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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

    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

  11. 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

  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 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

  18. 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

  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

    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.

  3. 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

  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 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

  12. 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

  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. 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

  15. 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

  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 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

  9. 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

  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

    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

  12. 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

  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. 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.

  15. 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

  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 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

  18. 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

  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. 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

  4. 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

  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. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. 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

  14. 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

  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. 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

  3. 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

  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. 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

  6. 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

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  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. 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).

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. Shared skeletal support in a coral-hydroid symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Pantos, Olga; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2011-01-01

    Hydroids form symbiotic relationships with a range of invertebrate hosts. Where they live with colonial invertebrates such as corals or bryozoans the hydroids may benefit from the physical support and protection of their host's hard exoskeleton, but how they interact with them is unknown. Electron microscopy was used to investigate the physical interactions between the colonial hydroid Zanclea margaritae and its reef-building coral host Acropora muricata. The hydroid tissues extend below the coral tissue surface sitting in direct contact with the host's skeleton. Although this arrangement provides the hydroid with protective support, it also presents problems of potential interference with the coral's growth processes and exposes the hydroid to overgrowth and smothering. Desmocytes located within the epidermal layer of the hydroid's perisarc-free hydrorhizae fasten it to the coral skeleton. The large apical surface area of the desmocyte and high bifurcation of the distal end within the mesoglea, as well as the clustering of desmocytes suggests that a very strong attachment between the hydroid and the coral skeleton. This is the first study to provide a detailed description of how symbiotic hydroids attach to their host's skeleton, utilising it for physical support. Results suggest that the loss of perisarc, a characteristic commonly associated with symbiosis, allows the hydroid to utilise desmocytes for attachment. The use of these anchoring structures provides a dynamic method of attachment, facilitating detachment from the coral skeleton during extension, thereby avoiding overgrowth and smothering enabling the hydroid to remain within the host colony for prolonged periods of time. PMID:21695083

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yates, K. K.; Rogers, C. S.; Herlan, J. J.; Brooks, G. R.; Smiley, N. A.; Larson, R. A.

    2014-08-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business-as-usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality, and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove-shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. 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

  13. Mangrove habitats provide refuge from climate change for reef-building corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yates, K. K.; Rogers, C. S.; Herlan, J. J.; Brooks, G. R.; Smiley, N. A.; Larson, R. A.

    2014-03-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business as usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef, coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. At least 33 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 was living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeniety, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic

  14. SIMAC: development and implementation of a coral reef monitoring network in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto

    2010-05-01

    Significant coral reef decline has been observed in Colombia during the last three decades. However, due to the lack of monitoring activities, most of the information about health and changes was fragmentary or inadequate. To develop an expanded nation-wide reef-monitoring program, in 1998 INVEMAR (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras: "Colombian Institute of Marine and Coastal Research") designed and implemented SIMAC (Sistema Nacional de Monitorco de Arrecifes Coralinos en Colombia: "National Monitoring System of Coral Reefs in Colombia") with the participation of other institutions. By the end of 2003 the SIMAC network reached more than twice its initial size, covering ten reef areas (seven in the Caribbean and three in the Pacific), 63 reef sites and 263 permanent transects. SIMAC monitoring continued without interruption until 2008 and should persist in the long-term. The SIMAC has a large database and consists basically of water quality measurements (temperature, salinity, turbidity) and a yearly estimation of benthic reef cover, coral disease prevalence, gorgonian density, abundance of important mobile invertebrates, fish diversity and abundance of important fish species. A methods manual is available in the Internet. Data and results of SIMAC have been widely circulated through a summary report published annually since 2000 for the Colombian environmental agencies and the general public, as well as numerous national and international scientific papers and presentations at meetings. SIMAC information has contributed to support regional and global reef monitoring networks and databases (i.e. CARICOMP, GCRMN, ReefBase). PMID:20873041

  15. Age-Related Shifts in Bacterial Diversity in a Reef Coral.

    PubMed

    Williams, Alex D; Brown, Barbara E; Putchim, Lalita; Sweet, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    This study investigated the relationship between microbial communities in differently sized colonies of the massive coral Coelastrea aspera at Phuket, Thailand where colony size could be used as a proxy for age. Results indicated significant differences between the bacterial diversity (ANOSIM, R = 0.76, p = 0.001) of differently sized colonies from the same intertidal reef habitat. Juvenile and small colonies (< 6 cm mean diam) harboured a lower bacterial richness than medium (~ 10 cm mean diam) and large colonies (> 28 cm mean diam). Bacterial diversity increased in a step-wise pattern from juveniles < small < medium colonies, which was then followed by a slight decrease in the two largest size classes. These changes appear to resemble a successional process which occurs over time, similar to that observed in the ageing human gut. Furthermore, the dominant bacterial ribotypes present in the tissues of medium and large sized colonies of C. aspera, (such as Halomicronema, an Oscillospira and an unidentified cyanobacterium) were also the dominant ribotypes found within the endolithic algal band of the coral skeleton; a result providing some support for the hypothesis that the endolithic algae of corals may directly influence the bacterial community present in coral tissues. PMID:26700869

  16. Age-Related Shifts in Bacterial Diversity in a Reef Coral

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Barbara E.; Putchim, Lalita

    2015-01-01

    This study investigated the relationship between microbial communities in differently sized colonies of the massive coral Coelastrea aspera at Phuket, Thailand where colony size could be used as a proxy for age. Results indicated significant differences between the bacterial diversity (ANOSIM, R = 0.76, p = 0.001) of differently sized colonies from the same intertidal reef habitat. Juvenile and small colonies (<6cm mean diam) harboured a lower bacterial richness than medium (~10cm mean diam) and large colonies (>28 cm mean diam). Bacterial diversity increased in a step-wise pattern from juvenilescolonies, which was then followed by a slight decrease in the two largest size classes. These changes appear to resemble a successional process which occurs over time, similar to that observed in the ageing human gut. Furthermore, the dominant bacterial ribotypes present in the tissues of medium and large sized colonies of C. aspera, (such as Halomicronema, an Oscillospira and an unidentified cyanobacterium) were also the dominant ribotypes found within the endolithic algal band of the coral skeleton; a result providing some support for the hypothesis that the endolithic algae of corals may directly influence the bacterial community present in coral tissues. PMID:26700869

  17. The coral reefs optimization algorithm: a novel metaheuristic for efficiently solving optimization problems.

    PubMed

    Salcedo-Sanz, S; Del Ser, J; Landa-Torres, I; Gil-López, S; Portilla-Figueras, J A

    2014-01-01

    This paper presents a novel bioinspired algorithm to tackle complex optimization problems: the coral reefs optimization (CRO) algorithm. The CRO algorithm artificially simulates a coral reef, where different corals (namely, solutions to the optimization problem considered) grow and reproduce in coral colonies, fighting by choking out other corals for space in the reef. This fight for space, along with the specific characteristics of the corals' reproduction, produces a robust metaheuristic algorithm shown to be powerful for solving hard optimization problems. In this research the CRO algorithm is tested in several continuous and discrete benchmark problems, as well as in practical application scenarios (i.e., optimum mobile network deployment and off-shore wind farm design). The obtained results confirm the excellent performance of the proposed algorithm and open line of research for further application of the algorithm to real-world problems. PMID:25147860

  18. The Coral Reefs Optimization Algorithm: A Novel Metaheuristic for Efficiently Solving Optimization Problems

    PubMed Central

    Salcedo-Sanz, S.; Del Ser, J.; Landa-Torres, I.; Gil-López, S.; Portilla-Figueras, J. A.

    2014-01-01

    This paper presents a novel bioinspired algorithm to tackle complex optimization problems: the coral reefs optimization (CRO) algorithm. The CRO algorithm artificially simulates a coral reef, where different corals (namely, solutions to the optimization problem considered) grow and reproduce in coral colonies, fighting by choking out other corals for space in the reef. This fight for space, along with the specific characteristics of the corals' reproduction, produces a robust metaheuristic algorithm shown to be powerful for solving hard optimization problems. In this research the CRO algorithm is tested in several continuous and discrete benchmark problems, as well as in practical application scenarios (i.e., optimum mobile network deployment and off-shore wind farm design). The obtained results confirm the excellent performance of the proposed algorithm and open line of research for further application of the algorithm to real-world problems. PMID:25147860

  19. Environmental controls on uranium in reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Glen T.; Dunbar, Robert B.

    1995-05-01

    A survey of corals from a variety of tropical settings reveals previously unseen seasonal variations in skeletal U/Ca. Based upon two corals from the Galapagos Islands, a comparison of U/Ca with δ180 suggests a possible temperature dependence of +3-4% per degree centigrade cooling. An overall range in U/Ca of 1.03-1.37 μmol U/mol Ca (2.45-3.25 ppm) between corals from warm and cool water settings supports this interpretation. An alternative control, however, cannot be ruled out. Changes in the carbonate ion content of surface waters are sufficient to drive comparable variations, provided uranium is incorporated as UO 22+ or a carbonate complex thereof. In addition to these possible controls, we identify a probable salinity influence on coral U/Ca which suggests that uranium uptake depends upon [U] seawater and not [ U/Ca] seawater. Within individual corals, artifacts associated with "vital" influences appear minimal. Extension/calcification rate effects as assessed via comparisons of contemporaneous growth trajectories in individual colonies appear small relative to typical seasonal U/Ca variations of 10-20%. Excluding corals from the Galápagos cool regime, five species from warmer tropical settings exhibit remarkably little variability in mean U/Ca (1.03-1.09 μmol U/mol Ca). Our findings suggest that the range of U/Ca in modern corals defined by published data reflects a combination of interspecific variability and environmental control. The possibility that coral U/Ca is associated with temperature, alkalinity, and salinity suggests many uses for this new paleotracer. Rapid and precise measurement of uranium by isotope dilution ICP-MS will expedite future development and application. Key among the next steps must be studies to isolate the influences of the above mentioned environmental parameters. Additionally, potential microsampling artifacts (e.g., caused by drilling) and an apparent 6% "leachable" uranium fraction in a single test coral should be

  20. Endosymbiotic flexibility associates with environmental sensitivity in scleractinian corals

    PubMed Central

    Putnam, Hollie M.; Stat, Michael; Pochon, Xavier; Gates, Ruth D.

    2012-01-01

    Flexibility in biological systems is seen as an important driver of macro-ecosystem function and stability. Spatially constrained endosymbiotic settings, however, are less studied, although environmental thresholds of symbiotic corals are linked to the function of their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities. Symbiotic flexibility is a hypothesized mechanism that corals may exploit to adapt to climate change. This study explores the flexibility of the coral–Symbiodinium symbiosis through quantification of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in a range of coral species and genera. Sequence assemblages are expressed as an index of flexibility incorporating phylogenetic divergence and relative abundance of Symbiodinium sequences recovered from the host. This comparative analysis reveals profound differences in the flexibility of corals for Symbiodinium, thereby classifying corals as generalists or specifists. Generalists such as Acropora and Pocillopora exhibit high intra- and inter-species flexibility in their Symbiodinium assemblages and are some of the most environmentally sensitive corals. Conversely, specifists such as massive Porites colonies exhibit low flexibility, harbour taxonomically narrow Symbiodinium assemblages, and are environmentally resistant corals. Collectively, these findings challenge the paradigm that symbiotic flexibility enhances holobiont resilience. This underscores the need for a deeper examination of the extent and duration of the functional benefits associated with endosymbiotic diversity and flexibility under environmental stress. PMID:22933373

  1. Monitoring the coral disease, plague type II, on coral reefs in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

    PubMed

    Miller, J; Rogers, C; Waara, R

    2003-06-01

    In July 1997, conspicuous white patches of necrotic tissue and bare skeleton began to appear on scleractinian corals in several bays around St. John, US Virgin Islands. Analysis of diseased coral tissue from five different species confirmed the presence of a Sphingomonas-like bacterium, the pathogen for plague type II. To date, 14 species of hard corals have been affected by plague type II around St. John. This disease was monitored at Haulover and Tektite Reefs at depths of 7-12 meters. The study site at Tektite Reef has > 50% cover by scleractinian corals with 90% of hard corals being composed of Montastraea annularis. Monthly surveys at Tektite Reef from December 1997 to May 2001 documented new incidence of disease (bare white patches of skeleton) every month with associated loss of living coral and 90.5% of all disease patches occurred on M. annularis. The frequency of disease within transects ranged from 3 to 58%, and the area of disease patches ranged from 0.25 to 9000 cm2. The average percent cover by the disease within 1 m2 ranged from 0.01% (+/- 0.04 SD) to 1.74% (+/- 9.08 SD). Photo-monitoring of 28 diseased corals of 9 species begun in September 1997 at Haulover Reef revealed no recovery of diseased portions with all necrotic tissue being overgrown rapidly by turf algae, usually within less than one month. Most coral colonies suffered partial mortality. Very limited recruitment (e.g., of Agaricia spp., Favia spp. and sponges) has been noted on the diseased areas. This coral disease has the potential to cause more loss of live coral on St. John reefs than any other stress to date because it targets the dominant reef building species, M. annularis. PMID:15264553

  2. Monitoring the coral disease, plague type II, on coral reefs in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, J.; Rogers, C.; Waara, R.

    2003-01-01

    In July 1997, conspicuous white patches of necrotic tissue and bare skeleton began to appear on scleractinian corals in several bays around St. John, US Virgin Islands. Analysis of diseased coral tissue from five different species confirmed the presence of a Sphingomonas-like bacterium, the pathogen for plague type II. To date, 14 species of hard corals have been affected by plague type II around St. John. This disease was monitored at Haulover and Tektite Reefs at depths of 7-12 meters. The study site at Tektite Reef has >50% cover by scleractinian corals with 90% of hard corals being composed of Montastraea annular is. Monthly surveys at Tektite Reef from December 1997 to May 2001 documented new incidence of disease (bare white patches of skeleton) every month with associated loss of living coral and 90.5% of all disease patches occurred on M. annularis. The frequency of disease within transects ranged from 3 to 58%, and the area of disease patches ranged from 0.25 to 9000 cm2. The average percent cover by the disease within 1 m2 ranged from 0.01% (?? 0.04 SD) to 1.74% (?? 9.08 SD). Photo-monitoring of 28 diseased corals of 9 species begun in September 1997 at Haulover Reef revealed no recovery of diseased portions with all necrotic tissue being overgrown rapidly by turf algae, usually within less than one month. Most coral colonies suffered partial mortality. Very limited recruitment (e.g., of Agaricia spp., Favia spp. and sponges) has been noted on the diseased areas. This coral disease has the potential to cause more loss of live coral on St. John reefs than any other stress to date because it targets the dominant reef building species, M. annularis.

  3. Reproductive ecology of Caribbean reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szmant, Alina M.

    1986-08-01

    The last decade has seen a resurgence of interest in the processes of sexual reproduction by scleractinian reef corals. Earlier investigations had focused fortuitously on brooding (planulating) species, which resulted in the general misconception that brooding was the main form of larval development of reef corals. More recent work on Indo-Pacific species has shown broadcast spawning and short annual reproductive periods to predominate. This report presents the reproductive patterns of eleven Caribbean coral species and attempts to explain the adaptive features and selective pressures that have led to the evolution of the four reproductive patterns described to date: (a) hermaphroditic broadcasters; (b) gonochoric broadcasters; (c) hermaphroditic broadcasters; (b) gonochoric brooders. Both (a) and (b) correlate with large colony size and short annual spawning periods; and (c) and (d) correlate with small colony size, multiple planulating cycles per year, and occupation of unstable habitats. Selection for outcrossing between long-lived individuals is proposed as the reason for gonochorism and for synchronous spawning of hermaphroditic broadcasters, and also for the large amount of sperm produced by hermaphroditic brooders. Selection for high rates of local recruitment is proposed as the force behind the evolution of brooding by species inhabiting unstable habitats and suffering high rates of adult mortality.

  4. Population trends among Jamaican reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, James W.; Woodley, Jeremy D.; Jason Smith, G.; Neigel, Joseph E.; Battey, James F.; Dallmeyer, Dorinda G.

    1981-11-01

    Disturbance has been cited as a potentially important agent in structuring ecological communities by modifying the effects of competition1-5. Catastrophic disturbance has also been proposed as a factor promoting the coexistence of competing species in highly diverse tropical ecosystems such as rain forests and coral reefs2,6-11. Here we describe patterns of recruitment and mortality among reef corals over 4 yr at several depths on the reefs of Discovery Bay, Jamaica, which were struck by Hurricane Alien on 6 August 198012. Photographic quadrats monitored since 1976 on a shallow water reef showed a negative correlation between coral abundance and mortality which was not offset by compensatory patterns of recruitment. This slow trend in the disproportionate reduction of rarer, competitively inferior species was reversed by Hurricane Alien, with storm-induced mortality being greatest in the most abundant species. On deeper reef stations, undisturbed by the storm, slower rates of colony loss were compensated for by commensurate rates of colony recruitment. Thus, patterns of differential mortality and recruitment contribute to the maintenance of high species diversity in this tropical marine ecosystem.

  5. Vertical variations of coral reef drag forces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asher, Shai; Niewerth, Stephan; Koll, Katinka; Shavit, Uri

    2016-05-01

    Modeling flow in a coral reef requires a closure model that links the local drag force to the local mean velocity. However, the spatial flow variations make it difficult to predict the distribution of the local drag. Here we report on vertical profiles of measured drag and velocity in a laboratory reef that was made of 81 Pocillopora Meandrina colony skeletons, densely arranged along a tilted flume. Two corals were CT-scanned, sliced horizontally, and printed using a 3-D printer. Drag was measured as a function of height above the bottom by connecting the slices to drag sensors. Profiles of velocity were measured in-between the coral branches and above the reef. Measured drag of whole colonies shows an excellent agreement with previous field and laboratory studies; however, these studies never showed how drag varies vertically. The vertical distribution of drag is reported as a function of flow rate and water level. When the water level is the same as the reef height, Reynolds stresses are negligible and the drag force per unit fluid mass is nearly constant. However, when the water depth is larger, Reynolds stress gradients become significant and drag increases with height. An excellent agreement was found between the drag calculated by a momentum budget and the measured drag of the individual printed slices. Finally, we propose a modified formulation of the drag coefficient that includes the normal dispersive stress term and results in reduced variations of the drag coefficient at the cost of introducing an additional coefficient.

  6. The Amana Colonies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lilja, Marilyn

    Designed for use in Iowa elementary schools, this unit introduces students to Iowa's Amana Colonies. Four lessons cover the history and cultural heritage of the colonies, daily life in historical times, daily life in modern times, and the colonies as a corporate museum. Throughout the lessons, emphasis is placed on the values and organization of…

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters), but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon) and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb), allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies) were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis. PMID:26901845

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters), but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon) and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb), allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies) were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis. PMID:26901845

  9. Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo

    PubMed Central

    Sweet, Michael J.; Wood, Elizabeth; Bythell, John

    2015-01-01

    Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m−2) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m2) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease. PMID:26732905

  10. Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jennifer; Sweet, Michael J; Wood, Elizabeth; Bythell, John

    2015-01-01

    Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m(-2)) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m(2)) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease. PMID:26732905

  11. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  12. Colony geometry and structural complexity of the endangered species Acropora cervicornis partly explains the structure of their associated fish assemblage.

    PubMed

    Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A; Cappelletto, Jose; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    In the past decade, significant efforts have been made to describe fish-habitat associations. However, most studies have oversimplified actual connections between fish assemblages and their habitats by using univariate correlations. The purpose of this study was to identify the features of habitat forming corals that facilitate and influences assemblages of associated species such as fishes. For this we developed three-dimensional models of colonies of Acropora cervicornis to estimate geometry (length and height), structural complexity (i.e., volume, density of branches, etc.) and biological features of the colonies (i.e., live coral tissue, algae). We then correlated these colony characteristics with the associated fish assemblage using multivariate analyses. We found that geometry and complexity were better predictors of the structure of fish community, compared to other variables such as percentage of live coral tissue or algae. Combined, the geometry of each colony explained 40% of the variability of the fish assemblage structure associated with this coral species; 61% of the abundance and 69% of fish richness, respectively. Our study shows that three-dimensional reconstructions of discrete colonies of Acropora cervicornis provides a useful description of the colonial structural complexity and may explain a great deal of the variance in the structure of the associated coral reef fish community. This demonstration of the strongly trait-dependent ecosystem role of this threatened species has important implications for restoration and conservation efforts. PMID:27069801

  13. Colony geometry and structural complexity of the endangered species Acropora cervicornis partly explains the structure of their associated fish assemblage

    PubMed Central

    Cappelletto, Jose; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    In the past decade, significant efforts have been made to describe fish-habitat associations. However, most studies have oversimplified actual connections between fish assemblages and their habitats by using univariate correlations. The purpose of this study was to identify the features of habitat forming corals that facilitate and influences assemblages of associated species such as fishes. For this we developed three-dimensional models of colonies of Acropora cervicornis to estimate geometry (length and height), structural complexity (i.e., volume, density of branches, etc.) and biological features of the colonies (i.e., live coral tissue, algae). We then correlated these colony characteristics with the associated fish assemblage using multivariate analyses. We found that geometry and complexity were better predictors of the structure of fish community, compared to other variables such as percentage of live coral tissue or algae. Combined, the geometry of each colony explained 40% of the variability of the fish assemblage structure associated with this coral species; 61% of the abundance and 69% of fish richness, respectively. Our study shows that three-dimensional reconstructions of discrete colonies of Acropora cervicornis provides a useful description of the colonial structural complexity and may explain a great deal of the variance in the structure of the associated coral reef fish community. This demonstration of the strongly trait-dependent ecosystem role of this threatened species has important implications for restoration and conservation efforts. PMID:27069801

  14. More than one genotype: how common is intracolonial genetic variability in scleractinian corals?

    PubMed

    Schweinsberg, Maximilian; Weiss, Linda C; Striewski, Sebastian; Tollrian, Ralph; Lampert, Kathrin P

    2015-06-01

    In recent years, a few colonial marine invertebrates have shown intracolonial genetic variability, a previously unreported phenomenon. Intracolonial genetic variability describes the occurrence of more than a single genotype within an individual colony. This variability can be traced back to two underlying processes: chimerism and mosaicism. Chimerism is the fusion of two or more individuals, whereas mosaicism mostly derives from somatic cell mutations. Until now, it remained unclear to what degree the ecologically important group of hermatypic (reef building) corals might be affected. We investigate the occurrence of intracolonial genetic variability in five scleractinian corals: Acropora florida, Acropora hyacinthus, Acropora sarmentosa, Pocillopora species complex and Porites australiensis. The main focus was to test different genera for the phenomenon via microsatellite markers and to distinguish which underlying process caused the genetic heterogeneity. Our results show that intracolonial genetic variability was common (between 46.6% for A. sarmentosa and 23.8% for P. species complex) in all tested corals. The main process was mosaicism (69 cases of 222 tested colonies), but at least one chimera existed in every species. This suggests that intracolonial genetic variability is widespread in scleractinian corals and could challenge the view of a coral colony as an individual and therefore a unit of selection. However, it might also hold potential for colony survival under rapidly changing environmental conditions. PMID:25872099

  15. Isotropic microscale mechanical properties of coral skeletons

    PubMed Central

    Pasquini, Luca; Molinari, Alan; Fantazzini, Paola; Dauphen, Yannicke; Cuif, Jean-Pierre; Levy, Oren; Dubinsky, Zvy; Caroselli, Erik; Prada, Fiorella; Goffredo, Stefano; Di Giosia, Matteo; Reggi, Michela; Falini, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Scleractinian corals are a major source of biogenic calcium carbonate, yet the relationship between their skeletal microstructure and mechanical properties has been scarcely studied. In this work, the skeletons of two coral species: solitary Balanophyllia europaea and colonial Stylophora pistillata, were investigated by nanoindentation. The hardness HIT and Young's modulus EIT were determined from the analysis of several load–depth data on two perpendicular sections of the skeletons: longitudinal (parallel to the main growth axis) and transverse. Within the experimental and statistical uncertainty, the average values of the mechanical parameters are independent on the section's orientation. The hydration state of the skeletons did not affect the mechanical properties. The measured values, EIT in the 76–77 GPa range, and HIT in the 4.9–5.1 GPa range, are close to the ones expected for polycrystalline pure aragonite. Notably, a small difference in HIT is observed between the species. Different from corals, single-crystal aragonite and the nacreous layer of the seashell Atrina rigida exhibit clearly orientation-dependent mechanical properties. The homogeneous and isotropic mechanical behaviour of the coral skeletons at the microscale is correlated with the microstructure, observed by electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, and with the X-ray diffraction patterns of the longitudinal and transverse sections. PMID:25977958

  16. Tectonic subsidence provides insight into possible coral reef futures under rapid sea-level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saunders, Megan I.; Albert, Simon; Roelfsema, Chris M.; Leon, Javier X.; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Phinn, Stuart R.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-03-01

    Sea-level rise will change environmental conditions on coral reef flats, which comprise extensive habitats in shallow tropical seas and support a wealth of ecosystem services. Rapid relative sea-level rise of 0.6 m over a relatively pristine coral reef in Solomon Islands, caused by a subduction earthquake in April 2007, generated a unique opportunity to examine in situ coral reef response to relative sea-level rise of the magnitude (but not the rate) anticipated by 2100. Extent of live coral was measured from satellite imagery in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. Ecological data were obtained from microatolls and ecological surveys in May 2013. The reef was sampled at 12 locations where dense live hard coral remained absent, remained present or changed from absent to present following subsidence. Ecological data (substratum depth, live coral canopy depth, coral canopy height, substratum suitability, recruitment, diversity and Acropora presence) were measured at each location to identify factors associated with coral response to relative sea-level rise. Vertical and horizontal proliferation of coral occurred following subsidence. Lateral expansion of live coral, accomplished primarily by branching Acropora spp., resulted in lower diversity in regions which changed composition from pavement to dense live coral following subsidence. Of the ecological factors measured, biotic factors were more influential than abiotic factors; species identity was the most important factor in determining which regions of the reef responded to rapid sea-level rise. On relatively pristine reef flats under present climatic conditions, rapid relative sea-level rise generated an opportunity for hard coral to proliferate. However, the species assemblage of the existing reef was important in determining response to sea-level change, by providing previously bare substrate with a source of new coral colonies. Degraded reefs with altered species composition and slower coral growth rates may be less

  17. Clumped Isotope Composition of Cold-Water Corals: A Role for Vital Effects?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spooner, P.; Guo, W.; Robinson, L. F.

