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Sample records for porites species coral

  1. Genetic species delineation among branching Caribbean Porites corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prada, C.; DeBiasse, M. B.; Neigel, J. E.; Yednock, B.; Stake, J. L.; Forsman, Z. H.; Baums, I. B.; Hellberg, M. E.

    2014-12-01

    Coral species are difficult to discern because of their morphological plasticity, long generation times, and slow rates of mitochondrial DNA evolution. Among Caribbean representatives of the genus Porites are three named species ( P. divaricata, P. furcata, and P. porites) with branching colony morphologies whose validity as genetically isolated species has been debated. We present sequence data from the mitochondrial control region, nuclear ITS, and nine single-copy nuclear loci for the Caribbean Porites and a related eastern Pacific species. mtDNA sequences were nearly invariant among the three branching species and their crustose sister P. branneri, and ITS sequences from these four were intermingled. An information theoretic analysis provided no support for upholding the three named Caribbean branching species. Both a clustering analysis and an analysis of molecular variance showed that sequence variation from the three branching forms is partitioned more by geography than by taxonomy. Multi-locus coalescent phylogenetic analysis provided a calibrated estimate for the nuclear DNA substitution rate (0.14 % Ma-1) close to that for other corals. Because no generalities have emerged from genetic investigations of the validity of morphologically defined coral species, the use of single-copy nuclear data is likely to be important in testing problematic species designations.

  2. Porites randalli: A new coral species (Scleractinia, Poritidae) from American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Forsman, Z.H.; Birkeland, C.

    2009-01-01

    A new species of scleractinian coral, Porites randalli spec. nov. (Scleractinia, Poritidae), previously known as Porites sp. 2, is described from American Samoa. P. randalli typically forms small pale green colonies that are usually <5 cm in diameter, with a surface reticulated with small (0.5 cm-2 cm) nubbins or protuberances. Colonies have been observed between 1-12 m depths in a variety of reef habitats and are among the most common corals in American Samoa. Corallites are approximately 1 mm in diameter and are sunken with a visible ring of pali. The columella is either lacking or small, with 1,2 or no radii, six pali (five large and a small one on the dorsal septum). Corallite walls rise gradually with concentric rows of denticles. Porites randalli spec. nov. is an example of cryptic diversity; it is a small coral that at first glance can be overlooked or mistaken for a young colony of other species. ?? 2009 Magnolia Press.

  3. Complete mitochondrial genome of the scleractinian coral Porites rus.

    PubMed

    Celis, Juan Sebastián; Wibberg, Daniel; Winkler, Anika; Wilke, Thomas; Kalinowski, Joern

    2016-09-01

    Scleractinian corals of the genus Porites are found across a wide geographical range along the tropical seas. Some species of the genus such as Porites rus are important reef builders in coral reef ecosystems and display a remarkable stress tolerance. Despite their physiological particularities and ecological importance, there is a scarcity of molecular data for members of this genus. Here, we report the first complete mitochondrial genome of Porites rus (Genbank accession number LN864762) which is 18 647 bp in size. It has the typical coral mitochondrial gene arrangement, consisting of 14 protein-coding genes, with a GC content of 36.2%, 12 tRNAs and two rRNAs. The P. rus mitochondrial genome displays two groups: 1 intron in cox1 and nad5 genes. Phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of the genus Porites. The complete mitochondrial genome will be helpful for addressing questions regarding mitochondrial gene evolution. PMID:27158873

  4. Interspecific interactions among species of the coral genus Porites from Okinawa, Japan.

    PubMed

    Rinkevich, B; Sakai, K

    2001-01-01

    Analysis of field established xenogeneic interactions among five Porites species from Sesoko Island, Okinawa, revealed a transitive type of hierarchy as: P. rus >P. cylindrica >P. lobata >P. australiensis>P. lutea. Out of the 111 interspecific encounters studied, in only 5.4% reciprocal interactions were recorded, and in a single case, the opposite directionality of hierarchy was documented. Allogeneic encounters were also observed. A single major effector mechanism, an overgrowth (together with secondary outcomes such as the formation of small points of rejection, bleaching and pink color formation along a narrow peripheral belt of contacting tissues), was the only response in all 10 xenogeneic and 5 allogeneic combinations. In some massive colonies, a long contacting line of up to 50 cm was established. No sign for allelopathy, stand-off or rejection from a distance (i.e., by sweeper tentacles, sweeper polyps) was observed. Results are discussed with the accumulated data on Porites species from different reefs, worldwide, confirming that this genus is commonly lower in the hierarchy of xenogeneic interactions. PMID:16351822

  5. Clues to unraveling the coral species problem: distinguishing species from geographic variation in Porites across the Pacific with molecular markers and microskeletal traits

    PubMed Central

    Wellington, Gerrard M.; Fox, George E.; Toonen, Robert J.

    2015-01-01

    Morphological variation in the geographically widespread coral Porites lobata can make it difficult to distinguish from other massive congeneric species. This morphological variation could be attributed to geographic variability, phenotypic plasticity, or a combination of such factors. We examined genetic and microscopic morphological variability in P. lobata samples from the Galápagos, Easter Island, Tahiti, Fiji, Rarotonga, and Australia. Panamanian P. evermanni specimens were used as a previously established distinct outgroup against which to test genetic and morphological methods of discrimination. We employed a molecular analysis of variance (AMOVA) based on ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) sequence, principal component analysis (PCA) of skeletal landmarks, and Mantel tests to compare genetic and morphological variation. Both genetic and morphometric methods clearly distinguished P. lobata and P. evermanni, while significant genetic and morphological variance was attributed to differences among geographic regions for P. lobata. Mantel tests indicate a correlation between genetic and morphological variation for P. lobata across the Pacific. Here we highlight landmark morphometric measures that correlate well with genetic differences, showing promise for resolving species of Porites, one of the most ubiquitous yet challenging to identify architects of coral reefs. PMID:25674364

  6. Clues to unraveling the coral species problem: distinguishing species from geographic variation in Porites across the Pacific with molecular markers and microskeletal traits.

    PubMed

    Forsman, Zac; Wellington, Gerrard M; Fox, George E; Toonen, Robert J

    2015-01-01

    Morphological variation in the geographically widespread coral Porites lobata can make it difficult to distinguish from other massive congeneric species. This morphological variation could be attributed to geographic variability, phenotypic plasticity, or a combination of such factors. We examined genetic and microscopic morphological variability in P. lobata samples from the Galápagos, Easter Island, Tahiti, Fiji, Rarotonga, and Australia. Panamanian P. evermanni specimens were used as a previously established distinct outgroup against which to test genetic and morphological methods of discrimination. We employed a molecular analysis of variance (AMOVA) based on ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) sequence, principal component analysis (PCA) of skeletal landmarks, and Mantel tests to compare genetic and morphological variation. Both genetic and morphometric methods clearly distinguished P. lobata and P. evermanni, while significant genetic and morphological variance was attributed to differences among geographic regions for P. lobata. Mantel tests indicate a correlation between genetic and morphological variation for P. lobata across the Pacific. Here we highlight landmark morphometric measures that correlate well with genetic differences, showing promise for resolving species of Porites, one of the most ubiquitous yet challenging to identify architects of coral reefs. PMID:25674364

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Shape-shifting corals: Molecular markers show morphology is evolutionarily plastic in Porites

    PubMed Central

    Forsman, Zac H; Barshis, Daniel J; Hunter, Cynthia L; Toonen, Robert J

    2009-01-01

    Background Corals are notoriously difficult to identify at the species-level due to few diagnostic characters and variable skeletal morphology. This 'coral species problem' is an impediment to understanding the evolution and biodiversity of this important and threatened group of organisms. We examined the evolution of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial markers (COI, putative control region) in Porites, one of the most taxonomically challenging and ecologically important genera of reef-building corals. Results Nuclear and mitochondrial markers were congruent, clearly resolving many traditionally recognized species; however, branching and mounding varieties were genetically indistinguishable within at least two clades, and specimens matching the description of 'Porites lutea' sorted into three genetically divergent groups. Corallite-level features were generally concordant with genetic groups, although hyper-variability in one group (Clade I) overlapped and obscured several others, and Synarea (previously thought to be a separate subgenus) was closely related to congeners despite its unique morphology. Scanning electron microscopy revealed subtle differences between genetic groups that may have been overlooked previously as taxonomic characters. Conclusion This study demonstrates that the coral skeleton can be remarkably evolutionarily plastic, which may explain some taxonomic difficulties, and obscure underlying patterns of endemism and diversity. PMID:19239678

  10. Metagenomic analysis of the microbial community associated with the coral Porites astreoides.

    PubMed

    Wegley, Linda; Edwards, Robert; Rodriguez-Brito, Beltran; Liu, Hong; Rohwer, Forest

    2007-11-01

    The coral holobiont is a dynamic assemblage of the coral animal, zooxanthellae, endolithic algae and fungi, Bacteria,Archaea and viruses. Zooxanthellae and some Bacteria form relatively stable and species-specific associations with corals. Other associations are less specific; coral-associated Archaea differ from those in the water column, but the same archaeal species may be found on different coral species. It has been hypothesized that the coral animal can adapt to differing ecological niches by 'switching' its microbial associates. In the case of corals and zooxanthellae, this has been termed adaptive bleaching and it has important implications for carbon cycling within the coral holobiont and ultimately the survival of coral reefs. However, the roles of other components of the coral holobiont are essentially unknown. To better understand these other coral associates, a fractionation procedure was used to separate the microbes, mitochondria and viruses from the coral animal cells and zooxanthellae. The resulting metagenomic DNA was sequenced using pyrosequencing. Fungi, Bacteria and phage were the most commonly identified organisms in the metagenome. Three of the four fungal phyla were represented, including a wide diversity of fungal genes involved in carbon and nitrogen metabolism, suggesting that the endolithic community is more important than previously appreciated. In particular, the data suggested that endolithic fungi could be converting nitrate and nitrite to ammonia, which would enable fixed nitrogen to cycle within the coral holobiont. The most prominent bacterial groups were Proteobacteria (68%), Firmicutes (10%), Cyanobacteria (7%) and Actinobacteria (6%). Functionally, the bacterial community was primarily heterotrophic and included a number of pathways for the degradation of aromatic compounds, the most abundant being the homogentisate pathway. The most abundant phage family was the ssDNA Microphage and most of the eukaryotic viruses were most

  11. Ecological Inferences from a deep screening of the Complex Bacterial Consortia associated with the coral, Porites astreoides.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio; Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Barberan, Albert; Bellantuono, Anthony J; Bastidas, Carolina

    2013-08-01

    The functional role of the bacterial organisms in the reef ecosystem and their contribution to the coral well-being remain largely unclear. The first step in addressing this gap of knowledge relies on in-depth characterization of the coral microbial community and its changes in diversity across coral species, space and time. In this study, we focused on the exploration of microbial community assemblages associated with an ecologically important Caribbean scleractinian coral, Porites astreoides, using Illumina high-throughput sequencing of the V5 fragment of 16S rRNA gene. We collected data from a large set of biological replicates, allowing us to detect patterns of geographical structure and resolve co-occurrence patterns using network analyses. The taxonomic analysis of the resolved diversity showed consistent and dominant presence of two OTUs affiliated with the order Oceanospirillales, which corroborates a specific pattern of bacterial association emerging for this coral species and for many other corals within the genus Porites. We argue that this specific association might indicate a symbiotic association with the adult coral partner. Furthermore, we identified a highly diverse rare bacterial 'biosphere' (725 OTUs) also living along with the dominant bacterial symbionts, but the assemblage of this biosphere is significantly structured along the geographical scale. We further discuss that some of these rare bacterial members show significant association with other members of the community reflecting the complexity of the networked consortia within the coral holobiont. PMID:23865748

  12. Effects of intermittent flow and irradiance level on back reef Porites corals at elevated seawater temperatures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, L.W.; Birkeland, C.

    2007-01-01

    Corals inhabiting shallow back reef habitats are often simultaneously exposed to elevated seawater temperatures and high irradiance levels, conditions known to cause coral bleaching. Water flow in many tropical back reef systems is tidally influenced, resulting in semi-diurnal or diurnal flow patterns. Controlled experiments were conducted to test effects of semi-diurnally intermittent water flow on photoinhibition and bleaching of the corals Porites lobata and P. cylindrica kept at elevated seawater temperatures and different irradiance levels. All coral colonies were collected from a shallow back reef pool on Ofu Island, American Samoa. In the high irradiance experiments, photoinhibition and bleaching were less for both species in the intermittent high-low flow treatment than in the constant low flow treatment. In the low irradiance experiments, there were no differences in photoinhibition or bleaching for either species between the flow treatments, despite continuously elevated seawater temperatures. These results suggest that intermittent flow associated with semi-diurnal tides, and low irradiances caused by turbidity or shading, may reduce photoinhibition and bleaching of back reef corals during warming events. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Contrasting Lesion Dynamics of White Syndrome among the scleractinian corals Porites spp

    PubMed Central

    Lozada-Misa, Paula; Kerr, Alexander; Raymundo, Laurie

    2015-01-01

    White syndrome (WS) is currently the most prevalent disease of scleractinian corals in the Indo-Pacific region, with an ability to exist in both epizootic and enzootic states. Here, we present results of an examination of WS lesion dynamics and show that potentially associated traits of host morphology (i.e., branching vs. massive), lesion size, and tissue deposition rate influence disease severity and recovery. Lesion healing rate was positively correlated with initial lesion size in both morphologies, but the rate at which lesions healed differed between morphologies. New lesions in branching Porites cylindrica appeared less frequently, were smaller and healed more quickly, but were more abundant than in closely-related massive Porites sp(p). The positive association between lesion size and healing rate was partly explained by geometry; branching limited lesion maximum size, and larger lesion margins contained more polyps producing new tissue, resulting in faster healing. However, massive colonies deposited tissue more slowly than branching colonies, resulting in slower recovery and more persistent lesions. Corallite size and density did not differ between species and did not, therefore, influence healing rate. We demonstrated multiple modes of pathogen transmission, which may be influenced by the greater potential for pathogen entrainment in branching vs. massive morphologies. We suggest that attributes such as colony morphology and species-specific growth rates require consideration as we expand our understanding of disease dynamics in colonial organisms such as coral. PMID:26120844

  14. The complete mitochondrial DNA of endemic Eastern Pacific coral (Porites panamensis).

    PubMed

    Del Río-Portilla, Miguel A; Vargas-Peralta, Carmen E; Paz-García, David A; Lafarga De La Cruz, Fabiola; Balart, Eduardo F; García-de-León, Francisco J

    2016-01-01

    The mitogenome of the endemic coral Porites panamensis (Genbank accession number KJ546638) has a total length of 18,628 bp, and the arrangement consist of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes and 2 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. Gene order was equal to other scleractinian coral mitogenomes. PMID:24810066

  15. Bacterial Communities Associated with Porites White Patch Syndrome (PWPS) on Three Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Coral Reefs

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Porites lutea, an important reef-building coral on western Indian Ocean reefs (WIO), is affected by a newly-reported white syndrome (WS) the Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Histopathology and culture-independent molecular techniques were used to characterise the microbial communities associated with this emerging disease. Microscopy showed extensive tissue fragmentation generally associated with ovoid basophilic bodies resembling bacterial aggregates. Results of 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed a high variability between bacterial communities associated with PWPS-infected and healthy tissues in P. lutea, a pattern previously reported in other coral diseases such as black band disease (BBD), white band disease (WBD) and white plague diseases (WPD). Furthermore, substantial variations in bacterial communities were observed at the different sampling locations, suggesting that there is no strong bacterial association in Porites lutea on WIO reefs. Several sequences affiliated with potential pathogens belonging to the Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae were identified, mainly in PWPS-infected coral tissues. Among them, only two ribotypes affiliated to Shimia marina (NR043300.1) and Vibrio hepatarius (NR025575.1) were consistently found in diseased tissues from the three geographically distant sampling localities. The role of these bacterial species in PWPS needs to be tested experimentally. PMID:24391819

  16. Cellular kinetics in growth anomalies of the scleractinian corals Porites australiensis and Montipora informis .

    PubMed

    Yasuda, Naoko; Hidaka, Michio

    2012-12-01

    Growth anomalies (GAs) in corals are characterized by morphological abnormalities of the skeleton as well as polyps and coenosarcs. GAs commonly appear as protuberances with fewer polyps and are paler in color due to decreased zooxanthellae density. To test the hypothesis that morphological anomalies in GAs may be caused by unregulated cellular kinetics, the relative abundances of apoptotic cells and proliferating cells were compared between GAs and apparently healthy regions in 2 corals, Porites australiensis and Montipora informis. Apoptotic cells and proliferating cells were detected using TUNEL assays and BrdU incorporation assays, respectively. The labeling indices for apoptotic nuclei and BrdU-labeled nuclei were measured in the epidermis, oral gastrodermis, aboral gastrodermis, and calicodermis. The labeling index for apoptotic nuclei in the oral gastrodermis and the calicodermis was significantly lower in GAs than in healthy regions in both coral species. The index for BrdU-labeled cells in the calicodermis was significantly higher in GAs than in healthy regions in both coral species. When GA regions partially died, the GA tissues directly adjacent to the dead areas exhibited signs of necrosis, although some apoptotic cells were also present. Healthy oral gastrodermis adjacent to the border between the healthy and GA regions exhibited higher frequencies of apoptotic cells. These results suggest that apoptotic pathways were suppressed and cell proliferation was promoted in GA regions, although cells in GAs may die through both necrosis and apoptosis. PMID:23209073

  17. High-Resolution Synchrotron Radiation Imaging of Trace Metal Elemental Concentrations in Porites Coral

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cirino, M.; Dunbar, R. B.; Tangri, N.; Mehta, A.

    2014-12-01

    We investigated the use of synchrotron radiation for elemental imaging within the skeleton of a Porites coral from American Samoa to explore the fine-scale structure of strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca) variability. The use of a synchrotron for coral paleoclimate analysis is relatively new. The method provides a high resolution, two-dimensional elemental map of a coral surface. The aragonitic skeleton of Porites sp. colonies has been widely used for paleoclimate reconstruction as the oxygen isotope ratio (δ18O) signal varies with both sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS). Sr/Ca has been used in previous studies in conjunction with δ18O to deconvolve SST from SSS, as Sr/Ca in the coral skeleton varies with SST, but not SSS. However, recent studies suggest that in some cases Sr/Ca variability in coral does not reliably reflect changes in SST. We sought to address this puzzle by investigating Sr/Ca variability in Porites corals at a very fine spatial scale while also demonstrating the suitability of the synchrotron as a coral analysis tool. We also considered Sr/Ca variability as it pertains to the coral's structural elements. The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center synchrotron station generates collimated x-rays in the energy range of 4500-45000 eV with beam diameters as small as 20 μm. Synchrotron imaging allows faster and higher-resolution Sr/Ca analysis than does inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). It also is capable of mapping spatial distributions of many elements, which aids in the development of a multiproxy approach to paleoclimate reconstruction. Imaging and analysis of the Porites coral using synchrotron radiation revealed an intricate sub-seasonal Sr/Ca signal, possibly correlating to a sub-monthly resolution. This signal, which seems unrelated to SST, dominates the annual signal.

  18. Coral δ18O records Porites vs. Diploastrea - sampling resolution and climatic signal!

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dassie, E. P.; Linsley, B. K.; Lambdin, S.

    2013-12-01

    Narrowing uncertainties in climate prediction is an economical and social need that could partially be addressed by the development of robust paleoclimatic networks. Porites is the most widely used genus in studies using massive corals from the Pacific Ocean, however only a few Pacific Porites records span more than 100 years. A different slower growing coral genius, Diploastrea, has the potential to also generate multi-century length paleo-records. Recent Paleoclimatic studies utilizing this genus have shown promising results (Watanabe et al., 2003; Bagnato et al., 2004, 2005). However, some sampling concerns still remain. Diploastrea has large individual corallites (4-5 times larger than Porites); these corallites include a straight inner portion (columella) surrounded by a radiating portion (septa). The septa portion does not grow perpendicular to the direction of the coral growth, but instead radiates at a 45° angle from the columella. Sampling both the columnar and septal portions simultaneously might produce erroneous climatic reconstructions, reflecting a combination of corallite material precipitated several months apart. Additionally, due to Diploastrea slower growing rate, a millimeter sampling resolution might not be enough to retrieve robust climatic information. This study determined the optimal sampling resolution for Diploastrea from Fiji and verified the fidelity of this archive to reconstruct climatic variability. δ18O and δ13C measurements were made on one Diploastrea and one Porites coral colonies from a lagoon in Kandavu, Fiji. Diploastrea (FKD2) was sampled and analyzed at a 0.25mm resolution and Porites (FKD1) at a one-mm resolution; taking into consideration the growth rate of these two cores, both sampling resolution corresponds to a nearly monthly resolution. We created low-resolution sampling from the high-resolution sampling of the Diploastrea and compared it to the Porites measurements. This leads to determine the optimal sampling

  19. Characterization of geographically distinct bacterial communities associated with coral mucus produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp.

    PubMed

    McKew, B A; Dumbrell, A J; Daud, S D; Hepburn, L; Thorpe, E; Mogensen, L; Whitby, C

    2012-08-01

    Acropora and Porites corals are important reef builders in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Bacteria associated with mucus produced by Porites spp. and Acropora spp. from Caribbean (Punta Maroma, Mexico) and Indo-Pacific (Hoga and Sampela, Indonesia) reefs were determined. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities from Caribbean corals were significantly more diverse (H', 3.18 to 4.25) than their Indonesian counterparts (H', 2.54 to 3.25). Dominant taxa were Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Cyanobacteria, which varied in relative abundance between coral genera and region. Distinct coral host-specific communities were also found; for example, Clostridiales were dominant on Acropora spp. (at Hoga and the Mexican Caribbean) compared to Porites spp. and seawater. Within the Gammproteobacteria, Halomonas spp. dominated sequence libraries from Porites spp. (49%) and Acropora spp. (5.6%) from the Mexican Caribbean, compared to the corresponding Indonesian coral libraries (<2%). Interestingly, with the exception of Porites spp. from the Mexican Caribbean, there was also a ubiquity of Psychrobacter spp., which dominated Acropora and Porites libraries from Indonesia and Acropora libraries from the Caribbean. In conclusion, there was a dominance of Halomonas spp. (associated with Acropora and Porites [Mexican Caribbean]), Firmicutes (associated with Acropora [Mexican Caribbean] and with Acropora and Porites [Hoga]), and Cyanobacteria (associated with Acropora and Porites [Hoga] and Porites [Sampela]). This is also the first report describing geographically distinct Psychrobacter spp. associated with coral mucus. In addition, the predominance of Clostridiales associated with Acropora spp. provided additional evidence for coral host-specific microorganisms. PMID:22636010

  20. Trace metal anomalies in bleached Porites coral at Meiji Reef, tropical South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Shu; Yu, Kefu; Zhao, Jianxin; Feng, Yuexing; Chen, Tianran

    2016-04-01

    Coral bleaching has generally been recognized as the main reason for tropical coral reef degradation, but there are few long-term records of coral bleaching events. In this study, trace metals including chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), tin (Sn), titanium (Ti), vanadium (V), and yttrium (Y), were analyzed in two Porites corals collected from Meiji Reef in the tropical South China Sea (SCS) to assess differences in trace metal concentrations in bleached compared with unbleached coral growth bands. Ti, V, Cr, and Mo generally showed irregular fluctuations in both corals. Bleached layers contained high concentrations of Mn, Cu, Sn, and Pb. Unbleached layers showed moderately high concentrations of Mn and Cu only. The different distribution of trace metals in Porites may be attributable to different selectivity on the basis of vital utility or toxicity. Ti, V, Cr, and Mo are discriminated against by both coral polyps and zooxanthellae, but Mn, Cu, Sn, and Pb are accumulated by zooxanthellae and only Mn and Cu are accumulated by polyps as essential elements. The marked increase in Cu, Mn, Pb, and Sn are associated with bleaching processes, including mucus secretion, tissue retraction, and zooxanthellae expulsion and occlusion. Variation in these trace elements within the coral skeleton can be used as potential tracers of short-lived bleaching events.

  1. Evaluating the Effect of Coral Topography on the Climate Signal in Porites spp.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jacobel, A. W.; Quinn, T. M.; Maupin, C. R.

    2008-12-01

    Understanding how the record of environmental variations in the surface waters of tropical oceans is encoded in the skeletal geochemistry of corals is essential to deciding how to extract a signal from their skeletons. A few previous investigators have studied coral growth patterns and corresponding geochemical signals; however despite this attention, questions remain about the best way to extract a climate record from coral cores with regard to skeletal topography and drill path location. Utilizing a slabbed core of Porites lutea from Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu (~15°06'S, 166°52'E) we extracted coral samples along growth bands to evaluate geochemical variations within skeletal isochrons. Coral samples were analyzed using an inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer to determine Sr/Ca ratios, a proxy for sea surface temperature (SST.) Ninety-three Sr/Ca determinations were made from the first isochron; the average value was 8.982 ± 0.030 mmol/mol. The variation about the mean is nearly identical to the analytical precision associated with the Sr/Ca determination. These results suggest that drilling a diachronous path along any axis of growth in a coral skeleton should yield similar results. A second isochron extracted from the coral is being processed to replicate these initial results. In a second experiment, utilizing another slabbed core of Porites lutea from Efate, Vanuatu (~17°34'S, 168°14'E) two sets of paths were drilled through sections of coral characterized by pronounced skeletal topography. In each of these pairs, one path was drilled along an axis of minimum growth and another along an axis of maximum growth. Coral samples were analyzed in the same way as described above to determine Sr/Ca ratios and these analytical determinations are being compared to the instrumental record of SST variations in the region. These results will show whether growth topography is an important variable to monitor when extracting a climate signal from

  2. Chemically-mediated interactions between macroalgae Dictyota spp. and multiple life-history stages of the coral Porites astreoides

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Paul, Valerie J.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Walters, Linda J.; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Beach, Kevin S.; Becerro, Mikel A.

    2011-01-01

    Competition between corals and macroalgae is often assumed to occur on reefs, especially those that have undergone shifts from coral to algal dominance; however, data examining these competitive interactions, especially during the early life-history stages of corals, are scarce. We conducted a series of field and outdoor seawater-table experiments to test the hypothesis that allelopathy (chemical inhibition) mediates interactions between 2 common brown macroalgae, Dictyota pulchella and D. pinnatifida, and the coral Porites astreoides at different life-history stages of the coral. D. pinnatifida significantly reduced larval survival and larval recruitment. The extracts of both D. pinnatifida and D. pulchella significantly reduced larval survival, and the extract of D. pulchella also negatively influenced larval recruitment. There was no measurable effect of the crude extracts from Dictyota spp. on the photophysiology of adult corals. Our results provide evidence that these Dictyota species chemically compete with P. astreoides by negatively affecting larval settlement and recruitment as well as the survival of larvae and new recruits. Macroalgae may perpetuate their dominance on degraded reefs by chemically inhibiting the process of coral recruitment.

  3. Chemically mediated interactions between macroalgae Dictyota spp. and multiple life-history stages of the coral Porites astreoides

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

    Competition between corals and macroalgae is often assumed to occur on reefs, especially those that have undergone shifts from coral to algal dominance; however, data examining these competitive interactions, especially during the early life-history stages of corals, are scarce. We conducted a series of field and outdoor seawater-table experiments to test the hypothesis that allelopathy (chemical inhibition) mediates interactions between 2 common brown macroalgae, Dictyota pulchella and D. pinnatifida, and the coral Porites astreoides at different life-history stages of the coral. D. pinnatifida significantly reduced larval survival and larval recruitment. The extracts of both D. pinnatifida and D. pulchella significantly reduced larval survival, and the extract of D. pulchella also negatively influenced larval recruitment. There was no measurable effect of the crude extracts from Dictyota spp. on the photophysiology of adult corals. Our results provide evidence that these Dictyota species chemically compete with P. astreoides by negatively affecting larval settlement and recruitment as well as the survival of larvae and new recruits. Macroalgae may perpetuate their dominance on degraded reefs by chemically inhibiting the process of coral recruitment. ?? 2011 Inter-Research.

  4. Quantification of virus-like particles suggests viral infection in corals affected by Porites tissue loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawrence, Scott A.; Davy, Joanne E.; Aeby, Greta S.; Wilson, William H.; Davy, Simon K.

    2014-09-01

    Porites tissue loss is a common disease of Porites compressa on Hawaiian reefs. Despite its prevalence, to date, the aetiological agent of the disease has not been found. The apparent lack of a microbial causative agent in the similar disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss, as well as increasing evidence of viral infections in scleractinian corals and Symbiodinium, led us to hypothesise that a virus may be responsible. Electron microscopy revealed the presence of numerous and varied virus-like particles (VLPs) in healthy and diseased P. compressa colonies. While overall virus numbers were similar in all samples, the abundance of a group of icosahedral VLPs differed significantly between healthy and diseased colonies. While not conclusive, these results suggest that viruses may play a role in this disease, and provide a basis for further studies.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. The effect of changes in sea surface temperature on linear growth of Porites coral in Ambon Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corvianawatie, Corry; Cahyarini, Sri Y.; Putri, Mutiara R.

    2015-09-01

    Coral is one of the most important organisms in the coral reef ecosystem. There are several factors affecting coral growth, one of them is changes in sea surface temperature (SST). The purpose of this research is to understand the influence of SST variability on the annual linear growth of Porites coral taken from Ambon Bay. The annual coral linear growth was calculated and compared to the annual SST from the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 3b (ERSST v3b) model. Coral growth was calculated by using Coral X-radiograph Density System (CoralXDS) software. Coral sample X-radiographs were used as input data. Chronology was developed by calculating the coral's annual growth bands. A pair of high and low density banding patterns observed in the coral's X-radiograph represent one year of coral growth. The results of this study shows that Porites coral extents from 2001-2009 and had an average growth rate of 1.46 cm/year. Statistical analysis shows that the annual coral linear growth declined by 0.015 cm/year while the annual SST declined by 0.013°C/year. SST and the annual linear growth of Porites coral in the Ambon Bay is insignificantly correlated with r=0.304 (n=9, p>0.05). This indicates that annual SST variability does not significantly influence the linear growth of Porites coral from Ambon Bay. It is suggested that sedimentation load, salinity, pH or other environmental factors may affect annual linear coral growth.

  8. Parrotfish predation on massive Porites on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaldo, R. M.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2011-03-01

    Parrotfish grazing scars on coral colonies were quantified across four reef zones at Lizard Island, Northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The abundance of parrotfish grazing scars was highest on reef flat and crest, with massive Porites spp . colonies having more parrotfish grazing scars than all other coral species combined. Massive Porites was the only coral type positively selected for grazing by parrotfishes in all four reef zones. The density of parrotfish grazing scars on massive Porites spp., and the rate of new scar formation, was highest on the reef crest and flat, reflecting the lower massive Porites cover and higher parrotfish abundance in these habitats. Overall, it appears that parrotfish predation pressure on corals could affect the abundance of preferred coral species, especially massive Porites spp , across the reef gradient. Parrotfish predation on corals may have a more important role on the GBR reefs than previously thought.

  9. Bleached Porites compressa and Montipora capitata corals catabolize δ13C-enriched lipids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grottoli, Andréa G.; Rodrigues, Lisa J.

    2011-09-01

    Corals rely on stored energy reserves (i.e., lipids, carbohydrates, and protein) to survive bleaching events. To better understand the physiological implications of coral bleaching on lipid catabolism and/or synthesis, we measured the δ13C of coral total lipids (δ13CTL) in experimentally bleached (treatment) and non-bleached (control) Porites compressa and Montipora capitata corals immediately after bleaching and after 1.5 and 4 months of recovery on the reef. Overall δ13CTL values in treatment corals were significantly lower than in control corals because of a 1.9 and 3.4‰ decrease in δ13CTL immediately after bleaching in P. compressa and M. capitata, respectively. The decrease in δ13CTL coincided with decreases in total lipid concentration, indicating that corals catabolized δ13C-enriched lipids. Since storage lipids are primarily depleted during bleaching, we hypothesize that they are isotopically enriched relative to other lipid classes. This work further helps clarify our understanding of changes to coral metabolism and biogeochemistry when bleached and helps elucidate how lipid classes may influence recovery from bleaching and ultimately coral survival.

  10. The effect of changes in sea surface temperature on linear growth of Porites coral in Ambon Bay

    SciTech Connect

    Corvianawatie, Corry Putri, Mutiara R.; Cahyarini, Sri Y.

    2015-09-30

    Coral is one of the most important organisms in the coral reef ecosystem. There are several factors affecting coral growth, one of them is changes in sea surface temperature (SST). The purpose of this research is to understand the influence of SST variability on the annual linear growth of Porites coral taken from Ambon Bay. The annual coral linear growth was calculated and compared to the annual SST from the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 3b (ERSST v3b) model. Coral growth was calculated by using Coral X-radiograph Density System (CoralXDS) software. Coral sample X-radiographs were used as input data. Chronology was developed by calculating the coral’s annual growth bands. A pair of high and low density banding patterns observed in the coral’s X-radiograph represent one year of coral growth. The results of this study shows that Porites coral extents from 2001-2009 and had an average growth rate of 1.46 cm/year. Statistical analysis shows that the annual coral linear growth declined by 0.015 cm/year while the annual SST declined by 0.013°C/year. SST and the annual linear growth of Porites coral in the Ambon Bay is insignificantly correlated with r=0.304 (n=9, p>0.05). This indicates that annual SST variability does not significantly influence the linear growth of Porites coral from Ambon Bay. It is suggested that sedimentation load, salinity, pH or other environmental factors may affect annual linear coral growth.

