-12-01

    Coral-based reconstructions of climate variability in the Atlantic Warm Pool (AWP) in the pre-instrumental period are sparse. Multi-century Sr/Ca records generated from the skeleton of the widely distributed, massive, slow growing (~0.5 cm yr-1) coral Siderastrea siderea have the potential to address this data gap by providing robust proxies of interannual- to centennial-scale sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the AWP. However, before modern and fossil geochemical time series from S. siderea can be interpreted in terms of climate variability, reproducibility tests must be performed on individual coral colonies from the same location. Here we provide one such assessment of inter-colony reproducibility in the geochemistry of S. siderea using cores from the Dry Tortugas National Park (~24°33'N, 82°53'W). Time series of Sr/Ca from a large colony cored live in the summer of 1993 and a second, sub-fossil colony core, with a high-precision mass spectrometric U/Th date of 110 ± 1.7 (2σ) yrs, are compared. The 25-year overlap exhibits excellent reproducibility in both monthly and monthly anomaly space, and the average absolute difference between monthly data from the two time series is within instrumental precision. The results of this work suggest that individual monthly Sr/Ca records from S. siderea can be deemed representative of local SST variability, and that continuous local Sr/Ca records can be successfully spliced together from living and sub-fossil corals using high precision U/Th dating.

  5. High resolution (chirp) survey in the Ionian sea (Italy, central Maditerranean): seismic evidence of mud diapirism and coral colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fusi, N.; Savini, A.; Corselli, C.

    2003-04-01

    A CHIRP survey in the Ionian Sea between Calabria and Puglia (Italy) investigated: 1) the Calabrian margin, characterized by Eward dipping dip slip faults, which offset the sea bottom for a total throw of about 1200, and interested by diffuse mass-flow phenomena (slides and slumps); 2) the accretionary wedge, chiefly characterised by creep deposits; a flat plateau, identified in this area, is interpreted as the outcrop of coarse grained turbidites, coming from the steep Calabrian margin; 3) the Taranto Trench, affected by slumps in its upper part and by sedimentation of coarse grained sediments in the lower one; 4) the Apulian foreland, which rises from the Taranto trench through some appeninic (NNW-SSE) dip slip faults, with a total throw of about 1500 m; some anticlines, probably formed by Neogene-Pleistocene sediments and partly eroded, are interpreted on the basis of other seismic data (Doglioni et al., 1999; Merlini et al., 2000) as a local compression in a general extensive context. The identified echo characters have been compared with those described by Lee et al. (2002) and, on the basis of cores collected on some particular sites, they have been related to different kinds of sediments. In particular two echo characters have an interesting interpretation: 1) On the Apulian plateau we found a widespread presence of mounds, up to 50 m high, occurring as isolated mounds in the deepest zones (1600-800 m) and in groups in the shallower ones (800-600 m); they have been interpreted as coral mounds, in according to a recent discovery of living deep water coral colonies in this zone (Tursi A., Mastrototaro F., in press) and on the basis of their acoustic and morphological characters; in fact, due to high porosity and high water content, reef structures represent a poor seismic reflectors, appearing thus transparent (Hovland and Thomsen, 1997). Those coral mounds could be related to the intense fracturation of this area as a main via for fluid flow uprising. 2) Some

  6. Cold-Water Corals and Anthropogenic Impacts in La Fonera Submarine Canyon Head, Northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Canals, Miquel; Ballesteros, Enric; Gili, Josep-Maria; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna

    2016-01-01

    We assess the occurrence and extent of cold-water coral (CWC) species Madrepora oculata and Dendrophyllia cornigera, as well as gorgonian red coral Corallium rubrum, in La Fonera canyon head (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea), as well as human impacts taking place in their habitats. Occurrence is assessed based on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) video imaging. Terrain classification techniques are applied to high-resolution swath bathymetric data to obtain semi-automatic interpretative maps to identify the relationship between coral distribution patterns and canyon environments. A total of 21 ROV immersions were carried out in different canyon environments at depths ranging between 79 and 401 m. Large, healthy colonies of M. oculata occur on abrupt, protected, often overhanging, rocky sections of the canyon walls, especially in Illa Negra branch. D. cornigera is sparser and evenly distributed at depth, on relatively low sloping areas, in rocky but also partially sedimented areas. C. rubrum is most frequent between 100 and 160 m on highly sloping rocky areas. The probable extent of CWC habitats is quantified by applying a maximum entropy model to predict habitat suitability: 0.36 km2 yield M. oculata occurrence probabilities over 70%. Similar predictive models have been produced for D. cornigera and C. rubrum. All ROV transects document either the presence of litter on the seafloor or pervasive trawling marks. Nets and longlines are imaged entangled on coral colonies. Coral rubble is observed at the foot of impacted colonies. Some colonies are partially covered by sediment that could be the result of the resuspension generated by bottom trawling on neighbouring fishing grounds, which has been demonstrated to be responsible of daily increases in sediment fluxes within the canyon. The characteristics of the CWC community in La Fonera canyon are indicative that it withstands high environmental stress of both natural and human origin. PMID:27182776

  7. Cold-Water Corals and Anthropogenic Impacts in La Fonera Submarine Canyon Head, Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    Lastras, Galderic; Canals, Miquel; Ballesteros, Enric; Gili, Josep-Maria; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna

    2016-01-01

    We assess the occurrence and extent of cold-water coral (CWC) species Madrepora oculata and Dendrophyllia cornigera, as well as gorgonian red coral Corallium rubrum, in La Fonera canyon head (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea), as well as human impacts taking place in their habitats. Occurrence is assessed based on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) video imaging. Terrain classification techniques are applied to high-resolution swath bathymetric data to obtain semi-automatic interpretative maps to identify the relationship between coral distribution patterns and canyon environments. A total of 21 ROV immersions were carried out in different canyon environments at depths ranging between 79 and 401 m. Large, healthy colonies of M. oculata occur on abrupt, protected, often overhanging, rocky sections of the canyon walls, especially in Illa Negra branch. D. cornigera is sparser and evenly distributed at depth, on relatively low sloping areas, in rocky but also partially sedimented areas. C. rubrum is most frequent between 100 and 160 m on highly sloping rocky areas. The probable extent of CWC habitats is quantified by applying a maximum entropy model to predict habitat suitability: 0.36 km2 yield M. oculata occurrence probabilities over 70%. Similar predictive models have been produced for D. cornigera and C. rubrum. All ROV transects document either the presence of litter on the seafloor or pervasive trawling marks. Nets and longlines are imaged entangled on coral colonies. Coral rubble is observed at the foot of impacted colonies. Some colonies are partially covered by sediment that could be the result of the resuspension generated by bottom trawling on neighbouring fishing grounds, which has been demonstrated to be responsible of daily increases in sediment fluxes within the canyon. The characteristics of the CWC community in La Fonera canyon are indicative that it withstands high environmental stress of both natural and human origin. PMID:27182776

  8. Age Determination and Growth Rates in Deep-Water Bamboo Corals (Isididae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fallon, S. J.; Thresher, R.; Sherwood, O.

    2009-12-01

    Gorgonians are a major element of the fauna of deep-water coral reefs and very long-lived recorders of deep-water paleo-oceanography. Both ecological studies and paleo-analyses require accurate age determination and dating of colony formation, but because of the depths at which they occur (typically 1-3 km), direct validation by tagging of aging methods is logistically difficult. Radiocarbon analysis of both the node organic tissue and internode calcite provided apparently robust age and date information. Growth rates ranged from 40 to ~140 microns per year in samples collected from 600 to 1600m water depth. Following these analyses, we compiled the robust growth-rate data for recent material, and report on a first-pass analysis of ecological and regional effects on isidid growth rates.

  9. Fate of Photosynthetic Fixed Carbon in Light- and Shade-Adapted Colonies of the Symbiotic Coral Stylophora pistillata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muscatine, L.; Falkowski, P. G.; Porter, J. W.; Dubinsky, Z.

    1984-08-01

    The total daily flux of photosynthetically fixed carbon in light- and shade-adapted phenotypes of the symbiotic coral, Stylophora pistillata, was quantified. Light adapted corals fixed four times as much carbon and respired twice as much as shade corals. Specific growth rates of zooxanthellae in situ were estimated from average daily mitotic indices and from ammonium uptake rates (nitrate uptake or nitrate reductase activity could not be demonstrated). Specific growth rates were very low, demonstrating that of the total net carbon fixed daily, only a small fraction (less than 5%) goes into zooxanthellae cell growth. The balance of the net fixed carbon (more than 95%) is translocated to the host. New and conventional methods of measuring total daily translocation were compared. The `growth rate' method, which does not employ 14C, emerged as superior to the conventional in vitro and in vivo methods. The contribution of translocated carbon to animal maintenance respiration (CZAR) was 143% in light corals and 58% in shade corals. Thus, translocation in the former could supply not only the total daily carbon needed for respiration but also a fraction of the carbon needed for growth. Whereas light-adapted corals released only 6%, shade-adapted corals released almost half of their total fixed carbon as dissolved or particulate organic material. This much higher throughput of organic carbon may possibly benefit the heterotrophic microbial community in shade environments.

  10. QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT OF CORAL DISEASES IN THE FLORIDA KEYS: STRATEGY AND METHODOLOGY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Most studies of coral disease have focused on the incidence of a single disease within a single location. Our overall objective is to use quantitative assessments to characterize annual patterns in the distribution and frequency of scleractinian and gorgonian coral diseases over ...

  11. The Yellow Gorgonian Eunicella cavolini: Demography and Disturbance Levels across the Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    Sini, Maria; Kipson, Silvija; Linares, Cristina; Koutsoubas, Drosos; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2015-01-01

    The yellow octocoral Eunicella cavolini is one of the most common gorgonians thriving in Mediterranean hard-bottom communities. However, information regarding its distribution and ecology in several parts of the Mediterranean is lacking, while population trends and conservation status remain largely unknown. We investigated 19 populations of E. cavolini over three representative geographic regions: the NW Mediterranean, CE Adriatic, and N Aegean. Focusing on the upper bathymetric range of the species (<40 m), data were collected on the populations' upper depth limit, density, colony height, and extent of injury. A three-level hierarchical sampling design was applied to assess the existence of spatial patterns, using: a) regions (located thousands of km apart), b) localities within regions (tens to hundreds of km apart), and c) sites within localities (hundreds of m to a few km apart). In the NW Mediterranean and CE Adriatic, the upper distribution limit was at depths ≤15 m, whereas in the N Aegean most populations were found deeper than 30 m. Population density ranged between 4.46-62 colonies per m2, while mean colony height was 15.6±8.9 SD cm with a maximum of 62 cm. The NW Mediterranean sites were characterized by dense populations dominated by small colonies (<20 cm), periodic recruitment, and low proportion of large gorgonians (>30 cm). The CE Adriatic displayed intermediate densities, with well-structured populations, and continuous recruitment. In the N Aegean, most populations presented low densities, high proportion of large colonies, but low number of small colonies, signifying limited recruitment. Disturbance levels, as a function of extent and type of injury, are discussed in relation to past or present human-induced threats. This work represents geographically the most wide ranging demographic study of a Mediterranean octocoral to date. The quantitative information obtained provides a basis for future monitoring at a Mediterranean scale. PMID

  12. The Yellow Gorgonian Eunicella cavolini: Demography and Disturbance Levels across the Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Linares, Cristina; Koutsoubas, Drosos; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2015-01-01

    The yellow octocoral Eunicella cavolini is one of the most common gorgonians thriving in Mediterranean hard-bottom communities. However, information regarding its distribution and ecology in several parts of the Mediterranean is lacking, while population trends and conservation status remain largely unknown. We investigated 19 populations of E. cavolini over three representative geographic regions: the NW Mediterranean, CE Adriatic, and N Aegean. Focusing on the upper bathymetric range of the species (<40 m), data were collected on the populations’ upper depth limit, density, colony height, and extent of injury. A three-level hierarchical sampling design was applied to assess the existence of spatial patterns, using: a) regions (located thousands of km apart), b) localities within regions (tens to hundreds of km apart), and c) sites within localities (hundreds of m to a few km apart). In the NW Mediterranean and CE Adriatic, the upper distribution limit was at depths ≤15 m, whereas in the N Aegean most populations were found deeper than 30 m. Population density ranged between 4.46-62 colonies per m2, while mean colony height was 15.6±8.9 SD cm with a maximum of 62 cm. The NW Mediterranean sites were characterized by dense populations dominated by small colonies (<20 cm), periodic recruitment, and low proportion of large gorgonians (>30 cm). The CE Adriatic displayed intermediate densities, with well-structured populations, and continuous recruitment. In the N Aegean, most populations presented low densities, high proportion of large colonies, but low number of small colonies, signifying limited recruitment. Disturbance levels, as a function of extent and type of injury, are discussed in relation to past or present human-induced threats. This work represents geographically the most wide ranging demographic study of a Mediterranean octocoral to date. The quantitative information obtained provides a basis for future monitoring at a Mediterranean scale. PMID

  13. New insights on Antarctic gorgonians' age, growth and their potential as paleorecords

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez-Dios, Ariadna; Dominguez-Carrió, Carlos; Zapata-Guardiola, Rebeca; Gili, Josep-Maria

    2016-06-01

    Antarctic benthic communities have long been regarded as relicts of the past, since they have developed in a very stable environment and are formed by slow-growing and extraordinary long-lived organisms. However, little is known about the life history traits of gorgonian species, which are considered key components of the Antarctic benthos. In this study, age, Radial Growth Rates (RGR) and skeletal composition of Thouarella variabilis, Fannyella abies and Fannyella rossii colonies (Octocorallia, Primnoidae) that inhabit Antarctic shelf waters were examined. The radioisotopes 14C and 210Pb used for dating revealed that these colonies are long-lived, with ages spanning from 50 to 1100 years, thus confirming the archaic character of the Antarctic ecosystem. Some RGR obtained are among the lowest rates ever reported for primnoid species and gorgonians as a whole, with Thouarella species showing rates of 5.08 μm yr-1. Growth ring deposition seemed to occur every 2-3 years on average, although this result cannot be confirmed. Irregularities in the growth rings could be observed under the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) as fluctuations in the skeletal composition, which may be indicative of changes in the environmental conditions, most possibly primary production.

  14. Cytotoxic 19-oxygenated steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian, Pacifigorgia senta.

    PubMed

    Chen, Min; Han, Lei; Zhang, Xiu-Li; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2016-06-01

    Bioassay guided chemical investigation of the gorgonian Pacifigorgia senta led to the discovery of a new 19-oxygenated steroid, cholesta-5,24-diene-3β,7β,19-triol (1), as well as three known steroids (2-4). The structure of 1 was determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis, including NMR and MS spectra. All of the compounds exhibited cytotoxicities against HepG2, Hep3B, MCF-7/ADR, PC-3 and HCT-116 cell lines, with the IC50 values ranging from 7.0 to 29.7 μM. It is the first report on the chemical constituents of the coral species P. senta. PMID:26230370

  15. Carbamate derivatives and sesquiterpenoids from the South China Sea gorgonian Melitodes squamata.

    PubMed

    Huang, Li-Si; He, Fei; Huang, Hui; Zhang, Xiao-Yong; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2012-01-01

    Five carbamate derivatives, obtucarbamates C and D (1, 2), dimethyl ((carbonylbis(azanediyl))bis(2-methyl-5,1-phenylene))dicarbamate (3), obtucarbamates A and B (4, 5), and four aromadendrane-type sesquiterpenoids, (+)-4β-N-methenetauryl-10β-methoxy-1β,5α,6β,7β-aromadendrane (6), (-)-4β-N-methenetauryl-10β-methoxy-1β,5β,6α,7α-aromadendrane (7), (-)-4α,10β-aromadendranediol (8), (+)-4β,10β-aromadendranediol (9) were obtained from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Melitodes squamata Nutting. Compounds 1, 2, 6, and 7 were new, and their structures were established by spectroscopic analyses. Compounds 6 and 7 contained a taurine group that was rarely found in marine natural compounds, and 7 showed moderate antibacterial activity. The possible biosynthesis routes of 1-5 were conjectured. PMID:22423284

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    Caribbean reef corals have declined precipitously since the 1980s due to regional episodes of bleaching, disease and algal overgrowth, but the extent of earlier degradation due to localised historical disturbances such as land clearing and overfishing remains unresolved. We analysed coral and molluscan fossil assemblages from reefs near Bocas del Toro, Panama to construct a timeline of ecological change from the 19th century-present. We report large changes before 1960 in coastal lagoons coincident with extensive deforestation, and after 1960 on offshore reefs. Striking changes include the demise of previously dominant staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and oyster Dendrostrea frons that lives attached to gorgonians and staghorn corals. Reductions in bivalve size and simplification of gastropod trophic structure further implicate increasing environmental stress on reefs. Our paleoecological data strongly support the hypothesis, from extensive qualitative data, that Caribbean reef degradation predates coral bleaching and disease outbreaks linked to anthropogenic climate change. PMID:22462739

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

    EPA Science Inventory

    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...

  18. Effects of juvenile coral-feeding butterflyfishes on host corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2011-09-01

    Corals provide critical settlement habitat for a wide range of coral reef fishes, particularly corallivorous butterflyfishes, which not only settle directly into live corals but also use this coral as an exclusive food source. This study examines the consequences of chronic predation by juvenile coral-feeding butterflyfishes on their specific host corals. Juvenile butterflyfishes had high levels of site fidelity for host corals with 88% (38/43) of small (<30 mm) juveniles of Chaetodon plebeius feeding exclusively from a single host colony. This highly concentrated predation had negative effects on the condition of these colonies, with tissue biomass declining with increasing predation intensity. Declines were consistent across both field observations and a controlled experiment. Coral tissue biomass declined by 26.7, 44.5 and 53.4% in low, medium and high predation intensity treatments. Similarly, a 41.7% difference in coral tissue biomass was observed between colonies that were naturally inhabited by juvenile butterflyfish compared to uninhabited control colonies. Total lipid content of host corals declined by 29-38% across all treatments including controls and was not related to predation intensity; rather, this decline coincided with the mass spawning of corals and the loss of lipid-rich eggs. Although the speed at which lost coral tissue is regenerated and the long-term consequences for growth and reproduction remain unknown, our findings indicate that predation by juvenile butterflyfishes represents a chronic stress to these coral colonies and will have negative energetic consequences for the corals used as settlement habitat.

  19. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

    PubMed

    Oliver, L M; Fisher, W S; Dittmar, J; Hallock, P; Campbell, J; Quarles, R L; Harris, P; LoBue, C

    2014-08-01

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human disturbance. Proxies for human disturbance were measured as distance to town (DTT) and rankings of a low-level sediment contamination gradient analyzed from a previous study. Contaminant rank and DTT showed that percent mud, stony coral taxa richness, reef rugosity, and numbers of invertebrates and sponges were higher at sites closer to human disturbance, but a foraminiferal assemblage index was significantly lower at sites with higher proxies for human disturbance. Fish indicators showed no significant relationships with human activity, but associations between fish community measures and certain measures of stony corals, gorgonians and sponges were found. Contrasting responses between foraminifera and reef organisms may be due to greater exposure and sensitivity of foraminifera to sediment contaminants. PMID:24840256

  20. Ecological shifts in Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages related to gorgonian forest loss.

    PubMed

    Ponti, Massimo; Perlini, Rossella Angela; Ventra, Vincenzo; Grech, Daniele; Abbiati, Marco; Cerrano, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Mediterranean gorgonian forests are threatened by several human activities and are affected by climatic anomalies that have led to mass mortality events in recent decades. The ecological role of these habitats and the possible consequence of their loss are poorly understood. Effects of gorgonians on the recruitment of epibenthic organisms were investigated by manipulating presence of gorgonians on experimental panels at 24 m depth, for Eunicella cavolinii, and at 40 m depth, for Paramuricea clavata, at two sites: Tavolara Island (Tyrrhenian Sea) and Portofino Promontory (Ligurian Sea). After 4 months, the most abundant taxa on the panels were encrusting green algae, erect red algae and crustose coralline algae at 24 m depth and encrusting brown algae and erect red algae at 40 m depth. Assemblages on the panels were significantly affected by the presence of the gorgonians, although effects varied across sites and between gorgonian species. Species diversity and evenness were lower on panels with gorgonian branches. Growth of erect algae and recruitment of serpulid polychaetes were also affected by the presence of the gorgonians, primarily at Tavolara. Crustose coralline algae and erect sponges were more abundant on E. cavolinii panels at 24 m depth, while encrusting bryozoans were more abundant on P. clavata panels at 40 m depth. Effects of gorgonians on recruited assemblages could be due to microscale modification of hydrodynamics and sediment deposition rate, or by a shading effect reducing light intensity. Gorgonians may also intercept settling propagules, compete for food with the filter-feeders and/or for space by producing allelochemicals. Presence of gorgonians mainly limits the growth of erect algae and enhances the abundance of encrusting algae and sessile invertebrates. Therefore, the gorgonian disappearances may cause a shift from assemblages characterised by crustose coralline algae to filamentous algae assemblages, decreasing complexity and resilience

  1. Ecological Shifts in Mediterranean Coralligenous Assemblages Related to Gorgonian Forest Loss

    PubMed Central

    Ponti, Massimo; Perlini, Rossella Angela; Ventra, Vincenzo; Grech, Daniele; Abbiati, Marco; Cerrano, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Mediterranean gorgonian forests are threatened by several human activities and are affected by climatic anomalies that have led to mass mortality events in recent decades. The ecological role of these habitats and the possible consequence of their loss are poorly understood. Effects of gorgonians on the recruitment of epibenthic organisms were investigated by manipulating presence of gorgonians on experimental panels at 24 m depth, for Eunicella cavolinii, and at 40 m depth, for Paramuricea clavata, at two sites: Tavolara Island (Tyrrhenian Sea) and Portofino Promontory (Ligurian Sea). After 4 months, the most abundant taxa on the panels were encrusting green algae, erect red algae and crustose coralline algae at 24 m depth and encrusting brown algae and erect red algae at 40 m depth. Assemblages on the panels were significantly affected by the presence of the gorgonians, although effects varied across sites and between gorgonian species. Species diversity and evenness were lower on panels with gorgonian branches. Growth of erect algae and recruitment of serpulid polychaetes were also affected by the presence of the gorgonians, primarily at Tavolara. Crustose coralline algae and erect sponges were more abundant on E. cavolinii panels at 24 m depth, while encrusting bryozoans were more abundant on P. clavata panels at 40 m depth. Effects of gorgonians on recruited assemblages could be due to microscale modification of hydrodynamics and sediment deposition rate, or by a shading effect reducing light intensity. Gorgonians may also intercept settling propagules, compete for food with the filter-feeders and/or for space by producing allelochemicals. Presence of gorgonians mainly limits the growth of erect algae and enhances the abundance of encrusting algae and sessile invertebrates. Therefore, the gorgonian disappearances may cause a shift from assemblages characterised by crustose coralline algae to filamentous algae assemblages, decreasing complexity and resilience

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

    EPA Science Inventory

    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 ...

