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Sample records for acropora palmata montastraea

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

    SciTech Connect

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  3. The future of coral reefs in the US Virgin Islands: is Acropora palmata more likely to recover than Montastraea annularis complex?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Muller, Erinn; Spitzack, Tony; Miller, Jeff

    2008-01-01

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

  4. Assessment of Acropora palmata in the Mesoamerican Reef System

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa E.; Banaszak, Anastazia T.; McField, Melanie D.; Beltrán-Torres, Aurora U.; Álvarez-Filip, Lorenzo

    2014-01-01

    The once-dominant shallow reef-building coral Acropora palmata has suffered drastic geographical declines in the wider Caribbean from a disease epidemic that began in the late 1970s. At present there is a lack of quantitative data to determine whether this species is recovering over large spatial scales. Here, we use quantitative surveys conducted in 107 shallow-water reef sites between 2010 and 2012 to investigate the current distribution and abundance of A. palmata along the Mesoamerican Reef System (MRS). Using historical data we also explored how the distribution and abundance of this species has changed in the northern portion of the MRS between 1985 and 2010–2012. A. palmata was recorded in only a fifth of the surveyed reef sites in 2010–2012. In the majority of these reef sites the presence of A. palmata was patchy and rare. Only one site (Limones reef), in the northernmost portion of the MRS, presented considerably high A. palmata cover (mean: 34.7%, SD: 24.5%). At this site, the size-frequency distribution of A. palmata colonies was skewed towards small colony sizes; 84% of the colonies were healthy, however disease prevalence increased with colony size. A comparison with historical data showed that in the northern portion of the MRS, in 1985, A. palmata occurred in 74% of the 31 surveyed sites and had a mean cover of 7.7% (SD = 9.0), whereas in 2010–2012 this species was recorded in 48% of the sites with a mean cover of 2.9% (SD = 7.5). A. palmata populations along the MRS are failing to recover the distribution and abundance they had prior to the 1980s. Investigating the biological (e.g., population genetics) and environmental conditions (e.g., sources of stress) of the few standing reefs with relatively high A. palmata cover is crucial for the development of informed restoration models for this species. PMID:24763319

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. Genet-specific spawning patterns in Acropora palmata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, M. W.; Williams, D. E.; Fisch, J.

    2016-12-01

    The broadcast spawning elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, requires outcrossing among different genets for effective fertilization. Hence, a low density of genets in parts of its range emphasizes the need for precise synchrony among neighboring genets as sperm concentration dilutes rapidly in open-ocean conditions. We documented the genet-specific nightly occurrence of spawning of A. palmata over 8 yr in a depauperate population in the Florida Keys to better understand this potential reproductive hurdle. The observed population failed to spawn within the predicted monthly window (nights 2-6 after the full moon in August) in three of the 8 yr of observation; negligible spawning was observed in a fourth year. Moreover, genet-specific patterns are evident in that (1) certain genets have significantly greater odds of spawning overall and (2) certain genets predictably spawn on the earlier and others on the later lunar nights within the predicted window. Given the already low genet density in this population, this pattern implies a substantial degree of wasted reproductive effort and supports the hypothesis that depensatory factors are impairing recovery in this species.

  7. 50 CFR 226.216 - Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora... MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.216 Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals. Critical habitat is designated for both elkhorn and staghorn corals...

  8. 50 CFR 226.216 - Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora... MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.216 Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals. Critical habitat is designated for both elkhorn and staghorn corals...

  9. 50 CFR 226.216 - Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals. 226.216 Section 226.216 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE...

  10. 50 CFR 226.216 - Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals. 226.216 Section 226.216 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE...

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

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M James C

    2007-08-01

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

  12. Microbial composition of biofilms associated with lithifying rubble of Acropora palmata branches.

    PubMed

    Beltrán, Yislem; Cerqueda-García, Daniel; Taş, Neslihan; Thomé, Patricia E; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Falcón, Luisa I

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, but are rapidly declining due to global-warming-mediated changes in the oceans. Particularly for the Caribbean region, Acropora sp. stony corals have lost ∼80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. We analyzed the microbial composition of biofilms that colonize and lithify dead Acropora palmata rubble in the Mexican Caribbean and identified the microbial assemblages that can persist under scenarios of global change, including high temperature and low pH. Lithifying biofilms have a mineral composition that includes aragonite and magnesium calcite (16 mole% MgCO(3)) and calcite, while the mineral phase corresponding to coral skeleton is basically aragonite. Microbial composition of the lithifying biofilms are different in comparison to surrounding biotopes, including a microbial mat, water column, sediments and live A. palmata microbiome. Significant shifts in biofilm composition were detected in samples incubated in mesocosms. The combined effect of low pH and increased temperature showed a strong effect after two-week incubations for biofilm composition. Findings suggest that lithifying biofilms could remain as a secondary structure on reef rubble possibly impacting the functional role of coral reefs.

  13. Early signs of recovery of Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muller, E.M.; Rogers, Caroline S.; van Woesik, R.

    2014-01-01

    Since the 1980s, diseases have caused significant declines in the population of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Yet it is largely unknown whether the population densities have recovered from these declines and whether there have been any recent shifts in size-frequency distributions toward large colonies. It is also unknown whether colony size influences the risk of disease infection, the most common stressor affecting this species. To address these unknowns, we examined A. palmata colonies at ten sites around St. John, US Virgin Islands, in 2004 and 2010. The prevalence of white-pox disease was highly variable among sites, ranging from 0 to 53 %, and this disease preferentially targeted large colonies. We found that colony density did not significantly change over the 6-year period, although six out of ten sites showed higher densities through time. The size-frequency distributions of coral colonies at all sites were positively skewed in both 2004 and 2010, however, most sites showed a temporal shift toward more large-sized colonies. This increase in large-sized colonies occurred despite the presence of white-pox disease, a severe bleaching event, and several storms. This study provides evidence of slow recovery of the A. palmata population around St. John despite the persistence of several stressors.

  14. Potential inhibitors to recovery of Acropora palmata populations in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grober-Dunsmore, R.; Bonito, V.; Frazer, T.K.

    2006-01-01

    Populations of Acropora palmata in the Caribbean were decimated in the 1970s and 1980s, with little apparent signs of recovery until the late 1990s. Here, we document an increase in A. palmata colonies between 2001 and 2003 at 8 of 11 monitoring sites in waters adjacent to the island of St. John, US Virgin Islands. The shallow waters along the NW coast of the island exhibited the greatest increase in colony abundance, perhaps due to greater larval supply and/or conditions that favor settlement and subsequent survivorship. Of concern, however, is the lack of survival of large colonies (at all sites), which are most frequently affected by stressors (e.g. Coralliophila abbreviata, damselfishes, active disease) and are most likely to be remnants (colonies with discontinuous, living coral-tissue over an existing coral framework). Predation by C. abbreviata and active coral disease may directly contribute to the development of these remnant colonies. In addition, we recorded damage to colonies attributed to damselfishes and raise the possibility that these territorial reef-inhabitants act as vectors in the transmission of coral disease. While the incidence of disease around St. John is generally low, it may persist as a ubiquitous, chronic stress. Finally, because stressors are more prevalent on large colonies and in high-density stands, they have the potential to inhibit the recovery of A. palmata populations to their historic condition. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  15. The role of skeletal micro-architecture in diagenesis and dating of Acropora palmata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomiak, P. J.; Andersen, M. B.; Hendy, E. J.; Potter, E. K.; Johnson, K. G.; Penkman, K. E. H.

    2016-06-01

    Past variations in global sea-level reflect continental ice volume, a crucial factor for understanding the Earth's climate system. The Caribbean coral Acropora palmata typically forms dense stands in very shallow water and therefore fossil samples mark past sea-level. Uranium-series methods are commonly used to establish a chronology for fossil coral reefs, but are compromised by post mortem diagenetic changes to coral skeleton. Current screening approaches are unable to identify all altered samples, whilst models that attempt to correct for 'open-system' behaviour are not applicable across all diagenetic scenarios. In order to better understand how U-series geochemistry varies spatially with respect to diagenetic textures, we examine these aspects in relation to skeletal micro-structure and intra-crystalline amino acids, comparing an unaltered modern coral with a fossil A. palmata colony containing zones of diagenetic alteration (secondary overgrowth of aragonite, calcite cement and dissolution features). We demonstrate that the process of skeletogenesis in A. palmata causes heterogeneity in porosity, which can account for the observed spatial distribution of diagenetic features; this in turn explains the spatially-systematic trends in U-series geochemistry and consequently, U-series age. We propose a scenario that emphasises the importance of through-flow of meteoric waters, invoking both U-loss and absorption of mobilised U and Th daughter isotopes. We recommend selective sampling of low porosity A. palmata skeleton to obtain the most reliable U-series ages. We demonstrate that intra-crystalline amino acid racemisation (AAR) can be applied as a relative dating tool in Pleistocene A. palmata samples that have suffered heavy dissolution and are therefore unsuitable for U-series analyses. Based on relatively high intra-crystalline concentrations and appropriate racemisation rates, glutamic acid and valine are most suited to dating mid-late Pleistocene A. palmata

  16. Is Acropora palmata recovering? A case study in Los Roques National Park, Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Croquer, Aldo; Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Zubillaga, Ainhoa L; Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A; Sweet, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Eight years ago (2007), the distribution and status of Acropora palmata was quantified throughout Los Roques archipelago in Venezuela. The aim was to produce a baseline study for this species which combined population genetics with demographic data. The results highlighted that A. palmata had the potential to recover in at least 6 out of 10 sites surveyed. Recovery potential was assumed to be high at sites with a relatively high abundance of the coral, low disease prevalence, high genetic diversity, and high rates of sexual reproduction. However, as noted, Zubillaga et al. (2008) realized recovery was still strongly dependent on local and regional stressors. In 2014 (this study), the status of A. palmata was re-evaluated at Los Roques. We increased the number of sites from 10 in the original baseline study to 106. This allowed us to assess the population status throughout the entirety of the MPA. Furthermore, we also identified local threats that may have hindered population recovery. Here, we show that A. palmata now has a relatively restricted distribution throughout the park, only occurring in 15% of the sites surveyed. Large stands of old dead colonies were common throughout the archipelago; a result which demonstrates that this species has lost almost 50% of its original distribution over the past decades. The majority of corals recorded were large adults (∼2 m height), suggesting that these older colonies might be less susceptible or more resilient to local and global threats. However, 45% of these surviving colonies showed evidence of partial mortality and degradation of living tissues. Interestingly, the greatest increase in partial mortality occurred at sites with the lowest levels of protection ([Formula: see text]; df = 4, p < 0.05). This may suggest there is a positive role of small scale marine management in assisting reef recovery. We also recorded a significant reduction ([Formula: see text]; df = 8; p < 0.05) in the density of A. palmata in sites

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

    Populations of the shallow-water Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are being decimated by white pox disease, with losses of living cover in the Florida Keys typically in excess of 70%. The rate of tissue loss is rapid, averaging 2.5 cm2⋅day−1, and is greatest during periods of seasonally elevated temperature. In Florida, the spread of white pox fits the contagion model, with nearest neighbors most susceptible to infection. In this report, we identify a common fecal enterobacterium, Serratia marcescens, as the causal agent of white pox. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a bacterial species associated with the human gut has been shown to be a marine invertebrate pathogen. PMID:12077296

  18. Physical and mechanical properties evaluation of Acropora palmata coralline species for bone substitution applications.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, K; Camero, S; Alarcón, M E; Rivas, A; González, G

    2002-05-01

    The search for ideal materials for bone substitution has been a challenge for many decades. Numerous natural and synthetic materials have been studied. For this application, exoskeletons of coral have been considered a good alternative given its tendency to resorption, biocompatibility and similarity to the mineral bone phase. Very few studies of these materials consider a detailed analysis of the structure-property relationship. The purpose of this work was to carry out the microstructural characterization of a coralline species named Acropora palmata and the determination of the mechanical and physico-chemical properties. Measurements of hardness, compressive strength, bulk density and apparent porosity were performed. From these results it was determined that this marine coral species could be an alternative xenograft due to its mechanical properties and osteoconductive nature.

  19. Shifting white pox aetiologies affecting Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys, 1994–2014

    PubMed Central

    Berry, Brett; Park, Andrew; Kemp, Dustin W.; Kemp, Keri M.; Lipp, Erin K.; Porter, James W.

    2016-01-01

    We propose ‘the moving target hypothesis’ to describe the aetiology of a contemporary coral disease that differs from that of its historical disease state. Hitting the target with coral disease aetiology is a complex pursuit that requires understanding of host and environment, and may lack a single pathogen solution. White pox disease (WPX) affects the Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Acroporid serratiosis is a form of WPX for which the bacterial pathogen (Serratia marcescens) has been established. We used long-term (1994–2014) photographic monitoring to evaluate historical and contemporary epizootiology and aetiology of WPX affecting A. palmata at eight reefs in the Florida Keys. Ranges of WPX prevalence over time (0–71.4%) were comparable for the duration of the 20-year study. Whole colony mortality and disease severity were high in historical (1994–2004), and low in contemporary (2008–2014), outbreaks of WPX. Acroporid serratiosis was diagnosed for some historical (1999, 2003) and contemporary (2012, 2013) outbreaks, but this form of WPX was not confirmed for all WPX cases. Our results serve as a context for considering aetiology as a moving target for WPX and other coral diseases for which pathogens are established and/or candidate pathogens are identified. Coral aetiology investigations completed to date suggest that changes in pathogen, host and/or environment alter the disease state and complicate diagnosis. PMID:26880837

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-01

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

  3. Genetic seascape of the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, on the Puerto Rico Shelf

    PubMed Central

    Mège, Pascal; Schizas, Nikolaos V.; Reyes, Joselyd García; Hrbek, Tomas

    2014-01-01

    It has been proposed that the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, is genetically separated into two distinct provinces in the Caribbean, an Eastern and a Western population admixing in western Puerto Rico and around the Mona Passage. In this study, the genetic structure of A. palmata sampled at 11 Puerto Rican localities and localities from Curaçao, the Bahamas and Guadeloupe were examined. Analyses using five microsatellite markers showed that 75% of sampled colonies had unique genotypes, the rest being clone mates. Genetic diversity among genets was high (HE = 0.761) and consistent across localities (0.685 to 0.844). FST ranged from −0.011 to 0.047 supporting low but significant genetic differentiation between localities within the previously reported Eastern and Western genetic provinces. Plots of genetic per geographic distances and significant Mantel tests supported isolation-by-distance (IBD) within Puerto Rico. Analysis with the software Structure favored a scenario with weak differentiation between two populations, assigning eastern Puerto Rican locations (Fajardo and Culebra), Guadeloupe and Curaçao to the Caribbean Eastern population and western Puerto Rican locations (west of Vega Baja and Ponce), Mona and the Bahamas to the Caribbean Western population. Vieques and San Juan area harbored admixed profiles. Standardized FSTs per 1,000 km unit further supported higher differentiation between localities belonging to different Structure populations, with IBD being stronger within Puerto Rico than on larger regional scales. This stronger genetic transition seems to separate localities between putative Eastern and Western provinces in the eastern Puerto Rican region, not around the Mona Passage. PMID:26085704

  4. Is Acropora palmata recovering? A case study in Los Roques National Park, Venezuela

    PubMed Central

    Cavada-Blanco, Francoise; Zubillaga, Ainhoa L.; Agudo-Adriani, Esteban A.; Sweet, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Eight years ago (2007), the distribution and status of Acropora palmata was quantified throughout Los Roques archipelago in Venezuela. The aim was to produce a baseline study for this species which combined population genetics with demographic data. The results highlighted that A. palmata had the potential to recover in at least 6 out of 10 sites surveyed. Recovery potential was assumed to be high at sites with a relatively high abundance of the coral, low disease prevalence, high genetic diversity, and high rates of sexual reproduction. However, as noted, Zubillaga et al. (2008) realized recovery was still strongly dependent on local and regional stressors. In 2014 (this study), the status of A. palmata was re-evaluated at Los Roques. We increased the number of sites from 10 in the original baseline study to 106. This allowed us to assess the population status throughout the entirety of the MPA. Furthermore, we also identified local threats that may have hindered population recovery. Here, we show that A. palmata now has a relatively restricted distribution throughout the park, only occurring in 15% of the sites surveyed. Large stands of old dead colonies were common throughout the archipelago; a result which demonstrates that this species has lost almost 50% of its original distribution over the past decades. The majority of corals recorded were large adults (∼2 m height), suggesting that these older colonies might be less susceptible or more resilient to local and global threats. However, 45% of these surviving colonies showed evidence of partial mortality and degradation of living tissues. Interestingly, the greatest increase in partial mortality occurred at sites with the lowest levels of protection (\\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \\usepackage{amsmath} \\usepackage{wasysym} \\usepackage{amsfonts} \\usepackage{amssymb} \\usepackage{amsbsy} \\usepackage{upgreek} \\usepackage{mathrsfs} \\setlength{\\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \\begin{document} }{}${X}_{o}^{2

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1997-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata (Lamarck) in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muller, E.M.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Spitzack, Anthony S.; van Woesik, R.