    2014-12-01

    Measurements on a set of cold-water corals (mainly Desmophyllum dianthus) have suggested that their clumped isotope composition could serve as a promising proxy for reconstructing paleocean temperatures. Such measurements have also offered support for certain isotope models of coral calcification. However, there are differences in the clumped isotope compositions between warm-water and cold-water corals, suggesting that different kinds of corals could have differences in their biocalcification processes. In order to understand the systematics of clumped isotope variations in cold-water corals more fully, we present clumped isotope data from a range of cold-water coral species from the tropical Atlantic and the Southern Ocean.Our samples were either collected live or recently dead (14C ages < 1,000 yrs) with associated temperature data. They include a total of 11 solitary corals and 1 colonial coral from the Atlantic, and 8 solitary corals from the Southern Ocean. The data indicate that coral clumped isotope systematics may be more complicated than previously thought. For example, for the genus Caryophyllia we observe significant variations in clumped isotope compositions for corals which grew at the same temperature with an apparent negative correlation between Δ47 and δ18O, different to patterns previously observed in Desmophyllum. These results indicate that existing isotope models of biocalcification may not apply equally well to all corals. Clumped isotope vital effects may be present in certain cold-water corals as they are in warm-water corals, complicating the use of this paleoclimate proxy.

  18. How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations.

    PubMed

    Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Washburn, Libe; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2014-09-01

    Global climate change is rapidly altering disturbance regimes in many ecosystems including coral reefs, yet the long-term impacts of these changes on ecosystem structure and function are difficult to predict. A major ecosystem service provided by coral reefs is the provisioning of physical habitat for other organisms, and consequently, many of the effects of climate change on coral reefs will be mediated by their impacts on habitat structure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the independent and combined effects of coral mortality and loss of physical habitat on reef-associated biota. Here, we use a unique series of events affecting the coral reefs around the Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia to differentiate between the impacts of coral mortality and the degradation of physical habitat on the structure of reef fish communities. We found that, by removing large amounts of physical habitat, a tropical cyclone had larger impacts on reef fish communities than an outbreak of coral-eating sea stars that caused widespread coral mortality but left the physical structure intact. In addition, the impacts of declining structural complexity on reef fish assemblages accelerated as structure became increasingly rare. Structure provided by dead coral colonies can take up to decades to erode following coral mortality, and, consequently, our results suggest that predictions based on short-term studies are likely to grossly underestimate the long-term impacts of coral decline on reef fish communities. PMID:25070649

  19. Biology and ecology of the hydrocoral millepora on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Lewis, John B

    2006-01-01

    Millepores are colonial polypoidal hydrozoans secreting an internal calcareous skeleton of an encrusting or upright form, often of considerable size. Defensive polyps protruding from the skeleton are numerous and highly toxic and for this reason millepores are popularly known as "stinging corals" or "fire corals." In shallow tropical seas millepore colonies are conspicuous on coral reefs and may be locally abundant and important reef-framework builders. The history of systematic research on the Milleporidae and the sister family Stylasteridae is rich and full with the works of early naturalists beginning with Linnaeus. Seventeen living millepore species are recognised. Marked phenotypic variation in form and structure of colonies is characteristic of the genus Millepora. The first published descriptions of the anatomy and histology of millepores were by H. N. Moseley in one of the Challenger Expedition reports. These original, detailed accounts by Moseley remain valid and, except for recent descriptions of the ultrastructure of the skeleton and skeletogenic tissues, have not needed much modification. Millepores occur worldwide on coral reefs at depths of between 1 and 40 m and their distribution on reefs is generally zoned in response to physical factors. Colonies may be abundant locally on coral reefs but usually comprise <10% of the overall surface cover. Growth rates of colonies are similar to the measured rates of branching and platelike scleractinian corals. Millepores are voracious zooplankton feeders and they obtain part of their nutrition from autotrophic sources, photosynthetic production by symbiotic zooxanthellae. Reproduction in millepores is characterised by alternation of generations with a well-developed polypoid stage that buds off planktonic medusae. Sexual reproduction is seasonal for known species and the medusae have a brief planktonic life. Asexual production is achieved by sympodial growth, the production of new skeleton and soft tissue along

  20. Differential survival of coral transplants on various substrates under elevated water temperatures.

    PubMed

    Yap, Helen T

    2004-08-01

    Closely related scleractinian coral species that exhibited similar survival patterns under relatively normal field conditions responded very differently to the occurrence of an environmental disturbance. The two species studied were Porites cylindrica and Porites rus which occur in the same reef zones in shallow reef flats. Transplants of both species were evenly distributed and attached to three different types of substrate: live coral colonies of P. cylindrica, dead coral colonies (also of P. cylindrica), and epoxy coated metal grids that were raised above the sandy substrate. With the onset of above-normal water temperatures due to the El Niño episode of 1998, P. cylindrica transplants immediately showed signs of bleaching stress and tissue necrosis, followed by algal overgrowth and mortality soon afterwards. In contrast, transplants of P. rus bleached more slowly and suffered less mortality, with a few actually showing signs of recovery at the end of the experimental period which covered a total of 14 weeks. These differences in responses could be attributed to properties of the symbiotic zooxanthellae, of the host coral tissue itself, or both. Over-all, survival was good on the metal grids (average of 35%), and on the live coral (average of 22%). It was poor on the dead coral (average of 6%). The metal grids as well as live coral tissue apparently provided a favorable substrate for the attached coral fragments, even for those of a different species. Under the conditions of this particular study, attachment of live coral fragments on already dead colonies for the purpose of increasing live coral cover on the reef did not yield favorable results. This is an area that requires further investigation. PMID:15341824

  1. Hong Kong Corals: A Cautionary Tale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N.; Yang, T.; Yeung, R.; Bryan, S. P.; Hughen, K. A.

    2012-12-01

    High-resolution paleoclimate records are in demand as we increase the need for understanding and predicting sub-annual climate interactions. The geographical footprint of these records must also expand in order to improve spatially diverse reconstructions of climate systems including the Asian monsoon and el Nino among others. The south China coast within the South China Sea has been one location investigated for paleo-climate coral reconstructions, with a focus on the relatively pristine waters of Hai Nan Island. But, records are limited and are often confounded by Sr/Ca signals which differ from instrumental records of SST. In this study, we evaluate the slow-growing (~2-7mm/year on average) Porites corals of Hong Kong Island to investigate the reliability of the Sr/Ca proxy from a coastal environment. Sr/Ca-SST proxies are developed for 6 coral colonies, utilizing 10-years of monthly hydrographic data from more than 45 marine stations around Hong Kong. Seasonal resolution slopes range from -0.03 mmol/mol/°C to -0.06 mmol/mol/°C within the range of previously published slopes from the very slow-growing Diploria corals of the North Atlantic (Cardinal et al. 2000, Goodkin et al. 2005) as well as Porites corals with growth rates >1cm per year. While there is a trend for the absolute value of the slopes to increase with increasing average colony growth rate, no statistically significant growth relationship has been found. Hong Kong corals are known to grow slowly and annual extension-rates are strongly correlated to environmental conditions including spring-time chlorophyll a, temperature and turbidity as well as summer oxygen concentrations (Yang et al., in preparation). Evidence exists within the Sr/Ca record for significant growth hiatuses particularly during the coldest times of the year (late winter-early spring). Growth-hiatuses generally occur when the El Nino Southern Oscillation is inactive. Whereas an active El Nino or La Nina, tend to correspond to no

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-12

    Coral diseases are taking an increasing toll on coral reef structure and biodiversity and are important indicators of declining health in the oceans. We implemented standardized coral disease surveys to pinpoint hotspots of coral disease, reveal vulnerable coral families and test hypotheses about climate drivers from 39 locations worldwide. We analyzed a 3 yr study of coral disease prevalence to identify links between disease and a range of covariates, including thermal anomalies (from satellite data), location and coral cover, using a Generalized Linear Mixed Model. Prevalence of unhealthy corals, i.e. those with signs of known diseases or with other signs of compromised health, exceeded 10% on many reefs and ranged to over 50% on some. Disease prevalence exceeded 10% on 20% of Caribbean reefs and 2.7% of Pacific reefs surveyed. Within the same coral families across oceans, prevalence of unhealthy colonies was higher and some diseases were more common at sites in the Caribbean than those in the Pacific. The effects of high disease prevalence are potentially extensive given that the most affected coral families, the acroporids, faviids and siderastreids, are among the major reef-builders at these sites. The poritids and agaricids stood out in the Caribbean as being the most resistant to disease, even though these families were abundant in our surveys. Regional warm temperature anomalies were strongly correlated with high disease prevalence. The levels of disease reported here will provide a much-needed local reference point against which to compare future change. PMID:22968792

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The capacity of coral-dinoflagellate mutualisms to adapt to a changing climate relies in part on standing variation in host and symbiont populations, but rarely have the interactions between symbiotic partners been considered at the level of individuals. Here, we tested the importance of inter-individual variation with respect to the physiology of coral holobionts. We identified six genetically distinct Acropora palmata coral colonies that all shared the same isoclonal Symbiodinium ‘fitti’ dinoflagellate strain. No other Symbiodinium could be detected in host tissues. We exposed fragments of each colony to extreme cold and found that the stress-induced change in symbiont photochemical efficiency varied up to 3.6-fold depending on host genetic background. The S. ‘fitti’ strain was least stressed when associating with hosts that significantly altered the expression of 184 genes under cold shock; it was most stressed in hosts that only adjusted 14 genes. Key expression differences among hosts were related to redox signaling and iron availability pathways. Fine-scale interactions among unique host colonies and symbiont strains provide an underappreciated source of raw material for natural selection in coral symbioses. PMID:26497873

  4. Lumazine peptides penilumamides B-D and the cyclic pentapeptide asperpeptide A from a gorgonian-derived Aspergillus sp. fungus.

    PubMed

    Chen, Min; Shao, Chang-Lun; Fu, Xiu-Mei; Kong, Chui-Jian; She, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-07-25

    Three new lumazine peptides, penilumamides B-D (2-4), and one known analogue, penilumamide (1), together with a new cyclic pentapeptide, asperpeptide A (5), were isolated from the gorgonian-derived fungus Aspergillus sp. XS-20090B15. Among them, 2 was obtained from the feeding culture with l-methionine of this strain. All structures were elucidated by spectroscopic methods and chemical derivatization. Compounds 1-4 are rare lumazine peptides, of which 1 and 3 are formed from 2 by oxidation of the l-methionine residue. PMID:25001296

  5. PhyloChip™ microarray comparison of sampling methods used for coral microbial ecology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.; Piceno, Yvette M.; Tom, Lauren M.; DeSantis, Todd Z.; Zawada, David G.; Andersen, Gary L.

    2012-01-01

    Interest in coral microbial ecology has been increasing steadily over the last decade, yet standardized methods of sample collection still have not been defined. Two methods were compared for their ability to sample coral-associated microbial communities: tissue punches and foam swabs, the latter being less invasive and preferred by reef managers. Four colonies of star coral, Montastraea annularis, were sampled in the Dry Tortugas National Park (two healthy and two with white plague disease). The PhyloChip™ G3 microarray was used to assess microbial community structure of amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences. Samples clustered based on methodology rather than coral colony. Punch samples from healthy and diseased corals were distinct. All swab samples clustered closely together with the seawater control and did not group according to the health state of the corals. Although more microbial taxa were detected by the swab method, there is a much larger overlap between the water control and swab samples than punch samples, suggesting some of the additional diversity is due to contamination from water absorbed by the swab. While swabs are useful for noninvasive studies of the coral surface mucus layer, these results show that they are not optimal for studies of coral disease.

  6. Coral reproduction in the world's warmest reefs: southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bauman, A. G.; Baird, A. H.; Cavalcante, G. H.

    2011-06-01

    Despite extensive research on coral reproduction from numerous geographic locations, there remains limited knowledge within the Persian Gulf. Given that corals in the Persian Gulf exist in one of the most stressful environments for reef corals, with annual variations in sea surface temperature (SST) of 12°C and maximum summer mean SSTs of 36°C, understanding coral reproductive biology in the Gulf may provide clues as to how corals may cope with global warming. In this study, we examined six locally common coral species on two shallow reef sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in 2008 and 2009 to investigate the patterns of reproduction, in particular the timing and synchrony of spawning. In total, 71% colonies in April 2008 and 63% colonies in April 2009 contained mature oocytes. However, the presence of mature gametes in May indicated that spawning was potentially split between April and May in all species. These results demonstrate that coral reproduction patterns within this region are highly seasonal and that multi-species spawning synchrony is highly probable. Acropora downingi, Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea were all hermaphroditic broadcast spawners with a single annual gametogenic cycle. Furthermore, fecundity and mature oocyte sizes were comparable to those in other regions. We conclude that the reproductive biology of corals in the southern Persian Gulf is similar to other regions, indicating that these species have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions in the southern Persian Gulf.

  7. PhyloChip™ microarray comparison of sampling methods used for coral microbial ecology.

    PubMed

    Kellogg, Christina A; Piceno, Yvette M; Tom, Lauren M; DeSantis, Todd Z; Zawada, David G; Andersen, Gary L

    2012-01-01

    Interest in coral microbial ecology has been increasing steadily over the last decade, yet standardized methods of sample collection still have not been defined. Two methods were compared for their ability to sample coral-associated microbial communities: tissue punches and foam swabs, the latter being less invasive and preferred by reef managers. Four colonies of star coral, Montastraea annularis, were sampled in the Dry Tortugas National Park (two healthy and two with white plague disease). The PhyloChip™ G3 microarray was used to assess microbial community structure of amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences. Samples clustered based on methodology rather than coral colony. Punch samples from healthy and diseased corals were distinct. All swab samples clustered closely together with the seawater control and did not group according to the health state of the corals. Although more microbial taxa were detected by the swab method, there is a much larger overlap between the water control and swab samples than punch samples, suggesting some of the additional diversity is due to contamination from water absorbed by the swab. While swabs are useful for noninvasive studies of the coral surface mucus layer, these results show that they are not optimal for studies of coral disease. PMID:22085912

  8. Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huntington, B. E.; Karnauskas, M.; Lirman, D.

    2011-12-01

    The ability of reserves to replenish fish stocks is relatively well documented, but the evidence of their ability to induce positive effects on benthic communities remains inconclusive. Here, we test whether 10 years of reserve designation have translated into positive effects on coral communities in Glover's Reef, Belize. Surveys of 87 patch reefs inside and outside the reserve revealed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefitting coral cover, coral colony size, or abundance of juvenile corals. Furthermore, massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts across all sites, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the regional trend of high mortality for these species. We detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or macroalgal cover between reserve and fished sites, providing a potential explanation for the lack of cascading positive effects on the coral community. We conclude that patterns of regional coral decline are evident at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from broadcasting species to brooding species and declines in mean colony size. Our findings suggest that regional stressors are overwhelming local management efforts and that additional strategies are required to improve local coral condition.

  9. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    White, Helen K.; Hsing, Pen-Yuan; Cho, Walter; Shank, Timothy M.; Cordes, Erik E.; Quattrini, Andrea M.; Nelson, Robert K.; Camilli, Richard; Demopoulos, Amanda W. J.; German, Christopher R.; Brooks, James M.; Roberts, Harry H.; Shedd, William; Reddy, Christopher M.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2012-01-01

    To assess the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on offshore ecosystems, 11 sites hosting deep-water coral communities were examined 3 to 4 mo after the well was capped. Healthy coral communities were observed at all sites >20 km from the Macondo well, including seven sites previously visited in September 2009, where the corals and communities appeared unchanged. However, at one site 11 km southwest of the Macondo well, coral colonies presented widespread signs of stress, including varying degrees of tissue loss, sclerite enlargement, excess mucous production, bleached commensal ophiuroids, and covering by brown flocculent material (floc). On the basis of these criteria the level of impact to individual colonies was ranked from 0 (least impact) to 4 (greatest impact). Of the 43 corals imaged at that site, 46% exhibited evidence of impact on more than half of the colony, whereas nearly a quarter of all of the corals showed impact to >90% of the colony. Additionally, 53% of these corals’ ophiuroid associates displayed abnormal color and/or attachment posture. Analysis of hopanoid petroleum biomarkers isolated from the floc provides strong evidence that this material contained oil from the Macondo well. The presence of recently damaged and deceased corals beneath the path of a previously documented plume emanating from the Macondo well provides compelling evidence that the oil impacted deep-water ecosystems. Our findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the spill in terms of its magnitude, release at depth, and impact to deep-water ecosystems. PMID:22454495

  10. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, Helen K.; Hsing, Pen-Yuan; Cho, Walter; Shank, Timothy M.; Cordes, Erik E.; Quattrini, Andrea M.; Nelson, Robert K.; Camilli, Richard; Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; German, Christopher R.; Brooks, James M.; Roberts, Harry H.; Shedd, William; Reddy, Christopher M.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2012-01-01

    To assess the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on offshore ecosystems, 11 sites hosting deep-water coral communities were examined 3 to 4 mo after the well was capped. Healthy coral communities were observed at all sites >20 km from the Macondo well, including seven sites previously visited in September 2009, where the corals and communities appeared unchanged. However, at one site 11 km southwest of the Macondo well, coral colonies presented widespread signs of stress, including varying degrees of tissue loss, sclerite enlargement, excess mucous production, bleached commensal ophiuroids, and covering by brown flocculent material (floc). On the basis of these criteria the level of impact to individual colonies was ranked from 0 (least impact) to 4 (greatest impact). Of the 43 corals imaged at that site, 46% exhibited evidence of impact on more than half of the colony, whereas nearly a quarter of all of the corals showed impact to >90% of the colony. Additionally, 53% of these corals’ ophiuroid associates displayed abnormal color and/or attachment posture. Analysis of hopanoid petroleum biomarkers isolated from the floc provides strong evidence that this material contained oil from the Macondo well. The presence of recently damaged and deceased corals beneath the path of a previously documented plume emanating from the Macondo well provides compelling evidence that the oil impacted deep-water ecosystems. Our findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the spill in terms of its magnitude, release at depth, and impact to deep-water ecosystems.

  11. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals

    PubMed Central

    Gilmour, James P.; Underwood, Jim N.; Howells, Emily J.; Gates, Emily; Heyward, Andrew J.

    2016-01-01

    Coral spawning on the oceanic reef systems of north-western Australia was recently discovered during autumn and spring, but the degree to which species and particularly colonies participated in one or both of these spawnings was unknown. At the largest of the oceanic reef systems, the participation by colonies in the two discrete spawning events was investigated over three years in 13 species of Acropora corals (n = 1,855 colonies). Seven species spawned during both seasons; five only in autumn and one only in spring. The majority of tagged colonies (n = 218) spawned once a year in the same season, but five colonies from three species spawned during spring and autumn during a single year. Reproductive seasonality was not influenced by spatial variation in habitat conditions, or by Symbiodinium partners in the biannual spawner Acropora tenuis. Colonies of A. tenuis spawning during different seasons separated into two distinct yet cryptic groups, in a bayesian clustering analysis based on multiple microsatellite markers. These groups were associated with a major genetic divergence (G”ST = 0.469), despite evidence of mixed ancestry in a small proportion of individuals. Our results confirm that temporal reproductive isolation is a common feature of Acropora populations at Scott Reef and indicate that spawning season is a genetically determined trait in at least A. tenuis. This reproductive isolation may be punctuated occasionally by interbreeding between genetic groups following favourable environmental conditions, when autumn spawners undergo a second annual gametogenic cycle and spawn during spring. PMID:26963249

  12. Habitat constraints and self-thinning shape Mediterranean red coral deep population structure: implications for conservation practice.

    PubMed

    Cau, Alessandro; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Cannas, Rita; Follesa, Maria Cristina; Angiolillo, Michela; Canese, Simonepietro; Bo, Marzia; Cuccu, Danila; Guizien, Katell

    2016-01-01

    The Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum, is one of the most precious corals worldwide. Below 50 m depth, C. rubrum populations are generally characterised by large and sparse colonies, whereas shallow populations (above 50 m depth) show high densities of small colonies. We show here instead that populations dwelling between 80 and 170 m depth exhibited a continuous range of population density (from 2 to 75 colonies per 0.25 m(2)), with less than 1% of variance explained by water depth. An inverse relationship between maximum population density and mean colony height was found, suggesting that self-thinning processes may shape population structure. Moreover, demographically young populations composed of small and dense colonies dominated along rocky vertical walls, whereas mature populations characterised by large and sparsely distributed colonies were found only in horizontal beds not covered by sediment. We hypothesise that, in the long term, shallow protected populations should resemble to present deep populations, with sparsely distributed large colonies. Since the density of red coral colonies can decay as a result of self-thinning mechanisms, we advise that future protection strategies should be based also on a measure of red coral spatial coverage instead of population density. PMID:26988757

  13. Habitat constraints and self-thinning shape Mediterranean red coral deep population structure: implications for conservation practice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cau, Alessandro; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Cannas, Rita; Follesa, Maria Cristina; Angiolillo, Michela; Canese, Simonepietro; Bo, Marzia; Cuccu, Danila; Guizien, Katell

    2016-03-01

    The Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum, is one of the most precious corals worldwide. Below 50 m depth, C. rubrum populations are generally characterised by large and sparse colonies, whereas shallow populations (above 50 m depth) show high densities of small colonies. We show here instead that populations dwelling between 80 and 170 m depth exhibited a continuous range of population density (from 2 to 75 colonies per 0.25 m2), with less than 1% of variance explained by water depth. An inverse relationship between maximum population density and mean colony height was found, suggesting that self-thinning processes may shape population structure. Moreover, demographically young populations composed of small and dense colonies dominated along rocky vertical walls, whereas mature populations characterised by large and sparsely distributed colonies were found only in horizontal beds not covered by sediment. We hypothesise that, in the long term, shallow protected populations should resemble to present deep populations, with sparsely distributed large colonies. Since the density of red coral colonies can decay as a result of self-thinning mechanisms, we advise that future protection strategies should be based also on a measure of red coral spatial coverage instead of population density.

  14. Habitat constraints and self-thinning shape Mediterranean red coral deep population structure: implications for conservation practice

    PubMed Central

    Cau, Alessandro; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Cannas, Rita; Follesa, Maria Cristina; Angiolillo, Michela; Canese, Simonepietro; Bo, Marzia; Cuccu, Danila; Guizien, Katell

    2016-01-01

    The Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum, is one of the most precious corals worldwide. Below 50 m depth, C. rubrum populations are generally characterised by large and sparse colonies, whereas shallow populations (above 50 m depth) show high densities of small colonies. We show here instead that populations dwelling between 80 and 170 m depth exhibited a continuous range of population density (from 2 to 75 colonies per 0.25 m2), with less than 1% of variance explained by water depth. An inverse relationship between maximum population density and mean colony height was found, suggesting that self-thinning processes may shape population structure. Moreover, demographically young populations composed of small and dense colonies dominated along rocky vertical walls, whereas mature populations characterised by large and sparsely distributed colonies were found only in horizontal beds not covered by sediment. We hypothesise that, in the long term, shallow protected populations should resemble to present deep populations, with sparsely distributed large colonies. Since the density of red coral colonies can decay as a result of self-thinning mechanisms, we advise that future protection strategies should be based also on a measure of red coral spatial coverage instead of population density. PMID:26988757

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

    PubMed

    Hussain, Afreen; De, Kalyan; Thomas, Liju; Nagesh, Rahul; Mote, Sambhaji; Ingole, Baban

    2016-08-31

    Skeletal tissue growth anomalies (STAs) of corals are capable of causing considerable degradation of reef health. This study is the first report of growth anomalies in Turbinaria corals and the first descriptive study of Indian corals. T. mesenterina colonies at 2 sites were affected by small, round to irregularly shaped growth anomalies. Prevalence of STAs was observed to be higher in T. mesenterina colonies with larger diameters. Prevalence of STAs on T. mesenterina was 71% at Site 1 and 40% at Site 2. Affected colonies were seen to be undergoing tissue damage and infiltration by filamentous algae. We describe the gross morphology of growth anomalies which can act as baseline data for growth anomalies from this region, but further investigation is needed to understand the form and etiology of this coral disease. PMID:27596863

  16. Long-term monitoring of reef corals at the Flower Garden Banks (northwest Gulf of Mexico): Reef coral population changes and historical incorporation of barium in Montastrea annularis

    SciTech Connect

    Deslarzes, K.J.P.