  3. Unusual Cytotoxic Steroidal Saponins from the Gorgonian Astrogorgia dumbea.

    PubMed

    Lu, Ya-Nan; Cui, Ping; Tian, Xiao-Qing; Lou, Li-Guang; Fan, Cheng-Qi

    2016-06-01

    Three steroidal saponins, including astrogorgiosides A (1) and B (2) bearing acetamido-glucose moieties, and astrogorgioside C (3) with a 19-nor and bearing an aromatized B ring steroid aglycone, together with a known major saponin dimorphoside A (4), were obtained from the gorgonian Astrogorgia dumbea collected near Dongshan Island in East China Sea. Structures of these compounds were elucidated by in-depth spectral and chemical methods, including 2D-NMR, HR-ESI-MS spectra, and acidic hydrolysis. For the first time, acetamido-glucose moiety is being reported from a gorgonian. The B-ring aromatized steroid aglycone of compound 3 is also rare in marine natural products. Compounds 1-3 exhibited moderate cytotoxic activity with IC50 values of 26.8-45.6 µM against human tumor cells Bel-7402 and K562. PMID:27352300

  4. Coral can have growth anomalies

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral growth anomalies (GAs) are changes in the coral cells that deposit the calcium carbonate skeleton. They usually appear as raised areas of the skeleton and tissue that are different from the surrounding normal areas on the same colony. The features include abnormal shape a...

  5. Effects of coral bleaching on the obligate coral-dwelling crab Trapezia cymodoce

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stella, J. S.; Munday, P. L.; Jones, G. P.

    2011-09-01

    Corals are an essential and threatened habitat for a diverse range of reef-associated animals. Episodes of coral bleaching are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity over coming decades, yet the effects of coral-host bleaching on the associated animal communities remain poorly understood. The present study investigated the effects of host-colony bleaching on the obligate coral-dwelling crab, Trapezia cymodoce, during a natural bleaching event in the lagoon of Lizard Island, Australia. Branching corals, which harbour the highest diversity of coral associates, comprised 13% of live coral cover at the study site, with 83% affected by bleaching. Crabs on healthy and bleached colonies of Pocillopora damicornis were monitored over a 5-week period to determine whether coral bleaching affected crab density and movement patterns. All coral colonies initially contained one breeding pair of crabs. There was a significant decline in crab density on bleached corals after 5 weeks, with many corals losing one or both crabs, yet all healthy colonies retained a mating pair. Fecundity of crabs collected from bleached and healthy colonies of P. damicornis was also compared. The size of egg clutches of crabs collected from bleached hosts was 40% smaller than those from healthy hosts, indicating a significant reduction in fecundity. A laboratory experiment on movement patterns found that host-colony bleaching also prompted crabs to emigrate in search of more suitable colonies. Emigrant crabs engaged in aggressive interactions with occupants of healthy hosts, with larger crabs always usurping occupants of a smaller size. Decreased densities and clutch sizes, along with increased competitive interactions, could potentially result in a population decline of these important coral associates with cascading effects on coral health.

  6. Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, I.B.; Walters, L.J.; Becerro, M.A.; Paul, V.J.; Ritson-Williams, R.; Beach, K.S.

    2006-01-01

    Coral recruitment is a key process in the maintenance and recovery of coral reef ecosystems. While intense competition between coral and algae is often assumed on reefs that have undergone phase shifts from coral to algal dominance, data examining the competitive interactions involved, particularly during the larval and immediate post-settlement stage, are scarce. Using a series of field and outdoor seawater table experiments, we tested the hypothesis that common species of macroalgae and cyanobacteria inhibit coral recruitment. We examined the effects of Lyngbya spp., Dictyota spp., Lobophora variegata (J. V. Lamouroux) Womersley, and Chondrophycus poiteaui (J. V. Lamouroux) Nam (formerly Laurencia poiteaui) on the recruitment success of Porites astreoides larvae. All species but C. poiteaui caused either recruitment inhibition or avoidance behavior in P. astreoides larvae, while L. confervoides and D. menstrualis significantly increased mortality rates of P. astreoides recruits. We also tested the effect of some of these macrophytes on larvae of the gorgonian octocoral Briareum asbestinum. Exposure to Lyngbya majuscula reduced survival and recruitment in the octocoral larvae. Our results provide evidence that algae and cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. On reefs experiencing phase shifts or temporary algal blooms, the restocking of adult coral populations may be slowed due to recruitment inhibition, thereby perpetuating reduced coral cover and limiting coral community recovery. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  7. Habitat, Fauna, and Conservation of Florida's Deep-Water Coral Reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reed, J. K.; Pomponi, S. A.; Messing, C. G.; Brooke, S.

    2008-05-01

    Various types of deep-water coral habitats are common off the southeastern United States from the Blake Plateau through the Straits of Florida to the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Expeditions in the past decade with the Johnson-Sea- Link manned submersibles, ROVs, and AUVs have discovered, mapped and compiled data on the status, distribution, habitat, and biodiversity for many of these relatively unknown deep-sea coral ecosystems. We have discovered over three hundred, high relief (15-152-m tall) coral mounds (depth 700-800 m) along the length of eastern Florida (700 km). The north Florida sites are rocky lithoherms, whereas the southern sites are primarily classic coral bioherms, capped with dense 1-2 m tall thickets of Lophelia pertusa and Enallopsammia profunda. Off southeastern Florida, the Miami Terrace escarpment (depth 300-600 m) extends nearly 150 km as a steep, rocky slope of Miocene-age phosphoritic limestone, which provides habitat for a rich biodiversity of fish and benthic invertebrates. Off the Florida Keys, the Pourtalès Terrace (depth 200- 460 m) has extensive high-relief bioherms and numerous deep-water sinkholes to depths of 250-610 m and diameters up to 800 m. The dominant, deep-water, colonial scleractinian corals in this region include Oculina varicosa, L. pertusa, E. profunda, Madrepora oculata, and Solenosmilia variabilis. Other coral species include hydrozoans (Stylasteridae), bamboo octocorals (Isididae), numerous other gorgonians, and black corals (Antipatharia). These structure-forming taxa provide habitat and living space for a relatively unknown but biologically rich and diverse community of crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, polychaete and sipunculan worms, and associated fishes. We have identified 142 taxa of benthic macro-invertebrates, including 66 Porifera and 57 Cnidaria. Nearly 100 species of fish have been identified to date in association with these deep-water coral habitats. Paull et al. (2000) estimated that over 40

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

    PubMed

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

    Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70-80% lower, macroalgal cover 4-9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5-15 fold more frequent and 23-67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae), and coral cover 51-68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa) against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals. PMID:24465707

  9. Seaweed-Coral Interactions: Variance in Seaweed Allelopathy, Coral Susceptibility, and Potential Effects on Coral Resilience

    PubMed Central

    Bonaldo, Roberta M.; Hay, Mark E.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70–80% lower, macroalgal cover 4–9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5–15 fold more frequent and 23–67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae), and coral cover 51–68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa) against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals. PMID:24465707

  10. The Role of Vibrios in Diseases of Corals.

    PubMed

    Munn, Colin B

    2015-08-01

    The tissue, skeleton, and secreted mucus of corals supports a highly dynamic and diverse community of microbes, which play a major role in the health status of corals such as the provision of essential nutrients or the metabolism of waste products. However, members of the Vibrio genus are prominent as causative agents of disease in corals. The aim of this chapter is to review our understanding of the spectrum of disease effects displayed by coral-associated vibrios, with a particular emphasis on the few species where detailed studies of pathogenicity have been conducted. The role of Vibrio shilonii in seasonal bleaching of Oculina patagonica and the development of the coral probiotic hypothesis is reviewed, pointing to unanswered questions about this phenomenon. Detailed consideration is given to studies of V. coralliilyticus and related pathogens and changes in the dominance of vibrios associated with coral bleaching. Other Vibrio-associated disease syndromes discussed include yellow band/blotch disease and tissue necrosis in temperate gorgonian corals. The review includes analysis of the role of enzymes, resistance to oxidative stress, and quorum sensing in virulence of coral-associated vibrios. The review concludes that we should probably regard most-possibly all-vibrios as "opportunistic" pathogens which, under certain environmental conditions, are capable of overwhelming the defense mechanisms of appropriate hosts, leading to rapid growth and tissue destruction. PMID:26350314

  11. Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of the Marine-Derived Compound Excavatolide B Isolated from the Culture-Type Formosan Gorgonian Briareum excavatum

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yen-You; Lin, Sung-Chun; Feng, Chien-Wei; Chen, Pei-Chin; Su, Yin-Di; Li, Chi-Min; Yang, San-Nan; Jean, Yen-Hsuan; Sung, Ping-Jyun; Duh, Chang-Yih; Wen, Zhi-Hong

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, several marine-derived compounds have been clinically evaluated. Diterpenes are secondary metabolites from soft coral that exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and cytotoxic activities. In the present study, we isolated a natural diterpene product, excavatolide B, from cultured Formosan gorgonian Briareum excavatum and investigated its anti-inflammatory activities. We found that excavatolide B significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of the proinflammatory mediators, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged murine macrophages (RAW 264.7). We also examined the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of excavatolide B on intraplantar carrageenan-induced inflammatory responses. Excavatolide B was found to significantly attenuate carrageenan-induced nociceptive behaviors, mechanical allodynia, thermal hyperalgesia, weight bearing deficits and paw edema. In addition, excavatolide B inhibited iNOS, as well as the infiltration of immune cells in carrageenan-induced inflammatory paw tissue. PMID:25923315

  12. Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of the Marine-Derived Compound Excavatolide B Isolated from the Culture-Type Formosan Gorgonian Briareum excavatum.

    PubMed

    Lin, Yen-You; Lin, Sung-Chun; Feng, Chien-Wei; Chen, Pei-Chin; Su, Yin-Di; Li, Chi-Min; Yang, San-Nan; Jean, Yen-Hsuan; Sung, Ping-Jyun; Duh, Chang-Yih; Wen, Zhi-Hong

    2015-05-01

    In recent years, several marine-derived compounds have been clinically evaluated. Diterpenes are secondary metabolites from soft coral that exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and cytotoxic activities. In the present study, we isolated a natural diterpene product, excavatolide B, from cultured Formosan gorgonian Briareum excavatum and investigated its anti-inflammatory activities. We found that excavatolide B significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of the proinflammatory mediators, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged murine macrophages (RAW 264.7). We also examined the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of excavatolide B on intraplantar carrageenan-induced inflammatory responses. Excavatolide B was found to significantly attenuate carrageenan-induced nociceptive behaviors, mechanical allodynia, thermal hyperalgesia, weight bearing deficits and paw edema. In addition, excavatolide B inhibited iNOS, as well as the infiltration of immune cells in carrageenan-induced inflammatory paw tissue. PMID:25923315

  13. Spatial and depth-associated distribution patterns of shallow gorgonians in the Algarve coast (Portugal, NE Atlantic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cúrdia, João; Monteiro, Pedro; Afonso, Carlos M. L.; Santos, Miguel N.; Cunha, Marina R.; Gonçalves, Jorge M. S.

    2013-09-01

    The ecological role of gorgonians for marine rocky bottoms is worldwide recognized, but the information on the distribution patterns of NE Atlantic temperate species is insufficient, considering current global, regional and local threats. To overcome the lack of information on the spatial distribution patterns of gorgonians in south Portugal, in 2009/2010, the occurrence and abundance of gorgonian species in rocky bottoms were quantified over more than 25 km of coast (37.1°N/8.6°W) down to 30 m depth. Eunicella labiata, Eunicella gazella, Eunicella verrucosa and Leptogorgia sarmentosa were abundant and frequent in the studied area, while Leptogorgia lusitanica was less abundant. All species evidenced a similar depth pattern, that is abundance significantly increased with depth below 15 m. At shallower waters (up to 15 m), the distribution of gorgonians may be constrained by abiotic factors and competition with algae. Indeed, the abundance of gorgonians was negatively correlated with the percentage cover of algae along the depth gradient, but gorgonians and sponges coexist. Competition among gorgonian species also seems to be low in this area because of the similarity in the abundance pattern observed for the most abundant species and also their high association. In NE Atlantic shallow temperate rocky bottoms, the distribution of gorgonians seems to be influenced by environmental factors and biological interactions, namely competition (algae) and coexistence (sponges and other gorgonians).

  14. Competitive strategies of soft corals (Coelenterata: Octocorallia): Allelopathic effects on selected scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sammarco, P. W.; Coll, J. C.; La Barre, S.; Willis, B.

    1983-09-01

    A striking retardation of grwoth was observed in the scleractinian coral Pavona cactus (Coelenterata: Scleractinia) growing in the vicinity of the soft coral Sinularia flexibilis (Coelenterata: Alcyonacea). More extensive field observations of naturally occurring interactions between soft corals and scleractinian corals suggested that members of the former group can be the more effective competitors for space on hard substrate. To test this hypothesis, colonies of three soft corals, Lobophytum pauciflorum, Sinularia pavida, and Xenia sp. aff. danae, were relocated next to stands of two hard corals, Pavona cactus and Porites andrewsi (=Porites cylindrica), and compared with undisturbed control areas. In areas where soft corals and scleractinian corals were in direct contact, significantly high levels of local mortality in the latter occurred in three of the six interaction pairs. One soft coral, L. pauciflorum, also caused extensive and significant mortality in Porites andrewsi in a non-contact situation. The scleractinian corals had no effect on the soft corals considered here. These results indicate that soft corals can effectively compete for space against hard corals. Furthermore, it is inferred that toxic exudates from the soft coral might be responsible for causing localized mortality in hard corals, since extensive mortality occurred in certain cases in the absence of contact. Competitive abilities of soft corals in interactions with hard corals varied in a species-specific manner. Susceptibility of hard corals to competitive mechanisms utilized by soft corals, particularly allelopathic ones, likewise varied species-specifically. It is commonly believed that the adaptive value of toxic compounds in soft corals stems from their effectiveness as a chemical defence mechanism in predator-prey interactions. This study has demonstrated their further role as allelopathic agents in interspecific competitive interactions.

  15. Coral microbiology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kellogg, Christina A.; Rohwer, Forest

    2007-01-01

    In the last 30 years, there has been approximately a 30% loss of corals worldwide, largely due to emerging diseases (Harvell et al., 2002, 2007; Hughes et al., 2003). Coral microbiology is a new field, driven largely by a desire to understand the interactions between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms and to use this knowledge to eventually prevent the spread of coral diseases.

  16. Microbiota of Healthy Corals Are Active against Fungi in a Light-Dependent Manner

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are intricate ecosystems that harbor diverse organisms, including 25% of all marine fish. Healthy corals exhibit a complex symbiosis between coral polyps, endosymbiotic alga, and an array of microorganisms, called the coral holobiont. Secretion of specialized metabolites by coral microbiota is thought to contribute to the defense of this sessile organism against harmful biotic and abiotic factors. While few causative agents of coral diseases have been unequivocally identified, fungi have been implicated in the massive destruction of some soft corals worldwide. Because corals are nocturnal feeders, they may be more vulnerable to fungal infection at night, and we hypothesized that the coral microbiota would have the capability to enhance their defenses against fungi in the dark. A Pseudoalteromonas sp. isolated from a healthy octocoral displayed light-dependent antifungal properties when grown adjacent to Penicilliumcitrinum (P. citrinum) isolated from a diseased Gorgonian octocoral. Microbial MALDI-imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) coupled with molecular network analyses revealed that Pseudoalteromonas produced higher levels of antifungal polyketide alteramides in the dark than in the light. The alteramides were inactivated by light through a photoinduced intramolecular cyclization. Further NMR studies led to a revision of the stereochemical structure of the alteramides. Alteramide A exhibited antifungal properties and elicited changes in fungal metabolite distributions of mycotoxin citrinin and citrinadins. These data support the hypothesis that coral microbiota use abiotic factors such as light to regulate the production of metabolites with specialized functions to combat opportunistic pathogens at night. PMID:25058318

  17. A microsampling method for genotyping coral symbionts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kemp, D. W.; Fitt, W. K.; Schmidt, G. W.

    2008-06-01

    Genotypic characterization of Symbiodinium symbionts in hard corals has routinely involved coring, or the removal of branches or a piece of the coral colony. These methods can potentially underestimate the complexity of the Symbiodinium community structure and may produce lesions. This study demonstrates that microscale sampling of individual coral polyps provided sufficient DNA for identifying zooxanthellae clades by RFLP analyses, and subclades through the use of PCR amplification of the ITS-2 region of rDNA and denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis. Using this technique it was possible to detect distinct ITS-2 types of Symbiodinium from two or three adjacent coral polyps. These methods can be used to intensely sample coral-symbiont population/communities while causing minimal damage. The effectiveness and fine scale capabilities of these methods were demonstrated by sampling and identifying phylotypes of Symbiodinium clades A, B, and C that co-reside within a single Montastraea faveolata colony.

  18. River discharge reduces reef coral diversity in Palau.

    PubMed

    Golbuu, Yimnang; van Woesik, Robert; Richmond, Robert H; Harrison, Peter; Fabricius, Katharina E

    2011-04-01

    Coral community structure is often governed by a suite of processes that are becoming increasingly influenced by land-use changes and related terrestrial discharges. We studied sites along a watershed gradient to examine both the physical environment and the associated biological communities. Transplanted corals showed no differences in growth rates and mortality along the watershed gradient. However, coral cover, coral richness, and coral colony density increased with increasing distance from the mouth of the bay. There was a negative relationship between coral cover and mean suspended solids concentration. Negative relationships were also found between terrigenous sedimentation rates and the richness of adult and juvenile corals. These results have major implications not only for Pacific islands but for all countries with reef systems downstream of rivers. Land development very often leads to increases in river runoff and suspended solids concentrations that reduce coral cover and coral diversity on adjacent reefs. PMID:21251680

  19. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  20. Toxic coral gobies reduce the feeding rate of a corallivorous butterflyfish on Acropora corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dirnwoeber, M.; Herler, J.

    2013-03-01

    The obligate coral-dwelling gobiid genus Gobiodon inhabits Acropora corals and has developed various physiological, morphological and ethological adaptations towards this life habit. While the advantages of this coral-fish association are well documented for Gobiodon, possible fitness-increasing factors for the host coral are unknown. This study examines the influence of coral-dwelling gobies on the feeding behaviour of obligate corallivorous butterflyfishes. In an aquarium experiment using video observation, the corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus fed significantly less on corals inhabited by two Gobiodon species compared to unoccupied coral colonies of similar size. The more agonistic species G. histrio, which mostly displayed directed movements towards butterflyfishes, decreased butterflyfish bite rate by 62-98 % compared to uninhabited colonies. For Gobiodon sp. 3, which mostly displayed undirected movements in response to visits by C. austriacus, bite rate reduction was 64-68 %. The scale-less skin of Gobiodon spp. is covered by mucus that is toxic and multi-functional by reducing predation as well as affecting parasite attachment. A choice flume experiment suggests that the highly diluted skin mucus of Gobiodon spp. also functions as a corallivore repellent. This study demonstrates that Gobiodon spp. exhibit resource defence against coral-feeding butterflyfishes and also that coral colonies without resident Gobiodon suffer higher predation rates. Although the genus Gobiodon is probably a facultative corallivore, this study shows that by reducing predation on inhabited colonies by other fishes, these obligate coral-dwellers either compensate for their own fitness-decreasing impact on host colonies or live in a mutualistic association with them.