    2007-01-01

    Anomalously high water temperatures may enhance the likelihood of coral disease outbreaks by increasing the abundance or virulence of pathogens, or by increasing host susceptibility. This study tested the compromised-host hypothesis, and documented the relationship between disease and temperature, through monthly monitoring of Acropora palmata colonies from May 2004 to December 2006, in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Disease prevalence and the rate of change in prevalence showed a positive linear relationship with water temperature and rate of change in water temperature, respectively, but only in 2005 during prolonged periods of elevated temperature. Both bleached and unbleached colonies showed a positive relationship between disease prevalence and temperature in 2005, but the average area of disease-associated mortality increased only for bleached corals, indicating host susceptibility, rather than temperature per se, influenced disease severity on A. palmata.

  8. Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata (Lamarck) in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muller, E.M.; Rogers, C.S.; Spitzack, Anthony S.; van Woesik, R.

    2008-01-01

    Anomalously high water temperatures may enhance the likelihood of coral disease outbreaks by increasing the abundance or virulence of pathogens, or by increasing host susceptibility. This study tested the compromised-host hypothesis, and documented the relationship between disease and temperature, through monthly monitoring of Acropora palmata colonies from May 2004 to December 2006, in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Disease prevalence and the rate of change in prevalence showed a positive linear relationship with water temperature and rate of change in water temperature, respectively, but only in 2005 during prolonged periods of elevated temperature. Both bleached and unbleached colonies showed a positive relationship between disease prevalence and temperature in 2005, but the average area of disease-associated mortality increased only for bleached corals, indicating host susceptibility, rather than temperature per se, influenced disease severity on A. palmata. ?? 2007 Springer-Verlag.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-23

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-03-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  18. Reply to comment by E. Bard et al. on "Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata" by N. A. Abdul et al.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mortlock, Richard A.; Abdul, Nicole A.; Wright, James D.; Fairbanks, Richard G.

    2016-12-01

    Abdul et al. (2016) presented a detailed record of sea level at Barbados (13.9-9 kyr B.P.) tightly constraining the timing and amplitude during the Younger Dryas and Meltwater Pulse 1B (MWP-1B) based on U-Th dated reef crest coral species Acropora palmata. The Younger Dryas slow stand and the large (14 m) rapid sea level jump are not resolved in the Tahiti record. Tahiti sea level estimates are remarkably close to the Barbados sea level curve between 13.9 and 11.6 kyr but fall below the Barbados sea level curve for a few thousand years following MWP-1B. By 9 kyr the Tahiti sea level estimates again converge with the Barbados sea level curve. Abdul et al. (2016) concluded that Tahiti reefs at the core sites did not keep up with intervals of rapidly rising sea level during MWP-1B. We counter Bard et al. (2016) by showing (1) that there is no evidence for a hypothetical fault in Oistins Bay affecting one of the Barbados coring locations, (2) that the authors confuse the rare occurrences of A. palmata at depths >5 m with the "thickets" of A. palmata fronds representing the reef-crest facies, and (3) that uncertainties in depth habitat proxies largely account for differences in Barbados and Tahiti sea level differences curves with A. palmata providing the most faithful proxy. Given the range in Tahiti paleodepth uncertainties at the cored sites, the most parsimonious explanation remains that Tahiti coralgal ridges did not keep up with the sea level rise of MWP-1B.

  19. Analysis of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences of three members of the Montastraea annularis coral species complex (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fukami, Hironobu; Knowlton, Nancy

    2005-11-01

    Complete mitochondrial nucleotide sequences of two individuals each of Montastraea annularis, Montastraea faveolata, and Montastraea franksi were determined. Gene composition and order differed substantially from the sea anemone Metridium senile, but were identical to that of the phylogenetically distant coral genus Acropora. However, characteristics of the non-coding regions differed between the two scleractinian genera. Among members of the M. annularis complex, only 25 of 16,134 base pair positions were variable. Sixteen of these occurred in one colony of M. franksi, which (together with additional data) indicates the existence of multiple divergent mitochondrial lineages in this species. Overall, rates of evolution for these mitochondrial genomes were extremely slow (0.03 0.04% per million years based on the fossil record of the M. annularis complex). At higher taxonomic levels, patterns of genetic divergence and synonymous/nonsynonymous substitutions suggest non-neutral and unequal rates of evolution between the two lineages to which Montastraea and Acropora belong.

  20. Weak Prezygotic Isolating Mechanisms in Threatened Caribbean Acropora Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, recently have undergone drastic declines primarily as a result of disease. Previous molecular studies have demonstrated that these species form a hybrid (A. prolifera) that varies in abundance throughout the range of the parental distribution. There is variable unidirectional introgression across loci and sites of A. palmata genes flowing into A. cervicornis. Here we examine the efficacy of prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms within these corals including spawning times and choice and no-choice fertilization crosses. We show that these species have subtly different mean but overlapping spawning times, suggesting that temporal isolation is likely not an effective barrier to hybridization. We found species-specific differences in gametic incompatibilities. Acropora palmata eggs were relatively resistant to hybridization, especially when conspecific sperm are available to outcompete heterospecific sperm. Acropora cervicornis eggs demonstrated no evidence for gametic incompatibility and no evidence of reduced viability after aging four hours. This asymmetry in compatibility matches previous genetic data on unidirectional introgression. PMID:22348010

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  2. Reef-scale trends in Florida Acropora spp. abundance and the effects of population enhancement

    PubMed Central

    Kerr, Katryna; Williams, Dana E.

    2016-01-01

    Since the listing of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, increasing investments have been made in propagation of listed corals (primarily A. cervicornis, A. palmata to a much lesser extent) in offshore coral nurseries and outplanting cultured fragments to reef habitats. This investment is superimposed over a spatiotemporal patchwork of ongoing disturbances (especially storms, thermal bleaching, and disease) as well as the potential for natural population recovery. In 2014 and 2015, we repeated broad scale (>50 ha), low precision Acropora spp. censuses (i.e., direct observation by snorkelers documented via handheld GPS) originally conducted in appropriate reef habitats during 2005–2007 to evaluate the trajectory of local populations and the effect of population enhancement. Over the decade-long study, A. palmata showed a cumulative proportional decline of 0.4 –0.7x in colony density across all sites, despite very low levels of outplanting at some sites. A. cervicornis showed similar proportional declines at sites without outplanting. In contrast, sites that received A. cervicornis outplants showed a dramatic increase in density (over 13x). Indeed, change in A. cervicornis colony density was significantly positively correlated with cumulative numbers of outplants across sites. This study documents a substantive reef-scale benefit of Acropora spp. population enhancement in the Florida Keys, when performed at adequate levels, against a backdrop of ongoing population decline. PMID:27703862

  3. Acropora corals in Florida: status, trends, conservation, and prospects for recovery

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Margaret W.; Jaap, Walt C.; Chiappone, Mark; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Keller, Brian; Aronson, Richard B.; Shinn, Eugene A.; Bruckner, Andrew W.

    2003-01-01

    Despite representing the northern extent of Acropora spp. in the Caribbean, most of the Florida reef line from Palm Beach through the Keys was built by these species. Climatic factors appear to have bee important agents of Acropora loss within historic (century) time frames. In the recent past (1980-present), available quantitative evidence suggests dramatic declines occurred in A. cervicornis first (late 70's to 84) with collapse of A. palmata occuring later (1981-86). However, recent monitoring studies (1996-2001) show continued decline of remnant populations of A. palmata. Current trends in A. cervicornis in the Florida Keys are hard to assess given its exceedingly low abundance, except in Broward County, FL where recently discovered A. cervicornis thickets are thriving. While the State of Florida recognizes A. palmata and A. cervicornis as endangered species (Deyrup and Franz 1994), this designation carries no management implications. The current management plan of the FKNMS provides many strategies for coral conservation, among them minimizing the threat of vessel groundings and anchor damage, and prohibitions on collection, touching, and damage from fishery and recreational users. Although Acropopra spp. are not explicitly given any special consideration, they are implicitly by Santuary management. Restoration approaches undertaken in the Florida Keys include rescue of fragments damaged by groudings and experimental work to culture broadcast-spawned larvae to re-seed natural substrates. Neither of these efforts have yet realized full success.

  4. 50 CFR 226.216 - Critical habitat for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... of the Atlantic Ocean offshore of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, Florida, and... south side of Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach County at 26° 32′ 42.5″ N; then runs due east to the point of... of water deeper than 98 ft (30 m) are not included. (1) Florida Area: The Florida area contains...

  5. Predicting the distribution of Montastraea reefs using wave exposure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chollett, I.; Mumby, P. J.

    2012-06-01

    In the Caribbean region, forereef habitats dominated by Montastraea spp. have the highest biodiversity and support the largest number of ecosystem processes and services. Here we show that the distribution of this species-rich habitat can be explained by one environmental predictor: wave exposure. The relationship between wave exposure and the occurrence of Montastraea reefs was modelled using logistic regression for reefs throughout the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest and most topographically complex systems in the region. The model was able to predict correctly the occurrence of Montastraea reefs with an accuracy of 81%. Consistent with historical qualitative patterns, the distribution of Montastraea reefs is constrained in environments of high exposure. This pattern is likely to be driven by high rates of chronic sediment scour that constrain recruitment. The wide range of wave exposure conditions used to parameterize the model in Belize suggest that it should be transferable throughout much of the Caribbean region, constituting a fast and inexpensive alternative to traditional habitat mapping and complementing global efforts to map reef extent.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Libro, Silvia; Vollmer, Steven V.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are declining worldwide due to multiple factors including rising sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks. Over the last 30 years, White Band Disease (WBD) alone has killed up to 95% of the Caribbean`s dominant shallow-water corals—the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmata. Both corals are now listed on the US Endangered Species Act, and while their recovery has been slow, recent transmission surveys indicate that more than 5% of staghorn corals are disease resistant. Here we compared transcriptome-wide gene expression between resistant and susceptible staghorn corals exposed to WBD using in situ transmission assays. We identified constitutive gene expression differences underlying disease resistance that are independent from the immune response associated with disease exposure. Genes involved in RNA interference-mediated gene silencing, including Argonaute were up-regulated in resistant corals, whereas heat shock proteins (HSPs) were down-regulated. Up-regulation of Argonaute proteins indicates that post-transcriptional gene silencing plays a key, but previously unsuspected role in coral immunity and disease resistance. Constitutive expression of HSPs has been linked to thermal resilience in other Acropora corals, suggesting that the down-regulation of HSPs in disease resistant staghorn corals may confer a dual benefit of thermal resilience. PMID:26784329

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

    PubMed

    Libro, Silvia; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Deepwater broadcast spawning by Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea franksi, and Diploria strigosa at the Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vize, Peter D.

    2006-03-01

    Broadcast spawning by corals is a tightly synchronized process characterized by co-ordinated gamete release within 30 60 min time windows once per year. In shallow water corals, annual water temperature cycles set the month, lunar periodicity the day, and sunset time the hour of spawning. This tight temporal regulation is critical for achieving high fertilization rates in a pelagic environment. Given the differences in light and temperature that occur with depth and the importance of these parameters in regulating spawn timing, it has been unclear whether deeper coral can respond to the same environmental cues that regulate spawning behaviour in shallower coral. In this report, a remotely operated vehicle was used to monitor coral spawning activity at the Flower Garden Banks at depths from 33 to 45 m. Three species Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea franksi, and Diploria strigosa were documented spawning within this depth range. All recorded spawning events were within the same temporal windows as shallower conspecifics. These data indicate that deep corals at this location either sense the same environmental parameters, despite local attenuation, or communicate with shallower colonies that can sense such spawning cues.

  10. Diazotrophic diversity in the Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa.

    PubMed

    Olson, Nathan D; Lesser, Michael P

    2013-12-01

    Previous research on the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa reported the presence of cyanobacterial endosymbionts and nitrogen fixation in orange, but not brown, colonies. We compared the diversity of nifH gene sequences between these two color morphs at three locations in the Caribbean and found that the nifH sequences recovered from M. cavernosa were consistent with previous studies on corals where members of both the α-proteobacteria and cyanobacteria were recovered. A number of nifH operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly more abundant in the orange compared to the brown morphs, and one specific OTU (OTU 17), a cyanobacterial nifH sequence similar to others from corals and sponges and related to the cyanobacterial genus Cyanothece, was found in all orange morphs of M. cavernosa at all locations. The nifH diversity reported here, from a community perspective, was not significantly different between orange and brown morphs of M. cavernosa.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-07

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

  12. Effect of shading by the table coral Acropora Hyacinthus on understory corals. [Acropora; Pocillopora

    SciTech Connect

    Stimson, J.

    1985-02-01

    Field surveys at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, show that coral density and diversity is much lower beneath Acropora table corals than in adjacent unshaded areas. Additionally, the understory community is predominantly composed of massive and encrusting species, while branching Acropora and Pocillopora predominate in unshaded areas. Results of experiments in which coral fragments were transferred to the shade of table Acropora and to adjacent unshaded areas show that shading slows the growth and leads to higher mortality of branching species, while massive and encrusting species are unaffected. Light measurements made beneath table Acropora show that illumination and irradiance values fall to levels at which most hermatypic corals do not occur. The fast-growing but fragile table Acropora are abundant in a wide variety of atoll habitats and grow rapidly to form a canopy approx. = 50 cm above the substrate. However, table Acropora also have high mortality rates, so that there is continuous production of unshaded areas. The growth and death of tables thus create local disturbances, and the resulting patchwork of recently shaded and unshaded areas may enhance coral diversity in areas of high coral cover.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

  14. Reproducibility of geochemical and climatic signals in the Atlantic coral Montastraea faveolata

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, Joseph M.; Quinn, T.M.; Helmle, K.P.; Halley, R.B.

    2006-01-01

    Monthly resolved, 41-year-long stable isotopic and elemental ratio time series were generated from two separate heads of Montastraea faveolata from Looe Key, Florida, to assess the fidelity of using geochemical variations in Montastraea, the dominant reef-building coral of the Atlantic, to reconstruct sea surface environmental conditions at this site. The stable isotope time series of the two corals replicate well; mean values of ??18O and ??13C are indistinguishable between cores (compare 0.70??? versus 0.68??? for ??13C and -3.90??? versus - 3.94??? for ??18O). Mean values from the Sr/Ca time series differ by 0.037 mmol/mol, which is outside of analytical error and indicates that nonenvironmental factors are influencing the coral Sr/ Ca records at Looe Key. We have generated significant ?? 18O-sea surface temperature (SST) (R = -0.84) and Sr/ Ca-SST (R = -0.86) calibration equations at Looe Key; however, these equations are different from previously published equations for Montastraea. Variations in growth parameters or kinetic effects are not sufficient to explain either the observed differences in the mean offset between Sr/Ca time series or the disagreement between previous calibrations and our calculated ??18O-SST and Sr/Ca-SST relationships. Calibration differences are most likely due to variations in seawater chemistry in the continentally influenced waters at Looe Key. Additional geochemical replication studies of Montastraea are needed and should include multiple coral heads from open ocean localities complemented whenever possible by seawater chemistry determinations. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  15. 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.