    1992-01-01

    Reef coral populations were monitored from 1988 to 1991 at the Flower Garden Banks located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The status of reef coral populations, and natural or man-made factors potentially affecting their well-being were determined. Man-made chronic disturbances are degrading coral reef resources on a global scale. Yet, the Flower Garden coral reefs seem to have been sheltered from the effects of regional stresses generated by population growth and increased industrial activity. Since 1974, reef coral population levels have remained unchanged in the Montastrea-Diploria Zones at the Flower Garden Banks. Live coral cover ranges between 46 and 46.5%. Montastrea annularis and Diploria strigosa comprise 80% of the coral cover on either bank. The remainder of the cover is mostly shared by eight other taxa. Coral taxa appear to be more homogeneously distributed on the West Bank. The relatively greater number of Agaricia spp., Madracis decastis, and P. astreoides colonies on the East Bank may be the source of a decreased evenness. The health of reef corals was assessed using repetitive and non-repetitive photographic methods, and accretionary growth measurements of M. annularis. Reef corals have undergone small scale changes at the Flower Gardens probably reflecting natural disturbance, predation, disease, and inter-specific competition. White mat disease (ridge disease) is shown to generate more tissue loss than any of the three bleaching events that took place at the Flower Gardens (1989, 1990, and 1991). Advance to retreat linear ratios of encrusting growth revealed a net tissue gain on the East Bank and a net tissue loss on the West Bank. Growth rates of M. annularis were highly variable. The annual barium content from 1910 in 1989 in a M. annularis colony from the West Flower Garden did not reveal trends associated with the extensive oil and gas exploration in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, V.; Ward, G.

    2008-01-01

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

  18. Corals as climate recorders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flannery, Jennifer A.; Poore, Richard Z.

    2010-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) Project is analyzing corals from various sites in the Caribbean region, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne National Park, other areas of the Florida Keys, and the Virgin Islands. The objective of this project is to develop records of past environmental change to better our understanding of climate variability. The records are being used to document changes over the last few centuries and to determine how corals and coral reefs have responded to any changes.

  19. Bridging the Reef gaps: first evidence for corals surviving under low pH conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tchernov, D.; Fine, M.

    2007-12-01

    Following two major extinction events, the late Permian and Triassic/Jurassic, there is a long absence of corals from the geological record followed by a recurrence coral fossils. This unusual disappearance and reappearance, referred to commonly as 'reef gaps', was explained as a failure in sampling effort, and/or the movement of these species into geographic 'refugia' that have not been found. Because the phylogeny of recent corals suggests their origin in the pre-Permian-extinction , an alternative explanation for reef gaps hypothesized that corals have a means of alternating between soft bodies and fossilizing forms. This study supports this hypothesis. Thirty coral fragments from 5 coral colonies of the scleractinian Mediterranean corals Oculina patagonica (encrusting) and Madracis pharencis (bulbous) were subjected to pH 7.4-7.6 (in accordance with the pH projected by the IPCC for the year 2300) and 30 fragments to pH 8.0-8.3 (ambient) over a period of 12 months. 100% of the colonies in the experiment and 90% of all polyps survived to the end the experiment. The corals grown in acidified conditions, where skeleton-building conditions were absent, maintained basic life functions as a solitary skeleton-less ecophenotype resembling a sea anemone. On an evolutionary scale, these results provide a possible explanation to coral survival over major extinction events such as the Permian/Triassic and Triassic/Jurassic events. It is important to note that these results only demonstrate that corals can persist as soft bodied ecophoenotypes, but the loss of reef framework has major ramifications to the entire structure and function of coral reef ecosystems, ultimately impacting the services they provide to human society.

  20. The dynamics of architectural complexity on coral reefs under climate change.

    PubMed

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-01-01

    One striking feature of coral reef ecosystems is the complex benthic architecture which supports diverse and abundant fauna, particularly of reef fish. Reef-building corals are in decline worldwide, with a corresponding loss of live coral cover resulting in a loss of architectural complexity. Understanding the dynamics of the reef architecture is therefore important to envision the ability of corals to maintain functional habitats in an era of climate change. Here, we develop a mechanistic model of reef topographical complexity for contemporary Caribbean reefs. The model describes the dynamics of corals and other benthic taxa under climate-driven disturbances (hurricanes and coral bleaching). Corals have a simplified shape with explicit diameter and height, allowing species-specific calculation of their colony surface and volume. Growth and the mechanical (hurricanes) and biological erosion (parrotfish) of carbonate skeletons are important in driving the pace of extension/reduction in the upper reef surface, the net outcome being quantified by a simple surface roughness index (reef rugosity). The model accurately simulated the decadal changes of coral cover observed in Cozumel (Mexico) between 1984 and 2008, and provided a realistic hindcast of coral colony-scale (1-10 m) changing rugosity over the same period. We then projected future changes of Caribbean reef rugosity in response to global warming. Under severe and frequent thermal stress, the model predicted a dramatic loss of rugosity over the next two or three decades. Critically, reefs with managed parrotfish populations were able to delay the general loss of architectural complexity, as the benefits of grazing in maintaining living coral outweighed the bioerosion of dead coral skeletons. Overall, this model provides the first explicit projections of reef rugosity in a warming climate, and highlights the need of combining local (protecting and restoring high grazing) to global (mitigation of greenhouse gas

  1. Molecular and Morphological Species Boundaries in the Gorgonian Octocoral Genus Pterogorgia (Octocorallia: Gorgoniidae)

    PubMed Central

    Wirshing, Herman H.; Baker, Andrew C.

    2015-01-01

    Most gorgonian octocoral species are described using diagnostic characteristics of their sclerites (microscopic skeletal components). Species in the genus Pterogorgia, however, are separated primarily by differences in their calyx and branch morphology. Specimens of a morphologically unusual Pterogorgia collected from Saba Bank in the NE Caribbean Sea were found with calyx morphology similar to P. citrina and branch morphology similar to P. guadalupensis. In order to test morphological species boundaries, and the validity of calyx and branch morphology as systematic characters, a phylogenetic analysis was undertaken utilizing partial gene fragments of three mitochondrial (mtMutS, cytochrome b, and igr4; 726bp total) and two nuclear (ITS2, 166bp; and SRP54 intron, 143bp) loci. The datasets for nuclear and mitochondrial loci contained few phylogenetically informative sites, and tree topologies did not resolve any of the morphological species as monophyletic groups. Instead, the mitochondrial loci and SRP54 each recovered two clades but were slightly incongruent, with a few individuals of P. guadalupensis represented in both clades with SRP54. A concatenated dataset of these loci grouped all P. anceps and P. guadalupensis in a clade, and P. citrina and the Pterogorgia sp. from Saba Bank in a sister clade, but with minimal variation/resolution within each clade. However, in common with other octocoral taxa, the limited genetic variation may not have been able to resolve whether branch variation represents intraspecific variation or separate species. Therefore, these results suggest that there are at least two phylogenetic lineages of Pterogorgia at the species level, and the atypical Pterogorgia sp. may represent an unusual morphotype of P. citrina, possibly endemic to Saba Bank. Branch morphology does not appear to be a reliable morphological character to differentiate Pterogorgia species (e.g., branches “flat” or “3–4 edges” in P. guadalupensis and P

  2. Molecular and Morphological Species Boundaries in the Gorgonian Octocoral Genus Pterogorgia (Octocorallia: Gorgoniidae).

    PubMed

    Wirshing, Herman H; Baker, Andrew C

    2015-01-01

    Most gorgonian octocoral species are described using diagnostic characteristics of their sclerites (microscopic skeletal components). Species in the genus Pterogorgia, however, are separated primarily by differences in their calyx and branch morphology. Specimens of a morphologically unusual Pterogorgia collected from Saba Bank in the NE Caribbean Sea were found with calyx morphology similar to P. citrina and branch morphology similar to P. guadalupensis. In order to test morphological species boundaries, and the validity of calyx and branch morphology as systematic characters, a phylogenetic analysis was undertaken utilizing partial gene fragments of three mitochondrial (mtMutS, cytochrome b, and igr4; 726bp total) and two nuclear (ITS2, 166bp; and SRP54 intron, 143bp) loci. The datasets for nuclear and mitochondrial loci contained few phylogenetically informative sites, and tree topologies did not resolve any of the morphological species as monophyletic groups. Instead, the mitochondrial loci and SRP54 each recovered two clades but were slightly incongruent, with a few individuals of P. guadalupensis represented in both clades with SRP54. A concatenated dataset of these loci grouped all P. anceps and P. guadalupensis in a clade, and P. citrina and the Pterogorgia sp. from Saba Bank in a sister clade, but with minimal variation/resolution within each clade. However, in common with other octocoral taxa, the limited genetic variation may not have been able to resolve whether branch variation represents intraspecific variation or separate species. Therefore, these results suggest that there are at least two phylogenetic lineages of Pterogorgia at the species level, and the atypical Pterogorgia sp. may represent an unusual morphotype of P. citrina, possibly endemic to Saba Bank. Branch morphology does not appear to be a reliable morphological character to differentiate Pterogorgia species (e.g., branches "flat" or "3-4 edges" in P. guadalupensis and P. anceps

  3. Epimicrobiota Associated with the Decay and Recovery of Orbicella Corals Exhibiting Dark Spot Syndrome

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) is one of the most common diseases of boulder corals in the Caribbean. It presents as sunken brown lesions in coral tissue, which can spread quickly over coral colonies. With this study, we tested the hypothesis that similar to other coral diseases, DSS is a dysbiosis characterized by global shifts in the coral microbiome. Because Black Band Disease (BBD) was sometimes found following DSS lesions, we also tested the hypothesis that DSS is a precursor of BBD. To track disease initiation and progression 24 coral colonies were tagged. Of them five Orbicella annularis corals and three O. faveolata corals exhibited DSS lesions at tagging. Microbiota of lesions and apparently healthy tissues from DSS-affected corals over the course of 18 months were collected. Final visual assessment showed that five of eight corals incurred substantial tissue loss while two corals remained stable and one appeared to recover from DSS lesions. Illumina sequencing of the V6 region of bacterial 16S rRNA genes demonstrated no significant differences in bacterial community composition associated with healthy tissue or DSS lesions. The epimicrobiomes of both healthy tissue and DSS lesions contained high relative abundances of Operational Taxonomic Units assigned to Halomonas, an unclassified gammaproteobacterial genus, Moritella, an unclassified Rhodobacteraceae genus, Renibacterium, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter. The relative abundance of bacterial taxa was not significantly different between samples when grouped by tissue type (healthy tissue vs. DSS lesion), coral species, collection month, or the overall outcome of DSS-affected corals (substantial tissue loss vs. stable/recovered). Two of the tagged corals with substantial tissue loss also developed BBD during the 18-month sampling period. The bacterial community of the BBD layer was distinct from both healthy tissue and DSS lesions, with high relative abundances of the presumed BBD pathogen Roseofilum

  4. Epimicrobiota Associated with the Decay and Recovery of Orbicella Corals Exhibiting Dark Spot Syndrome.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) is one of the most common diseases of boulder corals in the Caribbean. It presents as sunken brown lesions in coral tissue, which can spread quickly over coral colonies. With this study, we tested the hypothesis that similar to other coral diseases, DSS is a dysbiosis characterized by global shifts in the coral microbiome. Because Black Band Disease (BBD) was sometimes found following DSS lesions, we also tested the hypothesis that DSS is a precursor of BBD. To track disease initiation and progression 24 coral colonies were tagged. Of them five Orbicella annularis corals and three O. faveolata corals exhibited DSS lesions at tagging. Microbiota of lesions and apparently healthy tissues from DSS-affected corals over the course of 18 months were collected. Final visual assessment showed that five of eight corals incurred substantial tissue loss while two corals remained stable and one appeared to recover from DSS lesions. Illumina sequencing of the V6 region of bacterial 16S rRNA genes demonstrated no significant differences in bacterial community composition associated with healthy tissue or DSS lesions. The epimicrobiomes of both healthy tissue and DSS lesions contained high relative abundances of Operational Taxonomic Units assigned to Halomonas, an unclassified gammaproteobacterial genus, Moritella, an unclassified Rhodobacteraceae genus, Renibacterium, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter. The relative abundance of bacterial taxa was not significantly different between samples when grouped by tissue type (healthy tissue vs. DSS lesion), coral species, collection month, or the overall outcome of DSS-affected corals (substantial tissue loss vs. stable/recovered). Two of the tagged corals with substantial tissue loss also developed BBD during the 18-month sampling period. The bacterial community of the BBD layer was distinct from both healthy tissue and DSS lesions, with high relative abundances of the presumed BBD pathogen Roseofilum

  5. Ecological Conditions Favoring Budding in Colonial Organisms under Environmental Disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Nakamaru, Mayuko; Takada, Takenori; Ohtsuki, Akiko; Suzuki, Sayaki U.; Miura, Kanan; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2014-01-01

    Dispersal is a topic of great interest in ecology. Many organisms adopt one of two distinct dispersal tactics at reproduction: the production of small offspring that can disperse over long distances (such as seeds and spawned eggs), or budding. The latter is observed in some colonial organisms, such as clonal plants, corals and ants, in which (super)organisms split their body into components of relatively large size that disperse to a short distance. Contrary to the common dispersal viewpoint, short-dispersal colonial organisms often flourish even in environments with frequent disturbances. In this paper, we investigate the conditions that favor budding over long-distance dispersal of small offspring, focusing on the life history of the colony growth and the colony division ratio. These conditions are the relatively high mortality of very small colonies, logistic growth, the ability of dispersers to peacefully seek and settle unoccupied spaces, and small spatial scale of environmental disturbance. If these conditions hold, budding is advantageous even when environmental disturbance is frequent. These results suggest that the demography or life history of the colony underlies the behaviors of the colonial organisms. PMID:24621824

  6. Composition and ecology of deep-water coral associations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kühlmann, D. H. H.

    1983-06-01

    Between 1966 and 1978 SCUBA investigations were carried out in French Polynesia, the Red Sea, and the Caribbean, at depths down to 70 m. Although there are fewer coral species in the Caribbean, the abundance of Scleractinia in deep-water associations below 20 m almost equals that in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The assemblages of corals living there are described and defined as deep-water coral associations. They are characterized by large, flattened growth forms. Only 6 to 7 % of the species occur exclusively below 20 m. More than 90 % of the corals recorded in deep waters also live in shallow regions. Depth-related illumination is not responsible for depth differentiations of coral associations, but very likely, a complex of mechanical factors, such as hydrodynamic conditions, substrate conditions, sedimentation etc. However, light intensity determines the general distribution of hermatypic Scleractinia in their bathymetric range as well as the platelike shape of coral colonies characteristic for deep water associations. Depending on mechanical factors, Leptoseris, Montipora, Porites and Pachyseris dominate as characteristic genera in the Central Pacific Ocean, Podabacia, Leptoseris, Pachyseris and Coscinarea in the Red Sea, Agaricia and Leptoseris in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean.

  7. Coral reef crisis in deep and shallow reefs: 30 years of constancy and change in reefs of Curacao and Bonaire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bak, Rolf P. M.; Nieuwland, Gerard; Meesters, Erik H.

    2005-11-01

    Coral reefs are thought to be in worldwide decline but available data are practically limited to reefs shallower than 25 m. Zooxanthellate coral communities in deep reefs (30-40 m) are relatively unstudied. Our question is: what is happening in deep reefs in terms of coral cover and coral mortality? We compare changes in species composition, coral mortality, and coral cover at Caribbean (Curacao and Bonaire) deep (30-40 m) and shallow reefs (10-20 m) using long-term (1973-2002) data from permanent photo quadrats. About 20 zooxanthellate coral species are common in the deep-reef communities, dominated by Agaricia sp., with coral cover up to 60%. In contrast with shallow reefs, there is no decrease in coral cover or number of coral colonies in deep reefs over the last 30 years. In deep reefs, non-agaricid species are decreasing but agaricid domination will be interrupted by natural catastrophic mortality such as deep coral bleaching and storms. Temperature is a vastly fluctuating variable in the deep-reef environment with extremely low temperatures possibly related to deep-reef bleaching.

  8. First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Chelliah, Alvin; Amar, Halimi Bin; Hyde, Julian; Yewdall, Katie; Steinberg, Peter D; Guest, James R

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites) participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia. PMID:25737817

  9. The CORALS Connection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Plankis, Brian; Klein, Carolyn

    2010-01-01

    The Ocean, Reefs, Aquariums, Literacy, and Stewardship (CORALS) research program helps students connect global environmental issues to local concerns and personal choices. During the 18-week program, students strengthen their understanding of coral reef decline through a classroom aquarium activity, communicate with science experts, and create…

  10. Gametogenesis and fecundity of Acropora tenella (Brook 1892) in a mesophotic coral ecosystem in Okinawa, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prasetia, Rian; Sinniger, Frederic; Harii, Saki

    2016-03-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (below 30-40 m depth) host a large diversity of zooxanthellate coral communities and may play an important role in the ecology and conservation of coral reefs. Investigating the reproductive biology of mesophotic corals is important to understand their life history traits. Despite an increase in research on mesophotic corals in the last decade, their reproductive biology is still poorly understood. Here, gametogenesis and fecundity of the Indo-Pacific mesophotic coral , Acropora tenella, were examined in an upper mesophotic reef (40 m depth) in Okinawa, Japan for the first time. Acropora tenella is a hermaphrodite with a single annual gametogenic cycle, and both oogenesis and spermatogenesis occurring for 11-12 and 5-6 months, respectively. Timing of spawning of this species was similar to other shallow Acropora spp. in the region. However, colonies had longer gametogenic cycles and less synchronous gamete maturation compared to shallow acroporids with spawning extended over consecutive months. Both the polyp fecundity (number of eggs per polyp) and gonad index (defined as the number of eggs per square centimeter) of A. tenella were lower than most acroporids. Our findings contribute to understanding of the life history of corals on mesophotic reefs and suggest that the reproductive biology of upper mesophotic corals is similar to that of shallow-water corals.

  11. Characterization of fatty acid composition in healthy and bleached corals from Okinawa, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bachok, Zainudin; Mfilinge, Prosper; Tsuchiya, Makoto

    2006-11-01

    Under bleaching conditions, corals lose their symbiotic zooxanthellae, and thus, the ability to synthesize fatty acids (FAs) from photosynthetically derived carbon. This study investigated the lipid content and FA composition in healthy and bleached corals from the Odo reef flat in Okinawa, southern Japan, following a bleaching event. It was hypothesized that the FA composition and abundance would change as algae are lost or die, and possibly microbial abundance would increase in corals as a consequence of bleaching. The lipid content and FA composition of three healthy coral species ( Pavona frondifera, Acropora pulchra, and Goniastrea aspera) and of partially bleached and completely bleached colonies of P. frondifera were examined. The FA composition did not differ among healthy corals, but differed significantly among healthy, partially bleached, and completely bleached specimens of P. frondifera. Completely bleached corals contained significantly lower lipid and total FA content, as well as lower relative amounts of polyunsaturated FAs and higher relative amounts of saturated FAs, than healthy and partially bleached corals. Furthermore, there was a significantly higher relative concentration of monounsaturated FAs and odd-numbered branched FAs in completely bleached corals, indicating an increase in bacterial colonization in the bleached corals.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater run-off and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here, we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high-salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high-salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulphur oxidation and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition. PMID:26840035

  13. The Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Herbivore Abundance on the Ability of Turf Algae to Overgrow Coral in the Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Vermeij, Mark J. A.; van Moorselaar, Imke; Engelhard, Sarah; Hörnlein, Christine; Vonk, Sophie M.; Visser, Petra M.

    2010-01-01

    Turf algae are multispecies communities of small marine macrophytes that are becoming a dominant component of coral reef communities around the world. To assess the impact of turf algae on corals, we investigated the effects of increased nutrients (eutrophication) on the interaction between the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis and turf algae at their growth boundary. We also assessed whether herbivores are capable of reducing the abundance of turf algae at coral-algae boundaries. We found that turf algae cause visible (overgrowth) and invisible negative effects (reduced fitness) on neighbouring corals. Corals can overgrow neighbouring turf algae very slowly (at a rate of 0.12 mm 3 wk−1) at ambient nutrient concentrations, but turf algae overgrew corals (at a rate of 0.34 mm 3 wk−1) when nutrients were experimentally increased. Exclusion of herbivores had no measurable effect on the rate turf algae overgrew corals. We also used PAM fluorometry (a common approach for measuring of a colony's “fitness”) to detect the effects of turf algae on the photophysiology of neighboring corals. Turf algae always reduced the effective photochemical efficiency of neighbouring corals, regardless of nutrient and/or herbivore conditions. The findings that herbivores are not capable of controlling the abundance of turf algae and that nutrient enrichment gives turf algae an overall competitive advantage over corals together have serious implications for the health of Caribbean coral reef systems. At ambient nutrient levels, traditional conservation measures aimed at reversing coral-to-algae phase shifts by reducing algal abundance (i.e., increasing herbivore populations by establishing Marine Protected Areas or tightening fishing regulations) will not necessarily reduce the negative impact of turf algae on local coral communities. Because turf algae have become the most abundant benthic group on Curaçao (and likely elsewhere in the Caribbean), new conservation strategies

  14. Bacterial Communities of Two Ubiquitous Great Barrier Reef Corals Reveals Both Site- and Species-Specificity of Common Bacterial Associates

    PubMed Central

    Kvennefors, E. Charlotte E.; Sampayo, Eugenia; Ridgway, Tyrone; Barnes, Andrew C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2010-01-01

    Background Coral-associated bacteria are increasingly considered to be important in coral health, and altered bacterial community structures have been linked to both coral disease and bleaching. Despite this, assessments of bacterial communities on corals rarely apply sufficient replication to adequately describe the natural variability. Replicated data such as these are crucial in determining potential roles of bacteria on coral. Methodology/Principal Findings Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) of the V3 region of the 16S ribosomal DNA was used in a highly replicated approach to analyse bacterial communities on both healthy and diseased corals. Although site-specific variations in the bacterial communities of healthy corals were present, host species-specific bacterial associates within a distinct cluster of gamma-proteobacteria could be identified, which are potentially linked to coral health. Corals affected by “White Syndrome” (WS) underwent pronounced changes in their bacterial communities in comparison to healthy colonies. However, the community structure and bacterial ribotypes identified in diseased corals did not support the previously suggested theory of a bacterial pathogen as the causative agent of the syndrome. Conclusions/Significance This is the first study to employ large numbers of replicated samples to assess the bacterial communities of healthy and diseased corals, and the first culture-independent assessment of bacterial communities on WS affected Acroporid corals on the GBR. Results indicate that a minimum of 6 replicate samples are required in order to draw inferences on species, spatial or health-related changes in community composition, as a set of clearly distinct bacterial community profiles exist in healthy corals. Coral bacterial communities may be both site and species specific. Furthermore, a cluster of gamma-proteobacterial ribotypes may represent a group of specific common coral and marine invertebrate associates

  15. Coral calcifying fluid pH dictates response to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Holcomb, M; Venn, A A; Tambutté, E; Tambutté, S; Allemand, D; Trotter, J; McCulloch, M

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification driven by rising levels of CO2 impairs calcification, threatening coral reef growth. Predicting how corals respond to CO2 requires a better understanding of how calcification is controlled. Here we show how spatial variations in the pH of the internal calcifying fluid (pHcf) in coral (Stylophora pistillata) colonies correlates with differential sensitivity of calcification to acidification. Coral apexes had the highest pHcf and experienced the smallest changes in pHcf in response to acidification. Lateral growth was associated with lower pHcf and greater changes with acidification. Calcification showed a pattern similar to pHcf, with lateral growth being more strongly affected by acidification than apical. Regulation of pHcf is therefore spatially variable within a coral and critical to determining the sensitivity of calcification to ocean acidification. PMID:24903088

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2000-01-01

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

  17. Fused embryos and pre-metamorphic conjoined larvae in a broadcast spawning reef coral

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Lei; Lei, Xin-Ming; Liu, Sheng; Huang, Hui

    2015-01-01

    Fusion of embryos or larvae prior to metamorphosis is rarely known to date in colonial marine organisms. Here, we document for the first time that the embryos of the broadcast spawning coral Platygyra daedalea could fuse during blastulation and further develop into conjoined larvae, and the settlement of conjoined larvae immediately resulted in inborn juvenile colonies. Fusion of embryos might be an adaptive strategy to form pre-metamorphic chimeric larvae and larger recruits, thereby promoting early survival. However, future studies are needed to explore whether and to what extent fusion of coral embryos occurs in the field, and fully evaluate its implications. PMID:25901279

  18. Registration of Colony Switchgrass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Colony (Reg. No. __________, PI 658520) is a lowland cytotype of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) developed and released by the USDA-ARS and North Carolina Agricultural Research Service. Colony was developed from three cycles of selection with random cross pollination occurring in cycle 0, index se...

  19. Molecular reproductive characteristics of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    PubMed

    Rougée, Luc R A; Richmond, Robert H; Collier, Abby C

    2015-11-01

    Coral reefs are an indispensible worldwide resource, accounting for billions of dollars in cultural, economic, and ecological services. An understanding of coral reproduction is essential to determining the effects of environmental stressors on coral reef ecosystems and their persistence into the future. Here, we describe the presence of and changes in steroidal hormones along with associated steroidogenic and steroid removal enzymes during the reproductive cycle of the brooding, pan-Pacific, hermaphroditic coral, Pocillopora damicornis. Detectable levels of 17β-estradiol, estrone, progesterone and testosterone were consistently detected over two consecutive lunar reproductive cycles in coral tissue. Intra-colony variation in steroid hormone levels ranged between 1.5- and 2.2-fold and were not statistically different. Activities of the steroidogenic enzymes 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and cytochrome P450 (CYP) 17 dehydrogenase were detectable and did not fluctuate over the reproductive cycle. Aromatase-like activity was detected during the lunar reproductive cycle with no significant fluctuations. Activities of regeneration enzymes did not fluctuate over the lunar cycle; however, activity of the clearance enzyme UDP-glucuronosyl transferases increased significantly (ANOVA, post hoc p<0.01) during the two weeks before and after peak larval release (planulation), suggesting that the activity of this enzyme family may be linked to the reproductive state of the coral. Sulfotransferase enzymes could not be detected. Our findings provide the first data defining normal physiological and lunar/reproductive variability in steroidal enzymes in a coral species with respect to their potential role in coral reproduction. PMID:26231839

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

    PubMed

    Chou, Loke Ming; Toh, Tai Chong; Toh, Kok Ben; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Cabaitan, Patrick; Tun, Karenne; Goh, Eugene; Afiq-Rosli, Lutfi; Taira, Daisuke; Du, Rosa Celia Poquita; Loke, Hai Xin; Khalis, Aizat; Li, Jinghan; Song, Tiancheng

    2016-01-01

    Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera-Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached). The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site) provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change. PMID:27438593

  1. Calcifying coral abundance near low-pH springs: implications for future ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crook, E. D.; Potts, D.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Hernandez, L.; Paytan, A.