  1. Toxic coral gobies reduce the feeding rate of a corallivorous butterflyfish on Acropora corals.

    PubMed

    Dirnwoeber, M; Herler, J

    2013-03-01

    The obligate coral-dwelling gobiid genus Gobiodon inhabits Acropora corals and has developed various physiological, morphological and ethological adaptations towards this life habit. While the advantages of this coral-fish association are well documented for Gobiodon, possible fitness-increasing factors for the host coral are unknown. This study examines the influence of coral-dwelling gobies on the feeding behaviour of obligate corallivorous butterflyfishes. In an aquarium experiment using video observation, the corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus fed significantly less on corals inhabited by two Gobiodon species compared to unoccupied coral colonies of similar size. The more agonistic species G. histrio, which mostly displayed directed movements towards butterflyfishes, decreased butterflyfish bite rate by 62-98 % compared to uninhabited colonies. For Gobiodon sp. 3, which mostly displayed undirected movements in response to visits by C. austriacus, bite rate reduction was 64-68 %. The scale-less skin of Gobiodon spp. is covered by mucus that is toxic and multi-functional by reducing predation as well as affecting parasite attachment. A choice flume experiment suggests that the highly diluted skin mucus of Gobiodon spp. also functions as a corallivore repellent. This study demonstrates that Gobiodon spp. exhibit resource defence against coral-feeding butterflyfishes and also that coral colonies without resident Gobiodon suffer higher predation rates. Although the genus Gobiodon is probably a facultative corallivore, this study shows that by reducing predation on inhabited colonies by other fishes, these obligate coral-dwellers either compensate for their own fitness-decreasing impact on host colonies or live in a mutualistic association with them. PMID:24443641

  2. Symbiodinium associations with diseased and healthy scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Correa, A. M. S.; Brandt, M. E.; Smith, T. B.; Thornhill, D. J.; Baker, A. C.

    2009-06-01

    Despite recent advances in identifying the causative agents of disease in corals and understanding the impact of epizootics on reef communities, little is known regarding the interactions among diseases, corals, and their dinoflagellate endosymbionts ( Symbiodinium spp.). Since the genotypes of both corals and their resident Symbiodinium contribute to colony-level phenotypes, such as thermotolerance, symbiont genotypes might also contribute to the resistance or susceptibility of coral colonies to disease. To explore this, Symbiodinium were identified using the internal transcribed spacer-2 region of ribosomal DNA from diseased and healthy tissues within individual coral colonies infected with black band disease (BB), dark spot syndrome (DSS), white plague disease (WP), or yellow blotch disease (YB) in the Florida Keys (USA) and the US Virgin Islands. Most of the diseased colonies sampled contained B1, B5a, or C1 (depending on host species), while apparently healthy colonies of the same coral species frequently hosted these types and/or additional symbiont diversity. No potentially “parasitic” Symbiodinium types, uniquely associated with diseased coral tissue, were detected. Within most individual colonies, the same dominant Symbiodinium type was detected in diseased and visually healthy tissues. These data indicate that specific Symbiodinium types are not correlated with the infected tissues of diseased colonies and that DSS and WP onset do not trigger symbiont shuffling within infected tissues. However, few diseased colonies contained clade D symbionts suggesting a negative correlation between hosting Symbiodinium clade D and disease incidence in scleractinian corals. Understanding the influence of Symbiodinium diversity on colony phenotypes may play a critical role in predicting disease resistance and susceptibility in scleractinian corals.

  3. Coral bleaching, hurricane damage, and benthic cover on coral reefs in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: A comparison of surveys with the chain transect method and videography

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2001-01-01

    The linear chain transect method and videography were used to quantify the percent cover by corals, macroalgae, gorgonians, other living organisms, and substrate along permanent transects on two fringing reefs off St. John. Both methods were used simultaneously on Lameshur reef in November 1998, and on Newfound reef in March and October 1998. Hurricane Georges passed over St. John in September 1998, and a severe coral bleaching episode began the same month. Both methods gave remarkably similar values for coral cover, while the video method gave consistently higher values for gorgonians and macroalgae. The most dramatic difference was in the quantification of bleaching. At Newfound, the chain method indicated 13.4% (SD = 14.1) of the coral tissues were bleached and the video method, 43.4% (SD = 13.0). Corresponding values at Lameshur were 18.1% (SD = 22.3) and 46.5% (SD = 13.3). Although hurricane damage was conspicuous at Newfound reef, neither method showed significant changes in coral cover or other categories as a result of the storm.

  4. High prevalence of obligate coral-dwelling decapods on dead corals in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, Catherine E. I.; Bonsall, Michael B.; Koldewey, Heather; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Speight, Martin; Rogers, Alex D.

    2015-09-01

    Small and cryptic organisms that live within the interstices of reef habitats contribute greatly to coral reef biodiversity, but are poorly studied. Many species of cryptofauna have seemingly obligate associations with live coral and are therefore considered to be very vulnerable to coral mortality. Here we report the unanticipated prevalence of obligate coral-dwelling decapod crustaceans on dead colonies of branching corals in the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) in the central Indian Ocean. A total of 205 obligate coral-dwelling decapods, including Trapezia crabs, were recorded from 43 (out of 54) dead coral colonies of Acropora and Pocillopora collected across five different atolls. Trapezia individuals found on dead corals were mainly juveniles, and the few adults were almost exclusively male. Among the shrimps (Pontoniinae), however, it was predominantly adult females found on dead corals. Obligate coral-dwelling species that typically occur only on live Pocillopora hosts (e.g., Trapezia spp.) were recorded on dead Acropora. These findings suggests that these obligate coral-dwelling decapods are not simply persisting on coral hosts that have died, but may be explicitly recruiting to or moving to dead coral hosts at certain stages in their life cycle. Variation in the abundance of live coral among sites had no affect on the presence or abundance of obligate coral-dwelling decapods on dead corals. This study shows that habitat associations of obligate coral-dwelling organisms, and their reliance on different habitat types, are complex and further work is required to establish their vulnerability to widespread habitat degradation on coral reefs.

  5. Selective Impact of Disease on Coral Communities: Outbreak of White Syndrome Causes Significant Total Mortality of Acropora Plate Corals

    PubMed Central

    Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Frisch, Ashley J.; Newman, Stephen J.; Wakefield, Corey B.

    2015-01-01

    Coral diseases represent a significant and increasing threat to coral reefs. Among the most destructive diseases is White Syndrome (WS), which is increasing in distribution and prevalence throughout the Indo-Pacific. The aim of this study was to determine taxonomic and spatial patterns in mortality rates of corals following the 2008 outbreak of WS at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. WS mainly affected Acropora plate corals and caused total mortality of 36% of colonies across all surveyed sites and depths. Total mortality varied between sites but was generally much greater in the shallows (0–96% of colonies at 5 m depth) compared to deeper waters (0–30% of colonies at 20 m depth). Site-specific mortality rates were a reflection of the proportion of corals affected by WS at each site during the initial outbreak and were predicted by the initial cover of live Acropora plate cover. The WS outbreak had a selective impact on the coral community. Following the outbreak, live Acropora plate coral cover at 5 m depth decreased significantly from 7.0 to 0.8%, while the cover of other coral taxa remained unchanged. Observations five years after the initial outbreak revealed that total Acropora plate cover remained low and confirmed that corals that lost all their tissue due to WS did not recover. These results demonstrate that WS represents a significant and selective form of coral mortality and highlights the serious threat WS poses to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. PMID:26147291

  6. Selective Impact of Disease on Coral Communities: Outbreak of White Syndrome Causes Significant Total Mortality of Acropora Plate Corals.

    PubMed

    Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Frisch, Ashley J; Newman, Stephen J; Wakefield, Corey B

    2015-01-01

    Coral diseases represent a significant and increasing threat to coral reefs. Among the most destructive diseases is White Syndrome (WS), which is increasing in distribution and prevalence throughout the Indo-Pacific. The aim of this study was to determine taxonomic and spatial patterns in mortality rates of corals following the 2008 outbreak of WS at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. WS mainly affected Acropora plate corals and caused total mortality of 36% of colonies across all surveyed sites and depths. Total mortality varied between sites but was generally much greater in the shallows (0-96% of colonies at 5 m depth) compared to deeper waters (0-30% of colonies at 20 m depth). Site-specific mortality rates were a reflection of the proportion of corals affected by WS at each site during the initial outbreak and were predicted by the initial cover of live Acropora plate cover. The WS outbreak had a selective impact on the coral community. Following the outbreak, live Acropora plate coral cover at 5 m depth decreased significantly from 7.0 to 0.8%, while the cover of other coral taxa remained unchanged. Observations five years after the initial outbreak revealed that total Acropora plate cover remained low and confirmed that corals that lost all their tissue due to WS did not recover. These results demonstrate that WS represents a significant and selective form of coral mortality and highlights the serious threat WS poses to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. PMID:26147291

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Robustness of size measurement in soft corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hellström, M.; Benzie, J. A. H.

    2011-09-01

    Accurate colony size measurement in soft-bodied sessile aquatic invertebrates is more difficult than in hard corals because of the variable state of the hydroskeleton in the former. The present study examined variation in colony height, oral disc diameter and basal circumference in three species of soft coral of different morphological types ( Sarcophyton elegans, Sinularia flexibilis and Dendronephthya sp.) over a 24-h period. Individual colonies changed considerably in size over this period. Coefficients of variation for height measurements and oral disc were 0.09-0.36 and 0.08-0.28, respectively, but were only 0.02-0.09 for basal circumference, in all three species. Measurements of basal circumference in the field showed the highest correlation with colony biomass (volume after water displacement in formalin) confirming basal circumference to be a sound measure of colony size in repeated measurement studies.

  9. Coral choreography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    Viewers clicking onto the Waikiki Aquarium's “Coral Research Cam” any time during daylight hours in Hawaii can catch the latest action of three species of living corals (Acropora sp., Acropora elseyi,and Montipora digitata) and the yellow tang and blue tang fish swimming amongst them in an outdoor aquarium.Waikiki Aquarium Director Bruce Carlson says the camera is part of a new exhibit, “Corals Are Alive!,” which encourages people to view living corals close-up at the aquarium or via the Internet, in order to gain a better appreciation of the corals. “Hopefully through education and awareness, people will be more interested and willing to help with conservation efforts to preserve coral reefs,” says Carlson.

  10. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs.

    PubMed

    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

  11. Colonial America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Web Feet K-8, 2001

    2001-01-01

    Presents resources for grades K-8, on the subject of Colonial America. Describes Web sites; CD-ROMs and software; videos; books; audios; magazines; and professional resources. Includes two articles, "Native Americans in the Colonies," and "The Golden Age of Pirates," which also highlight resources. Presents a Web activity focusing on daily life in…

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

    Over 30 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR) from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies were living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies were bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies were bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeneity, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic conditions, and biological influences on seawater chemistry generate chemical conditions that buffer against ocean acidification. This previously undocumented refuge for corals provides evidence for adaptation of coastal organisms and ecosystem transition due to recent climate change. Identifying and protecting other natural, non-reef coral refuges is critical for sustaining corals and other reef species into the future.

  13. Vortical ciliary flows actively enhance mass transport in reef corals

    PubMed Central

    Shapiro, Orr H.; Fernandez, Vicente I.; Garren, Melissa; Guasto, Jeffrey S.; Debaillon-Vesque, François P.; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Vardi, Assaf; Stocker, Roman

    2014-01-01

    The exchange of nutrients and dissolved gasses between corals and their environment is a critical determinant of the growth of coral colonies and the productivity of coral reefs. To date, this exchange has been assumed to be limited by molecular diffusion through an unstirred boundary layer extending 1–2 mm from the coral surface, with corals relying solely on external flow to overcome this limitation. Here, we present direct microscopic evidence that, instead, corals can actively enhance mass transport through strong vortical flows driven by motile epidermal cilia covering their entire surface. Ciliary beating produces quasi-steady arrays of counterrotating vortices that vigorously stir a layer of water extending up to 2 mm from the coral surface. We show that, under low ambient flow velocities, these vortices, rather than molecular diffusion, control the exchange of nutrients and oxygen between the coral and its environment, enhancing mass transfer rates by up to 400%. This ability of corals to stir their boundary layer changes the way that we perceive the microenvironment of coral surfaces, revealing an active mechanism complementing the passive enhancement of transport by ambient flow. These findings extend our understanding of mass transport processes in reef corals and may shed new light on the evolutionary success of corals and coral reefs. PMID:25192936

  14. Does Dark-Spot Syndrome Experimentally Transmit among Caribbean Corals?

    PubMed Central

    Randall, Carly J.; Jordán-Garza, Adán G.; Muller, Erinn M.; van Woesik, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Over the last half-century, coral diseases have contributed to the rapid decline of coral populations throughout the Caribbean region. Some coral diseases appear to be potentially infectious, yet little is known about their modes of transmission. This study experimentally tested whether dark-spot syndrome on Siderastrea siderea was directly or indirectly transmissible to neighboring coral colonies. We also tested whether open wounds were necessary to facilitate disease transmission. At the completion of the experiments, we sampled bacterial communities on diseased, exposed, and healthy coral colonies to determine whether bacterial pathogens had transmitted to the susceptible colonies. We saw no evidence of either direct or waterborne transmission of dark-spot syndrome, and corals that received lesions by direct contact with diseased tissue, healed and showed no signs of infection. There were no significant differences among bacterial communities on healthy, exposed, and diseased colonies, although nine individual ribotypes were significantly higher in diseased corals compared with healthy and exposed corals, indicating a lack of transmission. Although our experiments do not fully refute the possibility that dark-spot syndrome is infectious and transmissible, our results suggest that in situ macroscopic signs of dark-spot syndrome are not always contagious. PMID:26788918

  15. Measuring and utilizing the hydrogen isotopic composition of deep-sea corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davin, Samuel; Hillaire-Marcel, Claude; Edinger, Evan; Gelinas, Yves

    2016-04-01

    Despite the widespread use of hydrogen isotopic analysis of bioarchives in paleoenvironmental reconstructions, no previously-published work has yet attempted to measure or utilize the hydrogen isotopic composition (δD) of deep-sea corals. Geographically ubiquitous and with lifespans on the scale of hundreds of years, δD measurements of deep-sea corals have the potential to elucidate physical paleoceanographic parameters at well-resolved spatial and temporal resolutions. We present a method for the determination of annually-resolved δD from deep-sea corals measured from gorgonin, a complex proteinaceous material making up the horny skeleton of gorgonian corals. We address the issue of exchangeable hydrogen in gorgonin by controlling the isotopic composition of exchangeable hydrogen using a heated batch dual-equilibration technique. Coupled with δ15N measurements, we attempt to identify the relationships between trophic feeding levels, physical oceanographic parameters, and the δD of gorgonin from corals collected from chemically distinct ocean basins. Preliminary results from 43 samples indicate reproducible measurements on coral species Primnoa pacifica, Primnoa resedaeformis, and Keratoisis grayii with bulk δD values ranging from -40‰ to -110‰ and bulk δ15N values ranging from +13‰ to +17‰. Final results will include a full suite of non-exchangeable δD values and δ15N of corals from the Labrador Sea and from the Gulf of Alaska.

  16. Coral diseases are major contributors to coral mortality in Shingle Island, Gulf of Mannar, southeastern India.

    PubMed

    Thinesh, T; Diraviya Raj, K; Mathews, G; Patterson Edward, J K

    2013-09-24

    The present study reports coral mortality, driven primarily by coral diseases, around Shingle Island, Gulf of Mannar (GOM), Indian Ocean. In total, 2910 colonies were permanently monitored to assess the incidence of coral diseases and consequent mortality for 2 yr. Four types of lesions consistent with white band disease (WBD), black disease (BD), white plaque disease (WPD), and pink spot disease (PSD) were recorded from 4 coral genera: Montipora, Pocillopora, Acropora, and Porites. Porites were affected by 2 disease types, while the other 3 genera were affected by only 1 disease type. Overall disease prevalence increased from 8% (n = 233 colonies) to 41.9% (n = 1219) over the 2 yr study period. BD caused an unprecedented 100% mortality in Pocillopora, followed by 20.4 and 13.1% mortality from WBD in Montipora and Acropora, respectively. Mean disease progression rates of 0.8 ± 1.0 and 0.6 ± 0.5 cm mo-1 over live coral colonies were observed for BD and WBD. Significant correlations between temperature and disease progression were observed for BD (r = 0.86, R2 = 0.75, p < 0.001) and WBD (R2 = 0.76, p < 0.001). This study revealed the increasing trend of disease prevalence and progression of disease over live coral in a relatively limited study area; further study should investigate the status of the entire coral reef in the GOM and the role of diseases in reef dynamics. PMID:24062554

  17. Localized outbreak of attached diatoms on the coral Montipora due to low-temperature stress.

    PubMed

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Mikame, Yurika; Suzuki, Hidekazu

    2012-01-01

    A short-term, localized outbreak of diatoms attached to live corals was observed along the coast of Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan in February, 2011. Diatoms are recognized as brown patches in the initial stage, becoming fluffy encrustations and resulting in complete or partial coral death. Attached diatoms, including Licmophora, Climacosphenia, Ardissonea and others, attached and overgrew exclusively Montipora corals, which are dominant corals in some parts of Sesoko reef. Heavily-covered colonies or branches died. The rate of affected corals reached 80% in the worst-affected area. Microscopic observation showed that most diatoms settled directly with polysaccharide stalks or pads onto the partly-bared skeleton of coral branches, although some settled on coral soft tissues. Although no similar phenomenon was reported from other areas of Japan, cold-water events might have important roles in coral weakening, as a consequence, enabling diatom attachment on corals, thus leading to coral death in this area. PMID:22870381

  18. Localized outbreak of attached diatoms on the coral Montipora due to low-temperature stress

    PubMed Central

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Mikame, Yurika; Suzuki, Hidekazu

    2012-01-01

    A short-term, localized outbreak of diatoms attached to live corals was observed along the coast of Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan in February, 2011. Diatoms are recognized as brown patches in the initial stage, becoming fluffy encrustations and resulting in complete or partial coral death. Attached diatoms, including Licmophora, Climacosphenia, Ardissonea and others, attached and overgrew exclusively Montipora corals, which are dominant corals in some parts of Sesoko reef. Heavily-covered colonies or branches died. The rate of affected corals reached 80% in the worst-affected area. Microscopic observation showed that most diatoms settled directly with polysaccharide stalks or pads onto the partly-bared skeleton of coral branches, although some settled on coral soft tissues. Although no similar phenomenon was reported from other areas of Japan, cold-water events might have important roles in coral weakening, as a consequence, enabling diatom attachment on corals, thus leading to coral death in this area. PMID:22870381

  19. The condition of coral reefs in South Florida (2000) using Coral disease and bleaching as indicators.

    PubMed

    Santavy, Deborah L; Summers, J Kevin; Engle, Virginia D; Harwell, Linda C

    2005-01-01

    The destruction of coral reef habitats has occurred at unprecedented levels during the last three decades. Coral disease and bleaching in the Caribbean and South Florida have caused extensive coral mortality with limited recovery, often coral reefs are being replaced with turf algae. Acroporids were once dominant corals and have diminished to the state where they are being considered as endangered species. Our survey assessed the condition of reef corals throughout South Florida. A probability-based design produced unbiased estimates of the spatial extent of ecological condition, measured as the absence or presence and frequency or prevalence of coral diseases and bleaching intensity over large geographic regions. This approach allowed us to calculate a quantifiable level of uncertainty. Coral condition was estimated for 4100 hectares (ha) (or 41.0 km2) of coral reefs in South Florida, including reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), New Grounds, Dry Tortugas National Park (DTNP), and Biscayne National Park (BNP). The absence or presence of coral disease, 'causal' coral bleaching, partial bleaching and coral paling were not good indicators of overall coral condition. It was more useful to report the prevalence of anomalies that indicated a compromised condition at both the population and community levels. For example, 79% of the area in South Florida had less than 6% of the coral colonies diseased, whereas only 2.2% (97.15 ha) of the sampled area had a maximum prevalence of 13% diseased coral colonies at any single location. The usefulness of 'causal bleaching' might be more important when considering the prevalence of each of the three different states at a single location. For example, paling was observed over the entire area, whereas bleaching and partial bleaching occurred at 19 and 41% of the area, respectively. An index for coral reef condition might integrate the prevalence and species affected by each bleaching state at individual

  20. Impact and recovery from a mass mortality event of the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata populations on the french Mediterranean coasts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonhomme, D.; Garrabou, J.; Perez, T.; Sartoretto, S.; Harmelin, J. G.