  16. A new record of the late Pleistocene coral Pocillopora palmata from the Dry Tortugas, Florida reef tract, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Toth, Lauren T.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Cheng, Hai; Edwards, R. Lawrence

    2015-01-01

    Pocilloporid corals dominated shallow-water environments in the Caribbean during much of the Cenozoic; however, the regional diversity of this family declined over the last 15 My, culminating with the extinction of its final member, Pocillopora palmata, during the latest Pleistocene. Here we present a new record of P. palmata from Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys and infer its likely age. Although most existing records of P. palmata are from the sub-aerial reef deposits of MIS5e (∼ 125 ka), the presently submerged reef in the Dry Tortugas was too deep (> 18 m) during this period to support significant reef growth. In contrast, the maximum water depth during MIS5a (∼ 82 ka) was only ∼ 5.6 m, which would have been ideal for P. palmata. Diagenetic alteration prevented direct dating of the samples; however, the similarity between the depths of the Pleistocene bedrock in the Dry Tortugas and other reefs in the Florida Keys, which have been previously dated to MIS5a, support the conclusion that P. palmata likely grew in the Dry Tortugas during this period. Our study provides important new information on the history of P. palmata, but it also highlights the vital need for more comprehensive studies of the Quaternary history of Caribbean reef development. With modern reef degradation already driving yet another restructuring of Caribbean coral assemblages, insights from past extinctions may prove critical in determining the prognosis of Caribbean reefs in the future.

  17. Aposematic coloration does not deter corallivory by fish on the coral Montastraea cavernosa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarett, J. K.; Gochfeld, D. J.; Lesser, M. P.

    2016-09-01

    Predation on corals by visual predators is a significant source of partial or total mortality on coral reefs, and corals have evolved strategies, including chemical defenses, to deter predation. One mechanism that organisms use to communicate the presence of chemical defenses is aposematic coloration, or the display of bright coloration as a warning to visual predators such as fish. Corals exhibit multiple colors, and it has been hypothesized that one role for this variability in coloration is as an aposematic warning of adverse palatability. Here, we test green and orange color morphs of the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa for the presence of chemical defenses and whether their differences in coloration elicited different feeding responses. While M. cavernosa is chemically defended, there is no difference in feeding deterrence between color morphs; thus, the different color morphs of this coral species do not appear to represent an example of aposematic coloration.

  18. Efficient production of succinic acid from Palmaria palmata hydrolysate by metabolically engineered Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Olajuyin, Ayobami Matthew; Yang, Maohua; Liu, Yilan; Mu, Tingzhen; Tian, Jiangnan; Adaramoye, Oluwatosin Adekunle; Xing, Jianmin

    2016-08-01

    Succinic acid, a C4 dicarboxylic acid is used in many fields such as food, agriculture, pharmaceutical and polymer industries. In this study, microbial production of succinic acid from Palmaria palmata was investigated for the first time. In engineered Escherichia coli KLPPP, lactate dehydrogenase, pyruvate formate lyase, phosphotransacetylase-acetate kinase and pyruvate oxidase genes were deleted while phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase was overexpressed. The recombinant exhibited higher molar yield of succinic acid on galactose (1.20±0.02mol/mol) than glucose (0.48±0.03mol/mol). The concentration and molar yield of succinic acid were 22.40±0.12g/L and 1.13±0.02mol/mol total sugar respectively after 72h dual phase fermentation from P. palmata hydrolysate which composed of glucose (12.57±0.17g/L) and galactose (18.03±0.10g/L). The results demonstrate that P. palmata red macroalgae biomass represents a novel and an economically alternative feedstock for biochemicals production.

  19. Changes in the fluorescence of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata during heat-induced bleaching

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zawada, David G.; Jaffe, J.S.

    2003-01-01

    In order to evaluate the response of commonly occurring green and orange fluorescent host-based pigments, a thermal stress experiment was performed on specimens of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. Seven paired samples were collected from a small oceanic reef near Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Seven of the fourteen corals were subjected to elevated temperatures for 28 d, followed by a recovery period lasting 53 d. Throughout the experiment, high-resolution (~400 µm pixel-1) multispectral images of induced fluorescence were recorded at wavelengths corresponding to the green and orange host pigments, plus chlorophyll. These images revealed that the fluorescence of both host pigments was concentrated at polyp centers and declined by 70–90% in regions between polyps. Chlorophyll fluorescence, however, was distributed almost uniformly across the entire coral surface, but with decreases of 10–30% around polyp centers. A normalized difference ratio between the green and orange pigments (GO ratio) was developed to facilitate comparison with chlorophyll fluorescence as a bleaching indicator. Analysis showed a high correspondence between a sustained GO ratio of less than zero and the death of corals. Finally, this ratio was resistant to contamination from other sources of chlorophyll fluorescence, such as filamentous algae.

  20. Differential gene expression during thermal stress and bleaching in the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata.

    PubMed

    DeSalvo, M K; Voolstra, C R; Sunagawa, S; Schwarz, J A; Stillman, J H; Coffroth, M A; Szmant, A M; Medina, M

    2008-09-01

    The declining health of coral reefs worldwide is likely to intensify in response to continued anthropogenic disturbance from coastal development, pollution, and climate change. In response to these stresses, reef-building corals may exhibit bleaching, which marks the breakdown in symbiosis between coral and zooxanthellae. Mass coral bleaching due to elevated water temperature can devastate coral reefs on a large geographical scale. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of bleaching in corals, we have measured gene expression changes associated with thermal stress and bleaching using a complementary DNA microarray containing 1310 genes of the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. In a first experiment, we identified differentially expressed genes by comparing experimentally bleached M. faveolata fragments to control non-heat-stressed fragments. In a second experiment, we identified differentially expressed genes during a time course experiment with four time points across 9 days. Results suggest that thermal stress and bleaching in M. faveolata affect the following processes: oxidative stress, Ca(2+) homeostasis, cytoskeletal organization, cell death, calcification, metabolism, protein synthesis, heat shock protein activity, and transposon activity. These results represent the first medium-scale transcriptomic study focused on revealing the cellular foundation of thermal stress-induced coral bleaching. We postulate that oxidative stress in thermal-stressed corals causes a disruption of Ca(2+) homeostasis, which in turn leads to cytoskeletal and cell adhesion changes, decreased calcification, and the initiation of cell death via apoptosis and necrosis.

  1. Exposure to copper induces oxidative and stress responses and DNA damage in the coral Montastraea franksi.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, J A; Mitchelmore, C L; Jones, R; O'Dea, A; Seymour, S

    2013-04-01

    Copper is a common chemical contaminant in coastal environments, including coral reefs. Ecotoxicological studies have demonstrated that exposure to copper can cause stress and detrimental effects in both host cnidarian and algal symbionts. The objective of this study was to investigate the sublethal effects of copper on the reef-building coral Montastraea franksi, by identifying genes with altered expression in corals exposed to dissolved copper, and by measuring the extent of damage to DNA in response to copper exposure. Corals exposed to 30 μg L(-1) copper for 48 h experienced significant DNA damage and displayed changes in expression patterns of genes that are known to play role cellular and oxidative stress responses. Corals also experienced changes in gene expression of genes that are not already known to play roles in oxidative stress in corals. Our data suggest that these genes may either play roles directly in mediating a stress response, or may be genes acting downstream of the stress response. These include an ETS domain-containing transcription factor related to the ETS1 family of transcription factors, known in mammals to mediate development, disease, and stress response, and two genes that are associated with biomineralization: galaxin, a protein from the organic matrix of the coral skeleton, and a coral-specific gene SCRIP2.

  2. Hurricane-driven patterns of clonality in an ecosystem engineer: the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis.

    PubMed

    Foster, Nicola L; Baums, Iliana B; Sanchez, Juan A; Paris, Claire B; Chollett, Iliana; Agudelo, Claudia L; Vermeij, Mark J A; Mumby, Peter J

    2013-01-01

    K-selected species with low rates of sexual recruitment may utilise storage effects where low adult mortality allows a number of individuals to persist through time until a favourable recruitment period occurs. Alternative methods of recruitment may become increasingly important for such species if the availability of favourable conditions for sexual recruitment decline under rising anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Here, we test the hypotheses that asexual dispersal is an integral life history strategy not only in branching corals, as previously reported, but also in a columnar, 'K-selected' coral species, and that its prevalence is driven by the frequency of severe hurricane disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a long-lived major frame-work builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the consequences of climate induced disturbance, such as bleaching, ocean acidification and increased prevalence of disease. 700 M. annularis samples from 18 reefs within the Caribbean were genotyped using six polymorphic microsatellite loci. We demonstrate that asexual reproduction occurs at varying frequency across the species-range and significantly contributes to the local abundance of M. annularis, with its contribution increasing in areas with greater hurricane frequency. We tested several competing hypotheses that might explain the observed pattern of genotypic diversity. 64% of the variation in genotypic diversity among the sites was explained by hurricane incidence and reef slope, demonstrating that large-scale disturbances combine with local habitat characteristics to shape the balance between sexual and asexual reproduction in populations of M. annularis.

  3. Sexual vs. asexual reproduction in an ecosystem engineer: the massive coral Montastraea annularis.

    PubMed

    Foster, Nicola L; Baums, Iliana B; Mumby, Peter J

    2007-03-01

    1. Long-lived sedentary organisms with a massive morphology are often assumed to utilize a storage effect whereby the persistence of a small group of adults can maintain the population when sexual recruitment fails. However, employing storage effects could prove catastrophic if, under changing climatic conditions, the time period between favourable conditions becomes so prolonged that the population cannot be sustained solely be sexual recruitment. When a species has multiple reproductive options, a rapidly changing environment may favour alternative asexual means of propagation. 2. Here, we revisit the importance of asexual dispersal in a massive coral subject to severe climate-induced disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a major framework-builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the increasing cover of macroalgae that prevents settlement of coral larvae. 3. To estimate levels of asexual recruitment within populations of M. annularis, samples from three sites in Honduras were genotyped using four, polymorphic microsatellite loci. 4. A total of 114 unique genets were identified with 8% consisting of two or more colonies and an exceptionally large genet at the third site comprising 14 colonies. 5. At least 70% of multicolony genets observed were formed by physical breakage, consistent with storm damage. 6. Our results reveal that long-lived massive corals can propagate using asexual methods even though sexual strategies predominate.

  4. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Herlan, James J.

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Acropora digitifera Encodes the Largest Known Family of Fluorescent Proteins that Has Persisted during the Evolution of Acropora Species

    PubMed Central

    Takahashi-Kariyazono, Shiho; Gojobori, Jun; Satta, Yoko; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Terai, Yohey

    2016-01-01

    Fluorescent proteins (FPs) are well known and broadly used as bio-imaging markers in molecular biology research. Many FP genes were cloned from anthozoan species and it was suggested that multi-copies of these genes are present in their genomes. However, the full complement of FP genes in any single coral species remained unidentified. In this study, we analyzed the FP genes in two stony coral species. FP cDNA sequences from Acropora digitifera and Acropora tenuis revealed the presence of a multi-gene family with an unexpectedly large number of genes, separated into short-/middle-wavelength emission (S/MWE), middle-/long-wavelength emission (M/LWE), and chromoprotein (CP) clades. FP gene copy numbers in the genomes of four A. digitifera colonies were estimated as 16–22 in the S/MWE, 3–6 in the M/LWE, and 8–12 in the CP clades, and, in total, 35, 31, 33, and 33 FP gene copies per individual shown by quantitative PCR. To the best of our knowledge, these are the largest sets of FP genes per genome. The fluorescent light produced by recombinant protein products encoded by the newly isolated genes explained the fluorescent range of live A. digitifera, suggesting that the high copy multi-FP gene family generates coral fluorescence. The functionally diverse multi-FP gene family must have existed in the ancestor of Acropora species, as suggested by molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses. The persistence of a diverse function and high copy number multi-FP gene family may indicate the biological importance of diverse fluorescence emission and light absorption in Acropora species. PMID:27920057

  7. Genetic structure in the coral, Montastraea cavernosa: assessing genetic differentiation among and within Mesophotic reefs.

    PubMed

    Brazeau, Daniel A; Lesser, Michael P; Slattery, Marc

    2013-01-01

    Mesophotic coral reefs (30-150 m) have recently received increased attention as a potential source of larvae (e.g., the refugia hypothesis) to repopulate a select subset of the shallow water (<30 m) coral fauna. To test the refugia hypothesis we used highly polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) markers as a means to assess small-scale genetic heterogeneity between geographic locations and across depth clines in the Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa. Zooxanthellae-free DNA extracts of coral samples (N = 105) were analyzed from four depths, shallow (3-10 m), medium (15-25 m), deep (30-50 m) and very deep (60-90 m) from Little Cayman Island (LCI), Lee Stocking Island (LSI), Bahamas and San Salvador (SS), Bahamas which range in distance from 170 to 1,600 km apart. Using AMOVA analysis there were significant differences in ΦST values in pair wise comparisons between LCI and LSI. Among depths at LCI, there was significant genetic differentiation between shallow and medium versus deep and very deep depths in contrast there were no significant differences in ΦST values among depths at LSI. The assignment program AFLPOP, however, correctly assigned 95.7% of the LCI and LSI samples to the depths from which they were collected, differentiating among populations as little as 10 to 20 m in depth from one another. Discriminant function analysis of the data showed significant differentiation among samples when categorized by collection site as well as collection depth. FST outlier analyses identified 2 loci under positive selection and 3 under balancing selection at LCI. At LSI 2 loci were identified, both showing balancing selection. This data shows that adult populations of M. cavernosa separated by depths of tens of meters exhibits significant genetic structure, indicative of low population connectivity among and within sites and are not supplying successful recruits to adjacent coral reefs less than 30 m in depth.

  8. Calcification in bleached and unbleached Montastraea faveolata: evaluating the role of oxygen and glycerol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colombo-Pallotta, M. F.; Rodríguez-Román, A.; Iglesias-Prieto, R.

    2010-12-01

    All reef-building corals are symbiotic with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium, which influences many aspects of the host’s physiology including calcification. Coral calcification is a biologically controlled process performed by the host that takes place several membranes away from the site of photosynthesis performed by the symbiont. Although it is well established that light accelerates CaCO3 deposition in reef-building corals (commonly referred to as light-enhanced calcification), the complete physiological mechanism behind the process is not fully understood. To better comprehend the coral calcification process, a series of laboratory experiments were conducted in the major Caribbean reef-building species Montastraea faveolata, to evaluate the effect of glycerol addition and/or the super-saturation of oxygen in the seawater. These manipulations were performed in bleached and unbleached corals, to separate the effect of photosynthesis from calcification. The results suggest that under normal physiological conditions, a 42% increase in seawater oxygen concentration promotes a twofold increase in dark-calcification rates relative to controls. On the other hand, the results obtained using bleached corals suggest that glycerol is required, as a metabolic fuel, in addition to an oxygenic environment in a symbiosis that has been disrupted. Also, respiration rates in symbiotic corals that were pre-incubated in light conditions showed a kinetic limitation, whereas corals that were pre-incubated in darkness were oxygen limited, clearly emphasizing the role of oxygen in this regard. These findings indicate that calcification in symbiotic corals is not strictly a “light-enhanced” or “dark-repressed” process, but rather, the products of photosynthesis have a critical role in calcification, which should be viewed as a “photosynthesis-driven” process. The results presented here are discussed in the context of the current knowledge of the coral

  9. Bacterial diversity and White Plague Disease-associated community changes in the Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata.