    2012-03-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 and its equilibration with surface ocean seawater is lowering both the pH and carbonate saturation state (Ω) of the oceans. Numerous calcifying organisms, including reef-building corals, may be severely impacted by declining aragonite and calcite saturation, but the fate of coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification remains largely unexplored. Naturally low saturation (Ω ~ 0.5) low pH (6.70-7.30) groundwater has been discharging for millennia at localized submarine springs (called "ojos") at Puerto Morelos, México near the Mesoamerican Reef. This ecosystem provides insights into potential long term responses of coral ecosystems to low saturation conditions. In-situ chemical and biological data indicate that both coral species richness and coral colony size decline with increasing proximity to low-saturation, low-pH waters at the ojo centers. Only three scleractinian coral species ( Porites astreoides, Porites divaricata, and Siderastrea radians) occur in undersaturated waters at all ojos examined. Because these three species are rarely major contributors to Caribbean reef framework, these data may indicate that today's more complex frame-building species may be replaced by smaller, possibly patchy, colonies of only a few species along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The growth of these scleractinian coral species at undersaturated conditions illustrates that the response to ocean acidification is likely to vary across species and environments; thus, our data emphasize the need to better understand the mechanisms of calcification to more accurately predict future impacts of ocean acidification.

  2. Effects of ocean acidification on the dissolution rates of reef-coral skeletons

    PubMed Central

    van Woesik, Kelly; van Woesik, Liana; van Woesik, Sandra

    2013-01-01

    Ocean acidification threatens the foundation of tropical coral reefs. This study investigated three aspects of ocean acidification: (i) the rates at which perforate and imperforate coral-colony skeletons passively dissolve when pH is 7.8, which is predicted to occur globally by 2100, (ii) the rates of passive dissolution of corals with respect to coral-colony surface areas, and (iii) the comparative rates of a vertical reef-growth model, incorporating passive dissolution rates, and predicted sea-level rise. By 2100, when the ocean pH is expected to be 7.8, perforate Montipora coral skeletons will lose on average 15 kg CaCO3 m−2 y−1, which is approximately −10.5 mm of vertical reduction of reef framework per year. This rate of passive dissolution is higher than the average rate of reef growth over the last several millennia and suggests that reefs composed of perforate Montipora coral skeletons will have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise under ocean acidification. Reefs composed of primarily imperforate coral skeletons will not likely dissolve as rapidly, but our model shows they will also have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise by 2050. PMID:24282670

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

    PubMed Central

    Toh, Kok Ben; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Cabaitan, Patrick; Tun, Karenne; Goh, Eugene; Afiq-Rosli, Lutfi; Taira, Daisuke; Du, Rosa Celia Poquita; Loke, Hai Xin; Khalis, Aizat; Li, Jinghan; Song, Tiancheng

    2016-01-01

    Coral bleaching events have been predicted to occur more frequently in the coming decades with global warming. The susceptibility of corals to bleaching during thermal stress episodes is dependent on many factors and an understanding of these underlying drivers is crucial for conservation management. In 2013, a mild bleaching episode ensued in response to elevated sea temperature on the sediment-burdened reefs in Singapore. Surveys of seven sites highlighted variable bleaching susceptibility among coral genera–Pachyseris and Podabacia were the most impacted (31% of colonies of both genera bleached). The most susceptible genera such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which were expected to bleach, did not. Susceptibility varied between less than 6% and more than 11% of the corals bleached, at four and three sites respectively. Analysis of four of the most bleached genera revealed that a statistical model that included a combination of the factors (genus, colony size and site) provided a better explanation of the observed bleaching patterns than any single factor alone. This underscored the complexity in predicting the coral susceptibility to future thermal stress events and the importance of monitoring coral bleaching episodes to facilitate more effective management of coral reefs under climate change. PMID:27438593

  4. Effects of ocean acidification on the dissolution rates of reef-coral skeletons.

    PubMed

    van Woesik, Robert; van Woesik, Kelly; van Woesik, Liana; van Woesik, Sandra

    2013-01-01

    Ocean acidification threatens the foundation of tropical coral reefs. This study investigated three aspects of ocean acidification: (i) the rates at which perforate and imperforate coral-colony skeletons passively dissolve when pH is 7.8, which is predicted to occur globally by 2100, (ii) the rates of passive dissolution of corals with respect to coral-colony surface areas, and (iii) the comparative rates of a vertical reef-growth model, incorporating passive dissolution rates, and predicted sea-level rise. By 2100, when the ocean pH is expected to be 7.8, perforate Montipora coral skeletons will lose on average 15 kg CaCO3 m(-2) y(-1), which is approximately -10.5 mm of vertical reduction of reef framework per year. This rate of passive dissolution is higher than the average rate of reef growth over the last several millennia and suggests that reefs composed of perforate Montipora coral skeletons will have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise under ocean acidification. Reefs composed of primarily imperforate coral skeletons will not likely dissolve as rapidly, but our model shows they will also have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise by 2050. PMID:24282670

  5. Contrasting recovery following removal of growth anomalies in the corals Acropora and Montipora.

    PubMed

    Williams, Gareth J

    2013-10-11

    Growth anomalies (GAs) in scleractinian corals drain energy from the host and can result in partial or entire colony mortality. Here I show that growth anomaly removal is an effective treatment for the branching coral Acropora acuminata, with 90% of subjects remaining GA-free 9 mo following the procedure. In contrast, the encrusting coral Montipora efflorescens did not respond positively to treatment, with GAs re-developing in 100% of treated subjects. There was no clear evidence that injuries sustained during GA removal increased susceptibility to GA development in either coral species. Based on these results, I hypothesize that the factors inducing GAs in Acropora acuminata are localized, whereas those in Montipora efflorescens appear more systemic throughout the colony-perhaps the result of a genetically-based factor, or a persistent causative agent such as a virus. GA removal may therefore be effective for targeted rescues of particular coral species and morphologies in reef systems with low overall disease prevalence and is likely to be most effective for scleractinian corals if complimented by management actions that address the ultimate drivers of GAs on coral reefs. PMID:24113251

  6. The effects of ultraviolet radiation on growth and bleaching in three species of Hawaiian coral

    SciTech Connect

    Goodman, G.D. )

    1990-01-09

    Long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation is harmful to many organisms, including hermatypic corals, which obtain much of their nutrition from photosynthetic zooxanthellae. Therefore, increased UV radiation from atmospheric ozone depletion could inhibit growth of such corals. Moreover, coral bleaching, which has been attributed to loss of pigment and/or expulsion of zooxanthellae, may be a specific response to UV light. Does UV-A reduce skeletal growth or influence population density and pigment content of zooxanthellae In addition, do zooxanthellae migrate to shaded areas of the colony to avoid ultraviolet light Using alizarin red stain and suitable filters, I compared the stain and suitable filters, I compared the effects of UV-A (320-400nm) and full-spectrum UV (280-400nm) on the skeletal growth of two Hawaiian corals, Montipora verrucosa, Pocillopora damicornis, in situ. In the perforate corals, M. Verrucosa and Porites compressa, I measured concentration of zooxanthellae and their chlorophyll content to quantify bleaching in response to UV light. Reduction in skeletal growth by the two corals in response to different ranges of UV light appears to be species specific. Bleaching by UV appears to be characterized by an initial loss of pigment followed by the expulsion and migration of the zooxanthellae to shaded areas of the colony. Differences in tolerance and adaptation to decreasing ozone levels and increasing UV light should confer a competitive advantage on various species and morphologies of reef-building corals.

  7. Phage therapy for Florida corals?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2007-01-01

    Coral disease is a major cause of reef decline in the Florida Keys. Bacterium has been defined as the most common pathogen (disease-causing organism). Although much is being done to catalog coral diseases, map their locations, determine the causes of disease, or measure the rates of coral demise, very little research has been directed toward actually preventing or eliminating the diseases affecting coral and coral reef decline.

  8. Intracolonial genetic variation in the scleractinian coral Seriatopora hystrix

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maier, E.; Buckenmaier, A.; Tollrian, R.; Nürnberger, B.

    2012-06-01

    In recent years, increasing numbers of studies revealed intraorganismal genetic variation, primarily in modular organisms like plants or colonial marine invertebrates. Two underlying mechanisms are distinguished: Mosaicism is caused by somatic mutation, whereas chimerism originates from allogeneic fusion. We investigated the occurrence of intracolonial genetic variation at microsatellite loci in five natural populations of the scleractinian coral Seriatopora hystrix on the Great Barrier Reef. This coral is a widely distributed, brooding species that is at present a target of intensive population genetic research on reproduction and dispersal patterns. From each of 155 S. hystrix colonies, either two or three samples were genotyped at five or six loci. Twenty-seven (~17%) genetically heterogeneous colonies were found. Statistical analyses indicated the occurrence of both mosaicism and chimerism. In most cases, intracolonial variation was found only at a single allele. Our analyses suggest that somatic mutations present a major source of genetic heterogeneity within a single colony. Moreover, we observed large, apparently stable chimeric colonies that harbored clearly distinct genotypes and contrast these findings with the patterns typically observed in laboratory-based experiments. We discuss the error that mosaicism and chimerism introduce into population genetic analyses.

  9. Phototropic adjustment of the foliaceous coral Echinopora lamellosa in Palau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwase, Akihiro; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Suzuki, Atsushi; van Woesik, Robert

    2008-05-01

    We tested the hypothesis that foliose plates of Echinopora lamellosa (Esper, 1795) adjust their primary growth direction (or slope from the horizontal) when irradiance (light) is limiting. This hypothesis was tested at a coral-reef locality that is shaded daily by steep adjacent hills, restricting direct light to only a few hours each day (Iwayama Bay, Palau). The angle at which colonies received maximum light was measured using acetate film, and was compared with modeled estimates (using a simple global-light model). We show strong relationships between light and primary-colony gradients; with the foliose plates acting as parabolic antennae, predictably adjusting their primary gradients to optimize light capture.

  10. Occupation Dynamics and Impacts of Damselfish Territoriality on Recovering Populations of the Threatened Staghorn Coral, Acropora cervicornis

    PubMed Central

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A.; Lirman, Diego

    2015-01-01

    Large-scale coral reef restoration is needed to help recover structure and function of degraded coral reef ecosystems and mitigate continued coral declines. In situ coral propagation and reef restoration efforts have scaled up significantly in past decades, particularly for the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, but little is known about the role that native competitors and predators, such as farming damselfishes, have on the success of restoration. Steep declines in A. cervicornis abundance may have concentrated the negative impacts of damselfish algal farming on a much lower number of coral prey/colonies, thus creating a significant threat to the persistence and recovery of depleted coral populations. This is the first study to document the prevalence of resident damselfishes and negative effects of algal lawns on A. cervicornis along the Florida Reef Tract (FRT). Impacts of damselfish lawns on A. cervicornis colonies were more prevalent (21.6% of colonies) than those of other sources of mortality (i.e., disease (1.6%), algal/sponge overgrowth (5.6%), and corallivore predation (7.9%)), and damselfish activities caused the highest levels of tissue mortality (34.6%) among all coral stressors evaluated. The probability of damselfish occupation increased as coral colony size and complexity increased and coral growth rates were significantly lower in colonies with damselfish lawns (15.4 vs. 29.6 cm per year). Reduced growth and mortality of existing A. cervicornis populations may have a significant effect on population dynamics by potentially reducing important genetic diversity and the reproductive potential of depleted populations. On a positive note, however, the presence of resident damselfishes decreased predation by other corallivores, such as Coralliophila and Hermodice, and may offset some negative impacts caused by algal farming. While most negative impacts of damselfishes identified in this study affected large individual colonies and

  11. Occupation Dynamics and Impacts of Damselfish Territoriality on Recovering Populations of the Threatened Staghorn Coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    PubMed

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A; Lirman, Diego

    2015-01-01

    Large-scale coral reef restoration is needed to help recover structure and function of degraded coral reef ecosystems and mitigate continued coral declines. In situ coral propagation and reef restoration efforts have scaled up significantly in past decades, particularly for the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, but little is known about the role that native competitors and predators, such as farming damselfishes, have on the success of restoration. Steep declines in A. cervicornis abundance may have concentrated the negative impacts of damselfish algal farming on a much lower number of coral prey/colonies, thus creating a significant threat to the persistence and recovery of depleted coral populations. This is the first study to document the prevalence of resident damselfishes and negative effects of algal lawns on A. cervicornis along the Florida Reef Tract (FRT). Impacts of damselfish lawns on A. cervicornis colonies were more prevalent (21.6% of colonies) than those of other sources of mortality (i.e., disease (1.6%), algal/sponge overgrowth (5.6%), and corallivore predation (7.9%)), and damselfish activities caused the highest levels of tissue mortality (34.6%) among all coral stressors evaluated. The probability of damselfish occupation increased as coral colony size and complexity increased and coral growth rates were significantly lower in colonies with damselfish lawns (15.4 vs. 29.6 cm per year). Reduced growth and mortality of existing A. cervicornis populations may have a significant effect on population dynamics by potentially reducing important genetic diversity and the reproductive potential of depleted populations. On a positive note, however, the presence of resident damselfishes decreased predation by other corallivores, such as Coralliophila and Hermodice, and may offset some negative impacts caused by algal farming. While most negative impacts of damselfishes identified in this study affected large individual colonies and

  12. Using the Acropora digitifera genome to understand coral responses to environmental change.

    PubMed

    Shinzato, Chuya; Shoguchi, Eiichi; Kawashima, Takeshi; Hamada, Mayuko; Hisata, Kanako; Tanaka, Makiko; Fujie, Manabu; Fujiwara, Mayuki; Koyanagi, Ryo; Ikuta, Tetsuro; Fujiyama, Asao; Miller, David J; Satoh, Nori

    2011-08-18

    Despite the enormous ecological and economic importance of coral reefs, the keystone organisms in their establishment, the scleractinian corals, increasingly face a range of anthropogenic challenges including ocean acidification and seawater temperature rise. To understand better the molecular mechanisms underlying coral biology, here we decoded the approximately 420-megabase genome of Acropora digitifera using next-generation sequencing technology. This genome contains approximately 23,700 gene models. Molecular phylogenetics indicate that the coral and the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis diverged approximately 500 million years ago, considerably earlier than the time over which modern corals are represented in the fossil record (∼240 million years ago). Despite the long evolutionary history of the endosymbiosis, no evidence was found for horizontal transfer of genes from symbiont to host. However, unlike several other corals, Acropora seems to lack an enzyme essential for cysteine biosynthesis, implying dependency of this coral on its symbionts for this amino acid. Corals inhabit environments where they are frequently exposed to high levels of solar radiation, and analysis of the Acropora genome data indicates that the coral host can independently carry out de novo synthesis of mycosporine-like amino acids, which are potent ultraviolet-protective compounds. In addition, the coral innate immunity repertoire is notably more complex than that of the sea anemone, indicating that some of these genes may have roles in symbiosis or coloniality. A number of genes with putative roles in calcification were identified, and several of these are restricted to corals. The coral genome provides a platform for understanding the molecular basis of symbiosis and responses to environmental changes. PMID:21785439

  13. Variability in the Effects of Macroalgae on the Survival and Growth of Corals: The Consumer Connection

    PubMed Central

    Bulleri, Fabio; Couraudon-Réale, Marine; Lison de Loma, Thierry; Claudet, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    Shifts in dominance from corals to macroalgae are occurring in many coral reefs worldwide. Macroalgal canopies, while competing for space with coral colonies, may also form a barrier to herbivorous and corallivorous fish, offering protection to corals. Thus, corals could either suffer from enhanced competition with canopy-forming and understorey macroalgae or benefit from predator exclusion. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the effects of the brown, canopy-forming macroalga, Turbinaria ornata, on the survival and growth of corals can vary according to its cover, to the presence or absence of herbivorous and corallivorous fish and to the morphological types of corals. Over a period of 66 days, two coral species differing in growth form, Acropora pulchra and Porites rus, were exposed to three different covers of T. ornata (absent versus medium versus high), in the presence or absence of fish. Irrespective of the cover of T. ornata, fish exclusion reduced mortality rates of A. pulchra. Following fish exclusion, a high cover of T. ornata depressed the growth of this branched coral, whilst it had no effect when fish species were present. P. rus suffered no damage from corallivorous fish, but its growth was decreased by high covers of T. ornata, irrespective of the presence or absence of fish. These results show that negative effects of T. ornata on some coral species are subordinate to those of fish predation and are, therefore, likely to manifest only on reefs severely depleted of predators. In contrast, space dominance by T. ornata may decrease the growth of other coral species regardless of predation intensity. In general, this study shows that susceptibility to predation may determine the severity of the effects of canopy-forming macroalgae on coral growth. PMID:24260290

  14. Digital Reef Rugosity Estimates Coral Reef Habitat Complexity

    PubMed Central

    Dustan, Phillip; Doherty, Orla; Pardede, Shinta

    2013-01-01

    Ecological habitats with greater structural complexity contain more species due to increased niche diversity. This is especially apparent on coral reefs where individual coral colonies aggregate to give a reef its morphology, species zonation, and three dimensionality. Structural complexity is classically measured with a reef rugosity index, which is the ratio of a straight line transect to the distance a flexible chain of equal length travels when draped over the reef substrate; yet, other techniques from visual categories to remote sensing have been used to characterize structural complexity at scales from microhabitats to reefscapes. Reef-scale methods either lack quantitative precision or are too time consuming to be routinely practical, while remotely sensed indices are mismatched to the finer scale morphology of coral colonies and reef habitats. In this communication a new digital technique, Digital Reef Rugosity (DRR) is described which utilizes a self-contained water level gauge enabling a diver to quickly and accurately characterize rugosity with non-invasive millimeter scale measurements of coral reef surface height at decimeter intervals along meter scale transects. The precise measurements require very little post-processing and are easily imported into a spreadsheet for statistical analyses and modeling. To assess its applicability we investigated the relationship between DRR and fish community structure at four coral reef sites on Menjangan Island off the northwest corner of Bali, Indonesia and one on mainland Bali to the west of Menjangan Island; our findings show a positive relationship between DRR and fish diversity. Since structural complexity drives key ecological processes on coral reefs, we consider that DRR may become a useful quantitative community-level descriptor to characterize reef complexity. PMID:23437380

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-05-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayor, P.A.; Rogers, C.S.; Hillis-Starr, Z.-M.

    2006-01-01

    In the 1970s and 1980s elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, declined dramatically throughout the Caribbean primarily due to white-band disease (WBD). In 2005, elkhorn coral was proposed for listing as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. WBD was first documented at Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM). Together with hurricanes WBD reduced live elkhorn coral coverage by probably over 90%. In the past decade some recovery has been observed at BIRNM. This study assessed the distribution and abundance of elkhorn coral and estimated the prevalence of WBD at the monument. Within an area of 795 ha, we estimated 97,232-134,371 (95% confidence limits) elkhorn coral colonies with any dimension of connected live tissue greater than one meter, about 3% of which were infected by WBD. Despite some recovery, the elkhorn coral density remains low and WBD may continue to present a threat to the elkhorn coral population. ?? Springer-Verlag 2006.

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Ecosystems worldwide are suffering the consequences of anthropogenic impact. The diverse ecosystem of coral reefs, for example, are globally threatened by increases in sea surface temperatures due to global warming. Studies to date have focused on determining genetic diversity, the sequence variability of genes in a species, as a proxy to estimate and predict the potential adaptive response of coral populations to environmental changes linked to climate changes. However, the examination of natural gene expression variation has received less attention. This variation has been implicated as an important factor in evolutionary processes, upon which natural selection can act. Results We acclimatized coral nubbins from six colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora to a common garden in Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, GBR) for a period of four weeks to remove any site-specific environmental effects on the physiology of the coral nubbins. By using a cDNA microarray platform, we detected a high level of gene expression variation, with 17% (488) of the unigenes differentially expressed across coral nubbins of the six colonies (jsFDR-corrected, p < 0.01). Among the main categories of biological processes found differentially expressed were transport, translation, response to stimulus, oxidation-reduction processes, and apoptosis. We found that the transcriptional profiles did not correspond to the genotype of the colony characterized using either an intron of the carbonic anhydrase gene or microsatellite loci markers. Conclusion Our results provide evidence of the high inter-colony variation in A. millepora at the transcriptomic level grown under a common garden and without a correspondence with genotypic identity. This finding brings to our attention the importance of taking into account natural variation between reef corals when assessing experimental gene expression differences. The high transcriptional variation detected in this study is

  18. Environmental impacts of dredging and other sediment disturbances on corals: a review.

    PubMed

    Erftemeijer, Paul L A; Riegl, Bernhard; Hoeksema, Bert W; Todd, Peter A

    2012-09-01

    , survival and settlement of coral larvae. Maximum sedimentation rates that can be tolerated by different corals range from <10 mg cm(-2) d(-1) to >400 mg cm(-2) d(-1). The durations that corals can survive high sedimentation rates range from <24 h for sensitive species to a few weeks (>4 weeks of high sedimentation or >14 days complete burial) for very tolerant species. Hypotheses to explain substantial differences in sensitivity between different coral species include the growth form of coral colonies and the size of the coral polyp or calyx. The validity of these hypotheses was tested on the basis of 77 published studies on the effects of turbidity and sedimentation on 89 coral species. The results of this analysis reveal a significant relationship of coral sensitivity to turbidity and sedimentation with growth form, but not with calyx size. Some of the variation in sensitivities reported in the literature may have been caused by differences in the type and particle size of sediments applied in experiments. The ability of many corals (in varying degrees) to actively reject sediment through polyp inflation, mucus production, ciliary and tentacular action (at considerable energetic cost), as well as intraspecific morphological variation and the mobility of free-living mushroom corals, further contribute to the observed differences. Given the wide range of sensitivity levels among coral species and in baseline water quality conditions among reefs, meaningful criteria to limit the extent and turbidity of dredging plumes and their effects on corals will always require site-specific evaluations, taking into account the species assemblage present at the site and the natural variability of local background turbidity and sedimentation. PMID:22682583

  19. Ten years after the crime: Lasting effects of damage from a cruise ship anchor on a coral reef in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, C.S.; Garrison, V.H.

    2001-01-01

    In October 1988, a cruise ship dropped its anchor on a coral reef in Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, creating a distinct scar roughly 128 m long and 3 m wide from a depth of 22 m to a depth of 6 m. The anchor pulverized coral colonies and smashed part of the reef framework. In April 1991, nine permanent quadrats (1 m2) were established inside the scar over a depth range of 9 m to 12.5 m. At that time, average coral cover inside the scar was less than 1%. These quadrats were surveyed again in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998. Recruits of 19 coral species have been observed, with Agaricia agaricites and Porites spp. the most abundant. Quadrats surveyed outside the scar in June 1994 over the same depth range had a higher percent coral cover (mean = 7.4%, SD = 4.5) and greater average size (maximum length) of coral colonies than in quadrats inside the damaged area. Although coral recruits settle into the scar in high densities, live coral cover has not increased significantly in the last 10 yrs, reflecting poor survival and growth of newly settled corals. The relatively planar aspect of the scar may increase the vulnerability of the recruits to abrasion and mortality from shifting sediments. Ten years after the anchor damage occurred, live coral cover in the still-visible scar (mean = 2.6%, SD = 2.7) remains well below the cover found in the adjacent, undamaged reef.

  20. Fragmentation in Montipora ramosa: the genet and ramet concept applied to a reef coral

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heyward, A. J.; Collins, J. D.

    1985-04-01

    The fates of Montipora ramosa fragments have been followed and related to physical factors on the reef. The degree of genetic homogeneity between colonies of M. ramosa was assessed by reciprocal grafting techniques, and the cross reef cline interpreted in terms of the degree of fragmentation. Two botanical terms, genet and ramet, referring to individuals derived from sexual (planula settlement) and asexual (fragmentation of colonies) processes respectively have been introduced to the coral literature.

  1. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease across corals and oceans indicates a conserved and distinct disease microbiome.