  11. Bacterial dynamics within the mucus, tissue and skeleton of the coral Porites lutea during different seasons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Jie; Chen, Qi; Long, Li-Juan; Dong, Jun-De; Yang, Jian; Zhang, Si

    2014-12-01

    Investigation of the response of coral microbial communities to seasonal ecological environment at the microscale will advance our understanding of the relationship between coral-associated bacteria community and coral health. In this study, we examined bacteria community composition from mucus, tissue and skeleton of Porites lutea and surrounding seawater every three months for 1 year on Luhuitou fringing reef. The bacterial communities were analyzed using pyrosequencing of the V1-V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene, which demonstrated diverse bacterial consortium profiles in corals. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments studied were significantly different from the surrounding seawater. Moreover, they had a much more dynamic seasonal response compared to the seawater communities. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments collected in each seasonal sample tended to cluster together. Analysis of the relationship between bacterial assemblages and the environmental parameters showed that the bacterial community correlated to dissolved oxygen and rainfall significantly at our study site. This study highlights a dynamic relationship between the high complexity of coral associated bacterial community and seasonally varying ecosystem parameters.

  12. Coral Growth and Bioerosion of Porites lutea in Response to Large Amplitude Internal Waves

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Gertraud Maria; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

    The Similan Islands (Thailand) in the Andaman Sea are exposed to large amplitude internal waves (LAIW), as evidenced by i.a. abrupt fluctuations in temperature of up to 10°C at supertidal frequencies. Although LAIW have been shown to affect coral composition and framework development in shallow waters, the role of LAIW on coral growth is so far unknown. We carried out a long-term transplant experiment with live nubbins and skeleton slabs of the dominating coral Porites lutea to assess the net growth and bioerosion in LAIW-exposed and LAIW-protected waters. Depth-related, seasonal and interannual differences in LAIW-intensities on the exposed western sides of the islands allowed us to separate the effect of LAIW from other possible factors (e.g. monsoon) affecting the corals. Coral growth and bioerosion were inversely related to LAIW intensity, and positively related to coral framework development. Accretion rates of calcareous fouling organisms on the slabs were negligible compared to bioerosion, reflecting the lack of a true carbonate framework on the exposed W faces of the Similan Islands. Our findings show that LAIW may play an important, yet so far overlooked, role in controlling coral growth in tropical waters. PMID:24363805

  13. Bacterial dynamics within the mucus, tissue and skeleton of the coral Porites lutea during different seasons.

    PubMed

    Li, Jie; Chen, Qi; Long, Li-Juan; Dong, Jun-De; Yang, Jian; Zhang, Si

    2014-01-01

    Investigation of the response of coral microbial communities to seasonal ecological environment at the microscale will advance our understanding of the relationship between coral-associated bacteria community and coral health. In this study, we examined bacteria community composition from mucus, tissue and skeleton of Porites lutea and surrounding seawater every three months for 1 year on Luhuitou fringing reef. The bacterial communities were analyzed using pyrosequencing of the V1-V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene, which demonstrated diverse bacterial consortium profiles in corals. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments studied were significantly different from the surrounding seawater. Moreover, they had a much more dynamic seasonal response compared to the seawater communities. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments collected in each seasonal sample tended to cluster together. Analysis of the relationship between bacterial assemblages and the environmental parameters showed that the bacterial community correlated to dissolved oxygen and rainfall significantly at our study site. This study highlights a dynamic relationship between the high complexity of coral associated bacterial community and seasonally varying ecosystem parameters. PMID:25475855

  14. Bacterial dynamics within the mucus, tissue and skeleton of the coral Porites lutea during different seasons

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jie; Chen, Qi; Long, Li-Juan; Dong, Jun-De; Yang, Jian; Zhang, Si

    2014-01-01

    Investigation of the response of coral microbial communities to seasonal ecological environment at the microscale will advance our understanding of the relationship between coral-associated bacteria community and coral health. In this study, we examined bacteria community composition from mucus, tissue and skeleton of Porites lutea and surrounding seawater every three months for 1 year on Luhuitou fringing reef. The bacterial communities were analyzed using pyrosequencing of the V1-V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene, which demonstrated diverse bacterial consortium profiles in corals. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments studied were significantly different from the surrounding seawater. Moreover, they had a much more dynamic seasonal response compared to the seawater communities. The bacterial communities in all three coral compartments collected in each seasonal sample tended to cluster together. Analysis of the relationship between bacterial assemblages and the environmental parameters showed that the bacterial community correlated to dissolved oxygen and rainfall significantly at our study site. This study highlights a dynamic relationship between the high complexity of coral associated bacterial community and seasonally varying ecosystem parameters. PMID:25475855

  15. 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.

  16. Model suggests potential for Porites coral population recovery after removal of anthropogenic disturbance (Luhuitou, Hainan, South China Sea).

    PubMed

    Zhao, Meixia; Riegl, Bernhard; Yu, Kefu; Shi, Qi; Zhang, Qiaomin; Liu, Guohui; Yang, Hongqiang; Yan, Hongqiang

    2016-01-01

    Population models are important for resource management and can inform about potential trajectories useful for planning purposes, even with incomplete monitoring data. From size frequency data on Luhuitou fringing reef, Hainan, South China Sea, a matrix population model of massive corals (Porites lutea) was developed and trajectories over 100 years under no disturbance and random disturbances were projected. The model reflects a largely open population of Porites lutea, with low local recruitment and preponderance of imported recruitment. Under no further disturbance, the population of Porites lutea will grow and its size structure will change from predominance of small size classes to large size classes. Therewith, total Porites cover will increase. Even under random disturbances every 10 to 20 years, the Porites population could remain viable, albeit at lower space cover. The models suggest recovery at Luhuitou following the removal of chronic anthropogenic disturbance. Extending the area of coral reef reserves to protect the open coral community and the path of connectivity is advisable and imperative for the conservation of Hainan's coral reefs. PMID:27622504

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

    PubMed

    Cantin, Neal E; Lough, Janice M

    2014-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (<50 cm) cores were collected from apparently healthy, surviving Porites colonies, from reefs in the central GBR (18-19°S) that have documented observations of widespread bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef), annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef), only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef) locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification) were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980-2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans. PMID:24586377

  18. Influence of Land Development on Holocene Porites Coral Calcification at Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan

    PubMed Central

    Sowa, Kohki; Watanabe, Tsuyoshi; Kan, Hironobu; Yamano, Hiroya

    2014-01-01

    To evaluate the relationships between coral calcification, thermal stress, and sedimentation and eutrophication linked to human impact (hereafter referred to as “land development”) by river discharge, we analyzed growth characteristics in the context of a paleoenvironment that was reconstructed from geochemical signals in modern and fossil (1.2 cal kyr BP and 3.5 cal kyr BP, respectively) massive Porites corals from Nagura Bay (“Nagura”) and from modern Porites corals from the estuary of the Todoroki River, Shiraho Reef (“Todoroki”). Both sites are on Ishigaki Island, Japan, and Nagura is located approximately 12 km west of Todoroki. At Nagura, the individual corals provide time windows of 13 (modern), 10 (1.2 cal kyr BP), and 38 yr in length (3.5 cal kyr BP). Here, we present the coral annual calcification for Nagura and Todoroki, and (bi) monthly resolved records of Sr/Ca (a proxy of sea surface temperature (SST)) and Ba/Ca (a proxy of sedimentation and nutrients related to land development) for Nagura. At Nagura, the winter SST was cooler by 2.8°C in the 1.2 cal kyr BP, and the annual and winter SSTs in the 3.5 cal kyr BP were cooler by 2.6°C and 4.6°C, respectively. The annual periodicity of Ba/Ca in modern coral is linked to river discharge and is associated with land development including sugar cane cultivation. Modern coral calcification also has declined with SST warming and increasing Ba/Ca peaks in winter. However, calcification of fossil corals does not appear to have been influenced by variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca. Modern coral growth characteristics at Nagura and Todoroki indicate that coral growth is both spatially and temporally influenced by river discharge and land development. At Nagura, our findings suggest that land development induces negative thermal sensitivity for calcification in winter due to sugar cane harvest, which is a specifically modern phenomenon. PMID:24586393

  19. Hard coral (Porites lobata) extracts and homarine on cytochrome P450 expression in Hawaiian butterflyfishes with different feeding strategies.

    PubMed

    Maldonado, Aileen; Johnson, Amber; Gochfeld, Deborah; Slattery, Marc; Ostrander, Gary K; Bingham, Jon-Paul; Schlenk, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Dietary specialists tend to be less susceptible to the effects of chemical defenses produced by their prey compared to generalist predators that feed upon a broader range of prey species. While many researchers have investigated the ability of insects to detoxify dietary allelochemicals, little research has been conducted in marine ecosystems. We investigated metabolic detoxification pathways in three species of butterflyfishes: the hard coral specialist feeder, Chaetodon multicinctus, and two generalist feeders, Chaetodon auriga and Chaetodon kleinii. Each species was fed tissue homogenate of the hard coral Porites lobata or the feeding deterrent compound homarine (found in the coral extract), and the expression and catalytic activity of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A-like and CYP2-like enzymes were examined after one-week of treatment. The P. lobata homogenate significantly induced content and catalytic activity of CYP2-like and CYP3A-like forms, by 2-3 fold and by 3-9 fold, respectively, in C. multicinctus. Homarine caused a significant decrease of CYP2-like and CYP3A-like proteins at the high dose in C. kleinii and 60-80% mortality in that species. Homarine also induced CYP3A-like content by 3-fold and catalytic activity by 2-fold in C. auriga, while causing non-monotonic increases in CYP2-like and CYP3A-like catalytic activity in C. multicinctus. Our results indicate that dietary exposure to coral homogenates and the feeding deterrent constituent within these homogenates caused species-specific modulation of detoxification enzymes consistent with the prey selection strategies of generalist and specialist butterflyfishes. PMID:26297807

  20. Growth characteristics of the reef-building coral Porites astreoides under different environmental conditions in the Western Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elizalde-Rendón, E. M.; Horta-Puga, G.; González-Diaz, P.; Carricart-Ganivet, J. P.

    2010-09-01

    Skeletal extension (3.67 ± 0.65 mm year-1), density (1.49 ± 0.16 g cm-3), and calcification rate (0.55 ± 0.12 g cm-2 year-1) were determined using annual growth bands of Porites astreoides skeletons collected in three different reef systems in the Western Atlantic. The corals showed a low-density annual growth band at their apex, and seasonal timing of low and high-density band formation in P. astreoides appears to be similar at the three study sites in the Western Atlantic. The range of values presented here, for the three growth variables, spans the known range of skeletal-growth variability in P. astreoides for the Western Atlantic. The relationships between the growth parameters were similar to those previously described by other authors for massive Porites species from the Indo-Pacific, suggesting that P. astreoides has the same growth strategy, primarily investing calcification resources in extension rate. It is noteworthy that the P. astreoides population growing off the northwest coast of Cuba had similar growth characteristics as populations from the Caribbean region which were different from populations in the Gulf of Mexico, which seem to be isolated and adapted for growth at higher average sea-surface temperatures.

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

    PubMed

    Holstein, Daniel M; Smith, Tyler B; Paris, Claire B

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems between 30-150 m may be important refugia habitat for coral reefs and associated benthic communities from climate change and coastal development. However, reduced light at mesophotic depths may present an energetic challenge to the successful reproduction of light-dependent coral organisms, and limit this refugia potential. Here, the relationship of depth and fecundity was investigated in a brooding depth-generalist scleractinian coral, Porites astreoides from 5-37 m in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) using paraffin tissue histology. Despite a trend of increasing planulae production with depth, no significant differences were found in mean peak planulae density between shallow, mid-depth and mesophotic sites. Differential planulae production over depth is thus controlled by P. astreoides coral cover, which peaks at 10 m and ~35 m in the USVI. These results suggest that mesophotic ecosystems are reproductive refuge for P. astreoides in the USVI, and may behave as refugia for P. astreoides metapopulations providing that vertical larval exchanges are viable. PMID:26789408

  2. Diversity and distribution of Actinobacteria associated with reef coral Porites lutea.

    PubMed

    Kuang, Weiqi; Li, Jie; Zhang, Si; Long, Lijuan

    2015-01-01

    Actinobacteria is a ubiquitous major group in coral holobiont. The diversity and spatial and temporal distribution of actinobacteria have been rarely documented. In this study, diversity of actinobacteria associated with mucus, tissue and skeleton of Porites lutea and in the surrounding seawater were examined every 3 months for 1 year on Luhuitou fringing reef. The population structures of the P. lutea-associated actinobacteria were analyzed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse actinobacteria profiles in P. lutea. A total of 25 described families and 10 unnamed families were determined in the populations, and 12 genera were firstly detected in corals. The Actinobacteria diversity was significantly different between the P. lutea and the surrounding seawater. Only 10 OTUs were shared by the seawater and coral samples. Redundancy and hierarchical cluster analyses were performed to analyze the correlation between the variations of actinobacteria population within the divergent compartments of P. lutea, seasonal changes, and environmental factors. The actinobacteria communities in the same coral compartment tended to cluster together. Even so, an extremely small fraction of OTUs was common in all three P. lutea compartments. Analysis of the relationship between actinobacteria assemblages and the environmental parameters showed that several genera were closely related to specific environmental factors. This study highlights that coral-associated actinobacteria populations are highly diverse, and spatially structured within P. lutea, and they are distinct from which in the ambient seawater. PMID:26539166

  3. Diversity and distribution of Actinobacteria associated with reef coral Porites lutea

    PubMed Central

    Kuang, Weiqi; Li, Jie; Zhang, Si; Long, Lijuan

    2015-01-01

    Actinobacteria is a ubiquitous major group in coral holobiont. The diversity and spatial and temporal distribution of actinobacteria have been rarely documented. In this study, diversity of actinobacteria associated with mucus, tissue and skeleton of Porites lutea and in the surrounding seawater were examined every 3 months for 1 year on Luhuitou fringing reef. The population structures of the P. lutea-associated actinobacteria were analyzed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse actinobacteria profiles in P. lutea. A total of 25 described families and 10 unnamed families were determined in the populations, and 12 genera were firstly detected in corals. The Actinobacteria diversity was significantly different between the P. lutea and the surrounding seawater. Only 10 OTUs were shared by the seawater and coral samples. Redundancy and hierarchical cluster analyses were performed to analyze the correlation between the variations of actinobacteria population within the divergent compartments of P. lutea, seasonal changes, and environmental factors. The actinobacteria communities in the same coral compartment tended to cluster together. Even so, an extremely small fraction of OTUs was common in all three P. lutea compartments. Analysis of the relationship between actinobacteria assemblages and the environmental parameters showed that several genera were closely related to specific environmental factors. This study highlights that coral-associated actinobacteria populations are highly diverse, and spatially structured within P. lutea, and they are distinct from which in the ambient seawater. PMID:26539166

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

    PubMed Central

    Holstein, Daniel M.; Smith, Tyler B.; Paris, Claire B.

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems between 30–150 m may be important refugia habitat for coral reefs and associated benthic communities from climate change and coastal development. However, reduced light at mesophotic depths may present an energetic challenge to the successful reproduction of light-dependent coral organisms, and limit this refugia potential. Here, the relationship of depth and fecundity was investigated in a brooding depth-generalist scleractinian coral, Porites astreoides from 5–37 m in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) using paraffin tissue histology. Despite a trend of increasing planulae production with depth, no significant differences were found in mean peak planulae density between shallow, mid-depth and mesophotic sites. Differential planulae production over depth is thus controlled by P. astreoides coral cover, which peaks at 10 m and ~35 m in the USVI. These results suggest that mesophotic ecosystems are reproductive refuge for P. astreoides in the USVI, and may behave as refugia for P. astreoides metapopulations providing that vertical larval exchanges are viable. PMID:26789408

  5. Induction of Larval Settlement in the Reef Coral Porites astreoides by a Cultivated Marine Roseobacter Strain.

    PubMed

    Sharp, K H; Sneed, J M; Ritchie, K B; Mcdaniel, L; Paul, V J

    2015-04-01

    Successful larval settlement and recruitment by corals is critical for the survival of coral reef ecosystems. Several closely related strains of γ-proteobacteria have been identified as cues for coral larval settlement, but the inductive properties of other bacterial taxa naturally occurring in reef ecosystems have not yet been explored. In this study, we assayed bacterial strains representing taxonomic groups consistently detected in corals for their ability to influence larval settlement in the coral Porites astreoides. We identified one α-proteobacterial strain, Roseivivax sp. 46E8, which significantly increased larval settlement in P. astreoides. Logarithmic growth phase (log phase) cell cultures of Roseivivax sp. 46E8 and filtrates (0.22μm) from log phase Roseivivax sp. 46E8 cultures significantly increased settlement, suggesting that an extracellular settlement factor is produced during active growth phase. Filtrates from log phase cultures of two other bacterial isolates, Marinobacter sp. 46E3, and Cytophaga sp. 46B6, also significantly increased settlement, but the cell cultures themselves did not. Monospecific biofilms of the three strains did not result in significant increases in larval settlement. Organic and aqueous/methanol extracts of Roseivivax sp. 46E8 cultures did not affect larval settlement. Examination of filtrates from cell cultures showed that Roseivivax sp. 46E8 spontaneously generated virus-like particles in log and stationary phase growth. Though the mechanism of settlement enhancement by Roseivivax sp. 46E8 is not yet elucidated, our findings point to a new aspect of coral-Roseobacter interactions that should be further investigated, especially in naturally occurring, complex microbial biofilms on reef surfaces. PMID:25920713

  6. Vibrational spectroscopic characterization of growth bands in Porites coral from South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Song, Yinxian; Yu, Kefu; Ayoko, Godwin A.; Frost, Ray L.; Shi, Qi; Feng, Yuexing; Zhao, Jianxin

    2013-08-01

    A series of samples from different growth bands of Porites coral skeleton were studied using Raman, infrared reflectance methods. The Raman spectra proved that skeleton samples from different growth bands have the same mineral phase as aragonite, but a band at 133 cm-1 for the top layer shows a transition from ˜120 cm-1 for vaterite to ˜141 cm-1 for aragonite. It is inferred that the vaterite should be the precursor of aragonite of coral skeleton. The positional shift in the infrared spectra of the skeleton samples from growth bands correlate significantly to their minor elements (Li, Mg, Sr, Mn, Fe and U) contents. Mg, Sr and U especially have significant negative correlations with the positions of the antisymmetric stretching band ν3 at ˜1469 cm-1. And Li shows a high negative correlation with ν2 band (˜855 cm-1), while Sr and Mn show similar negative correlation with ν4 band (˜712 cm-1). And Mn also shows a negative correlation with ν1 band (˜1082 cm-1). A significantly negative correlation is observed for U with ν1 + ν4 band (˜1786 cm-1). However, Fe shows positive correlation with ν1, ν2, ν3, ν4 and ν1 + ν4 bands shifts, especially a significant correlation with ν1 band (˜1082 cm-1). New insights into the characteristics of coral at different growth bands of skeleton are given in present work.

  7. Regional decline in growth rates of massive Porites corals in Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Tanzil, Jani T I; Brown, Barbara E; Dunne, Richard P; Lee, Jen N; Kaandorp, Jaap A; Todd, Peter A

    2013-10-01

    This study reports the first well-replicated analysis of continuous coral growth records from warmer water reefs (mean annual sea surface temperatures (SST) >28.5 °C) around the Thai-Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Based on analyses of 70 colonies sampled from 15 reefs within six locations, region-wide declines in coral calcification rate (ca. 18.6%), linear extension rate (ca. 15.4%) and skeletal bulk density (ca. 3.9%) were observed over a 31-year period from 1980 to 2010. Decreases in calcification and linear extension rates were observed at five of the six locations and ranged from ca. 17.2-21.6% and ca. 11.4-19.6%, respectively, whereas decline in skeletal bulk density was a consequence of significant reductions at only two locations (ca. 6.9% and 10.7%). A significant link between region-wide growth rates and average annual SST was found, and Porites spp. demonstrated a high thermal threshold of ca. 29.4 °C before calcification rates declined. Responses at individual locations within the region were more variable with links between SST and calcification rates being significant at only four locations. Rates of sea temperature warming at locations in the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) (ca. 1.3 °C per decade) were almost twice those in the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) (ca. 0.7 °C per decade), but this was not reflected in the magnitude of calcification declines at corresponding locations. Considering that massive Porites spp. are major reef builders around Southeast Asia, this region-wide growth decline is a cause for concern for future reef accretion rates and resilience. However, this study suggests that the future rates and patterns of change within the region are unlikely to be uniform or dependent solely on the rates of change in the thermal environment. PMID:23744603

  8. Borehole density on the surface of living Porites corals as an indicator of sedimentation in Hong Kong.

    PubMed

    Xie, James Y; Wong, Jane C Y; Dumont, Clement P; Goodkin, Nathalie; Qiu, Jian-Wen

    2016-07-15

    Borehole density on the surface of Porites has been used as an indicator of water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. We assessed the relationship between borehole density on Porites and eight water quality parameters across 26 sites in Hong Kong. We found that total borehole densities on the surface of Porites at 16 of the studied sites were high (>1000individualsm(-2)), with polychaetes being the dominant bioeroders. Sedimentation rate was correlated positively with total borehole density and polychaete borehole density, with the latter relationship having a substantially higher correlation of determination. None of the environmental factors used were significantly correlated with bivalve borehole density. These results provide a baseline for assessing future changes in coral bioerosion in Hong Kong. This present study also indicates that polychaete boreholes can be used as a bioindicator of sedimentation in the South China Sea region where polychaetes are numerically dominant bioeroders. PMID:27179996

  9. Sex-associated variations in coral skeletal oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Porites panamensis in the southern Gulf of California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabral-Tena, Rafael A.; Sánchez, Alberto; Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor; Ruvalcaba-Díaz, Angel H.; Balart, Eduardo F.

    2016-05-01

    variables; therefore, variations in skeletal δ13C appear to be driven mainly by metabolic effects. Our results support the hypothesis of a sex-associated difference in skeletal δ18O and δ13C signal, and suggest that environmental conditions and coral growth parameters affect skeletal isotopic signals differently in each sex. Although these findings relate to one gonochoric brooding species, they may have some implications for the more commonly used gonochoric spawning species such as Porites lutea and Porites lobata.

  10. Long distance dispersal and vertical gene flow in the Caribbean brooding coral Porites astreoides.

    PubMed

    Serrano, Xaymara M; Baums, Iliana B; Smith, Tyler B; Jones, Ross J; Shearer, Tonya L; Baker, Andrew C

    2016-01-01

    To date, most assessments of coral connectivity have emphasized long-distance horizontal dispersal of propagules from one shallow reef to another. The extent of vertical connectivity, however, remains largely understudied. Here, we used newly-developed and existing DNA microsatellite loci for the brooding coral Porites astreoides to assess patterns of horizontal and vertical connectivity in 590 colonies collected from three depth zones (≤10 m, 15-20 m and ≥25 m) at sites in Florida, Bermuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). We also tested whether maternal transmission of algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) might limit effective vertical connectivity. Overall, shallow P. astreoides exhibited high gene flow between Florida and USVI, but limited gene flow between these locations and Bermuda. In contrast, there was significant genetic differentiation by depth in Florida (Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Dry Tortugas), but not in Bermuda or USVI, despite strong patterns of depth zonation in algal symbionts at two of these locations. Together, these findings suggest that P. astreoides is effective at dispersing both horizontally and vertically despite its brooding reproductive mode and maternal transmission of algal symbionts. In addition, these findings might help explain the ecological success reported for P. astreoides in the Caribbean in recent decades. PMID:26899614

  11. Comprehensive characterization of skeletal tissue growth anomalies of the finger coral Porites compressa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domart-Coulon, Isabelle J.; Traylor-Knowles, Nikki; Peters, Esther; Elbert, David; Downs, Craig A.; Price, Kathy; Stubbs, Joanne; McLaughlin, Shawn; Cox, Evelyn; Aeby, Greta; Brown, P. Randy; Ostrander, Gary K.

    2006-11-01

    The scleractinian finger coral Porites compressa has been documented to develop raised growth anomalies of unknown origin, commonly referred to as “tumors”. These skeletal tissue anomalies (STAs) are circumscribed nodule-like areas of enlarged skeleton and tissue with fewer polyps and zooxanthellae than adjacent tissue. A field survey of the STA prevalence in Oahu, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, was complemented by laboratory analysis to reveal biochemical, histological and skeletal differences between anomalous and reference tissue. MutY, Hsp90a1, GRP75 and metallothionein, proteins known to be up-regulated in hyperplastic tissues, were over expressed in the STAs compared to adjacent normal-appearing and reference tissues. Histological analysis was further accompanied by elemental and micro-structural analyses of skeleton. Anomalous skeleton was of similar aragonite composition to adjacent skeleton but more porous as evidenced by an increased rate of vertical extension without thickening. Polyp structure was retained throughout the lesion, but abnormal polyps were hypertrophied, with increased mass of aboral tissue lining the skeleton, and thickened areas of skeletogenic calicoblastic epithelium along the basal floor. The latter were highly metabolically active and infiltrated with chromophore cells. These observations qualify the STAs as hyperplasia and are the first report in poritid corals of chromophore infiltration processes in active calicoblastic epithelium areas.

  12. Long distance dispersal and vertical gene flow in the Caribbean brooding coral Porites astreoides

    PubMed Central

    Serrano, Xaymara M.; Baums, Iliana B.; Smith, Tyler B.; Jones, Ross J.; Shearer, Tonya L.; Baker, Andrew C.

    2016-01-01

    To date, most assessments of coral connectivity have emphasized long-distance horizontal dispersal of propagules from one shallow reef to another. The extent of vertical connectivity, however, remains largely understudied. Here, we used newly-developed and existing DNA microsatellite loci for the brooding coral Porites astreoides to assess patterns of horizontal and vertical connectivity in 590 colonies collected from three depth zones (≤10 m, 15–20 m and ≥25 m) at sites in Florida, Bermuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). We also tested whether maternal transmission of algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) might limit effective vertical connectivity. Overall, shallow P. astreoides exhibited high gene flow between Florida and USVI, but limited gene flow between these locations and Bermuda. In contrast, there was significant genetic differentiation by depth in Florida (Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Dry Tortugas), but not in Bermuda or USVI, despite strong patterns of depth zonation in algal symbionts at two of these locations. Together, these findings suggest that P. astreoides is effective at dispersing both horizontally and vertically despite its brooding reproductive mode and maternal transmission of algal symbionts. In addition, these findings might help explain the ecological success reported for P. astreoides in the Caribbean in recent decades. PMID:26899614

  13. Macrobioerosion in Porites corals in subtropical northern South China Sea: a limiting factor for high-latitude reef framework development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Tianran; Li, Shu; Yu, Kefu

    2013-03-01

    Bioerosion is an important limiting factor in carbonate accretion and reef framework development; however, few studies have quantified the direct impact of macroborers on high-latitude coral communities, which are viewed as potential refuge during a period of global warming. In this study, internal macrobioerosion of Porites corals was examined at Daya Bay, subtropical northern South China Sea. The principal borers were the bivalve Lithophaga spp. and the sponges Cliona spp. and Cliothosa spp. (≥80 %), while sipunculid and polychaete worms and barnacles accounted for small amounts of bioerosion (≤20 %). Porites corals were heavily bioeroded in areas impacted by aquacultural and urban activities (10.34-27.55 %) compared with corals in relatively unpolluted areas (2.18-6.76 %). High levels of bioerosion, especially boring bivalve infestation, significantly weaken the corals and increase their susceptibility to dislodgement and fragmentation in typhoons, limiting accumulation of limestone framework. This study implies that carbonate accretion and reef development for high-latitude coral communities may be limited in future high-CO2 and eutrophication-stressed environments.

  14. Needle-like grains across growth lines in the coral skeleton of Porites lobata.

    PubMed

    Motai, Satoko; Nagai, Takaya; Sowa, Kohki; Watanabe, Tsuyoshi; Sakamoto, Naoya; Yurimoto, Hisayoshi; Kawano, Jun

    2012-12-01

    The skeletal texture and crystal morphology of the massive reef-building coral Porites lobata were observed from the nano- to micrometer scale using an analytical transmission electron microscope (ATEM). The skeletal texture consists of centers of calcification (COCs) and fiber area. Fiber areas contain bundles of needle-like aragonite crystals that are elongated along the crystallographic c-axis and are several hundred nanometers to one micrometer in width and several micrometers in length. The size distribution of aragonite crystals is relatively homogeneous in the fibers. Growth lines are observed sub-perpendicular to the direction of aragonite growth. These growth lines occur in 1-2 μm intervals and reflect a periodic contrast in the thickness of an ion-spattered sample and pass through the interior of some aragonite crystals. These observations suggest that the medium filled in the calcification space maintains a CaCO₃-supersaturated state during fiber growth and that a physical change occurs periodically during the aragonite crystals of the fiber area. PMID:23041294

  15. The relationship between the ratio of strontium to calcium and sea-surface temperature in a modern Porites astreoides coral: Implications for using P. astreoides as a paleoclimate archive

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tess E. Busch; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Richey, Julie N.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios

    2015-01-01

    An inverse relationship has been demonstrated between water temperature and the ratio of strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca) in coral aragonite for a number of Pacific species of the genus Porites. This empirically determined relationship has been used to reconstruct past sea-surface temperature (SST) from modern and Holocene age coral archives. A study was conducted to investigate this relationship for Porites astreoides to determine the potential for using these corals as a paleotemperature archive in the Caribbean and western tropical Atlantic Ocean. Skeletal aragonite from a P. astreoides colony growing offshore of the southeast coast of Florida was subsampled with a mean temporal resolution of 14 samples per year and analyzed for Sr/Ca. The resulting Sr/Ca time series yielded well-defined annual cycles that correspond to annual growth bands in the coral. Sr/Ca was regressed against a monthly SST record from C-MAN buoy station FWYF1 (located at Fowey Rocks, Florida), resulting in the following Sr/Ca-SST relationship: Sr/Ca = –0.040*SST + 10.128 (R = –0.77). A 10-year time series of Sr/Ca-derived SST yields annual cycles with a 10–12 degree Celsius seasonal amplitude, consistent with available local instrumental records. We conclude that Sr/Ca in Porites astreoides from the Caribbean/Atlantic region has high potential for developing subannually resolved modern and recent Holocene SST records.

  16. Twenty years of Western Pacific Warm Pool variability as recorded in a Porites coral from Chuuk Lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, A. J.; Lee, K.; Lee, S. H.; Anderson, D. M.; Kim, J.

    2012-12-01

    The Western Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) is a key aspect of the global climate, exchanging heat and carbon with the atmosphere as well as with the surrounding ocean and the underlying water masses. This region experiences large fluctuations in precipitation and temperature due to interannual oscillations in the El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Chuuk Atoll (7°N, 152°E) is centrally located within the Warm Pool and provides an ideal location for studies of WPWP processes. Massive mounding corals have shown to be one of the best paleoclimate proxies, especially in warm, tropical regions because they have the powerful advantage of recording environmental changes in the seawater in which they are growing in their aragonitic skeletons. In addition, they grow relatively quickly in comparison to other marine calcifiers, providing the opportunity to make high-resolution (monthly or better) measurements. Determining the geochemical properties (δ18O, δ13C, Sr/Ca) of the calcium carbonate coral skeletons allows us to reconstruct past oceanic environmental conditions. Using the combination of stable isotope analyses and Sr/Ca measurements of the coral skeletal material, corals greatly contribute to a longer ocean observation record than is available through just the modern instrumental record. Cores from large Porites lobata coral heads were collected from Chuuk Atoll in June 2011 and have undergone stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C) and trace element (Sr/Ca) analysis. The KIOST (former KORDI) tropical marine station at Chuuk has been collecting temperature and salinity records for the past several years, making the calibration of geochemical data to temperature or salinity measurements much more accurate than simply using low-resolution model variables. Results covering the last 20 years indicate small annual temperature variations and large deviations in oxygen isotope values corresponding to El Niño years. Results will also be compared to a Porites coral core collected in

  17. 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

  18. Effects of Coralliophila violacea on tissue loss in the scleractinian corals Porites spp. depend on host response

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Raymundo, L.; Work, Thierry M.; Miller, R.L.; Lozada-Misa, P.L.

    2016-01-01

    We investigated interactions between the corallivorous gastropod Coralliophila violacea and its preferred hosts Porites spp. Our objectives were to experimentally determine whether tissue loss could progress in Porites during or after Coralliophila predation on corals with and without tissue loss and to histologically document snail predation. In 64% of feeding scars, tissue regenerated within 3 wk, leaving no trace of predation. However, in roughly 28% of scars, lesions progressed to subacute tissue loss resembling white syndrome. In feeding experiments, scars from snails previously fed diseased tissue developed progressive tissue loss twice as frequently as scars from snails previously fed healthy tissue. Scars from previously healthy-fed snails were 3 times as likely to heal as those from previously diseased-fed snails. Histology revealed marked differences in host responses to snails; P. cylindrica manifested a robust inflammatory response with fewer secondary colonizing organisms such as algae, sponges, and helminths, whereas P. rus showed no evident inflammation and more secondary colonization. We conclude that lesion progression associated with Coralliophila may be associated with secondary colonization of coral tissues damaged by predator-induced trauma and necrosis. Importantly, variation at the cellular level should be considered when explaining interspecific differences in host responses in corals impacted by phenomena such as predation.