    2003-04-01

    An unprecedented mass mortality occurred in the NW Mediterranean in summer 1999. This event affected 30 species of invertebrates from 5 different Phyla (sponges, cnidarians, molluscs, ascidians, bryozoans) on several hundred kilometres of shoreline from the Bay of Genoa in Italy to the Bay of Marseilles in France. The most affected taxa were sponges and cnidarians. This mass mortality took place under an unusual environmental context characterized by high and stable water column temperatures. The impact of the mass mortality and recovery (1999-2002) of populations of the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata from Provence's coasts (France) have been studied. Most surveyed populations displayed 50 % of affected colonies at different degree (dead, severe and low damage), although a great variability in rates of mortality and tissue loss was also evident depending among sites. The mortality impact decreased with depth, a pattern which supports the hypothesis that temperature played a key role in this event. Surveys on populations for which pre-mortality data (density and size structure) was attested that recovery was far from completion three years after the mortality. Considering the growth rate of P. clavata, full recovery of the most affected local populations will take several decades will be necessary to return to pre-mortality values. In the context of the global change and taking into account the correlation with the temperature, one may expect that the frequency of of these kind of events will increase in the next decades. Dramatic consequences can be expected for the conservation of the affected species in shallow habitats, in particular, and for the Mediterranean biodiversity, in general.

  1. Ciliates associated with signs of disease on two Caribbean corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Randall, Carly J.; Jordán-Garza, Adán G.; van Woesik, Robert

    2015-03-01

    Coral diseases have contributed significantly to the decline in coral cover in the Caribbean. As many as twenty diseases have been described for Caribbean corals, but few have known etiologies. Here we report on disease signs that were accompanied by high densities of motile, holotrich ciliates, on two species of Caribbean corals, Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea, which were field collected and maintained in aquaria. A visually estimated increase in ciliate density in the tissue of the coral colonies reflected a putative progression of three `different' disease signs: white-plague-like, brown-band-like, and brown-jelly-like signs. The latter two diseases have previously only been described for corals in the Indo-Pacific, and in aquaria, respectively. Although it remains unclear whether these ciliates are primary pathogens or secondary opportunists, increasing evidence suggests that motile ciliates may play a role in Caribbean-coral diseases.

  2. Two new eunicellin diterpenoids from the East China Sea gorgonian Muricella sp.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Chuan; Wang, Jia; Jin, De-Jun; Duan, Hong-Quan; Xing, Guo-Sheng; Tang, Sheng-An

    2016-09-01

    A phytochemical investigation on gorgonian Muricella sp. from East China Sea resulted in the isolation of eight eunicellin diterpenoids including two new ones, muricellins A-B (1, 2). Chemical structures of these compounds were elucidated by spectroscopic techniques (1D and 2D NMR and MS) and by comparison with data reported in the literature. Anti-rheumatoid arthritis activities of 1, 3, 4, and 6 have been evaluated. PMID:27004724

  3. Antiproliferative effects of a product isolated from the gorgonian Rumphella aggregata.

    PubMed

    Nourry, M; Urvois, P A; Tomasoni, C; Biard, J F; Verbist, J F; Roussakis, C

    1999-01-01

    A fraction isolated from the gorgonian Rumphella aggregata (Plexauridae) was studied vitro on asynchronous cells of a human non-small-cell-bronchopulmonary-carcinoma line (NSCLC-N6). Cell growth appeared to be inhibited in the Gl phase of the cell cycle, and kinetic studies in pretreated cells showed that this growth arrest was irreversible. These events seem to show a terminal maturation induced by this new product. PMID:10470131

  4. A marine diterpene with a novel tetracyclic framework from the West Indian gorgonian octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, A D; Ramírez, C

    2000-02-24

    [structure: see text] Colombiasin A (1) was isolated from an extract of the West Indian gorgonian octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae that showed strong inhibitorial activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv. Structure elucidation by interpretation of 2D-NMR spectroscopic data, IR, UV, and accurate mass measurements (HREI-MS) revealed that colombiasin A belongs to a previously undescribed class of C20 rearranged diterpenes possessing an intricate tetracyclic framework. PMID:10814363

  5. Tumor formations in scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loya, Y.; Bull, G.; Pichon, M.

    1984-03-01

    A highly localized incidence of skeletal malformations (tumors) in the scleractinian corals Platygyra pini and P. sinensis on an inshore fringing reef at Cockle Bay, Magnetic Island within the Great Barrier Reef province is reported. These tumors are typified by a localized area of increased growth rate resulting in roughly circular protuberances extending up to 4.5 cm above the colony's surface. In both species, similar proportions of their populations carried tumors (24.1 % in P. pini and 18.7 % in P. sinensis). Larger colonies (>80 cm in diameter) are at least 7 times more likely to possess tumors than smaller colonies (<40 cm in diameter). X-radiographs of the skeletal malformations indicate a point of origin, presumably from a single budded polyp with subsequent, localized, accelerated growth. The mean radial growth rate of the tumorous area was 29 % greater than that of the surrounding normal regions. In contrast to the normal tissue, the tumorous tissue exhibited proliferation of cells, atrophied gastrodermal cells and mesenterial filaments which were larger and disordered in structure. The environmental conditions at Cockle Bay are relatively extreme with high turbidity, periodic exposure of the reef flat, abrupt changes in salinity during the wet season and mechanical damage to corals caused by unpredictable cyclonic storms. It is suggested that a combination of environmental stresses coupled with an injury inflicted on the corals are possible stimuli that initiate the development of these abnormal growth through either bacterial attack or the development of an aberrant polyp during tissue repair.

  6. Persistence of coral-rudist reefs into the Late Cretaceous

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, R.W. ); Fernandez-Mendiola, P.A. ); Gili, E. ); Simo, A. )

    1990-04-01

    During the Early Cretaceous, coral-algal communities occupied deeper water habitats in the reef ecosystem, and rudist communities generally populated the shallow-water, carbonate-sand substrates. During the middle Cretaceous, however, coral-algal communities became less common, and Late Cretaceous reef communities consisted of both rudist-dominated and rudist-coral communities. In the Pyrenean basins and other basins in the Mediterranean, coral associations co-existed with rudists forming complex buildups at the shelf-edge. In some parts of these buildups corals were nearly as abundant as rudists; in some complex buildups large coral colonies encrusted the rudists. Behind the shelf margin cylindrical, elevator rudists dominated the lenticular thickets that were interspersed with carbonate sands. Global changes in oceanic conditions, such as marine productivity and oxygen content, may have stressed the deeper coral-algal reef communities leaving rudists as the major shallow reef biota in Caribbean reefs. However, the co-occurrence of corals with rudists in these Pyrenean complex buildups suggests that corals were able to compete with rudists for resources. The corals in the complex buildups generally belong to genera different from those in the coral-algal communities. Perhaps this ecological stress in the mid-Cretaceous resulted in the evolution of new coral taxa.

  7. Unprecedented Disease-Related Coral Mortality in Southeastern Florida.

    PubMed

    Precht, William F; Gintert, Brooke E; Robbart, Martha L; Fura, Ryan; van Woesik, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Anomalously high water temperatures, associated with climate change, are increasing the global prevalence of coral bleaching, coral diseases, and coral-mortality events. Coral bleaching and disease outbreaks are often inter-related phenomena, since many coral diseases are a consequence of opportunistic pathogens that further compromise thermally stressed colonies. Yet, most coral diseases have low prevalence (<5%), and are not considered contagious. By contrast, we document the impact of an extremely high-prevalence outbreak (61%) of white-plague disease at 14 sites off southeastern Florida. White-plague disease was observed near Virginia Key, Florida, in September 2014, and after 12 months had spread 100 km north and 30 km south. The disease outbreak directly followed a high temperature coral-bleaching event and affected at least 13 coral species. Eusmilia fastigiata, Meandrina meandrites, and Dichocoenia stokesi were the most heavily impacted coral species, and were reduced to <3% of their initial population densities. A number of other coral species, including Colpophyllia natans, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis, and Orbicella annularis were reduced to <25% of their initial densities. The high prevalence of disease, the number of susceptible species, and the high mortality of corals affected suggests this disease outbreak is arguably one of the most lethal ever recorded on a contemporary coral reef. PMID:27506875

  8. Unprecedented Disease-Related Coral Mortality in Southeastern Florida

    PubMed Central

    Precht, William F.; Gintert, Brooke E.; Robbart, Martha L.; Fura, Ryan; van Woesik, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Anomalously high water temperatures, associated with climate change, are increasing the global prevalence of coral bleaching, coral diseases, and coral-mortality events. Coral bleaching and disease outbreaks are often inter-related phenomena, since many coral diseases are a consequence of opportunistic pathogens that further compromise thermally stressed colonies. Yet, most coral diseases have low prevalence (<5%), and are not considered contagious. By contrast, we document the impact of an extremely high-prevalence outbreak (61%) of white-plague disease at 14 sites off southeastern Florida. White-plague disease was observed near Virginia Key, Florida, in September 2014, and after 12 months had spread 100 km north and 30 km south. The disease outbreak directly followed a high temperature coral-bleaching event and affected at least 13 coral species. Eusmilia fastigiata, Meandrina meandrites, and Dichocoenia stokesi were the most heavily impacted coral species, and were reduced to <3% of their initial population densities. A number of other coral species, including Colpophyllia natans, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis, and Orbicella annularis were reduced to <25% of their initial densities. The high prevalence of disease, the number of susceptible species, and the high mortality of corals affected suggests this disease outbreak is arguably one of the most lethal ever recorded on a contemporary coral reef. PMID:27506875

  9. Food selection of a corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus in the Red Sea, with particular emphasis on size and fish symbionts of corals.

    PubMed

    Niedermüller, S K; Schiemer, L S; Herler, J

    2009-10-01

    The exquisite butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus feeds mainly on Acropora, Pocillopora, Montipora and Stylophora in the northern Red Sea. Large colonies of Acropora are preferred over smaller colonies and other coral genera, whereas avoidance is indicated for corals that are occupied by certain coral-associated gobiid fishes of the genus Gobiodon. It is suggested that, apart from coral identity, colony size and potential repellent effects of particular coral symbionts are both important sources of variation in the food selectivity of corallivorous chaetodotids. PMID:20738627

  10. Hyperspectral and Physiological Analyses of Coral-Algal Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Barott, Katie; Smith, Jennifer; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Hatay, Mark; Sandin, Stuart; Rohwer, Forest

    2009-01-01

    Space limitation leads to competition between benthic, sessile organisms on coral reefs. As a primary example, reef-building corals are in direct contact with each other and many different species and functional groups of algae. Here we characterize interactions between three coral genera and three algal functional groups using a combination of hyperspectral imaging and oxygen microprofiling. We also performed in situ interaction transects to quantify the relative occurrence of these interaction on coral reefs. These studies were conducted in the Southern Line Islands, home to some of the most remote and near-pristine reefs in the world. Our goal was to determine if different types of coral-coral and coral-algal interactions were characterized by unique fine-scale physiological signatures. This is the first report using hyperspectral imaging for characterization of marine benthic organisms at the micron scale and proved to be a valuable tool for discriminating among different photosynthetic organisms. Consistent patterns emerged in physiology across different types of competitive interactions. In cases where corals were in direct contact with turf or macroalgae, there was a zone of hypoxia and altered pigmentation on the coral. In contrast, interaction zones between corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA) were not hypoxic and the coral tissue was consistent across the colony. Our results suggest that at least two main characteristic coral interaction phenotypes exist: 1) hypoxia and coral tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and fleshy turf and/or some species of macroalgae, and 2) no hypoxia or tissue disruption, seen with interactions between corals and some species of CCA. Hyperspectral imaging in combination with oxygen profiling provided useful information on competitive interactions between benthic reef organisms, and demonstrated that some turf and fleshy macroalgae can be a constant source of stress for corals, while CCA are not. PMID

  11. The effects of coral bleaching on settlement preferences and growth of juvenile butterflyfishes.

    PubMed

    Cole, A J; Lawton, R J; Pisapia, C; Pratchett, M S

    2014-07-01

    Coral bleaching and associated mortality is an increasingly prominent threat to coral reef ecosystems. Although the effects of bleaching-induced coral mortality on reef fishes have been well demonstrated, corals can remain bleached for several weeks prior to recovery or death and little is known about how bleaching affects resident fishes during this time period. This study compared growth rates of two species of juvenile butterflyfishes (Chaetodon aureofasciatus and Chaetodon lunulatus) that were restricted to feeding upon either bleached or healthy coral tissue of Acropora spathulata or Pocillopora damicornis. Coral condition (bleached vs. unbleached) had no significant effects on changes in total length or weight over a 23-day period. Likewise, in a habitat choice experiment, juvenile butterflyfishes did not discriminate between healthy and bleached corals, but actively avoided using recently dead colonies. These results indicate that juvenile coral-feeding fishes are relatively robust to short term effects of bleaching events, provided that the corals do recover. PMID:24680106

  12. Variation in the structure of epifaunal invertebrate assemblages among coral hosts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stella, J. S.; Jones, G. P.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2010-12-01

    The high biodiversity of coral reefs is attributable to the many invertebrate groups which live in symbiotic relationships with other reef organisms, particularly those which associate with the living coral habitat. However, few studies have examined the diversity and community structure of coral-dwelling invertebrates and how they vary among coral species. This study quantified the species richness and composition of animals associated with four common species of branching corals ( Acropora nasuta, A. millepora, Pocillopora damicornis, and Seriatopora hystrix) at Lizard Island in the northern Great Barrier Reef. One hundred and seventy-eight nominal species from 12 different phyla were extracted across 50 replicate colonies of each coral host. A single coral colony, approximately 20 cm in diameter, harbored as many as 73 individuals and 24 species. There were substantial differences in invertebrate species composition among coral hosts of different families as well as genera. Twenty-seven species (15% of all taxa collected) were found on only one of the four different coral species, which may potentially indicate some level of specialization among coral hosts. The distinct assemblages on different coral species, and the presence of potential specialists, suggests invertebrate communities will be sensitive to the differential loss of branching coral species resulting from coral reef degradation.

  13. Spatial Patterns of Parrotfish Corallivory in the Caribbean: The Importance of Coral Taxa, Density and Size

    PubMed Central

    Roff, George; Ledlie, Mary H.; Ortiz, Juan C.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2011-01-01

    The past few decades have seen an increase in the frequency and intensity of disturbance on coral reefs, resulting in shifts in size and composition of coral populations. These changes have lead to a renewed focus on processes that influence demographic rates in corals, such as corallivory. While previous research indicates selective corallivory among coral taxa, the importance of coral size and the density of coral colonies in influencing corallivory are unknown. We surveyed the size, taxonomy and number of bites by parrotfish per colony of corals and the abundance of three main corallivorous parrotfish (Sparisoma viride, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, Scarus vetula) at multiple spatial scales (reefs within islands: 1–100 km, and between islands: >100 km) within the Bahamas Archipelago. We used a linear mixed model to determine the influence of coral taxa, colony size, colony density, and parrotfish abundance on the intensity of corallivory (bites per m2 of coral tissue). While the effect of colony density was significant in determining the intensity of corallivory, we found no significant influence of colony size or parrotfish abundance (density, biomass or community structure). Parrotfish bites were most frequently observed on the dominant species of reef building corals (Montastraea annularis, Montastraea faveolata and Porites astreoides), yet our results indicate that when the confounding effects of colony density and size were removed, selective corallivory existed only for the less dominant Porites porites. As changes in disturbance regimes result in the decline of dominant frame-work building corals such as Montastraea spp., the projected success of P. porites on Caribbean reefs through high reproductive output, resistance to disease and rapid growth rates may be attenuated through selective corallivory by parrotfish. PMID:22216184

  14. The use of delta(15)N in assessing sewage stress on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Risk, Michael J; Lapointe, Brian E; Sherwood, Owen A; Bedford, Bradley J

    2009-06-01

    While coral reefs decline, scientists argue, and effective strategies to manage land-based pollution lag behind the extent of the problem. There is need for objective, cost-effective, assessment methods. The measurement of stable nitrogen isotope ratios, delta(15)N, in tissues of reef organisms shows promise as an indicator of sewage stress. The choice of target organism will depend upon study purpose, availability, and other considerations such as conservation. Algae are usually plentiful and have been shown faithfully to track sewage input. The organic matrix of bivalve shells can provide time series spanning, perhaps, decades. Gorgonians have been shown to track sewage, and can provide records potentially centuries-long. In areas where baseline data are lacking, which is almost everywhere, delta(15)N in gorgonians can provide information on status and trends. In coral tissue, delta(15)N combined with insoluble residue determination can provide information on both sewage and sediment stress in areas lacking baseline data. In the developed world, delta(15)N provides objective assessment in a field complicated by conflicting opinions. Sample handling and processing are simple and analysis costs are low. This is a method deserving widespread application. PMID:19286230

  15. Endolithic algae: an alternative source of photoassimilates during coral bleaching.

    PubMed Central

    Fine, Maoz; Loya, Yossi

    2002-01-01

    Recent reports of worldwide coral bleaching events leading to devastating coral mortality have caused alarm among scientists and resource managers. Differential survival of coral species through bleaching events has been widely documented. We suggest that among the possible factors contributing to survival of coral species during such events are endolithic algae harboured in their skeleton, providing an alternative source of energy. We studied the dynamics of photosynthetic pigment concentrations and biomass of endoliths in the skeleton of the encrusting coral Oculina patagonica throughout a bleaching event. During repeated summer bleaching events these endolithic algae receive increased photosynthetically active radiation, increase markedly in biomass, and produce increasing amounts of photoassimilates, which are translocated to the coral. Chlorophyll concentrations and biomass of endoliths were 4.6 +/- 1.57 and 1570 +/- 427 microg cm(-2) respectively, in skeletons of relatively healthy colonies (0-40% bleaching) but up to 14.8 +/- 2.5 and 4036 +/- 764 microg cm(-2) endolith chlorophyll and biomass respectively, in skeletons of bleached colonies (greater than 40% bleaching). The translocation dynamics of (14)C-labelled photoassimilates from the endoliths to bleached coral tissue showed significantly higher 14C activity of the endoliths harboured within the skeletons of bleached corals than that of the endoliths in non-bleached corals. This alternative source of energy may be vital for the survivorship of O. patagonica, allowing gradual recruitment of zooxanthellae and subsequent recovery during the following winter. PMID:12065035

  16. Coral-associated bacterial communities on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Ceh, Janja; Van Keulen, Mike; Bourne, David G

    2011-01-01

    Coral-associated microbial communities from three coral species (Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora tenuis and Favites abdita) were examined every 3 months (January, March, June, October) over a period of 1 year on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Tissue from corals was collected throughout the year and additional sampling of coral mucus and seawater samples was performed in January. Tissue samples were also obtained in October from P. damicornis coral colonies on Rottnest Island off Perth, 1200 km south of Ningaloo Reef, to provide comparisons between coral-microbial associates in different locations. The community structures of the coral-associated microorganisms were analysed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse microbial profiles among all the coral species sampled. Principal component analysis revealed that samples grouped according to time and not species, indicating that coral-microbial associations may be a result of environmental drivers such as oceanographic characteristics, benthic community structure and temperature. Tissue samples from P. damicornis at Rottnest Island revealed similarities in bacteria to the samples at Ningaloo Reef. This study highlights that coral-associated microbial communities are highly diverse; however, the complex interactions that determine the stability of these associations are not necessarily dependent on coral host specificity. PMID:21044100

  17. Coral calcification and ocean acidification

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Jury, Christopher P.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-01-01

    Over 60 years ago, the discovery that light increased calcification in the coral plant-animal symbiosis triggered interest in explaining the phenomenon and understanding the mechanisms involved. Major findings along the way include the observation that carbon fixed by photosynthesis in the zooxanthellae is translocated to animal cells throughout the colony and that corals can therefore live as autotrophs in many situations. Recent research has focused on explaining the observed reduction in calcification rate with increasing ocean acidification (OA). Experiments have shown a direct correlation between declining ocean pH, declining aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), declining [CO32_] and coral calcification. Nearly all previous reports on OA identify Ωarag or its surrogate [CO32] as the factor driving coral calcification. However, the alternate “Proton Flux Hypothesis” stated that coral calcification is controlled by diffusion limitation of net H+ transport through the boundary layer in relation to availability of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The “Two Compartment Proton Flux Model” expanded this explanation and synthesized diverse observations into a universal model that explains many paradoxes of coral metabolism, morphology and plasticity of growth form in addition to observed coral skeletal growth response to OA. It is now clear that irradiance is the main driver of net photosynthesis (Pnet), which in turn drives net calcification (Gnet), and alters pH in the bulk water surrounding the coral. Pnet controls [CO32] and thus Ωarag of the bulk water over the diel cycle. Changes in Ωarag and pH lag behind Gnet throughout the daily cycle by two or more hours. The flux rate Pnet, rather than concentration-based parameters (e.g., Ωarag, [CO3 2], pH and [DIC]:[H+] ratio) is the primary driver of Gnet. Daytime coral metabolism rapidly removes DIC from the bulk seawater. Photosynthesis increases the bulk seawater pH while providing the energy that drives

  18. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease in a comparative coral species framework.