    PubMed

    Roder, Cornelia; Arif, Chatchanit; Daniels, Camille; Weil, Ernesto; Voolstra, Christian R

    2014-02-01

    Coral diseases are characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue, but causes and consequences of these changes are vaguely understood due to the complexity and dynamics of coral-associated bacteria. We used 16S rRNA gene microarrays to assay differences in bacterial assemblages of healthy and diseased colonies displaying White Plague Disease (WPD) signs from two closely related Caribbean coral species, Orbicella faveolata and Orbicella franksi. Analysis of differentially abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed strong differences between healthy and diseased specimens, but not between coral species. A subsequent comparison to data from two Indo-Pacific coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) revealed distinct microbial community patterns associated with ocean basin, coral species and health state. Coral species were clearly separated by site, but also, the relatedness of the underlying bacterial community structures resembled the phylogenetic relationship of the coral hosts. In diseased samples, bacterial richness increased and putatively opportunistic bacteria were consistently more abundant highlighting the role of opportunistic conditions in structuring microbial community patterns during disease. Our comparative analysis shows that it is possible to derive conserved bacterial footprints of diseased coral holobionts that might help in identifying key bacterial species related to the underlying etiopathology. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that similar-appearing disease phenotypes produce microbial community patterns that are consistent over coral species and oceans, irrespective of the putative underlying pathogen. Consequently, profiling coral diseases by microbial community structure over multiple coral species might allow the development of a comparative disease framework that can inform on cause and relatedness of coral diseases. PMID:24350609

  2. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease across corals and oceans indicates a conserved and distinct disease microbiome

    PubMed Central

    Roder, Cornelia; Arif, Chatchanit; Daniels, Camille; Weil, Ernesto; Voolstra, Christian R

    2014-01-01

    Coral diseases are characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue, but causes and consequences of these changes are vaguely understood due to the complexity and dynamics of coral-associated bacteria. We used 16S rRNA gene microarrays to assay differences in bacterial assemblages of healthy and diseased colonies displaying White Plague Disease (WPD) signs from two closely related Caribbean coral species, Orbicella faveolata and Orbicella franksi. Analysis of differentially abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed strong differences between healthy and diseased specimens, but not between coral species. A subsequent comparison to data from two Indo-Pacific coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) revealed distinct microbial community patterns associated with ocean basin, coral species and health state. Coral species were clearly separated by site, but also, the relatedness of the underlying bacterial community structures resembled the phylogenetic relationship of the coral hosts. In diseased samples, bacterial richness increased and putatively opportunistic bacteria were consistently more abundant highlighting the role of opportunistic conditions in structuring microbial community patterns during disease. Our comparative analysis shows that it is possible to derive conserved bacterial footprints of diseased coral holobionts that might help in identifying key bacterial species related to the underlying etiopathology. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that similar-appearing disease phenotypes produce microbial community patterns that are consistent over coral species and oceans, irrespective of the putative underlying pathogen. Consequently, profiling coral diseases by microbial community structure over multiple coral species might allow the development of a comparative disease framework that can inform on cause and relatedness of coral diseases. PMID:24350609

  3. Massive bleaching of coral reefs induced by the 2010 ENSO, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.

    PubMed

    del Mónaco, Carlos; Haiek, Gerard; Narciso, Samuel; Galindo, Miguel

    2012-06-01

    El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has generated global coral massive bleaching. The aim of this work was to evaluate the massive bleaching of coral reefs in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela derived from ENSO 2010. We evaluated the bleaching of reefs at five localities both at three and five meter depth. The coral cover and densities of colonies were estimated. We recorded living coral cover, number and diameter of bleached and non-bleached colonies of each coral species. The colonies were classified according to the proportion of bleached area. Satellite images (Modis Scar) were analyzed for chlorophyll-a concentration and temperature in August, September, October and November from 2008-2010. Precipitation, wind speed and air temperature information was evaluated in meteorological data for 2009 and 2010. A total of 58.3% of colonies, belonging to 11 hexacoral species, were affected and the greatest responses were observed in Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea annularis and Montastraeafaveolata. The most affected localities were closer to the mainland and had a bleached proportion up to 62.73+/-36.55%, with the highest proportion of affected colonies, whereas the farthest locality showed 20.25+/-14.00% bleached and the smallest proportion. The salinity in situ varied between 30 and 33ppm and high levels of turbidity were observed. According to the satellite images, in 2010 the surface water temperature reached 31 degree C in August, September and October, and resulted higher than those registered in 2008 and 2009. Regionally, chlorophyll values were higher in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. The meteorological data indicated that precipitation in November 2010 was three times higher than in November 2009. Massive coral bleaching occurred due to a three month period of high temperatures followed by one month of intense ENSO-associated precipitation. However, this latter factor was likely the trigger because of the bleaching gradient observed. PMID:23894926

  4. The Role of Coral-Associated Bacterial Communities in Australian Subtropical White Syndrome of Turbinaria mesenterina

    PubMed Central

    Godwin, Scott; Bent, Elizabeth; Borneman, James; Pereg, Lily

    2012-01-01

    Australian Subtropical White Syndrome (ASWS) is an infectious, temperature dependent disease of the subtropical coral Turbinaria mesenterina involving a hitherto unknown transmissible causative agent. This report describes significant changes in the coral associated bacterial community as the disease progresses from the apparently healthy tissue of ASWS affected coral colonies, to areas of the colony affected by ASWS lesions, to the dead coral skeleton exposed by ASWS. In an effort to better understand the potential roles of bacteria in the formation of disease lesions, the effect of antibacterials on the rate of lesion progression was tested, and both culture based and culture independent techniques were used to investigate the bacterial communities associated with colonies of T. mesenterina. Culture-independent analysis was performed using the Oligonucleotide Fingerprinting of Ribosomal Genes (OFRG) technique, which allowed a library of 8094 cloned bacterial 16S ribosomal genes to be analysed. Interestingly, the bacterial communities associated with both healthy and disease affected corals were very diverse and ASWS associated communities were not characterized by a single dominant organism. Treatment with antibacterials had a significant effect on the rate of progress of disease lesions (p = 0.006), suggesting that bacteria may play direct roles as the causative agents of ASWS. A number of potential aetiological agents of ASWS were identified in both the culture-based and culture-independent studies. In the culture-independent study an Alphaproteobacterium closely related to Roseovarius crassostreae, the apparent aetiological agent of juvenile oyster disease, was found to be significantly associated with disease lesions. In the culture-based study Vibrio harveyi was consistently associated with ASWS affected coral colonies and was not isolated from any healthy colonies. The differing results of the culture based and culture-independent studies highlight the

  5. Coral Bleaching: Coral 'refugia' amid heating seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caldeira, Ken

    2013-05-01

    The Earth is getting hotter as carbon dioxide, predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels, continues to accumulate in the atmosphere. It is widely recognized that increasing temperatures pose a threat to coral reefs, but just how large a risk are these reefs facing?

  6. Disease of coral and coral reef fishes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Panek, Frank

    2008-01-01

    The Department of the Interior protects sensitive habitats amounting to about 3,600,000 acres of coral reefs and other submerged lands. These reefs are important ecosystems in 13 National Wildlife Refuges, 10 National Parks and in certain territorial waters such as the Wake Atoll.

  7. Coral Mass Mortality Associated to the Summer 2012 Seawater Temperature Anomalies in the Levantine Sea (Cyprus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jimenez, Carlos; Petrou, Antonis; Evrivadou, Marina; Nikolaidis, Andreas; Hadjioanou, Louis; Lange, Manfred

    2013-04-01

    The island of Cyprus, located in the high-oligotrophic region of the eastern Mediterranean, provides an appealing ground for the study of coastal ecosystems under limiting and contrasting environmental conditions. If proper management strategies are to be enforced, the changes on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems in response to natural and anthropogenic disturbances need to be considered. In this paper, we describe the 2012 coral mortality event along the coast of Cyprus, including selected sites where land-based human activities are likely to have a direct impact on coral habitats. The 2012 event seems to have been induced by prolonged seawater temperature increases during a period of several weeks in summer (in August and September), representing the highest warming event of the last 30 years in Cyprus. Using image-analysis software, Cladocora caespitosa colonies were evaluated by measuring and comparing the area-percentage of healthy tissue, affected tissue (bleached and freshly necrotic) and bare skeleton (older mortality events). The photographic record was acquired during and one month after the warming event through systematic diving transects. Additionally, a public call for collaboration was issued and recreational divers contributed with photographs of corals with different levels of affectation (from none to severe). At the nutrient-affected sites, macroalgae and other filter feeder organisms compete with corals for space, resulting in higher partial-tissue mortality. Despite this fact, coral colonies are more abundant in those sites, which might be explained by the anthropogenic change of naturally limiting conditions (oligotrophy) of Cypriot waters and the physiology of the particular coral species (auto- vs. heterotrophy). Our results suggest that corals under artificially induced conditions (more commonly found elsewhere in the Mediterranean) respond to environmental disturbances impaired by the macroalgae-dominated community

  8. Ochracenoids A and B, Guaiazulene-Based Analogues from Gorgonian Anthogorgia ochracea Collected from the South China Sea

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Juan-Juan; Shao, Chang-Lun; Chen, Min; Gan, Li-She; Fang, Yu-Chun; Wang, Xu-Hui; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-01-01

    Two new guaiazulene-based analogues, ochracenoids A (1) and B (2), along with four known analogues (3–6), were isolated from the gorgonian Anthogorgia ochracea collected from the South China Sea. The planar structures of the new compounds were elucidated by comprehensive spectroscopic data. The absolute configuration of 1 was determined as 3R by the comparison of TDDFT calculated electronic circular dichroism with its experimental spectrum. Compound 1 is a rare guaiazulene-based analogue possessing a unique C16 skeleton. The possible generation process of 1 through an intermolecular one-carbon-transfer reaction was also discussed. Compound 2 was previously described as a presumed intermediate involved in the biogenesis of anthogorgienes A and I. Compound 3 exhibited antiproliferative effects on the embryo development of zebrafish Danio rerio. PMID:24637960

  9. Bioactive 7-Oxabicyclic[6.3.0]lactam and 12-Membered Macrolides from a Gorgonian-Derived Cladosporium sp. Fungus

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Fei; Yang, Qin; Shao, Chang-Lun; Kong, Chui-Jian; Zheng, Juan-Juan; Liu, Yun-Feng; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-01-01

    One new bicyclic lactam, cladosporilactam A (1), and six known 12-membered macrolides (2–7) were isolated from a gorgonian-derived Cladosporium sp. fungus collected from the South China Sea. Their complete structural assignments were elucidated by comprehensive spectroscopic investigation. Quantum chemistry calculations were used in support of the structural determination of 1. The absolute configuration of 1 was determined by calculation of its optical rotation. Cladosporilactam A (1) was the first example of 7-oxabicyclic[6.3.0]lactam obtained from a natural source. Compound 1 exhibited promising cytotoxic activity against cervical cancer HeLa cell line with an IC50 value of 0.76 μM. PMID:26198234

  10. Bioactive 7-Oxabicyclic[6.3.0]lactam and 12-Membered Macrolides from a Gorgonian-Derived Cladosporium sp. Fungus.

    PubMed

    Cao, Fei; Yang, Qin; Shao, Chang-Lun; Kong, Chui-Jian; Zheng, Juan-Juan; Liu, Yun-Feng; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-07-01

    One new bicyclic lactam, cladosporilactam A (1), and six known 12-membered macrolides (2-7) were isolated from a gorgonian-derived Cladosporium sp. fungus collected from the South China Sea. Their complete structural assignments were elucidated by comprehensive spectroscopic investigation. Quantum chemistry calculations were used in support of the structural determination of 1. The absolute configuration of 1 was determined by calculation of its optical rotation. Cladosporilactam A (1) was the first example of 7-oxabicyclic[6.3.0]lactam obtained from a natural source. Compound 1 exhibited promising cytotoxic activity against cervical cancer HeLa cell line with an IC50 value of 0.76 μM. PMID:26198234

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-09-01

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

  12. The Colonial Adult Educator

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Long, Huey B.

    1975-01-01

    The adult evening schools of colonial America served a mixed clientele and provided instruction in a variety of subjects. Although most historians have described evening schoolmasters as incompetent frauds, research indicates that such descriptions are generally unjust and unfounded. (NHM)

  13. Robotic space colonies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schenker, P.; Easter, R.; Rodriguez, G.

    2001-01-01

    This paper reviews recent advances in these technologies, with a particular focus on experimental state-of-the-art robot work crew system demonstrations at JPL, that are being conducted now to begin to realize the futuristic robotic colony vision.

  14. New insight into Biomineralisation Mechanisms of Colonial Cold-Water Scleractinians based on Species Interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oppelt, Alexandra; Rocha, Carlos

    2016-04-01

    The scleractinian cold-water coral species Lophelia pertusa has been subject of many biomineralisation reconstruction attempts in order to decipher environmental signals potentially recorded within its skeletal structures. Even though understanding the mechanisms of carbonate precipitation is a prerequisite to interpret variations in geochemical signals along coral growth axis and evaluate the effects of potential kinetic fractionation, results of research into this area are still largely inconclusive. A close look at similar calcification patterns in microstructure and in the geochemistry of Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata coral branches along the contact with polychaete tubes provides in our view additional information that may be relevant to understanding the biomineralisation mechanisms of colonial corals. Our analysis suggests a common precipitation mechanism and its origin is most likely found in the aspect of the extracytoplasmic calcifying medium. Based on prior research and own results we suggest mucus as part of, or even the main medium controlling calcification mechanics

  15. Hurricanes benefit bleached corals.

    PubMed

    Manzello, Derek P; Brandt, Marilyn; Smith, Tyler B; Lirman, Diego; Hendee, James C; Nemeth, Richard S

    2007-07-17

    Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate climate change impacts. We provide evidence that hurricane-induced cooling was responsible for the documented differences in the extent and recovery time of coral bleaching between the Florida Reef Tract and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the Caribbean-wide 2005 bleaching event. These results are the only known scenario where the effects of a hurricane can benefit a stressed marine community. PMID:17606914

  16. Warm waters, bleached corals

    SciTech Connect

    Roberts, L.

    1990-10-12

    Two researchers, Tom Goreau of the Discovery Laboratory in Jamaica and Raymond Hayes of Howard University, claim that they have evidence that nearly clinches the temperature connection to the bleached corals in the Caribbean and that the coral bleaching is an indication of Greenhouse warming. The incidents of scattered bleaching of corals, which have been reported for decades, are increasing in both intensity and frequency. The researchers based their theory on increased temperature of the seas measured by satellites. However, some other scientists feel that the satellites measure the temperature of only the top few millimeters of the water and that since corals lie on reefs perhaps 60 to 100 feet below the ocean surface, the elevated temperatures are not significant.

  17. Hurricanes benefit bleached corals

    PubMed Central

    Manzello, Derek P.; Brandt, Marilyn; Smith, Tyler B.; Lirman, Diego; Hendee, James C.; Nemeth, Richard S.

    2007-01-01

    Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate climate change impacts. We provide evidence that hurricane-induced cooling was responsible for the documented differences in the extent and recovery time of coral bleaching between the Florida Reef Tract and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the Caribbean-wide 2005 bleaching event. These results are the only known scenario where the effects of a hurricane can benefit a stressed marine community. PMID:17606914

  18. Microbiome structure of the fungid coral Ctenactis echinata aligns with environmental differences.

    PubMed

    Roder, Cornelia; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Kruse, Maren; Voolstra, Christian R

    2015-07-01

    The significance of bacteria for eukaryotic functioning is increasingly recognized. Coral reef ecosystems critically rely on the relationship between coral hosts and their intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates, but the role of the associated bacteria remains largely theoretical. Here, we set out to relate coral-associated bacterial communities of the fungid host species Ctenactis echinata to environmental settings (geographic location, substrate cover, summer/winter, nutrient and suspended matter concentrations) and coral host abundance. We show that bacterial diversity of C. echinata aligns with ecological differences between sites and that coral colonies sampled at the species' preferred habitats are primarily structured by one bacterial taxon (genus Endozoicomonas) representing more than 60% of all bacteria. In contrast, host microbiomes from lower populated coral habitats are less structured and more diverse. Our study demonstrates that the content and structure of the coral microbiome aligns with environmental differences and denotes habitat adequacy. Availability of a range of coral host habitats might be important for the conservation of distinct microbiome structures and diversity. PMID:26018191

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  20. Molecular assessment of the effect of light and heterotrophy in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata.

    PubMed

    Levy, Oren; Karako-Lampert, Sarit; Waldman Ben-Asher, Hiba; Zoccola, Didier; Pagès, Gilles; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-04-27

    Corals acquire nutrients via the transfer of photosynthates by their endosymbionts (autotrophy), or via zooplankton predation by the animal (heterotrophy). During stress events, corals lose their endosymbionts, and undergo starvation, unless they increase their heterotrophic capacities. Molecular mechanisms by which heterotrophy sustains metabolism in stressed corals remain elusive. Here for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, we identified specific genes expressed in heterotrophically fed and unfed colonies of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata, maintained under normal and light-stress conditions. Physiological parameters and gene expression profiling demonstrated that fed corals better resisted stress than unfed ones by exhibiting less oxidative damage and protein degradation. Processes affected in light-stressed unfed corals (HLU), were related to energy and metabolite supply, carbohydrate biosynthesis, ion and nutrient transport, oxidative stress, Ca(2+) homeostasis, metabolism and calcification (carbonic anhydrases, calcium-transporting ATPase, bone morphogenetic proteins). Two genes (cp2u1 and cp1a2), which belong to the cytochrome P450 superfamily, were also upregulated 249 and 10 times, respectively, in HLU corals. In contrast, few of these processes were affected in light-stressed fed corals (HLF) because feeding supplied antioxidants and energetic molecules, which help repair oxidative damage. Altogether, these results show that heterotrophy helps prevent the cascade of metabolic problems downstream of oxidative stress. PMID:27122555

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  2. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gori, A.; Orejas, C.; Madurell, T.; Bramanti, L.; Martins, M.; Quintanilla, E.; Marti-Puig, P.; Lo Iacono, C.; Puig, P.; Requena, S.; Greenacre, M.; Gili, J.

    2012-12-01

    Submarine canyons are known as one of the seafloor morphological features where living cold-water coral (CWC) communities develop in the Mediterranean Sea. We investigated the CWC community of the two westernmost submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions canyon system: the Cap de Creus Canyon (CCC) and Lacaze Duthiers Canyon (LDC). Coral associations have been studied through video material recorded by means of a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle. Video transects have been conducted and analyzed in order to obtain information on (1) coral bathymetric distribution and density patterns, (2) size structure of coral populations, and (3) coral colony orientation with respect to the substrate. Madrepora oculata was the most abundant CWC in both canyons, while Lophelia pertusa and Dendrophyllia cornigera mostly occurred as isolated colonies or in small patches. An important exception was detected in a vertical cliff in LDC where a large Lophelia pertusa framework was documented. This is the first record of such an extended L. pertusa framework in the Mediterranean Sea. In both canyons coral populations were dominated by medium and large colonies, but the frequent presence of small-sized colonies also indicate active recruitment. The predominant coral orientation with respect to the substrate (90° and 135°) is probably driven by the current regime as well as by the sediment load transported by the current flows. In general no clear differences were observed between the CWC populations from CCC and LDC, despite large differences in particulate matter between canyons.

  3. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gori, A.; Orejas, C.; Madurell, T.; Bramanti, L.; Martins, M.; Quintanilla, E.; Marti-Puig, P.; Lo Iacono, C.; Puig, P.; Requena, S.; Greenacre, M.; Gili, J. M.

    2013-03-01

    Submarine canyons are known as one of the seafloor morphological features where living cold-water coral (CWC) communities develop in the Mediterranean Sea. We investigated the CWC community of the two westernmost submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions canyon system: the Cap de Creus Canyon (CCC) and Lacaze-Duthiers Canyon (LDC). Coral associations have been studied through video material recorded by means of a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle. Video transects have been conducted and analyzed in order to obtain information on (1) coral bathymetric distribution and density patterns, (2) size structure of coral populations, and (3) coral colony position with respect to the substrate. Madrepora oculata was the most abundant CWC in both canyons, while Lophelia pertusa and Dendrophyllia cornigera mostly occurred as isolated colonies or in small patches. An important exception was detected in a vertical cliff in LDC where a large L. pertusa framework was documented. This is the first record of such an extended L. pertusa framework in the Mediterranean Sea. In both canyons coral populations were dominated by medium and large colonies, but the frequent presence of small-sized colonies also indicate active recruitment. The predominant coral orientation (90° and 135°) is probably driven by the current regime as well as by the sediment load transported by the current flows. In general, no clear differences were observed in the abundance and in the size structure of the CWC populations between CCC and LDC, despite large differences in particulate matter between canyons.

  4. Lipophilic defenses from Alcyonium soft corals of Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Núñez-Pons, Laura; Carbone, Marianna; Vázquez, Jennifer; Gavagnin, Margherita; Avila, Conxita

    2013-05-01

    Alcyonacean soft corals lack physical or skeletal defenses and their nematocyst system is weak, leading to the conclusion that soft corals mainly rely on chemistry for protection from predators and microbes. Defensive chemicals of primary and secondary metabolic origin are exuded in the mucus surface layer, explaining the general lack of heavy fouling and predation in corals. In Antarctic ecosystems, where generalist predation is intense and mainly driven by invertebrate consumers, the genus Alcyonium is represented by eight species. Our goal was to investigate the understudied chemical ecology of Antarctic Alcyonium soft corals. We obtained six samples belonging to five species: A. antarcticum, A. grandis, A. haddoni, A. paucilobulatum, and A. roseum, and assessed the lipid-soluble fractions for the presence of defensive agents in these specimens. Ethyl ether extracts were tested in feeding bioassays with the sea star Odontaster validus and the amphipod Cheirimedon femoratus as putative sympatric predators. Repellent activities were observed towards both consumers in all but one of the samples assessed. Moreover, three of the extracts caused inhibition to a sympatric marine bacterium. The ether extracts afforded characteristic illudalane sesquiterpenoids in two of the samples, as well as particular wax esters subfractions in all the colonies analyzed. Both kinds of metabolites displayed significant deterrent activities demonstrating their likely defensive role. These results suggest that lipophilic chemicals are a first line protection strategy in Antarctic Alcyonium soft corals against predation and bacterial fouling. PMID:23536231

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Extreme longevity in proteinaceous deep-sea corals.

    PubMed

    Roark, E Brendan; Guilderson, Thomas P; Dunbar, Robert B; Fallon, Stewart J; Mucciarone, David A

    2009-03-31

    Deep-sea corals are found on hard substrates on seamounts and continental margins worldwide at depths of 300 to approximately 3,000 m. Deep-sea coral communities are hotspots of deep ocean biomass and biodiversity, providing critical habitat for fish and invertebrates. Newly applied radiocarbon age dates from the deep water proteinaceous corals Gerardia sp. and Leiopathes sp. show that radial growth rates are as low as 4 to 35 mum year(-1) and that individual colony longevities are on the order of thousands of years. The longest-lived Gerardia sp. and Leiopathes sp. specimens were 2,742 years and 4,265 years, respectively. 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 habitat-forming species. PMID:19307564

  7. Effect of calcium carbonate saturation of seawater on coral calcification

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gattuso, J.-P.; Frankignoulle, M.; Bourge, I.; Romaine, S.; Buddemeier, R.W.

    1998-01-01

    The carbonate chemistry of seawater is usually not considered to be an important factor influencing calcium-carbonate-precipitation by corals because surface seawater is supersaturated with respect to aragonite. Recent reports, however, suggest that it could play a major role in the evolution and biogeography of recent corals. We investigated the calcification rates of five colonies of the zooxanthellate coral Stylophora pistillata in synthetic seawater using the alkalinity anomaly technique. Changes in aragonite saturation from 98% to 585% were obtained by manipulating the calcium concentration. The results show a nonlinear increase in calcification rate as a function of aragonite saturation level. Calcification increases nearly 3-fold when aragonite saturation increases from 98% to 390%, i.e., close to the typical present saturation state of tropical seawater. There is no further increase of calcification at saturation values above this threshold. Preliminary data suggest that another coral species, Acropora sp., displays a similar behaviour. These experimental results suggest: (l) that the rate of calcification does not change significantly within the range of saturation levels corresponding to the last glacial-interglacial cycle, and (2) that it may decrease significantly in the future as a result of the decrease in the saturation level due to anthropogenic release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Experimental studies that control environmental conditions and seawater composition provide unique opportunities to unravel the response of corals to global environmental changes.

  8. Gross and Microscopic Lesions in Corals from Micronesia.

    PubMed

    Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Hughen, K A

    2016-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates. PMID:25765523

  9. Gross and microscopic lesions in corals from Micronesia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Hughen, Konrad A.

    2015-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates.

  10. Coral reef recovery in Florida and the Persian Gulf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shinn, Eugene A.

    1976-01-01

    Long-term observations and study of coral reef destruction by hurricanes in the Florida Keys show, surprisingly, that although corals are devastated on a grand scale during storms, recovery is rapid. Recovery occurs because of the widespread scattering of live fragments, many of which become growth sites of new colonies. Reef recovery from death by chilling in the Persian Gulf was well under way when last observed, but it is not yet known if the recovery rate was as rapid as recovery from the storm destruction in Florida. Recovery from death by chilling requires settlement of transported coral larvae and a substrate suitable for larval attachment. Such resettlement is subject to the effects of currents, predators, pollution, and competition for substrate. A growth rate of 10 cm per year combined with geometrical progression of branch formation accounts for rapid recovery. Although calculated coral proliferation seems unusually high, it has been confirmed by serial underwater photographs spanning ten years. More precise measurements of growth and branching are needed, along with growth data for other common reef-building corals. Such data would be useful for predicting standing crop of a restocked or transplanted reef.

  11. Variability of terpene content in the soft coralSinularia flexibilis (Coelenterata: Octocorallia), and its ecological implications.