  19. Effects of Coralliophila violacea on tissue loss in the scleractinian corals Porites spp. depend on host response.

    PubMed

    Raymundo, L J; Work, T M; Miller, R L; Lozada-Misa, P L

    2016-04-12

    We investigated interactions between the corallivorous gastropod Coralliophila violacea and its preferred hosts Porites spp. Our objectives were to experimentally determine whether tissue loss could progress in Porites during or after Coralliophila predation on corals with and without tissue loss and to histologically document snail predation. In 64% of feeding scars, tissue regenerated within 3 wk, leaving no trace of predation. However, in roughly 28% of scars, lesions progressed to subacute tissue loss resembling white syndrome. In feeding experiments, scars from snails previously fed diseased tissue developed progressive tissue loss twice as frequently as scars from snails previously fed healthy tissue. Scars from previously healthy-fed snails were 3 times as likely to heal as those from previously diseased-fed snails. Histology revealed marked differences in host responses to snails; P. cylindrica manifested a robust inflammatory response with fewer secondary colonizing organisms such as algae, sponges, and helminths, whereas P. rus showed no evident inflammation and more secondary colonization. We conclude that lesion progression associated with Coralliophila may be associated with secondary colonization of coral tissues damaged by predator-induced trauma and necrosis. Importantly, variation at the cellular level should be considered when explaining interspecific differences in host responses in corals impacted by phenomena such as predation. PMID:27068505

  20. Effect of light and brine shrimp on skeletal δ 13C in the Hawaiian coral Porites compressa: a tank experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2002-06-01

    Previous experimental fieldwork showed that coral skeletal δ 13C values decreased when solar intensity was reduced, and increased in the absence of zooplankton. However, actual seasonal changes in solar irradiance levels are typically less pronounced than those used in the previous experiment and the effect of increases in the consumption of zooplankton in the coral diet on skeletal δ 13C remains relatively unknown. In the present study, the effects of four different light and heterotrophy regimes on coral skeletal δ 13C values were measured. Porites compressa corals were grown in outdoor flow-through tanks under 112%, 100%, 75%, and 50% light conditions at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Hawaii. In addition, corals were fed either zero, low, medium, or high concentrations of brine shrimp. Decreases in light from 100% resulted in significant decreases in δ 13C that is most likely due to a corresponding decrease in photosynthesis. Increases in light to 112% also resulted in a decrease in δ 13C values. This latter response may be a consequence of photoinhibition. The overall curved response in δ 13C values was described by a significant quadratic function. Increases in brine shrimp concentrations resulted in increased skeletal δ 13C levels. This unexpected outcome appears to be attributable to enhanced nitrogen supply associated with the brine shrimp diet which led to increased zooxanthellae concentrations, increased photosynthesis rates, and thus increased δ 13C values. This result highlights the potential influence of nutrients from heterotrophically acquired carbon in maintaining the zooxanthellae-host symbiosis in balance. In addition, evidence is presented that suggests that coral skeletal growth and δ 13C are decoupled. These results increase our knowledge of how light and heterotrophy affects the δ 13C of coral skeletons.

  1. 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

  2. SPCZ- and ENSO-related Salinity Variations Recorded in the Skeletal Geochemistry of a Porites Coral from Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kilbourne, K. H.; Quinn, T. M.; Taylor, F. W.; Delcroix, T.; Gouriou, Y.

    2003-12-01

    Variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) are important components of climate variability in the tropical ocean-atmosphere system. Instrumental SST time series are much more readily available than are instrumental SSS time series, which are exceedingly rare. SSS variations are strongly linked to seawater δ 18O variations in the tropics, thus coral-based reconstructions of seawater δ 18O offer an opportunity to reconstruct the history of SSS variations in the tropical oceans. Seawater δ 18O is obtained by combining coral skeletal δ 18O, which varies in response to changes in seawater δ 18O and SST, with coral skeletal Sr/Ca, which varies in response to SST changes. This method has great potential for reconstructing past salinity variations. We explore this potential using a monthly-resolved, 65-year record of skeletal δ 18O and Sr/Ca variations in a Porites coral from Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu (16.0° S, 166.7° E). Santo is well positioned for such a study because ENSO-related climate variability strongly influences local salinity through changes in the position of the center of South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) convection/precipitation and associated salinity front movements. Moreover, a 24-year record of SSS variations is available from this region, which permits a ground-truth assessment of the robustness of the coral-based seawater δ 18O-SSS reconstruction. Investigation into different methods of combining coral δ 18O and Sr/Ca to reconstruct SSS reveals that the coral δ 18O anomaly time series provides the best fit to the SSS time series. A post-1976/1977 freshening trend in the δ 18O anomaly time series, which has been documented in other proxy time series, increases our confidence that this time series accurately reflects changes in the hydrologic balance in the western tropical Pacific. The Vanuatu coral δ 18O anomaly time series also correlates strongly with the Southern Oscillation Index, the Niño 3.4 SST

  3. Growth Anomalies on the Coral Genera Acropora and Porites Are Strongly Associated with Host Density and Human Population Size across the Indo-Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Franklin, Erik C.; Haapkyla, Jessica; Harvell, C. Drew; Neale, Stephen; Page, Cathie A.; Raymundo, Laurie; Vargas-Ángel, Bernardo; Willis, Bette L.; Work, Thierry M.; Davy, Simon K.

    2011-01-01

    Growth anomalies (GAs) are common, tumor-like diseases that can cause significant morbidity and decreased fecundity in the major Indo-Pacific reef-building coral genera, Acropora and Porites. GAs are unusually tractable for testing hypotheses about drivers of coral disease because of their pan-Pacific distributions, relatively high occurrence, and unambiguous ease of identification. We modeled multiple disease-environment associations that may underlie the prevalence of Acropora growth anomalies (AGA) (n = 304 surveys) and Porites growth anomalies (PGA) (n = 602 surveys) from across the Indo-Pacific. Nine predictor variables were modeled, including coral host abundance, human population size, and sea surface temperature and ultra-violet radiation anomalies. Prevalence of both AGAs and PGAs were strongly host density-dependent. PGAs additionally showed strong positive associations with human population size. Although this association has been widely posited, this is one of the first broad-scale studies unambiguously linking a coral disease with human population size. These results emphasize that individual coral diseases can show relatively distinct patterns of association with environmental predictors, even in similar diseases (growth anomalies) found on different host genera (Acropora vs. Porites). As human densities and environmental degradation increase globally, the prevalence of coral diseases like PGAs could increase accordingly, halted only perhaps by declines in host density below thresholds required for disease establishment. PMID:21365011

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. A new method for calibrating a boron isotope paleo-pH proxy using massive Porites corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kubota, Kaoru; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Ishikawa, Tsuyoshi; Suzuki, Atsushi

    2015-09-01

    The boron isotope ratio (δ11B) of marine biogenic carbonates can reconstruct pH and pCO2 of seawater, and potentially CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. To date, δ11B-pHSW calibration has been proposed via culturing experiments, where calcifying organisms are cultured under artificially acidified seawater. However, in scleractinian corals, reconstructed pH values using culture-based calibrations do not agree well with actual observations of seawater CO2 chemistry. Thus, another approach is needed to establish a more reliable calibration method. In this study, we established field-based calibrations for Chichijima and Tahiti, both located in subtropical gyres where surface seawater is close to CO2 equilibrium. We suggest a new approach to calibration of δ11B-pH in which the long-term δ11B variation of massive Porites corals is compared with the decreasing pH trend (i.e., ocean acidification) that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. This calibration will offer a new avenue for studying seawater CO2 chemistry using coral δ11B in diverse settings, such as upwelling regions, coral reefs, and coastal areas.

  6. Effects of predator exclusion on recruit survivorship in an octocoral ( Briareum asbestinum) and a scleractinian coral ( Porites astreoides)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, M. J.; Coffroth, M. A.; Lasker, H. R.

    2013-06-01

    Recruits of the Caribbean scleractinian coral Porites astreoides and the octocoral Briareum asbestinum were established on artificial substrata and reared on a reef in cages designed to exclude various classes of organisms known to feed on corals. Post-settlement survivorship of recruits was measured for periods of 2 weeks ( B. asbestinum) and 1 month ( P. astreoides) on East Turtle Reef in the Florida Keys during May and June 2010. Predator exclusion did not affect survivorship among P. astreoides recruits during the study. Recruits of B. asbestinum experienced lower survivorship in treatments that allowed access by fish compared with fish exclusion treatments. The results indicate that predation may be an important determinant of post-settlement mortality among B. asbestinum recruits, and fishes are the primary contributors to predation-induced mortality. B. asbestinum recruit survivorship differed by an order of magnitude between recruits in the control condition and those in the predator exclusion (0.087 and 0.372, respectively). The findings illustrate the need to consider the effects of interactions early in life on the survival, propagation, and recovery of coral populations.

  7. Effect of photosynthetic light dosage on carbon isotope composition in the coral skeleton: Long-term culture of Porites spp.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Omata, Tamano; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sato, Takanori; Minoshima, Kayo; Nomaru, Eriko; Murakami, Akio; Murayama, Shohei; Kawahata, Hodaka; Maruyama, Tadashi

    2008-06-01

    Whereas the oxygen isotope ratio of the coral skeleton is used for reconstruction of past information on seawater, the carbon isotope ratio is considered a proxy for physiological processes, principally photosynthesis and respiration. However, the fractionation of carbon isotopes in biogenic carbonate such as coral skeleton is still unclear. We conducted a long-term culture experiment of Porites spp. corals at different light dosages (light intensity, 100, 300, or 500 μmol m-2 s-1; daily light period, 10 or 12 h) at 25 ± 0.6°C to examine the contribution of photosynthetic activity to skeletal carbon isotope composition. Corals were grown in sand-filtered seawater and not fed; thus, they subsisted from photosynthesis of symbiotic algae. As the daily dose of photosynthetically active radiation increased, the rate of annual extension also increased. Mean isotope compositions shifted; the carbon isotope compositions (δ13C) became heavier and the oxygen isotope compositions (δ18O) became lighter at higher radiation dose. Skeletal δ18O decrease coincided with increasing skeletal growth rate, indicating the influence of so-called kinetic isotope effects. The observed δ13C increase should be subject to both kinetic and metabolic isotope effects, with the latter reflecting skeletal δ13C enrichment due to photosynthesis by symbiotic algae. Using a vector approach in the δ13C-δ18O plane, we discriminated between kinetic and metabolic isotope effects on δ13C. The calculated δ13C changes from metabolic isotope effects were light dose dependent. The δ13C fractionation curve related to metabolic isotope effects is very similar to the photosynthesis-irradiance curve, indicating the direct contribution of photosynthetic activity to metabolic isotope effects. In contrast, δ13C fractionation related to kinetic isotope effects gradually increased as the growth rate increased. Our experiment demonstrated that the kinetic and metabolic isotope effects in coral skeleton

  8. Understanding cold bias: Variable response of skeletal Sr/Ca to seawater pCO2 in acclimated massive Porites corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Catherine; Finch, Adrian; Hintz, Christopher; Hintz, Kenneth; Allison, Nicola

    2016-05-01

    Coral skeletal Sr/Ca is a palaeothermometer commonly used to produce high resolution seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) records and to investigate the amplitude and frequency of ENSO and interdecadal climate events. The proxy relationship is typically calibrated by matching seasonal SST and skeletal Sr/Ca maxima and minima in modern corals. Applying these calibrations to fossil corals assumes that the temperature sensitivity of skeletal Sr/Ca is conserved, despite substantial changes in seawater carbonate chemistry between the modern and glacial ocean. We present Sr/Ca analyses of 3 genotypes of massive Porites spp. corals (the genus most commonly used for palaeoclimate reconstruction), cultured under seawater pCO2 reflecting modern, future (year 2100) and last glacial maximum (LGM) conditions. Skeletal Sr/Ca is indistinguishable between duplicate colonies of the same genotype cultured under the same conditions, but varies significantly in response to seawater pCO2 in two genotypes of Porites lutea, whilst Porites murrayensis is unaffected. Within P. lutea, the response is not systematic: skeletal Sr/Ca increases significantly (by 2–4%) at high seawater pCO2 relative to modern in both genotypes, and also increases significantly (by 4%) at low seawater pCO2 in one genotype. This magnitude of variation equates to errors in reconstructed SST of up to ‑5 °C.

  9. Understanding cold bias: Variable response of skeletal Sr/Ca to seawater pCO2 in acclimated massive Porites corals.

    PubMed

    Cole, Catherine; Finch, Adrian; Hintz, Christopher; Hintz, Kenneth; Allison, Nicola

    2016-01-01

    Coral skeletal Sr/Ca is a palaeothermometer commonly used to produce high resolution seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) records and to investigate the amplitude and frequency of ENSO and interdecadal climate events. The proxy relationship is typically calibrated by matching seasonal SST and skeletal Sr/Ca maxima and minima in modern corals. Applying these calibrations to fossil corals assumes that the temperature sensitivity of skeletal Sr/Ca is conserved, despite substantial changes in seawater carbonate chemistry between the modern and glacial ocean. We present Sr/Ca analyses of 3 genotypes of massive Porites spp. corals (the genus most commonly used for palaeoclimate reconstruction), cultured under seawater pCO2 reflecting modern, future (year 2100) and last glacial maximum (LGM) conditions. Skeletal Sr/Ca is indistinguishable between duplicate colonies of the same genotype cultured under the same conditions, but varies significantly in response to seawater pCO2 in two genotypes of Porites lutea, whilst Porites murrayensis is unaffected. Within P. lutea, the response is not systematic: skeletal Sr/Ca increases significantly (by 2-4%) at high seawater pCO2 relative to modern in both genotypes, and also increases significantly (by 4%) at low seawater pCO2 in one genotype. This magnitude of variation equates to errors in reconstructed SST of up to -5 °C. PMID:27241795

  10. Understanding cold bias: Variable response of skeletal Sr/Ca to seawater pCO2 in acclimated massive Porites corals

    PubMed Central

    Cole, Catherine; Finch, Adrian; Hintz, Christopher; Hintz, Kenneth; Allison, Nicola

    2016-01-01

    Coral skeletal Sr/Ca is a palaeothermometer commonly used to produce high resolution seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) records and to investigate the amplitude and frequency of ENSO and interdecadal climate events. The proxy relationship is typically calibrated by matching seasonal SST and skeletal Sr/Ca maxima and minima in modern corals. Applying these calibrations to fossil corals assumes that the temperature sensitivity of skeletal Sr/Ca is conserved, despite substantial changes in seawater carbonate chemistry between the modern and glacial ocean. We present Sr/Ca analyses of 3 genotypes of massive Porites spp. corals (the genus most commonly used for palaeoclimate reconstruction), cultured under seawater pCO2 reflecting modern, future (year 2100) and last glacial maximum (LGM) conditions. Skeletal Sr/Ca is indistinguishable between duplicate colonies of the same genotype cultured under the same conditions, but varies significantly in response to seawater pCO2 in two genotypes of Porites lutea, whilst Porites murrayensis is unaffected. Within P. lutea, the response is not systematic: skeletal Sr/Ca increases significantly (by 2–4%) at high seawater pCO2 relative to modern in both genotypes, and also increases significantly (by 4%) at low seawater pCO2 in one genotype. This magnitude of variation equates to errors in reconstructed SST of up to −5 °C. PMID:27241795

  11. Evidence for a host role in thermotolerance divergence between populations of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) from different reef environments.

    PubMed

    Kenkel, C D; Goodbody-Gringley, G; Caillaud, D; Davies, S W; Bartels, E; Matz, M V

    2013-08-01

    Studying the mechanisms that enable coral populations to inhabit spatially varying thermal environments can help evaluate how they will respond in time to the effects of global climate change and elucidate the evolutionary forces that enable or constrain adaptation. Inshore reefs in the Florida Keys experience higher temperatures than offshore reefs for prolonged periods during the summer. We conducted a common garden experiment with heat stress as our selective agent to test for local thermal adaptation in corals from inshore and offshore reefs. We show that inshore corals are more tolerant of a 6-week temperature stress than offshore corals. Compared with inshore corals, offshore corals in the 31 °C treatment showed significantly elevated bleaching levels concomitant with a tendency towards reduced growth. In addition, dinoflagellate symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) of offshore corals exhibited reduced photosynthetic efficiency. We did not detect differences in the frequencies of major (>5%) haplotypes comprising Symbiodinium communities hosted by inshore and offshore corals, nor did we observe frequency shifts ('shuffling') in response to thermal stress. Instead, coral host populations showed significant genetic divergence between inshore and offshore reefs, suggesting that in Porites astreoides, the coral host might play a prominent role in holobiont thermotolerance. Our results demonstrate that coral populations inhabiting reefs <10-km apart can exhibit substantial differences in their physiological response to thermal stress, which could impact their population dynamics under climate change. PMID:23906315

  12. Reconstructing skeletal fiber arrangement and growth mode in the coral Porites lutea (Cnidaria, Scleractinia): a confocal Raman microscopy study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wall, M.; Nehrke, G.

    2012-11-01

    Confocal Raman microscopy (CRM) mapping was used to investigate the microstructural arrangement and organic matrix distribution within the skeleton of the coral Porites lutea. Relative changes in the crystallographic orientation of crystals within the fibrous fan-system could be mapped, without the need to prepare thin sections, as required if this information is obtained by polarized light microscopy. Simultaneously, incremental growth lines can be visualized without the necessity of etching and hence alteration of sample surface. Using these methods two types of growth lines could be identified: one corresponds to the well-known incremental growth layers, whereas the second type of growth lines resemble denticle finger-like structures (most likely traces of former spines or skeletal surfaces). We hypothesize that these lines represent the outer skeletal surface before another growth cycle of elongation, infilling and thickening of skeletal areas continues. We show that CRM mapping with high spatial resolution can significantly improve our understanding of the micro-structural arrangement and growth patterns in coral skeletons.

  13. A study of vital effects on multiple geochemical proxies recorded in a Porites coral from Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Z.; Chalk, T. B.; Foster, G. L.; Saenger, C. P.

    2013-12-01

    The kinetic and biological processes, known collectively as vital effects, have been widely-recognized to appreciably limit the accuracy of paleoclimate reconstructions from geochemical proxies applied to coral skeletons. Several lines of evidence, based on experimental and culture studies, indicate that vital effects could originate from various sources, including 1) kinetic disequilibria due to a faster rate of skeletogenesis than that of inorganic precipitation and that required for maintaining a chemical/isotope exchange equilibrium; 2) closed system processes in which the Rayleigh fractionation plays important roles; and 3) variations in the chemical composition (e.g. pH, saturation state, etc.) of the calcifying fluid that is different from that of the ambient seawater. In this work, we measured trace element concentrations, including boron(B), lithium(Li), magnesium(Mg), strontium(Sr), barium(Ba), uranium(U) and calcium(Ca), oxygen (δ18O), Mg (δ26Mg) and B (δ11B) isotope compositions of a Porites coral to understand the origin(s) of the ';vital effects' evident in each proxy. Furthermore, with this increased understanding we explore the potential to extract precise environmental variables from a combination of these proxies. Analyses were made on a tropical Porites coral that was collected from Rib Reef within Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Long term monitoring of the GBR provides valuable records of in situ sea surface temperature (SST), salinity and other variables, against which geochemical proxies can be compared. A series of powder samples were milled at ~1 mm intervals along the coral's axis of maximum growth providing ~monthly temporal resolution across a ~2-year growth period. Aliquots of the aragonite powders were cleaned and prepared using established methods for trace metal, B isotope and Mg isotope analysis [Foster, 2008; Wang et al., 2013a; Wang et al., 2013b]. Resulting B/Ca, Li/Ca, Mg/Ca, Ba/Ca, U/Ca, δ18O and δ26Mg values all

  14. Protein expression and genetic structure of the coral Porites lobata in an environmentally extreme Samoan back reef: Does host genotype limit phenotypic plasticity?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barshis, D.J.; Stillman, J.H.; Gates, R.D.; Toonen, R.J.; Smith, L.W.; Birkeland, C.

    2010-01-01

    The degree to which coral reef ecosystems will be impacted by global climate change depends on regional and local differences in corals' susceptibility and resilience to environmental stressors. Here, we present data from a reciprocal transplant experiment using the common reef building coral Porites lobata between a highly fluctuating back reef environment that reaches stressful daily extremes, and a more stable, neighbouring forereef. Protein biomarker analyses assessing physiological contributions to stress resistance showed evidence for both fixed and environmental influence on biomarker response. Fixed influences were strongest for ubiquitin-conjugated proteins with consistently higher levels found in back reef source colonies both pre and post-transplant when compared with their forereef conspecifics. Additionally, genetic comparisons of back reef and forereef populations revealed significant population structure of both the nuclear ribosomal and mitochondrial genomes of the coral host (FST = 0.146 P < 0.0001, FST = 0.335 P < 0.0001 for rDNA and mtDNA, respectively), whereas algal endosymbiont populations were genetically indistinguishable between the two sites. We propose that the genotype of the coral host may drive limitations to the physiological responses of these corals when faced with new environmental conditions. This result is important in understanding genotypic and environmental interactions in the coral algal symbiosis and how corals may respond to future environmental changes. ?? 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  15. Short-term and latent post-settlement effects associated with elevated temperature and oxidative stress on larvae from the coral Porites astreoides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, C.; Ritson-Williams, R.; Olsen, K.; Paul, V. J.

    2013-03-01

    Coral reefs across the Caribbean are undergoing unprecedented rates of decline in coral cover during the last three decades, and coral recruitment is one potential process that could aid the recovery of coral populations. To better understand the effects of climate change on coral larval ecology, the larvae of Porites astreoides were studied to determine the immediate and post-settlement effects of elevated temperature and associated oxidative stress. Larvae of Porites astreoides were exposed to 27 °C (ambient) and +3.0 °C (elevated temperature) seawater for a short duration of 24 h; then, a suite of physiological parameters were measured to determine the extent of sublethal stress. Following the +3.0 °C treatment, larvae did not show a significant difference in maximum quantum yield of PSII ( F v/ F m) or respiratory demand when compared to controls maintained at 27 °C. The addition of micromolar concentrations of hydrogen peroxide did not impact respiration or photochemical efficiency. Catalase activity in the larvae increased (>60 %) following exposure to elevated temperature when compared to the controls. Short-term larval survival and settlement and metamorphosis were not affected by increased temperature or the H2O2 treatment. However, the settled spat that were exposed to elevated temperature underwent a 99 % reduction in survival compared to 90 % reduction for the control spat when examined 24 days following the deployment of 4-day-old settled spat on settlement tiles in the field. These results show that short-term exposure to some stressors might have small impacts on coral physiology, and no effects on larval survival, settlement and metamorphosis. However, due to post-settlement mortality, these stressors can cause a significant reduction in coral recruitment.

  16. El Niño-Southern Oscillation-related salinity variations recorded in the skeletal geochemistry of a Porites coral from Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kilbourne, K. Halimeda; Quinn, Terrence M.; Taylor, Frederick W.; Delcroix, Thierry; Gouriou, Yves

    2004-12-01

    Coral skeletal geochemistry offers the potential to reconstruct the sea surface salinity (SSS) history of the tropical oceans on seasonal to interannual and perhaps centennial timescales because of the strong link between variation in SSS and seawater δ18O in tropical regions. We explore this potential using a monthly resolved, 65-year record of skeletal δ18O and Sr/Ca variations in a Porites coral from Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. We demonstrate that El Niño-Southern Oscillation-related climate variability strongly influences coral δ18O at Santo through local salinity changes associated with the position of the South Pacific Convergence Zone and the movement of its associated salinity front. Such a demonstration provides the "ground truth" data that can be used to place paleoclimate variability estimated using existing fossil coral records from this region into a modern conceptual framework. We also evaluate different methods of combining coral δ18O and Sr/Ca to reconstruct SSS and conclude that the coral δ18O anomaly time series provides the best fit to recent in situ SSS data at Santo.

  17. Bacterial Associates of Two Caribbean Coral Species Reveal Species-Specific Distribution and Geographic Variability

    PubMed Central

    Moss, Anthony G.; Chadwick, Nanette E.; Liles, Mark R.

    2012-01-01

    Scleractinian corals harbor microorganisms that form dynamic associations with the coral host and exhibit substantial genetic and ecological diversity. Microbial associates may provide defense against pathogens and serve as bioindicators of changing environmental conditions. Here we describe the bacterial assemblages associated with two of the most common and phylogenetically divergent reef-building corals in the Caribbean, Montastraea faveolata and Porites astreoides. Contrasting life history strategies and disease susceptibilities indicate potential differences in their microbiota and immune function that may in part drive changes in the composition of coral reef communities. The ribotype structure and diversity of coral-associated bacteria within the surface mucosal layer (SML) of healthy corals were assessed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting and 454 bar-coded pyrosequencing. Corals were sampled at disparate Caribbean locations representing various levels of anthropogenic impact. We demonstrate here that M. faveolata and P. astreoides harbor distinct, host-specific bacteria but that specificity varies by species and site. P. astreoides generally hosts a bacterial assemblage of low diversity that is largely dominated by one bacterial genus, Endozoicomonas, within the order Oceanospirillales. The bacterial assemblages associated with M. faveolata are significantly more diverse and exhibit higher specificity at the family level than P. astreoides assemblages. Both corals have more bacterial diversity and higher abundances of disease-related bacteria at sites closer to the mainland than at those furthest away. The most diverse bacterial taxa and highest relative abundance of disease-associated bacteria were seen for corals near St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (2.5 km from shore), and the least diverse taxa and lowest relative abundance were seen for corals near our most pristine site in Belize (20 km from shore). We conclude

  18. NOAA Lists 20 Coral Species as Threatened

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2014-09-01

    Twenty coral species have been listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on 27 August. This is NOAA's largest ESA rule making. The coral species include 15 found in the Indo-Pacific region and 5 that are located in the Caribbean. They join two other Caribbean coral species that NOAA listed as threatened in 2006.

  19. Quantification of total and particulate dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in five Bermudian coral species across a depth gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yost, D. M.; Jones, R.; Rowe, C. L.; Mitchelmore, Carys Louise

    2012-06-01

    The symbiotic dinoflagellate microalgae of corals ( Symbiodinium spp.) contain high concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a multifunctional metabolite commonly found in many species of marine algae and dinoflagellates. A photoprotective antioxidant function for DMSP and its breakdown products has often been inferred in algae, but its role(s) in the coral-algal symbiosis remains elusive. To examine potential correlations between environmental and physiological parameters and DMSP, total DMSP (DMSPt, from the host coral and zooxanthellae), particulate DMSP (DMSPp, from the zooxanthellae only), coral surface area, and total protein, as well as zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll concentration, cell volume and genotype (i.e., clade) were measured in five coral species from the Diploria- Montastraea- Porites species complex in Bermuda along a depth gradient of 4, 12, 18, and 24 m. DMSPt concentrations were consistently greater than DMSPp concentrations in all species suggesting the possible translocation of DMSP from symbiont to host. D. labyrinthiformis was notably different from the other corals examined, showing DMSPp and DMSPt increases (per coral surface area or tissue biomass) with increasing water depth. However, overall, there were no consistent depth-related patterns in DMSPp and DMSPt concentrations. Further research, investigating dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoxide, and acrylate levels and DMSP-lyase activity in correlation with other biomarker endpoints that have been shown to be depth (i.e., temperature and light) responsive are needed to substantiate the significance of these findings.

  20. Processes for the "vital effect" of Porites corals as revealed by microanalysis of oxygen, carbon and boron isotopic compositions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rollion-Bard, C.; Chaussidon, M.; France-Lanord, C.

    2003-04-01

    Since the discovery by Knutson et al. (1972) of annual banding in massive corals, they have intensively been used to provide paleoclimate reconstructions. The oxygen isotopic composition (18O) of coral aragonite skeletons is a function of sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity (SSS) through the 18O of the seawater in which the carbonate precipitates and pH of the calcifying fluid. Carbon cycle in hermatypic corals is relatively complex because of the interaction between symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) and coral (Goreau, 19777). Coral 13C seems to be under influence of the ratio between algae photosynthesis and algae and coral respiration (Swart, 1983). The carbonate deposited by some foraminifera and scleractinian corals is depleted 13C and 18O relative to isotope equilibrium with ambient seawater. This deviation of the biogenic carbonate - water fractionation from the inorganic fractionation is called the "vital effect" (Urey et al., 1951). Different explanations for the vital effect are proposed: (1) McConnaughey (1989) attributes the coral disequilibria to kinetic effects. (2) Spero et al. (1997) and Zeebe (1999) consider that the carbonate depletion in 18O is due to [CO32-] or pH variations. The carbon isotopic disequilibrium would be due, in this case, to 13C depleted metabolic DIC incorporation coming from the respiration. The micrometer scale analysis by ion microprobe of B, C and O isotopic compositions can allow to better understand responsible process(es) of the vital effect and the existence of a great diversity in 18O - SST calibrations for differents colonies of the same species. These analyses show that 11B and 18O of coral skeleton have a great variability at micrometer scale (10 and 12 , respectively), whereas 13C have no so important variations and that all the values are in the range of 13C measured by "classical" method (acid digestion and mass spectrometry). Thus the in

  1. Sex-associated variations in coral skeletal oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Porites panamensis in the southern Gulf of California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabral-Tena, R. A.; Sánchez, A.; Reyes-Bonilla, H.; Ruvalcaba-Díaz, A. H.; Balart, E. F.

    2015-11-01

    Coral δ18O variations are used as a proxy for changes in near sea surface temperature and seawater isotope composition. Skeletal δ13C of coral is frequently used as a proxy for solar radiation because most of its variability is controlled by an interrelationship between three processes: photosynthesis, respiration, and feeding. Coral growth rate is known to influence the δ18O and δ13C isotope record to a lesser extent. Recent published data show differences in growth parameters between female and male coral; thus, skeletal δ18O and δ13C are hypothesized to be different in each sex. To assess this difference, this study describes changes in the skeletal δ18O and δ13C record of four female and six male Porites panamensis coral collected in Bahía de La Paz, whose growth bands spanned 12 years. The isotopic data were compared to SST, precipitation, PAR, chlorophyll a, and skeletal growth parameters. Porites panamensis is a known gonochoric brooder whose growth parameters are different in females and males. Splitting the data by sexes explained 81 and 93 % of the differences of δ18O, and of δ13C, respectively, in the isotope record between colonies. Both isotope records were different between sexes. δ18O was higher in female colonies than in male colonies, with a 0.31 ‰ difference; δ13C was lower in female colonies, with a 0.28 ‰ difference. A difference in the skeletal δ18O implies an error in SST estimates of ≈ 1.0 °C to ≈ 2.6 °C. The δ18O records showed a seasonal pattern that corresponded to SST, with low correlation coefficients (-0.45, -0.32), and gentle slopes (0.09 ‰ °C-1, 0.10 ‰ °C-1) of the δ18O-SST relation. Seasonal variation in coral δ18O represents only 52.37 and 35.66 % of the SST cycle; 29.72 and 38.53 % can be attributed to δ18O variability in seawater. δ13C data did not correlate with any of the environmental variables; therefore, variations in skeletal δ13C appear to be driven mainly by metabolic effects. Our

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Indirect effects of a key ecosystem engineer alter survival and growth of foundation coral species.

    PubMed

    White, Jada-Simone S; O'Donnell, James L

    2010-12-01

    Stegastes nigricans, a "farmerfish" that cultivates algal turf and defends territories from grazers and other intruders, can affect coral indirectly due to increased competition with farmed algal turf and/or reduced predation resulting from territorial aggression directed at corallivores. To investigate the indirect effects of this key ecosystem engineer on coral mortality and growth, we transplanted caged and exposed fragments of four coral species to patch reefs in French Polynesia on which we manipulated the presence of S. nigricans and turf, and to reefs naturally devoid of S. nigricans. Reef access was two to four times higher for herbivorous fishes, and two times higher for corallivorous fishes, when S. nigricans was removed, indicating that reef access is reduced for two important guilds of fishes when S. nigricans is present. Stegastes' territoriality indirectly benefited delicate acroporids (Montipora floweri and Acropora striata), yielding a twofold to fivefold reduction in skeletal loss due to lower predation frequencies in the presence of S. nigricans. Three corals, A. striata, M. floweri, and especially Porites australiensis, suffered mortality due to overgrowth significantly more frequently in the presence of farmed turf, but Pocillopora verrucosa did not. Algal abundance predicted the frequency of overgrowth for only A. striata and P. australiensis. M. floweri were more likely to be overgrown when exposed (uncaged) in the presence of S. nigricans, suggesting an interaction modification, in this case that initial predation increased susceptibility to competition with turf. In this community, the presence of S. nigricans may increase algal overgrowth of massive Porites by facilitating its turf competitors and simultaneously reduce predation of branching corals through territorial exclusion of corallivores. These indirect interactions may underlie previously documented community transitions from disturbance-resistant massive coral to recovering

  6. High-resolution Sr/Ca ratios in a Porites lutea coral from Lakshadweep Archipelago, southeast Arabian Sea: An example from a region experiencing steady rise in the reef temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagar, Netramani; Hetzinger, Steffen; Pfeiffer, Miriam; Masood Ahmad, Syed; Dullo, Wolf-Christian; Garbe-Schönberg, Dieter

    2016-01-01

    Here we present the first record of Sr/Ca variability in a massive Porites lutea coral from the Lakshadweep Archipelago, Arabian Sea. The annual mean sea surface temperature (SST) in this region and the surrounding areas has increased steadily in the recent past. During some major El Niño events, SSTs are even higher, imposing additional thermal-stress on corals, episodically leading to coral bleaching. We infer from the coral-Sr/Ca record (1981-2008) that during some of these events high and persistent SSTs lead to a dampening of the temperature signal in coral-Sr/Ca, impairing the coral's ability to record full scale warming. Thus, coral-Sr/Ca may provide a history of past El Niño Southern-Oscillation (ENSO) induced thermal-stress episodes, which are a recurrent feature also seen in cross-spectral analysis between coral-Sr/Ca and the Nino3.4 index. Despite the impact of episodical thermal-stress during major El Niño events, our coral proxy faithfully records the seasonal monsoon-induced summer cooling on the order of ˜2.3°C. Calibration of coral-Sr/Ca with instrumental grid-SST data shows significant correlation to regional SST and monsoon variability. Hence, massive Porites corals of this region are highly valuable archives for reconstructing long-term changes in SST, strongly influenced by monsoon variability on seasonal scales. More importantly, our data show that this site with increasing SST is an ideal location for testing the future effects of the projected anthropogenic SST increase on coral reefs that are already under thermal-stress worldwide.