    PubMed

    Sunagawa, Shinichi; DeSantis, Todd Z; Piceno, Yvette M; Brodie, Eoin L; DeSalvo, Michael K; Voolstra, Christian R; Weil, Ernesto; Andersen, Gary L; Medina, Mónica

    2009-05-01

    Increasing evidence confirms the crucial role bacteria and archaea play within the coral holobiont, that is, the coral host and its associated microbial community. The bacterial component constitutes a community of high diversity, which appears to change in structure in response to disease events. In this study, we highlight the limitation of 16S rRNA gene (16S rDNA) clone library sequencing as the sole method to comprehensively describe coral-associated communities. This limitation was addressed by combining a high-density 16S rRNA gene microarray with, clone library sequencing as a novel approach to study bacterial communities in healthy versus diseased corals. We determined an increase in diversity as well as a significant shift in community structure in Montastraea faveolata colonies displaying phenotypic signs of White Plague Disease type II (WPD-II). An accumulation of species that belong to families that include known coral pathogens (Alteromonadaceae, Vibrionaceae), bacteria previously isolated from diseased, stressed or injured marine invertebrates (for example, Rhodobacteraceae), and other species (for example, Campylobacteraceae) was observed. Some of these species were also present in healthy tissue samples, but the putative primary pathogen, Aurantimonas corallicida, was not detected in any sample by either method. Although an ecological succession of bacteria during disease progression after causation by a primary agent represents a possible explanation for our observations, we also discuss the possibility that a disease of yet to be determined etiology may have affected M. faveolata colonies and resulted in (or be a result of) an increase in opportunistic pathogens.

  10. Biological Responses of the Coral Montastraea annularis to the Removal of Filamentous Turf Algae

    PubMed Central

    Cetz-Navarro, Neidy P.; Espinoza-Avalos, Julio; Hernández-Arana, Héctor A.; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P.

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA) and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month) and long (10 month) periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT), zooxanthellae density (ZD), mitotic index (MI), and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a) in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony) consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA) were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm−2, and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm−2 and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA) in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected. PMID:23372774

  11. Optimization of hydrolysis conditions of Palmaria palmata to enhance R-phycoerythrin extraction.

    PubMed

    Dumay, Justine; Clément, Nathalie; Morançais, Michèle; Fleurence, Joël

    2013-03-01

    In this study, response surface methodology was applied to optimize R-phycoerythrin extraction from the red seaweed Palmaria palmata, using enzymatic digestion. Several algal treatments prior to digestion were first investigated. The extraction yield and the purity index of R-phycoerythrin, and the recovery of proteins and reducing sugars in the water-soluble fraction were then studied in relation to the hydrolysis time, the temperature and the enzyme/seaweed ratio. Enzymatic digestion appears to be an effective treatment for R-phycoerythrin extraction. Moreover, using the seaweed roughly cut in its wet form gives the most interesting results in terms of extract quality and economic cost. The R-phycoerythrin extraction yield is 62 times greater than without enzyme treatment and 16 times greater than without optimization. Enzymatic optimization enhanced the purity index up to 16 times.

  12. Changes in spawning time led to the speciation of the broadcast spawning corals Acropora digitifera and the cryptic species Acropora sp. 1 with similar gamete recognition systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohki, Shun; Kowalski, Radoslaw K.; Kitanobo, Seiya; Morita, Masaya

    2015-12-01

    Multi-species spawning is reported in the coral genus Acropora, but hybridization in nature rarely occurs because of the incompatibility of gametes and the timing of spawning. However, the evolutionary relationships between gamete compatibility and spawning time are obscure. Investigations of gamete compatibility in sister species that spawn at different times may provide clues to answering this question. Acropora sp. 1 has been defined as a cryptic species of Acropora digitifera, and they are morphologically similar, but spawn in different months, suggesting that they are either a cryptic species or a different species. We examined the morphology and conducted crossing experiments using cryopreserved sperm. The morphologies (branch length, branch width, and outer diameter of axial corallites) of A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 differed significantly. A phylogenetic tree of partial Pax- C nuclear sequences from A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 shows that they are monophyletic and closely related genetically, based on F ST values and P-distance. These results imply that these two species originated recently from a common ancestor. In addition, cryopreserved sperm from both A. digitifera and Acropora sp. 1 showed bidirectional inter-crossing (cryopreserved sperm of A. digitifera and eggs of Acropora sp. 1 from Sesoko: 32.1 ± 6.7 %, control-conspecific cryopreserved sperm and eggs: 46.1 ± 10.6 %; cryopreserved sperm of Acropora sp. 1 and eggs of A. digitifera from Oku: 63.3 ± 16.6 %, control: 83.6 ± 6.0 %). The results suggest that the gametes of these two species are compatible and that the pre-zygotic isolation mechanism is relaxed because their gametes do not interact. Overall, these two species should be classified as distinct species, and changes in spawning time are related to speciation in a similar gamete recognition system.

  13. Decontamination treatments to eliminate problem biota from macroalgal tank cultures of Osmundea pinnatifida, Palmaria palmata and Ulva lactuca.

    PubMed

    Kerrison, Philip D; Le, Hau Nhu; Twigg, Gail C; Smallman, Duncan R; MacPhee, Rory; Houston, Fiona A B; Hughes, Adam D

    2016-01-01

    The effect of a range of chemical disinfectants at different concentration and exposure times was investigated on five macroalgal species and the marine gastropod Littorina spp. Palmaria palmata, Osmundea pinnatifida and Ulva lactuca are commercially valuable and are often cultivated in tanks for food or feed. Ectocarpus siliculosus and Ulva intestinalis are common epiphytes of P. palmata and O. pinnatifida cultures, whilst Littorina spp. are common herbivorous epibionts within U. lactuca culture tanks. These contaminants reduce the productivity and quality of the culture as a food. Differential tolerance to the treatments was seen between the algal species using pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll a fluorescence, a few hours and a week following treatment. We identified treatments that selectively damaged the epiphyte but not the basiphyte species. Ectocarpus siliculosus had a significantly lower tolerance to 1 % sodium hypochlorite than P. palmata, and to 25 % methanol than O. pinnatifida, with a 1-5 min exposure appearing most suitable. Ulva intestinalis had a significantly lower tolerance than P. palmata and O. pinnatifida to many disinfectants: 0.1-1 % sodium hypochlorite for 10 min, 0.5 % potassium iodide for up to 10 min, and 0.25 % Kick-start (a commercial aquaculture disinfectant solution) for 1-5 min. No treatment was able to kill the gastropod snails without also damaging U. lactuca, although agitation in freshwater for an hr may cause them to detach from the basiphyte, with little to no photophysiological impact seen to U. lactuca. This experiment forms the basis for more extended commercial trials.

  14. Rarity and genetic diversity in Indo–Pacific Acropora corals

    PubMed Central

    Richards, Zoe T; Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2012-01-01

    Among various potential consequences of rarity is genetic erosion. Neutral genetic theory predicts that rare species will have lower genetic diversity than common species. To examine the association between genetic diversity and rarity, variation at eight DNA microsatellite markers was documented for 14 Acropora species that display different patterns of distribution and abundance in the Indo–Pacific Ocean. Our results show that the relationship between rarity and genetic diversity is not a positive linear association because, contrary to expectations, some rare species are genetically diverse and some populations of common species are genetically depleted. Our data suggest that inbreeding is the most likely mechanism of genetic depletion in both rare and common corals, and that hybridization is the most likely explanation for higher than expected levels of genetic diversity in rare species. A significant hypothesis generated from our study with direct conservation implications is that as a group, Acropora corals have lower genetic diversity at neutral microsatellite loci than may be expected from their taxonomic diversity, and this may suggest a heightened susceptibility to environmental change. This hypothesis requires validation based on genetic diversity estimates derived from a large portion of the genome. PMID:22957189

  15. High resistance of Acropora coral gametes facing copper exposure.

    PubMed

    Puisay, Antoine; Pilon, Rosanne; Hédouin, Laetitia

    2015-02-01

    Pollution by heavy metals remains today an important threat to the health of humans and ecosystems, but there is still a paucity of data on the response of early life stages of key organisms. In this context, the present work assessed the fertilization success rate of two Acropora species (A. cytherea and A. pulchra) from the French Polynesia reefs exposed to six increasing copper concentrations in seawater. The two species showed a relatively high tolerance to copper (4h30-EC50 was 69.4 ± 4.8 μg L(-1) and 75.4 ± 6.4 μg L(-1) for A. cytherea and A. pulchra, respectively). As Cu concentration increases, an increasing proportion of deformed embryos was recorded (67.6% and 58.5% for A. cytherea and A. pulchra, respectively, at 220 μg Cu L(-1)). These results demonstrated thus, that high levels of copper could negatively impair the normal fertilization process of coral gametes and therefore alter the renewal of coral populations. Since the two Acropora species investigated in this study displayed a high resistance to copper, these results should be considered in the context of multiple stressors associated with climate change, where rising temperature or ocean acidification may significantly exacerbate copper toxicity.

  16. Phytochemical and pharmacological study of Ficus palmata growing in Saudi Arabia

    PubMed Central

    Alqasoumi, Saleh Ibrahim; Basudan, Omer Ahmed; Al-Rehaily, Adnan Jathlan; Abdel-Kader, Maged Saad

    2013-01-01

    Phytochemical study of the aerial parts of Ficus palmata utilizing liquid–liquid fractionation and different chromatographic techniques resulted in the isolation of a new isomer of psoralenoside namely, trans-psoralenoside (5) in addition to, one triterpene: germanicol acetate (1), two furanocoumarins: psoralene (2), bergapten (3), one aromatic acid vanillic acid (4) and the flavone glycoside rutin (6). Structures of the isolated compounds were established through physical, 1D- and 2D-NMR and MS data. The total extract and fractions of the plant were examined in vivo for its possible effects as hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, antiulcer and anticoagulant activities in comparison with standard drugs. Hepatoprotective activity was assessed via serum biochemical parameters including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and total bilirubin. Tissue parameters such as non-protein sulfhydryl groups (NP-SH), malonaldehyde (MDA) and total protein (TP) were also measured. In addition to tissue parameters, nephroprotective effect was evaluated by measuring the serum levels of sodium, potassium, creatinine and urea. Histopathological study for both liver and kidney cells was also conducted. Antiulcer activity was explored by observing stomach lesions after treatment with ethanol. Whole blood clotting time (CT) was taken as a measure for the anticoagulant activity of the extract. Antioxidant activity of the total extract and fractions of the plant was measured using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method and ascorbic acid as standard. PMID:25473335

  17. Spatial and size-frequency distribution of Acropora (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) species in Chinchorro Bank, Mexican Caribbean: implications for management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vega-Zepeda, A.; Hernández-Arana, H.; Carricart-Ganivet, J. P.

    2007-09-01

    The Mexican Government decreed Chinchorro Bank reef as a Biosphere Reserve in 1996. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial and size-frequency distribution of Acropora spp. in order to provide further knowledge and tools to enhance management. A field survey was conducted, within six regions, to locate and measure Acropora patches in the reef lagoon. Density, colony size and living tissue cover of Acropora colonies were evaluated using the line-intercept transect technique, combining direct observations and video transects. The results showed that Acropora spp. was preferentially distributed in the southern regions; where cover and density were high. Based on these results and considering that Acropora spp. produces landscape heterogeneity, which in turn generates shelter for other species, including some of considerable economic importance, then at least the South East region should be considered as a key area for Acropora species conservation, and should be included in the Chinchorro Bank management plan.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Optimization of dynamic headspace extraction of the edible red algae Palmaria palmata and identification of the volatile components.

    PubMed

    Le Pape, Marie-Annick; Grua-Priol, Joëlle; Prost, Carole; Demaimay, Michel

    2004-02-11

    A new extraction method was applied to the volatile compounds of Palmaria palmata. Dynamic headspace was optimized according to an experimental design, and descriptive sensory analysis and intensity and similarity tests were performed for each extract to assess their respective representativeness. Results showed that extract obtained with crushed algae after a 30 min purge was the most representative. GC-MS analysis was then performed on this extract to identify the volatile components. Seven halogenated compounds, seven aldehydes, two ketones, three alcohols, and four miscellaneous compounds were identified. Among them, halogenated compounds were the most characteristic of red algae, and more particularly, iodoethane and iodopentane, which had yet been found in other seaweeds.

  20. Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme Inhibitory Peptides Derived from Phycobiliproteins of Dulse Palmaria palmata

    PubMed Central

    Furuta, Tomoe; Miyabe, Yoshikatsu; Yasui, Hajime; Kinoshita, Yasunori; Kishimura, Hideki

    2016-01-01

    We examined the inhibitory activity of angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) in protein hydrolysates from dulse, Palmaria palmata. The proteins extracted from dulse were mainly composed of phycoerythrin (PE) followed by phycocyanin (PC) and allophycocyanin (APC). The dulse proteins showed slight ACE inhibitory activity, whereas the inhibitory activity was extremely enhanced by thermolysin hydrolysis. The ACE inhibitory activity of hydrolysates was hardly affected by additional pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin treatments. Nine ACE inhibitory peptides (YRD, AGGEY, VYRT, VDHY, IKGHY, LKNPG, LDY, LRY, FEQDWAS) were isolated from the hydrolysates by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and it was demonstrated that the synthetic peptide LRY (IC50: 0.044 μmol) has remarkably high ACE inhibitory activity. Then, we investigated the structural properties of dulse phycobiliproteins to discuss the origin of dulse ACE inhibitory peptides. Each dulse phycobiliprotein possesses α-subunit (Mw: 17,477–17,638) and β-subunit (Mw: 17,455–18,407). The sequences of YRD, AGGEY, VYRT, VDHY, LKNPG and LDY were detected in the primary structure of PE α-subunit, and the LDY also exists in the APC α- and β-subunits. In addition, the LRY sequence was found in the β-subunits of PE, PC and APC. From these results, it was suggested that the dulse ACE inhibitory peptides were derived from phycobiliproteins, especially PE. To make sure the deduction, we carried out additional experiment by using recombinant PE. We expressed the recombinant α- and β-subunits of PE (rPEα and rPEβ, respectively), and then prepared their peptides by thermolysin hydrolysis. As a result, these peptides showed high ACE inhibitory activities (rPEα: 94.4%; rPEβ: 87.0%). Therefore, we concluded that the original proteins of dulse ACE inhibitory peptides were phycobiliproteins. PMID:26861357

  1. Characterization of Geographically Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Coral Mucus Produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp.

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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

  2. The Montastraea faveolata microbiome: ecological and temporal influences on a Caribbean reef-building coral in decline.

    PubMed

    Kimes, Nikole E; Johnson, Wesley R; Torralba, Manolito; Nelson, Karen E; Weil, Ernesto; Morris, Pamela J

    2013-07-01

    Coral-associated microbial communities, including protists, bacteria, archaea and viruses, are important components of the coral holobiont that influence the health of corals and coral reef ecosystems. Evidence suggests that the composition of these microbial communities is affected by numerous parameters; however, little is known about the confluence of these ecological and temporal effects. In this study, we used ribosomal RNA gene sequencing to identify the zooxanthellae, bacteria and archaea associated with healthy and yellow band diseased (YBD) colonies in the Media Luna reef of La Parguera, Puerto Rico, in order to examine the influence of YBD on the Montastraea faveolata microbiome. In addition, we evaluated the influence of season on the differences between healthy and YBD M. faveolata microbiomes by sampling from the same tagged colonies in both March and September of 2007. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first coral microbiome study to examine sequences from the zooxanthellar, bacterial and archaeal communities simultaneously from individual coral samples. Our results confirm differences in the M. faveolata zooxanthellar, bacterial and archaeal communities between healthy and YBD colonies in March; however, the September communities do not exhibit the same differences. Moreover, we provide evidence that the differences in the M. faveolata microbiomes between March and September are more significant than those observed between healthy and YBD. This data suggest that the entire coral microbiome, not just the bacterial community, is a dynamic environment where both disease and season play important roles.