    PubMed

    Maida, M; Carroll, A R; Coll, J C

    1993-10-01

    Colonies of the soft coralSinularia flexibilis (Quoy & Gaimard) (Coelenterata, Octocorallia) were collected at Lizard Island (14°40'S and 145°28'E) Research Station. Extraction of the corals and quantitative chemical analysis for the three major diterpene components, flexibilide, dihydroflexibilide, and sinulariolide, afforded average ratios of 4∶3∶1 respectively. Colonies, sized on the basis of the sterile stalk circumference, were analyzed for possible correlations between size and chemical composition. The major metabolite, flexibilide, was inversely correlated with colony size, while sinulariolide concentration showed a direct correlation. The concentration of dihydroflexibilide was independent of colony size. Samples were further analyzed with respect to site of collection. Colonies were collected at three distinct reefal sites. One was characterized by large monospecific stands ofParites cylindrica, a second was a sandy bottom site with a mixed community of soft corals and occasional scleractinians, while the third site was a very diverse reef community with many species of scleractinian corals.Sinularia flexibilis was well represented at each site, and the concentration of flexibilide and sinulariolide varied significantly among sites. The concentration of flexibilide was significantly higher at the third, highly competitive site, while the concentration of sinulariolide was highest at thePorites-dominated site. Dihydroflexibilide levels were independent of site. It seems likely that concentrations of flexibilide, a highly cytotoxic molecule involved in interference competition, and sinulariolide, a known algicide probably responsible for colony maintenance, may be influenced by their environments. PMID:24248576

  12. detrimentally affects tissue regeneration of Red Sea corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horwitz, Rael; Fine, Maoz

    2014-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is threatening the future of coral reef ecosystems. Mounting experimental evidence suggests that OA negatively impacts fundamental life functions of scleractinian corals, including growth and sexual reproduction. Although regeneration is regarded as a chief life function in scleractinian corals and essential to maintain the colony's integrity, the effect of OA on regeneration processes has not yet been investigated. To evaluate the effects of OA on regeneration, the common Indo-Pacific corals Porites sp., Favia favus, Acropora eurystoma, and Stylophora pistillata were inflicted with lesions (314-350 mm2, depending on species) and incubated in different pCO2: (1) ambient seawater (400 µatm, pH 8.1), (2) intermediate (1,800 µatm, pH 7.6), and (3) high (4,000 µatm, pH 7.3) for extended periods of time (60-120 d). While all coral species after 60 d had significantly higher tissue regeneration in ambient conditions as compared to the intermediate and high treatments, reduction in regeneration rate was more pronounced in the slow-growing massive Porites sp. and F. favus than the relatively fast-growing, branching S. pistillata and A. eurystoma. This coincided with reduced tissue biomass of Porites sp., F. favus, and A. eurystoma in higher pCO2, but not in S. pistillata. Porites sp., F. favus, and S. pistillata also experienced a decrease in Symbiodinium density in higher pCO2, while in A. eurystoma there was no change. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity under elevated pCO2 may be related to resource trade-offs, energy cost of acid/base regulation, and/or decrease in total energy budget. This is the first study to demonstrate that elevated pCO2 could have a compounding influence on coral regeneration following injury, potentially affecting the capacity of reef corals to recover following physical disturbance.

  13. Rapid Assessment of Stony Coral Richness and Condition on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles

    PubMed Central

    McKenna, Sheila A.; Etnoyer, Peter

    2010-01-01

    The benthic habitats of Saba Bank (17°25′N, 63°30′W) are at risk from maritime traffic, especially oil tankers (e.g., anchoring). To mitigate this risk, information is needed on the biodiversity and location of habitats to develop a zone use plan. A rapid survey to document the biodiversity of macro-algae, sponges, corals and fishes was conducted. Here we report on the richness and condition of stony coral species at 18 select sites, and we test for the effects of bottom type, depth, and distance from platform edge. Species richness was visually assessed by roving scuba diver with voucher specimens of each species collected. Coral tissue was examined for bleaching and diseases. Thirty-three coral species were documented. There were no significant differences in coral composition among bottom types or depth classes (ANOSIM, P>0.05). There was a significant difference between sites (ANOSIM, P<0.05) near and far from the platform edge. The number of coral species observed ranged from zero and one in algal dominated habitats to 23 at a reef habitat on the southern edge of the Bank. Five reef sites had stands of Acropora cervicornis, a critically endangered species on the IUCN redlist. Bleaching was evident at 82% of the sites assessed with 43 colonies bleached. Only three coral colonies were observed to have disease. Combining our findings with that of other studies, a total of 43 species have been documented from Saba Bank. The coral assemblage on the bank is representative and typical of those found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Although our findings will help develop effective protection, more information is needed on Saba Bank to create a comprehensive zone use plan. Nevertheless, immediate action is warranted to protect the diverse coral reef habitats documented here, especially those containing A. cervicornis. PMID:20505771

  14. Augmenting the Post-Transplantation Growth and Survivorship of Juvenile Scleractinian Corals via Nutritional Enhancement

    PubMed Central

    Toh, Tai Chong; Ng, Chin Soon Lionel; Peh, Jia Wei Kassler; Toh, Kok Ben; Chou, Loke Ming

    2014-01-01

    Size-dependant mortality influences the recolonization success of juvenile corals transplanted for reef restoration and assisting juvenile corals attain a refuge size would thus improve post-transplantation survivorship. To explore colony size augmentation strategies, recruits of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis were fed with live Artemia salina nauplii twice a week for 24 weeks in an ex situ coral nursery. Fed recruits grew significantly faster than unfed ones, with corals in the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 (control) nauplii/L groups exhibiting volumetric growth rates of 10.65±1.46, 4.69±0.9, 3.64±0.55 and 1.18±0.37 mm3/week, respectively. Corals supplied with the highest density of nauplii increased their ecological volume by more than 74 times their initial size, achieving a mean final volume of 248.38±33.44 mm3. The benefits of feeding were apparent even after transplantation to the reef. The corals in the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 nauplii/L groups grew to final sizes of 4875±260 mm3, 2036±627 mm3, 1066±70 mm3 and 512±116 mm3, respectively. The fed corals had significantly higher survival rates than the unfed ones after transplantation (63%, 59%, 56% and 38% for the 3600, 1800, 600 and 0 nauplii/L treatments respectively). Additionally, cost-effectiveness analysis revealed that the costs per unit volumetric growth were drastically reduced with increasing feed densities. Corals fed with the highest density of nauplii were the most cost-effective (US$0.02/mm3), and were more than 12 times cheaper than the controls. This study demonstrated that nutrition enhancement can augment coral growth and post-transplantation survival, and is a biologically and economically viable option that can be used to supplement existing coral mariculture procedures and enhance reef restoration outcomes. PMID:24896085

  15. Effect of macroalgal expansion and marine protected areas on coral recovery following a climatic disturbance.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Shaun K; Graham, Nicholas A J; Fisher, Rebecca; Robinson, Jan; Nash, Kirsty; Chong-Seng, Karen; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Aumeeruddy, Riaz; Quatre, Rodney

    2012-12-01

    Disturbance plays an important role in structuring marine ecosystems, and there is a need to understand how conservation practices, such as the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), facilitate postdisturbance recovery. We evaluated the association of MPAs, herbivorous fish biomass, substrate type, postdisturbance coral cover, and change in macroalgal cover with coral recovery on the fringing reefs of the inner Seychelle islands, where coral mortality after a 1998 bleaching event was extensive. We visually estimated benthic cover and fish biomass at 9 sites in MPAs where fishing is banned and at 12 sites where fishing is permitted in 1994, 2005, 2008, and 2011. We used analysis of variance to examine spatial and temporal variations in coral cover and generalized additive models to identify relations between coral recovery and the aforementioned factors that may promote recovery. Coral recovery occurred on all substrate types, but it was highly variable among sites and times. Between 2005 and 2011 the increase in coral cover averaged 1%/year across 21 sites, and the maximum increase was 4%/year. However, mean coral cover across the study area (14%) remained at half of 1994 levels (28%). Sites within MPAs had faster rates of coral recovery than sites in fished areas only where cover of macroalgae was low and had not increased over time. In MPAs where macroalgae cover expanded since 1998 there was no recovery. Where coral was recovering on granite reefs there was a shift in relative prevalence of colony life-form from branching to encrusting species. This simplification of reef structure may affect associated reef fauna even if predisturbance levels of coral cover are attained. PMID:22971046

  16. Penetration of the Coral-Bleaching Bacterium Vibrio shiloi into Oculina patagonica

    PubMed Central

    Banin, E.; Israely, T.; Kushmaro, A.; Loya, Y.; Orr, E.; Rosenberg, E.

    2000-01-01

    Inoculation of the coral-bleaching bacterium Vibrio shiloi into seawater containing its host Oculina patagonica led to adhesion of the bacteria to the coral surface via a β-d-galactose receptor, followed by penetration of the bacteria into the coral tissue. The internalized V. shiloi cells were observed inside the exodermal layer of the coral by electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy using specific anti-V. shiloi antibodies to stain the intracellular bacteria. At 29°C, 80% of the bacteria bound to the coral within 8 h. Penetration, measured by the viable count (gentamicin invasion assay) inside the coral tissue, was 5.6, 20.9, and 21.7% of the initial inoculum at 8, 12, and 24 h, respectively. The viable count in the coral tissue decreased to 5.3% at 48 h, and none could be detected at 72 h. Determination of V. shiloi total counts (using the anti-V. shiloi antibodies) in the coral tissue showed results similar to viable counts for the first 12 h of infection. After 12 h, however, the total count more than doubled from 12 to 24 h and continued to rise, reaching a value 6 times that of the initial inoculum at 72 h. Thus, the intracellular V. shiloi organisms were transformed into a form that could multiply inside the coral tissue but did not form colonies on agar medium. Internalization of the bacteria was accompanied by the production of high concentrations of V. shiloi toxin P activity in the coral tissue. Internalization and multiplication of V. shiloi are discussed in terms of the mechanism of bacterial bleaching of corals. PMID:10877802

  17. Regional status assessment of stony corals in the US Virgin Islands.

    PubMed

    Fisher, William S; Fore, Leska S; Oliver, Leah M; Lobue, Charles; Quarles, Robert; Campbell, Jed; Harris, Peggy; Hemmer, Becky; Vickery, Sherry; Parsons, Mel; Hutchins, Aaron; Bernier, Kent; Rodriguez, Danny; Bradley, Patricia

    2014-11-01

    States may protect coral reefs using biological water quality standards outlined by the Clean Water Act. This requires biological assessments with indicators sensitive to human disturbance and regional, probability-based survey designs. Stony coral condition was characterized on a regional scale for the first time in the nearshore waters of the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Coral composition, abundance, size, and health were assessed at 66 stations in the St. Croix region in fall 2007 and at 63 stations in the St. Thomas and St. John region in winter 2009. Indicators were chosen for their sensitivity to human disturbance. Both surveys were probability-based (random) designs with station locations preselected from areas covered by hardbottom and coral reef substrate. Taxa richness was as high as 21 species but more than half the area of both regions exhibited taxa richness of <10 species in the 25 m(2) transect area. Coral density was as high as 5 colonies m(-2) but more than half the area of both regions had <2 colonies m(-2). Both regions showed similar dominant species based on frequency of occurrence and relative abundance. Because of large colony sizes, Montastrea annularis provided more total surface area and live surface area than more abundant species. The surveys establish baseline regional conditions and provide a foundation for long-term regional monitoring envisioned by the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources. The probabilistic sampling design assures the data can be used in Clean Water Act reporting. PMID:25052328

  18. Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Piniak, Gregory A

    2007-10-01

    This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (F(v)/F(m)) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in F(v)/F(m) were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased F(v)/F(m) in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction--P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area. PMID:17568664

  19. Bleaching susceptibility and mortality of corals are determined by fine-scale differences in symbiont type

    PubMed Central

    Sampayo, E. M.; Ridgway, T.; Bongaerts, P.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2008-01-01

    Coral bleaching has been identified as one of the major contributors to coral reef decline, and the occurrence of different symbionts determined by broad genetic groupings (clades A–H) is commonly used to explain thermal responses of reef-building corals. By using Stylophora pistillata as a model, we monitored individual tagged colonies in situ over a two-year period and show that fine level genetic variability within clade C is correlated to differences in bleaching susceptibility. Based on denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer region 2, visual bleaching assessments, symbiont densities, host protein, and pulse amplitude modulated fluorometry, we show that subcladal types C78 and C8/a are more thermally tolerant than C79 and C35/a, which suffered significant bleaching and postbleaching mortality. Although additional symbiont types were detected during bleaching in colonies harboring types C79 and C35/a, all colonies reverted back to their original symbionts postbleaching. Most importantly, the data propose that the differential mortality of hosts harboring thermally sensitive versus resistant symbionts rather than symbiont shuffling/switching within a single host is responsible for the observed symbiont composition changes of coral communities after bleaching. This study therefore highlights that the use of broad cladal designations may not be suitable to describe differences in bleaching susceptibility, and that differential mortality results in a loss of both symbiont and host genetic diversity and therefore represents an important mechanism in explaining how coral reef communities may respond to changing conditions. PMID:18645181

  20. Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Piniak, G.A.

    2007-01-01

    This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in Fv/Fm were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased Fv/Fm in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction-P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area. ?? 2007.

  1. Coral bleaching: Thermal adaptation in reef coral symbionts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowan, Rob

    2004-08-01

    Many corals bleach as a result of increased seawater temperature, which causes them to lose their vital symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium spp.) - unless these symbioses are able to adapt to global warming, bleaching threatens coral reefs worldwide. Here I show that some corals have adapted to higher temperatures, at least in part, by hosting specifically adapted Symbiodinium. If other coral species can host these or similar Symbiodinium taxa, they might adapt to warmer habitats relatively easily.

  2. Sub-lethal coral stress: detecting molecular responses of coral populations to environmental conditions over space and time.

    PubMed

    Edge, S E; Shearer, T L; Morgan, M B; Snell, T W

    2013-03-15

    In order for sessile organisms to survive environmental fluctuations and exposures to pollutants, molecular mechanisms (i.e. stress responses) are elicited. Previously, detrimental effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on coral health could not be ascertained until significant physiological responses resulted in visible signs of stress (e.g. tissue necrosis, bleaching). In this study, a focused anthozoan holobiont microarray was used to detect early and sub-lethal effects of spatial and temporal environmental changes on gene expression patterns in the scleractinian coral, Montastraea cavernosa, on south Florida reefs. Although all colonies appeared healthy (i.e. no visible tissue necrosis or bleaching), corals were differentially physiologically compensating for exposure to stressors that varied over time. Corals near the Port of Miami inlet experienced significant changes in expression of stress responsive and symbiont (zooxanthella)-specific genes after periods of heavy precipitation. In contrast, coral populations did not demonstrate stress responses during periods of increased water temperature (up to 29°C). Specific acute and long-term localized responses to other stressors were also evident. A correlation between stress response genes and symbiont-specific genes was also observed, possibly indicating early processes involved in the maintenance or disruption of the coral-zooxanthella symbiosis. This is the first study to reveal spatially- and temporally-related variation in gene expression in response to different stressors of in situ coral populations, and demonstrates that microarray technology can be used to detect specific sub-lethal physiological responses to specific environmental conditions that are not visually detectable. PMID:23291051

  3. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

    An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362

  4. Effects of deep-water coral banks on the abundance and size structure of the megafauna in the Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Onghia, G.; Maiorano, P.; Sion, L.; Giove, A.; Capezzuto, F.; Carlucci, R.; Tursi, A.

    2010-03-01

    The Santa Maria di Leuca (SML) coral banks represent a rare example of living Lophelia-Madrepora-bearing coral mounds in the Mediterranean Sea. They are located between 350 and 1100 m in depth, in the northern Ionian Sea (eastern-central Mediterranean). Using a multi-beam echo sounder, side-scan sonar, high-resolution seismics and underwater video, the zones were identified for the sampling demersal fauna without damaging the coral colonies. During September-October 2005 experimental samplings were carried out with longlines and trawl nets inside the coral habitat and outside, where fishery exploitation occurs. No significant differences were shown between the abundance of fish recorded using longlines in the coral and non-coral habitat even though some selachians and teleosts were more abundant in the former than in the latter. Large specimens of rockfish ( Helicolenus dactylopterus) and blackspot seabream ( Pagellus bogaraveo) were commonly caught using longlines in the coral habitat. Data from trawling revealed refuge effects in the coral habitat and fishing effects outside. Significant differences were detected between the recorded abundances in the two study areas. Greater densities and biomasses were obtained inside the coral area, and fish size spectra and size distributions indicate a greater abundance of large fish inside the coral habitat. The SML coral habitat is a spawning area for H. dactylopterus. The remarkable density of the young-of-the-year of the deep-water shark Etmopterus spinax as well as of Merluccius merluccius, Micromesistius poutassou, Phycis blennoides and H. dactylopterus, indicates that the coral habitat also acts as nursery area for these demersal species, which are exploited outside. Considering the evidence of the negative impact of bottom trawling and, to a lesser extent, of longlining, the coral banks can provide a refuge for the conservation of unique species and habitats as well as in providing benefit to adjacent fisheries

  5. Investigating coral hyperspectral properties across coral species and coral state using hyperspectral imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mehrubeoglu, Mehrube; Smith, Dustin K.; Smith, Shane W.; Strychar, Kevin B.; McLauchlan, Lifford

    2013-09-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems in the world. Corals worldwide are at risk, and in many instances, dying due to factors that affect their environment resulting in deteriorating environmental conditions. Because corals respond quickly to the quality of the environment that surrounds them, corals have been identified as bioindicators of water quality and marine environmental health. The hyperspectral imaging system is proposed as a noninvasive tool to monitor different species of corals as well as coral state over time. This in turn can be used as a quick and non-invasive method to monitor environmental health that can later be extended to climate conditions. In this project, a laboratory-based hyperspectral imaging system is used to collect spectral and spatial information of corals. In the work presented here, MATLAB and ENVI software tools are used to view and process spatial information and coral spectral signatures to identify differences among the coral data. The results support the hypothesis that hyperspectral properties of corals vary among different coral species, and coral state over time, and hyperspectral imaging can be a used as a tool to document changes in coral species and state.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    The symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts (zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium) is highly sensitive to temperature stress, which makes coral reefs vulnerable to climate change. Thermal tolerance in corals is known to be substantially linked to the type of zooxanthellae they harbour and, when multiple types are present, the relative abundance of types can be experimentally manipulated to increase the thermal limits of individual corals. Although the potential exists for this to translate into substantial thermal acclimatization of coral communities, to date there is no evidence to show that this takes place under natural conditions. In this study, we show field evidence of a dramatic change in the symbiont community of Acropora millepora, a common and widespread Indo-Pacific hard coral species, after a natural bleaching event in early 2006 in the Keppel Islands (Great Barrier Reef). Before bleaching, 93.5% (n=460) of the randomly sampled and tagged colonies predominantly harboured the thermally sensitive Symbiodinium type C2, while the remainder harboured a tolerant Symbiodinium type belonging to clade D or mixtures of C2 and D. After bleaching, 71% of the surviving tagged colonies that were initially C2 predominant changed to D or C1 predominance. Colonies that were originally C2 predominant suffered high mortality (37%) compared with D-predominant colonies (8%). We estimate that just over 18% of the original A. millepora population survived unchanged leaving 29% of the population C2 and 71% D or C1 predominant six months after the bleaching event. This change in the symbiont community structure, while it persists, is likely to have substantially increased the thermal tolerance of this coral population. Understanding the processes that underpin the temporal changes in symbiont communities is key to assessing the acclimatization potential of reef corals. PMID:18348962

  7. Influence of water-flow on skeletal isotopic compositions of branching coral Pocilopora damicornis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, A.; Nakamura, T.; Yamasaki, H.; Minoshima, K.; Kawahata, H.

    2006-12-01

    Oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of coral skeleton appear to be more influenced by skeletal growth rate than physical conditions such as temperature in a particular setting. We examined the influence of water motion on the isotopic composition of branching coral Pocilopora damicornis grown in experimental flumes. Colony size and buoyant weight became significantly greater in the flow condition than the still condition, indicating water-flow was favorable for coral growth. Despite of the evident difference in skeletal growth rate, the skeletal oxygen isotope, carbon isotope as well, of the outer tips were almost identical between the flow- and still-treated colonies, indicating the limited influence of water-flow on the isotopic composition of active calcification site. The result suggested the potential role of light level, which was relatively high in the present experiment, for suppressing the growth-rate-related kinetic isotopic fractionation.

  8. Two new species of gorgonian octocorals from the Tropical Eastern Pacific Biogeographic Region (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Gorgoniidae)

    PubMed Central

    Breedy, Odalisca; Williams, Gary C; Guzman, Hector M

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The gorgoniid Eugorgia is exclusively an eastern Pacific genus. It has a wide geographic and bathymetric range of distribution, found from California to Perú and extends down to 65 m deep. Two new species are herein described. The morphological characters were analyzed and illustrated by light and scanning electron microscopy. Eugorgia beebei sp. n. can be distinguished by its white, ascending, sparse colony growth. Eugorgia mutabilis sp. n. can be distinguished by its white colony that changes color after collection, and the conspicuous sharp-crested disc sclerites. From a morphological point of view the new species are related to the daniana-group, the rubens-group and the siedenburgae-group of Eugorgia; their affiliations, and the proposal of a new group are discussed. These new species increases the number of species in the genus to 15, and contribute to the knowledge of the eastern Pacific octocoral biodiversity. PMID:24294084

  9. Two new species of gorgonian octocorals from the Tropical Eastern Pacific Biogeographic Region (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Gorgoniidae).

    PubMed

    Breedy, Odalisca; Williams, Gary C; Guzman, Hector M

    2013-01-01

    The gorgoniid Eugorgia is exclusively an eastern Pacific genus. It has a wide geographic and bathymetric range of distribution, found from California to Perú and extends down to 65 m deep. Two new species are herein described. The morphological characters were analyzed and illustrated by light and scanning electron microscopy. Eugorgia beebei sp. n. can be distinguished by its white, ascending, sparse colony growth. Eugorgia mutabilis sp. n. can be distinguished by its white colony that changes color after collection, and the conspicuous sharp-crested disc sclerites. From a morphological point of view the new species are related to the daniana-group, the rubens-group and the siedenburgae-group of Eugorgia; their affiliations, and the proposal of a new group are discussed. These new species increases the number of species in the genus to 15, and contribute to the knowledge of the eastern Pacific octocoral biodiversity. PMID:24294084

  10. Coral Mortality and Bleaching Output

    EPA Science Inventory

    COMBO is a spreadsheet-based model for the use of managers, conservationists, and biologists for projecting the effects of climate change on coral reefs at local-to-regional scales. The COMBO (Coral Mortality and Bleaching Output) model calculates the impacts to coral reefs from...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Coral surface mucus layer (SML) microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions—uppermost (high irradiance), underside (low irradiance), and the colony base—representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations. PMID:26659364

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Coral surface mucus layer (SML) microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions--uppermost (high irradiance), underside (low irradiance), and the colony base--representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations. PMID:26659364

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-03-01

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

  14. Development and Validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics Models for Prediction of Heat Transfer and Thermal Microenvironments of Corals

    PubMed Central

    Ong, Robert H.; King, Andrew J. C.; Mullins, Benjamin J.; Cooper, Timothy F.; Caley, M. Julian

    2012-01-01

    We present Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models of the coupled dynamics of water flow, heat transfer and irradiance in and around corals to predict temperatures experienced by corals. These models were validated against controlled laboratory experiments, under constant and transient irradiance, for hemispherical and branching corals. Our CFD models agree very well with experimental studies. A linear relationship between irradiance and coral surface warming was evident in both the simulation and experimental result agreeing with heat transfer theory. However, CFD models for the steady state simulation produced a better fit to the linear relationship than the experimental data, likely due to experimental error in the empirical measurements. The consistency of our modelling results with experimental observations demonstrates the applicability of CFD simulations, such as the models developed here, to coral bleaching studies. A study of the influence of coral skeletal porosity and skeletal bulk density on surface warming was also undertaken, demonstrating boundary layer behaviour, and interstitial flow magnitude and temperature profiles in coral cross sections. Our models compliment recent studies showing systematic changes in these parameters in some coral colonies and have utility in the prediction of coral bleaching. PMID:22701582

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  16. Stability of coral-endosymbiont associations during and after a thermal stress event in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stat, M.; Loh, W. K. W.; Lajeunesse, T. C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Carter, D. A.

    2009-09-01

    Shifts in the community of symbiotic dinoflagellates to those that are better suited to the prevailing environmental condition may provide reef-building corals with a rapid mechanism by which to adapt to changes in the environment. In this study, the dominant Symbiodinium in 10 coral species in the southern Great Barrier Reef was monitored over a 1-year period in 2002 that coincided with a thermal stress event. Molecular genetic profiling of Symbiodinium communities using single strand conformational polymorphism of the large subunit rDNA and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region did not detect any changes in the communities during and after this thermal-stress event. Coral colonies of seven species bleached but recovered with their original symbionts. This study suggests that the shuffling or switching of symbionts in response to thermal stress may be restricted to certain coral species and is probably not a universal feature of the coral-symbiont relationship.

  17. Seasonal Dynamical Prediction of Coral Bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spillman, C. M.; Alves, O.

    2009-05-01

    Sea surface temperature (SST) is now recognised as the primary cause of mass coral bleaching events. Coral bleaching occurs during times of stress, particularly when SSTs exceed the coral colony's tolerance level. Global warming is potentially a serious threat to the future of the world's reef systems with predictions by the international community that bleaching will increase in both frequency and severity. Advance warning of anomalous sea surface temperatures, and thus potential bleaching events, would allow for the implementation of management strategies to minimise reef damage. Seasonal SST forecasts from the coupled ocean-atmosphere model POAMA (Bureau of Meteorology) have skill in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) several months into the future. We will present model forecasts and probabilistic products for use in reef management, and assess model skill in the region. These products will revolutionise the way in which coral bleaching events are monitored and assessed in the Great Barrier Reef and Australian region.