  7. SYMBIODINIUM ISOLATES FROM STONY CORAL: ISOLATION, GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS AND EFFECTS OF UV IRRADIATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Symbiodinium spp. Isolates from Stony Coral: Isolation, Growth Characteristics and Effects of UV Irradiation (Abstract). J. Phycol. 37(3):42-43.

    Symbiodinium species were isolated from Montipora capitata, Acropora palmata and two field samples of Porites porites. Cultures ...

  8. South West Pacific climate at c. 6600-6000 BP inferred from giant clam Tridacna maxima and massive coral Porites sp. records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duprey, N.; Pujol, N.; Lazareth, C. E.; Cabioch, G.; Correge, T.; Le Cornec, F.; Maes, C.; Galipaud, J.; Caquineau, S.; Madeng-Yogo, M.

    2011-12-01

    In the last three decades, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has been characterized by more frequent and stronger El Niño events. Recent paleo-climate studies demonstrated that ENSO periodicity was lower during the Mid-Holocene and that it increased towards present-day. While a better knowledge on such past changes is necessary to reliably predict future climate, the origin of the Mid-Holocene ENSO regime shift remains controversial. The present study is focused on the climate in the Southwest Pacific c. 6 600-6 000 BP. This period precedes the Mid-Holocene ENSO-shift, and is essential to understand the ENSO evolution. The Vanuatu archipelago (South West Pacific; 15° 40'S; 167°00' E) is characteristic of an open ocean context and climatic conditions are strongly linked to the ENSO variability in relation with the position of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). The Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) are highly correlated to the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the Niño 3.4 index. Consequently, high-resolution SSS and SST records from massive corals and giant clams provide reliable tools to track ENSO variability back in time in this region. Two massive Porites sp. coral colonies, dated at 6758 - 6544 14C cal. BP, and one giant Tridacna maxima clam dated at 6257-6056 14C cal. BP, were collected on Espiritu Santo Island. These archives were sampled at monthly resolution and analyzed for Sr/Ca ratio and δ18O. SST was reconstructed from corals Sr/Ca and the giant clam δ18O. The δ18O composition of seawater (δw), calculated from the coral δ18O record, was used as a proxy for evaporation/precipitation (E/P) budget. Compared to present-day conditions, reconstructed SST are 2.5°C lower at ~6600 BP and 1°C lower at ~6100 BP, and both archives present a slightly higher (+0.5°C) seasonal amplitude. Fossil Porites sp. from Vanuatu showed that the E/P budget was positively correlated to the SST c. 6600BP whereas the inverse

  9. 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.

  10. δ 11B, Sr, Mg and B in a modern Porites coral: the relationship between calcification site pH and skeletal chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allison, Nicola; Finch, Adrian A.; EIMF

    2010-03-01

    Sr/Ca, B/Ca, Mg/Ca and δ 11B were determined at high spatial resolution across ˜1 year of a modern Hawaiian Porites lobata coral by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). We observe significant variations in B/Ca, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca and δ 11B over short skeletal distances (nominally equivalent to periods of <20 days). This heterogeneity probably reflects variations in the composition of the extracellular calcifying fluid (ECF) from which the skeleton precipitates. Calcification site pH (total scale) was estimated from skeletal δ 11B and ranged from 8.3 to 8.8 (± ˜0.1) with a mean of ˜8.6. Sr/Ca and B/Ca heterogeneity is not simply correlated with calcification site pH, as might be expected if Ca-ATPase activity increases the pH and decreases the Sr/Ca and B(OH) 4-/CO 32- ratios of the ECF. We produced a simple model of the ECF composition and the skeleton deposited from it, over a range of calcium transport and carbonate scenarios, which can account for these observed geochemical variations. The relationship between the pH and Sr/Ca of the ECF is dependent on the concentration of DIC at the calcification site. At higher DIC concentrations the ECF has a high capacity to buffer the [H +] changes induced by Ca-ATPase pumping. Conversely, at low DIC concentrations, this buffering capacity is reduced and ECF pH changes more rapidly in response to Ca-ATPase pumping. The absence of a simple correlation between ECF pH and skeletal Sr/Ca implies that calcification occurred under a range of DIC concentrations, reflecting variations in the respiration and photosynthesis of the coral and symbiotic zooxanthellate in the overlying coral tissues. Our observations have important implications for the use of coral skeletons as indicators of palaeo-ocean pH.

  11. Characterization of various stages of calcitization in Porites sp corals from uplifted reefs — Case studies from New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Futuna (South-West Pacific)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rabier, Cécile; Anguy, Yannick; Cabioch, Guy; Genthon, Pierre

    2008-11-01

    This study focuses on the processes of calcitization under meteoric conditions based on observations and analyses of a series of subaerial fossil corals of the genus Porites collected from emerged Holocene and Pleistocene reefs in the Pacific Ocean. We can establish two types of low-magnesian calcite (LMC) precipitates according to their textural characteristics after their transformation from the initial aragonitic skeleton to the calcitized corals. In the first variety (LMC1), the calcite contains remnants of the original exoskeleton structure ( in situ insoluble organic tissues, pieces of aragonite needles) while in the second variety (LMC2) — filling the primary inter-skeletal macro-pores — such relicts are not present. Such textural segregation is faithfully reflected in the elemental data on some parts of calcitized corals. LMC1 is characterized by Mg 2+, Sr 2+, and Mn 2+ compositions inherited from the aragonite precursor, indicating a formation in a semi-closed intra-skeleton diagenetic environment in disequilibrium with the meteoric bulk aquifer water. LMC2 has a chemistry indicative of equilibrium with ambient bulk meteoric water. These chemical characteristics can be likened to a two-fold mechanism: a fine-scale process — neomorphism — typified by the concomitant dissolution of intra-fabric aragonite and re-precipitation of the LMC1 resulting from the 'biogenic' skeleton and marine waters, followed by the cementation of the inter-fabric macro-voids by an allochthonous subaerial and meteoric LMC2. In the other parts of calcitized corals, LMC1 and LMC2 have similar trace element contents in Mg 2+ and Sr 2+. The chemical data are consistent with formation by partial skeletal dissolution followed eventually by cementation of primary voids (LMC2) and secondary voids (LMC1) by calcite in equilibrium with meteoric bulk aquifer water. These two mechanisms of the calcitization of skeletal aragonite mainly differ in the space and time length-scales of the

  12. Evaluating the Influence of Solar Radiation, Coral Extension Rate and Anthropogenic CO2 on Skeletal δ13C in a Network of Fiji and Tonga Porites Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dassie, E. P.; Lemley, G. M.; Linsley, B. K.; Howe, S. S.

    2011-12-01

    While stable oxygen isotope signatures in coral reefs have proven to be reliable recorders of temperature and salinity, it is difficult to interpret their skeletal 13C/12C signatures. Various studies have suggested that coral skeletal δ13C is primarily controlled by complex physiological mechanisms. However, it has also been proposed that δ13C variations in coral skeletons are related to more apparent factors such as solar radiation, skeletal extension rate, and the anthropogenic addition of 13C-depleted CO2 into the atmosphere and surface ocean ("Suess Effect"). We will present time-series variations of δ13C in six coral cores from Fiji and Tonga (South Pacific Ocean). On seasonal timescales, increases in solar radiation are correlated to increases in skeletal δ13C and visa-versa. Annually averaged data shows a correlation between increased coral δ13C and reduced coral extension rate, while a decrease in δ13C is associated with an increased extension rate. In the most recent portion of four of the coral δ13C records (from around 1900 to the core top), the value progressively decreases - a trend that is not present in either the skeletal extension rate or solar radiation data. We conclude that this decreasing δ13C trend is a consequence of the Suess Effect, as reported in other coral δ13C records. However, two of the six corals do not show this decreasing trend, which may be a result of their residence in especially shallow water (sub-tidal environments). The onset of the Suess effect in the four corals may help constrain the timing of the uptake of anthropogenic carbon by the western South Pacific Ocean. Although all factors controlling δ13C variation in corals are not completely understood, this study works towards an understanding of their relative contribution to δ13C variation.

  13. Testing the genetic predictions of a biogeographical model in a dominant endemic Eastern Pacific coral (Porites panamensis) using a genetic seascape approach.

    PubMed

    Saavedra-Sotelo, Nancy C; Calderon-Aguilera, Luis E; Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor; Paz-García, David A; López-Pérez, Ramón A; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar; Cruz-Barraza, José A; Rocha-Olivares, Axayácatl

    2013-10-01

    The coral fauna of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) is depauperate and peripheral; hence, it has drawn attention to the factors allowing its survival. Here, we use a genetic seascape approach and ecological niche modeling to unravel the environmental factors correlating with the genetic variation of Porites panamensis, a hermatypic coral endemic to the ETP. Specifically, we test if levels of diversity and connectivity are higher among abundant than among depauperate populations, as expected by a geographically relaxed version of the Abundant Center Hypothesis (rel-ACH). Unlike the original ACH, referring to a geographical center of distribution of maximal abundance, the rel-ACH refers only to a center of maximum abundance, irrespective of its geographic position. The patterns of relative abundance of P. panamensis in the Mexican Pacific revealed that northern populations from Baja California represent its center of abundance; and southern depauperate populations along the continental margin are peripheral relative to it. Genetic patterns of diversity and structure of nuclear DNA sequences (ribosomal DNA and a single copy open reading frame) and five alloenzymatic loci partially agreed with rel-ACH predictions. We found higher diversity levels in peninsular populations and significant differentiation between peninsular and continental colonies. In addition, continental populations showed higher levels of differentiation and lower connectivity than peninsular populations in the absence of isolation by distance in each region. Some discrepancies with model expectations may relate to the influence of significant habitat discontinuities in the face of limited dispersal potential. Environmental data analyses and niche modeling allowed us to identify temperature, water clarity, and substrate availability as the main factors correlating with patterns of abundance, genetic diversity, and structure, which may hold the key to the survival of P. panamensis in the face of

  14. Testing the genetic predictions of a biogeographical model in a dominant endemic Eastern Pacific coral (Porites panamensis) using a genetic seascape approach

    PubMed Central

    Saavedra-Sotelo, Nancy C; Calderon-Aguilera, Luis E; Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor; Paz-García, David A; López-Pérez, Ramón A; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar; Cruz-Barraza, José A; Rocha-Olivares, Axayácatl

    2013-01-01

    The coral fauna of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) is depauperate and peripheral; hence, it has drawn attention to the factors allowing its survival. Here, we use a genetic seascape approach and ecological niche modeling to unravel the environmental factors correlating with the genetic variation of Porites panamensis, a hermatypic coral endemic to the ETP. Specifically, we test if levels of diversity and connectivity are higher among abundant than among depauperate populations, as expected by a geographically relaxed version of the Abundant Center Hypothesis (rel-ACH). Unlike the original ACH, referring to a geographical center of distribution of maximal abundance, the rel-ACH refers only to a center of maximum abundance, irrespective of its geographic position. The patterns of relative abundance of P. panamensis in the Mexican Pacific revealed that northern populations from Baja California represent its center of abundance; and southern depauperate populations along the continental margin are peripheral relative to it. Genetic patterns of diversity and structure of nuclear DNA sequences (ribosomal DNA and a single copy open reading frame) and five alloenzymatic loci partially agreed with rel-ACH predictions. We found higher diversity levels in peninsular populations and significant differentiation between peninsular and continental colonies. In addition, continental populations showed higher levels of differentiation and lower connectivity than peninsular populations in the absence of isolation by distance in each region. Some discrepancies with model expectations may relate to the influence of significant habitat discontinuities in the face of limited dispersal potential. Environmental data analyses and niche modeling allowed us to identify temperature, water clarity, and substrate availability as the main factors correlating with patterns of abundance, genetic diversity, and structure, which may hold the key to the survival of P. panamensis in the face of

  15. 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.

  16. Decadal variations in trace metal concentrations on a coral reef: Evidence from a 159 year record of Mn, Cu, and V in a Porites coral from the northern South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Xuefei; Wei, Gangjian; Deng, Wenfeng; Liu, Ying; Sun, Yali; Zeng, Ti; Xie, Luhua

    2015-01-01

    cycles of trace metals are important influences on the composition and function of the marine ecosystem. Although spatial distributions of most trace metals have now been determined in at least some parts of the oceans, temporal variations have barely been studied on account of data limitations. In this paper, we report on a 159 year record of trace metal concentrations from a Porites coral from the northern South China Sea (SCS), and discuss how oceanic and climatic processes control variations in Mn, Cu, and V concentrations in this region. Our results show that trace metal concentrations in the coral skeleton demonstrate decadal to interdecadal fluctuations, and that their variations are controlled by different mechanisms. The input of Mn to reef water is partly controlled by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which controls precipitation and river runoff. Surface water concentrations of the nutrient-like element Cu are controlled by summer upwelling to the east of Hainan Island. The concentrations of V show complex interrelationships, and are linked to riverine input prior to the 1990 and to upwelling after the 1990. Our results imply that in the northern SCS, ocean-atmosphere climate fluctuations, such as the PDO and the East Asian Summer Monsoon (EASM), are important factors that influence long-term variability of Mn, Cu, and V concentrations in seawater, by controlling precipitation-related river runoff and the strength of upwelling systems.

  17. Temporal variations of macroborers in massive Porites lobata on Moorea, French Polynesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peyrot-Clausade, M.; Hutchings, P.; Richard, G.

    1992-09-01

    Massive colonies of Porites lobata on the barrier reef of Tiahura, Moorea, can be divided into four categories: living colonies, colonies consisting of 50% live coral and 50% dead skeleton, 100% dead coral and colonies which have been reduced to a basal plate. Replicate samples of each of these colony types were collected in the same vicinity of the barrier reef during October 1987. The macroborers were extracted, identified, counted and their volumes determined by displacement. Kruskal-Wallis tests showed that three different boring communities occur within these four categories of Porites colonies. Live colonies are characterised by only 3 species, the bivalve, Lithophaga laevigata; the vermetid Dendropoma maximun; and the non boring serpulid polychaete Spirobranchus. The completely dead colonies contain up to 17 boring species, with five to six individuals per 100 cm. Sipunculans are the dominant bioeroders with the most abundant species being Aspidosiphon elegans, sp A and sp B. Colonies of Porites which have been reduced to basal plates contain up to 18 boring species of which the bivalve Lithophaga hanleyana and the sipunculan Aspidosiphon sp. B are the most abundant. The cumulative volume of CaCO3 lost by boring activity increases from 0.1 cm3 per 100 cm3 in a completely dead Porites colony to 1.4 cm3 per 100 cm3 in the residual basal plates of Porites. These can be extrapolated to minimum losses of 14.2 kg m-3. We suggest that rates of boring increase with the time which has elapsed since the death of the colony and the dominant agents of boring also change with increasing age of the coral structure. There are significant additional losses of 5.25 kg m-3 CaCO3 caused by grazing echinoids and scarids.

  18. Species-Specific Responses of Corals to Bleaching Events on Anthropogenically Turbid Reefs on Okinawa Island, Japan, over a 15-year Period (1995–2009)

    PubMed Central

    Hongo, Chuki; Yamano, Hiroya

    2013-01-01

    Coral bleaching, triggered by elevated sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) has caused a decline in coral cover and changes in the abundances of corals on reefs worldwide. Coral decline can be exacerbated by the effects of local stressors like turbidity, yet some reefs with a natural history of turbidity can support healthy and resilient coral communities. However, little is known about responses of coral communities to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs as a result of recent (post World War II) terrestrial runoff. Analysis of region-scale coral cover and species abundance at 17–20 sites on the turbid reefs of Okinawa Island (total of 79 species, 30 genera, and 13 families) from 1995 to 2009 indicates that coral cover decreased drastically, from 24.4% to 7.5% (1.1%/year), subsequent to bleaching events in 1998 and 2001. This dramatic decrease in coral cover corresponded to the demise of Acropora species (e.g., A. digitifera) by 2009, when Acropora had mostly disappeared from turbid reefs on Okinawa Island. In contrast, Merulinidae species (e.g., Dipsastraea pallida/speciosa/favus) and Porites species (e.g., P. lutea/australiensis), which are characterized by tolerance to thermal stress, survived on turbid reefs of Okinawa Island throughout the period. Our results suggest that high turbidity, influenced by recent terrestrial runoff, could have caused a reduction in resilience of Acropora species to severe thermal stress events, because the corals could not have adapted to a relatively recent decline in water quality. The coral reef ecosystems of Okinawa Island will be severely impoverished if Acropora species fail to recover. PMID:23565291

  19. Analysis of organochlorine pesticides in coral (Porites evermanni) samples using accelerated solvent extraction and gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Wang, Dongli; Miao, Xiusheng; Li, Qing X

    2008-02-01

    A gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry method was developed for analysis of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in coral samples, which were extracted with accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) and cleaned up on a sulfuric acid-modified silica gel column. The optimal ASE conditions were found to be 100 degrees C and 2000 psi, with a mixture of acetone and methylene chloride (1:1, v/v). The target analytes include hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs, specifically, alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-HCH isomers), heptachlor, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), o,p'-, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (o,p'-, p,p'-DDT), o,p'-, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyl-dichloroethylene (o,p'-, p,p'-DDE), and o,p'-, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (o,p'-, p,p'-DDD). Standard sand samples were used as an alternative matrix spiked with OCP standards to determine the method precision and accuracy. Average recoveries of OCPs ranged from 82% to 102%, with relative standard deviations (RSDs) of 3%-6%, at a level of 10 ng/g and from 50% to 68%, with RSDs of 13%-19% at a level of 2 ng/g. The developed method was applied for analysis of OCPs in coral samples collected from Tern Island and Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The concentrations of HCB were 7-26 pg/g dry weight in the samples from Bikini Atoll and 3-45 pg/g in those from Tern Island, and heptachlor concentrations were 208-2200 and 44-104 pg/g in the coral samples from Bikini Atoll and Tern Island, respectively. (summation operator)HCH (sum of alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-HCH) were 8-82 pg/g in Bikini Atoll coral and 86-629 pg/g in Tern island coral, and (summation operator)DDT (sum of o,p'-, p,p'-DDD, o,p'-, p,p'-DDE, and o,p'- p,p'-DDT) were 80-212 pg/g in Bikini Atoll coral and 593-3165 pg/g in Tern Island coral. The results suggest that coral is a viable indicator species for pollution monitoring, which pollutants and their concentrations may be related to dated carbonate layers. PMID:17721673

  20. Extension growth rates in two coral species from high-latitude reefs of Bermuda

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Logan, A.; Tomascik, T.

    1991-09-01

    Mean annual growth rates (skeletal linear extension) in the hermatypic corals Porites astreoides Lamarck and Diploria labyrinthiformis (L.) were investigated mainly by X-radiography from a variety of localities at various depths on the high-latitude coral reefs of Bermuda. Growth rates of both species show an inverse curvilinear relationship with depth, with highest growth rates in the shallow inshore waters of Castle Harbour and lowest at the edge of the Bermuda platform and on the adjacent fore-reef slope. Annual density bands form seasonal couplets, with narrow, high density bands appearing to form in the spring-summer months and wider, low density bands over the rest of the year in both species. Comparison of the growth rates of P. astreoides from Bermuda with those from lower latitude West Indian localities, particularly Jamaica, indicates an inverse relationship with latitude and a similar inverse curvilinear relationship with depth at both geographic locations. Growth rate-locality differences in Bermuda for both species are suggested to be controlled mainly by local differences in wave energy and food supply and possibly seasonal water temperature fluctuations; growth rate-depth differences by decreasing illumination with depth; and growth rate-latitudinal differences by reduction in winter water temperatures and light levels with increasing latitude.

  1. Differential larval settlement responses of Porites astreoides and Acropora palmata in the presence of the green alga Halimeda opuntia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, K.; Sneed, J. M.; Paul, V. J.

    2016-06-01

    Settlement is critical to maintaining coral cover on reefs, yet interspecific responses of coral planulae to common benthic macroalgae are not well characterized. Larval survival and settlement of two Caribbean reef-building corals, the broadcast-spawner Acropora palmata and the planulae-brooder Porites astreoides, were quantified following exposure to plastic algae controls and the green macroalga Halimeda opuntia. Survival and settlement rates were not significantly affected by the presence of H. opuntia in either species. However, ~10 % of P. astreoides larvae settled on the surface of the macroalga, whereas larvae of A. palmata did not. It is unlikely that corals that settle on macroalgae will survive post-settlement; therefore, H. opuntia may reduce the number of P. astreoides and other non-discriminatory larvae that survive to adulthood. Our results suggest that the presence of macroalgae on impacted reefs can have unexpected repercussions for coral recruitment and highlight discrepancies in settlement specificity between corals with distinct life history strategies.

  2. Relative sensitivity of five Hawaiian coral species to high temperature under high-pCO2 conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bahr, Keisha D.; Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Ku'ulei S.

    2016-06-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are presently undergoing decline due to anthropogenic climate change. The chief detrimental factors are increased temperature and increased pCO2. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of these two stressors operating independently and in unison on the biological response of common Hawaiian reef corals. Manipulative experiments were performed using five species ( Porites compressa, Pocillopora damicornis, Fungia scutaria, Montipora capitata, and Leptastrea purpurea) in a continuous-flow mesocosm system under natural sunlight conditions. Corals were grown together as a community under treatments of high temperature (2 °C above normal maximum summer temperature), high pCO2 (twice present-day conditions), and with both factors acting in unison. Control corals were grown under present-day pCO2 and at normal summer temperatures. Leptastrea purpurea proved to be an extremely hardy coral. No change in calcification or mortality occurred under treatments of high temperature, high pCO2, or combined high temperature-high pCO2. The remaining four species showed reduced calcification in the high-temperature treatment. Two species ( L. purpurea and M. capitata) showed no response to increased pCO2. Also, high pCO2 ameliorated the negative effect of high temperature on the calcification rates of P. damicornis. Mortality was driven primarily by high temperature, with a negative synergistic effect in P. compressa only in the high-pCO2-high-temperature treatment. Results support the observation that biological response to temperature and pCO2 elevation is highly species-specific, so generalizations based on response of a single species might not apply to a diverse and complex coral reef community.

  3. Does seaweed-coral competition make seaweeds more palatable?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longo, G. O.; Hay, M. E.

    2015-03-01

    Seaweed-coral interactions are increasingly common on modern coral reefs, but the dynamics, processes, and mechanisms affecting these interactions are inadequately understood. We investigated the frequency and effect of seaweed-coral contacts for common seaweeds and corals in Belize. Effects on corals were evaluated by measuring the frequency and extent of bleaching when contacted by various seaweeds, and effects on a common seaweed were evaluated by assessing whether contact with coral made the seaweed more palatable to the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. Coral-seaweed contacts were particularly frequent between Agaricia corals and the seaweed Halimeda opuntia, with this interaction being associated with coral bleaching in 95 % of contacts. Pooling across all coral species, H. opuntia was the seaweed most commonly contacting corals and most frequently associated with localized bleaching at the point of contact. Articulated coralline algae, Halimeda tuna and Lobophora variegata also frequently contacted corals and were commonly associated with bleaching. The common corals Agaricia and Porites bleached with similar frequency when contacted by H. opuntia (95 and 90 %, respectively), but Agaricia experienced more damage than Porites when contacted by articulated coralline algae or H. tuna. When spatially paired individuals of H. opuntia that had been in contact with Agaricia and not in contact with any coral were collected from the reefs and offered to D. antillarum, urchins consumed about 150 % more of thalli that had been competing with Agaricia. Contact and non-contact thalli did not differ in nutritional traits (ash-free-dry-mass, C or N concentrations), suggesting that Halimeda chemical defenses may have been compromised by coral-algal contact. If competition with corals commonly enhances seaweed palatability, then the dynamics and nuances of small-scale seaweed-coral-herbivore interactions at coral edges are deserving of greater attention in that such

  4. Effects of herbivores, nutrient enrichment, and their interactions on macroalgal proliferation and coral growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sotka, E. E.; Hay, M. E.

    2009-09-01

    We conducted a 20-week manipulative field experiment on shallow forereefs of the Florida Keys to assess the separate and interactive effects of herbivory and nutrient enrichment on the development of macroalgal communities and the fitness of the corals Porites porites and Siderastrea siderea. Excluding large herbivorous fishes produced macrophyte blooms both with and without nutrient enrichment. In contrast, there were no direct effects of nutrient enrichment. There were, however, small, but significant, interactive effects of herbivory and enrichment on macroalgal cover. Following nutrient enrichment, total macroalgae and the common seaweeds Dictyota spp. were suppressed in the presence, but not in the absence, of large herbivorous fishes—suggesting that fishes were selectively feeding on nutrient-enriched macrophytes. Access by large herbivores prevented algal overgrowth of corals, but these large fishes also directly grazed both corals. Excluding fishes did not alter survivorship of either coral species, but did decrease parrotfish grazing scars on both corals and increased the net growth of P. porites. Nutrient additions had no direct effects on the survivorship of corals, but there was a trend ( P = 0.097) for nutrients to stimulate the growth of P. porites. The preponderance of experiments available to date indicates that loss of key herbivores is a major factor driving macroalgal blooms on coral reefs; anthropogenic nutrient pollution generally plays a more minor role.

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

    PubMed

    Okubo, Nami; Mezaki, Takuma; Nozawa, Yoko; Nakano, Yoshikatsu; Lien, Yi-Ting; Fukami, Hironobu; Hayward, David C; Ball, Eldon E

    2013-01-01

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

  6. Internal bioerosion in dead and live hard corals in intertidal zone of Hormuz Island (Persian Gulf).

    PubMed

    Jafari, Mohammad Ali; Seyfabadi, Jafar; Shokri, Mohammad Reza

    2016-04-30

    Internal macrobioeroders and their erosion rate in three live and dead coral genera (Favia, Platygyra and Porites) from the intertidal zone of the Hormuz Island were studied by collecting five live and five dead colonies from each genus, from which 4 mm cross-sections were cut and photographed. Photos were analyzed using the Coral Point Count with Excel extensions. Totally, 9 taxa were identified: four bivalve species, one sponge, three polychaetes, and one barnacle. Bioerosion rate did not significantly differ among the three live corals, but among the dead ones only Porites was significantly more eroded than Favia. Sponge had the highest role in the erosion of the dead Platygyra, while barnacles were the most effective eroding organism in the live Platygyra. Polychaetes, followed by bivalves, were the most destructive bioeroders on the dead and live Porites. Further, none of the bioeroding organisms had selectively chosen either the dead or live Favia. PMID:26654335

  7. Coral communities of the remote atoll reefs in the Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Zhao, M X; Yu, K F; Shi, Q; Chen, T R; Zhang, H L; Chen, T G

    2013-09-01

    During the months of May and June in the year 2007, a survey was conducted regarding coral reef communities in the remote atolls (Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef) of Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea. The goals of the survey were to: (1) for the first time, compile a scleractinian coral check-list; (2) estimate the total richness, coral cover, and growth forms of the community; and (3) describe preliminary patterns of community structure according to geomorphological units. Findings of this survey revealed a total of 120 species of scleractinia belonging to 40 genera, while the average coral cover was 21 %, ranging from less than 10 % to higher than 50 %. Branching and massive corals were also found to be the most important growth forms of the whole coral community, while Acropora, Montipora, and Porites were the three dominant genera in the overall region, with their contributions to total coral cover measuring 21, 22, and 23 %, respectively. Overall, coral communities of the Nansha Islands were in a relative healthy condition with high species diversity and coral cover. Spatial pattern of coral communities existed among various geomorphological units. Mean coral cover was highest in the patch reef within the lagoon, followed by the fore reef slope, reef flat, and lagoon slope. The greatest contributors to total coral cover were branching Acropora (45 %) in the lagoon slope, branching Montipora (44 %) in the reef flat, and massive Porites (51 %) in the patch reef. Coral cover in the fore reef revealed a greater range of genera than in other habitats. The leeward fore reef slope had higher coral cover (> 50 %) when compared with the windward slope (< 10 %). The coral communities of the inner reef flat were characterized by higher coral cover (27 %) and dominant branching Montipora corals, while lower coral cover (4 %) was dominated by Psammocora with massive growth forms on the outer reef flat. Destructive fishing and coral bleaching were two major threats to

  8. 77 FR 30261 - Petition To List 83 Species of Coral as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-05-22

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XT12 Petition To List 83 Species of Coral as... 82 coral species in response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list 83 coral species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The purposes of...

  9. Sibling species in Montastraea annularis, coral bleaching, and the coral climate record

    SciTech Connect

    Knowlton, N.; Weil, E.; Weigt, L.A.; Guzman, H.M. )

    1992-01-17

    Measures of growth and skeletal isotopic ratios in the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis are fundamental to many studies of paleoceanography, environmental degradation, and global climate change. This taxon is shown to consist of at least three sibling species in shallow water. The two most commonly studied of these show highly significant differences in growth rate and oxygen isotopic ratios, parameters routinely used to estimate past climatic conditions; unusual coloration in the third may have confused research on coral bleaching. Interpretation or comparison of past and current studies can be jeopardized by ignoring these species boundaries.

  10. 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

  11. Boron isotopic composition of Porites corals over the past 500 years in the South China Sea: Evaluating the potential controlling factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Tzu-Hao; You, Chen-Feng; Liu, Yi; Chung, Chuan-Hsiung; Liu, Hou-Chun

    2016-04-01

    As the largest marginal sea in the East Asia, the South China Sea is sensitive to the environmental changes both in Asia landmass and western Pacific Ocean. Thus, the cause-consequence feedback systems between the seawater chemistry and environmental change in the South China Sea encompass various interactions and controlling factors on different spatial and temporal scales. Global and regional (e.g., continental sources, and the East Asian monsoon system) factors may have a simultaneous impact on the coral records. However, the representative meanings of coral records in the South China Sea are still poorly understood. Here we present an age-controlled coral boron isotopic (δ11B) record in the Xisha Islands, the northern South China Sea, from AD 1466 to AD 1960. We applied micro-sublimation technique and MC-ICP-MS measurement to provide a low-blank and highly precise δ11B measurement. The δ11B values of the coral specimens varied from 20.8‰ to 26.0‰ which the variation is larger than the observation in the western Pacific Ocean within the same periods. The δ11B data showed a gradual increase during AD 1466-1829 and a relatively sharp decline then until AD 1960. The anthropogenic emission of CO2 may explain the decline of coral-inferred seawater pH over the past 200 years but not for the period of AD 1466-1829. An evaluated correlation was observed between the variation of coral δ11B values and the monsoon-associated upwelling phenomenon, which implies a significant influence of the Asian monsoon system on boron geochemistry in the northern SCS. This study will provide a comprehensive discussion regarding the potential factors controlling the boron isotopic composition in the northern South China Sea over the past 500 years.

  12. Patterns of relative species abundance in rainforests and coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Volkov, Igor; Banavar, Jayanth R; Hubbell, Stephen P; Maritan, Amos

    2007-11-01

    A formidable many-body problem in ecology is to understand the complex of factors controlling patterns of relative species abundance (RSA) in communities of interacting species. Unlike many problems in physics, the nature of the interactions in ecological communities is not completely known. Although most contemporary theories in ecology start with the basic premise that species interact, here we show that a theory in which all interspecific interactions are turned off leads to analytical results that are in agreement with RSA data from tropical forests and coral reefs. The assumption of non-interacting species leads to a sampling theory for the RSA that yields a simple approximation at large scales to the exact theory. Our results show that one can make significant theoretical progress in ecology by assuming that the effective interactions among species are weak in the stationary states in species-rich communities such as tropical forests and coral reefs. PMID:17972874

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Aggregation and cnidae development as early defensive strategies in Favia fragum and Porites astreoides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rivera, H. E.; Goodbody-Gringley, G.

    2014-12-01

    To survive, corals possess a variety of active and passive defenses. This study examined the effectiveness of aggregation and cnidae development as defensive strategies in enhancing post-settlement survival and growth of two brooding corals, Favia fragum and Porites astreoides, in Bermuda. Growth and survival of solitary and aggregated spat were monitored over seven weeks; cnidae were extracted from surviving spat. F. fragum aggregated spat had higher mortality, slower growth, and more cnidae than solitary spat. On the other hand, aggregation proved beneficial for P. astreoides spat, which had significantly lower mortality, faster growth, and fewer cnidae. Aggregated and solitary F. fragum spat displayed negative correlations between cnidae density and growth, suggesting a trade-off between defense and growth; however, P. astreoides spat did not demonstrate such a trade-off. These differing responses suggest that early patterns of survivorship and defensive strategies are highly species specific and complex.

  16. Temporal variations of heavy metals in coral Porites lutea from Guangdong Province, China: Influences from industrial pollution, climate and economic factors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peng, Z.; Liu, J.; Zhou, C.; Nie, B.; Chen, T.

    2006-01-01

    The correlation coefficients among the metals and climatic and economic factors indicate that the metals Ni, Zn, and Cd behave similarly. Copper and Mn are positively correlated, and cobalt is negatively correlated with Cr, Ni, Zn, and Cd. Lead is not correlated with any other metals but is correlated with sea surface water temperature, air temperature, GDP and industrial-agricultural production in Dianbai County. Lead in corals is related to the enhanced pollution level of ocean waters as a result of increased industrial activities.