  3. on the growth and photochemical efficiency of Acropora cervicornis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enochs, I. C.; Manzello, D. P.; Carlton, R.; Schopmeyer, S.; van Hooidonk, R.; Lirman, D.

    2014-06-01

    The effects of light and elevated pCO2 on the growth and photochemical efficiency of the critically endangered staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, were examined experimentally. Corals were subjected to high and low treatments of CO2 and light in a fully crossed design and monitored using 3D scanning and buoyant weight methodologies. Calcification rates, linear extension, as well as colony surface area and volume of A. cervicornis were highly dependent on light intensity. At pCO2 levels projected to occur by the end of the century from ocean acidification (OA), A. cervicornis exhibited depressed calcification, but no change in linear extension. Photochemical efficiency ( F v / F m ) was higher at low light, but unaffected by CO2. Amelioration of OA-depressed calcification under high-light treatments was not observed, and we suggest that the high-light intensity necessary to reach saturation of photosynthesis and calcification in A. cervicornis may limit the effectiveness of this potentially protective mechanism in this species. High CO2 causes depressed skeletal density, but not linear extension, illustrating that the measurement of extension by itself is inadequate to detect CO2 impacts. The skeletal integrity of A. cervicornis will be impaired by OA, which may further reduce the resilience of the already diminished populations of this endangered species.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  5. Structure and palaeoenvironmental implications of inter-branch coenosteum-rich skeleton in corymbose Acropora species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

    Coral reefs provide an increasingly important archive of palaeoclimate data that can be used to constrain climate model simulations. Reconstructing past environmental conditions may also provide insights into the potential of reef systems to survive changes in the Earth's climate. Reef-based palaeoclimate reconstructions are predominately derived from colonies of massive Porites, with the most abundant genus in the Indo-Pacific— Acropora—receiving little attention owing to their branching growth trajectories, high extension rates and secondary skeletal thickening. However, inter-branch skeleton (consisting of both coenosteum and corallites) near the bases of corymbose Acropora colonies holds significant potential as a climate archive. This region of Acropora skeleton is atypical, having simple growth trajectories with parallel corallites, approximately horizontal density banding, low apparent extension rates and a simple microstructure with limited secondary thickening. Hence, inter-branch skeleton in Acropora bears more similarities to the coralla of massive corals, such as Porites, than to traditional Acropora branches. Cyclic patterns of Sr/Ca ratios in this structure suggest that the observed density banding is annual in nature, thus opening up the potential to use abundant corymbose Acropora for palaeoclimate reconstruction.

  6. Molecular phylogenetics of geographically restricted Acropora species: implications for threatened species conservation.

    PubMed

    Richards, Z T; Miller, D J; Wallace, C C

    2013-12-01

    To better understand the underlying causes of rarity and extinction risk in Acropora (staghorn coral), we contrast the minimum divergence ages and nucleotide diversity of an array of species with different range sizes and levels of threat. Time-calibrated Bayesian analyses based upon concatenated nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data implied contemporary range size and vulnerability are linked to species age. However, contrary to previous hypotheses that suggest geographically restricted Acropora species evolved in the Plio-Pleistocene, the molecular phylogeny depicts some Indo-Australian species have greater antiquity, diverging in the Miocene. Species age is not related to range size as a simple positive linear function and interpreting the precise tempo of evolution in this genus is greatly complicated by morphological homoplasy and a sparse fossil record. Our phylogenetic reconstructions provide new examples of how morphology conceals cryptic evolutionary relationships in this keystone genus, and offers limited support for the species groupings currently used in Acropora systematics. We hypothesize that in addition to age, other mechanisms (such as a reticulate ancestry) delimit the contemporary range of some Acropora species, as evidenced by the complex patterns of allele sharing and paraphyly we uncover. Overall, both new and ancient evolutionary information may be lost if geographically restricted and threatened Acropora species are forced to extinction. In order to protect coral biodiversity and resolve the evolutionary history of staghorn coral, further analyses based on comprehensive and heterogeneous morphological and molecular data utilizing reticulate models of evolution are needed.

  7. In Vitro Screening for β-Hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitory and Antioxidant Activity of Sequentially Extracted Fractions of Ficus palmata Forsk

    PubMed Central

    Iqbal, Danish; Khan, M. Salman; Khan, Amir; Khan, Mohd. Sajid; Srivastava, Ashwani K.; Bagga, Paramdeep

    2014-01-01

    Hypercholesterolemia-induced oxidative stress has been strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, which is one of the major causes of mortality worldwide. The current work, for the first time, accounts the antioxidant, genoprotective, antilipoperoxidative, and HMG-CoA reductase (EC 1.1.1.34) inhibitory properties of traditional medicinal plant, Ficus palmata Forsk. Our result showed that among sequentially extracted fractions of Ficus palmata Forsk, FPBA (F. palmata bark aqueous extract) and FPLM (F. palmata leaves methanolic extract) extracts have higher phenolic content and also exhibited significantly more radical scavenging (DPPH and Superoxide) and antioxidant (FRAP) capacity. Moreover, FPBA extract also exhibited significantly higher inhibition of lipid peroxidation assay. Additionally, results showed almost complete and partial protection of oxidatively damaged DNA by these plant extracts when compared to mannitol. Furthermore, our results showed that FPBA extract (IC50 = 9.1 ± 0.61 µg/mL) exhibited noteworthy inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase activity as compared to other extracts, which might suggest its role as cardioprotective agent. In conclusion, results showed that FPBA extract not only possess significant antioxidant and genoprotective property but also is able to attenuate the enzymatic activity of HMG-CoA reductase, which might suggest its role in combating various oxidative stress-related diseases, including atherosclerosis. PMID:24883325

  8. Sr/Ca proxy sea-surface temperature reconstructions from modern and holocene Montastraea faveolata specimens from the Dry Tortugas National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flannery, Jennifer A.; Poore, Richard Z.

    2013-01-01

    Sr/Ca ratios from skeletal samples from two Montastraea faveolata corals (one modern, one Holocene, ~6 Ka) from the Dry Tortugas National Park were measured as a proxy for sea-surface temperature (SST). We sampled coral specimens with a computer-driven triaxial micromilling machine, which yielded an average of 15 homogenous samples per annual growth increment. We regressed Sr/Ca values from resulting powdered samples against a local SST record to obtain a calibration equation of Sr/Ca = -0.0392 SST + 10.205, R = -0.97. The resulting calibration was used to generate a 47-year modern (1961-2008) and a 7-year Holocene (~6 Ka) Sr/Ca subannually resolved proxy record of SST. The modern M. faveolata yields well-defined annual Sr/Ca cycles ranging in amplitude from ~0.3 and 0.5 mmol/mol. The amplitude of ~0.3 to 0.5 mmol/mol equates to a 10-15°C seasonal SST amplitude, which is consistent with available local instrumental records. Summer maxima proxy SSTs calculated from the modern coral Sr/ Ca tend to be fairly stable: most SST maxima from 1961–2008 are 29°C ± 1°C. In contrast, winter minimum SST calculated in the 47-year modern time-series are highly variable, with a cool interval in the early to mid-1970s. The Holocene (~6 Ka) Montastraea faveolata coral also yields distinct annual Sr/Ca cycles with amplitudes ranging from ~0.3 to 0.6 mmol/mol. Absolute Sr/Ca values and thus resulting SST estimates over the ~7-year long record are similar to those from the modern coral. We conclude that Sr/Ca from Montastraea faveolata has high potential for developing subannually resolved Holocene SST records.

  9. Geographic differences in vertical connectivity in the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa despite high levels of horizontal connectivity at shallow depths.

    PubMed

    Serrano, X; Baums, I B; O'Reilly, K; Smith, T B; Jones, R J; Shearer, T L; Nunes, F L D; Baker, A C

    2014-09-01

    The deep reef refugia hypothesis proposes that deep reefs can act as local recruitment sources for shallow reefs following disturbance. To test this hypothesis, nine polymorphic DNA microsatellite loci were developed and used to assess vertical connectivity in 583 coral colonies of the Caribbean depth-generalist coral Montastraea cavernosa. Samples were collected from three depth zones (≤10, 15-20 and ≥25 m) at sites in Florida (within the Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Dry Tortugas), Bermuda, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Migration rates were estimated to determine the probability of coral larval migration from shallow to deep and from deep to shallow. Finally, algal symbiont (Symbiodinium spp.) diversity and distribution were assessed in a subset of corals to test whether symbiont depth zonation might indicate limited vertical connectivity. Overall, analyses revealed significant genetic differentiation by depth in Florida, but not in Bermuda or the U.S. Virgin Islands, despite high levels of horizontal connectivity between these geographic locations at shallow depths. Within Florida, greater vertical connectivity was observed in the Dry Tortugas compared to the Lower or Upper Keys. However, at all sites, and regardless of the extent of vertical connectivity, migration occurred asymmetrically, with greater likelihood of migration from shallow to intermediate/deep habitats. Finally, most colonies hosted a single Symbiodinium type (C3), ruling out symbiont depth zonation of the dominant symbiont type as a structuring factor. Together, these findings suggest that the potential for shallow reefs to recover from deep-water refugia in M. cavernosa is location-specific, varying among and within geographic locations likely as a consequence of local hydrology.

  10. Decade-Scale Trend in Sea Water Salinity Revealed through d18O Analysis of Montastraea Annularis Annual Growth Bands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Halley, Robert B.; Swart, Peter K.; Dodge, Richard E.; Hudson, J. Harold

    1994-01-01

    Stable oxygen isotope ratios (18O) of coral skeletons are influenced by ambient water temperature and by the oxygen isotope ratio in the surrounding sea water, which, in turn, is linked to evaporation (salinity) and precipitation. To investigate this relationship more thoroughly, we collected hourly temperature data from the Hen and Chickens Reef in the Florida Keys between 1975 and 1988 and compared them to the 18O of Montastraea annularis skeleton that grew during the same interval. To ensure that we obtained the correct oxygen isotopic range in the skeleton we typically sampled the coral at a resolution of 20-30 samples in 1 year; in 1 year we sampled the coral at a resolution of 70 samples x year-1. Despite our high-resolution sampling, we were unable to obtain the full temperature-induced 18O range in the skeleton. Our data suggest that, during the summer, evaporation causes isotopic enrichment in the water, partially masking the temperature-induced signal. Our data also show that oxygen isotopic composition of seawater at the reef has increased since 1981. This increase indicates that salinity has increased slightly during the past decade, perhaps as a result of increased evaporation in waters of Florida Bay and the Keys. This phenomenon is probably not caused by a decrease in the outflow of freshwater into Florida Bay from the Everglades but may be related to the measured deficit in precipitation that has occurred over the past decade.

  11. Yellow band disease compromises the reproductive output of the Caribbean reef-building coral Montastraea faveolata (Anthozoa, Scleractinia).

    PubMed

    Weil, Ernesto; Cróquer, Aldo; Urreiztieta, Isabel

    2009-11-16

    Sexual reproduction is critical to coral population dynamics and the long-term regeneration of coral reefs. Bleaching, disease, and/or anthropogenic-induced tissue/colony loss reduce reproductive output. This is the first attempt to explore the effect of a biotic disease on the reproduction of scleractinian corals. The study aimed to assess the effect of yellow band disease (YBD) on the reproduction of the important Caribbean reef-builder Montastraea faveolata. Tissue samples were collected from diseased, transition, and healthy-looking areas in each of 5 infected colonies and from 5 healthy controls in southwest Puerto Rico. The effect of disease-induced mortality was assessed by collecting samples from the edge and center of surviving small and large, healthy-looking tissue patches from large, previously infected tagged colonies. Fecundity was significantly lower in disease lesions compared to transition and healthy-looking tissues and the controls (99% fewer eggs). Fecundity in transition areas was significantly lower (50%) than in healthy-looking tissues in diseased colonies, which had 23% lower fecundity than control tissues. Although this fecundity drop was not statistically significant, it could indicate a systemic effect of YBD across the colony. Large and small patches had 64 and 84% fewer eggs than controls, respectively, and edge polyps had 97% fewer eggs than those in central control areas. Field observations of the spawning behavior of each tissue area corroborated the histological results. Our results indicate that YBD significantly compromises the reproductive output of M. faveolata, potentially reducing the fitness and consequently, the recovery of this important reef-building species on Caribbean coral reefs.

  12. Effects of titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) nanoparticles on caribbean reef-building coral (Montastraea faveolata).

    PubMed

    Jovanović, Boris; Guzmán, Héctor M

    2014-06-01

    Increased use of manufactured titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2 ) is causing a rise in their concentration in the aquatic environment, including coral reef ecosystems. Caribbean mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata) has frequently been used as a model species to study gene expression during stress and bleaching events. Specimens of M. faveolata were collected in Panama and exposed for 17 d to nano-TiO2 suspensions (0.1 mg L(-1) and 10 mg L(-1) ). Exposure to nano-TiO2 caused significant zooxanthellae expulsion in all the colonies, without mortality. Induction of the gene for heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) was observed during an early stage of exposure (day 2), indicating acute stress. However, there was no statistical difference in HSP70 expression on day 7 or 17, indicating possible coral acclimation and recovery from stress. No other genes were significantly upregulated. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis revealed that nano-TiO2 was predominantly trapped and stored within the posterior layer of the coral fragment (burrowing sponges, bacterial and fungal mats). The bioconcentration factor in the posterior layer was close to 600 after exposure to 10 mg L(-1) of nano-TiO2 for 17 d. The transient increase in HSP70, expulsion of zooxanthellae, and bioaccumulation of nano-TiO2 in the microflora of the coral colony indicate the potential of such exposure to induce stress and possibly contribute to an overall decrease in coral populations.

  13. Temporal Variations in Metabolic and Autotrophic Indices for Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera – Implications for Monitoring Projects

    PubMed Central

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    Coral health indices are important components of the management assessments of coral reefs, providing insight into local variation in reef condition, as well as tools for comparisons between reefs and across various time scales. Understanding how such health indices vary in space and time is critical to their successful implementation as management tools. Here we compare autotrophic and heterotrophic coral health indices, examining specifically the temporal variation driven by the local environmental variation, at three scales (diel, daily and seasonal). We compared metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio, protein concentration) and autotrophic indices (Chlorophyll a (Chl a), zooxanthellae density, effective quantum yield (yield) and relative electron transport rate (rETR)) for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in August 2010 (austral winter) and February 2011 (austral summer). Clear seasonal patterns were documented for metabolic indices, zooxanthellae density and rETR, while cyclic diel patterns only occurred for yield and rETR, and RNA/DNA ratio. Significant daily variation was observed for RNA/DNA ratio, Chl a concentration, yield and rETR. Results suggest that zooxanthellae density and protein concentrations are good long-term indicators of coral health whose variance is largely seasonal, while RNA/DNA ratio and rETR can be used for both long-term (seasonal) and short-term (diel) coral monitoring. Chl a can be used to describe changes between days and yield for both diel and daily variations. Correlations between health indices and light history showed that short-term changes in irradiance had the strongest impact on all health indices except zooxanthellae density for A. digitifera; for A. spicifera no correlation was observed at all. However, cumulative irradiance over the several days before sampling showed significant correlations with most health indices suggesting that a time-lag effect has

  14. CHANGES IN NUTRIENT CONTENT OF PALMARIA PALMATA IN RESPONSE TO VARIABLE LIGHT AND UPWELLING IN NORTHERN SPAIN(1).

    PubMed

    Martínez, Brezo; Rico, Jose M

    2008-02-01

    Light has been identified as one of the main factors affecting seaweed ecophysiology. We investigated the dependence of nutrient metabolism on sun and shade light conditions and whether episodes of upwelling of nutrient-rich subsuperficial water could reduce the summer nutrient limitation driving physiological changes in Palmaria palmata (L.) Kuntze. We measured the major nutrient pools, photosynthetic pigments, and light curves, under sun and shade conditions during a summer period when one upwelling was recorded. The redundancy analysis (RDA) produced two clear groups: sun- and shade-acclimated algae. Light was the major predictive factor. Sun-acclimated algae exhibited higher carbon (C) and lower nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) content in association with the storage of floridoside (main C reserve) to benefit from higher irradiance (under nutrient limitation). Among N pools, N reserves (phycoerythrin, nitrate) were a lower proportion of the total N in sun-acclimated algae, suggesting their degradation to fulfill the N demands of the cell. The orthophosphate content was also lower in sun-acclimated algae, indicating its utilization as a nutrient reserve. In contrast, N within cell walls and membranes and chl a contributed to a similar proportion of the total N in sun- and shade-acclimated algae, suggesting a response to sustain cell integrity. Transient high nutrient concentration due to the upwelling was unrelated to the nutrient content of the thallus. The storage of C as floridoside from high light exposure was shown to be the driving force for the metabolic adjustment of P. palmata at the end of summer before the onset of dormancy.