    PubMed

    Roder, Cornelia; Arif, Chatchanit; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Daniels, Camille; Shibl, Ahmed; Chavanich, Suchana; Voolstra, Christian R

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are threatened throughout the world. A major factor contributing to their decline is outbreaks and propagation of coral diseases. Due to the complexity of coral-associated microbe communities, little is understood in terms of disease agents, hosts and vectors. It is known that compromised health in corals is correlated with shifts in bacterial assemblages colonizing coral mucus and tissue. However, general disease patterns remain, to a large extent, ambiguous as comparative studies over species, regions, or diseases are scarce. Here, we compare bacterial assemblages of samples from healthy (HH) colonies and such displaying signs of White Plague Disease (WPD) of two different coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) from the same reef in Koh Tao, Thailand, using 16S rRNA gene microarrays. In line with other studies, we found an increase of bacterial diversity in diseased (DD) corals, and a higher abundance of taxa from the families that include known coral pathogens (Alteromonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Vibrionaceae). In our comparative framework analysis, we found differences in microbial assemblages between coral species and coral health states. Notably, patterns of bacterial community structures from HH and DD corals were maintained over species boundaries. Moreover, microbes that differentiated the two coral species did not overlap with microbes that were indicative of HH and DD corals. This suggests that while corals harbor distinct species-specific microbial assemblages, disease-specific bacterial abundance patterns exist that are maintained over coral species boundaries. PMID:23924783

  19. Spectral Characteristics of Selected Hermatypic Corals from Gulf of Kachchh, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaudhury, N. Ray

    2012-07-01

    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.

  20. Symbiodinium Photosynthesis in Caribbean Octocorals

    PubMed Central

    Ramsby, Blake D.; Shirur, Kartick P.

    2014-01-01

    Symbioses with the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium form the foundation of tropical coral reef communities. Symbiodinium photosynthesis fuels the growth of an array of marine invertebrates, including cnidarians such as scleractinian corals and octocorals (e.g., gorgonian and soft corals). Studies examining the symbioses between Caribbean gorgonian corals and Symbiodinium are sparse, even though gorgonian corals blanket the landscape of Caribbean coral reefs. The objective of this study was to compare photosynthetic characteristics of Symbiodinium in four common Caribbean gorgonian species: Pterogorgia anceps, Eunicea tourneforti, Pseudoplexaura porosa, and Pseudoplexaura wagenaari. Symbiodinium associated with these four species exhibited differences in Symbiodinium density, chlorophyll a per cell, light absorption by chlorophyll a, and rates of photosynthetic oxygen production. The two Pseudoplexaura species had higher Symbiodinium densities and chlorophyll a per Symbiodinium cell but lower chlorophyll a specific absorption compared to P. anceps and E. tourneforti. Consequently, P. porosa and P. wagenaari had the highest average photosynthetic rates per cm2 but the lowest average photosynthetic rates per Symbiodinium cell or chlorophyll a. With the exception of Symbiodinium from E. tourneforti, isolated Symbiodinium did not photosynthesize at the same rate as Symbiodinium in hospite. Differences in Symbiodinium photosynthetic performance could not be attributed to Symbiodinium type. All P. anceps (n = 9) and P. wagenaari (n = 6) colonies, in addition to one E. tourneforti and three P. porosa colonies, associated with Symbiodinium type B1. The B1 Symbiodinium from these four gorgonian species did not cluster with lineages of B1 Symbiodinium from scleractinian corals. The remaining eight E. tourneforti colonies harbored Symbiodinium type B1L, while six P. porosa colonies harbored type B1i. Understanding the symbioses between gorgonian corals and Symbiodinium will

  1. A novel reef coral symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pantos, O.; Bythell, J. C.

    2010-09-01

    Reef building corals form close associations with unicellular microalgae, fungi, bacteria and archaea, some of which are symbiotic and which together form the coral holobiont. Associations with multicellular eukaryotes such as polychaete worms, bivalves and sponges are not generally considered to be symbiotic as the host responds to their presence by forming physical barriers with an active growth edge in the exoskeleton isolating the invader and, at a subcellular level, activating innate immune responses such as melanin deposition. This study describes a novel symbiosis between a newly described hydrozoan ( Zanclea margaritae sp. nov.) and the reef building coral Acropora muricata (= A. formosa), with the hydrozoan hydrorhiza ramifying throughout the coral tissues with no evidence of isolation or activation of the immune systems of the host. The hydrorhiza lacks a perisarc, which is typical of symbiotic species of this and related genera, including species that associate with other cnidarians such as octocorals. The symbiosis was observed at all sites investigated from two distant locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and appears to be host species specific, being found only in A. muricata and in none of 30 other species investigated at these sites. Not all colonies of A. muricata host the hydrozoans and both the prevalence within the coral population (mean = 66%) and density of emergent hydrozoan hydranths on the surface of the coral (mean = 4.3 cm-2, but up to 52 cm-2) vary between sites. The form of the symbiosis in terms of the mutualism-parasitism continuum is not known, although the hydrozoan possesses large stenotele nematocysts, which may be important for defence from predators and protozoan pathogens. This finding expands the known A. muricata holobiont and the association must be taken into account in future when determining the corals’ abilities to defend against predators and withstand stress.

  2. Coral-Bacterial Communities before and after a Coral Mass Spawning Event on Ningaloo Reef

    PubMed Central

    Ceh, Janja; Raina, Jean-Baptiste; Soo, Rochelle M.; van Keulen, Mike; Bourne, David G.

    2012-01-01

    Bacteria associated with three coral species, Acropora tenuis, Pocillopora damicornis and Tubastrea faulkneri, were assessed before and after coral mass spawning on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Two colonies of each species were sampled before and after the mass spawning event and two additional samples were collected for P. damicornis after planulation. A variable 470 bp region of the 16 S rRNA gene was selected for pyrosequencing to provide an understanding of potential variations in coral-associated bacterial diversity and community structure. Bacterial diversity increased for all coral species after spawning as assessed by Chao1 diversity indicators. Minimal changes in community structure were observed at the class level and data at the taxonomical level of genus incorporated into a PCA analysis indicated that despite bacterial diversity increasing after spawning, coral-associated community structure did not shift greatly with samples grouped according to species. However, interesting changes could be detected from the dataset; for example, α-Proteobacteria increased in relative abundance after coral spawning and particularly the Roseobacter clade was found to be prominent in all coral species, indicating that this group may be important in coral reproduction. PMID:22629343

  3. Collagen in the spicule organic matrix of the gorgonian Leptogorgia virgulata

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kingsley, R. J.; Tsuzaki, M.; Watabe, N.; Mechanic, G. L.

    1990-01-01

    Decalcification of the calcareous spicules from the gorgonian Leptogorgia virgulata reveals an organic matrix that may be divided into water insoluble and soluble fractions. The insoluble fraction displays characteristics typical of collagen, which is an unusual component of an invertebrate calcium carbonate structure. This matrix fraction exhibits a collagenous amino acid profile and behavior upon SDS-PAGE. Furthermore, the reducible crosslink, dihydroxylysinonorleucine (DHLNL), is detected in this fraction. The composition of the matrix varies seasonally; i.e., the collagenous composition is most prevalent in the summer. These results indicate that the insoluble matrix is a dynamic structure. Potential roles of this matrix in spicule calcification are discussed.

  4. Regulation of bacterial communities through antimicrobial activity by the coral holobiont.

    PubMed

    Kvennefors, E Charlotte E; Sampayo, Eugenia; Kerr, Caroline; Vieira, Genyess; Roff, George; Barnes, Andrew C

    2012-04-01

    Interactions between corals and associated bacteria and amongst these bacterial groups are likely to play a key role in coral health. However, the complexity of these interactions is poorly understood. We investigated the functional role of specific coral-associated bacteria in maintaining microbial communities on the coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg 1834) and the ability of coral mucus to support or inhibit bacterial growth. Culture-independent techniques were used to assess bacterial community structures whilst bacterial culture was employed to assess intra- and inter-specific antimicrobial activities of bacteria. Members of Pseudoalteromonas and ribotypes closely related to Vibrio coralliilyticus displayed potent antimicrobial activity against a range of other cultured isolates and grew readily on detached coral mucus. Although such bacterial ribotypes would be expected to have a competitive advantage, they were rare or absent on intact and healthy coral colonies growing in situ (analysed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing). The most abundant bacterial ribotypes found on healthy corals were Gammaproteobacteria, previously defined as type A coral associates. Our results indicate that this group of bacteria and specific members of the Alphaproteobacteria described here as 'type B associates' may be important functional groups for coral health. We suggest that bacterial communities on coral are kept in check by a combination of host-derived and microbial interactions and that the type A associates in particular may play a key role in maintaining stability of microbial communities on healthy coral colonies. PMID:21984347

  5. Patterns of distribution of calcite crystals in soft corals sclerites.

    PubMed

    Tentori, Ernestina; van Ofwegen, Leen P

    2011-05-01

    The gross morphology of soft coral surface sclerites has been studied for taxonomic purposes for over a century. In contrast, sclerites located deep in the core of colonies have not received attention. Some soft coral groups develop massive colonies, in these organisms tissue depth can limit light penetration and circulation of internal fluids affecting the physiology of coral tissues and their symbiotic algae; such conditions have the potential to create contrasting calcifying conditions. To test this idea, we analyzed the crystal structure of sclerites extracted from different colony regions in selected specimens of zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate soft corals with different colony morphologies, these were: Sarcophyton mililatensis, Sinularia capillosa, Sinularia flexibilis, Dendronephthya sp. and Ceeceenus levis. We found that the crystals that constitute polyp sclerites differ from those forming stalk sclerites. We also observed different crystals in sclerites located at various depths in the stalk including signs of sclerite breakdown in the stalk core region. These results indicate different modes of calcification within each colonial organism analyzed and illustrate the complexity of organisms usually regarded as repetitive morphological and functional units. Our study indicates that soft corals are ideal material to study natural gradients of calcification conditions. PMID:21433054

  6. Transfer of intracolonial genetic variability through gametes in Acropora hyacinthus corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schweinsberg, M.; González Pech, R. A.; Tollrian, R.; Lampert, K. P.

    2014-03-01

    In recent years, the new phenomenon of intracolonial genetic variability within a single coral colony has been described. This connotes that coral colonies do not necessarily consist of only a single genotype, but may contain several distinct genotypes. Harboring more than one genotype could improve survival under stressful environmental conditions, e.g., climate change. However, so far it remained unclear whether the intracolonial genetic variability of the adult coral is also present in the gametes. We investigated the occurrence of intracolonial genetic variability in 14 mature colonies of the coral Acropora hyacinthus using eight microsatellite loci. A grid was placed over each colony before spawning, and the emerging egg/sperm bundles were collected separately in each grid. The underlying tissues as well as the egg/sperm bundles were genotyped to determine whether different genotypes were present. Within the 14 mature colonies, we detected 10 colonies with more than one genotype (intracolonial genetic variability). Four out of these 10 mature colonies showed a transfer of different genotypes via the eggs to the next generation. In two out of these four cases, we found additional alleles, and in the two other cases, we found only a subset of alleles in the unfertilized eggs. Our results suggest that during reproduction of A. hyacinthus, more than one genotype per colony is able to reproduce. We discuss the occurrence of different genotypes within a single coral colony and the ability for those to release eggs which are genetically distinct.

  7. Hawai'i Coral Disease database (HICORDIS): species-specific coral health data from across the Hawaiian archipelago.

    PubMed

    Caldwell, Jamie M; Burns, John H R; Couch, Courtney; Ross, Megan; Runyon, Christina; Takabayashi, Misaki; Vargas-Ángel, Bernardo; Walsh, William; Walton, Maya; White, Darla; Williams, Gareth; Heron, Scott F

    2016-09-01

    The Hawai'i Coral Disease database (HICORDIS) houses data on colony-level coral health condition observed across the Hawaiian archipelago, providing information to conduct future analyses on coral reef health in an era of changing environmental conditions. Colonies were identified to the lowest taxonomic classification possible (species or genera), measured and assessed for visual signs of health condition. Data were recorded for 286,071 coral colonies surveyed on 1819 transects at 660 sites between 2005 and 2015. The database contains observations for 60 species from 22 genera with 21 different health conditions. The goals of the HICORDIS database are to: i) provide open access, quality controlled and validated coral health data assembled from disparate surveys conducted across Hawai'i; ii) facilitate appropriate crediting of data; and iii) encourage future analyses of coral reef health. In this article, we describe and provide data from the HICORDIS database. The data presented in this paper were used in the research article "Satellite SST-based Coral Disease Outbreak Predictions for the Hawaiian Archipelago" (Caldwell et al., 2016) [1]. PMID:27508264

  8. Competition between macroalgae and corals: effects of herbivore exclusion and increased algal biomass on coral survivorship and growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lirman, D.

    2001-05-01

    Recent declines in coral abundance accompanied by increases in macroalgal cover on Florida reefs highlight the importance of competition for space between these groups. This paper documents the frequency of coral-algal interactions on the Northern Florida Reef Tract and evaluates the effects of grazer exclusions and experimental algal addition on growth and tissue mortality of three coral species, Siderastrea siderea, Porites astreoides, and Montastraea faveolata. The frequency of interactions between corals and macroalgae was high as more than 50% of the basal perimeter of colonies was in contact with macroalgae; turf forms, Halimeda spp., and Dictyota spp. were the most common groups in contact with corals. Decreased grazing pressure resulted in significant increases in algal biomass within cages, and caged corals showed species-specific susceptibility to increased algal biomass. While no effects were detected for S. siderea, significant decreases in growth rates were documented for caged P. astreoides which had growth rates three to four times lower than uncaged colonies. When an algal addition treatment was included to duplicate maximum algal biomass levels documented for reefs in the area, colonies of P. astreoides in the algal addition treatment had growth rates up to ten times lower than uncaged colonies. High susceptibility to algal overgrowth was also found for the reef-building coral M. faveolata, which experienced significant tissue mortality under both uncaged (5.2% decrease in live tissue area per month) and caged (10.2% per month) conditions. The documented effects of increased algal biomass on coral growth and tissue mortality suggest a potential threat for the long-term survivorship and growth of corals in the Florida Reef Tract if present rates of algal growth and space utilization are maintained.

  9. The vermetid gastropod Dendropoma maximum reduces coral growth and survival

    PubMed Central

    Shima, Jeffrey S.; Osenberg, Craig W.; Stier, Adrian C.

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most diverse systems on the planet; yet, only a small fraction of coral reef species have attracted scientific study. Here, we document strong deleterious effects of an often overlooked species—the vermetid gastropod, Dendropoma maximum—on growth and survival of reef-building corals. Our surveys of vermetids on Moorea (French Polynesia) revealed a negative correlation between the density of vermetids and the per cent cover of live coral. Furthermore, the incidence of flattened coral growth forms was associated with the presence of vermetids. We transplanted and followed the fates of focal colonies of four species of corals on natural reefs where we also manipulated presence/absence of vermetids. Vermetids reduced skeletal growth of focal corals by up to 81 per cent and survival by up to 52 per cent. Susceptibility to vermetids varied among coral species, suggesting that vermetids could shift coral community composition. Our work highlights the potential importance of a poorly studied gastropod to coral dynamics. PMID:20484230

  10. The vermetid gastropod Dendropoma maximum reduces coral growth and survival.

    PubMed

    Shima, Jeffrey S; Osenberg, Craig W; Stier, Adrian C

    2010-12-23

    Coral reefs are one of the most diverse systems on the planet; yet, only a small fraction of coral reef species have attracted scientific study. Here, we document strong deleterious effects of an often overlooked species-the vermetid gastropod, Dendropoma maximum-on growth and survival of reef-building corals. Our surveys of vermetids on Moorea (French Polynesia) revealed a negative correlation between the density of vermetids and the per cent cover of live coral. Furthermore, the incidence of flattened coral growth forms was associated with the presence of vermetids. We transplanted and followed the fates of focal colonies of four species of corals on natural reefs where we also manipulated presence/absence of vermetids. Vermetids reduced skeletal growth of focal corals by up to 81 per cent and survival by up to 52 per cent. Susceptibility to vermetids varied among coral species, suggesting that vermetids could shift coral community composition. Our work highlights the potential importance of a poorly studied gastropod to coral dynamics. PMID:20484230

  11. Structure and growth rates of the high-latitude coral: Plesiastrea versipora

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, S. N.; McCulloch, M. T.; Mortimer, G. E.; Ward, T. M.

    2009-12-01

    The high-latitude coral species Plesiastrea versipora was investigated to identify growth rates in colonies over 1 m in diameter. Six colonies from two temperate gulfs (latitudes of 33°-35°S) in Southern Australia were examined using X-ray, luminescence and 238U/230Th dating techniques. Annual density bands were present in each coral but varied in width and definition, suggesting different linear extension and calcification rates. Differences in density band width were observed at the local scale (amongst colonies on the same reef) and regional scales (between the two gulfs). Extension rates of the P. versipora colonies examined in this study varied between 1.2 and 7 mm per year, which are amongst the slowest growth rates reported for hermatypic corals. As only one of the six P. versipora colonies had obvious luminescent banding, we conclude that luminescent banding is not an accurate chronological marker in this species of temperate water coral. Coral age estimates derived from counting density bands in X-radiographs ranged from 90 to 320 years for the six colonies studied. U-Th ages from the same colonies determined by high-precision multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer established radiometric ages between 105 and 381 years. The chronological variation in absolute ages between the two techniques varied between 2 and 19% in different colonies, with the lowest growth rates (~1 mm) displaying the greatest variation between density band age and radiometric U-Th age. This result implies that the age of P. versipora and other slow-growing corals cannot be determined accurately from density bands alone. The outcome of this research demonstrates that P. versipora may be useful as a paleoclimate archive, recording several centuries in a single colony in high-latitude environments (corals found in latitudes greater than 30° in either hemisphere), where other well-established coral climate archives, such as Porites, do not occur.

  12. Coral-based climate records from tropical South Atlantic: 2009/2010 ENSO event in C and O isotopes from Porites corals (Rocas Atoll, Brazil).

    PubMed

    Pereira, Natan S; Sial, Alcídes N; Kikuchi, Ruy K P; Ferreira, Valderez P; Ullmann, Clemens V; Frei, Robert; Cunha, Adriana M C

    2015-01-01

    Coral skeletons contain records of past environmental conditions due to their long life span and well calibrated geochemical signatures. C and O isotope records of corals are especially interesting, because they can highlight multidecadal variability of local climate conditions beyond the instrumental record, with high fidelity and sub-annual resolution. Although, in order to get an optimal geochemical signal in coral skeleton, sampling strategies must be followed. Here we report one of the first coral-based isotopic record from the Equatorial South Atlantic from two colonies of Porites astreoides from the Rocas Atoll (offshore Brazil), a new location for climate reconstruction. We present time series of isotopic variation from profiles along the corallite valley of one colony and the apex of the corallite fan of the other colony. Significant differences in the isotopic values between the two colonies are observed, yet both record the 2009/2010 El Niño event - a period of widespread coral bleaching - as anomalously negative δ18O values (up to -1 permil). δ13C is found to be measurably affected by the El Niño event in one colony, by more positive values (+0.39 ‰), and together with a bloom of endolithic algae, may indicate physiological alteration of this colony. Our findings indicate that corals from the Rocas Atoll can be used for monitoring climate oscillations in the tropical South Atlantic Ocean. PMID:26536856

  13. Within-colony feeding selectivity by a corallivorous reef fish: foraging to maximize reward?

    PubMed Central

    Brooker, Rohan M; Jones, Geoffrey P; Munday, Philip L

    2013-01-01

    Foraging theory predicts that individuals should choose a prey that maximizes energy rewards relative to the energy expended to access, capture, and consume the prey. However, the relative roles of differences in the nutritive value of foods and costs associated with differences in prey accessibility are not always clear. Coral-feeding fishes are known to be highly selective feeders on particular coral genera or species and even different parts of individual coral colonies. The absence of strong correlations between the nutritional value of corals and prey preferences suggests other factors such as polyp accessibility may be important. Here, we investigated within-colony feeding selectivity by the corallivorous filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, and if prey accessibility determines foraging patterns. After confirming that this fish primarily feeds on coral polyps, we examined whether fish show a preference for different parts of a common branching coral, Acropora nobilis, both in the field and in the laboratory experiments with simulated corals. We then experimentally tested whether nonuniform patterns of feeding on preferred coral species reflect structural differences between polyps. We found that O. longirostris exhibits nonuniform patterns of foraging in the field, selectively feeding midway along branches. On simulated corals, fish replicated this pattern when food accessibility was equal along the branch. However, when food access varied, fish consistently modified their foraging behavior, preferring to feed where food was most accessible. When foraging patterns were compared with coral morphology, fish preferred larger polyps and less skeletal protection. Our results highlight that patterns of interspecific and intraspecific selectivity can reflect coral morphology, with fish preferring corals or parts of coral colonies with structural characteristics that increase prey accessibility. PMID:24324862

  14. Structure-Forming Corals and Sponges and Their Use as Fish Habitat in Bering Sea Submarine Canyons

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Robert J.; Hocevar, John; Stone, Robert P.; Fedorov, Dmitry V.