  17. Soft Coral Sarcophyton (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Octocorallia) Species Diversity and Chemotypes

    PubMed Central

    Aratake, Satoe; Tomura, Tomohiko; Saitoh, Seikoh; Yokokura, Ryouma; Kawanishi, Yuichi; Shinjo, Ryuichi; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Junichi; Maekawa, Hideaki

    2012-01-01

    Research on the soft coral genus Sarcophyton extends over a wide range of fields, including marine natural products and the isolation of a number of cembranoid diterpenes. However, it is still unknown how soft corals produce this diverse array of metabolites, and the relationship between soft coral diversity and cembranoid diterpene production is not clear. In order to understand this relationship, we examined Sarcophyton specimens from Okinawa, Japan, by utilizing three methods: morphological examination of sclerites, chemotype identification, and phylogenetic examination of both Sarcophyton (utilizing mitochondrial protein-coding genes MutS homolog: msh1) and their endosymbiotic Symbiodinium spp. (utilizing nuclear internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA: ITS- rDNA). Chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clades, and sclerites of Sarcophyton trocheliophorum specimens formed a clear and distinct group, but the relationships between chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clade types and sclerites of the most common species, Sarcophyton glaucum, was not clear. S. glaucum was divided into four clades. A characteristic chemotype was observed within one phylogenetic clade of S. glaucum. Identities of symbiotic algae Symbiodinium spp. had no apparent relation to chemotypes of Sarcophyton spp. This study demonstrates that the complex results observed for S. glaucum are due to the incomplete and complex taxonomy of this species group. Our novel method of identification should help contribute to classification and taxonomic reassessment of this diverse soft coral genus. PMID:22272344

  18. Soft coral Sarcophyton (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Octocorallia) species diversity and chemotypes.

    PubMed

    Aratake, Satoe; Tomura, Tomohiko; Saitoh, Seikoh; Yokokura, Ryouma; Kawanishi, Yuichi; Shinjo, Ryuichi; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Junichi; Maekawa, Hideaki

    2012-01-01

    Research on the soft coral genus Sarcophyton extends over a wide range of fields, including marine natural products and the isolation of a number of cembranoid diterpenes. However, it is still unknown how soft corals produce this diverse array of metabolites, and the relationship between soft coral diversity and cembranoid diterpene production is not clear. In order to understand this relationship, we examined Sarcophyton specimens from Okinawa, Japan, by utilizing three methods: morphological examination of sclerites, chemotype identification, and phylogenetic examination of both Sarcophyton (utilizing mitochondrial protein-coding genes MutS homolog: msh1) and their endosymbiotic Symbiodinium spp. (utilizing nuclear internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA: ITS- rDNA). Chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clades, and sclerites of Sarcophyton trocheliophorum specimens formed a clear and distinct group, but the relationships between chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clade types and sclerites of the most common species, Sarcophyton glaucum, was not clear. S. glaucum was divided into four clades. A characteristic chemotype was observed within one phylogenetic clade of S. glaucum. Identities of symbiotic algae Symbiodinium spp. had no apparent relation to chemotypes of Sarcophyton spp. This study demonstrates that the complex results observed for S. glaucum are due to the incomplete and complex taxonomy of this species group. Our novel method of identification should help contribute to classification and taxonomic reassessment of this diverse soft coral genus. PMID:22272344

  19. The functional gene composition and metabolic potential of coral-associated microbial communities

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yanying; Ling, Juan; Yang, Qingsong; Wen, Chongqing; Yan, Qingyun; Sun, Hongyan; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Shi, Zhou; Zhou, Jizhong; Dong, Junde

    2015-01-01

    The phylogenetic diversity of coral-associated microbes has been extensively examined, but some contention remains regarding whether coral-associated microbial communities are species-specific or site-specific. It is suggested that corals may associate with microbes in terms of function, although little is known about the differences in coral-associated microbial functional gene composition and metabolic potential among coral species. Here, 16S rRNA Illumina sequencing and functional gene array (GeoChip 5.0) were used to assess coral-associated microbial communities. Our results indicate that both host species and environmental variables significantly correlate with shifts in the microbial community structure and functional potential. Functional genes related to key biogeochemical cycles including carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus cycling, metal homeostasis, organic remediation, antibiotic resistance and secondary metabolism were shown to significantly vary between and among the four study corals (Galaxea astreata, Porites lutea, Porites andrewsi and Pavona decussata). Genes specific for anammox were also detected for the first time in the coral holobiont and positively correlated with ammonium. This study reveals that variability in the functional potential of coral-associated microbial communities is largely driven by changes in environmental factors and further demonstrates the importance of linking environmental parameters with genomic data in complex environmental systems. PMID:26536917

  20. 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

  1. Species and size diversity in protective services offered by coral guard-crabs

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Jenna M.

    2014-01-01

    Coral guard-crabs in the genus Trapezia are well-documented defenders of their pocilloporid coral hosts against coral predators such as the Crown-of-Thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci complex). The objectives of this study were to examine the protective services of six species of Trapezia against corallivory, and the extent of functional diversity among these Trapezia species. Studies conducted in Mo’orea, French Polynesia showed the Trapezia—coral mutualism protected the host corals from multiple predators through functional diversity in the assemblage of crab symbionts. Species differed in their defensive efficacy, but species within similar size classes shared similar abilities. Smaller-size Trapezia species, which were previously thought to be ineffective guards, play important defensive roles against small corallivores. We also measured the benefits of this mutualism to corals in the midst of an Acanthaster outbreak that reduced the live coral cover on the fore reef to less than 4%. The mutualism may positively affect the reef coral demography and potential for recovery during adverse predation events through shelter of multiple species of small corals near the host coral. Our results show that while functional diversity is supported within the genus, some Trapezia species may be functionally equivalent within the same size class, decreasing the threat of gaps in coral protection caused by absence or replacement of any single Trapezia species. PMID:25289176

  2. Species and size diversity in protective services offered by coral guard-crabs.

    PubMed

    McKeon, C Seabird; Moore, Jenna M

    2014-01-01

    Coral guard-crabs in the genus Trapezia are well-documented defenders of their pocilloporid coral hosts against coral predators such as the Crown-of-Thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci complex). The objectives of this study were to examine the protective services of six species of Trapezia against corallivory, and the extent of functional diversity among these Trapezia species. Studies conducted in Mo'orea, French Polynesia showed the Trapezia-coral mutualism protected the host corals from multiple predators through functional diversity in the assemblage of crab symbionts. Species differed in their defensive efficacy, but species within similar size classes shared similar abilities. Smaller-size Trapezia species, which were previously thought to be ineffective guards, play important defensive roles against small corallivores. We also measured the benefits of this mutualism to corals in the midst of an Acanthaster outbreak that reduced the live coral cover on the fore reef to less than 4%. The mutualism may positively affect the reef coral demography and potential for recovery during adverse predation events through shelter of multiple species of small corals near the host coral. Our results show that while functional diversity is supported within the genus, some Trapezia species may be functionally equivalent within the same size class, decreasing the threat of gaps in coral protection caused by absence or replacement of any single Trapezia species. PMID:25289176

  3. 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.

  4. Bacterial communities and species-specific associations with the mucus of Brazilian coral species.

    PubMed

    Carlos, Camila; Torres, Tatiana T; Ottoboni, Laura M M

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the existence of species-specific associations between Brazilian coral species and bacteria. Pyrosequencing of the V3 region of the 16S rDNA was used to analyze the taxonomic composition of bacterial communities associated with the mucus of four coral species (Madracis decactis, Mussismilia hispida, Palythoa caribaeorum, and Tubastraea coccinea) in two seasons (winter and summer), which were compared with the surrounding water and sediment. The microbial communities found in samples of mucus, water, and sediment differed according to the composition and relative frequency of OTUs. The coral mucus community seemed to be more stable and resistant to seasonal variations, compared to the water and sediment communities. There was no influence of geographic location on the composition of the communities. The sediment community was extremely diverse and might act as a "seed bank" for the entire environment. Species-specific OTUs were found in P. caribaeorum, T. coccinea, and M. hispida. PMID:23567936

  5. Bacterial communities and species-specific associations with the mucus of Brazilian coral species

    PubMed Central

    Carlos, Camila; Torres, Tatiana T.; Ottoboni, Laura M. M.

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the existence of species-specific associations between Brazilian coral species and bacteria. Pyrosequencing of the V3 region of the 16S rDNA was used to analyze the taxonomic composition of bacterial communities associated with the mucus of four coral species (Madracis decactis, Mussismilia hispida, Palythoa caribaeorum, and Tubastraea coccinea) in two seasons (winter and summer), which were compared with the surrounding water and sediment. The microbial communities found in samples of mucus, water, and sediment differed according to the composition and relative frequency of OTUs. The coral mucus community seemed to be more stable and resistant to seasonal variations, compared to the water and sediment communities. There was no influence of geographic location on the composition of the communities. The sediment community was extremely diverse and might act as a "seed bank" for the entire environment. Species-specific OTUs were found in P. caribaeorum, T. coccinea, and M. hispida. PMID:23567936

  6. Physiological and ecological performance differs in four coral taxa at a volcanic carbon dioxide seep.

    PubMed

    Strahl, J; Stolz, I; Uthicke, S; Vogel, N; Noonan, S H C; Fabricius, K E

    2015-06-01

    Around volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2) seeps in Papua New Guinea, partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2) approximate those as predicted for the end of this century, and coral communities have low diversity and low structural complexity. To assess the mechanisms for such community shifts in response to ocean acidification, we examined the physiological performance of two hard corals that occur with increased or unaltered abundance at a seep site (mean pHTotal=7.8, pCO2=862 μatm) compared to a control site (mean pHTotal=8.1, pCO2=323 μatm), namely massive Porites spp. and Pocillopora damicornis, and two species with reduced abundance, Acropora millepora and Seriatopora hystrix. Oxygen fluxes, calcification, and skeletal densities were analyzed in corals originating from the seep and control site. Net photosynthesis rates increased considerably in Porites spp. and A. millepora and slightly in P. damicornis at increased pCO2, but remained unaltered in S. hystrix. Dark respiration rates remained constant in all corals investigated from both sites. Rates of light calcification declined in S. hystrix at high pCO2, but were unaffected by pCO2 in the other three coral taxa. Dark and net calcification rates remained unchanged in massive Porites and P. damicornis, but were drastically reduced at high pCO2 in A. millepora and S. hystrix. However, skeletal densities were similar at both seep and control sites in all coral taxa investigated. Our data suggest that the pCO2-tolerant corals were characterized by an increased ability to acclimatize to ocean acidification, e.g. by maintaining net calcification. Thus, robust corals, such as Porites spp. and P. damicornis, are more likely to persist for longer in a future high pCO2 world than those unable to acclimatize. PMID:25727938

  7. Mine waste disposal leads to lower coral cover, reduced species richness and a predominance of simple coral growth forms on a fringing coral reef in Papua New Guinea.

    PubMed

    Haywood, M D E; Dennis, D; Thomson, D P; Pillans, R D

    2016-04-01

    A large gold mine has been operating at the Lihir Island Group, Papua New Guinea since 1997. The mine disposes of waste rock in nearshore waters, impacting nearby coral communities. During 2010, 2012 we conducted photographic surveys at 73 sites within 40 km of the mine to document impacts of mining operations on the hard coral communities. Coral communities close to the mine (∼2 km to the north and south of the mine) were depaurperate, but surprisingly, coral cover and community composition beyond this range appeared to be relatively similar, suggesting that the mine impacts were limited spatially. In particular, we found mining operations have resulted in a significant decrease in coral cover (4.4% 1.48 km from the disposal site c.f. 66.9% 10.36 km from the disposal site), decreased species richness and a predominance of less complex growth forms within ∼2 km to the north and south of the mine waste disposal site. In contrast to the two 'snapshot' surveys of corals performed in 2010 and 2012, long term data (1999-2012) based on visual estimates of coral cover suggested that impacts on coral communities may have been more extensive than this. With global pressures on the world's coral reefs increasing, it is vital that local, direct anthropogenic pressures are reduced, in order to help offset the impacts of climate change, disease and predation. PMID:26874890

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 78 FR 12702 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-25

    ... proposed rule in the Federal Register (77 FR 73219) in response to a petition submitted by the Center for... Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef- Building Coral Species; Proposed Reclassification of... listing determinations of 66 reef-building coral species and the proposed reclassifications of...

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Controlling factors of Ca isotope fractionation in scleractinian corals evaluated by temperature, pH and light controlled culture experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inoue, Mayuri; Gussone, Nikolaus; Koga, Yasuko; Iwase, Akihiro; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2015-10-01

    In this study, the 44Ca/40Ca ratios of Porites australiensis grown under three different culture experiments composed of temperature, pH and light controlled culture experiments are measured. The temperature dependent isotope fractionation of 0.02‰/°C deduced from this study is similar to inorganic aragonite, but the degree of isotope fractionation is about +0.4‰ offset in corals. These observations agree with earlier results on different coral species, suggesting Ca isotope fractionation during Ca transmembrane transport in corals. While in cultured corals a significant temperature dependence of δ44Ca is observed, the relationships between calcium isotope fractionation and pH as well as light intensity are negligible. Therefore variation of δ44Ca in Porites corals is mainly controlled by temperature. A combination of δ44Ca and Sr/Ca of corals in temperature controlled experiments cannot be explained by Rayleigh type fractionation directly from a fluid, which is seawater-like in terms of δ44Ca and Sr/Ca. Through coral-specific biomineralization processes, overall mean δ44Ca of scleractinian corals including previous studies are different from biogenic aragonites secreted by sclerosponges and pteropods, but are comparable with those of bivalves as well as calcitic coccolithophores and foraminifers. These findings are important for better understanding biomineralization in corals and in order to constrain the Ca isotopic composition of oceanic Ca sinks in response to climate changes and associated with shifts of calcite and aragonite seas.

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

    PubMed Central

    Maor-Landaw, Keren

    2016-01-01

    It is well-established that there is a hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral genera during heat-stress. However, molecular mechanisms governing these differences are still poorly understood. Here we explored if specific corals possessing different morphologies and different susceptibilities to heat stress may manifest varied gene expression patterns. We examined expression patterns of seven genes in the branching corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora eurystoma and additionally in the massive robust coral, Porites sp. The tested genes are representatives of key cellular processes occurring during heat-stress in Cnidaria: oxidative stress, ER stress, energy metabolism, DNA repair and apoptosis. Varied response to the heat-stress, in terms of visual coral paling, algal maximum quantum yield and host gene expression was evident in the different growth forms. The two branching corals exhibited similar overall responses that differed from that of the massive coral. A. eurystoma that is considered as a susceptible species did not bleach in our experiment, but tissue sloughing was evident at 34 °C. Interestingly, in this species redox regulation genes were up-regulated at the very onset of the thermal challenge. In S. pistillata, bleaching was evident at 34 °C and most of the stress markers were already up-regulated at 32 °C, either remaining highly expressed or decreasing when temperatures reached 34 °C. The massive Porites species displayed severe bleaching at 32 °C but stress marker genes were only significantly elevated at 34 °C. We postulate that by expelling the algal symbionts from Porites tissues, oxidation damages are reduced and stress genes are activated only at a progressed stage. The differential gene expression responses exhibited here can be correlated with the literature well-documented hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral morphologies and genera in Eilat’s coral reef. PMID:27069783

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

    PubMed

    Maor-Landaw, Keren; Levy, Oren

    2016-01-01

    It is well-established that there is a hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral genera during heat-stress. However, molecular mechanisms governing these differences are still poorly understood. Here we explored if specific corals possessing different morphologies and different susceptibilities to heat stress may manifest varied gene expression patterns. We examined expression patterns of seven genes in the branching corals Stylophora pistillata and Acropora eurystoma and additionally in the massive robust coral, Porites sp. The tested genes are representatives of key cellular processes occurring during heat-stress in Cnidaria: oxidative stress, ER stress, energy metabolism, DNA repair and apoptosis. Varied response to the heat-stress, in terms of visual coral paling, algal maximum quantum yield and host gene expression was evident in the different growth forms. The two branching corals exhibited similar overall responses that differed from that of the massive coral. A. eurystoma that is considered as a susceptible species did not bleach in our experiment, but tissue sloughing was evident at 34 °C. Interestingly, in this species redox regulation genes were up-regulated at the very onset of the thermal challenge. In S. pistillata, bleaching was evident at 34 °C and most of the stress markers were already up-regulated at 32 °C, either remaining highly expressed or decreasing when temperatures reached 34 °C. The massive Porites species displayed severe bleaching at 32 °C but stress marker genes were only significantly elevated at 34 °C. We postulate that by expelling the algal symbionts from Porites tissues, oxidation damages are reduced and stress genes are activated only at a progressed stage. The differential gene expression responses exhibited here can be correlated with the literature well-documented hierarchy of susceptibilities amongst coral morphologies and genera in Eilat's coral reef. PMID:27069783

  17. Host shift and speciation in a coral-feeding nudibranch.

    PubMed

    Faucci, Anuschka; Toonen, Robert J; Hadfield, Michael G

    2007-01-01

    While the role of host preference in ecological speciation has been investigated extensively in terrestrial systems, very little is known in marine environments. Host preference combined with mate choice on the preferred host can lead to population subdivision and adaptation leading to host shifts. We use a phylogenetic approach based on two mitochondrial genetic markers to disentangle the taxonomic status and to investigate the role of host specificity in the speciation of the nudibranch genus Phestilla (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia) from Guam, Palau and Hawaii. Species of the genus Phestilla complete their life cycle almost entirely on their specific host coral (species of Porites, Goniopora and Tubastrea). They reproduce on their host coral and their planktonic larvae require a host-specific chemical cue to metamorphose and settle onto their host. The phylogenetic trees of the combined cytochrome oxidase I and ribosomal 16S gene sequences clarify the relationship among species of Phestilla identifying most of the nominal species as monophyletic clades. We found a possible case of host shift from Porites to Goniopora and Tubastrea in sympatric Phestilla spp. This represents one of the first documented cases of host shift as a mechanism underlying speciation in a marine invertebrate. Furthermore, we found highly divergent clades within Phestilla sp. 1 and Phestilla minor (8.1-11.1%), suggesting cryptic speciation. The presence of a strong phylogenetic signal for the coral host confirms that the tight link between species of Phestilla and their host coral probably played an important role in speciation within this genus. PMID:17134995

  18. Associational refuges among corals mediate impacts of a crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci outbreak. Indirect positive interactions in communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kayal, Mohsen; Lenihan, Hunter S.; Pau, Cédric; Penin, Lucie; Adjeroud, Mehdi

    2011-09-01

    Interactions among coral populations can moderate the impact of coral predator outbreaks, enhancing community resilience and recovery. This study used predator-exclusion cages and neighbour removals in a field experiment to test how indirect interactions between populations of three coral taxa, Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites, influenced their survival during an outbreak of the crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, in Moorea, French Polynesia. High densities of corals enhanced survival by generating associational refuges: physical structures that impeded Acanthaster and protected corals, and by simple density-dependent prey dilution that reduced predation rates. Acanthaster showed feeding preferences, resulting in varying intensities of predation on corals, which (1) influenced the type and strength of the associational refuge among corals and (2) resulted in significant loss of the competitive dominants to the benefit of the competitive inferiors. The result was a set of indirect positive interactions (IPIs) that prevented Acanthaster from eradicating Acropora and may have enhanced Porites, a relatively weak competitor among corals. IPIs probably play a key role in many ecosystems, especially in coral reefs in which corals act as engineer species, to reduce impacts of perturbations and enhance community resilience. This study illustrates the importance of IPIs in community regulation with a new conceptual model.

  19. Reproductive patterns in three species of large coral reef sponges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoppe, Wilfried F.

    1988-05-01

    The type and frequency of reproduction of three common sponge species was monitored histologically and by direct field observations of spawning events over 2 successive years at the reefs of Curaçao. Ircinia strobilina showed year round reproductive activity by the production of spermatic cysts in varying intensities in a major part of the population. Production of oocytes and larvae were only observed in the period from September through April, indicating an actual breeding season of 8 months a year. The sexes in this viviparous sponge seem to be separate, but protandry cannot be ruled out. Less than 10% of the sponge tissue was found to consist of reproductive elements. Neofibularia nolitangere is a gonochoristic oviparous sponge with a short annual breeding season of 2 months, in which two successive, highly predictable, short spawning periods occurred synchronously for the whole population. Up to half of the sponge tissue was transformed to reproductive elements. Agelas clathrodes showed low reproductive activity. Field observation suggests that this sponge is an oviparous hermaphrodite, probably annually releasing male and female gametes synchronously in a varying number of individuals of its population during a short breeding period. The variation in reproductive patterns in this small group of large massive coral reef sponges spans a range similar to that found in the morphologically highly variable group of stony corals and illustrates their ecological differentiation on the reef.

  20. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Velásquez, Johanna; Sánchez, Juan A.

    2015-01-01

    Background What are the determinant factors of community assemblies in the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean? Coral reefs can be divided in continental (i.e., reefs that develop on the continental shelf, including siliciclastic reefs) and oceanic (i.e., far off the continental shelf, usually on volcanic substratum); whether or not these habitat differences impose community-wide ecological divergence or species exclusion/coexistence with evolutionary consequences, is unknown. Methods Studying Caribbean octocorals as model system, we determined the phylogenetic community structure in a coral reef community, making emphasis on species coexistence evidenced on trait evolution and environmental feedbacks. Forty-nine species represented in five families constituted the species pool from which a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using mtDNA. We included data from 11 localities in the Western Caribbean (Colombia) including most reef types. To test diversity-environment and phenotype-environment relationships, phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution we carried out comparative analyses implementing ecological and evolutionary approaches. Results Phylogenetic inferences suggest clustering of oceanic reefs (e.g., atolls) contrasting with phylogenetic overdispersion of continental reefs (e.g., reefs banks). Additionally, atolls and barrier reefs had the highest species diversity (Shannon index) whereas phylogenetic diversity was higher in reef banks. The discriminant component analysis supported this differentiation between oceanic and continental reefs, where continental octocoral species tend to have greater calyx apertures, thicker branches, prominent calyces and azooxanthellate species. This analysis also indicated a clear separation between the slope and the remaining habitats, caused by the presence or absence of Symbiodinium. K statistic analysis showed that this trait is conserved as well as the branch shape. Discussion There was strong octocoral

  1. 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.

  2. Antibacterial Activity of Hawaiian Corals: Possible Protection from Disease?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gochfeld, D. J.; Aeby, G. S.; Miller, J. D.

    2006-12-01

    Reports of coral diseases in the Caribbean have appeared with increasing frequency over the past two decades; however, records of coral diseases in the Pacific have lagged far behind. Recent surveys of coral disease in the Hawaiian Islands indicate relatively low, but consistent, levels of disease throughout the inhabited Main and uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and demonstrate variation in levels of disease among the major genera of Hawaiian corals. Although little is known about immune defense to disease in corals, one potential mechanism of defense is the production of antimicrobial compounds that protect corals from pathogens. A preliminary survey of antibacterial chemical defenses among three dominant species of Hawaiian corals was undertaken. Crude aqueous extracts of Porites lobata, Pocillopora meandrina and Montipora capitata were tested against nine strains of bacteria in a growth inhibition assay. Inhibitory extracts were further tested to determine whether their effects were cytostatic or cytotoxic. The bacteria selected included known coral pathogens, potential marine pathogens found in human waste and strains previously identified from the surfaces of Hawaiian corals. Extracts from all three species of coral exhibited a high degree of antibacterial activity, but also a high degree of selectivity against different bacterial strains. In addition, some extracts were stimulatory to some bacteria. In addition to interspecific variability, extracts also exhibited intraspecific variability, both within and between sites. Hawaiian corals have significant antibacterial activity, which may explain the relatively low prevalence of disease in these corals; however, further characterization of pathogens specifically responsible for disease in Hawaiian corals is necessary before we can conclude that antibacterial activity protects Hawaiian corals from disease.

  3. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

    the full moon. The timing of the full moon determined whether spawning was split over two months, which was common on tropical reefs. There were few data available for non-Acropora corals, which may have different patterns of reproduction. For example, the massive Porites seemed to spawn through spring to autumn on Kimberley Oceanic reefs and during summer in the Pilbara region, where other common corals (e.g. Turbinaria & Pavona) also displayed different patterns of reproduction to the Acropora. The brooding corals (Isopora & Seriatopora) on Kimberley Oceanic reefs appeared to planulate during many months, possibly with peaks from spring to autumn; a similar pattern is likely on other WA reefs. Gaps in knowledge were also due to the difficulty in identifying species and issues with methodology. We briefly discuss some of these issues and suggest an approach to quantifying variation in reproductive output throughout a year. PMID:27231651

  4. Coral reproduction in Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Gilmour, James; Speed, Conrad W; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

    full moon. The timing of the full moon determined whether spawning was split over two months, which was common on tropical reefs. There were few data available for non-Acropora corals, which may have different patterns of reproduction. For example, the massive Porites seemed to spawn through spring to autumn on Kimberley Oceanic reefs and during summer in the Pilbara region, where other common corals (e.g. Turbinaria & Pavona) also displayed different patterns of reproduction to the Acropora. The brooding corals (Isopora & Seriatopora) on Kimberley Oceanic reefs appeared to planulate during many months, possibly with peaks from spring to autumn; a similar pattern is likely on other WA reefs. Gaps in knowledge were also due to the difficulty in identifying species and issues with methodology. We briefly discuss some of these issues and suggest an approach to quantifying variation in reproductive output throughout a year. PMID:27231651

  5. The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans.

    PubMed

    Madin, Joshua S; Anderson, Kristen D; Andreasen, Magnus Heide; Bridge, Tom C L; Cairns, Stephen D; Connolly, Sean R; Darling, Emily S; Diaz, Marcela; Falster, Daniel S; Franklin, Erik C; Gates, Ruth D; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Huang, Danwei; Keith, Sally A; Kosnik, Matthew A; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M; Lovelock, Catherine E; Luiz, Osmar; Martinelli, Julieta; Mizerek, Toni; Pandolfi, John M; Pochon, Xavier; Pratchett, Morgan S; Putnam, Hollie M; Roberts, T Edward; Stat, Michael; Wallace, Carden C; Widman, Elizabeth; Baird, Andrew H

    2016-01-01

    Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism's function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental change. Coral reef scientists have long collected trait data for corals; however, these are difficult to access and often under-utilized in addressing large-scale questions. We present the Coral Trait Database initiative that aims to bring together physiological, morphological, ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic trait information into a single repository. The database houses species- and individual-level data from published field and experimental studies alongside contextual data that provide important framing for analyses. In this data descriptor, we release data for 56 traits for 1547 species, and present a collaborative platform on which other trait data are being actively federated. Our overall goal is for the Coral Trait Database to become an open-source, community-led data clearinghouse that accelerates coral reef research. PMID:27023900

  6. The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans

    PubMed Central

    Madin, Joshua S.; Anderson, Kristen D.; Andreasen, Magnus Heide; Bridge, Tom C.L.; Cairns, Stephen D.; Connolly, Sean R.; Darling, Emily S.; Diaz, Marcela; Falster, Daniel S.; Franklin, Erik C.; Gates, Ruth D.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Huang, Danwei; Keith, Sally A.; Kosnik, Matthew A.; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Lough, Janice M.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Luiz, Osmar; Martinelli, Julieta; Mizerek, Toni; Pandolfi, John M.; Pochon, Xavier; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Roberts, T. Edward; Stat, Michael; Wallace, Carden C.; Widman, Elizabeth; Baird, Andrew H.

    2016-01-01

    Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism’s function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental change. Coral reef scientists have long collected trait data for corals; however, these are difficult to access and often under-utilized in addressing large-scale questions. We present the Coral Trait Database initiative that aims to bring together physiological, morphological, ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic trait information into a single repository. The database houses species- and individual-level data from published field and experimental studies alongside contextual data that provide important framing for analyses. In this data descriptor, we release data for 56 traits for 1547 species, and present a collaborative platform on which other trait data are being actively federated. Our overall goal is for the Coral Trait Database to become an open-source, community-led data clearinghouse that accelerates coral reef research. PMID:27023900

  7. 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

  8. Biological review of 82 species of coral petitioned to be included in the Endangered Species Act

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brainard, Russell E.; Birkeland, Charles; Eakin, C. Mark; McElhany, Paul; Miller, Margaret W.; Patterson, Matt; Piniak, G.A.

    2011-01-01

    The BRT considered two major factors in conducting this review. The first factor was the interaction of natural phenomena and anthropogenic stressors that could potentially contribute to coral extinction. After extensive review of available scientific information, the BRT considers ocean warming, disease, and ocean acidification to be the most influential threats in posing extinction risks to the 82 candidate coral species between now and the year 2100. Threats of local origin but having widespread impact, such as sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, and fishing, were considered of medium importance in determining extinction risks. It is acknowledged that many other threats (e.g., physical damage from storms or ship groundings, invasive species or predator outbreaks, collection and trade) also negatively affect corals, often acutely and dramatically, but generally at relatively small local scales. These local threats were considered to be of limited scope and not deemed to contribute appreciably to the risk of species extinction, except in those special cases where species have restricted geographic or habitat ranges or species have already undergone precipitous population declines such that these local threats further contribute to depensatory processes that can magnify extinction risks (e.g., feedback-loops whereby individual survival decreases with smaller population size). The BRT acknowledges that local and global threats operate on different time scales and, though there is high confidence in the general progression of some key global threats, such as ocean warming and ocean acidification, there is much less certainty in the timing and spatial patterns of these threats. There is also substantial uncertainty in the abilities of the 82 candidate coral species to tolerate or adapt to each of the threats examined, as well as uncertainty in the dynamics of multiple simultaneous stresses. The BRT specifically identified increasing human population levels and the

  9. Miocene reef corals: A review

    SciTech Connect

    Frost, S.H.

    1988-01-01

    Tectonic blockage in the Middle East of westward-flowing Tethys surface circulation during the latest Oligocene led to creation in the earliest Miocene of endemic Mediterranean, Western Atlantic-Caribbean, and Indo-Pacific realms. A great reduction in reef coral diversity from 60-80 Oligocene species to 25-35 early Miocene species occurred in the Western Atlantic-Caribbean and Mediterranean areas accompanied by a decrease in reef growth. A slower and less drastic change apparently occurred in the Indo-Pacific area. Early Miocene reef corals of the Western Atlantic-Caribbean comprise a transition between the cosmopolitan Oligocene fauna and its endemic mid-Miocene to modern counterpart. Although early Miocene reefs were dominated by a Porites-Montastrea assemblage, eastward flow of Pacific circulation brought with it ''exotic'' corals such as Coscinaraea and Pseudocolumnastrea. Also, many cosmopolitan genera persisted from the Oligocene. During the middle to late Miocene, most of the species still living on Holocene reefs evolved. As the Mediterranean basin became more restricted, there was a slow decline in reef corals from 20 - 25 species in the Aquitainian to less than five species in the Messinian. Eustatic lowstand led to the extinction of reef-building corals in the late Messinian. In the Indo-Pacific, Neogene evolution of reef corals was conservative. Excluding the Acroporidae and Seriatoporidae, most Holocene framework species had evolved by the middle Miocene. Interplay between regional tectonics and eustatic sea level changes led to extensive development of middle to late Miocene pinnacle reefs over the southwestern Pacific.

  10. Coral reef recovery in the Galápagos Islands: the northernmost islands (Darwin and Wenman)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glynn, Peter W.; Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Samuel; Kerr, Jeremy M.; Smith, Tyler B.

    2015-06-01

    The remote northernmost Galápagos Islands, Darwin and Wenman, exhibited well-developed coral communities in 1975, which were severely degraded during the 1982-1983 El Niño warming event. Mapping of the coral reef at Darwin, herein Wellington Reef, shows it presently to be the largest known structural reef in the Galápagos. It consists of numerous 1- to 3-m-high Porites framework towers or stacks and overlies a carbonate (coral/calcareous sediments) basement. Pre-disturbance Wellington Reef was constructed chiefly by Porites lobata and Pocillopora elegans, and Wenman coral cover was dominated by Pavona clavus and Porites lobata. Subsequent surveys in 2012 have demonstrated robust recovery in spite of ENSO thermal shock events, involving both high and low stressful temperatures that have caused tissue bleaching and mortality. No losses of coral species have been observed. Radiocarbon dating of 1- to 3-m-high poritid framework stacks, from their peaks to bases, revealed modern ages of up to 690 yr. Incremental stack growth rates ranged from 0.15-0.39 to 1.04-2.40 cm yr-1. The former are equivalent to framework accretion rates of 1.5-3.9 m Kyr-1, the latter to coral skeletal growth rates of 1.0-2.4 cm yr-1. Coral recovery in the central and southern Galápagos has been nonexistent to low compared with the northern islands, due chiefly to much higher population densities and destructive grazing pressure of the echinoid Eucidaris galapagensis. Thus, coral reef resistance to ENSO perturbations and recovery potential in the Galápagos are influenced by echinoid bioerosion that varies significantly among islands.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Herbivore species richness and feeding complementarity affect community structure and function on a coral reef

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Hay, Mark E.

    2008-01-01

    Consumer effects on prey are well known for cascading through food webs and producing dramatic top-down effects on community structure and ecosystem function. Bottom-up effects of prey (primary producer) biodiversity are also well known. However, the role of consumer diversity in affecting community structure or ecosystem function is not well understood. Here, we show that herbivore species richness can be critical for maintaining the structure and function of coral reefs. In two experiments over 2 years, we constructed large cages enclosing single herbivore species, equal densities of mixed species of herbivores, or excluding herbivores and assessed effects on both seaweeds and corals. When compared with single-herbivore treatments, mixed-herbivore treatments lowered macroalgal abundance by 54–76%, enhanced cover of crustose coralline algae (preferred recruitment sites for corals) by 52–64%, increased coral cover by 22%, and prevented coral mortality. Complementary feeding by herbivorous fishes drove the herbivore richness effects, because macroalgae were unable to effectively deter fishes with different feeding strategies. Maintaining herbivore species richness appears critical for preserving coral reefs, because complementary feeding by diverse herbivores produces positive, but indirect, effects on corals, the foundation species for the ecosystem. PMID:18845686

  14. Synergistic effects of habitat preference and gregarious behaviour on habitat use in coral reef cardinalfish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gardiner, N. M.; Jones, G. P.