  15. Calibration and Assessment of the New Acropora 'Inter-Branch Skeleton' Palaeothermometer.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadler, J.; Webb, G. E.; Zhao, J. X.; Nothdurft, L. D.

    2014-12-01

    Coral reefs provide an increasingly important archive of palaeoclimate data that can be used to constrain climate model simulations. Reconstructing past environments may also provide insights into the potential of reef systems to survive changes in the Earth's climate. Geochemically based climate reconstructions are predominately acquired from massive Porites colonies, yet there remain significant spatial and temporal gaps in our understanding of climate evolution where no suitable coralla have been recovered. Branching corals are commonly the dominant species in modern reef facies and their abundance suggests an untapped source for this missing information. The potential of 'inter-branch skeleton' in corymbose Acropora to act as a new palaeoclimate archive is significant. Scanning Electron Microscopy of inter-branch skeleton in Acropora from Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef, reveals a lack of secondary thickening deposits that typically characterize Acropora branches and renders them unsuitable for geochemical archives. Annual density banding, similar to that used for chronological determination of geochemical sampling in massive corals, is also observed within Acropora inter-branch skeleton. Clear seasonal signals in Sr/Ca within the skeletal structure will be correlated against the network of in situ temperature recorders in Heron lagoon and on the southern reef slope to provide a new palaeotemperature transfer equation.

  16. Simulation and observations of annual density banding in skeletons of Montastraea (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) growing under thermal stress associated with ocean warming

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Worum, F.P.; Carricart-Ganivet, J. P.; Benson, L.; Golicher, D.

    2007-01-01

    We present a model of annual density banding in skeletons of Montastraea coral species growing under thermal stress associated with an ocean-warming scenario. The model predicts that at sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) <29??C, high-density bands (HDBs) are formed during the warmest months of the year. As temperature rises and oscillates around the optimal calcification temperature, an annual doublet in the HDB (dHDB) occurs that consists of two narrow HDBs. The presence of such dHDBs in skeletons of Montastraea species is a clear indication of thermal stress. When all monthly SSTs exceed the optimal calcification temperature, HDBs form during the coldest, not the warmest, months of the year. In addition, a decline in mean-annual calcification rate also occurs during this period of elevated SST. A comparison of our model results with annual density patterns observed in skeletons of M. faveolata and M. franksi, collected from several localities in the Mexican Caribbean, indicates that elevated SSTs are already resulting in the presence of dHDBs as a first sign of thermal stress, which occurs even without coral bleaching. ?? 2007, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.

  17. Evidence of Last Interglacial sea-level oscillations and recent tectonism in the Late Pleistocene Falmouth Formation of Jamaica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skrivanek, A.; Dutton, A.; Stemann, T.

    2015-12-01

    The timing and rates of sea-level change during Marine Isotope Stage 5e (MIS 5e) are poorly constrained. Across the Caribbean, many MIS 5e reefs are exposed above modern sea level, and have been studied extensively to understand sea level and ice sheet dynamics during an interglacial climate. This study investigates potential evidence for sub-orbital sea-level oscillations in the limestone Falmouth Formation from the northern and southwestern coastlines of Jamaica, a tectonically active island on the northern boundary of the Caribbean Plate. Vertical exposures of MIS 5e reefs contain multiple facies transitions that are sometimes associated with sharp unconformities. Outcrops at East Rio Bueno contain a distinct change in coral taxonomy from an assemblage of in situ Montastraea spp., Siderastrea and Diploria sp. encrusted by coralline algae, next to a repeated succession of Porites furcata, Acropora cervicornis, coralline algae and Porites astreoides, to in situ P. furcata. This is overlain by a fining-upwards sequence of coral rubble, a laterally persistent layer of small in situ Siderastrea and a ~1-m thick caprock. Near Oracabessa, a unit dominated by Acropora palmata clearly transitions into in situ Montastraea spp., Siderastrea, Colpophyllia natans, and Diploria sp. overlain by A. cervicornis. An abrupt vertical displacement of the sequence, indicating faulting, was observed at Oracabessa. Along the south coast, transitions in coral assemblages were also noted upsection. Common facies observed include in situ A. palmata and/or rubble, with a trend of reduction in algal encrustation upsection, capped by head corals and a regressive beach unit. The structure and composition of reefs preserved in the Falmouth Formation provide detailed information about sea-level behavior during MIS 5e, that will be used to test the hypothesis that sub-orbital sea-level oscillations occurred during the MIS 5e highstand. Evidence of tectonic activity along portions of the northern

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-03-01

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

  20. A genomic approach to coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis: studies of Acropora digitifera and Symbiodinium minutum

    PubMed Central

    Shinzato, Chuya; Mungpakdee, Sutada; Satoh, Nori; Shoguchi, Eiichi

    2014-01-01

    Far more intimate knowledge of scleractinian coral biology is essential in order to understand how diverse coral-symbiont endosymbioses have been established. In particular, molecular and cellular mechanisms enabling the establishment and maintenance of obligate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates require further clarification. By extension, such understanding may also shed light upon environmental conditions that promote the collapse of this mutualism. Genomic data undergird studies of all symbiotic processes. Here we review recent genomic data derived from the scleractinian coral, Acropora digitifera, and the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium minutum. We discuss Acropora genes involved in calcification, embryonic development, innate immunity, apoptosis, autophagy, UV resistance, fluorescence, photoreceptors, circadian clocks, etc. We also detail gene loss in amino acid metabolism that may explain at least part of the Acropora stress-response. Characteristic features of the Symbiodinium genome are also reviewed, focusing on the expansion of certain gene families, the molecular basis for permanently condensed chromatin, unique spliceosomal splicing, and unusual gene arrangement. Salient features of the Symbiodinium plastid and mitochondrial genomes are also illuminated. Although many questions regarding these interdependent genomes remain, we summarize information necessary for future studies of coral-dinoflagellate endosymbiosis. PMID:25071748

  1. Distribution and morphology of growth anomaliesin Acropora from the Indo-Pacific

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, T.M.; Aeby, G.S.; Coles, S.L.

    2008-01-01

    We assessed the distribution and prevalence of growth anomalies (GAs) in Acropora from French Frigate Shoals (Hawaii, USA), Johnston Atoll and Tutuila (American Samoa), developed a nomenclature for gross morphology, characterized GAs at the cellular level and obtained preliminary indices of their spatial patterns and progression within coral colonies. Acropora GAs were found in all 3 regions, but the distribution, variety and prevalence of Acropora GAs was highest in American Samoa. GAs were grouped into 7 gross morphologies (exophytic, bosselated, crateriform, nodular, vermiform, fimbriate or annular). On histology, GAs consisted of hyperplastic basal body wall (calicodermis, mesoglea and gastrodermis apposed to skeleton) with 3 distinct patterns of necrosis. There was no evidence of anaplasia or mitotic figures (common but not necessarily required morphologic indicators of neoplasia). Compared to normal tissues, GAs had significantly fewer polyps, zooxanthellae within the gastrodermis of the coenenchyme, mesenterial filaments and gonads but significantly more necrosis. On 2 colonies with GAs monitored at 2 points over 11 mo, numbers of GAs per colony increased from 0.9 to 3 times the original number seen, and significant clustering of GAs occurred within colonies. The evidence of GAs being true neoplasias (tumors) is mixed, so a cautionary approach is urged in use of morphologic terminology.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prasetia, Rian; Sinniger, Frederic; Harii, Saki

    2016-03-01

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

  3. Palmaria palmata (Dulse) as an unusual maritime aetiology of hyperkalemia in a patient with chronic renal failure: a case report

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Introduction Hyperkalemia is rare in individuals with normal renal function, regardless of dietary intake. This is due to the ability of the kidneys to adapt to increasing serum potassium concentrations. In patients with renal compromise, potassium homeostasis can become impaired. Palmaria palmata (dulse) is an edible seaweed known to be very rich in potassium. We report a case of hyperkalemia precipitated by the consumption of dulse by a patient with known renal disease. Case Presentation A 66-year-old Caucasian woman with diabetes and chronic renal disease presented to our emergency department with nausea, vomiting, and worsening malaise, which had been present for less than a day. She had undergone electrocardiogram monitoring, which showed bradycardia, and periods of asystole. Our patient denied any other symptoms. Laboratory analysis revealed a serum potassium level of 8.6 mmol/L (normal range 3.5 to 4.9 mmol/L). Although our patient was taking some medications known to influence renal function, the only recent change that she could recount was that she had consumed approximately 200 g of dulse within the preceding 24 hours. A diagnosis of hyperkalemia was made, and the patient was treated successfully, and discharged home in her pre-morbid state. Conclusion To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published report of hyperkalemia due to dulse consumption. Dulse is high in potassium, with concentrations upwards of 34 times greater than that found in bananas. Caution should be taken in prescribing medications with potential adverse renal effects for patients with known renal impairment. In such instances, renal function should be monitored closely. Patients should be counseled to avoid dietary sources high in potassium, with particular attention paid to unusual geographical dietary variations. PMID:20825630

  4. Investigating the spatial distribution and effects of nearshore topography on Acropora cervicornis abundance in Southeast Florida.

    PubMed

    D'Antonio, Nicole L; Gilliam, David S; Walker, Brian K

    2016-01-01

    Dense Acropora cervicornis aggregations, or patches, have been documented within nearshore habitats in Southeast Florida (SE FL) despite close proximity to numerous anthropogenic stressors and subjection to frequent natural disturbance events. Limited information has been published concerning the distribution and abundance of A. cervicornis outside of these known dense patches. The first goal of this study was to conduct a spatially extensive and inclusive survey (9.78 km(2)) to determine whether A. cervicornis distribution in the nearshore habitat of SE FL was spatially uniform or clustered. The second goal was to investigate potential relationships between broad-scale seafloor topography and A. cervicornis abundance using high resolution bathymetric data. Acropora cervicornis was distributed throughout the study area, and the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic and Anselin Local Moran's I spatial cluster analysis showed significant clustering along topographic features termed ridge crests. Significant clustering was further supported by the inverse distance weighted surface model. Ordinal logistic regression indicated 1) as distance from a ridge increases, odds of reduced A. cervicornis abundance increases; 2) as topographic elevation increases, odds of increased abundance increases; and 3) as mean depth increases, odds of increased abundance increases. This study provides detailed information on A. cervicornis distribution and abundance at a regional scale and supports modeling its distributions in similar habitats elsewhere throughout the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Acropora cervicornis is frequently observed and in areas an abundant species within the nearshore habitat along the SE FL portion of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT). This study provides a better understanding of local habitat associations thus facilitating appropriate management of the nearshore environment and species conservation. The portion of the FRT between Hillsboro and Port Everglades inlets should be

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-24

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

  6. Investigating the spatial distribution and effects of nearshore topography on Acropora cervicornis abundance in Southeast Florida

    PubMed Central

    Gilliam, David S.; Walker, Brian K.

    2016-01-01

    Dense Acropora cervicornis aggregations, or patches, have been documented within nearshore habitats in Southeast Florida (SE FL) despite close proximity to numerous anthropogenic stressors and subjection to frequent natural disturbance events. Limited information has been published concerning the distribution and abundance of A. cervicornis outside of these known dense patches. The first goal of this study was to conduct a spatially extensive and inclusive survey (9.78 km2) to determine whether A. cervicornis distribution in the nearshore habitat of SE FL was spatially uniform or clustered. The second goal was to investigate potential relationships between broad-scale seafloor topography and A. cervicornis abundance using high resolution bathymetric data. Acropora cervicornis was distributed throughout the study area, and the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic and Anselin Local Moran’s I spatial cluster analysis showed significant clustering along topographic features termed ridge crests. Significant clustering was further supported by the inverse distance weighted surface model. Ordinal logistic regression indicated 1) as distance from a ridge increases, odds of reduced A. cervicornis abundance increases; 2) as topographic elevation increases, odds of increased abundance increases; and 3) as mean depth increases, odds of increased abundance increases. This study provides detailed information on A. cervicornis distribution and abundance at a regional scale and supports modeling its distributions in similar habitats elsewhere throughout the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Acropora cervicornis is frequently observed and in areas an abundant species within the nearshore habitat along the SE FL portion of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT). This study provides a better understanding of local habitat associations thus facilitating appropriate management of the nearshore environment and species conservation. The portion of the FRT between Hillsboro and Port Everglades inlets should be

  7. Bacterial communities associated with healthy and Acropora white syndrome-affected corals from American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, Bryan; Aeby, Greta S.; Work, Thierry M.; Bourne, David G.

    2012-01-01

    Acropora white syndrome (AWS) is characterized by rapid tissue loss revealing the white underlying skeleton and affects corals worldwide; however, reports of causal agents are conflicting. Samples were collected from healthy and diseased corals and seawater around American Samoa and bacteria associated with AWS characterized using both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods, from coral mucus and tissue slurries, respectively. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone libraries derived from coral tissue were dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria, and Jaccard's distances calculated between the clone libraries showed that those from diseased corals were more similar to each other than to those from healthy corals. 16S rRNA genes from 78 culturable coral mucus isolates also revealed a distinct partitioning of bacterial genera into healthy and diseased corals. Isolates identified as Vibrionaceae were further characterized by multilocus sequence typing, revealing that whilst several Vibrio spp. were found to be associated with AWS lesions, a recently described species, Vibrio owensii, was prevalent amongst cultured Vibrio isolates. Unaffected tissues from corals with AWS had a different microbiota than normal Acropora as found by others. Determining whether a microbial shift occurs prior to disease outbreaks will be a useful avenue of pursuit and could be helpful in detecting prodromal signs of coral disease prior to manifestation of lesions.

  8. The reproductive seasonality and gametogenic cycle of Acropora cervicornis off Broward County, Florida, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vargas-Ángel, Bernardo; Colley, Susan B.; Hoke, S. Michael; Thomas, James D.