    2012-01-01

    Continental margins are dynamic, heterogeneous settings that can include canyons, seamounts, and banks. Two of the largest canyons in the world, Zhemchug and Pribilof, cut into the edge of the continental shelf in the southeastern Bering Sea. Here currents and upwelling interact to produce a highly productive area, termed the Green Belt, that supports an abundance of fishes and squids as well as birds and marine mammals. We show that in some areas the floor of these canyons harbors high densities of gorgonian and pennatulacean corals and sponges, likely due to enhanced surface productivity, benthic currents and seafloor topography. Rockfishes, including the commercially important Pacific ocean perch, Sebastes alutus, were associated with corals and sponges as well as with isolated boulders. Sculpins, poachers and pleuronectid flounders were also associated with corals in Pribilof Canyon, where corals were most abundant. Fishes likely use corals and sponges as sources of vertical relief, which may harbor prey as well as provide shelter from predators. Boulders may be equivalent habitat in this regard, but are sparse in the canyons, strongly suggesting that biogenic structure is important fish habitat. Evidence of disturbance to the benthos from fishing activities was observed in these remote canyons. Bottom trawling and other benthic fishing gear has been shown to damage corals and sponges that may be very slow to recover from such disturbance. Regulation of these destructive practices is key to conservation of benthic habitats in these canyons and the ecosystem services they provide. PMID:22470486

  15. Structure-forming corals and sponges and their use as fish habitat in Bering Sea submarine canyons.

    PubMed

    Miller, Robert J; Hocevar, John; Stone, Robert P; Fedorov, Dmitry V

    2012-01-01

    Continental margins are dynamic, heterogeneous settings that can include canyons, seamounts, and banks. Two of the largest canyons in the world, Zhemchug and Pribilof, cut into the edge of the continental shelf in the southeastern Bering Sea. Here currents and upwelling interact to produce a highly productive area, termed the Green Belt, that supports an abundance of fishes and squids as well as birds and marine mammals. We show that in some areas the floor of these canyons harbors high densities of gorgonian and pennatulacean corals and sponges, likely due to enhanced surface productivity, benthic currents and seafloor topography. Rockfishes, including the commercially important Pacific ocean perch, Sebastes alutus, were associated with corals and sponges as well as with isolated boulders. Sculpins, poachers and pleuronectid flounders were also associated with corals in Pribilof Canyon, where corals were most abundant. Fishes likely use corals and sponges as sources of vertical relief, which may harbor prey as well as provide shelter from predators. Boulders may be equivalent habitat in this regard, but are sparse in the canyons, strongly suggesting that biogenic structure is important fish habitat. Evidence of disturbance to the benthos from fishing activities was observed in these remote canyons. Bottom trawling and other benthic fishing gear has been shown to damage corals and sponges that may be very slow to recover from such disturbance. Regulation of these destructive practices is key to conservation of benthic habitats in these canyons and the ecosystem services they provide. PMID:22470486

  16. Reconnaissance 14C Dating and the Evaluation of Mg/Li as a Temperature Proxy in Bamboo Corals from the California Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freiberger, M. M.; LaVigne, M.; Miller, H.; Hill, T. M.; McNichol, A. P.; Lardie Gaylord, M.

    2015-12-01

    In the face of anthropogenically induced climate changes, it is becoming increasingly important to develop high-resolution paleoceanographic records that may elucidate how ocean conditions may shift in coming decades. Recently, bamboo corals (gorgonian octocorals) have been proposed as archives of intermediate ocean conditions. This study used 'reconnaissance' radiocarbon analysis to identify the nuclear bomb 14C spike in the proteinaceous nodes of bamboo corals and to quantify radial growth rates and ages of corals spanning the eastern Pacific oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) (790-2055 m). Preliminary data suggest that these corals exhibit a wide range of growth rates (9.4-350 μm/yr) that are non-linear over time and decrease with coral age and depth. Records of Mg/Li were investigated in these corals, given that previous studies have demonstrated positive correlations between Mg/Li and temperature in benthic foraminifera and surface and deep-sea aragonitic corals, with a reduced influence of vital effects over Mg/Ca. Intracoral reproducibility observed for replicate Mg/Li timeseries within each sample (p=0.6±0.2, n=6) and strong correlations between Mg/Ca and Li/Ca (0.9±0.1, n=6) indicate similar environmental or biological drivers of Mg and Li incorporation in bamboo corals. Given the strong positive correlations between Mg/Li and water temperature across a depth transect (r2=0.87, n=6), increasing Mg/Li observed over the growth history of each of the corals more likely reflects declining growth rates resulting in decreased Li incorporation over time rather than cooling of California Margin intermediate waters. Reductions in growth rate over the lifespan of each coral (~100+ years) may be a function of natural coral growth patterns or changes in carbonate chemistry, oxygen, or food supply in a sensitive OMZ coral ecosystem.

  17. Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance.

    PubMed

    Gilmour, James P; Smith, Luke D; Heyward, Andrew J; Baird, Andrew H; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2013-04-01

    Coral reef recovery from major disturbance is hypothesized to depend on the arrival of propagules from nearby undisturbed reefs. Therefore, reefs isolated by distance or current patterns are thought to be highly vulnerable to catastrophic disturbance. We found that on an isolated reef system in north Western Australia, coral cover increased from 9% to 44% within 12 years of a coral bleaching event, despite a 94% reduction in larval supply for 6 years after the bleaching. The initial increase in coral cover was the result of high rates of growth and survival of remnant colonies, followed by a rapid increase in juvenile recruitment as colonies matured. We show that isolated reefs can recover from major disturbance, and that the benefits of their isolation from chronic anthropogenic pressures can outweigh the costs of limited connectivity. PMID:23559247

  18. The preparation of the rice coral Montipora capitata nubbins for application in coral-reef ecotoxicology.

    PubMed

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

    Securing adequate and appropriate source material for coral-reef ecotoxicology studies is a significant impediment to conducting various experiments supporting the goal of conserving coral-reef ecosystems. Collecting colonies from wild stocks may be counter to protecting coral reef populations. To address this issue the rice coral Montipora capitata was used to generate sufficient genetically identical nubbins for research purposes. Growth and survival rates of these laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins were studied over a period of 90 days. The resulting data support the conclusion that the laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins showed successful growth and survival rates and are the best solution to solve the source material issue for lab experimentation. This paper describes the laboratory method used for the preparation and maintenance of these M. capitata nubbins and discusses the benefits and difficulties of using these nubbins in ecotoxicity studies. PMID:22218977

  19. Trace Metal Record of a 200-Year-Old Deep-Sea Bamboo Coral (Isidella sp.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hornung, J. P.; Mix, A. C.; Tepley, F. J.; Kent, A. J.; Wakefield, W. W.

    2009-12-01

    High resolution records of past oceanic conditions can be constructed from the annually secreted calcite laminations of deep-sea gorgonian corals. Previous research has shown that deep-sea gorgonians incorporate both surface organic matter and nutrients from the surrounding water into their coral skeleton, making them ideal recorders of long-term ocean variability of surface and intermediate water. In this study we examined a 200-year-old bamboo coral (Isidella sp.) that was live collected by bottom trawl in the summer of 2000 on the Oregon continental margin at a water depth of 1148m. We explored how annual changes in upwelling strength, circulation and surface productivity are reflected in the trace metal concentrations recorded in the carbonate skeleton of the bamboo coral. To determine trace metal concentrations, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was employed at a resolution of 10microns on multiple radial transects of the coral cross section. Minor element abundances were determined on the same transects by electron microprobe (EMP) analysis. We constructed an age model by counting peaks in the ratio of magnesium to calcium abundances obtained from the EMP. Uranium series dating methods were then used to verify the age model. The concentrations of phosphorus (P), barium (Ba) and cadmium (Cd) showed considerable variation through time. Initial time series data of phosphorus to calcium (P/Ca) ratios indicates strong variability at the decadal scale, potentially reflecting varying nutrient availability. Cadmium to calcium (Cd/Ca) ratios also showed strong variability at the decadal scale. However, periods of increased P/Ca did not always correspond to elevated Cd/Ca, suggesting that P and Cd concentrations were not controlled by the same processes. The record of barium to calcium (Ba/Ca) ratios was poorly correlated to both P/Ca and Cd/Ca and showed irregular episodes of increased Ba/Ca. These irregular episodes may indicate disturbance

  20. A model for wave control on coral breakage and species distribution in the Hawaiian Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Storlazzi, C.D.; Brown, E.K.; Field, M.E.; Rodgers, K.; Jokiel, P.L.

    2005-01-01

    The fringing reef off southern Molokai, Hawaii, is currently being studied as part of a multi-disciplinary project led by the US Geological Survey. As part of this study, modeling and field observations were utilized to help understand the physical controls on reef morphology and the distribution of different coral species. A model was developed that calculates wave-induced hydrodynamic forces on corals of a specific form and mechanical strength. From these calculations, the wave conditions under which specific species of corals would either be stable or would break due to the imposed wave-induced forces were determined. By combining this hydrodynamic force-balance model with various wave model output for different oceanographic conditions experienced in the study area, we were able to map the locations where specific coral species should be stable (not subject to frequent breakage) in the study area. The combined model output was then compared with data on coral species distribution and coral cover at 12 sites along Molokai's south shore. Observations and modeling suggest that the transition from one coral species to another may occur when the ratio of the coral colony's mechanical strengths to the applied (wave-induced) forces may be as great as 5:1, and not less than 1:1 when corals would break. This implies that coral colony's mechanical strength and wave-induced forces may be important in defining gross coral community structure over large (orders of 10's of meters) spatial scales. ?? Springer-Verlag 2004.

  1. Symbiodinium Clade Affects Coral Skeletal Isotopic Ratio

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carilli, J.; Charles, C. D.; Garren, M.; McField, M.; Norris, R. D.

    2011-12-01

    The influence of different physiologies of Symbiodinium dinoflagellate symbiont clades on the skeletal chemistry of associated coral hosts has not previously been investigated. This is an important issue because coral skeletons are routinely used for tropical paleoclimatic reconstructions. We analyzed coral skeletal samples collected simultaneously from neighboring colonies off Belize and found that those harboring different clades of Symbiodinium displayed significantly different skeletal oxygen isotopic compositions. We also found evidence for mean shifts in skeletal oxygen isotopic composition after coral bleaching (the loss and potential exchange of symbionts) in two of four longer coral cores from the Mesoamerican Reef, though all experienced similar climatic conditions. Thus, we suggest that symbiont clade identity leaves a signature in the coral skeletal archive and that this influence must be considered for quantitative environmental reconstruction. In addition, we suggest that the skeletal isotopic signature may be used to identify changes in the dominant symbiont clade that have occurred in the past, to identify how common and widespread this phenomenon is--a potential adaptation to climate change.

  2. Historical thermal regimes define limits to coral acclimatization.

    PubMed

    Howells, Emily J; Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K

    2013-05-01

    Knowledge of the degree to which corals undergo physiological acclimatization or genetic adaptation in response to changes in their thermal environment is crucial to the success of coral reef conservation strategies. The potential of corals to acclimatize to temperatures exceeding historical thermal regimes was investigated by reciprocal transplantation of Acropora millepora colonies between the warm central and cool southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) for a duration of 14 months. Colony fragments retained at native sites remained healthy, whereas transplanted fragments, although healthy over initial months when temperatures remained within native thermal regimes, subsequently bleached and suffered mortality during seasonal temperature extremes. Corals hosting Symbiodinium D transplanted to the southern GBR bleached in winter and the majority suffered whole (40%; n=20 colonies) or partial (50%) mortality at temperatures 1.1 degrees C below their 15-year native minimum. In contrast, corals hosting Symbiodinium C2 transplanted to the central GBR bleached in summer and suffered whole (50%; n=10 colonies) or partial (42%) mortality at temperatures 2.5 degrees C above their 15-year native maximum. During summer bleaching, the dominant Symbiodinium type changed from C2 to D within corals transplanted to the central GBR. Corals transplanted to the cooler, southern GBR grew 74-80% slower than corals at their native site, and only 50% of surviving colonies reproduced, at least partially because of cold water bleaching of transplants. Despite the absence of any visual signs of stress, corals transplanted to the warmer, central GBR grew 52-59% more slowly than corals at their native site before the summer bleaching (i.e., from autumn to spring). Allocation of energy to initial acclimatization or reproduction may explain this pattern, as the majority (65%) of transplants reproduced one month earlier than portions of the same colonies retained at the southern

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

    PubMed

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

    The rise of coral diseases has triggered a surge of interest in coral microbial communities. But to fully understand how the coral microbiome may cause or respond to disease, we must first understand structure and variation in the healthy coral microbiome. We used 16S rRNA sequencing to characterize the microbiomes of 100 healthy coral colonies from six Caribbean coral species (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Diploria strigosa, Porites astreoides and P. furcata) across four reefs and three time points over 1 year. We found host species to be the strongest driver of coral microbiome structure across site and time. Analysis of the core microbiome revealed remarkable similarity in the bacterial taxa represented across coral hosts and many bacterial phylotypes shared across all corals sampled. Some of these widespread bacterial taxa have been identified in Pacific corals, indicating that a core coral microbiome may extend across oceans. Core bacterial phylotypes that were unique to each coral were taxonomically diverse, suggesting that different coral hosts provide persistent, divergent niches for bacteria. PMID:27083502

  4. FACTORS AFFECTING SUSCEPTIBILITY OF THE CORAL MONTASTRAEA FAVEOLATE TO BLACK-BAND DISEASE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Black-band disease affects many species of tropical reef-building corals, but it is unclear what factors contribute to the disease-susceptibility of individual corals or how the disease is transmitted between colonies. Studies have suggested that the ability of black-band disease...

  5. Diurnal and nocturnal transcriptomic variation in the Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    PubMed

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-09-01

    Reef-building corals experience large diel shifts in their environment, both externally due to changes in light intensity, predator activity and prey availability, and internally as a result of diel fluctuations in photosynthesis by their endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium. Diel patterns of tentacle behaviour, skeletal growth and gene expression indicate reactions of the coral animal in response to light and through circadian regulation. Some corals, such as the Caribbean Acroporas, have strong within-colony division of labour, including specialized fast-growing apical polyps, accompanied by large gene expression differences. Here we use RNA-seq to evaluate how diel changes in gene expression vary within the branching Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, between branch tips and branch bases. Multifactor generalized linear model analysis indicated that 6% (3005) of transcripts were differentially expressed between branch tips and bases, while 1% (441) of transcripts were differentially expressed between day and night. The gene expression patterns of 220 transcripts were affected by both time of day and location within the colony. In particular, photoreceptors, putative circadian genes, stress response genes and metabolic genes were differentially expressed between day and night, and some of these, including Amcry1, tef and hebp2, exhibited location-specific regulation within the coral colony as well. These findings indicate that the genetic response of the coral to day and night conditions varies within the colony. Both time of day and location within the colony are factors that should be considered in future coral gene expression experiments. PMID:26184385

  6. Growth-rate influences on coral climate proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, A.; Hayashi, E.; Nakamura, T.; Iwase, A.; Ishimura, T.; Iguchi, A.; Sakai, K.; Okai, T.; Inoue, M.; Araoka, D.; Kawahata, H.

    2011-12-01

    Coral-based climate reconstruction has been increasingly reported from many tropical sites. Potential ambiguity of coral thermometers intrinsic in biomineralization process attracts much attention, including so-called 'vital effects', 'growth-rate-related kinetic effect', '[CO32-] effect' and so on. Here we study growth-rate influences on skeletal oxygen and carbon isotope ratios (δ18O and δ13C), as well as Sr/Ca ratio, based on a long-term culture experiment using Porites australiensis clone colonies. Variation in δ18O showed negligible influence against a large intercolony variation in growth rate based on the comparison of the seasonal minimum δ18O values during summer, while that was relatively sensitive to temporal growth-rate change due to health condition of each colony. Contrary, Sr/Ca ratio was robust against both the inter- and intra- colony variation in growth rate. Positive sift in δ13C for slower-growing corals was found, and it can be attributed to a kinetic behavior of calcification reaction. Seasonal fluctuation pattern in δ13C did not correspond to light intensity nor that in δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater. These lines warrant the signal recording ability of coral skeletal Sr/Ca ratio and δ18O from a long-lived colony of clonal growth as paleo-climate archives, and propose practical guideline for the proper interplication of coral records.

  7. Distribution, food preference, and trophic position of the corallivorous fireworm Hermodice carunculata in a Caribbean coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolf, Alexander T.; Nugues, Maggy M.; Wild, Christian

    2014-12-01

    The fireworm Hermodice carunculata is a facultative corallivore on coral reefs. It can interact with algal overgrowth to cause coral mortality. However, because of its cryptic nature, little is known about its ecology. We used micropredator attracting devices (MADs) and stable isotope analyses to provide insights into the distribution and diet of H. carunculata in a coral reef on Curaçao, southern Caribbean. MADs consisted of algal clumps inside accessible mesh nets which H. carunculata could use as refuge. To obtain indications on its distribution pattern, MADs filled with Halimeda opuntia were deployed in different reef habitats ranging from 0 to 16 m water depth. Fireworms were found inside MADs in all reef habitats, indicating that they have a widespread horizontal and vertical distribution, ranging from the shoreline to the deeper reef slope. On the reef crest, MADs were filled using different algal species and deployed on dead or live scleractinian corals. MADs hosted more fireworms when placed on live corals, regardless of algal species used, suggesting that algal-induced corallivory may be widespread. To test for food preferences, different food sources were added inside the MADs. Fireworms detected potential prey within 6 h and were significantly more attracted by decaying corals and raw fish than by live corals, hydrozoans, or gorgonians. Stable isotope analyses indicated detritus, macroalgae, and scleractinian corals as potential food sources and revealed an ontogenetic dietary shift toward enriched δ 13C and δ 15N values with increasing fireworm size, suggesting that large-sized individuals feed on food sources of higher trophic levels. Our findings highlight H. carunculata as a widespread, and omnivorous scavenger that has the potential to switch feeding toward weakened or stressed corals, thereby likely acting as a harmful corallivore on degraded reefs.

  8. Patterns of morphological integration in marine modular organisms: supra-module organization in branching octocoral colonies.

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez, Juan Armando; Lasker, Howard R

    2003-01-01

    Despite the relative simplicity of their modular growth, marine invertebrates such as arborescent gorgonian octocorals (Octocorallia: Cnidaria) generate complex colonial forms. Colony form in these taxa is a consequence of modular (polyp) replication, and if there is a tight integration among modular and supramodular traits (e.g. polyp aperture, inter-polyp spacing, branch thickness, internode and branch length), then changes at the module level may lead to changes in colony architecture. Alternatively, different groups of traits may evolve semi-independently (or conditionally independent). To examine the patterns of integration among morphological traits in Caribbean octocorals, we compared five morphological traits across 21 species, correcting for the effects of phylogenetic relationships among the taxa. Graphical modelling and phylogenetic independence contrasts among the five morphological characters indicate two groups of integrated traits based on whether they were polyp- or colony-level traits. Although all characters exhibited bivariate associations, multivariate analyses (partial correlation coefficients) showed the strongest integration among the colony-level characters (internode distance and branch length). It is a quantitative demonstration that branching characters within the octocorals studied are independent of characters of the polyps. Despite the universally recognized modularity of octocorals at the level of polyps, branching during colony development may represent an emergent level of integration and modularity. PMID:14561292

  9. Extreme Longevity in Proteinaceous Deep-Sea Corals

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-02-09

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-15

    Coral reefs are degrading worldwide, but little information exists on their previous conditions for most regions of the world. Since 1989, we have been studying the Maldives, collecting data before, during and after the bleaching and mass mortality event of 1998. As early as 1999, many newly settled colonies were recorded. Recruits shifted from a dominance of massive and encrusting corals in the early stages of recolonisation towards a dominance of Acropora and Pocillopora by 2009. Coral cover, which dropped to less than 10% after the bleaching, returned to pre-bleaching values of around 50% by 2013. The 2004 tsunami had comparatively little effect. In 2014, the coral community was similar to that existing before the bleaching. According to descriptors and metrics adopted, recovery of Maldivian coral reefs took between 6 and 15years, or may even be considered unachieved, as there are species that had not come back yet. PMID:26228070

  11. Light and the bioenergetics of a symbiotic coral

    SciTech Connect

    Falkowski, P.G.; Dubinsky, Z.; Muscatine, L.; Porter, J.W.