  18. A 107-year-old coral from Florida Bay: barometer of natural and man- induced catastrophes?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hudson, J.H.; Powell, G.V.N.; Robblee, M.B.; Smith, T. J., III

    1989-01-01

    The 107-yr growth history of a massive coral Solenastrea bournoni from Florida Bay was reconstructed with X-ray imagery from a single 4 in. diameter (10 cm) core that penetrated the exact epicenter of the 95.3 cm high colony. Growth increments totalled 952.9 mm, averaging 8.9 mm/yr over the life of the coral. Growth rate trends in the Florida Bay coral were compared to those in a Montastraea annularis of similar age from a nearby patch reef on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Keys. It was concluded that growth rate, at least in these specimens, is a questionable indicator of past hurricanes and freezes. There does appear to be, however, a possible cause-and-effect relationship between major man-induced environmental perturbations and a prolonged reduction in growth rate in each coral's growth record. -from Authors

  19. Solution and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry measurements of Br, I, Pb, Mn, Cd, Zn, and B in the organic skeleton of soft corals and black corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, B.; Grottoli, A. G.

    2011-03-01

    Proxy records can be derived from soft corals and black corals using minor and trace element measurements of the organic skeleton of these corals. Here, concentrations of Br, I, Pb, Mn, Cd, Zn, and B in the organic skeleton were determined using solution inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in one black coral from 5 m depth and two soft corals from 85 and 105 m depth collected from a reef offshore of Palau in the western tropical Pacific. Solution ICP-MS results indicate that concentrations of some elements vary as expected with depth (Cd and Mn) while others are taxa specific (I) or colony specific (Br, Pb, Zn, and B). The intensities of the same elements normalized to 13C were also measured at high resolution using laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS along radial transects covering the lifespan of the colonies. The results here indicate that high-resolution LA ICP-MS elemental records in black corals could be more fully developed for paleoceanographic reconstructions. In contrast, results of the laser transects from the two soft corals were not reproducible for any of the elements, and no discernible patterns were detected that could be developed into reliable proxy records using the current LA ICP-MS method.

  20. Does dopamine block the spawning of the acroporid coral Acropora tenuis?

    PubMed Central

    Isomura, N.; Yamauchi, C.; Takeuchi, Y.; Takemura, A.

    2013-01-01

    Most corals undergo spawning after a particular moon phase, but how moon-related spawning is endogenously regulated in corals remains unknown. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether dopamine (DA) affects spawning in Acropora tenuis. When pieces of four A. tenuis colonies were reared under a natural photoperiod and water temperature, spawning was observed after the predicted moon phase. After exposure to water containing DA at 0.1 μM, pieces of the same colonies only released 5 to 10 bundles. Co-treatment with DA and pimozide (D1 and D2 receptors antagonist), but not domperidone (D2 receptor antagonist), induced mass release of bundles from the colonies. A cross-experiment revealed high fertilization rates between the control colonies (95%) and between the control and DA-treated colonies (90%), suggesting that gametes developed normally in coral tissue. Therefore, DA appears to have an inhibitory effect on the spawning of A. tenuis. PMID:24026104

  1. A complex allorecognition system in a reef-building coral: delayed responses, reversals and nontransitive hierarchies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chadwick-Furman, N.; Rinkevich, B.

    1994-01-01

    A highly polymorphic and complex allorecognition system in the coral Stylophora pistillata was revealed in the field by assaying branch pair combinations among 11 colonies (181 assays) for 24 months. Replicates of between-colony combinations exhibited consistent outcomes, in both time scale and type of response. Different allogeneic combinations exhibited one of two main outcomes, either unilateral rejection, or an array of other incompatible reactions following a state of “non-fusion”. These responses were partially linked with color morphs (purple dominated yellow). An additional 22 isogeneic grafts resulted in complete fusion. Unilateral rejection occurred 1 7 months following initial contact. Nonfusion usually developed into skeletal suture barriers after 3 9 months, and then into unilateral colony-specific overgrowths at 6 23 months with some reversals in direction at 18 22 months. During this process, small lesions usually developed on the tissue of the subordinate partner, which were either overgrown by the dominant partner or healed. After two years, a network of overgrowths among colonies was established with essentially hierarchial properties, but some nontransitive interactions also occurred. The colonies segregated into three distinct histocompatibility groups; within each group, colonies engaged in nonfusion. Between groups, colonies exhibited nonfusion or rejected each other in a group-specific manner. Based on the results, we discuss the terminology used for fusion versus rejection phenomena in scleractinian corals, the possible genetic background for self-nonself recognition in Stylophora, and the methodological artifacts associated with the use of short-term allorecognition assays.

  2. Specificity is rarely absolute in coral–algal symbiosis: implications for coral response to climate change

    PubMed Central

    Silverstein, Rachel N.; Correa, Adrienne M. S.; Baker, Andrew C.

    2012-01-01

    Some reef-building corals have been shown to respond to environmental change by shifting the composition of their algal symbiont (genus Symbiodinium) communities. These shifts have been proposed as a potential mechanism by which corals might survive climate stressors, such as increased temperatures. Conventional molecular methods suggest this adaptive capacity may not be widespread because few (∼25%) coral species have been found to associate with multiple Symbiodinium clades. However, these methods can fail to detect low abundance symbionts (typically less than 10–20% of the total algal symbiont community). To determine whether additional Symbiodinium clades are present, but are not detected using conventional techniques, we applied a high-resolution, real-time PCR assay to survey Symbiodinium (in clades A–D) from 39 species of phylogenetically and geographically diverse scleractinian corals. This survey included 26 coral species thought to be restricted to hosting a single Symbiodinium clade (‘symbiotic specialists’). We detected at least two Symbiodinium clades (C and D) in at least one sample of all 39 coral species tested; all four Symbiodinium clades were detected in over half (54%) of the 26 symbiotic specialist coral species. Furthermore, on average, 68 per cent of all sampled colonies within a given coral species hosted two or more symbiont clades. We conclude that the ability to associate with multiple symbiont clades is common in scleractinian (stony) corals, and that, in coral–algal symbiosis, ‘specificity’ and ‘flexibility’ are relative terms: specificity is rarely absolute. The potential for reef corals to adapt or acclimatize to environmental change via symbiont community shifts may therefore be more phylogenetically widespread than has previously been assumed. PMID:22367985

  3. Life History Changes in Coral Fluorescence and the Effects of Light Intensity on Larval Physiology and Settlement in Seriatopora hystrix

    PubMed Central

    Roth, Melissa S.; Fan, Tung-Yung; Deheyn, Dimitri D.

    2013-01-01

    Fluorescence is common in both coral adult and larval stages, and is produced by fluorescent proteins that absorb higher energy light and emit lower energy light. This study investigated the changes of coral fluorescence in different life history stages and the effects of parental light environment on larval fluorescence, larval endosymbiotic dinoflagellate abundance, larval size and settlement in the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix. Data showed that coral fluorescence changed during development from green in larvae to cyan in adult colonies. In larvae, two green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) co-occur where the peak emission of one GFP overlaps with the peak excitation of the second GFP allowing the potential for energy transfer. Coral larvae showed great variation in GFP fluorescence, dinoflagellate abundance, and size. There was no obvious relationship between green fluorescence intensity and dinoflagellate abundance, green fluorescence intensity and larval size, or dinoflagellate abundance and larval size. Larvae of parents from high and low light treatments showed similar green fluorescence intensity, yet small but significant differences in size, dinoflagellate abundance, and settlement. The large variation in larval physiology combined with subtle effects of parental environment on larval characteristics seem to indicate that even though adult corals produce larvae with a wide range of physiological capacities, these larvae can still show small preferences for settling in similar habitats as their parents. These data highlight the importance of environmental conditions at the onset of life history and parent colony effects on coral larvae. PMID:23544072

  4. Colonial American Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yeomans, Donald K.

    2007-12-01

    While a foundation of German scientific methods enabled the rapid growth of North American Astronomy in the nineteenth century, during the seventeenth and most of the eighteenth centuries, the colonial men of science looked only to the English mother country for scientific patronage and guidance. An essay on fundamental astronomy appeared in one of the annual colonial almanacs as early as 1656, telescopic observations were made about 1660 and the first original colonial astronomical work was published by Thomas Danforth on the comet of 1664. By 1671 the Copernican ideas were so espoused at Harvard College that a physics class refused to read a Ptolemaic textbook when it was assigned to them by a senior instructor. At least in the Cambridge-Boston area, contemporary colonialist had access to the most recent scientific publications from the mother country. Observations of the great comet of 1680 by the Almanac maker, John Foster, reached Isaac Newton and were used and gratefully acknowledged in his Principia. During the seventeenth century the colonial interest in astronomy was more intense than it was for other sciences but colonists still occupied a position in the scientific backwater when compared with contemporary European scientists. Nevertheless, the science of astronomy was successfully transplanted from England to North America in the seventeenth century.

  5. The Colonial Inheritance.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allen, Jack

    As the American nation developed through periods of rapid change and great cultural diversity, the American public school system served as a primary souce of national unity. The roots of comprehensive public education in America can be traced to the educational system developed by 17th century Puritan colonials. Although one of the central…

  6. Sailing to the Colonies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carter, Dorothy S.

    1990-01-01

    Presents a class activity designed to foster an understanding of rules, develop analytical skills, and introduce students to early colonial history. Divides the class into groups who are sailing to the New World, and presents them with ethical and practical problems to be solved on board the ship. (RW)

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

  8. Abundance and reproductive patterns of the excavating sponge Cliona vermifera: a threat to Pacific coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bautista-Guerrero, Eric; Carballo, José Luis; Maldonado, Manuel

    2014-03-01

    Cliona vermifera is a common excavating sponge in coral reefs from the East Pacific. Abundance and reproductive patterns of the sponge in a Mexican Pacific coral reef over a 4-year period are herein described. Sponge abundance was estimated along three transects 50 m long which were randomly placed on the reef, and along each one, a piece of coral rubble and a branch of a live coral from the Pocillopora spp. coral colony closest to the transect were collected at random, approximately every 2 m, yielding 25 pieces of each category per transect (and 75 pieces total of each category). A 2-way ANOVA revealed that invasion was significantly higher in living coral colonies (34.8 %) than in rubble (13.7 %). It also indicated that the abundance in both coralline substrates showed a temporal variation without a clear pattern of increase over the years. It was estimated that 60-85 % of sponges in the population reproduced sexually every year. The sponge proved gonochoristic, with a sex ratio strongly departing from parity (1 male: 3 females). Over the 4-year study period, at least two cohorts of oocytes with densities of up to 3.5 oocytes per mm2 tissue were observed. Spermatogenesis lasted about a month, but often producing more than a pulse from July to November, coupled with peaks of oocyte maturation. Fertilization occurred internally to produce encapsulated zygotes that were released in one or more spawning events from July to November. In the following months (December to February), which were the periods of lowest temperature (~18.5-20 °C), no gametic activity occurred in the sponges. Because anomalous temperature rises that are detrimental to corals do not appear to negatively affect the reproduction and abundance of C. vermifera, it is likely that the excavating activity of this sponge may be compromising the health of those coral reefs that are recurrently affected by episodes of thermal stress.

  9. Antioxidant responses to heat and light stress differ with habitat in a common reef coral

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hawkins, Thomas D.; Krueger, Thomas; Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Fisher, Paul L.; Davy, Simon K.

    2015-12-01

    Coral bleaching—the stress-induced collapse of the coral- Symbiodinium symbiosis—is a significant driver of worldwide coral reef degradation. Yet, not all corals are equally susceptible to bleaching, and we lack a clear understanding of the mechanisms underpinning their differential susceptibilities. Here, we focus on cellular redox regulation as a potential determinant of bleaching susceptibility in the reef coral Stylophora pistillata. Using slow heating (1 °C d-1) and altered irradiance, we induced bleaching in S. pistillata colonies sampled from two depths [5-8 m (shallow) and 15-18 m (deep)]. There was significant depth-dependent variability in the timing and extent of bleaching (loss of symbiont cells), as well as in host enzymatic antioxidant activity [specifically, superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT)]. However, among the coral fragments that bleached, most did so without displaying any evidence of a host enzymatic antioxidant response. For example, both deep and shallow corals suffered significant symbiont loss at elevated temperature, but only deep colonies exposed to high temperature and high light displayed any up-regulation of host antioxidant enzyme activity (CAT). Surprisingly, this preceded the equivalent antioxidant responses of the symbiont, which raises questions about the source(s) of hydrogen peroxide in the symbiosis. Overall, changes in enzymatic antioxidant activity in the symbionts were driven primarily by irradiance rather than temperature, and responses were similar across depth groups. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of light stress, heating of 1 °C d-1 to 4 °C above ambient is not sufficient to induce a substantial oxidative challenge in S. pistillata. We provide some of the first evidence that regulation of coral enzymatic antioxidants can vary significantly depending on habitat, and, in terms of determining bleaching susceptibility, our results suggest a significant role for the host's differential

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral bleaching events vary in severity, however, to date, the hierarchy of susceptibility to bleaching among coral taxa has been consistent over a broad geographic range and among bleaching episodes. Here we examine the extent of spatial and temporal variation in thermal tolerance among scleractinian coral taxa and between locations during the 2010 thermally induced, large-scale bleaching event in South East Asia. Methodology/Principal Findings Surveys to estimate the bleaching and mortality indices of coral genera were carried out at three locations with contrasting thermal and bleaching histories. Despite the magnitude of thermal stress being similar among locations in 2010, there was a remarkable contrast in the patterns of bleaching susceptibility. Comparisons of bleaching susceptibility within coral taxa and among locations revealed no significant differences between locations with similar thermal histories, but significant differences between locations with contrasting thermal histories (Friedman = 34.97; p<0.001). Bleaching was much less severe at locations that bleached during 1998, that had greater historical temperature variability and lower rates of warming. Remarkably, Acropora and Pocillopora, taxa that are typically highly susceptible, although among the most susceptible in Pulau Weh (Sumatra, Indonesia) where respectively, 94% and 87% of colonies died, were among the least susceptible in Singapore, where only 5% and 12% of colonies died. Conclusions/Significance The pattern of susceptibility among coral genera documented here is unprecedented. A parsimonious explanation for these results is that coral populations that bleached during the last major warming event in 1998 have adapted and/or acclimatised to thermal stress. These data also lend support to the hypothesis that corals in regions subject to more variable temperature regimes are more resistant to thermal stress than those in less variable environments. PMID:22428027

  11. Distribution of cold-water corals in the Whittard Canyon, NE Atlantic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, Kirsty J.; Tyler, Paul A.; Masson, Doug G.; Huvenne, Veerle I. A.; Rogers, Alex D.

    2013-08-01

    The deep-sea floor occupies about 60% of the surface of the planet and is covered mainly by fine sediments. Most studies of deep-sea benthic fauna therefore have concentrated on soft sediments with little sampling of hard substrata, such as rocky outcrops in submarine canyons. Here we assess the distribution and abundance of cold-water corals within the Whittard Canyon (NE Atlantic) using video footage from the ROV Isis. Abundances per 100 m of video transect were calculated and mapped using ArcGIS. The data were separated into five substratum types, 'Sediment', 'Mixed Sediment and Rock', 'Sediment Slope', 'Lophelia reef' and 'Lophelia and rock'. Abundance and community structure were compared. A maximum abundance of 855 coral colonies per 100 m of ROV transect were observed with 31 coral types identified. Highest taxon richness was observed along a 'Lophelia reef' area, although a larger richness of Octocorallia was observed away from the 'Lophelia reef' areas. 'Lophelia reef' and 'Lophelia and rock' areas were found to have a different coral community structure from the other substratum types. We suggest this is the result of Lophelia outcompeting other coral types because there is increased coral taxon richness in areas without Lophelia. We also hypothesise that the hydrodynamic regime within the Whittard Canyon results in differences in organic matter input including higher quality food, in comparison with other deep-water environments, leading to changes in the coral communities.

  12. El Niño related coral bleaching in Palau, Western Caroline Islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruno, J.; Siddon, C.; Witman, J.; Colin, P.; Toscano, M.

    2001-09-01

    Mass coral bleaching is currently viewed as a major threat to the long-term health of coral reef communities. Here we quantify coral bleaching in Palau coincident with the 1997/1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation event and with local sea surface temperatures of 31 °C, which were 1.0-1.25 °C higher than long-term, satellite-derived climatological maximum monthly means for the region. We sampled nine sites, including protected lagoon and fringing reefs, vertical reef walls, and exposed barrier reefs. The percentage of living scleractinian coral tissue that was bleached was 53.4±6.2 (range: 32.3-79.3, n=8 sites) at 3-5 m depth and 68.9±6.2 (45.7-91.7, n=6 sites) at 10-12 m and did not differ significantly between depths. The overall mean percent cover of bleached scleractinians was 18.9±1.5 (mean±1 SE, n=9 sites), while the cover of healthy corals was only 15.6±2.0. Nearly half (48%) of 946 surveyed colonies belonging to 20 scleractinian taxa were totally bleached, while 15% were partially bleached. Overall, the results indicate that the 1998 coral bleaching episode in Palau was relatively severe and widespread across depths, sites, habitats, and coral taxa.

  13. A Possible Role for Agglutinated Foraminifers in the Growth of Deep-Water Coral Bioherms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Messing, C. G.; Reed, J. K.; Brooke, S. D.

    2008-05-01

    Exploration of deep-water bioherms dominated by the scleractinian corals Lophelia pertusa and Enallopsammia profunda along the east coast of Florida in ~400-800 m depth reveals an often dense and rich assemblage of small (~1-30 mm) epifauna on dead coral branches, which is often dominated by agglutinated astrorhizacean foraminifers accompanied by thecate and athecate hydroids, sponges, stylasterids, anemones and barnacles. The dominant agglutinated foraminifer is an arborescent form up to 15 mm tall, consisting of a basal tube that gives rise to branchlets of successively decreasing diameter and thickly coated with fine-grained material including coccoliths and diatom frustules. The large numbers of foraminifers generate an enormous adhesive, sediment-trapping surface area and may represent an important accelerated route for sediment deposition and bioherm growth relative to baffling of suspended sediment particles by the coral branches themselves. These foraminifers also occur on still living coral, suggesting that they may either contribute to coral death or invade stressed colonies. They may thus be responsible for or contribute to the small percent of living corals observed in many of these habitats. Other epifauna appear to colonize after the coral has died.

  14. Community Shifts in the Surface Microbiomes of the Coral Porites astreoides with Unusual Lesions

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Julie L.; Paul, Valerie J.; Teplitski, Max

    2014-01-01

    Apical lesions on Porites astreoides were characterized by the appearance of a thin yellow band, which was preceded by bleaching of the coral tissues and followed by a completely denuded coral skeleton, which often harbored secondary macroalgal colonizers. These characteristics have not been previously described in Porites and do not match common Caribbean coral diseases. The lesions were observed only in warmer months and at shallow depths on the fore reef in Belize. Analysis of the microbial community composition based on the V4 hypervariable region of 16S ribosomal RNA genes revealed that the surface microbiomes associated with nonsymptomatic corals were dominated by the members of the genus Endozoicomonas, consistent with other studies. Comparison of the microbiomes of nonsymptomatic and lesioned coral colonies sampled in July and September revealed two distinct groups, inconsistently related to the disease state of the coral, but showing some temporal signal. The loss of Endozoicomonas was characteristic of lesioned corals, which also harbored potential opportunistic pathogens such as Alternaria, Stenotrophomonas, and Achromobacter. The presence of lesions in P. astreoides coincided with a decrease in the relative abundance of Endozoicomonas, rather than the appearance of specific pathogenic taxa. PMID:24937478

  15. Community shifts in the surface microbiomes of the coral Porites astreoides with unusual lesions.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Julie L; Paul, Valerie J; Teplitski, Max

    2014-01-01

    Apical lesions on Porites astreoides were characterized by the appearance of a thin yellow band, which was preceded by bleaching of the coral tissues and followed by a completely denuded coral skeleton, which often harbored secondary macroalgal colonizers. These characteristics have not been previously described in Porites and do not match common Caribbean coral diseases. The lesions were observed only in warmer months and at shallow depths on the fore reef in Belize. Analysis of the microbial community composition based on the V4 hypervariable region of 16S ribosomal RNA genes revealed that the surface microbiomes associated with nonsymptomatic corals were dominated by the members of the genus Endozoicomonas, consistent with other studies. Comparison of the microbiomes of nonsymptomatic and lesioned coral colonies sampled in July and September revealed two distinct groups, inconsistently related to the disease state of the coral, but showing some temporal signal. The loss of Endozoicomonas was characteristic of lesioned corals, which also harbored potential opportunistic pathogens such as Alternaria, Stenotrophomonas, and Achromobacter. The presence of lesions in P. astreoides coincided with a decrease in the relative abundance of Endozoicomonas, rather than the appearance of specific pathogenic taxa. PMID:24937478

  16. Density-dependent settlement and mortality structure the earliest life phases of a coral population.

    PubMed

    Vermeij, Mark J A; Sandin, Stuart A

    2008-07-01

    The local densities of heterospecifics and conspecifics are known to have profound effects on the dynamics of many benthic species, including rates of settlement and early post-settlement survivorship. We described the early life history of the Caribbean coral, Siderastrea radians by tracking the population dynamics from recently settled planulae to juveniles. Through three years of observation, settlement correlated with the abundance of other benthic organisms, principally turf algae (negatively) and crustose coralline algae (positively). In addition, adult density showed independent effects on coral settlement and early post-settlement survivorship. Settlement rates increased across low levels of adult cover and saturated at a maximum around 10% cover. Early post-settlement survivorship decreased with adult cover, revealing structuring density dependence in coral settlers. The earliest life stages of corals are defined by low survivorship, with survivorship increasing appreciably with colony size. However, recent settlers (one-polyp individuals, < 1-year-old) are more likely to grow into two-polyp juveniles than older single polyps (> 1-year-old) that were delayed in their development. The early benthic phase of corals is defined by a severe demographic bottleneck for S. radians, with appreciable density-dependent and density-independent effects on survivorship. For effective management and restoration of globally imperiled coral reefs, we must focus more attention on this little studied, but dynamic, early life history period of corals. PMID:18705385

  17. Intraspecific Diversity and Ecological Zonation in Coral-Algal Symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowan, Rob; Knowlton, Nancy

    1995-03-01

    All reef-building corals are obligately associated with photosynthetic microalgal endosymbionts called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthella taxonomy has emphasized differences between species of hosts, but the possibility of ecologically significant zooxanthella diversity within hosts has been the subject of speculation for decades. Analysis of two dominant Caribbean corals showed that each associates with three taxa of zooxanthellae that exhibit zonation with depth-the primary environmental gradient for light-dependent marine organisms. Some colonies apparently host two taxa of symbionts in proportions that can vary across the colony. This common occurrence of polymorphic, habitat-specific symbioses challenges conventional understanding of the units of biodiversity but also illuminates many distinctive aspects of marine animal-algal associations. Habitat specificity provides ecological explanations for the previously documented poor concordance between host and symbiont phylogenies and the otherwise surprising lack of direct, maternal transmission of symbionts in many species of hosts. Polymorphic symbioses may underlie the conspicuous and enigmatic variability characteristic of responses to environmental stress (e.g., coral "bleaching") and contribute importantly to the phenomenon of photoadaptation.

  18. Caribbean Shallow-water Black Corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia)

    SciTech Connect

    Opresko, Dennis M; Sanchez, Juan Armando

    2005-01-01

    Our aim is to provide a complete key and guide to the species of black corals from the Caribbean reefs at depths shallower than about 100 m. The key to the species is mostly based on colonial features that are recognized in the field, although some closely related species can only be differentiated by microscopic skeletal features. Each species is illustrated with one or more photos showing the size and shape of the colony; many photos were taken in the natural environment to facilitate underwater identification. Additionally, a short description is provided of each species and their microscopic diagnostic characters are illustrated with the aid of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Fifteen black coral species are found in relatively shallow-water in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and other parts of the tropical western Atlantic; these belong to the families Myriopathidae [Tanacetipathes hirta (Gray), T. tanacetum (Pourtales), T. barbadensis (Brook), T. thamnea (Warner), and Plumapathes pennacea (Pallas)]; Antipathidae [Antipathes lenta Pourtales, A. rubusifonnis Warner and Opresko, A. furcata Gray, A. umbratica Opresko, A. atlantica Gray, A. gracilis Gray, A. caribbeana Opresko, Stichopathes lutkeni Brook, and S. accidentalis (Gray)]; and Aphanipathidae [Rhipidipathes colombiana (Opresko and Sinchez)]. We hope that this guide will facilitate research on black corals on Caribbean reefs, where population surveys are urgently needed to evaluate or modify conservation policies.

  19. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, A. J.; Lawton, R. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Wilson, S. K.

    2011-03-01

    Interactions between predators and prey organisms are of fundamental importance to ecological communities. While the ecological impact that grazing predators can have in terrestrial and temperate marine systems are well established, the importance of coral grazers on tropical reefs has rarely been considered. In this study, we estimate the biomass of coral tissue consumed by four prominent species of corallivorous butterflyfishes. Sub-adult butterflyfishes (60-70 mm, 6-11 g) remove between 0.6 and 0.9 g of live coral tissue per day, while larger adults (>110 mm, ~40-50 g) remove between 1.5 and 3 g of coral tissue each day. These individual consumption rates correspond to the population of coral-feeding butterflyfishes at three exposed reef crest habitats at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, consuming between 14.6 g (±2.0) and 19.6 g (±3.9) .200 m-2 day-1 of coral tissue. When standardised to the biomass of butterflyfishes present, a combined reefwide removal rate of 4.2 g (±1.2) of coral tissue is consumed per 200 m-2 kg-1 of coral-feeding butterflyfishes. The quantity of coral tissue removed by these predators is considerably larger than previously expected and indicates that coral grazers are likely to play an important role in the transfer of energy fixed by corals to higher consumers. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes is expected to exact a large energetic cost upon prey corals and contribute to an increased rate of coral loss on reefs already threatened by anthropogenic pressure and ongoing climate change.