    2006-03-01

    Reproductive characters of the Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora cervicornis were investigated based on histological samples collected from April 2001 through October 2002. Oogenesis commenced in early to mid-October through November and spermatogenesis was initiated from January to March. The onset of gametogenesis was staggered, exhibiting up to approximately a 1-month delay within colonies. In the hermaphroditic polyps, the observed male-to-female gonad ratio was nearly 1:1 and ripe oocytes represented over 70% of the total gonadal volume. Fecundity estimates based on Stage IV ova ranged between 10.4 and 21.8 mm3 per square centimeter per year, comparable to A. cervicornis in Puerto Rico and other broadcasting Indo-Pacific Acropora. Fecundity estimates based on Stage III vitellogenic oocytes indicated statistically significant differences among study sites. Spawning in field conditions was observed in 2001, 2003, and 2004 from 2300 to 2330 h. Gamete release generally occurred synchronously between nights two and seven after the full moon of July or August. However in 2003, multiple, small-scale gamete release episodes occurred over more than one lunar cycle. This coincided with the full moon occurring early in the month of July. While prolific gamete production is reported in this study, low levels of recruitment have been reported for this species. Thus, the highly fragmenting A. cervicornis may rely heavily on asexual reproduction for population maintenance and expansion, and recovery after disturbance may be greatly protracted.

  9. Acropora interbranch skeleton Sr/Ca ratios: Evaluation of a potential new high-resolution paleothermometer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadler, James; Nguyen, Ai D.; Leonard, Nicole D.; Webb, Gregory E.; Nothdurft, Luke D.

    2016-04-01

    The majority of coral geochemistry-based paleoclimate reconstructions in the Indo-Pacific are conducted on selectively cored colonies of massive Porites. This restriction to a single genus may make it difficult to amass the required paleoclimate data for studies that require deep reef coring techniques. Acropora, however, is a highly abundant coral genus in both modern and fossil reef systems and displays potential as a novel climate archive. Here we present a calibration study for Sr/Ca ratios recovered from interbranch skeleton in corymbose Acropora colonies from Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef. Significant intercolony differences in absolute Sr/Ca ratios were normalized by producing anomaly plots of both coral geochemistry and instrumental water temperature records. Weighted linear regression of these anomalies from the lagoon and fore-reef slope provide a sensitivity of -0.05 mmol/mol °C-1, with a correlation coefficient (r2 = 0.65) comparable to those of genera currently used in paleoclimate reconstructions. Reconstructions of lagoon and reef slope mean seasonality in water temperature accurately identify the greater seasonal amplitude observed in the lagoon of Heron Reef. A longer calibration period is, however, required for reliable reconstructions of annual mean water temperatures.

  10. Magnesium content within the skeletal architecture of the coral Montastraea faveolata: locations of brucite precipitation and implications to fine-scale data fluctuations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Buster, N.A.; Holmes, C.W.

    2006-01-01

    Small portions of coral cores were analyzed using a high-resolution laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LA ICP-MS) to determine the geochemical signatures within and among specific skeletal structures in the large framework coral, Montastraea faveolata. Vertical transects were sampled along three parallel skeletal structures: endothecal (septal flank), corallite wall, and exothecal (costal flank) areas. The results demonstrate that trace element levels varied among the three structures. Magnesium (Mg) varied among adjacent structures and was most abundant within the exothecal portion of the skeleton. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed the presence of hexagonal crystals forming thick discs, pairs or doublets of individual crystals, and rosettes in several samples. High Mg within these crystals was confirmed with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), infrared spectrometry, and LA ICP-MS. The chemical composition is consistent with the mineral brucite [Mg(OH2)]. These crystals are located exclusively in the exothecal area of the skeleton, are often associated with green endolithic algae, and are commonly associated with increased Mg levels found in the adjacent corallite walls. Although scattered throughout the exothecal, the brucite crystals are concentrated within green bands where levels of Mg increase substantially relative to other portions of the skeleton. The presence and locations of high-Mg crystals may explain the fine-scale fluctuations in Mg data researchers have been questioning for years.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Light-Responsive Cryptochromes from a Simple Multicellular Animal, the Coral Acropora millepora

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, O.; Appelbaum, L.; Leggat, W.; Gothlif, Y.; Hayward, D. C.; Miller, D. J.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2007-10-01

    Hundreds of species of reef-building corals spawn synchronously over a few nights each year, and moonlight regulates this spawning event. However, the molecular elements underpinning the detection of moonlight remain unknown. Here we report the presence of an ancient family of blue-light-sensing photoreceptors, cryptochromes, in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. In addition to being cryptochrome genes from one of the earliest-diverging eumetazoan phyla, cry1 and cry2 were expressed preferentially in light. Consistent with potential roles in the synchronization of fundamentally important behaviors such as mass spawning, cry2 expression increased on full moon nights versus new moon nights. Our results demonstrate phylogenetically broad roles of these ancient circadian clock-related molecules in the animal kingdom.

  13. Calcification and photosynthesis of the coral acropora cervicornis under calcium limited conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rathfon, Megan; Brewer, Debbie

    1997-01-01

    Differing hypothesis about the function of calcification are based on an interesting dilemma. Is the purpose of calcification mainly a structural and protective one or does calcification serve other functions? Does photosynthesis increase carbonate ion activity and cause calcification or does calcification increase CO2 levels and stimulate photsynthesis? It is proposed that calcification in corals is not dependent upon photosynthesis but upon calcium levels in the water. Under normal ocean conditions, corals convert a certain percentage of energy to photosynthesis and respiration and another percentage to calcification. As corals become nutrient stressed, particularly calcium limited, the ratio of photosynthesis to calcification shifts towards calcification in order to generate protons. The protons generated during calcification may stimulate photosynthesis and aid in the uptake of nutrients and biocarbonates. The results of the calcification experiment show a trend towards increased calcification and decreased photosynthesis when the coral Acropora cervicornis is calcium limited, but the data are inconclusive and further research is needed.

  14. Diseases and partial mortality in Montastraea annularis species complex in reefs with differing environmental conditions (NW Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico).

    PubMed

    Jordán-Dahlgren, Eric; Maldonado, Miguel Angel; Rodríguez-Martínez, Rosa Elisa

    2005-01-25

    We documented the prevalence of diseases, syndromes and partial mortality in colonies of the Montastraea annularis species complex on 3 reefs, and tested the assumption that a higher prevalence of these parameters occurs when reefs are closer to point-sources of pollution. One reef was isolated from the impact of local factors with the exception of fishing, 1 potentially influenced by local industrial pollutants, and 1 influenced by local urban pollution. Two reefs were surveyed in 1996 and again in 2001 and 1 in 1998 and again in 2001. In 2001, colonies on all reefs had a high prevalence of the yellow-band syndrome and a relatively high degree of recent partial mortality, while the prevalence of black-band and white-plague diseases was low although a new sign, that we named the thin dark line, had relatively high prevalence in all reefs. As no direct relationship was found between disease prevalence and local environmental quality, our results open the possibility that regional and/or global factors may already be playing an important role in the prevalence of coral disease in the Caribbean, and contradict the theory that coral disease prevalence is primarily related to local environmental degradation. Reasons that may partially explain these findings are the high level of potential pathogen connectivity within the Caribbean as a result of its circulation patterns coupled to the large land-derived pollutants and pathogens input into this Mediterranean sea, together with the surface water warming effects which stress corals and enhance pathogen activity.

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

    PubMed

    Ramos-Silva, Paula; Kaandorp, Jaap; Herbst, Frédéric; Plasseraud, Laurent; Alcaraz, Gérard; Stern, Christine; Corneillat, Marion; Guichard, Nathalie; Durlet, Christophe; Luquet, Gilles; Marin, Frédéric

    2014-01-01

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

  16. The Skeleton of the Staghorn Coral Acropora millepora: Molecular and Structural Characterization

    PubMed Central

    Ramos-Silva, Paula; Kaandorp, Jaap; Herbst, Frédéric; Plasseraud, Laurent; Alcaraz, Gérard; Stern, Christine; Corneillat, Marion; Guichard, Nathalie; Durlet, Christophe; Luquet, Gilles; Marin, Frédéric

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Potential spawn induction and suppression agents in Caribbean Acropora cervicornis corals of the Florida Keys

    PubMed Central

    Than, John T.

    2016-01-01

    The enhanced ability to direct sexual reproduction may lead to improved restoration outcomes for Acropora cervicornis. Gravid fragments of A. cervicornis were maintained in a laboratory for two sequential trials in the seven days prior to natural spawning in the Florida Keys. Ten replicates of five chemicals known to affect spawning in various invertebrate taxa were tested. Hydrogen peroxide at 2 mM (70%) and L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) at 5 (40%) and 20 µM (30%) induced spawning within 15.4 h, 38.8 h and 26.9 h of dosing at or above the rate of release of the control (30%) within 14.6 h. Serotonin acetate monohydrate at 1 µM (20%) and 10 µM (20%), naloxone hydrochloride dihydrate at 0.01 µM (10%) and potassium phosphate monobasic at 0.25 µM (0%) induced spawning at rates less than the control. Although the greatest number of fragments spawned using hydrogen peroxide, it was with 100% mortality. There was a significantly higher induction rate closer to natural spawn (Trial 2) compared with Trial 1 and no genotype effect. Mechanisms of action causing gamete release were not elucidated. In Caribbean staghorn corals, 5-HTP shows promise as a spawning induction agent if administered within 72 h of natural spawn and it will not result in excessive mortality. Phosphate chemicals may inhibit spawning. This is the first study of its kind on Caribbean acroporid corals and may offer an important conservation tool for biologists currently charged with restoring the imperiled Acropora reefs of the Florida Keys. PMID:27168990

  18. Experimental data comparing two coral grow-out methods in nursery-raised Acropora cervicornis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

    Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef-restoration efforts to date. As part of the USGS Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest/), we investigated skeletal characteristics of nursery-grown staghorn coral reared using two commonly used grow-out methods at Mote Tropical Research Laboratory’s offshore nursery. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for six months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from monofilament line (on PVC “trees”) in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography (CT), and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on environment, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium-carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics, and suggest that genetically based variability in coral-calcification performance exists. The data resulting from this experiment are provided in this data release and are interpreted in Kuffner et al. (2017).Kuffner, I.B., E. Bartels, A. Stathakopoulos, I.C. Enochs, G. Kolodziej, L.T. Toth, and D.P. Manzello, 2017, Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis: Coral Reefs, in press.

  19. Unexpected patterns of genetic structuring among locations but not colour morphs in Acropora nasuta (Cnidaria; Scleractinia).

    PubMed

    Mackenzie, J B; Munday, P L; Willis, B L; Miller, D J; van Oppen, M J H

    2004-01-01

    Symbiotic relationships have contributed greatly to the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity. On the Great Barrier Reef, species of obligate coral-dwelling fishes (genus Gobiodon) coexist by selectively recruiting to colonies of Acropora nasuta that differ in branch-tip colour. In this study, we investigate genetic variability among sympatric populations of two colour morphs of A. nasuta ('blue-tip' and 'brown-tip') living in symbiosis with two fish species, Gobiodon histrio and G. quinquestrigatus, respectively, to determine whether gobies are selecting between intraspecific colour polymorphisms or cryptic coral species. We also examine genetic differentiation among coral populations containing both these colour morphs that are separated by metres between local sites, tens of kilometres across the continental shelf and hundreds of kilometres along the Great Barrier Reef. We use three nuclear DNA loci, two of which we present here for the first time for Acropora. No significant genetic differentiation was detected between sympatric colour morphs at these three loci. Hence, symbiotic gobies are selecting among colour morphs of A. nasuta, rather than cryptic species. Significant genetic geographical structuring was observed among populations, independent of colour, at regional (i.e. latitudinal separation by < 500 km) and cross-shelf (< 50 km) scales, alongside relative homogeneity between local populations on within reef scales (< 5 km). This contrasts with the reported absence of large-scale genetic structuring in A. valida, which is a member of the same species group as A. nasuta. Apparent differences in biogeographical structuring between species within the A. nasuta group emphasize the need for comparative sampling across both spatial (i.e. within reefs, between reefs and between regions) and taxonomic scales (i.e. within and between closely related species).

  20. Cross-amplification and characterization of microsatellite loci in Acropora austera from the south-western Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Montoya-Maya, P H; Macdonald, A H H; Schleyer, M H

    2014-02-27

    Here, we report the successful cross-species amplification of previously published acroporid microsatellite markers in the coral Acropora austera from the south-western Indian Ocean. This fast-growing species is a major reef-building coral on South African reefs; however, it is the most damaged coral by scuba diving activity, and is known to be very susceptible to coral bleaching. Neither genetic information nor symbiont-free host tissue was available to develop novel microsatellite markers for this species. Cross-species amplification of previously published microsatellite markers was considered as an alternative to overcome these problems. Of the 21 microsatellite markers tested, 6 were reliably amplified, scored, and found to contain polymorphic loci (3-15 alleles). Although microsatellite sequences are believed to be scarce in the Acropora genome because of its small size, the results of this study and previous research indicate that the microsatellite sequences are well conserved across Acropora species. A detailed screening process identified and quantified the sources of error and bias in the application of these markers (e.g., allele scoring error, failure rates, frequency of null alleles), and may be accounted for in the study of the contemporary gene flow of A. austera in the south-western Indian Ocean.

  1. Population Genetic Structure, Abundance, and Health Status of Two Dominant Benthic Species in the Saba Bank National Park, Caribbean Netherlands: Montastraea cavernosa and Xestospongia muta

    PubMed Central

    de Bakker, Didier M.; Meesters, Erik H. W. G.; van Bleijswijk, Judith D. L.; Luttikhuizen, Pieternella C.; Breeuwer, Hans J. A. J.; Becking, Leontine E.

    2016-01-01

    Saba Bank, a submerged atoll in the Caribbean Sea with an area of 2,200 km2, has attained international conservation status due to the rich diversity of species that reside on the bank. In order to assess the role of Saba Bank as a potential reservoir of diversity for the surrounding reefs, we examined the population genetic structure, abundance and health status of two prominent benthic species, the coral Montastraea cavernosa and the sponge Xestospongia muta. Sequence data were collected from 34 colonies of M. cavernosa (nDNA ITS1-5.8S-ITS2; 892 bp) and 68 X. muta sponges (mtDNA I3-M11 partition of COI; 544 bp) on Saba Bank and around Saba Island, and compared with published data across the wider Caribbean. Our data indicate that there is genetic connectivity between populations on Saba Bank and the nearby Saba Island as well as multiple locations in the wider Caribbean, ranging in distance from 100s–1000s km. The genetic diversity of Saba Bank populations of M. cavernosa (π = 0.055) and X. muta (π = 0.0010) was comparable to those in other regions in the western Atlantic. Densities and health status were determined along 11 transects of 50 m2 along the south-eastern rim of Saba Bank. The densities of M. cavernosa (0.27 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.12–0.52) were average, while the densities of X. muta (0.09 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.02–0.32) were generally higher with respect to other Caribbean locations. No disease or bleaching was present in any of the specimens of the coral M. cavernosa, however, we did observe partial tissue loss (77.9% of samples) as well as overgrowth (48.1%), predominantly by cyanobacteria. In contrast, the majority of observed X. muta (83.5%) showed signs of presumed bleaching. The combined results of apparent gene flow among populations on Saba Bank and surrounding reefs, the high abundance and unique genetic diversity, indicate that Saba Bank could function as an important buffer for the region. Either as a natural source of larvae to

  2. Population Genetic Structure, Abundance, and Health Status of Two Dominant Benthic Species in the Saba Bank National Park, Caribbean Netherlands: Montastraea cavernosa and Xestospongia muta.