    1984-12-01

    Colonies of coral Stylophora pistillata growing at high light can obtain all the reduced carbon needed for animal respiration from photosynthesis by symbiotic zooxanthellae. In contrast, colonies in shaded reef areas must acquired 60% of their reduced carbon heterotrophically. More than 90% of the carbon fixed by zooxanthellae is translocated to the animal host in both light regimes, but very little is assimilated, apparently because the translocated products are deficient in nitrogen. Thus, the coral's overall growth efficiency is similar to that of aquatic herbivores that forage actively. 29 references, 2 figures, 1 table.

  12. Radiocarbon variability in modern deep-sea bamboo coral skeletons from the North Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, J. R.; Hoenisch, B.; Robinson, L. F.

    2013-12-01

    Geochemical records from modern and recent deep-sea corals can provide new opportunities for understanding how changes in intermediate to deep ocean chemistry and circulation relate to climatic changes during the Common Era. Of critical importance for such comparisons are well-constrained coral growth rates (and hence chronology). Bamboo coral specimens of the genus Keratoisis are widely distributed in the modern oceans, but their calcitic skeletons exhibit open system U-Th behavior and many specimens show obscure growth banding, limiting available techniques for growth rate determinations. We measured radial transects of radiocarbon across the skeletons of six Keratoisis specimens that were live-collected in the northwestern North Atlantic Ocean between 1879 and 2005. Initial results show that Δ14C from the outer surface of three modern corals is within error of seawater Δ14C estimates at the site of coral collection from GLODAP. Most specimens show increasing 14C age toward the coral center, implying near-linear growth rates of 40 to 60 μm/14C year that are consistent with growth rates for North Atlantic Keratoisis specimens established by skeletal 210Pb and organic (gorgonian) 14C measurements. However, other specimens show radiocarbon variability that precludes accurate growth rate determinations for parts of the skeleton. In particular, multiple specimens exhibit systematic radiocarbon age reversals within 1-3 mm of the central growth axis, which is assumed to be the ontogenetically oldest part of the skeleton. This observation is consistent with previously published records of elevated unsupported 210Pb around the central growth axis of some North Atlantic Keratoisis specimens. We discuss potential physical and biological causes for the observed radiocarbon variability and implications for accurate growth rate determinations for bamboo coral skeletons.

  13. 13C-18O bonding (Δ47) in deep-sea corals: a calibration study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimball, J. B.; Tripati, A.; Dunbar, R. B.; Eagle, R.

    2013-12-01

    Deep-sea corals are a potentially valuable archive of temperature in intermediate and deep waters, regions for which a paucity of temperature data exists. These archives could give valuable insight into the natural variability of areas of the ocean that play an active role in large-scale climate dynamics. Due to significant 'vital effects' (i.e., non-equilibrium mineral compositions) in δ18O, however, deep-sea coral have been challenging to develop as a paleotemperature proxy. Clumped-isotope paleothermometry is a new method that may circumvent some of the known complications with δ18O paleotemperature analysis in deep-sea coral. This geothermometer is based on the ordering of heavy 13C-18O ';clumps' in carbonate minerals. Initial calibration studies have shown that the method is independent from the solution chemistry of the precipitating fluids as well as 'vital effects' in deep-sea corals and other types of carbonates. Some kinetic effects have been observed in tropical corals and speleothems. Here we report new data in order to further develop clumped isotopes as a paleothermometer in deep-sea corals as well as to investigate taxon-specific effects. 13C-18O bond ordering was analyzed in live-collected scleractinian (Enallopsammia sp.) and gorgonian (Isididae and Coralliidae) deep-sea corals. We determined mass 47 anomalies in samples (Δ47), which refers to the parts per thousand excess of 13C-18O-16O in CO2 produced on acid digestion of a sample, relative to the amount predicted to be present if isotopes were randomly distributed amongst all CO2 isotopologues. Measured Δ47 values were compared to in situ temperatures and the relationship between Δ47 and temperature was determined for each group to investigate taxon-specific effects.

  14. Boron isotopes in deep-sea bamboo corals: pH, vital effects and environmental factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, J. R.; Hoenisch, B.; Hill, T. M.; LaVigne, M.; Robinson, L. F.

    2011-12-01

    Deep-sea corals are an intriguing archive for reconstructing deep-ocean environmental conditions, in particular with regard to anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification. However, previous research in deep-sea aragonitic scleractinian corals observed heterogeneity in their geochemical composition that greatly exceeded the magnitude of variability expected from environmental conditions. Here we investigate the boron isotopic composition (δ11B) and B/Ca ratios of the calcitic gorgonian bamboo coral Keratoisis sp. (family Isididae) as potential indicators of seawater-pH at depth. Initial results from a specimen collected alive on Little Joe Seamount, CA (2136m depth) show that the δ11B of surface calcite is within the expected range of aqueous borate-δ11B, based on seawater pH, temperature, pressure and salinity. A radial cross section through an ~5 cm thick internode reveals largely homogeneous δ11B. However, in the centermost 0.5 cm of calcite growth adjacent to the axial core of the coral, a ~2% increase in δ11B corresponds with disequilibrium depletions in δ13C and δ18O, consistent with hypotheses for different growth modes of central calcite perhaps as a result of active calcite deposition along the axial core. Aside from this central region, the geochemical homogeneity and good agreement between coral surface δ11B and seawater borate δ11B suggests that bamboo corals may record deep-ocean carbon chemistry and thus pH. The cosmopolitan distribution of Keratoisis sp. in both living and fossil deep-sea coral communities thus potentially presents the opportunity to reconstruct recent and Holocene deep-water pH at high resolution.

  15. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart). Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21%) but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances. PMID:24959921

  16. Spatial Variation in Background Mortality among Dominant Coral Taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart). Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21%) but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances. PMID:24959921

  17. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    PubMed

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

    The relationship between reef-building corals and light-harvesting pigments of zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium sp.) has been acknowledged for decades. The photosynthetic activity of the algal endocellular symbionts may provide up to 90% of the energy needed for the coral holobiont. This relationship limits the bathymetric distribution of coral reefs to the upper 100 m of tropical shorelines. However, even corals growing under high light intensities have to supplement the photosynthates translocated from the algae by predation on nutrient-rich zooplankton. New information has revealed how the fate of carbon acquired through photosynthesis differs from that secured by predation, whose rates are controlled by light-induced tentacular extension. The Goreau paradigm of "light-enhanced calcification" is being reevaluated, based on evidence that blue light stimulates coral calcification independently from photosynthesis rates. Furthermore, under dim light, calcification rates were stoichiometrically uncoupled from photosynthesis. The rates of photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae exhibit a clear endogenous rhythmicity maintained by light patterns. This daily pattern is concomitant with a periodicity of all the antioxidant protective mechanisms that wax and wane to meet the concomitant fluctuation in oxygen evolution. The phases of the moon are involved in the triggering of coral reproduction and control the spectacular annual mass-spawning events taking place in several reefs. The intensity and directionality of the underwater light field affect the architecture of coral colonies, leading to an optimization of the exposure of the zooxanthellae to light. We present a summary of major gaps in our understanding of the relationship between light and corals as a roadmap for future research. PMID:25467066

  18. Ecological consequences of major hydrodynamic disturbances on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Madin, Joshua S; Connolly, Sean R

    2006-11-23

    A recent tsunami and an apparent increase in the frequency of severe tropical storms underscore the need to understand and predict the ecological consequences of major hydrodynamic disturbances. Reef corals provide the habitat structure that sustains the high biodiversity of tropical reefs, and thus provide the foundation for the ecosystem goods and services that are critical to many tropical societies. Here we integrate predictions from oceanographic models with engineering theory, to predict the dislodgement of benthic reef corals during hydrodynamic disturbances. This generalizes earlier work, by incorporating colonies of any shape and by explicitly examining the effects of hydrodynamic gradients on coral assemblage structure. A field test shows that this model accurately predicts changes in the mechanical vulnerability of coral colonies, and thus their size and shape, with distance from the reef crest. This work provides a general framework for understanding and predicting the effects of hydrodynamic disturbances on coral reef communities; such disturbances have a major role in determining species zonation and coexistence on coral reefs, and are critical determinants of how coral assemblages will respond to changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms associated with a changing climate. PMID:17122855

  19. Ancient DNA from Coral-Hosted Symbiodinium Reveal a Static Mutualism over the Last 172 Years

    PubMed Central

    Baker, David M.; Weigt, Lee; Fogel, Marilyn; Knowlton, Nancy

    2013-01-01

    Ancient DNA (aDNA) provides powerful evidence for detecting the genetic basis for adaptation to environmental change in many taxa. Among the greatest of changes in our biosphere within the last century is rapid anthropogenic ocean warming. This phenomenon threatens corals with extinction, evidenced by the increasing observation of widespread mortality following mass bleaching events. There is some evidence and conjecture that coral-dinoflagellate symbioses change partnerships in response to changing external conditions over ecological and evolutionary timescales. Until now, we have been unable to ascertain the genetic identity of Symbiodinium hosted by corals prior to the rapid global change of the last century. Here, we show that Symbiodinium cells recovered from dry, century old specimens of 6 host species of octocorals contain sufficient DNA for amplification of the ITS2 subregion of the nuclear ribosomal DNA, commonly used for genotyping within this genus. Through comparisons with modern specimens sampled from similar locales we show that symbiotic associations among several species have been static over the last century, thereby suggesting that adaptive shifts to novel symbiont types is not common among these gorgonians, and perhaps, symbiotic corals in general. PMID:23405111

  20. Bioactive steroid derivatives and butyrolactone derivatives from a gorgonian-derived Aspergillus sp. fungus.

    PubMed

    Chen, Min; Wang, Kai-Ling; Liu, Min; She, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-09-01

    Six steroid derivatives, 1-6, and five butyrolactone derivatives, 7-11, were isolated from the fermentation broth of a gorgonian-derived Aspergillus sp. fungus. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of NMR and MS spectral data. Compound 1 is a new, highly conjugated steroid. The NMR and MS data of 7 and 8 are reported for the first time, as their structures were listed in SciFinder Scholar with no associated reference. Compounds 1, 4, 5, and 8-11 inhibited the larval settlement of barnacle Balanus amphitrite with EC50 values ranging from 0.63 to 18.4 μg ml(-1) . Butyrolactone derivatives 7 and 8 showed pronounced antibacterial activities against Staphylococcus aureus with the same MIC values as the positive control ciprofloxacin (MIC 1.56 μM for all three compounds). PMID:26363883

  1. Bioactive diphenyl ether derivatives from a gorgonian-derived fungus Talaromyces sp.

    PubMed

    Chen, Min; Han, Lei; Shao, Chang-Lun; She, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-03-01

    Three new diphenyl ether derivatives, talaromycins A-C (1-3, resp.), together with six known analogs, 4-9, were isolated from a gorgonian-derived fungus, Talaromyces sp. The structures of the new compounds were determined by analysis of extensive NMR spectroscopic data. All of the isolated metabolites, 1-9, were evaluated for their cytotoxic and antifouling activities. Compound 4 exhibited pronounced cytotoxicity against the tested human cell lines with the IC50 values ranging from 4.3 to 9.8 μM. Compounds 3, 5, 8, and 9 showed potent antifouling activities against the larval settlement of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite with the EC50 values ranging from 2.2 to 4.8 μg/ml. PMID:25766917

  2. Bioactive pregnane steroids from a South China Sea gorgonian Carijoa sp.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Hong-Ying; Shao, Chang-Lun; Li, Zhi-Yong; Han, Lei; Cao, Fei; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2013-01-01

    A new pregnane steroid, 1, and three known analogues 2-4, have been isolated from a gorgonian Carijoa sp. collected from the South China Sea. The planar structure and relative configuration of 1 were elucidated from comprehensive spectroscopic data. Its absolute configuration was determined by application of the modified Mosher method. Compounds 1, 3 and 4 exhibited cytotoxicity against the human hepatoma cell line Bel-7402, with IC50 values of 9.33, 11.02 and 18.68 µM, respectively. Additionally, compound 1 exhibited promising antibacterial activity against Pseudomona puido, with a MIC value of 31 nM, which is approximately 5-fold more potent than ciprofloxacin (MIC = 156 nM). PMID:23503119

  3. Microbial aggregates within tissues infect a diversity of corals throughout the Indo-Pacific

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems where symbioses play a pivotal role. Corals contain cell-associated microbial aggregates (CAMA), yet little is known about how widespread they are among coral species or the nature of the symbiotic relationship. Using histology, we found CAMA within 24 species of corals from 6 genera from Hawaii, American Samoa, Palmyra, Johnston Atoll, Guam, and Australia. Prevalence (%) of infection varied among coral genera: Acropora, Porites, and Pocillopora were commonly infected whereas Montipora were not. Acropora from the Western Pacific were significantly more likely to be infected with CAMA than those from the Central Pacific, whereas the reverse was true for Porites. Compared with apparently healthy colonies, tissues from diseased colonies were significantly more likely to have both surface and basal body walls infected. The close association of CAMA with host cells in numerous species of apparently healthy corals and lack of associated cell pathology reveals an intimate agent-host association. Furthermore, CAMA are Gram negative and in some corals may be related to chlamydia or rickettsia. We propose that CAMA in adult corals are facultative secondary symbionts that could play an important ecological role in some dominant coral genera in the Indo-Pacific. CAMA are important in the life histories of other animals, and more work is needed to understand their role in the distribution, evolution, physiology, and immunology of reef corals.

  4. Mechanisms of damage to corals exposed to sedimentation.

    PubMed

    Weber, Miriam; de Beer, Dirk; Lott, Christian; Polerecky, Lubos; Kohls, Katharina; Abed, Raeid M M; Ferdelman, Timothy G; Fabricius, Katharina E

    2012-06-12

    We investigated the mechanisms leading to rapid death of corals when exposed to runoff and resuspended sediments, postulating that the killing was microbially mediated. Microsensor measurements were conducted in mesocosm experiments and in naturally accumulated sediment on corals. In organic-rich, but not in organic-poor sediment, pH and oxygen started to decrease as soon as the sediment accumulated on the coral. Organic-rich sediments caused tissue degradation within 1 d, whereas organic-poor sediments had no effect after 6 d. In the harmful organic-rich sediment, hydrogen sulfide concentrations were low initially but increased progressively because of the degradation of coral mucus and dead tissue. Dark incubations of corals showed that separate exposures to darkness, anoxia, and low pH did not cause mortality within 4 d. However, the combination of anoxia and low pH led to colony death within 24 h. When hydrogen sulfide was added after 12 h of anoxia and low pH, colonies died after an additional 3 h. We suggest that sedimentation kills corals through microbial processes triggered by the organic matter in the sediments, namely respiration and presumably fermentation and desulfurylation of products from tissue degradation. First, increased microbial respiration results in reduced O(2) and pH, initiating tissue degradation. Subsequently, the hydrogen sulfide formed by bacterial decomposition of coral tissue and mucus diffuses to the neighboring tissues, accelerating the spread of colony mortality. Our data suggest that the organic enrichment of coastal sediments is a key process in the degradation of coral reefs exposed to terrestrial runoff. PMID:22615403

  5. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae)

    PubMed Central

    Coker, Darren J.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Depczynski, Martial; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Holmes, Thomas H.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2015-01-01

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs. PMID:26529406

  6. Thermal threshold and sensitivity of the only symbiotic Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis by morphometric and genotypic analyses.

    PubMed

    Pey, Alexis; Catanéo, Jérôme; Forcioli, Didier; Merle, Pierre-Laurent; Furla, Paola

    2013-07-01

    The only symbiotic Mediterranean gorgonian, Eunicella singularis, has faced several mortality events connected to abnormal high temperatures. Since thermotolerance data remain scarce, heat-induced necrosis was monitored in aquarium by morphometric analysis. Gorgonian tips were sampled at two sites: Medes (Spain) and Riou (France) Islands, and at two depths: -15 m and-35 m. Although coming from contrasting thermal regimes, seawater above 28 °C led to rapid and complete tissue necrosis for all four populations. However, at 27 °C, the time length leading to 50% tissue necrosis allowed us to classify samples within three classes of thermal sensitivity. Irrespectively of the depth, Medes specimens were either very sensitive or resistant, while Riou fragments presented a medium sensitivity. Microsatellite analysis revealed that host and symbiont were genetically differentiated between sites, but not between depths. Finally, these genetic differentiations were not directly correlated to a specific thermal sensitivity whose molecular bases remain to be discovered. PMID:23932253

  7. Boring sponges, an increasing threat for coral reefs affected by bleaching events

    PubMed Central

    Carballo, José L; Bautista, Eric; Nava, Héctor; Cruz-Barraza, José A; Chávez, Jesus A

    2013-01-01

    Coral bleaching is a stress response of corals induced by a variety of factors, but these events have become more frequent and intense in response to recent climate-change-related temperature anomalies. We tested the hypothesis that coral reefs affected by bleaching events are currently heavily infested by boring sponges, which are playing a significant role in the destruction of their physical structure. Seventeen reefs that cover the entire distributional range of corals along the Mexican Pacific coast were studied between 2005/2006, and later between 2009/2010. Most of these coral reefs were previously impacted by bleaching events, which resulted in coral mortalities. Sponge abundance and species richness was used as an indicator of bioerosion, and coral cover was used to describe the present condition of coral reefs. Coral reefs are currently highly invaded (46% of the samples examined) by a very high diversity of boring sponges (20 species); being the coral reef framework the substrate most invaded (56%) followed by the rubbles (45%), and the living colonies (36%). The results also indicated that boring sponges are promoting the dislodgment of live colonies and large fragments from the framework. In summary, the eastern coral reefs affected by bleaching phenomena, mainly provoked by El Niño, present a high diversity and abundance of boring sponges, which are weakening the union of the colony with the reef framework and promoting their dislodgment. These phenomena will probably become even more intense and severe, as temperatures are projected to continue to rise under the scenarios for future climate change, which could place many eastern coral reefs beyond their survival threshold. PMID:23610632

  8. Homoplasious colony morphology and mito-nuclear phylogenetic discordance among Eastern Pacific octocorals.

    PubMed

    Ament-Velásquez, Sandra L; Breedy, Odalisca; Cortés, Jorge; Guzman, Hector M; Wörheide, Gert; Vargas, Sergio

    2016-05-01

    Octocorals are a diverse and ecologically important group of cnidarians. However, the phylogenetic relationships of many octocoral groups are not well understood and are based mostly on mitochondrial sequence data. In addition, the discovery and description of new gorgonian species displaying unusual or intermediate morphologies and uncertain phylogenetic affinities further complicates the study of octocoral systematics and raises questions about the role played by processes such as plasticity, crypsis, and convergence in the evolution of this group of organisms. Here, we use nuclear (i.e. 28S rDNA) and mitochondrial (mtMutS) markers and a sample of Eastern Pacific gorgonians thought to be remarkable from a morphological point of view to shed light on the morphological diversification among these organisms. Our study reveals the loss of the anastomosed colony morphology in two unrelated lineages of the seafan genus Pacifigorgia and offers strong evidence for the independent evolution of a whip-like morphology in two lineages of Eastern Pacific Leptogorgia. Additionally, our data revealed one instance of mito-nuclear discordance in the genera Leptogorgia and Eugorgia, which may be the results of incomplete lineage sorting or ancient hybridization-introgression events. Our study stresses the importance of comprehensive taxonomic sampling and the use of independent sources of evidence to address the phylogenetic relationships and clarifying the evolution of octocorals. PMID:26953740

  9. Words matter: Recommendations for clarifying coral disease nomenclature and terminology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2010-01-01

    Coral diseases have caused significant losses on Caribbean reefs and are becoming a greater concern in the Pacific. Progress in coral disease research requires collaboration and communication among experts from many different disciplines. The lack of consistency in the use of terms and names in the recent scientific literature reflects the absence of an authority for naming coral diseases, a lack of consensus on the meaning of even some of the most basic terms as they apply to corals, and imprecision in the use of descriptive words. The lack of consensus partly reflects the complexity of this newly emerging field of research. Establishment of a nomenclature committee under the Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) could lead to more standardized definitions and could promote use of appropriate medical terminology for describing and communicating disease conditions in corals. This committee could also help to define disease terminology unique to corals where existing medical terminology is not applicable. These efforts will help scientists communicate with one another and with the general public more effectively. Scientists can immediately begin to reduce some of the confusion simply by explicitly defining the words they are using. In addition, digital photographs can be posted on the CDHC website and included in publications to document the macroscopic (gross) signs of the conditions observed on coral colonies along with precisely written characterizations and descriptions.

  10. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    PubMed Central

    Guest, J. R.; Low, J.; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P. A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress. PMID:26876092

  11. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef.