    2010-12-01

    Spatial distributions of coral reef fish species are potentially determined by habitat preferences and behavioural interactions. However, the relative importance of these factors and whether or not behavioural interactions reinforce or disrupt habitat associations are poorly understood. This paper explores the degree to which habitat and social preferences explain the association that three common coral reef cardinalfish species ( Zoramia leptacanthus, Archamia zosterophora and Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus; family Apogonidae) have with coral substrata at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. At diurnal resting sites, species were strongly associated with branching corals, with 80-90% of each species inhabiting one branching coral species, Porites cylindrica. Species were also highly gregarious, forming large con-specific and hetero-specific aggregations in coral heads, potentially reinforcing habitat associations. Three-way choice experiments were conducted to test fishes habitat preferences for living coral over dead substrata, for particular coral species, and the influence of gregarious behaviour on these habitat choices. The strength of habitat preferences differed among species, with Z. leptacanthus preferring live coral and P. cylindrica, A. zosterophora preferring P. cylindrica, whether live or dead and C. quinquelineatus exhibiting no preferences. All species were attracted to conspecifics, and for C. quinquelineatus and A. zosterophora, conspecific attraction resulted in stronger preferences for live corals. Gregarious behaviour also increased C. quinquelineatus associations with P. cylindrica. The relative strength of social attraction versus habitat preferences was investigated by comparing fish habitat preferences in the presence and/or absence of conspecifics. The presence of conspecifics on non-preferred rubble habitat reduced each species association with live coral. This study’s results indicate that in the field, habitat preferences and

  15. Live coral cover may provide resilience to damage from the vermetid gastropod Dendropoma maximum by preventing larval settlement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips, N. E.; Shima, J. S.; Osenberg, C. W.

    2014-12-01

    Dendropoma maximum is a vermetid gastropod (a sessile tube-forming snail) commonly associated with living corals throughout shallow-water reefs of the Indo-Pacific. Recent work suggests that, once established, this species can adversely affect growth and survival of corals. Here, we test the hypotheses that disturbances to live coral substrates (e.g., creation of bare patches) facilitate successful larval settlement and subsequent population growth of D. maximum, and conversely, that live coral inhibits D. maximum settlement. In the shallow lagoon of Moorea, French Polynesia, we selected patch reefs where D. maximum was either present or absent (to evaluate potential effects of resident adult conspecifics on recruitment) and established focal quadrats on each reef. In each quadrat, we either experimentally removed 50 % of live coral cover or left the quadrat with 100 % live coral cover. In addition, we deployed units of bare substrate (coral rubble) to each reef. We conducted a census of deployed substrates and quadrats after 6 months and found that D. maximum settled irrespective of resident vermetid populations, and only onto nonliving surfaces (i.e., cleared patches in quadrats, coral rubble, and marine epoxy). In laboratory experiments, we exposed larvae of D. maximum to live coral and found species-specific effects on survival of D. maximum larvae. Porites lobata and Pocillopora sp. killed larvae of D. maximum, Porites rus caused weaker mortality, and Millepora sp. had no effect on larval survival. Collectively, these results suggest that D. maximum requires disturbances that create bare patches to successfully settle onto reefs, and that a high cover of living corals contributes resilience to reefs by limiting settlement opportunities of a species known to reduce coral growth and survival.

  16. Disease dynamics of Porites bleaching with tissue loss: prevalence, virulence, transmission, and environmental drivers.

    PubMed

    Sudek, M; Williams, G J; Runyon, C; Aeby, G S; Davy, S K

    2015-02-10

    The prevalence, number of species affected, and geographical extent of coral diseases have been increasing worldwide. We present ecological data on the coral disease Porites bleaching with tissue loss (PBTL) from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu (Hawaii, USA), affecting P. compressa. This disease is prevalent throughout the year, although it shows spatio-temporal variability with peak prevalence during the warmer summer months. Temporal variability in disease prevalence showed a strong positive relationship with elevated water temperature. Spatially, PBTL prevalence peaked in clearer waters (lower turbidity) with higher water flow and higher densities of parrotfish, together explaining approximately 26% of the spatial variability in PBTL prevalence. However, the relatively poor performance of the spatial model suggests that other, unmeasured factors may be more important in driving spatial prevalence. PBTL was not transmissible through direct contact or the water column in controlled aquaria experiments, suggesting that this disease may not be caused by a pathogen, is not highly infectious, or perhaps requires a vector for transmission. In general, PBTL results in partial tissue mortality of affected colonies; on average, one-third of the tissue is lost. This disease can affect the same colonies repeatedly, suggesting a potential for progressive damage which could cause increased tissue loss over time. P. compressa is the main framework-building species in Kaneohe Bay; PBTL therefore has the potential to negatively impact the structure of the reefs at this location. PMID:25667337

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-22

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. The effect of seasonal temperature extremes on sediment rejection in three scleractinian coral species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganase, A.; Bongaerts, P.; Visser, P. M.; Dove, S. G.

    2016-03-01

    Sedimentation from resuspension following storm surge is a natural occurrence on coral reefs, and scleractinian corals have adapted to effectively reject sediment. However, it is unclear whether the physical ability to reject sedimentation is affected during seasonal temperature extremes. We acclimated three coral species ( Montipora aequituberculata, Lobophyllia corymbosa and Fungia fungites), with different active shedding mechanisms, to three temperature treatments (winter minimum, summer maximum and mean). Corals were then exposed to a sediment rejection experiment in which we measured clearance rates and tissue inflation cycles associated with the clearance of sediment. Temperature impacted clearing rates of M. aequituberculata, which exhibited significantly faster sediment rejection under winter temperatures. Fungia fungites, on the other hand, exhibited significantly higher tissue inflation rates under summer temperatures. Although limited in scope, this study demonstrates that temperature can have a strong effect on the response of corals to sedimentation.

  1. Effects of temperature and UV radiation increases on the photosynthetic efficiency in four scleractinian coral species.

    PubMed

    Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Richard, Cécile; Forcioli, Didier; Allemand, Denis; Pichon, Michel; Shick, J Malcolm

    2007-08-01

    Experiments were performed on coral species containing clade A (Stylophora pistillata, Montipora aequituberculata) or clade C (Acropora sp., Pavona cactus) zooxanthellae. The photosynthetic efficiency (F(v)/F(m)) of the corals was first assessed during a short-term increase in temperature (from 27 degrees C to 29 degrees C, 32 degrees C, and 34 degrees C) and acute exposure to UV radiation (20.5 W m(-2) UVA and 1.2 W m(-2) UVB) alone or in combination. Increasing temperature to 34 degrees C significantly decreased the F(v)/F(m) in S. pistillata and M. aequituberculata. Increased UV radiation alone significantly decreased the F(v)/F(m) of all coral species, even at 27 degrees C. There was a combined effect of temperature and UV radiation, which reduced F(v)/F(m) in all corals by 25% to 40%. During a long-term exposure to UV radiation (17 days) the F(v)/F(m) was significantly reduced after 3 days' exposure in all species, which did not recover their initial values, even after 17 days. By this time, all corals had synthesized mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). The concentration and diversity of MAAs differed among species, being higher for corals containing clade A zooxanthellae. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation at the nonstressful temperature of 27 degrees C conferred protection against independent, thermally induced photoinhibition in all four species. PMID:17679722

  2. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    PubMed

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Messmer, Vanessa; Brooks, Andrew J; Srinivasan, Maya; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia). Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity) in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems. PMID:25970588

  3. Latitudinal species diversity gradient of mushroom corals off eastern Australia: a baseline from the 1970s

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-11-01

    Based on a study of mushroom coral species of eastern Australia, a decrease in species richness can be discerned from north to south. Eastern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), is one of only few coral reef areas suitable for studies on large-scale latitudinal biodiversity patterns. Such patterns may help to recognize biogeographic boundaries and factors regulating biodiversity. Owing to the eastern Australian long coastline, such studies are a logistic challenge unless reliable distribution data are already available, as in museum collections. A large coral collection predominantly sampled from this area in the 1970s is present in the Museum of Tropical Queensland (MTQ). The scleractinian family Fungiidae (mushroom corals), representing about 10% of Indo-Pacific reef coral species, was selected as proxy. It was represented by 1289 specimens belonging to 34 species with latitudinal ranges between 09°09‧S and 31°28‧S. The fauna of the northernmost reefs in the Gulf of Papua and the Torres Strait, and north of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), was represented by a maximum of 30 fungiids. From here a southward decline in species number was observed, down to Lord Howe Island with only one species. Together with previous records, the mushroom coral fauna of eastern Australia consists of 37 species, which is more diverse than hitherto known and similar to numbers found in the Coral Triangle. Future field surveys in the GBR should specifically target rarely known species, which are mainly small and found at depths >25 m. In the light of global climate change, they may also show whether previously recorded species are still present and whether their latitudinal ranges have shifted, using the 1970s records as a baseline.

  4. Recognizing diversity in coral symbiotic dinoflagellate communities.

    PubMed

    Apprill, Amy M; Gates, Ruth D

    2007-03-01

    A detailed understanding of how diversity in endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities maps onto the physiological range of coral hosts is critical to predicting how coral reef ecosystems will respond to climate change. Species-level taxonomy of the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium has been predominantly examined using the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal array (rDNA ITS2) and downstream screening for dominant types using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Here, ITS2 diversity in the communities of Symbiodinium harboured by two Hawaiian coral species was explored using direct sequencing of clone libraries. We resolved sixfold to eightfold greater diversity per coral species than previously reported, the majority of which corresponds to a novel and distinct phylogenetic lineage. We evaluated how these sequences migrate in DGGE and demonstrate that this method does not effectively resolve this diversity. We conclude that the Porites spp. examined here harbour diverse assemblages of novel Symbiodinium types and that cloning and sequencing is an effective methodological approach for resolving the complexity of endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities harboured by reef corals. PMID:17391401

  5. The Role of Maternal Nutrition on Oocyte Size and Quality, with Respect to Early Larval Development in The Coral-Eating Starfish, Acanthaster planci.

    PubMed

    Caballes, Ciemon Frank; Pratchett, Morgan S; Kerr, Alexander M; Rivera-Posada, Jairo A

    2016-01-01

    Variation in local environmental conditions can have pronounced effects on the population structure and dynamics of marine organisms. Previous studies on crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, have primarily focused on effects of water quality and nutrient availability on larval growth and survival, while the role of maternal nutrition on reproduction and larval development has been overlooked. To examine the effects of maternal nutrition on oocyte size and early larval development in A. planci, we pre-conditioned females for 60 days on alternative diets of preferred coral prey (Acropora abrotanoides) versus non-preferred coral prey (Porites rus) and compared resulting gametes and progeny to those produced by females that were starved over the same period. Females fed ad libitum with Acropora increased in weight, produced heavier gonads and produced larger oocytes compared to Porites-fed and starved females. Fed starfish (regardless of whether it was Acropora or Porites) produced bigger larvae with larger stomachs and had a higher frequency of normal larvae that reached the late bipinnaria / early brachiolaria stage compared to starved starfish. Females on Acropora diet also produced a higher proportion of larvae that progressed to more advanced stages faster compared to Porites-fed starfish, which progressed faster than starved starfish. These results suggest that maternal provisioning can have important consequences for the quality and quantity of progeny. Because food quality (coral community structure) and quantity (coral abundance) varies widely among reef locations and habitats, local variation in maternal nutrition of A. planci is likely to moderate reproductive success and may explain temporal and spatial fluctuations in abundance of this species. PMID:27327627

  6. The Role of Maternal Nutrition on Oocyte Size and Quality, with Respect to Early Larval Development in The Coral-Eating Starfish, Acanthaster planci

    PubMed Central

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Kerr, Alexander M.; Rivera-Posada, Jairo A.

    2016-01-01

    Variation in local environmental conditions can have pronounced effects on the population structure and dynamics of marine organisms. Previous studies on crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, have primarily focused on effects of water quality and nutrient availability on larval growth and survival, while the role of maternal nutrition on reproduction and larval development has been overlooked. To examine the effects of maternal nutrition on oocyte size and early larval development in A. planci, we pre-conditioned females for 60 days on alternative diets of preferred coral prey (Acropora abrotanoides) versus non-preferred coral prey (Porites rus) and compared resulting gametes and progeny to those produced by females that were starved over the same period. Females fed ad libitum with Acropora increased in weight, produced heavier gonads and produced larger oocytes compared to Porites-fed and starved females. Fed starfish (regardless of whether it was Acropora or Porites) produced bigger larvae with larger stomachs and had a higher frequency of normal larvae that reached the late bipinnaria / early brachiolaria stage compared to starved starfish. Females on Acropora diet also produced a higher proportion of larvae that progressed to more advanced stages faster compared to Porites-fed starfish, which progressed faster than starved starfish. These results suggest that maternal provisioning can have important consequences for the quality and quantity of progeny. Because food quality (coral community structure) and quantity (coral abundance) varies widely among reef locations and habitats, local variation in maternal nutrition of A. planci is likely to moderate reproductive success and may explain temporal and spatial fluctuations in abundance of this species. PMID:27327627

  7. The reef coral Goniastrea aspera: a `winner' becomes a `loser' during a severe bleaching event in Thailand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, B. E.; Dunne, R. P.; Phongsuwan, N.; Patchim, L.; Hawkridge, J. M.

    2014-06-01

    The reef coral Goniastrea aspera is regarded as one of the most environmentally tolerant species on Indo-Pacific reefs. Its demise, following a severe bleaching event in the Andaman Sea in the north-eastern Indian Ocean in 2010, was surprising in view of the rapid recovery of co-existing species such as Porites lutea. Demographic studies of G. aspera at this site showed the population was mainly composed of large individuals, which recruited in the early 1990s. These results, and size-specific mortality observed in G. aspera, post-bleaching, suggest that factors, related to size and age, may have contributed to the coral's marked decline.

  8. The effect of temperature stress on coral- Symbiodinium associations containing distinct symbiont types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisher, P. L.; Malme, M. K.; Dove, S.

    2012-06-01

    Several studies have demonstrated that the temperature tolerance of scleractinian reef-building corals is controlled, in part, by hosting physiologically distinct symbiotic algae. We investigated the thermal tolerance of coral-algal associations within seven common species of reef-building corals hosting distinct Symbiodinium sub-clades collected from Heron Island during experimentally induced bleaching conditions. During experimental heating, photosynthetic fitness was assessed by the dark-adapted yield of PSII ( F v/ F m), and excitation pressure across PSII ( Q m) of each coral-algal association using pulse amplitude modulation fluorometry. The onset of bleaching was determined by the measurement of Symbiodinium cell density. Using the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS-2) region, we showed that Symbiodinium type-coral host associations were temporally and spatially conserved in a high proportion of the colonies sampled within each species. Generally, the species Acropora millepora, Platygyra daedalea, Acropora aspera and Acropora formosa contained Symbiodinium ITS-2 type C3, whereas the species Montipora digitata, Porites cylindrica and Porites lutea contained Symbiodinium type C15. Bleaching susceptibility showed some association with Symbiodinium type, but further research is required to confirm this. Corals hosting C3 Symbiodinium displayed higher reductions in F v/ F m during heating compared to their C15 counterparts, irrespective of host species. However, a corresponding reduction in Symbiodinium density was not observed. Nonetheless, A. aspera and A. formosa showed significant reductions in Symbiodinium density relative to controls. This correlated with large increases in Q m and decreases in F v/ F m in heated explants. Our results suggest a range of bleaching susceptibilities for the coral species investigated, with A. aspera and A. formosa showing the greatest susceptibility to bleaching and M. digitata showing the lowest bleaching

  9. 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

  10. Prevalent endosymbiont zonation shapes the depth distributions of scleractinian coral species.

    PubMed

    Bongaerts, Pim; Carmichael, Margaux; Hay, Kyra B; Tonk, Linda; Frade, Pedro R; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2015-02-01

    Bathymetric distributions of photosynthetic marine invertebrate species are relatively well studied, however the importance of symbiont zonation (i.e. hosting of distinct algal endosymbiont communities over depth) in determining these depth distributions still remains unclear. Here, we assess the prevalence of symbiont zonation in tropical scleractinian corals by genotyping the Symbiodinium of the 25 most common species over a large depth range (down to 60 m) on a Caribbean reef. Symbiont depth zonation was found to be common on a reef-wide scale (11 out of 25 coral species), and a dominant feature in species with the widest depth distributions. With regards to reproductive strategy, symbiont zonation was more common in broadcasting species, which also exhibited a higher level of polymorphism in the symbiont zonation (i.e. number of different Symbiodinium profiles involved). Species with symbiont zonation exhibited significantly broader depth distributions than those without, highlighting the role of symbiont zonation in shaping the vertical distributions of the coral host. Overall, the results demonstrate that coral reefs can consist of highly structured communities over depth when considering both the coral host and their obligate photosymbionts, which probably has strong implications for the extent of connectivity between shallow and mesophotic habitats. PMID:26064597

  11. Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches

    PubMed Central

    Wismer, Sharon; Bshary, Redouan

    2015-01-01

    Large disturbances can cause rapid degradation of coral reef communities, but what baseline changes in species assemblages occur on undisturbed reefs through time? We surveyed live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness in 1997 and again in 2007 on 47 fringing patch reefs of varying size and depth at Mersa Bareika, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt. No major human or natural disturbance event occurred between these two survey periods in this remote protected area. In the absence of large disturbances, we found that live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness did not differ in 1997 compared to 2007. Fish abundance and species richness on patches was largely related to the presence of shelters (caves and/or holes), live coral cover and patch size (volume). The presence of the ectoparasite-eating cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, was also positively related to fish species richness. Our results underscore the importance of physical reef characteristics, such as patch size and shelter availability, in addition to biotic characteristics, such as live coral cover and cleaner wrasse abundance, in supporting reef fish species richness and abundance through time in a relatively undisturbed and understudied region. PMID:26644988

  12. Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Elena L E S; Roche, Dominique G; Binning, Sandra A; Wismer, Sharon; Bshary, Redouan

    2015-01-01

    Large disturbances can cause rapid degradation of coral reef communities, but what baseline changes in species assemblages occur on undisturbed reefs through time? We surveyed live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness in 1997 and again in 2007 on 47 fringing patch reefs of varying size and depth at Mersa Bareika, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt. No major human or natural disturbance event occurred between these two survey periods in this remote protected area. In the absence of large disturbances, we found that live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness did not differ in 1997 compared to 2007. Fish abundance and species richness on patches was largely related to the presence of shelters (caves and/or holes), live coral cover and patch size (volume). The presence of the ectoparasite-eating cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, was also positively related to fish species richness. Our results underscore the importance of physical reef characteristics, such as patch size and shelter availability, in addition to biotic characteristics, such as live coral cover and cleaner wrasse abundance, in supporting reef fish species richness and abundance through time in a relatively undisturbed and understudied region. PMID:26644988

  13. Prevalent endosymbiont zonation shapes the depth distributions of scleractinian coral species

    PubMed Central

    Bongaerts, Pim; Carmichael, Margaux; Hay, Kyra B.; Tonk, Linda; Frade, Pedro R.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2015-01-01

    Bathymetric distributions of photosynthetic marine invertebrate species are relatively well studied, however the importance of symbiont zonation (i.e. hosting of distinct algal endosymbiont communities over depth) in determining these depth distributions still remains unclear. Here, we assess the prevalence of symbiont zonation in tropical scleractinian corals by genotyping the Symbiodinium of the 25 most common species over a large depth range (down to 60 m) on a Caribbean reef. Symbiont depth zonation was found to be common on a reef-wide scale (11 out of 25 coral species), and a dominant feature in species with the widest depth distributions. With regards to reproductive strategy, symbiont zonation was more common in broadcasting species, which also exhibited a higher level of polymorphism in the symbiont zonation (i.e. number of different Symbiodinium profiles involved). Species with symbiont zonation exhibited significantly broader depth distributions than those without, highlighting the role of symbiont zonation in shaping the vertical distributions of the coral host. Overall, the results demonstrate that coral reefs can consist of highly structured communities over depth when considering both the coral host and their obligate photosymbionts, which probably has strong implications for the extent of connectivity between shallow and mesophotic habitats. PMID:26064597

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. Short-Term Coral Bleaching Is Not Recorded by Skeletal Boron Isotopes

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Macroalgal extracts induce bacterial assemblage shifts and sublethal tissue stress in Caribbean corals.

    PubMed

    Morrow, Kathleen M; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Ross, Cliff; Liles, Mark R; Paul, Valerie J

    2012-01-01

    Benthic macroalgae can be abundant on present-day coral reefs, especially where rates of herbivory are low and/or dissolved nutrients are high. This study investigated the impact of macroalgal extracts on both coral-associated bacterial assemblages and sublethal stress response of corals. Crude extracts and live algal thalli from common Caribbean macroalgae were applied onto the surface of Montastraea faveolata and Porites astreoides corals on reefs in both Florida and Belize. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA gene amplicons was used to examine changes in the surface mucus layer (SML) bacteria in both coral species. Some of the extracts and live algae induced detectable shifts in coral-associated bacterial assemblages. However, one aqueous extract caused the bacterial assemblages to shift to an entirely new state (Lobophora variegata), whereas other organic extracts had little to no impact (e.g. Dictyota sp.). Macroalgal extracts more frequently induced sublethal stress responses in M. faveolata than in P. astreoides corals, suggesting that cellular integrity can be negatively impacted in selected corals when comparing co-occurring species. As modern reefs experience phase-shifts to a higher abundance of macroalgae with potent chemical defenses, these macroalgae are likely impacting the composition of microbial assemblages associated with corals and affecting overall reef health in unpredicted and unprecedented ways. PMID:23028648

  17. Macroalgal Extracts Induce Bacterial Assemblage Shifts and Sublethal Tissue Stress in Caribbean Corals

    PubMed Central

    Morrow, Kathleen M.; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Ross, Cliff; Liles, Mark R.; Paul, Valerie J.

    2012-01-01

    Benthic macroalgae can be abundant on present-day coral reefs, especially where rates of herbivory are low and/or dissolved nutrients are high. This study investigated the impact of macroalgal extracts on both coral-associated bacterial assemblages and sublethal stress response of corals. Crude extracts and live algal thalli from common Caribbean macroalgae were applied onto the surface of Montastraea faveolata and Porites astreoides corals on reefs in both Florida and Belize. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA gene amplicons was used to examine changes in the surface mucus layer (SML) bacteria in both coral species. Some of the extracts and live algae induced detectable shifts in coral-associated bacterial assemblages. However, one aqueous extract caused the bacterial assemblages to shift to an entirely new state (Lobophora variegata), whereas other organic extracts had little to no impact (e.g. Dictyota sp.). Macroalgal extracts more frequently induced sublethal stress responses in M. faveolata than in P. astreoides corals, suggesting that cellular integrity can be negatively impacted in selected corals when comparing co-occurring species. As modern reefs experience phase-shifts to a higher abundance of macroalgae with potent chemical defenses, these macroalgae are likely impacting the composition of microbial assemblages associated with corals and affecting overall reef health in unpredicted and unprecedented ways. PMID:23028648

  18. Variation in oxygen isotope ratio of dissolved orthophosphate induced by uptake process in natural coral holobionts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferrera, Charissa M.; Miyajima, Toshihiro; Watanabe, Atsushi; Umezawa, Yu; Morimoto, Naoko; San Diego-McGlone, Maria Lourdes; Nadaoka, Kazuo

    2016-06-01

    A model incubation experiment using natural zooxanthellate corals was conducted to evaluate the influence of phosphate uptake by coral holobionts on oxygen isotope ratio of dissolved PO4 3- (δ18Op). Live coral samples of Acropora digitifera, Porites cylindrica, and Heliopora coerulea were collected from coral reefs around Ishigaki Island (Okinawa, Japan) and Bolinao (northern Luzon, Philippines) and incubated for 3-5 d after acclimatization under natural light conditions with elevated concentrations of PO4 3-. Phosphate uptake by corals behaved linearly with incubation time, with uptake rate depending on temperature. δ18Op usually increased with time toward the equilibrium value with respect to oxygen isotope exchange with ambient seawater, but sometimes became higher than equilibrium value at the end of incubation. The magnitude of the isotope effect associated with uptake depended on coral species; the greatest effect was in A. digitifera and the smallest in H. coerulea. However, it varied even within samples of a single coral species, which suggests multiple uptake processes with different isotope effects operating simultaneously with varying relative contributions in the coral holobionts used. In natural environments where concentrations of PO4 3- are much lower than those used during incubation, PO4 3- is presumably turned over much faster and the δ18Op easily altered by corals and other major primary producers. This should be taken into consideration when using δ18Op as an indicator of external PO4 3- sources in coastal ecosystems.

  19. 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

  20. Multi-locus sequence data reveal a new species of coral reef goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Eviota), and evidence of Pliocene vicariance across the Coral Triangle.

    PubMed

    Tornabene, L; Valdez, S; Erdmann, M V; Pezold, F L

    2016-05-01

    Here, multi-locus sequence data are coupled with observations of live colouration to recognize a new species, Eviota punyit from the Coral Triangle, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Relaxed molecular clock divergence time estimation indicates a Pliocene origin for the new species, and the current distribution of the new species and its sister species Eviota sebreei supports a scenario of vicariance across the Indo-Pacific Barrier, followed by subsequent range expansion and overlap in the Coral Triangle. These results are consistent with the 'centre of overlap' hypothesis, which states that the increased diversity in the Coral Triangle is due in part to the overlapping ranges of Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean faunas. These findings are discussed in the context of other geminate pairs of coral reef fishes separated by the Indo-Pacific Barrier. PMID:27021219

  1. Comparing Environmental Influences on Coral Bleaching Across and within Species using Clustered Binomial Regression

    EPA Science Inventory

    Differential susceptibility among reef-building coral species can lead to community shifts and loss of diversity as a result of temperature-induced mass bleaching events. However, the influence of the local environment on species-specific bleaching susceptibilities has not been ...

  2. Considering Species Tolerance to Climate Change in Conservation Management at Little Cayman's Coral Reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camp, E.; Manfrino, C.; Smith, D.; Suggett, D.

    2013-05-01

    There is growing evidence demonstrating that climate change, notably increased frequency and intensity of thermal anomalies combined with ocean acidification, will negatively impact the future growth and viability of many reef systems, including those in the Caribbean. One key question that remains unanswered is whether or not there are management options aimed at protecting coral species from these threats. Little Cayman (Cayman Islands) provides a rare opportunity to investigate global climate stressors without the confounding impact of local anthropogenic stressors. Our research has focused on two climate change issues: Firstly, we have identified species-specific coral bleaching susceptibility (and the influence of regulation upon this susceptibility) to thermal anomalies. Species level of vulnerability to thermal anomalies can decrease when grown under variable temperature. Environmental variability may be key in influencing the susceptibility of corals to stress. The second part of our research has therefore addressed the variability in inorganic carbon chemistry that naturally occurs where certain reef building corals exist. We have identified how the inorganic carbon chemistry varies naturally among habitats and thus how corals within these habitats are potentially adapted to future acidification. Spatial, diurnal, lunar and seasonal variability have been identified as important factors with pCO2 values of up to 700-800 μatm and pH values as low as 7.801 for lagoon habitats, showing that some species are already being exposed to typical pCO2 and pH levels expected for the oceans in ~50 years' time. Using an eco-physiological approach, we are exploring how some reef-building corals are able to acclimate to more variable chemistry compared to others and whether this natural capacity installs increased tolerance to future acidification. These eco-physiological studies provide important information that can be utilized in a management framework. The aim of

  3. Evolutionary novelty is concentrated at the edge of coral species distributions.

    PubMed

    Budd, Ann F; Pandolfi, John M

    2010-06-18

    Conservation priorities are calculated on the basis of species richness, endemism, and threats. However, areas ranked highly for these factors may not represent regions of maximal evolutionary potential. The relationship between geography and evolutionary innovation was analyzed in a dominant complex of Caribbean reef corals, in which morphological and genetic data concur on species differences. Based on geometric morphometrics of Pleistocene corals and genetically characterized modern colonies, we found that morphological disparity varies from the center to the edge of the Caribbean, and we show that lineages are static at well-connected central locations but split or fuse in edge zones where gene flow is limited. Thus, conservation efforts in corals should focus not only on the centers of diversity but also on peripheral areas of species ranges and population connectivity. PMID:20558718

  4. Large predatory coral trout species unlikely to meet increasing energetic demands in a warming ocean

    PubMed Central

    Johansen, J.L.; Pratchett, M.S.; Messmer, V.; Coker, D.J.; Tobin, A.J.; Hoey, A.S.

    2015-01-01

    Increased ocean temperature due to climate change is raising metabolic demands and energy requirements of marine ectotherms. If productivity of marine systems and fisheries are to persist, individual species must compensate for this demand through increasing energy acquisition or decreasing energy expenditure. Here we reveal that the most important coral reef fishery species in the Indo-west Pacific, the large predatory coral trout Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae), can behaviourally adjust food intake to maintain body-condition under elevated temperatures, and acclimate over time to consume larger meals. However, these increased energetic demands are unlikely to be met by adequate production at lower trophic levels, as smaller prey species are often the first to decline in response to climate-induced loss of live coral and structural complexity. Consequently, ubiquitous increases in energy consumption due to climate change will increase top-down competition for a dwindling biomass of prey, potentially distorting entire food webs and associated fisheries. PMID:26345733

  5. Large predatory coral trout species unlikely to meet increasing energetic demands in a warming ocean.

    PubMed

    Johansen, J L; Pratchett, M S; Messmer, V; Coker, D J; Tobin, A J; Hoey, A S

    2015-01-01

    Increased ocean temperature due to climate change is raising metabolic demands and energy requirements of marine ectotherms. If productivity of marine systems and fisheries are to persist, individual species must compensate for this demand through increasing energy acquisition or decreasing energy expenditure. Here we reveal that the most important coral reef fishery species in the Indo-west Pacific, the large predatory coral trout Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae), can behaviourally adjust food intake to maintain body-condition under elevated temperatures, and acclimate over time to consume larger meals. However, these increased energetic demands are unlikely to be met by adequate production at lower trophic levels, as smaller prey species are often the first to decline in response to climate-induced loss of live coral and structural complexity. Consequently, ubiquitous increases in energy consumption due to climate change will increase top-down competition for a dwindling biomass of prey, potentially distorting entire food webs and associated fisheries. PMID:26345733

  6. 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.

  7. The ploys of sex: relationships among the mode of reproduction, body size and habitats of coral-reef brittlestars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendler, Gordon; Littman, Barbara S.

    1986-08-01

    Observations were made of 33 species of brittlestars (3980 specimens) from specific substrata collected in four zones on the Belize Barrier Reef, Caribbean Sea. The body size of most species of brittlestars with planktonic larvae differs significantly among different substrata. Generally, individuals from the calcareous alga Halimeda opuntia are smallest, those found in corals ( Porites porites, Madracis mirabilis, and Agaricia tenuifolia) are larger, and those from coral rubble are the largest. This suggests that brittlestars with planktonic larvae move to new microhabitats as they grow. In contrast, most brooding and fissiparous species are relatively small and their size-distributions are similar among all substrata. Halimeda harbours denser concentrations of brittlestars and more small and juvenile individuals than the other substrata. Juveniles of the brooding and fissiparous species are most common in Halimeda on the Back Reef whereas juveniles developing from planktonic larvae are most common in Halimeda patches in deeper water. Fissiparity and brooding may be means for individuals (genomes) of small, apomictic species to reach large size (and correspondingly high fecundities) in patchy microhabitats that select for small body sizes. Small brittlestar species and juveniles are most numerous in the microhabitats called refuge-substrata, such as Halimeda, which may repel predators and reduce environmental stress. Whether young brittlestars are concentrated in refuge-substrata through settlement behavior, migration, or differential survival remains unknown. Experiments revealed that coral polyps kill small brittlestars, perhaps accounting for the rarity of small and juvenile brittlestars in coral substrata.

  8. Mesophotic depths as refuge areas for fishery-targeted species on coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindfield, Steven J.; Harvey, Euan S.; Halford, Andrew R.; McIlwain, Jennifer L.

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs are subjected to unprecedented levels of disturbance with population growth and climate change combining to reduce standing coral cover and stocks of reef fishes. Most of the damage is concentrated in shallow waters (<30 m deep) where humans can comfortably operate and where physical disturbances are most disruptive to marine organisms. Yet coral reefs can extend to depths exceeding 100 m, potentially offering refuge from the threats facing shallower reefs. We deployed baited remote underwater stereo-video systems (stereo-BRUVs) at depths of 10-90 m around the southern Mariana Islands to investigate whether fish species targeted by fishing in the shallows may be accruing benefits from being at depth. We show that biomass, abundance and species richness of fishery-targeted species increased from shallow reef areas to a depth of 60 m, whereas at greater depths, a lack of live coral habitat corresponded to lower numbers of fish. The majority of targeted species were found to have distributions that ranged from shallow depths (10 m) to depths of at least 70 m, emphasising that habitat, not depth, is the limiting factor in their vertical distribution. While the gradient of abundance and biomass versus depth was steepest for predatory species, the first species usually targeted by fishing, we also found that fishery-targeted herbivores prevailed in similar biomass and species richness to 60 m. Compared to shallow marine protected areas, there was clearly greater biomass of fishery-targeted species accrued in mesophotic depths. Particularly some species typically harvested by depth-limited fishing methods (e.g., spearfishing), such as the endangered humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus, were found in greater abundance on deeper reefs. We conclude that mesophotic depths provide essential fish habitat and refuge for fishery-targeted species, representing crucial zones for fishery management and research into the resilience of disturbed coral reef ecosystems.

  9. 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

  10. Evidence for the non-influence of salinity variability on the coral Sr/Ca paleothermometer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreau, M.; Corrège, T.; Dassié, E. P.; Le Cornec, F.