  20. Corals from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

    The goal of this research is to monitor the health and vigor of coral reef ecosystems, and their sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic climate changes. To achieve these lofty goals, this research is investigating the feasibility of using spaceborne high-resolution spectrometers (on the US Landsat, French Systeme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre [SPOT] and/or the Indian Resources Satellite [IRS 1C & 1D] spacecraft) to first map the aerial extent of coral reef systems, and second separate the amount of particular corals. If this is successful, we could potentially provide a quantum leap in our understanding of coral reef systems, as well as provide much needed baseline data to measure future changes in global coral reef ecosystems. In collaboration with Tomas Tomascik, Yann Morel, and other colleagues, a series of experiments were planned to coordinate in situ coral observations, high-resolution spaceborne imagery (from Landsat, SPOT, and, possibly, IRS IC spacecraft), and NASA Space Shuttle photographs and digital images. Our eventual goal is to develop "coral health algorithms" that can be used to assess time series of imagery collected from satellite sensors (Landsat since 1972, SPOT since 1986) in concert with in situ observations. The bad news from last year was that from 1997 to mid- 1998, the extreme cloudiness over southeast Asia due to prolonged smoke from El Nino-related fires and the economic chaos in this region frustrated both our space and reef-based data collection activities. When this volatile situation stabilizes, we will restart these activities. The good news was that in collaboration with Al Strong at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we had an exciting year operationally using the NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer sensor derived sea surface temperature products to warn of coral "bleaching" at many locations throughout the tropics. Data from NOAA's satellites showed that during the El Nino of

  1. A coral Sr/Ca calibration and replication study of two massive corals from the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeLong, Kristine L.; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Maupin, Christopher R.; Poore, Richard Z.; Quinn, Terrence M.

    2011-01-01

    This study examined the variations in the ratio of strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) for two Atlantic corals (Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea) from the Dry Tortugas National Park (centered on 24.7°N, 82.8°W) in the Gulf of Mexico. Cores from coral colonies in close proximity (10s of meters) and with the same environmental conditions (i.e., depth and water chemistry) were micro-sampled with approximately monthly resolution and the resulting Sr/Ca variations were calibrated with local sea surface temperature (SST) records. Replication tests for coral Sr/Ca variations found high agreement between intra-colony variations and between individual colonies of S. siderea (a single M. faveolata colony was sampled). Regression analysis of monthly variations in coral Sr/Ca and local SST revealed significant correlation on monthly and inter-annual timescales. Verification of the calibration on different timescales found coral Sr/Ca–SST reconstructions in S. siderea were more accurate than those from M. faveolata, especially on inter-annual timescales. Sr/Ca–SST calibration equations for the two species are significantly different (cf., Sr/Ca = -0.042 SST + 10.070, S. siderea; Sr/Ca = -0.027 SST + 9.893, M. faveolata). Mean linear extension for M. faveolata is approximately twice that of S. siderea (4.63, 4.31, and 8.31 mm year−1, A1, F1, and B3, respectively); however, seasonal Sr/Ca variability in M. faveolata is less than S. siderea (0.323, 0.353, and 0.254 mmol mol−1, A1, F1, and B3, respectively). The reduced slope for M. faveolata is attributed to physical sampling issues associated with complex time-skeletal structure of M. faveolata, i.e., a sampling effect, and not a growth effect since the faster growing M. faveolata has the reduced Sr/Ca variability.

  2. Perturbation and change in coral reef communities.

    PubMed

    Porter, J W; Battey, J F; Smith, G J

    1982-03-01

    Ninety-six percent of surveyed shallow-water Dry Tortugas reef corals died during the severe winter of 1976-1977. Data from skeletal stains indicate that death occurred during the mid-January intrusion of 14 degrees C water onto the reef. In deeper water, community parameters such as percent cover, species number, and relative abundance showed no significant change. However, an analysis of competitive interactions at the growing edges of adjacent colonies reveals a 70% reduction in space competition during this environmental disturbance. These results can explain high variability in the growth rate of Floridian reefs and demonstrate the importance of obtaining long-term spatial information to interpret successional dynamics of complex communities. PMID:16578761

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

    PubMed Central

    Dornberger, Lindsey; Beach-Letendre, Joshuah; Weil, Ernesto; Mydlarz, Laura D.

    2014-01-01

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

  4. A comparison of culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques used to characterize bacterial communities on healthy and white plague-diseased corals of the Montastraea annularis species complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, G. M.; Rothenberger, J. P.; Sikaroodi, M.; Gillevet, P. M.; Peters, E. C.; Jonas, R. B.

    2013-06-01

    Diseases of hermatypic corals pose a global threat to coral reefs, and investigations of bacterial communities associated with healthy corals and those exhibiting signs of disease are necessary for proper diagnosis. One disease, commonly called white plague (WP), is characterized by acute tissue loss. This investigation compared the bacterial communities associated with healthy coral tissue ( N = 15), apparently healthy tissue on WP-diseased colonies ( N = 15), and WP-diseased tissues ( N = 15) from Montastraea annularis (species complex) colonies inhabiting a Bahamian reef. Aliquots of sediment ( N = 15) and water ( N = 15) were also obtained from the proximity of each coral colony sampled. Samples for culture-dependent analyses were inoculated onto one-half strength Marine Agar (½ MA) and Thiosulfate Citrate Bile Salts Sucrose Agar to quantify the culturable communities. Length heterogeneity PCR (LH-PCR) of the 16S rRNA gene characterized the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTU) associated with lesions on corals exhibiting signs of a white plague-like disease as well as apparently healthy tissue from diseased and non-diseased conspecifics. Analysis of Similarity was conducted on the LH-PCR fingerprints, which indicated no significant difference in the composition of bacterial communities associated with apparently healthy and diseased corals. Comparisons of the 16S rRNA gene amplicons from cultured bacterial colonies (½ MA; N = 21) with all amplicons obtained from the whole coral-associated bacterial community indicated ≥39 % of coral-associated bacterial taxa could be cultured. Amplicons from these bacterial cultures matched amplicons from the whole coral-associated bacterial community that, when combined, accounted for >70 % total bacterial abundance. An OTU with the same amplicon length as Aurantimonas coralicida (313.1 bp), the reported etiological agent of WPII, was detected in relatively low abundance (<0.1 %) on all tissue types. These findings

  5. Host pigments: potential facilitators of photosynthesis in coral symbioses.

    PubMed

    Dove, Sophie G; Lovell, Carli; Fine, Maoz; Deckenback, Jeffry; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Anthony, Kenneth R N

    2008-11-01

    Reef-building corals occur as a range of colour morphs because of varying types and concentrations of pigments within the host tissues, but little is known about their physiological or ecological significance. Here, we examined whether specific host pigments act as an alternative mechanism for photoacclimation in the coral holobiont. We used the coral Montipora monasteriata (Forskål 1775) as a case study because it occurs in multiple colour morphs (tan, blue, brown, green and red) within varying light-habitat distributions. We demonstrated that two of the non-fluorescent host pigments are responsive to changes in external irradiance, with some host pigments up-regulating in response to elevated irradiance. This appeared to facilitate the retention of antennal chlorophyll by endosymbionts and hence, photosynthetic capacity. Specifically, net P(max) Chl a(-1) correlated strongly with the concentration of an orange-absorbing non-fluorescent pigment (CP-580). This had major implications for the energetics of bleached blue-pigmented (CP-580) colonies that maintained net P(max) cm(-2) by increasing P(max) Chl a(-1). The data suggested that blue morphs can bleach, decreasing their symbiont populations by an order of magnitude without compromising symbiont or coral health. PMID:18643952

  6. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  8. CORAL REEF BIOCRITERIA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing the greatest decline of their known existence and few tools are available to offset the growing impacts of human coastal and watershed activities. Biocriteria are a potentially effective means to evaluate and restore impaired waters, but are...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-09-01

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

  10. Intercolony variability of skeletal oxygen and carbon isotope ratios of corals: temperature-controlled tank experiment and field observation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, A.; Omata, T.; Kawahata, H.

    2005-12-01

    We conducted tank experiments in which we grew Porites spp. colonies in thermostated seawater at five temperature settings under moderate light intensity. A skeletal isotope microprofiling technique applied along the major growth axis of each colony revealed that the oxygen isotope ratios of newly deposited skeleton in most colonies remained almost constant during tank incubation. However, the oxygen isotope ratios displayed a surprisingly large intercolony variability (~1‰ at each temperature setting) although the mean slope obtained for the temperature - skeletal oxygen isotope ratio relationship was close to previous results. The variations in the oxygen isotope ratios were apparently caused by kinetic isotope effects related to variations in the skeletal growth rate rather than by species-specific variability or genetic differences within species. Carbon isotope ratios showed significantly inverse correlation with linear growth rates, suggesting a kinetic isotope control at low growth rates. We also examined oxygen and carbon isotope ratios of Porites corals collected from coral reefs of southern Ryukyu Islands, Japan. In shallow faster-growing corals, oxygen and carbon isotope ratios showed out-of-phase annual fluctuations. In contrast, in deep slower growing corals (mean annual linear extension < 4.8 mm yr1), oxygen and carbon isotope fluctuations were in phase, which has been identified as a pattern influenced by kinetic isotope effects. The slower growing corals were strongly influenced, and the faster growing corals weakly influenced, by kinetic isotope effects over metabolic isotope effects. Growth-rate-related kinetic isotope effects found in both the cultured corals and the deep slower-growing corals may be, at least partly, attributed to low light condition.

  11. Ecological intereactions of reef building corals

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs are very important marine ecosystems because they support tremendous biodiversity and reefs are critical economic resources many coastal nations. Tropical reef structures are largely built by stony corals. This presentation provides background on basic coral biology t...

  12. Deep down on a Caribbean reef: lower mesophotic depths harbor a specialized coral-endosymbiont community.

    PubMed

    Bongaerts, Pim; Frade, Pedro R; Hay, Kyra B; Englebert, Norbert; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R W; Bak, Rolf P M; Vermeij, Mark J A; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60-100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through visual submersible surveys, genotyping of coral host-endosymbiont assemblages, temperature monitoring and a growth experiment. The lower mesophotic zone harbored a specialized coral community consisting of predominantly Agaricia grahamae, Agaricia undata and a "deep-water" lineage of Madracis pharensis, with large colonies of these species observed close to their lower distribution limit of ~90 m depth. All three species associated with "deep-specialist" photosynthetic endosymbionts (Symbiodinium). Fragments of A. grahamae exhibited growth rates at 60 m similar to those observed for shallow Agaricia colonies (~2-3 cm yr(-1)), but showed bleaching and (partial) mortality when transplanted to 100 m. We propose that the strong reduction of temperature over depth (Δ5°C from 40 to 100 m depth) may play an important contributing role in determining lower depth limits of mesophotic coral communities in this region. Rather than a marginal extension of the reef slope, the lower mesophotic represents a specialized community, and as such warrants specific consideration from science and management. PMID:25564461

  13. Deep down on a Caribbean reef: lower mesophotic depths harbor a specialized coral-endosymbiont community

    PubMed Central

    Bongaerts, Pim; Frade, Pedro R.; Hay, Kyra B.; Englebert, Norbert; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R. W.; Bak, Rolf P. M.; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60–100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through visual submersible surveys, genotyping of coral host-endosymbiont assemblages, temperature monitoring and a growth experiment. The lower mesophotic zone harbored a specialized coral community consisting of predominantly Agaricia grahamae, Agaricia undata and a “deep-water” lineage of Madracis pharensis, with large colonies of these species observed close to their lower distribution limit of ~90 m depth. All three species associated with “deep-specialist” photosynthetic endosymbionts (Symbiodinium). Fragments of A. grahamae exhibited growth rates at 60 m similar to those observed for shallow Agaricia colonies (~2–3 cm yr−1), but showed bleaching and (partial) mortality when transplanted to 100 m. We propose that the strong reduction of temperature over depth (Δ5°C from 40 to 100 m depth) may play an important contributing role in determining lower depth limits of mesophotic coral communities in this region. Rather than a marginal extension of the reef slope, the lower mesophotic represents a specialized community, and as such warrants specific consideration from science and management. PMID:25564461

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-15

    There has been an increase in the scale and frequency of coral bleaching around the world due mainly to changes in sea temperature. This may occur at large scales, often resulting in significant decline in coral coverage. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the ever-increasing incidence of coral bleaching, we have undertaken a comparative proteomic approach with the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Using a proteomic tandem mass spectrometry approach, we identified 285 and 321 expressed protein signatures in bleached and unbleached A. palmata colonies, respectively, in southwestern Puerto Rico. Overall the expression level of 38 key proteins was significantly different between bleached and unbleached corals. A wide range of proteins was detected and categorized, including transcription factors involved mainly in heat stress/UV responses, immunity, apoptosis, biomineralization, the cytoskeleton, and endo-exophagocytosis. The results suggest that for bleached A. palmata, there was an induced differential protein expression response compared with those colonies that did not bleach under the same environmental conditions. PMID:27105725

  15. An Improved Detection and Quantification Method for the Coral Pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Bryan; Muirhead, Andrew; Bazanella, Monika; Huete-Stauffer, Carla; Vezzulli, Luigi; Bourne, David G.

    2013-01-01

    DNA- and RNA-based PCR and reverse-transcription real-time PCR assays were developed for diagnostic detection of the vcpA zinc-metalloprotease implicated in the virulence of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus. Both PCR methods were highly specific for V. coralliilyticus and failed to amplify strains of closely-related Vibrio species. The assays correctly detected all globally occurring V. coralliilyticus isolates including a newly-described isolate [TAV24] infecting gorgonians in the Mediterranean Sea and highlighted those isolates that had been potentially misidentified, in particular V. tubiashii strains ATCC 19105 and RE22, historically described as important oyster pathogens. The real-time assay is sensitive, detecting 10 gene copies and the relationships between gene copy number and cycle threshold (CT) were highly linear (R2≥99.7). The real-time assay was also not affected by interference from non-target DNA. These assays are useful for rapid detection of V. coralliilyticus and monitoring of virulence levels in environmental samples, allowing for implementation of timely management steps to limit and possibly prevent losses due to V. coralliilyticus infection, as well as furthering investigations of factors affecting pathogenesis of this important marine pathogen. PMID:24339968

  16. To understand coral disease, look at coral cells.

    PubMed

    Work, Thierry; Meteyer, Carol

    2014-12-01

    Diseases threaten corals globally, but 40 years on their causes remain mostly unknown. We hypothesize that inconsistent application of a complete diagnostic approach to coral disease has contributed to this slow progress. We quantified methods used to investigate coral disease in 492 papers published between 1965 and 2013. Field surveys were used in 65% of the papers, followed by biodetection (43%), laboratory trials (20%), microscopic pathology (21%), and field trials (9%). Of the microscopic pathology efforts, 57% involved standard histopathology at the light microscopic level (12% of the total investigations), with the remainder dedicated to electron or fluorescence microscopy. Most (74%) biodetection efforts focused on culture or molecular characterization of bacteria or fungi from corals. Molecular and immunological tools have been used to incriminate infectious agents (mainly bacteria) as the cause of coral diseases without relating the agent to specific changes in cell and tissue pathology. Of 19 papers that declared an infectious agent as a cause of disease in corals, only one (5%) used microscopic pathology, and none fulfilled all of the criteria required to satisfy Koch's postulates as applied to animal diseases currently. Vertebrate diseases of skin and mucosal surfaces present challenges similar to corals when trying to identify a pathogen from a vast array of environmental microbes, and diagnostic approaches regularly used in these cases might provide a model for investigating coral diseases. We hope this review will encourage specialists of disease in domestic animals, wildlife, fish, shellfish, and humans to contribute to the emerging field of coral disease. PMID:24723160

  17. To understand coral disease, look at coral cells

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Meteyer, Carol

    2014-01-01

    Diseases threaten corals globally, but 40 years on their causes remain mostly unknown. We hypothesize that inconsistent application of a complete diagnostic approach to coral disease has contributed to this slow progress. We quantified methods used to investigate coral disease in 492 papers published between 1965 and 2013. Field surveys were used in 65% of the papers, followed by biodetection (43%), laboratory trials (20%), microscopic pathology (21%), and field trials (9%). Of the microscopic pathology efforts, 57% involved standard histopathology at the light microscopic level (12% of the total investigations), with the remainder dedicated to electron or fluorescence microscopy. Most (74%) biodetection efforts focused on culture or molecular characterization of bacteria or fungi from corals. Molecular and immunological tools have been used to incriminate infectious agents (mainly bacteria) as the cause of coral diseases without relating the agent to specific changes in cell and tissue pathology. Of 19 papers that declared an infectious agent as a cause of disease in corals, only one (5%) used microscopic pathology, and none fulfilled all of the criteria required to satisfy Koch’s postulates as applied to animal diseases currently. Vertebrate diseases of skin and mucosal surfaces present challenges similar to corals when trying to identify a pathogen from a vast array of environmental microbes, and diagnostic approaches regularly used in these cases might provide a model for investigating coral diseases. We hope this review will encourage specialists of disease in domestic animals, wildlife, fish, shellfish, and humans to contribute to the emerging field of coral disease.

  18. Growing Yeast into Cylindrical Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Vulin, Clément; Di Meglio, Jean-Marc; Lindner, Ariel B.; Daerr, Adrian; Murray, Andrew; Hersen, Pascal

    2014-01-01

    Microorganisms often form complex multicellular assemblies such as biofilms and colonies. Understanding the interplay between assembly expansion, metabolic yield, and nutrient diffusion within a freely growing colony remains a challenge. Most available data on microorganisms are from planktonic cultures, due to the lack of experimental tools to control the growth of multicellular assemblies. Here, we propose a method to constrain the growth of yeast colonies into simple geometric shapes such as cylinders. To this end, we designed a simple, versatile culture system to control the location of nutrient delivery below a growing colony. Under such culture conditions, yeast colonies grow vertically and only at the locations where nutrients are delivered. Colonies increase in height at a steady growth rate that is inversely proportional to the cylinder radius. We show that the vertical growth rate of cylindrical colonies is not defined by the single-cell division rate, but rather by the colony metabolic yield. This contrasts with cells in liquid culture, in which the single-cell division rate is the only parameter that defines the population growth rate. This method also provides a direct, simple method to estimate the metabolic yield of a colony. Our study further demonstrates the importance of the shape of colonies on setting their expansion. We anticipate that our approach will be a starting point for elaborate studies of the population dynamics, evolution, and ecology of microbial colonies in complex landscapes. PMID:24853750

  19. Information use in colonial living.

    PubMed

    Evans, Julian C; Votier, Stephen C; Dall, Sasha R X

    2016-08-01

    Despite the fact that many animals live in groups, there is still no clear consensus about the ecological or evolutionary mechanisms underlying colonial living. Recently, research has suggested that colonies may be important as sources of social information. The ready availability of information from conspecifics allows animals to make better decisions about avoiding predators, reducing brood parasitism, migratory phenology, mate choice, habitat choice and foraging. These choices can play a large part in the development and maintenance of colonies. Here we review the types of information provided by colonial animals and examine the different ways in which decision-making in colonies can be enhanced by social information. We discuss what roles information might take in the evolution, formation and maintenance of colonies. In the process, we illustrate that information use permeates all aspects of colonial living. PMID:25882618

  20. New cold-water coral occurrences in the Eastern Ionian Sea: Results from experimental long line fishing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mytilineou, Ch.; Smith, C. J.; Anastasopoulou, A.; Papadopoulou, K. N.; Christidis, G.; Bekas, P.; Kavadas, S.; Dokos, J.

    2014-01-01

    Our knowledge on the cold-water corals (CWCs) occurring in the deep waters of Eastern Ionian Sea (E. Mediterranean) has improved with new species records and information related to their occurrence, abundance, distribution, morphological and other characteristics. Data were collected from accidental coral catches during experimental long-line fishing using two different hook sizes (No. 7 targeting hake and No. 9 targeting blackspot seabream). Eight coral taxa were identified, with new records for the E. Ionian Sea for Antipathes dichotoma, Desmophyllum dianthus, Swiftia pallida and Pennatula phosphorea. CWCs occurred in 72% of the long lines and most of them were entire and live (except Leiopathes glaberrima). The most frequently caught coral group was Antipatharia. Isidella elongata and A. dichotoma presented the highest abundance. The main bulk of the corals was caught between 500 and 600 m depth. Some of the identified corals (L. glaberrima and I. elongata) seemed to have more close relationships with some species of the fish assemblage (Galeus melastomus, Helicolenus dactylopterus) inhabiting the study area. Species richness and coral catch in numbers were higher for the smaller hook size (No. 9), which caught the larger entire living colonies of A. dichotoma, L. glaberrima and I. elongata. As a result, the corals collected during the present study, characterized by slow growth rates and high longevities, could be considered vulnerable to the gear used in blackspot seabream fishery; this implies the need for more research, monitoring, protection and sustainable management.

  1. Demography and Population Dynamics of Massive Coral Communities in Adjacent High Latitude Regions (United Arab Emirates)

    PubMed Central

    Foster, Kristi A.; Foster, Greg

    2013-01-01

    Individual massive coral colonies, primarily faviids and poritids, from three distinct assemblages within the southeastern Arabian Gulf and northwestern Gulf of Oman (United Arab Emirates) were studied from 2006–2009. Annual photographic censuses of approximately 2000 colonies were used to describe the demographics (size class frequencies, abundance, area cover) and population dynamics under “normal” environmental conditions. Size class transitions included growth, which occurred in 10–20% of the colonies, followed in decending order by partial mortality (3–16%), colony fission (<5%) and ramet fusion (<3%). Recruitment and whole colony mortality rates were low (<0.7 colonies/m2) with minimal interannual variation. Transition matrices indicated that the Arabian Gulf assemblages have declining growth rates (λ<1) whereas the massive coral population is stable (λ = 1) in the Gulf of Oman. Projection models indicated that (i) the Arabian Gulf population and area cover declines would be exacerbated under 10-year and 16-year disturbance scenarios as the vital rates do not allow for recovery to pre-disturbance levels during these timeframes, and (ii) the Gulf of Oman assemblage could return to its pre-disturbance area cover but its overall population size would not fully recover under the same scenarios. PMID:23990923

  2. Diverse Staghorn Coral Fauna on the Mesophotic Reefs of North-East Australia

    PubMed Central

    Muir, Paul; Wallace, Carden; Bridge, Tom C. L.; Bongaerts, Pim

    2015-01-01

    Concern for the future of reef-building corals in conditions of rising sea temperatures combined with recent technological advances has led to a renewed interest in documenting the biodiversity of mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) and their potential to provide lineage continuation for coral taxa. Here, we examine species diversity of staghorn corals (genera Acropora and Isopora) in the mesophotic zone (below 30 m depth) of the Great Barrier Reef and western Coral Sea. Using specimen-based records we found 38 staghorn species in the mesophotic zone, including three species newly recorded for Australia and five species that only occurred below 30 m. Staghorn corals became scarce at depths below 50 m but were found growing in-situ to 73 m depth. Of the 76 staghorn coral species recorded for shallow waters (depth ≤ 30 m) in north-east Australia, 21% extended to mesophotic depths with a further 22% recorded only rarely to 40 m depth. Extending into the mesophotic zone provided shallow water species no significant advantage in terms of their estimated global range-size relative to species restricted to shallow waters (means 86.2 X 106 km2 and 85.7 X 106 km2 respectively, p = 0.98). We found four staghorn coral species at mesophotic depths on the Great Barrier Reef that were previously considered rare and endangered on the basis of their limited distribution in central Indonesia and the far western Pacific. Colonies below 40 m depth showed laterally flattened branches, light and fragile skeletal structure and increased spacing between branches and corallites. The morphological changes are discussed in relation to decreased light, water movement and down-welling coarse sediments. Staghorn corals have long been regarded as typical shallow-water genera, but here we demonstrate the significant contribution of this group to the region’s mesophotic fauna and the importance of considering MCEs in reef biodiversity estimates and management. PMID:25714341

  3. Eukarya associated with the stony coral Oculina patagonica from the Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    Rubio-Portillo, Esther; Souza-Egipsy, Virginia; Ascaso, Carmen; de Los Rios Murillo, Asunción; Ramos-Esplá, Alfonso A; Antón, Josefa

    2014-10-01

    Oculina patagonica is a putative alien scleractinian coral from the Southwest Atlantic that inhabits across the Mediterranean Sea. Here, we have addressed the diversity of Eukarya associated with this coral and its changes related to the environmental conditions and coral status. A total of 46 colonies of O. patagonica were taken from Alicante coast (Spain) and Pietra Ligure coast (Italy) and analyzed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the small-subunit 18S rRNA and 16S plastid rRNA genes, internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS 2) analyses, and electron microscopy. Our results show that Eukarya and plastid community associated to O. patagonica change with environmental conditions and coral status. Cryptic species, which can be difficult to identify by optical methods, were distinguished by 18S rRNA gene DGGE: the barnacle Megatrema anglicum, which was detected at two locations, and two boring sponges related to Cliona sp. and Siphonodictyon coralliphagum detected in samples from Tabarca and Alicante Harbour, respectively. Eukaryotic phototrophic community from the skeletal matrix of healthy corals was dominated by Ochrosphaera sp. while bleached corals from the Harbour and Tabarca were associated to different uncultured phototrophic organism. Differences in ultrastructural morphologies of the zooxanthellae between healthy and bleached corals were observed. Nevertheless, n