    PubMed

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K; Wilson, B; Ng, C; Raingeard, D; Ulstrup, K E; Tanzil, J T I; Todd, P A; Toh, T C; McDougald, D; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress. PMID:26876092

  12. Effects of disturbance on coral communities: bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gleason, M. G.

    1993-11-01

    This study examines patterns of susceptibility and short-term recovery of corals from bleaching. A mass coral bleaching event began in March, 1991 on reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia and affected corals on the shallow barrier reef and to >20 m depth on the outer forereef slope. There were significant differences in the effect of the bleaching among common coral genera, with Acropora, Montastrea, Montipora, and Pocillopora more affected than Porites, Pavona, leptastrea or Millepora. Individual colonies of the common species of Acropora and Pocillopora were marked and their fate assessed on a subsequent survey in August, 1991 to determine rates of recovery and mortality. Ninety-six percent of Acropora spp. showed some degree of bleaching compared to 76% of Pocillopora spp. From March to August mortality of bleached colonies of Pocillopora was 17%, 38% recovered completely, and many suffered some partial mortality of the tissue. In contrast, 63% of the Acropora spp. died, and about 10% recovered completely. Generally, those colonies with less than 50% of the colony area affected by the bleaching recovered at a higher rate than did those with more severe bleaching. Changes in community composition four months after the event began included a significant decrease only in crustose algae and an increase in cover of filamentous algae, much of which occupied plate-like and branching corals that had died in the bleaching event. Total coral cover and cover of susceptible coral genera had declined, but not significantly, after the event.

  13. Bio-optical modeling of photosynthetic pigments in corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hochberg, Eric J.; Apprill, Amy M.; Atkinson, Marlin J.; Bidigare, Robert R.

    2006-03-01

    The spectral reflectance of coral is inherently related to the amounts of photosynthetic pigments present in the zooxanthellae. There are no studies, however, showing that the suite of major photosynthetic pigments can be predicted from optical reflectance spectra. In this study, we measured cm-scale in vivo and in situ spectral reflectance for several colonies of the massive corals Porites lobata and Porites lutea, two colonies of the branching coral Porites compressa, and one colony of the encrusting coral Montipora flabellata in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. For each reflectance spectrum, we collected a tissue sample and utilized high-performance liquid chromatography to quantify six major photosynthetic pigments, located in the zooxanthellae. We used multivariate multiple regression analysis with cross-validation to build and test an empirical linear model for predicting pigment concentrations from optical reflectance spectra. The model accurately predicted concentrations of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll c 2, peridinin, diadinoxanthin, diatoxanthin and β-carotene, with correlation coefficients of 0.997, 0.941, 0.995, 0.996, 0.980 and 0.984, respectively. The relationship between predicted and actual concentrations was 1:1 for each pigment, except chlorophyll c 2. This simple empirical model demonstrates the potential for routine, rapid, non-invasive monitoring of coral-zooxanthellae status, and ultimately for remote sensing of reef biogeochemical processes.

  14. Effects of temperature and salinity on survival rate of cultured corals and photosynthetic efficiency of zooxanthellae in coral tissues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuanui, Pataporn; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop; Omori, Makoto; Lin, Chiahsin

    2015-06-01

    This study investigated the effects of temperature and salinity on growth, survival, and photosynthetic efficiency of three coral species, namely, Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora millepora and Platygyra sinensis of different ages (6 and 18 months old). The experimental corals were cultivated via sexual propagation. Colonies were exposed to 5 different temperatures (18, 23, 28, 33, and 38°C) and 5 different salinities (22, 27, 32, 37, and 42 psu). Results showed that temperature significantly affected photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) (p < 0.05) compared to salinity. The maximum quantum yield of corals decreased ranging from 5% to 100% when these corals were exposed to different temperatures and salinities. Temperature also significantly affected coral growth and survival. However, corals exposed to changes in salinity showed higher survivorship than those exposed to changes in temperature. Results in this study also showed that corals of different ages and of different species did not display the same physiological responses to changes in environmental conditions. Thus, the ability of corals to tolerate salinity and temperature stresses depends on several factors.

  15. Diving associated coral breakage in Hong Kong: differential susceptibility to damage.

    PubMed

    Au, Alfred Cheuk-sun; Zhang, Liye; Chung, Shan-shan; Qiu, Jian-Wen

    2014-08-30

    We conducted the first quantitative assessment of coral breakage along a gradient of diving activities in Hong Kong, the most densely populated city in southern China. A survey of six 1 × 25 m transects at seven sites revealed a total of 81 broken corals, among which 44% were branching, 44% plate-like and 12% massive. There were 3-19 broken colonies per site. At most study sites, the percentage of broken corals exceeded the recommended no-action threshold of 4%, suggesting that management intervention is justified. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of broken coral colonies and the number of divers visiting the site. The branching Acropora and the plate-like Montipora suffered from much higher frequency of damage than their relative abundance, raising the concern that the cumulative impact of such differential susceptibility to breakage may affect coral community composition. PMID:24467858

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  17. Confounding effects of coral growth and high SST variability on skeletal Sr/Ca: Implications for coral paleothermometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grove, Craig A.; Kasper, Sebastian; Zinke, Jens; Pfeiffer, Miriam; Garbe-SchöNberg, Dieter; Brummer, Geert-Jan A.

    2013-04-01

    Massive corals offer continuous records of climate locked within their skeleton, with the most commonly applied paleo-thermometer being Sr/Ca. Recently, however, problems with Sr/Ca thermometry indicate that the intrinsic variance of single-core Sr/Ca time series differs between cores. Here, we compare the Sr/Ca records and growth parameters of two Porites lutea colonies sampled from the same reef zone, 0.72 km apart, with two gridded SST datasets, ERSST and HadISST, off NE Madagascar. Specifically, we address seasonal and interannual variability as well as trend differences between records over the same 43 year period. The two gridded SST datasets showed strong seasonality and weak positive ENSO anomalies on a slow 43 year warming trend at significantly different rates. Both the coral Sr/Ca records showed the same clear seasonality and similar amplitudes in SST. However, on interannual timescales, they displayed diverging 43 year Sr/Ca trends and opposite responses to weak ENSO anomalies. Moreover, their growth response also differed as one coral showed increasing extension/calcification rates and Sr/Ca ratios (cooling) over the 43 years, while the other coral showed decreasing extension/calcification rates and Sr/Ca ratios (warming). Further, during positive ENSO events, the calcification rates of the two corals were negatively correlated, while skeletal density anomalies were opposite. Possible explanations to why these corals are so different may be related to the corals growth response to SST changes. The growth response of individual corals to increasing SST seems to be opposite, which in turn are likely related to biological factors. Consequently, coral growth responses explain much of the inter-colony Sr/Ca variability.

  18. Selective feeding by coral reef fishes on coral lesions associated with brown band and black band disease

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Cole, A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Recent studies have suggested that corallivorous fishes may be vectors for coral disease, but the extent to which fishes actually feed on and thereby potentially transmit coral pathogens is largely unknown. For this study, in situ video observations were used to assess the level to which fishes fed on diseased coral tissues at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Surveys conducted at multiple locations around Lizard Island revealed that coral disease prevalence, especially of brown band disease (BrB), was higher in lagoon and backreef locations than in exposed reef crests. Accordingly, video cameras were deployed in lagoon and backreef habitats to record feeding by fishes during 1-h periods on diseased sections of each of 44 different coral colonies. Twenty-five species from five fish families (Blennidae, Chaetodontidae, Gobiidae, Labridae and Pomacentridae) were observed to feed on infected coral tissues of staghorn species of Acropora that were naturally infected with black band disease (BBD) or brown band disease (BrB). Collectively, these fishes took an average of 18.6 (±5.6 SE) and 14.3 (±6.1 SE) bites per hour from BBD and BrB lesions, respectively. More than 40% (408/948 bites) and nearly 25% (314/1319 bites) of bites were observed on lesions associated with BBD and BrB, respectively, despite these bands each representing only about 1% of the substratum available. Moreover, many corallivorous fishes ( Labrichthys unilineatus, Chaetodon aureofasciatus, C. baronessa, C. lunulatus, C. trifascialis, Cheiloprion labiatus) selectively targeted disease lesions over adjacent healthy coral tissues. These findings highlight the important role that reef fishes may play in the dynamics of coral diseases, either as vectors for the spread of coral disease or in reducing coral disease progression through intensive and selective consumption of diseased coral tissues.

  19. Coral growth on three reefs: development of recovery benchmarks using a space for time approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Done, T. J.; Devantier, L. M.; Turak, E.; Fisk, D. A.; Wakeford, M.; van Woesik, R.

    2010-12-01

    This 14-year study (1989-2003) develops recovery benchmarks based on a period of very strong coral recovery in Acropora-dominated assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) following major setbacks from the predatory sea-star Acanthaster planci in the early 1980s. A space for time approach was used in developing the benchmarks, made possible by the choice of three study reefs (Green Island, Feather Reef and Rib Reef), spread along 3 degrees of latitude (300 km) of the GBR. The sea-star outbreaks progressed north to south, causing death of corals that reached maximum levels in the years 1980 (Green), 1982 (Feather) and 1984 (Rib). The reefs were initially surveyed in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994, which represent recovery years 5-14 in the space for time protocol. Benchmark trajectories for coral abundance, colony sizes, coral cover and diversity were plotted against nominal recovery time (years 5-14) and defined as non-linear functions. A single survey of the same three reefs was conducted in 2003, when the reefs were nominally 1, 3 and 5 years into a second recovery period, following further Acanthaster impacts and coincident coral bleaching events around the turn of the century. The 2003 coral cover was marginally above the benchmark trajectory, but colony density (colonies.m-2) was an order of magnitude lower than the benchmark, and size structure was biased toward larger colonies that survived the turn of the century disturbances. The under-representation of small size classes in 2003 suggests that mass recruitment of corals had been suppressed, reflecting low regional coral abundance and depression of coral fecundity by recent bleaching events. The marginally higher cover and large colonies of 2003 were thus indicative of a depleted and aging assemblage not yet rejuvenated by a strong cohort of recruits.

  20. BIOACCUMULATION AND HISTOPATHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF OIL ON A STONY CORAL

    EPA Science Inventory

    Colonies of the shallow-water Caribbean coral Manicina areolata incorporated petroleum hydrocarbons into their tissues during exposure to water accommodated fractions of No. 2 fuel oil for three months. This contamination was not removed after depuration periods of up to two week...

  1. ASSESSMENT OF CORAL CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Complex reef structures formed by calcified coral skeletons provide a physical habitat that produces highly-valued ecosystem services, including shoreline protection and a high diversity and abundance of marine organisms that support lucrative fishing and tourism. Yet, coral reef...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

  3. Closing the circle: is it feasible to rehabilitate reefs with sexually propagated corals?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guest, J. R.; Baria, M. V.; Gomez, E. D.; Heyward, A. J.; Edwards, A. J.

    2014-03-01

    Sexual propagation of corals specifically for reef rehabilitation remains largely experimental. In this study, we refined low technology culture and transplantation approaches and assessed the role of colony size and age, at time of transfer from nursery to reef, on subsequent survival. Larvae from Acropora millepora were reared from gametes and settled on engineered substrates, called coral plug-ins, that were designed to simplify transplantation to areas of degraded reef. Plug-ins, with laboratory spawned and settled coral recruits attached, were maintained in nurseries until they were at least 7 months old before being transplanted to replicate coral limestone outcrops within a marine protected area until they were 31 months old. Survival rates of transplanted corals that remained at the protected in situ nursery the longest were 3.9-5.6 times higher than corals transplanted to the reef earlier, demonstrating that an intermediate ocean nursery stage is critical in the sexual propagation of corals for reef rehabilitation. 3 years post-settlement, colonies were reproductively mature, making this one of few published studies to date to rear a broadcasting scleractinian from eggs to spawning adults. While our data show that it is technically feasible to transplant sexually propagated corals and rear them until maturity, producing a single 2.5-year-old coral on the reef cost at least US60. `What if' scenarios indicate that the cost per transplantable coral could be reduced by almost 80 %, nevertheless, it is likely that the high cost per coral using sexual propagation methods would constrain delivery of new corals to relatively small scales in many countries with coral reefs.

  4. Among-species variation in the energy budgets of reef-building corals: scaling from coral polyps to communities.

    PubMed

    Hoogenboom, Mia; Rottier, Cécile; Sikorski, Severine; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2015-12-01

    The symbiosis between corals and dinoflagellates promotes the rapid growth of corals in shallow tropical oceans, and the high overall productivity of coral reefs. The aim of this study was to quantify and understand variation in carbon acquisition and allocation among coral species. We measured multiple physiological traits (including symbiont density, calcification, photosynthesis and tissue composition) for the same coral fragments to facilitate direct comparisons between species (Stylophora pistillata, Pocillopora damicornis, Galaxea fascicularis, Turbinaria reniformis and Acropora sp.). Tissue protein content was highly sensitive to the availability of particulate food, increasing in fed colonies of all species. Despite among-species variation in physiology, and consistent effects of feeding on some traits, overall energy allocation to tissue compared with skeleton growth did not depend on food availability. Extrapolating from our results, estimated whole-assemblage carbon uptake varied >20-fold across different coral assemblages, but this variation was largely driven by differences in the tissue surface area of different colony morphologies, rather than by differences in surface-area-specific physiological rates. Our results caution against drawing conclusions about reef productivity based solely on physiological rates measured per unit tissue surface area. Understanding the causes and consequences of among-species variation in physiological energetics provides insight into the mechanisms that underlie the fluxes of organic matter within reefs, and between reefs and the open ocean. PMID:26486359

  5. Coscinaraea marshae corals that have survived prolonged bleaching exhibit signs of increased heterotrophic feeding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bessell-Browne, Pia; Stat, Michael; Thomson, Damian; Clode, Peta L.

    2014-09-01

    Colonies of Coscinaraea marshae corals from Rottnest Island, Western Australia have survived for more than 11 months in various bleached states following a severe heating event in the austral summer of 2011. These colonies are situated in a high-latitude, mesophotic environment, which has made their long-term survival of particular interest as such environments typically suffer from minimal thermal pressures. We have investigated corals that remain unbleached, moderately bleached, or severely bleached to better understand potential survival mechanisms utilised in response to thermal stress. Specifically, Symbiodinium (algal symbiont) density and genotype, chlorophyll- a concentrations, and δ13C and δ15N levels were compared between colonies in the three bleaching categories. Severely bleached colonies housed significantly fewer Symbiodinium cells ( p < 0.05) and significantly reduced chlorophyll- a concentrations ( p < 0.05), compared with unbleached colonies. Novel Symbiodinium clade associations were observed for this coral in both severely and moderately bleached colonies, with clade C and a mixed clade population detected. In unbleached colonies, only clade B was observed. Levels of δ15N indicate that severely bleached colonies are utilising heterotrophic feeding mechanisms to aid survival whilst bleached. Collectively, these results suggest that these C. marshae colonies can survive with low symbiont and chlorophyll densities, in response to prolonged thermal stress and extended bleaching, and increase heterotrophic feeding levels sufficiently to meet energy demands, thus enabling some colonies to survive and recover over long time frames. This is significant as it suggests that corals in mesophotic and high-latitude environments may possess considerable plasticity and an ability to tolerate and adapt to large environmental fluctuations, thereby improving their chances of survival as climate change impacts coral ecosystems worldwide.

  6. Decadal comparison of a diminishing coral community: a study using demographics to advance inferences of community status

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Dana E.; Huntington, Brittany E.; Piniak, Gregory A.; Vermeij, Mark J.A.

    2016-01-01

    The most common coral monitoring methods estimate coral abundance as percent cover, either via in situ observations or derived from images. In recent years, growing interest and effort has focused on colony-based (demographic) data to assess the status of coral populations and communities. In this study, we relied on two separate data sets (photo-derived percent cover estimates, 2002–12, and opportunistic in situ demographic sampling, 2004 and 2012) to more fully infer decadal changes in coral communities at a small, uninhabited Caribbean island. Photo-derived percent cover documented drastic declines in coral abundance including disproportionate declines in Orbicella spp. While overall in situ estimates of total coral density were not different between years, densities of several rarer taxa were. Meandrina meandrites and Stephanocoenia intersepta increased while Leptoseris cucullata decreased significantly, changes that were not discernable from the photo-derived cover estimates. Demographic data also showed significant shifts to larger colony sizes (both increased mean colony sizes and increased negative skewness of size frequency distributions, but similar maximum colony sizes) for most taxa likely indicating reduced recruitment. Orbicella spp. differed from this general pattern, significantly shifting to smaller colony sizes due to partial mortality. Both approaches detected significant decadal changes in coral community structure at Navassa, though the demographic sampling provided better resolution of more subtle, taxon-specific changes. PMID:26835185

  7. From Parent to Gamete: Vertical Transmission of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) ITS2 Sequence Assemblages in the Reef Building Coral Montipora capitata

    PubMed Central

    Padilla-Gamiño, Jacqueline L.; Pochon, Xavier; Bird, Christopher; Concepcion, Gregory T.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2012-01-01

    Parental effects are ubiquitous in nature and in many organisms play a particularly critical role in the transfer of symbionts across generations; however, their influence and relative importance in the marine environment has rarely been considered. Coral reefs are biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems, whose success is framed by symbiosis between reef-building corals and unicellular dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Many corals produce aposymbiotic larvae that are infected by Symbiodinium from the environment (horizontal transmission), which allows for the acquisition of new endosymbionts (different from their parents) each generation. In the remaining species, Symbiodinium are transmitted directly from parent to offspring via eggs (vertical transmission), a mechanism that perpetuates the relationship between some or all of the Symbiodinium diversity found in the parent through multiple generations. Here we examine vertical transmission in the Hawaiian coral Montipora capitata by comparing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in parent colonies and the eggs they produce. Parental effects on sequence assemblages in eggs are explored in the context of the coral genotype, colony morphology, and the environment of parent colonies. Our results indicate that ITS2 sequence assemblages in eggs are generally similar to their parents, and patterns in parental assemblages are different, and reflect environmental conditions, but not colony morphology or coral genotype. We conclude that eggs released by parent colonies during mass spawning events are seeded with different ITS2 sequence assemblages, which encompass phylogenetic variability that may have profound implications for the development, settlement and survival of coral offspring. PMID:22701642

  8. From parent to gamete: vertical transmission of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) ITS2 sequence assemblages in the reef building coral Montipora capitata.

    PubMed

    Padilla-Gamiño, Jacqueline L; Pochon, Xavier; Bird, Christopher; Concepcion, Gregory T; Gates, Ruth D

    2012-01-01

    Parental effects are ubiquitous in nature and in many organisms play a particularly critical role in the transfer of symbionts across generations; however, their influence and relative importance in the marine environment has rarely been considered. Coral reefs are biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems, whose success is framed by symbiosis between reef-building corals and unicellular dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Many corals produce aposymbiotic larvae that are infected by Symbiodinium from the environment (horizontal transmission), which allows for the acquisition of new endosymbionts (different from their parents) each generation. In the remaining species, Symbiodinium are transmitted directly from parent to offspring via eggs (vertical transmission), a mechanism that perpetuates the relationship between some or all of the Symbiodinium diversity found in the parent through multiple generations. Here we examine vertical transmission in the Hawaiian coral Montipora capitata by comparing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in parent colonies and the eggs they produce. Parental effects on sequence assemblages in eggs are explored in the context of the coral genotype, colony morphology, and the environment of parent colonies. Our results indicate that ITS2 sequence assemblages in eggs are generally similar to their parents, and patterns in parental assemblages are different, and reflect environmental conditions, but not colony morphology or coral genotype. We conclude that eggs released by parent colonies during mass spawning events are seeded with different ITS2 sequence assemblages, which encompass phylogenetic variability that may have profound implications for the development, settlement and survival of coral offspring. PMID:22701642

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Decadal comparison of a diminishing coral community: a study using demographics to advance inferences of community status.

    PubMed

    Miller, Margaret; Williams, Dana E; Huntington, Brittany E; Piniak, Gregory A; Vermeij, Mark J A

    2016-01-01

    The most common coral monitoring methods estimate coral abundance as percent cover, either via in situ observations or derived from images. In recent years, growing interest and effort has focused on colony-based (demographic) data to assess the status of coral populations and communities. In this study, we relied on two separate data sets (photo-derived percent cover estimates, 2002-12, and opportunistic in situ demographic sampling, 2004 and 2012) to more fully infer decadal changes in coral communities at a small, uninhabited Caribbean island. Photo-derived percent cover documented drastic declines in coral abundance including disproportionate declines in Orbicella spp. While overall in situ estimates of total coral density were not different between years, densities of several rarer taxa were. Meandrina meandrites and Stephanocoenia intersepta increased while Leptoseris cucullata decreased significantly, changes that were not discernable from the photo-derived cover estimates. Demographic data also showed significant shifts to larger colony sizes (both increased mean colony sizes and increased negative skewness of size frequency distributions, but similar maximum colony sizes) for most taxa likely indicating reduced recruitment. Orbicella spp. differed from this general pattern, significantly shifting to smaller colony sizes due to partial mortality. Both approaches detected significant decadal changes in coral community structure at Navassa, though the demographic sampling provided better resolution of more subtle, taxon-specific changes. PMID:26835185