    2014-04-01

    The influence of salinity in the incorporation of trace elements in the skeleton of calcareous organisms is still poorly known. Studies on foraminiferal Mg/Ca thermometry have suggested a bias due to Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) variations, leading to potential erroneous estimation of Mg/Ca-based Sea Surface Temperature (SST). Culture experiments seem to indicate that in three coral species (not including the widely used Porites genus), salinity does not influence the Sr/Ca thermometer. In this study, we test the salinity effect on coral Sr/Ca-based SST reconstructions at monthly and interannual timescales in open-ocean environmental conditions, using a large spatial compilation of published coral data (mainly based on the Porites genus) originating from the Western Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the China Sea and the Red Sea and adding a new Eastern Pacific coral Sr/Ca record from the Clipperton atoll. We use simple and multiple regressions between Sr/Ca on one hand and SST and SSS on the other hand at the various sites. We find no evidence for a salinity bias on the Sr/Ca SST proxy for the two studied timescales. This study reinforces the use of coral Sr/Ca as a reliable paleothermometer.

  11. 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

  12. Skin toxins in coral-associated Gobiodon species (Teleostei: Gobiidae) affect predator preference and prey survival

    PubMed Central

    Gratzer, Barbara; Millesi, Eva; Walzl, Manfred; Herler, Juergen

    2015-01-01

    Predation risk is high for the many small coral reef fishes, requiring successful sheltering or other predator defence mechanisms. Coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon live in close association with scleractinian corals of the genus Acropora. Earlier studies indicated that the low movement frequency of adult fishes and the development of skin toxins (crinotoxicity) are predation avoidance mechanisms. Although past experiments showed that predators refuse food prepared with goby skin mucus, direct predator–prey interactions have not been studied. The present study compares the toxicity levels of two crinotoxic coral gobies – Gobiodon histrio, representative of a conspicuously coloured species, and Gobiodon sp.3 with cryptic coloration – using a standard bioassay method. The results show that toxin levels of both species differ significantly shortly after mucus release but become similar over time. Predator preferences were tested experimentally in an aquarium in which the two gobies and a juvenile damselfish Chromis viridis were exposed to the small grouper Epinephelus fasciatus. Video-analysis revealed that although coral gobies are potential prey, E. fasciatus clearly preferred the non-toxic control fish (C. viridis) over Gobiodon. When targeting a goby, the predator did not prefer one species over the other. Contrary to our expectations that toxic gobies are generally avoided, gobies were often captured, but they were expelled quickly, repeatedly and alive. This unusual post-capture avoidance confirms that these gobies have a very good chance of surviving attacks in the field due to their skin toxins. Nonetheless, some gobies were consumed: the coral shelter may therefore also provide additional protection, with toxins protecting them mainly during movement between corals. In summary, chemical deterrence by crinotoxic fishes seems to be far more efficient in predation avoidance than in physical deterrence involving body squamation and/or strong fin

  13. Coral distribution patterns in Miocene Reefs of Anguilla, Leeward Islands, West Indies

    SciTech Connect

    Foster, A.B.; Johnson, K.G.

    1988-01-01

    Anguilla, a 27 by 5 km island at 18/sup 0/13'N, 63/sup 0/05'W, parallels the northwest edge of the Anguilla bank (St. Martin plateau) in the outer lesser Angilles volcanic arc, which was active from the Eocene to Oligocene. Except for scattered exposures of tuff or basalt, the island is composed predominantly of reefal limestones and marls of the 70-m thick, middle Miocene Anguilla Formation, deposited on a shallow inner shelf platform extending from volcanoes near St. Martin. The reef framework consists of branched and platy corals interspersed with calcareous sand lenses. Although the limestones have been uplifted and subjected to minor faulting, little evidence supports extensive transport across a slope. Coral distribution patterns have been quantified across the reefal units by point-counting species occurrences at 0.16-m intervals within 1-m/sup 2/ quadrants placed haphazardly across vertical exposures. Eight coral species (of possibly 18 total) were recorded. Cluster analysis delineated four facies: (1) a low-diversity facies dominated by branched Porites, (2) an intermediate diversity facies dominated by branched Porites, (3) a high-diversity facies dominated by massive Montastraea, Siderastrea, and Porites, and (4) an intermediate diversity facies dominated by platy Porites. These facies consists of lenses, no more than 100 m long and 2 m high, arranged in no apparent regular sequence. Thus, they do not represent zones across a depth gradient. Comparisons with living Caribbean reefs suggests that the Anguilla Miocene reefs were similar to small, modern, backreef fringing and patch reefs near the San Blas Islands of Panama, reefs whose variable composition and patchy distribution depend largely on sedimentation and current patterns.

  14. Spatial and Species Variations in Bacterial Communities Associated with Corals from the Red Sea as Revealed by Pyrosequencing

    PubMed Central

    Lee, On On; Yang, Jiangke; Bougouffa, Salim; Wang, Yong; Batang, Zenon; Tian, Renmao; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz

    2012-01-01

    Microbial associations with corals are common and are most likely symbiotic, although their diversity and relationships with environmental factors and host species remain unclear. In this study, we adopted a 16S rRNA gene tag-pyrosequencing technique to investigate the bacterial communities associated with three stony Scleractinea and two soft Octocorallia corals from three locations in the Red Sea. Our results revealed highly diverse bacterial communities in the Red Sea corals, with more than 600 ribotypes detected and up to 1,000 species estimated from a single coral species. Altogether, 21 bacterial phyla were recovered from the corals, of which Gammaproteobacteria was the most dominant group, and Chloroflexi, Chlamydiae, and the candidate phylum WS3 were reported in corals for the first time. The associated bacterial communities varied greatly with location, where environmental conditions differed significantly. Corals from disturbed areas appeared to share more similar bacterial communities, but larger variations in community structures were observed between different coral species from pristine waters. Ordination methods identified salinity and depth as the most influential parameters affecting the abundance of Vibrio, Pseudoalteromonas, Serratia, Stenotrophomonas, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter in the corals. On the other hand, bacteria such as Chloracidobacterium and Endozoicomonas were more sensitive to the coral species, suggesting that the host species type may be influential in the associated bacterial community, as well. The combined influences of the coral host and environmental factors on the associated microbial communities are discussed. This study represents the first comparative study using tag-pyrosequencing technology to investigate the bacterial communities in Red Sea corals. PMID:22865078

  15. Application of 1H-NMR metabolomic profiling for reef-building corals.

    PubMed

    Sogin, Emilia M; Anderson, Paul; Williams, Philip; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Gates, Ruth D

    2014-01-01

    In light of global reef decline new methods to accurately, cheaply, and quickly evaluate coral metabolic states are needed to assess reef health. Metabolomic profiling can describe the response of individuals to disturbance (i.e., shifts in environmental conditions) across biological models and is a powerful approach for characterizing and comparing coral metabolism. For the first time, we assess the utility of a proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR)-based metabolomics approach in characterizing coral metabolite profiles by 1) investigating technical, intra-, and inter-sample variation, 2) evaluating the ability to recover targeted metabolite spikes, and 3) assessing the potential for this method to differentiate among coral species. Our results indicate 1H-NMR profiling of Porites compressa corals is highly reproducible and exhibits low levels of variability within and among colonies. The spiking experiments validate the sensitivity of our methods and showcase the capacity of orthogonal partial least squares discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) to distinguish between profiles spiked with varying metabolite concentrations (0 mM, 0.1 mM, and 10 mM). Finally, 1H-NMR metabolomics coupled with OPLS-DA, revealed species-specific patterns in metabolite profiles among four reef-building corals (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lobata, Montipora aequituberculata, and Seriatopora hystrix). Collectively, these data indicate that 1H-NMR metabolomic techniques can profile reef-building coral metabolomes and have the potential to provide an integrated picture of the coral phenotype in response to environmental change. PMID:25354140

  16. Application of 1H-NMR Metabolomic Profiling for Reef-Building Corals

    PubMed Central

    Sogin, Emilia M.; Anderson, Paul; Williams, Philip; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Gates, Ruth D.

    2014-01-01

    In light of global reef decline new methods to accurately, cheaply, and quickly evaluate coral metabolic states are needed to assess reef health. Metabolomic profiling can describe the response of individuals to disturbance (i.e., shifts in environmental conditions) across biological models and is a powerful approach for characterizing and comparing coral metabolism. For the first time, we assess the utility of a proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR)-based metabolomics approach in characterizing coral metabolite profiles by 1) investigating technical, intra-, and inter-sample variation, 2) evaluating the ability to recover targeted metabolite spikes, and 3) assessing the potential for this method to differentiate among coral species. Our results indicate 1H-NMR profiling of Porites compressa corals is highly reproducible and exhibits low levels of variability within and among colonies. The spiking experiments validate the sensitivity of our methods and showcase the capacity of orthogonal partial least squares discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) to distinguish between profiles spiked with varying metabolite concentrations (0 mM, 0.1 mM, and 10 mM). Finally, 1H-NMR metabolomics coupled with OPLS-DA, revealed species-specific patterns in metabolite profiles among four reef-building corals (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lobata, Montipora aequituberculata, and Seriatopora hystrix). Collectively, these data indicate that 1H-NMR metabolomic techniques can profile reef-building coral metabolomes and have the potential to provide an integrated picture of the coral phenotype in response to environmental change. PMID:25354140

  17. Coral reef recovery status in south Andaman Islands after the bleaching event 2010

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marimuthu, N.; Jerald Wilson, J.; Vinithkumar, N. V.; Kirubagaran, R.

    2013-03-01

    The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the Union Territories of India, located in the eastern part of the Bay of Bengal. In 2010 summer, the increment in sea surface water temperature (up to 34°C) resulted in the bleaching of about 74% to 77% of corals in the South Andaman. During this event, coral species such as Acropora cerealis, A. humilis, Montipora sp., Favia pallida, Diploastrea sp., Goniopora sp. Fungia concinna, Gardineroseries sp., Porites sp., Favites abdita and Lobophyllia robusta were severely affected. This study is to assess the recovery status of the reef ecosystem by estimating the percentage of Live Coral cover, Bleached coral cover, Dead coral with algae, Rubble, Sandy flat, Algal assemblage and other associated organisms. The sedimentation rate (mg cm-2 d-1) and coral coverage (%) were assessed during this study period. The average sedimentation rate was ranged between 0.27 and 0.89 mg cm-2 d-1. The observed post bleaching recovery of coral cover was 21.1% at Port Blair Bay and 13.29% at Havelock Island. The mortality rate of coral cover due to this bleaching was estimated as 2.05% at Port Blair Bay and 9.82% at Havelock Island. Once the sea water temperature resumed back to the normal condition, most of the corals were found recovered.

  18. A survey of environmental pollutants and cellular-stress markers of Porites astreoides at six sites in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

    PubMed

    Downs, Craig A; Woodley, Cheryl M; Fauth, John E; Knutson, Sean; Burtscher, Martina Maria; May, Lisa A; Avadanei, Athena R; Higgins, Julie L; Ostrander, Gary K

    2011-11-01

    Coral communities along the coast of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands have exhibited site-specific behavior in declines. In order to determine if these specific coral communities are stressed and whether a pollutant or environmental factor present at this site is a probable stressor, we surveyed six near-shore coral communities in St. John, USVI for environmental pollutants and to determine the cellular physiological condition of the coral, Porites astreoides. The six sites within St. John are Cruz Bay, Caneel Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay, Tektite Reef in Beehive Bay, and Red Point. Red Point was considered the reference site because of its abundance and diversity of species, and it was the furthest removed from down-stream and down-current anthropogenic activities. All sites showed distinct cellular-stress marker patterns, indicating that the physiological condition of each population was different. Populations at Cruz, Hawksnest, Trunk, and Tektite were stressed, as indicated by high levels of DNA lesions and expression of stress proteins. Hawksnest and Tektite were contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), while Cruz was contaminated with semi-volatile organochlorines and nitrogen-based biocides. At least for Hawksnest and Tektite, stress-marker patterns were consistent with an exposure to PAHs. Fecal coliform levels were high in Cruz and Trunk, indicating fecal contamination, as well as consideration for management action. Results from this study serve as a justification for a more thorough and methodical investigation into the stressors responsible for declines of coral populations within St. John. Furthermore, this study supports the argument for the importance of local factors contributing to regional coral reef declines; that not all forces impacting coral are global. PMID:21735126

  19. 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.

  20. Shifts in bacterial communities of two caribbean reef-building coral species affected by white plague disease

    PubMed Central

    Cárdenas, Anny; Rodriguez-R, Luis M; Pizarro, Valeria; Cadavid, Luis F; Arévalo-Ferro, Catalina

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs are deteriorating at an alarming rate mainly as a consequence of the emergence of coral diseases. The white plague disease (WPD) is the most prevalent coral disease in the southwestern Caribbean, affecting dozens of coral species. However, the identification of a single causal agent has proved problematic. This suggests more complex etiological scenarios involving alterations in the dynamic interaction between environmental factors, the coral immune system and the symbiotic microbial communities. Here we compare the microbiome of healthy and WPD-affected corals from the two reef-building species Diploria strigosa and Siderastrea siderea collected at the Tayrona National Park in the Caribbean of Colombia. Microbiomes were analyzed by combining culture-dependent methods and pyrosequencing of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) V5-V6 hypervariable regions. A total of 20 410 classifiable 16S rDNA sequences reads were obtained including all samples. No significant differences in operational taxonomic unit diversity were found between healthy and affected tissues; however, a significant increase of Alphaproteobacteria and a concomitant decrease in the Beta- and Gammaproteobacteria was observed in WPD-affected corals of both species. Significant shifts were also observed in the orders Rhizobiales, Caulobacteriales, Burkholderiales, Rhodobacterales, Aleteromonadales and Xanthomonadales, although they were not consistent between the two coral species. These shifts in the microbiome structure of WPD-affected corals suggest a loss of community-mediated growth control mechanisms on bacterial populations specific for each holobiont system. PMID:21955993

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Differential effects of copper on three species of scleractinian corals and their algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.).

    PubMed

    Bielmyer, G K; Grosell, M; Bhagooli, R; Baker, A C; Langdon, C; Gillette, P; Capo, T R

    2010-04-15

    Land-based sources of pollution have been identified as significant stressors linked to the widespread declines of coral cover in coastal reef ecosystems over the last 30 years. Metal contaminants, although noted as a concern, have not been closely monitored in these sensitive ecosystems, nor have their potential impacts on coral-algal symbioses been characterized. In this study, three species of laboratory-reared scleractinian corals, Acropora cervicornis, Pocillopora damicornis, and Montastraea faveolata each containing different algal symbionts (Symbiodinium A3, C1 and D1a, respectively) were exposed to copper (ranging from 2 to 20microg/L) for 5 weeks. At the end of the exposure period, copper had accumulated in the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate ("zooxanthellae") and animal tissue of A. cervicornis and the animal tissue of M. faveolata; however, no copper accumulation was detected in the zooxanthellae or animal tissue of P. damicornis. The three coral species exhibited significantly different sensitivities to copper, with effects occurring in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis at copper concentrations as low as 4microg/L. Copper exposure affected zooxanthellae photosynthesis in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis, and carbonic anhydrase was significantly decreased in A. cervicornis and M. faveolata. Likewise, significant decreases in skeletal growth were observed in A. cervicornis and P. damicornis after copper exposure. Based on preliminary results, no changes in Symbiodinium communities were apparent in response to increasing copper concentration. These results indicate that the relationships between physiological/toxicological endpoints and copper accumulation between coral species differ, suggesting different mechanisms of toxicity and/or susceptibility. This may be driven, in part, by differences in the algal symbiont communities of the coral species in question. PMID:20089320

  4. Spatial differentiation of coral species related to wave energy along the Changqi coast, Hainan island, southern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dao-ru, Wang; Yuan-chao, Li; Jian-xin, Lan

    2013-04-01

    The regularities of the composition and the spatial distribution of hermatypic coral community is an essential aspect of coral reef ecosystem studies. The relationship between the structure and spatial distribution of hermatypic coral communities and hydrodynamics and wave energy, along the Changqi coast, are investigated. Differences in abundance of hermatypic coral species, at different depths, were found; these were related mainly to the varying influence of waves. Under average weather conditions, the wave energy was dissipated regularly at a depth of 2 m. Here, the coral cover was the lowest of all of the depths. However, corals growing in that area is adapted to the conditions; therefore, wave damage was low. The areas at 5-6 m water depth were influenced by waves primarily during episodes of extreme weather, with high wave energy resulting in severe damage of the corals. The coral cover in this depth was the highest observed, but the corals were generally smaller and had a short growth period. These findings indicate that the strong waves damaged particularly the weak corals, such as Acropora sp. and Montipora sp., during these short term events. Nevertheless, upon the return of normal conditions, coral communities can grow back and reproduce asexually in the damaged areas. As a result of this regrowth, Acropora sp. and Montipora sp. were highly abundant in areas at a depth of 5 m. It appears that knowledge on the physical setting, i.e. the relationship between wave properties and the spatial distribution patterns of corals, is essential for understanding coral reef succession rules; likewise, protection and recovery mechanisms of the coral reef ecosystem.

  5. Stable and sporadic symbiotic communities of coral and algal holobionts.

    PubMed

    Hester, Eric R; Barott, Katie L; Nulton, Jim; Vermeij, Mark Ja; Rohwer, Forest L

    2016-05-01

    Coral and algal holobionts are assemblages of macroorganisms and microorganisms, including viruses, Bacteria, Archaea, protists and fungi. Despite a decade of research, it remains unclear whether these associations are spatial-temporally stable or species-specific. We hypothesized that conflicting interpretations of the data arise from high noise associated with sporadic microbial symbionts overwhelming signatures of stable holobiont members. To test this hypothesis, the bacterial communities associated with three coral species (Acropora rosaria, Acropora hyacinthus and Porites lutea) and two algal guilds (crustose coralline algae and turf algae) from 131 samples were analyzed using a novel statistical approach termed the Abundance-Ubiquity (AU) test. The AU test determines whether a given bacterial species would be present given additional sampling effort (that is, stable) versus those species that are sporadically associated with a sample. Using the AU test, we show that coral and algal holobionts have a high-diversity group of stable symbionts. Stable symbionts are not exclusive to one species of coral or algae. No single bacterial species was ubiquitously associated with one host, showing that there is not strict heredity of the microbiome. In addition to the stable symbionts, there was a low-diversity community of sporadic symbionts whose abundance varied widely across individual holobionts of the same species. Identification of these two symbiont communities supports the holobiont model and calls into question the hologenome theory of evolution. PMID:26555246

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Coral-Associated Bacterial Diversity Is Conserved across Two Deep-Sea Anthothela Species.

    PubMed

    Lawler, Stephanie N; Kellogg, Christina A; France, Scott C; Clostio, Rachel W; Brooke, Sandra D; Ross, Steve W

    2016-01-01

    Cold-water corals, similar to tropical corals, contain diverse and complex microbial assemblages. These bacteria provide essential biological functions within coral holobionts, facilitating increased nutrient utilization and production of antimicrobial compounds. To date, few cold-water octocoral species have been analyzed to explore the diversity and abundance of their microbial associates. For this study, 23 samples of the family Anthothelidae were collected from Norfolk (n = 12) and Baltimore Canyons (n = 11) from the western Atlantic in August 2012 and May 2013. Genetic testing found that these samples comprised two Anthothela species (Anthothela grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) and Alcyonium grandiflorum. DNA was extracted and sequenced with primers targeting the V4-V5 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using 454 pyrosequencing with GS FLX Titanium chemistry. Results demonstrated that the coral host was the primary driver of bacterial community composition. Al. grandiflorum, dominated by Alteromonadales and Pirellulales had much higher species richness, and a distinct bacterial community compared to Anthothela samples. Anthothela species (A. grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) had very similar bacterial communities, dominated by Oceanospirillales and Spirochaetes. Additional analysis of core-conserved bacteria at 90% sample coverage revealed genus level conservation across Anthothela samples. This core included unclassified Oceanospirillales, Kiloniellales, Campylobacterales, and genus Spirochaeta. Members of this core were previously recognized for their functional capabilities in nitrogen cycling and suggest the possibility of a nearly complete nitrogen cycle within Anthothela species. Overall, many of the bacterial associates identified in this study have the potential to contribute to the acquisition and cycling of nutrients within the coral holobiont. PMID:27092120

  8. Coral-Associated Bacterial Diversity Is Conserved across Two Deep-Sea Anthothela Species

    PubMed Central

    Lawler, Stephanie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; France, Scott C.; Clostio, Rachel W.; Brooke, Sandra D.; Ross, Steve W.

    2016-01-01

    Cold-water corals, similar to tropical corals, contain diverse and complex microbial assemblages. These bacteria provide essential biological functions within coral holobionts, facilitating increased nutrient utilization and production of antimicrobial compounds. To date, few cold-water octocoral species have been analyzed to explore the diversity and abundance of their microbial associates. For this study, 23 samples of the family Anthothelidae were collected from Norfolk (n = 12) and Baltimore Canyons (n = 11) from the western Atlantic in August 2012 and May 2013. Genetic testing found that these samples comprised two Anthothela species (Anthothela grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) and Alcyonium grandiflorum. DNA was extracted and sequenced with primers targeting the V4–V5 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using 454 pyrosequencing with GS FLX Titanium chemistry. Results demonstrated that the coral host was the primary driver of bacterial community composition. Al. grandiflorum, dominated by Alteromonadales and Pirellulales had much higher species richness, and a distinct bacterial community compared to Anthothela samples. Anthothela species (A. grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) had very similar bacterial communities, dominated by Oceanospirillales and Spirochaetes. Additional analysis of core-conserved bacteria at 90% sample coverage revealed genus level conservation across Anthothela samples. This core included unclassified Oceanospirillales, Kiloniellales, Campylobacterales, and genus Spirochaeta. Members of this core were previously recognized for their functional capabilities in nitrogen cycling and suggest the possibility of a nearly complete nitrogen cycle within Anthothela species. Overall, many of the bacterial associates identified in this study have the potential to contribute to the acquisition and cycling of nutrients within the coral holobiont. PMID:27092120

  9. Coral-associated bacterial diversity is conserved across two deep-sea Anthothela species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lawler, Stephanie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; France, Scott C; Clostio, Rachel W; Brooke, Sandra D.; Ross, Steve W.

    2016-01-01

    Cold-water corals, similar to tropical corals, contain diverse and complex microbial assemblages. These bacteria provide essential biological functions within coral holobionts, facilitating increased nutrient utilization and production of antimicrobial compounds. To date, few cold-water octocoral species have been analyzed to explore the diversity and abundance of their microbial associates. For this study, 23 samples of the family Anthothelidae were collected from Norfolk (n = 12) and Baltimore Canyons (n = 11) from the western Atlantic in August 2012 and May 2013. Genetic testing found that these samples comprised two Anthothela species (Anthothela grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) and Alcyonium grandiflorum. DNA was extracted and sequenced with primers targeting the V4-V5 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using 454 pyrosequencing with GS FLX Titanium chemistry. Results demonstrated that the coral host was the primary driver of bacterial community composition. Al. grandiflorum, dominated by Alteromonadales and Pirellulales had much higher species richness, and a distinct bacterial community compared to Anthothela samples. Anthothela species (A. grandiflora and Anthothela sp.) had very similar bacterial communities, dominated by Oceanospirillales and Spirochaetes. Additional analysis of core-conserved bacteria at 90% sample coverage revealed genus level conservation across Anthothela samples. This core included unclassified Oceanospirillales, Kiloniellales, Campylobacterales, and genus Spirochaeta. Members of this core were previously recognized for their functional capabilities in nitrogen cycling and suggest the possibility of a nearly complete nitrogen cycle within Anthothela species. Overall, many of the bacterial associates identified in this study have the potential to contribute to the acquisition and cycling of nutrients within the coral holobiont.

  10. 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.

  11. Modeling vertical coral connectivity and mesophotic refugia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holstein, Daniel M.; Paris, Claire B.; Vaz, Ana C.; Smith, Tyler B.

    2016-03-01

    Whether mesophotic reefs will behave as refugia for corals threatened by global climate change and coastal development depends on vertical exchange of larvae between diverse habitats. Here we use a biophysical model of larval dispersal to estimate vertical connectivity of a broadcasting ( Orbicella faveolata) and a brooding ( Porites astreoides) species of coral in the US Virgin Islands. Modeling predicts subsidy to shallow areas by mesophotic larvae of both species based on local hydrology, adult reproductive characteristics, larval traits, and a wide range of scenarios developed to test depth-sensitive factors, such as fertilization rates and post-settlement survivorship. In extreme model scenarios of reduced fertilization and post-settlement survivorship of mesophotic larvae, 1-10 % local mesophotic subsidy to shallow recruitment is predicted for both species, which are demographically significant. Although direct vertical connectivity is higher for the broadcaster, the brooder demonstrates higher local multigenerational vertical connectivity, which suggests that local P. astreoides populations are more resilient than those of O. faveolata, and corroborates field studies. As shallow habitat degrades, mesophotic-shallow subsidy is predicted to increase for both species. This study is the first of its kind to simulate larval dispersal and settlement between habitats of different depths, and these findings have local, regional, and global implications for predicting and managing coral reef persistence in a changing climate.

  12. Species boundaries of Astreopora corals (Scleractinia, Acroporidae) inferred by mitochondrial and nuclear molecular markers.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Go; Nomura, Keiichi

    2013-08-01

    The genus Astreopora is a small but ancestral group in Acroporidae, which is one of the most diverse and dominant families of scleractinian coral in Indo-Pacific reefs. We estimated the species boundaries of Astreopora corals using two molecular markers: a mitochondrial non-coding region and a nuclear ribosomal 5.8S region. Seven species (59 specimens) commonly observed around Japan (Astreopora expansa, A. gracilis, A. incrustans, A. listeri, A. myriophthalma, A. cf. suggesta, and Astreopora sp.1) were investigated, and we observed no genetic divergence in the mitochondrial marker, suggesting that these species are closely related, consistent with a species complex or recent divergence, although genotyping by the marker is not so sensitive. In the nuclear 5.8S region, 121 clones consisted of six species were divided into the four major genetic groups. Although there were no monophyletic clades, the two dominant species A. myriophthalma and A. gracilis rarely shared the same haplotypes, suggesting that gene flow is limited between them. However, A. incrustans frequently shared the same haplotypes with A. gracilis although the distributions do not overlap. We found that the ancestral genus Astreopora in Acroporidae shows less genetic variation than traditionally identified morphospecies. Although further research on fertilization rate among these species is required to determine if there are reproductive barriers, the low level of genetic diversification in this genus hints that some ecological differences among acroporid corals play a role in the evolution of scleractinian corals, considering that the other members of this family, Acropora and Montipora, are highly diversified. PMID:23915155

  13. 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.

  14. Predators reduce abundance and species richness of coral reef fish recruits via non-selective predation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinlein, J. M.; Stier, A. C.; Steele, M. A.

    2010-06-01

    Predators have important effects on coral reef fish populations, but their effects on community structure have only recently been investigated and are not yet well understood. Here, the effect of predation on the diversity and abundance of young coral reef fishes was experimentally examined in Moorea, French Polynesia. Effects of predators were quantified by monitoring recruitment of fishes onto standardized patch reefs in predator-exclosure cages or uncaged reefs. At the end of the 54-day experiment, recruits were 74% less abundant on reefs exposed to predators than on caged ones, and species richness was 42% lower on reefs exposed to predators. Effects of predators varied somewhat among families, however, rarefaction analysis indicated that predators foraged non-selectively among species. These results indicate that predation can alter diversity of reef fish communities by indiscriminately reducing the abundance of fishes soon after settlement, thereby reducing the number of species present on reefs.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

    Disturbance releases space and allows the growth of opportunistic species, excluded by the old stands, with a potential to alter community dynamics. In coral reefs, abundances of fast-growing, and disturbance-tolerant sponges are expected to increase and dominate as space becomes available following acute coral mortality events. Yet, an increase in abundance of these opportunistic species has been reported in only a few studies, suggesting certain mechanisms may be acting to regulate sponge populations. To gain insights into mechanisms of population control, we simulated the dynamics of the common reef-excavating sponge Cliona tenuis in the Caribbean using an individual-based model. An orthogonal hypothesis testing approach was used, where four candidate mechanisms-algal competition, stock-recruitment limitation, whole and partial mortality-were incorporated sequentially into the model and the results were tested against independent field observations taken over a decade in Belize, Central America. We found that releasing space after coral mortality can promote C. tenuis outbreaks, but such outbreaks can be curtailed by macroalgal competition. The asymmetrical competitive superiority of macroalgae, given by their capacity to pre-empt space and outcompete with the sponge in a size-dependant fashion, supports their capacity to steal the opportunity from other opportunists. While multiple system stages can be expected in coral reefs following intense perturbation macroalgae may prevent the growth of other space-occupiers, such as bioeroding sponges, under low grazing pressure. PMID:26753672

  16. Spatial predictability of juvenile fish species richness and abundance in a coral reef environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellin, C.; Andréfouët, S.; Ponton, D.

    2007-12-01

    Juvenile reef fish communities represent an essential component of coral reef ecosystems in the current focus of fish population dynamics and coral reef resilience. Juvenile fish survival depends on habitat characteristics and is, following settlement, the first determinant of the number of individuals within adult populations. The goal of this study was to provide methods for mapping juvenile fish species richness and abundance into spatial domains suitable for micro and meso-scale analysis and management decisions. Generalized Linear Models predicting juvenile fish species richness and abundance were developed according to spatial and temporal environmental variables measured from 10 m up to 10 km in the southwest lagoon of New Caledonia. The statistical model was further spatially generalized using a 1.5-m resolution, independently created, remotely sensed, habitat map. This procedure revealed that : (1) spatial factors at 10 to 100-m scale explained up to 71% of variability in juvenile species richness, (2) a small improvement (75%) was gained when a combination of environmental variables at different spatial and temporal scales was used and (3) the coupling of remotely sensed data, geographical information system tools and point-based ecological data showed that the highest species richness and abundance were predicted along a narrow margin overlapping the coral reef flat and adjacent seagrass beds. Spatially explicit models of species distribution may be relevant for the management of reef communities when strong relationships exist between faunistic and environmental variables and when models are built at appropriate scales.

  17. Embryonic development in two species of scleractinian coral embryos: Symbiodinium localization and mode of gastrulation.

    PubMed

    Marlow, Heather Q; Martindale, Mark Q

    2007-01-01

    Reef-building scleractinian corals widely engage in symbiotic relationships with Symbiodinium dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae), which reside inside cells of the gastrodermis. In most cases, sexually produced larvae acquire their symbionts from the environment in the early developmental stages preceding settlement; however, some scleractinian corals maternally "seed" their oocytes with symbionts, and these symbionts are reported to be restricted to the gastrodermis at the time of its formation (gastrulation). A precise mechanism for how Symbiodinium are translocated to endoderm in these seeded species was previously unknown. In order to examine the process of endoderm formation and Symbiodinium localization during gastrulation, we have examined two species of "robust" clade scleractinians: Fungia scutaria (nonseeded) and Pocillopora meandrina (maternally seeded). We determined that both species, independent of whether or not they are seeded, undergo a "nutritive" stage before gastrulation, wherein lipid-rich cells (F. scutaria) or membrane-bound cellular fragments (P. meandrina) are passed to the blastocoel where they are subsequently taken up by the definitive endoderm. This emergent property of anthozoan development has been co-opted to facilitate the movement of Symbiodinium to the blastocoel (future site of endoderm), in the seeded species, where they are later phagocytosed by the newly formed definitive endoderm. Additionally, both species of robust clade scleractinians examined gastrulate by way of invagination, as do the majority of anthozoans. This invagination differs from the prawn chip-type gastrulation seen in the complex clade corals and provides evidence for a possible linkage between gastrulation type and phylogenetic history. PMID:17651360

  18. 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.

  19. Influence of corallivory, competition, and habitat structure on coral community shifts.

    PubMed

    Lenihan, Hunter S; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Brooks, Andrew J

    2011-10-01

    The species composition of coral communities has shifted in many areas worldwide through the relative loss of important ecosystem engineers such as highly branched corals, which are integral in maintaining reef biodiversity. We assessed the degree to which the performance of recently recruited branching corals was influenced by corallivory, competition, sedimentation, and the interactions between these factors. We also explored whether the species-specific influence of these biotic and abiotic constraints helps to explain recent shifts in the coral community in lagoons of Moorea, French Polynesia. Population surveys revealed evidence of a community shift away from a historically acroporid-dominated community to a pocilloporid- and poritid-dominated community, but also showed that the distribution and abundance of coral taxa varied predictably with location in the lagoon. At the microhabitat scale, branching corals grew mainly on dead or partially dead massive Porites ("bommies"), promontories with enhanced current velocities and reduced sedimentation. A demographic study revealed that growth and survival of juvenile Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora retusa, the two most common branching species of each taxon, were affected by predation and competition with vermetid gastropods. By 24 months of age, 20-60% of juvenile corals suffered partial predation by corallivorous fishes, and injured corals experienced reduced growth and survival. A field experiment confirmed that partial predation by corallivorous fishes is an important, but habitat-modulated, constraint for branching corals. Competition with vermetid gastropods reduced growth of both branching species but unexpectedly also provided an associational defense against corallivory. Overall, the impact of abiotic constraints was habitat-specific and similar for Acropora and Pocillopora, but biotic interactions, especially corallivory, had a greater negative effect on Acropora than Pocillopora, which may explain the

  20. Reef-coral refugia in a rapidly changing ocean.

    PubMed

    Cacciapaglia, Chris; van Woesik, Robert

    2015-06-01

    This study sought to identify climate-change thermal-stress refugia for reef corals in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. A species distribution modeling approach was used to identify refugia for 12 coral species that differed considerably in their local response to thermal stress. We hypothesized that the local response of coral species to thermal stress might be similarly reflected as a regional response to climate change. We assessed the contemporary geographic range of each species and determined their temperature and irradiance preferences using a k-fold algorithm to randomly select training and evaluation sites. That information was applied to downscaled outputs of global climate models to predict where each species is likely to exist by the year 2100. Our model was run with and without a 1°C capacity to adapt to the rising ocean temperature. The results show a positive exponential relationship between the current area of habitat that coral species occupy and the predicted area of habitat that they will occupy by 2100. There was considerable decoupling between scales of response, however, and with further ocean warming some 'winners' at local scales will likely become 'losers' at regional scales. We predicted that nine of the 12 species examined will lose 24-50% of their current habitat. Most reductions are predicted to occur between the latitudes 5-15°, in both hemispheres. Yet when we modeled a 1°C capacity to adapt, two ubiquitous species, Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora digitifera, were predicted to retain much of their current habitat. By contrast, the thermally tolerant Porites lobata is expected to increase its current distribution by 14%, particularly southward along the east and west coasts of Australia. Five areas were identified as Indian Ocean refugia, and seven areas were identified as Pacific Ocean refugia for reef corals under climate change. All 12 of these reef-coral refugia deserve high-conservation status. PMID:25646684

  1. Incorporating climate and ocean change into extinction risk assessments for 82 coral species.

    PubMed

    Brainard, Russell E; Weijerman, Mariska; Eakin, C Mark; McElhany, Paul; Miller, Margaret W; Patterson, Matt; Piniak, Gregory A; Dunlap, Matthew J; Birkeland, Charles

    2013-12-01

    Many marine invertebrate species facing potential extinction have uncertain taxonomies and poorly known demographic and ecological traits. Uncertainties are compounded when potential extinction drivers are climate and ocean changes whose effects on even widespread and abundant species are only partially understood. The U.S. Endangered Species Act mandates conservation management decisions founded on the extinction risk to species based on the best available science at the time of consideration-requiring prompt action rather than awaiting better information. We developed an expert-opinion threat-based approach that entails a structured voting system to assess extinction risk from climate and ocean changes and other threats to 82 coral species for which population status and threat response information was limited. Such methods are urgently needed because constrained budgets and manpower will continue to hinder the availability of desired data for many potentially vulnerable marine species. Significant species-specific information gaps and uncertainties precluded quantitative assessments of habitat loss or population declines and necessitated increased reliance on demographic characteristics and threat vulnerabilities at genus or family levels. Adapting some methods (e.g., a structured voting system) used during other assessments and developing some new approaches (e.g., integrated assessment of threats and demographic characteristics), we rated the importance of threats contributing to coral extinction risk and assessed those threats against population status and trend information to evaluate each species' extinction risk over the 21st century. This qualitative assessment resulted in a ranking with an uncertainty range for each species according to their estimated likelihood of extinction. We offer guidance on approaches for future biological extinction risk assessments, especially in cases of data-limited species likely to be affected by global-scale threats

  2. Population biology of coral trout species in eastern Torres Strait: Implications for fishery management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Ashley J.; Currey, Leanne M.; Begg, Gavin A.; Murchie, Cameron D.; Ballagh, Aaron C.

    2008-09-01

    Coral trout ( Plectropomus spp.) are the main target species for commercial fishers in the eastern Torres Strait Reef Line Fishery (ETS RLF). The four species of coral trout known to occur in Torres Strait: Plectropomus leopardus, Plectropomus maculatus, Plectropomus areolatus and Plectropomus laevis are currently managed as a single species in Torres Strait, as there is no species-specific biological information available for the region which could be used to assess whether species differ in their response to fishing pressure. The aim of our study was to determine whether it is appropriate (biologically) to manage coral trout in the ETS RLF as a single species group or whether different management arrangements are required for some species. We used catch data and biological data from samples collected by commercial fishers to examine the distribution within Torres Strait and estimate a range of biological parameters for P. leopardus, P. maculatus and P. areolatus. Insufficient P. laevis samples were collected to reliably examine this species. Results indicated that the population biology, particularly the reproductive biology, of P. areolatus was substantially different to both P. leopardus and P. maculatus. Although it is difficult to predict the response to fishing, P. areolatus may be more vulnerable to fishing than P. leopardus and P. maculatus, due to the larger size at sex change observed for this species and the very low proportion of males protected by the current minimum size limit. Therefore, while the common management arrangements for P. leopardus and P. maculatus appear to be adequate for these species, separate management arrangements are needed for the sustainable harvest of P. areolatus populations in the ETS. Specifically, we recommend the introduction of a maximum size limit for P. areolatus, in addition to the current minimum size limit, which may allow a proportion of males some protection from fishing.

  3. Coral Pigments: Quantification Using HPLC and Detection by Remote Sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cottone, Mary C.

    1995-01-01

    Widespread coral bleaching (loss of pigments of symbiotic dinoflagellates), and the corresponding decline in coral reef health worldwide, mandates the monitoring of coral pigmentation. Samples of the corals Porites compressa and P. lobata were collected from a healthy reef at Puako, Hawaii, and chlorophyll (chl) a, peridinin, and Beta-carotene (Beta-car) were quantified using reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Detailed procedures are presented for the extraction of the coral pigments in 90% acetone, and the separation, identification, and quantification of the major zooxanthellar pigments using spectrophotometry and a modification of the HPLC system described by Mantoura and Llewellyn (1983). Beta-apo-8-carotenal was found to be inadequate as in internal standard, due to coelution with chl b and/or chl a allomer in the sample extracts. Improvements are suggested, which may result in better resolution of the major pigments and greater accuracy in quantification. Average concentrations of peridinin, chl a, and Beta-car in corals on the reef were 5.01, 8.59, and 0.29, micro-grams/cm(exp 2), respectively. Average concentrations of peridinin and Beta-car did not differ significantly between the two coral species sampled; however, the mean chl a concentration in P. compressa specimens (7.81 ,micro-grams/cm(exp 2) was significantly lower than that in P. lobata specimens (9.96 11g/cm2). Chl a concentrations determined spectrophotometrically were significantly higher than those generated through HPLC, suggesting that spectrophotometry overestimates chl a concentrations. The average ratio of chl a-to-peridinin concentrations was 1.90, with a large (53%) coefficient of variation and a significant difference between the two species sampled. Additional data are needed before conclusions can be drawn regarding average pigment concentrations in healthy corals and the consistency of the chl a/peridinin ratio. The HPLC pigment concentration values

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS ON THE GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS OF SYMBIODINIUM SPP. ISOLATED FROM CORALS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Symbiodinium spp. were isolated from Porites porites (JR02F2 and RD03), Montipora capitata (JR12A7), Madracis mirabolis (RD02), Montastrea faveolata (RD04), Pocillopora damicornis (JR13E1), and an unknown coral (RD01). Growth rates and the distribution between motile gymnodinoid ...

  7. Expansion of an invasive coral species over Abrolhos Bank, Southwestern Atlantic.

    PubMed

    Costa, Thiago J F; Pinheiro, Hudson T; Teixeira, João Batista; Mazzei, Eric F; Bueno, Leonardo; Hora, Mike S C; Joyeux, Jean-Christophe; Carvalho-Filho, Alfredo; Amado-Filho, Gilberto; Sampaio, Claudio L S; Rocha, Luiz A

    2014-08-15

    Invasive coral species of the genus Tubastraea have been increasingly recorded in Southwestern Atlantic waters since the 1980s. Their invasion and infestation are mainly related to port and oil exploration activities. For the first time the presence of Tubastraea tagusensis colonies is reported in Espírito Santo State, colonizing a port shore area, and incrusting oil/gas platform structures situated in the southern Abrolhos Bank, which is part of the most important coral reef system of the South Atlantic Ocean. Tubastraea colonies exhibit fast growth and high recruitment rates, and colonized 40% of the analyzed structures in just four years. The projection of port and oil/gas industry growth for the Espírito Santo State (more than 300%) highlights an alert to the dispersal of this alien species to natural areas. PMID:24975092

  8. Species-specific trends in the reproductive output of corals across environmental gradients and bleaching histories.

    PubMed

    Howells, Emily J; Ketchum, Remi N; Bauman, Andrew G; Mustafa, Yasmine; Watkins, Kristina D; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral populations in the Persian Gulf have a reputation for being some of the toughest in the world yet little is known about the energetic constraints of living under temperature and salinity extremes. Energy allocation for sexual reproduction in Gulf corals was evaluated relative to conspecifics living under milder environmental conditions in the Oman Sea. Fecundity was depressed at Gulf sites in two Indo-Pacific merulinid species (Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea) but not in a regionally endemic acroporid (Acropora downingi). Gulf populations of each species experienced high temperature bleaching at the onset of gametogenesis in the study but fecundity was only negatively impacted in P. daedalea and A. downingi. Large population sizes of C. microphthalma and P. daedalea in the Gulf are expected to buffer reductions on colony-level fecundity. However, depleted population sizes of A. downingi at some Gulf sites equate to low reef-wide fecundity and likely impede outcrossing success. PMID:26608503

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouwmeester, J.; Baird, A. H.; Chen, C. J.; Guest, J. R.; Vicentuan, K. C.; Berumen, M. L.

    2015-03-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2008-01-01

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

  11. Flexible associations between Pocillopora corals and Symbiodinium limit utility of symbiosis ecology in defining species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cunning, R.; Glynn, P. W.; Baker, A. C.

    2013-09-01

    Corals in the genus Pocillopora are the primary framework builders of eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) reefs. These corals typically associate with algal symbionts (genus Symbiodinium) in clade C and/or D, with clade D associations having greater thermal tolerance and resistance to bleaching. Recently, cryptic "species" delineations within both Pocillopora and Symbiodinium have been suggested, with host-symbiont specificity used as a supporting taxonomic character in both genera. In particular, it has been suggested that three lineages of Pocillopora (types 1-3) exist in the ETP, of which type 1 is the exclusive host of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium D1. This host specificity has been used to support the species name " Symbiodinium glynni" for this symbiont. To validate these host-symbiont relationships and their taxonomic utility, we identified Pocillopora types and their associated Symbiodinium at three sites in the ETP. We found greater flexibility in host-symbiont combinations than previously reported, with both Pocillopora types 1 and 3 able to host and be dominated by Symbiodinium in clade C or D. The prevalence of certain combinations did vary among sites, showing that a gradient of specificity exists which may be mediated by evolutionary relationships and environmental disturbance history. However, these results limit the utility of apparent host-symbiont specificity (which may have been a result of undersampling) in defining species boundaries in either corals or Symbiodinium. They also suggest that a greater diversity of corals may benefit from the thermal tolerance of clade D symbionts, affirming the need to conserve Pocillopora across its entire geographic and environmental range.

  12. A Compartmental Comparison of Major Lipid Species in a Coral-Symbiodinium Endosymbiosis: Evidence that the Coral Host Regulates Lipogenesis of Its Cytosolic Lipid Bodies.

    PubMed

    Chen, Hung-Kai; Song, Shin-Ni; Wang, Li-Hsueh; Mayfield, Anderson B; Chen, Yi-Jyun; Chen, Wan-Nan U; Chen, Chii-Shiarng

    2015-01-01

    The lipid body (LB) formation in the host coral gastrodermal cell cytoplasm is a hallmark of the coral-Symbiodinium endosymbiosis, and such lipid-based entities are not found in endosymbiont-free cnidarian cells. Therefore, the elucidation of lipogenesis regulation in LBs and how it is related to the lipid metabolism of the host and endosymbiont could provide direct insight to understand the symbiosis mechanism. Herein, the lipid composition of host cells of the stony coral Euphyllia glabrescens, as well as that of their cytoplasmic LBs and in hospite Symbiodinium populations, was examined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and six major lipid species were identified: wax esters, sterol esters, triacylglycerols, cholesterols, free fatty acids, and phospholipids. Their concentrations differed significantly between host coral cells, LBs, and Symbiodinium, suggesting compartmental regulation. WE were only present in the host coral and were particularly highly concentrated in LBs. Amongst the four species of WE, the monoene R = C18:1/R = C16 was found to be LB-specific and was not present in the host gastrodermal cell cytoplasm. Furthermore, the acyl pool profiles of the individual LB lipid species were more similar, but not equal to, those of the host gastrodermal cells in which they were located, indicating partially autonomous lipid metabolism in these LBs. Nevertheless, given the overall similarity in the host gastrodermal cell and LB lipid profiles, these data suggest that a significant portion of the LB lipids may be of host coral origin. Finally, lipid profiles of the in hospite Symbiodinium populations were significantly distinct from those of the cultured Symbiodinium, potentially suggesting a host regulation effect that may be fundamental to lipid metabolism in endosymbiotic associations involving clade C Symbiodinium. PMID:26218797

  13. A Compartmental Comparison of Major Lipid Species in a Coral-Symbiodinium Endosymbiosis: Evidence that the Coral Host Regulates Lipogenesis of Its Cytosolic Lipid Bodies

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Hung-Kai; Song, Shin-Ni; Wang, Li-Hsueh; Mayfield, Anderson B.; Chen, Yi-Jyun; Chen, Wan-Nan U.; Chen, Chii-Shiarng

    2015-01-01

    The lipid body (LB) formation in the host coral gastrodermal cell cytoplasm is a hallmark of the coral-Symbiodinium endosymbiosis, and such lipid-based entities are not found in endosymbiont-free cnidarian cells. Therefore, the elucidation of lipogenesis regulation in LBs and how it is related to the lipid metabolism of the host and endosymbiont could provide direct insight to understand the symbiosis mechanism. Herein, the lipid composition of host cells of the stony coral Euphyllia glabrescens, as well as that of their cytoplasmic LBs and in hospite Symbiodinium populations, was examined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and six major lipid species were identified: wax esters, sterol esters, triacylglycerols, cholesterols, free fatty acids, and phospholipids. Their concentrations differed significantly between host coral cells, LBs, and Symbiodinium, suggesting compartmental regulation. WE were only present in the host coral and were particularly highly concentrated in LBs. Amongst the four species of WE, the monoene R = C18:1/R = C16 was found to be LB-specific and was not present in the host gastrodermal cell cytoplasm. Furthermore, the acyl pool profiles of the individual LB lipid species were more similar, but not equal to, those of the host gastrodermal cells in which they were located, indicating partially autonomous lipid metabolism in these LBs. Nevertheless, given the overall similarity in the host gastrodermal cell and LB lipid profiles, these data suggest that a significant portion of the LB lipids may be of host coral origin. Finally, lipid profiles of the in hospite Symbiodinium populations were significantly distinct from those of the cultured Symbiodinium, potentially suggesting a host regulation effect that may be fundamental to lipid metabolism in endosymbiotic associations involving clade C Symbiodinium. PMID:26218797

  14. 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.

  15. Topography and spatial arrangement of reef-building corals on the fringing reefs of North Jamaica may influence their response to disturbance from bleaching.

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M J C

    2010-04-01

    Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience helps us understand how reefs react following major environmental disturbances such as hurricanes and bleaching. Here we test factors that might have influenced Jamaican reef resilience to, and subsequent recovery from, the 2005 bleaching event, and which might help inform management policy for reefs in the future: reef rugosity and contact of corals with macroalgae. In addition, we test in the field, on Dairy Bull reef, whether aggregated Porites astreoides colonies exhibit enhanced growth when exposed to superior competition from Acopora palmata, as has been found by experiment with the Indo-Pacific corals Porites lobata and the superior competitor Porites rus [Idjadi, J.A., Karlson, R.H., 2007. Spatial arrangement of competitors influences coexistence of reef-building corals. Ecology 88, 2449-2454]. There were significant linear relationships between rugosity and the increase in smallest size classes for Sidastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, P. astreoides and Agaricia species, and between rugosity and cover of the branching coral Acropora cervicornis. Linear extension rates of A. cervicornis and radial growth rates of P. astreoides were significantly lower (p<0.025; F>6) when in contact with macroalgae. Aggregated colonies of P. astreoides in contact with one another, one of which was in contact with the faster growing competitor A. palmata showed significantly greater growth rates than with just two aggregated P. astreoides colonies alone. These findings suggest that three dimensional topography and complexity is important for reef resilience and viability in the face of environmental stressors such as bleaching. Our findings also support the idea that aggregated spatial arrangements of corals can influence the outcome of interspecific competition and promote species coexistence, important in times of reef recovery after disturbance. PMID:19819006

  16. Fine-Scale Skeletal Banding Can Distinguish Symbiotic from Asymbiotic Species among Modern and Fossil Scleractinian Corals.

    PubMed

    Frankowiak, Katarzyna; Kret, Sławomir; Mazur, Maciej; Meibom, Anders; Kitahara, Marcelo V; Stolarski, Jarosław

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of scleractinian corals on geological timescales is key to predict how modern reef ecosystems will react to changing environmental conditions in the future. Important to such efforts has been the development of several skeleton-based criteria to distinguish between the two major ecological groups of scleractinians: zooxanthellates, which live in symbiosis with dinoflagellate algae, and azooxanthellates, which lack endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. Existing criteria are based on overall skeletal morphology and bio/geo-chemical indicators-none of them being particularly robust. Here we explore another skeletal feature, namely fine-scale growth banding, which differs between these two groups of corals. Using various ultra-structural imaging techniques (e.g., TEM, SEM, and NanoSIMS) we have characterized skeletal growth increments, composed of doublets of optically light and dark bands, in a broad selection of extant symbiotic and asymbiotic corals. Skeletons of zooxanthellate corals are characterized by regular growth banding, whereas in skeletons of azooxanthellate corals the growth banding is irregular. Importantly, the regularity of growth bands can be easily quantified with a coefficient of variation obtained by measuring bandwidths on SEM images of polished and etched skeletal surfaces of septa and/or walls. We find that this coefficient of variation (lower values indicate higher regularity) ranges from ~40 to ~90% in azooxanthellate corals and from ~5 to ~15% in symbiotic species. With more than 90% (28 out of 31) of the studied corals conforming to this microstructural criterion, it represents an easy and robust method to discriminate between zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate corals. This microstructural criterion has been applied to the exceptionally preserved skeleton of the Triassic (Norian, ca. 215 Ma) scleractinian Volzeia sp., which contains the first example of regular, fine-scale banding of thickening deposits in a fossil coral

  17. Fine-Scale Skeletal Banding Can Distinguish Symbiotic from Asymbiotic Species among Modern and Fossil Scleractinian Corals

    PubMed Central

    Frankowiak, Katarzyna; Kret, Sławomir; Mazur, Maciej; Meibom, Anders; Kitahara, Marcelo V.; Stolarski, Jarosław

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of scleractinian corals on geological timescales is key to predict how modern reef ecosystems will react to changing environmental conditions in the future. Important to such efforts has been the development of several skeleton-based criteria to distinguish between the two major ecological groups of scleractinians: zooxanthellates, which live in symbiosis with dinoflagellate algae, and azooxanthellates, which lack endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. Existing criteria are based on overall skeletal morphology and bio/geo-chemical indicators—none of them being particularly robust. Here we explore another skeletal feature, namely fine-scale growth banding, which differs between these two groups of corals. Using various ultra-structural imaging techniques (e.g., TEM, SEM, and NanoSIMS) we have characterized skeletal growth increments, composed of doublets of optically light and dark bands, in a broad selection of extant symbiotic and asymbiotic corals. Skeletons of zooxanthellate corals are characterized by regular growth banding, whereas in skeletons of azooxanthellate corals the growth banding is irregular. Importantly, the regularity of growth bands can be easily quantified with a coefficient of variation obtained by measuring bandwidths on SEM images of polished and etched skeletal surfaces of septa and/or walls. We find that this coefficient of variation (lower values indicate higher regularity) ranges from ~40 to ~90% in azooxanthellate corals and from ~5 to ~15% in symbiotic species. With more than 90% (28 out of 31) of the studied corals conforming to this microstructural criterion, it represents an easy and robust method to discriminate between zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate corals. This microstructural criterion has been applied to the exceptionally preserved skeleton of the Triassic (Norian, ca. 215 Ma) scleractinian Volzeia sp., which contains the first example of regular, fine-scale banding of thickening deposits in a fossil

  18. Tracking Transmission of Apicomplexan Symbionts in Diverse Caribbean Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Physiology and cryosensitivity of coral endosymbiotic algae (Symbiodinium).

    PubMed

    Hagedorn, M; Carter, V L; Leong, J C; Kleinhans, F W

    2010-04-01

    Coral throughout the world are under threat. To save coral via cryopreservation methods, the Symbiodinium algae that live within many coral cells must also be considered. Coral juvenile must often take up these important cells from their surrounding water and when adult coral bleach, they lose their endosymbiotic algae and will die if they are not regained. The focus of this paper was to understand some of the cryo-physiology of the endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, living within three species of Hawaiian coral, Fungia scutaria, Porites compressa and Pocillopora damicornis in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Although cryopreservation of algae is common, the successful cryopreservation of these important coral endosymbionts is not common, and these species are often maintained in live serial cultures within stock centers worldwide. Freshly-extracted Symbiodinium were exposed to cryobiologically appropriate physiological stresses and their viability assessed with a Pulse Amplitude Fluorometer. Stresses included sensitivity to chilling temperatures, osmotic stress, and toxic effects of various concentrations and types of cryoprotectants (i.e., dimethyl sulfoxide, propylene glycol, glycerol and methanol). To determine the water and cryoprotectant permeabilities of Symbiodinium, uptake of radio-labeled glycerol and heavy water (D(2)O) were measured. The three different Symbiodinium subtypes studied demonstrated remarkable similarities in their morphology, sensitivity to cryoprotectants and permeability characteristics; however, they differed greatly in their sensitivity to hypo- and hyposmotic challenges and sensitivity to chilling, suggesting that standard slow freezing cryopreservation may not work well for all Symbiodinium. An appendix describes our H(2)O:D(2)O water exchange experiments and compares the diffusionally determined permeability with the two parameter model osmotic permeability. PMID:19857482

  20. Can heterotrophic uptake of dissolved organic carbon and zooplankton mitigate carbon budget deficits in annually bleached corals?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levas, Stephen; Grottoli, Andréa G.; Schoepf, Verena; Aschaffenburg, Matthew; Baumann, Justin; Bauer, James E.; Warner, Mark E.

    2016-06-01

    Annual coral bleaching events due to increasing sea surface temperatures are predicted to occur globally by the mid-century and as early as 2025 in the Caribbean, and severely impact coral reefs. We hypothesize that heterotrophic carbon (C) in the form of zooplankton and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a significant source of C to bleached corals. Thus, the ability to utilize multiple pools of fixed carbon and/or increase the amount of fixed carbon acquired from one or more pools of fixed carbon (defined here as heterotrophic plasticity) could underlie coral acclimatization and persistence under future ocean-warming scenarios. Here, three species of Caribbean coral— Porites divaricata, P. astreoides, and Orbicella faveolata—were experimentally bleached for 2.5 weeks in two successive years and allowed to recover in the field. Zooplankton feeding was assessed after single and repeat bleaching, while DOC fluxes and the contribution of DOC to the total C budget were determined after single bleaching, 11 months on the reef, and repeat bleaching. Zooplankton was a large C source for P. astreoides, but only following single bleaching. DOC was a source of C for single-bleached corals and accounted for 11-36 % of daily metabolic demand (CHARDOC), but represented a net loss of C in repeat-bleached corals. In repeat-bleached corals, DOC loss exacerbated the negative C budgets in all three species. Thus, the capacity for heterotrophic plasticity in corals is compromised under annual bleaching, and heterotrophic uptake of DOC and zooplankton does not mitigate C budget deficits in annually bleached corals. Overall, these findings suggest that some Caribbean corals may be more susceptible to repeat bleaching than to single bleaching due to a lack of heterotrophic plasticity, and coral persistence under increasing bleaching frequency may ultimately depend on other factors such as energy reserves and symbiont shuffling.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

    Variable skeletal morphology, genotype induced plasticity, and homoplasy of skeletal structures have presented major challenges for scleractinian coral taxonomy and systematics since the 18th century. Although the recent integration of genetic and micromorphological data is helping to clarify the taxonomic confusion within the order, phylogenetic relationships and species delimitation within most coral genera are still far from settled. In the present study, the species boundaries in the scleractinian coral genus Goniopora were investigated using 199 colonies from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea and sequencing of four molecular markers: the mitochondrial intergenic spacer between CytB and NAD2, the nuclear ribosomal ITS region, and two single-copy nuclear genes (ATPsβ and CalM). DNA sequence data were analyzed using a variety of methods and exploratory species-delimitation tools. The results were broadly congruent in identifying five distinct molecular lineages within the sequenced Goniopora samples: G. somaliensis/G. savignyi, G. djiboutiensis/G. lobata, G. stokesi, G. albiconus/G. tenuidens, and G. minor/G. gracilis. Although the traditional macromorphological characters used to identify these nine morphospecies were not able to discriminate the obtained molecular clades, informative micromorphological and microstructural features (such as the micro-ornamentation and the arrangement of the columella) were recovered among the five lineages. Moreover, unique in vivo morphologies were associated with the genetic-delimited lineages, further supporting the molecular findings. This study represents the first attempt to identify species boundaries within Goniopora using a combined morpho-molecular approach. The obtained data establish a basis for future taxonomic revision of the genus, which should include colonies across its entire geographical distribution in the Indo-Pacific. PMID:27321092

  2. The Point Count Transect Method for Estimates of Biodiversity on Coral Reefs: Improving the Sampling of Rare Species.

    PubMed

    Roberts, T Edward; Bridge, Thomas C; Caley, M Julian; Baird, Andrew H

    2016-01-01

    Understanding patterns in species richness and diversity over environmental gradients (such as altitude and depth) is an enduring component of ecology. As most biological communities feature few common and many rare species, quantifying the presence and abundance of rare species is a crucial requirement for analysis of these patterns. Coral reefs present specific challenges for data collection, with limitations on time and site accessibility making efficiency crucial. Many commonly used methods, such as line intercept transects (LIT), are poorly suited to questions requiring the detection of rare events or species. Here, an alternative method for surveying reef-building corals is presented; the point count transect (PCT). The PCT consists of a count of coral colonies at a series of sample stations, located at regular intervals along a transect. In contrast the LIT records the proportion of each species occurring under a transect tape of a given length. The same site was surveyed using PCT and LIT to compare species richness estimates between the methods. The total number of species increased faster per individual sampled and unit of time invested using PCT. Furthermore, 41 of the 44 additional species recorded by the PCT occurred ≤ 3 times, demonstrating the increased capacity of PCT to detect rare species. PCT provides a more accurate estimate of local-scale species richness than the LIT, and is an efficient alternative method for surveying reef corals to address questions associated with alpha-diversity, and rare or incidental events. PMID:27011368

  3. The Point Count Transect Method for Estimates of Biodiversity on Coral Reefs: Improving the Sampling of Rare Species

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, T. Edward; Bridge, Thomas C.; Caley, M. Julian; Baird, Andrew H.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding patterns in species richness and diversity over environmental gradients (such as altitude and depth) is an enduring component of ecology. As most biological communities feature few common and many rare species, quantifying the presence and abundance of rare species is a crucial requirement for analysis of these patterns. Coral reefs present specific challenges for data collection, with limitations on time and site accessibility making efficiency crucial. Many commonly used methods, such as line intercept transects (LIT), are poorly suited to questions requiring the detection of rare events or species. Here, an alternative method for surveying reef-building corals is presented; the point count transect (PCT). The PCT consists of a count of coral colonies at a series of sample stations, located at regular intervals along a transect. In contrast the LIT records the proportion of each species occurring under a transect tape of a given length. The same site was surveyed using PCT and LIT to compare species richness estimates between the methods. The total number of species increased faster per individual sampled and unit of time invested using PCT. Furthermore, 41 of the 44 additional species recorded by the PCT occurred ≤ 3 times, demonstrating the increased capacity of PCT to detect rare species. PCT provides a more accurate estimate of local-scale species richness than the LIT, and is an efficient alternative method for surveying reef corals to address questions associated with alpha-diversity, and rare or incidental events. PMID:27011368

  4. Multi-scale approach for predicting fish species distributions across coral reef seascapes.

    PubMed

    Pittman, Simon J; Brown, Kerry A

    2011-01-01

    Two of the major limitations to effective management of coral reef ecosystems are a lack of information on the spatial distribution of marine species and a paucity of data on the interacting environmental variables that drive distributional patterns. Advances in marine remote sensing, together with the novel integration of landscape ecology and advanced niche modelling techniques provide an unprecedented opportunity to reliably model and map marine species distributions across many kilometres of coral reef ecosystems. We developed a multi-scale approach using three-dimensional seafloor morphology and across-shelf location to predict spatial distributions for five common Caribbean fish species. Seascape topography was quantified from high resolution bathymetry at five spatial scales (5-300 m radii) surrounding fish survey sites. Model performance and map accuracy was assessed for two high performing machine-learning algorithms: Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) and Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modelling (MaxEnt). The three most important predictors were geographical location across the shelf, followed by a measure of topographic complexity. Predictor contribution differed among species, yet rarely changed across spatial scales. BRT provided 'outstanding' model predictions (AUC = >0.9) for three of five fish species. MaxEnt provided 'outstanding' model predictions for two of five species, with the remaining three models considered 'excellent' (AUC = 0.8-0.9). In contrast, MaxEnt spatial predictions were markedly more accurate (92% map accuracy) than BRT (68% map accuracy). We demonstrate that reliable spatial predictions for a range of key fish species can be achieved by modelling the interaction between the geographical location across the shelf and the topographic heterogeneity of seafloor structure. This multi-scale, analytic approach is an important new cost-effective tool to accurately delineate essential fish habitat and support conservation

  5. Multi-Scale Approach for Predicting Fish Species Distributions across Coral Reef Seascapes

    PubMed Central

    Pittman, Simon J.; Brown, Kerry A.

    2011-01-01

    Two of the major limitations to effective management of coral reef ecosystems are a lack of information on the spatial distribution of marine species and a paucity of data on the interacting environmental variables that drive distributional patterns. Advances in marine remote sensing, together with the novel integration of landscape ecology and advanced niche modelling techniques provide an unprecedented opportunity to reliably model and map marine species distributions across many kilometres of coral reef ecosystems. We developed a multi-scale approach using three-dimensional seafloor morphology and across-shelf location to predict spatial distributions for five common Caribbean fish species. Seascape topography was quantified from high resolution bathymetry at five spatial scales (5–300 m radii) surrounding fish survey sites. Model performance and map accuracy was assessed for two high performing machine-learning algorithms: Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) and Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modelling (MaxEnt). The three most important predictors were geographical location across the shelf, followed by a measure of topographic complexity. Predictor contribution differed among species, yet rarely changed across spatial scales. BRT provided ‘outstanding’ model predictions (AUC = >0.9) for three of five fish species. MaxEnt provided ‘outstanding’ model predictions for two of five species, with the remaining three models considered ‘excellent’ (AUC = 0.8–0.9). In contrast, MaxEnt spatial predictions were markedly more accurate (92% map accuracy) than BRT (68% map accuracy). We demonstrate that reliable spatial predictions for a range of key fish species can be achieved by modelling the interaction between the geographical location across the shelf and the topographic heterogeneity of seafloor structure. This multi-scale, analytic approach is an important new cost-effective tool to accurately delineate essential fish habitat and support

  6. Leucothoe eltoni sp. n., a new species of commensal leucothoid amphipod from coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia (Crustacea, Amphipoda).

    PubMed

    Thomas, James Darwin

    2015-01-01

    A new species of leucothoid amphipod, Leucothoe eltoni sp. n., is described from coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia where it inhabits the branchial chambers of solitary tunicates. With an inflated first gnathopod superficially resembling the genus Paraleucothoe, this new species has a two-articulate maxilla 1 palp characteristic of the genus Leucothoe. While described from coral reef environments in tropical Indonesia and the Philippines, it is an established invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands. The most likely mode of introduction was a US Navy dry dock transported to Pearl Harbor in 1992 from Subic Bay, Philippines. PMID:26448700

  7. Leucothoe eltoni sp. n., a new species of commensal leucothoid amphipod from coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia (Crustacea, Amphipoda)

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, James Darwin

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A new species of leucothoid amphipod, Leucothoe eltoni sp. n., is described from coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia where it inhabits the branchial chambers of solitary tunicates. With an inflated first gnathopod superficially resembling the genus Paraleucothoe, this new species has a two-articulate maxilla 1 palp characteristic of the genus Leucothoe. While described from coral reef environments in tropical Indonesia and the Philippines, it is an established invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands. The most likely mode of introduction was a US Navy dry dock transported to Pearl Harbor in 1992 from Subic Bay, Philippines. PMID:26448700

  8. Sponge erosion under acidification and warming scenarios: differential impacts on living and dead coral.

    PubMed

    Stubler, Amber D; Furman, Bradley T; Peterson, Bradley J

    2015-11-01

    Ocean acidification will disproportionately impact the growth of calcifying organisms in coral reef ecosystems. Simultaneously, sponge bioerosion rates have been shown to increase as seawater pH decreases. We conducted a 20-week experiment that included a 4-week acclimation period with a high number of replicate tanks and a fully orthogonal design with two levels of temperature (ambient and +1 °C), three levels of pH (8.1, 7.8, and 7.6), and two levels of boring sponge (Cliona varians, present and absent) to account for differences in sponge attachment and carbonate change for both living and dead coral substrate (Porites furcata). Net coral calcification, net dissolution/bioerosion, coral and sponge survival, sponge attachment, and sponge symbiont health were evaluated. Additionally, we used the empirical data from the experiment to develop a stochastic simulation of carbonate change for small coral clusters (i.e., simulated reefs). Our findings suggest differential impacts of temperature, pH and sponge presence for living and dead corals. Net coral calcification (mg CaCO3  cm(-2)  day(-1) ) was significantly reduced in treatments with increased temperature (+1 °C) and when sponges were present; acidification had no significant effect on coral calcification. Net dissolution of dead coral was primarily driven by pH, regardless of sponge presence or seawater temperature. A reevaluation of the current paradigm of coral carbonate change under future acidification and warming scenarios should include ecologically relevant timescales, species interactions, and community organization to more accurately predict ecosystem-level response to future conditions. PMID:26087148

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1996-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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