    PubMed

    de Bakker, Didier M; Meesters, Erik H W G; van Bleijswijk, Judith D L; Luttikhuizen, Pieternella C; Breeuwer, Hans J A J; Becking, Leontine E

    2016-01-01

    Saba Bank, a submerged atoll in the Caribbean Sea with an area of 2,200 km2, has attained international conservation status due to the rich diversity of species that reside on the bank. In order to assess the role of Saba Bank as a potential reservoir of diversity for the surrounding reefs, we examined the population genetic structure, abundance and health status of two prominent benthic species, the coral Montastraea cavernosa and the sponge Xestospongia muta. Sequence data were collected from 34 colonies of M. cavernosa (nDNA ITS1-5.8S-ITS2; 892 bp) and 68 X. muta sponges (mtDNA I3-M11 partition of COI; 544 bp) on Saba Bank and around Saba Island, and compared with published data across the wider Caribbean. Our data indicate that there is genetic connectivity between populations on Saba Bank and the nearby Saba Island as well as multiple locations in the wider Caribbean, ranging in distance from 100s-1000s km. The genetic diversity of Saba Bank populations of M. cavernosa (π = 0.055) and X. muta (π = 0.0010) was comparable to those in other regions in the western Atlantic. Densities and health status were determined along 11 transects of 50 m2 along the south-eastern rim of Saba Bank. The densities of M. cavernosa (0.27 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.12-0.52) were average, while the densities of X. muta (0.09 ind. m-2, 95% CI: 0.02-0.32) were generally higher with respect to other Caribbean locations. No disease or bleaching was present in any of the specimens of the coral M. cavernosa, however, we did observe partial tissue loss (77.9% of samples) as well as overgrowth (48.1%), predominantly by cyanobacteria. In contrast, the majority of observed X. muta (83.5%) showed signs of presumed bleaching. The combined results of apparent gene flow among populations on Saba Bank and surrounding reefs, the high abundance and unique genetic diversity, indicate that Saba Bank could function as an important buffer for the region. Either as a natural source of larvae to replenish

  3. Linear extension rates and gross carbonate production of Acropora cervicornis at Coral Gardens, Belize.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peeling, E.; Greer, L.; Lescinsky, H.; Humston, R.; Wirth, K. R.; Baums, I. B.; Curran, A.

    2014-12-01

    Branching Acropora coral species have fast growth and carbonate production rates, and thus have functioned as important reef-building species throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Recently, net carbonate production (kg CaCO3 m-2 year-1) has been recognized as an important measure of reef health, especially when monitoring endangered species, such as Acropora cervicornis. This study examines carbonate production in a thriving population of A. cervicornis at the Coral Gardens reef in Belize. Photographic surveys were conducted along five transects of A. cervicornis-dominated reefs from 2011-2014. Matching photographs from 2013 and 2014 were scaled to 1 m2 and compared to calculate 84 individual A. cervicornis linear extension rates across the reef. Linear extension rates averaged 12.4 cm/yr and were as high as 17 cm/yr in some areas of the reef. Carbonate production was calculated two ways. The first followed the standard procedure of multiplying percent live coral cover, by the linear extension rate and skeletal density. The second used the number of live coral tips per square meter in place of percent live coral multiplied by the average cross-sectional area of the branches. The standard method yielded a carbonate production rate of 113 kg CaCO3 m-2 year-1 for the reef, and the tip method yielded a rate of 6 kg m-2 year-1. We suggest that the tip method is a more accurate measure of production, because A. cervicornis grows primarily from the live tips, with only limited radial growth and resheeting over dead skeleton. While this method omits the contributions of radial growth and resheeting, and is therefore somewhat of an underestimate, our future work will quantify these aspects of growth in a more complete carbonate budget. Still, our estimate suggests a carbonate production rate per unit area of A. cervicornis that is on par with other Caribbean coral species, rather than two orders of magnitude higher as reported by Perry et al (2013). Although gross coral

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. Population genetic structure between Yap and Palau for the coral Acropora hyacinthus

    PubMed Central

    Cros, Annick; Toonen, Robert J.; Davies, Sarah W.

    2016-01-01

    Information on connectivity is becoming increasingly in demand as marine protected areas are being designed as an integral part of a network to protect marine resources at the ecosystem level. Larval dispersal and population structure, however, remain very difficult to assess. Here, we tested the predictions of a detailed oceanographic connectivity model of larval dispersal and coral recruitment within Palau and between Palau and Yap, which was developed to support the review of the existing network of marine protected areas in Palau. We used high throughput microsatellite genotyping of the coral Acropora hyacinthus to characterize population genetic structure. Pairwise F′ST values between Palau and Yap (0.10), Palau and Ngulu (0.09) and Yap and Ngulu (0.09) were all significant and similar to pairwise F′ST values of sites within Palau (0.02–0.12) and within Yap (0.02–0.09) highlighting structure at island scale and indicating that recruitment may be even more localized than previously anticipated. A bottleneck test did not reveal any signs of a founder effect between Yap and Palau. Overall, the data supports the idea that recovery of A. hyacinthus in Palau did not come exclusively from a single source but most likely came from a combination of areas, including sites within Palau. In light of these results there seems to be very little connectivity around the barrier reef and management recommendation would be to increase the number or the size of MPAs within Palau. PMID:27602294

  6. Canonical and cellular pathways timing gamete release in Acropora digitifera, Okinawa, Japan.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, Y; Doniger, T; Harii, S; Sinniger, F; Levy, O

    2017-02-18

    Natural light cycles are important for synchronizing behavioural and physiological rhythms over varying time periods in both plants and animals. An endogenous clock, regulated by positive and negative elements, interacting in feedback loops controls these rhythms. Many corals exhibit diel cycles of polyp expansion and contraction entrained by solar light patterns and monthly cycles of spawning or planulation that correspond to nocturnal lunar light cycles. However, despite considerable interest in studies of coral reproduction, there is currently not enough molecular information about the cellular pathways involved with synchronizing spawning/planulation in broadcast spawners and brooders. To determine whether the endogenous clock is implicated in the regulation of reproductive behaviour in corals, we characterized the transcriptome of Acropora digitifera colonies at twelve time points over a 2-month period of full and new moons, starting with the day of spawning in June 2014. We identified 608 transcripts with differential expression only on the spawning night during the coral setting phase and gamete release. Our data revealed an upregulation of light-sensing molecules and rhodopsin-like receptors that initiate signalling cascades, including the glutamate, SMAD signalling and WNT signalling pathways, neuroactive ligand-receptor interactions and calcium signalling. These are all involved in cell cycling, cell movement, tissue polarity, focal adhesion and cytoskeleton reorganization and together lead to gamete release. These findings can improve the understanding of many time-based cycles and extend our knowledge of the interplay between exogenous signals and the endogenous clock in cnidarians.

  7. Population genetic structure between Yap and Palau for the coral Acropora hyacinthus.

    PubMed

    Cros, Annick; Toonen, Robert J; Davies, Sarah W; Karl, Stephen A

    2016-01-01

    Information on connectivity is becoming increasingly in demand as marine protected areas are being designed as an integral part of a network to protect marine resources at the ecosystem level. Larval dispersal and population structure, however, remain very difficult to assess. Here, we tested the predictions of a detailed oceanographic connectivity model of larval dispersal and coral recruitment within Palau and between Palau and Yap, which was developed to support the review of the existing network of marine protected areas in Palau. We used high throughput microsatellite genotyping of the coral Acropora hyacinthus to characterize population genetic structure. Pairwise F' ST values between Palau and Yap (0.10), Palau and Ngulu (0.09) and Yap and Ngulu (0.09) were all significant and similar to pairwise F' ST values of sites within Palau (0.02-0.12) and within Yap (0.02-0.09) highlighting structure at island scale and indicating that recruitment may be even more localized than previously anticipated. A bottleneck test did not reveal any signs of a founder effect between Yap and Palau. Overall, the data supports the idea that recovery of A. hyacinthus in Palau did not come exclusively from a single source but most likely came from a combination of areas, including sites within Palau. In light of these results there seems to be very little connectivity around the barrier reef and management recommendation would be to increase the number or the size of MPAs within Palau.

  8. Dynamics of bacterial community development in the reef coral Acropora muricata following experimental antibiotic treatment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

    Development of the bacterial community associated with the coral Acropora muricata (= formosa) was monitored using 16S rRNA gene-based techniques and abundance counts over time following experimental modification of the existing microbial community using the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Abundance of bacteria was reduced >99% by the treatment, resulting in significant changes in bacterial community structure. Following redeployment to their natural environment, some settlement and re-growth of bacteria took place within a few hours, including ribosomal types that were not present, or in low abundance, in the natural microbiota. However, complete recovery of the bacterial community required longer than 96 h, which indicates a relatively slow settlement and growth of bacteria from the water column and suggests that turnover of the natural community is similarly slow. The early developing community was dominated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the natural microbiota that survived the treatment and proliferated in the absence of natural competitors, but also included some non-resident ribotypes colonizing from the water column. Almost, all these opportunists were significantly reduced or eliminated within 96 h after treatment, demonstrating a high resilience in the natural bacterial community. Potential pathogens, including a Clostridium sp., inhabited the coral at low abundances, only becoming prevalent when the natural microbiota was disturbed by the treatment. The healthy coral-associated microbiota appears to be strongly controlled by microbial interactions.

  9. Integral Light-Harvesting Complex Expression In Symbiodinium Within The Coral Acropora aspera Under Thermal Stress

    PubMed Central

    Gierz, Sarah L.; Gordon, Benjamin R.; Leggat, William

    2016-01-01

    Coral reef success is largely dependent on the symbiosis between coral hosts and dinoflagellate symbionts belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Elevated temperatures can result in the expulsion of Symbiodinium or loss of their photosynthetic pigments and is known as coral bleaching. It has been postulated that the expression of light-harvesting protein complexes (LHCs), which bind chlorophylls (chl) and carotenoids, are important in photobleaching. This study explored the effect a sixteen-day thermal stress (increasing daily from 25–34 °C) on integral LHC (chlorophyll a-chlorophyll c2-peridinin protein complex (acpPC)) gene expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera. Thermal stress leads to a decrease in Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency by day eight, while symbiont density was significantly lower on day sixteen. Over this time period, the gene expression of five Symbiodinium acpPC genes was quantified. Three acpPC genes exhibited up-regulated expression when corals were exposed to temperatures above 31.5 °C (acpPCSym_1:1, day sixteen; acpPCSym_15, day twelve; and acpPCSym_18, day ten and day sixteen). In contrast, the expression of acpPCSym_5:1 and acpPCSym_10:1 was unchanged throughout the experiment. Interestingly, the three acpPC genes with increased expression cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of light-harvesting complexes. PMID:27117333

  10. Water flow buffers shifts in bacterial community structure in heat-stressed Acropora muricata

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Sonny T. M.; Davy, Simon K.; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S.

    2017-01-01

    Deterioration of coral health and associated change in the coral holobiont’s bacterial community are often a result of different environmental stressors acting synergistically. There is evidence that water flow is important for a coral’s resistance to elevated seawater temperature, but there is no information on how water flow affects the coral-associated bacterial community under these conditions. In a laboratory cross-design experiment, Acropora muricata nubbins were subjected to interactive effects of seawater temperature (27 °C to 31 °C) and water flow (0.20 m s−1 and 0.03 m s−1). In an in situ experiment, water flow manipulation was conducted with three colonies of A. muricata during the winter and summer, by partially enclosing each colony in a clear plastic mesh box. 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing showed an increase in the relative abundance of Flavobacteriales and Rhodobacterales in the laboratory experiment, and Vibrio spp. in the in situ experiment when corals were exposed to elevated temperature and slow water flow. In contrast, corals that were exposed to faster water flow under laboratory and in situ conditions had a stable bacterial community. These findings indicate that water flow plays an important role in the maintenance of specific coral-bacteria associations during times of elevated thermal stress. PMID:28240318

  11. Evidence for Autoinduction and Quorum Sensing in White Band Disease-Causing Microbes on Acropora cervicornis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Certner, Rebecca H.; Vollmer, Steven V.

    2015-06-01

    Coral reefs have entered a state of global decline party due to an increasing incidence of coral disease. However, the diversity and complexity of coral-associated bacterial communities has made identifying the mechanisms underlying disease transmission and progression extremely difficult. This study explores the effects of coral cell-free culture fluid (CFCF) and autoinducer (a quorum sensing signaling molecule) on coral-associated bacterial growth and on coral tissue loss respectively. All experiments were conducted using the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora cervicornis. Coral-associated microbes were grown on selective media infused with CFCF derived from healthy and white band disease-infected A. cervicornis. Exposure to diseased CFCF increased proliferation of Cytophaga-Flavobacterium spp. while exposure to healthy CFCF inhibited growth of this group. Exposure to either CFCF did not significantly affect Vibrio spp. growth. In order to test whether disease symptoms can be induced in healthy corals, A. cervicornis was exposed to bacterial assemblages supplemented with exogenous, purified autoinducer. Incubation with autoinducer resulted in complete tissue loss in all corals tested in less than one week. These findings indicate that white band disease in A. cervicornis may be caused by opportunistic pathogenesis of resident microbes.

  12. Water flow buffers shifts in bacterial community structure in heat-stressed Acropora muricata.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sonny T M; Davy, Simon K; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S

    2017-02-27

    Deterioration of coral health and associated change in the coral holobiont's bacterial community are often a result of different environmental stressors acting synergistically. There is evidence that water flow is important for a coral's resistance to elevated seawater temperature, but there is no information on how water flow affects the coral-associated bacterial community under these conditions. In a laboratory cross-design experiment, Acropora muricata nubbins were subjected to interactive effects of seawater temperature (27 °C to 31 °C) and water flow (0.20 m s(-1) and 0.03 m s(-1)). In an in situ experiment, water flow manipulation was conducted with three colonies of A. muricata during the winter and summer, by partially enclosing each colony in a clear plastic mesh box. 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing showed an increase in the relative abundance of Flavobacteriales and Rhodobacterales in the laboratory experiment, and Vibrio spp. in the in situ experiment when corals were exposed to elevated temperature and slow water flow. In contrast, corals that were exposed to faster water flow under laboratory and in situ conditions had a stable bacterial community. These findings indicate that water flow plays an important role in the maintenance of specific coral-bacteria associations during times of elevated thermal stress.

  13. Climate Change Impacts on the Tree of Life: Changes in Phylogenetic Diversity Illustrated for Acropora Corals

    PubMed Central

    Faith, Daniel P.; Richards, Zoe T.

    2012-01-01

    The possible loss of whole branches from the tree of life is a dramatic, but under-studied, biological implication of climate change. The tree of life represents an evolutionary heritage providing both present and future benefits to humanity, often in unanticipated ways. Losses in this evolutionary (evo) life-support system represent losses in “evosystem” services, and are quantified using the phylogenetic diversity (PD) measure. High species-level biodiversity losses may or may not correspond to high PD losses. If climate change impacts are clumped on the phylogeny, then loss of deeper phylogenetic branches can mean disproportionately large PD loss for a given degree of species loss. Over time, successive species extinctions within a clade each may imply only a moderate loss of PD, until the last species within that clade goes extinct, and PD drops precipitously. Emerging methods of “phylogenetic risk analysis” address such phylogenetic tipping points by adjusting conservation priorities to better reflect risk of such worst-case losses. We have further developed and explored this approach for one of the most threatened taxonomic groups, corals. Based on a phylogenetic tree for the corals genus Acropora, we identify cases where worst-case PD losses may be avoided by designing risk-averse conservation priorities. We also propose spatial heterogeneity measures changes to assess possible changes in the geographic distribution of corals PD. PMID:24832524

  14. Integral Light-Harvesting Complex Expression In Symbiodinium Within The Coral Acropora aspera Under Thermal Stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gierz, Sarah L.; Gordon, Benjamin R.; Leggat, William

    2016-04-01

    Coral reef success is largely dependent on the symbiosis between coral hosts and dinoflagellate symbionts belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Elevated temperatures can result in the expulsion of Symbiodinium or loss of their photosynthetic pigments and is known as coral bleaching. It has been postulated that the expression of light-harvesting protein complexes (LHCs), which bind chlorophylls (chl) and carotenoids, are important in photobleaching. This study explored the effect a sixteen-day thermal stress (increasing daily from 25–34 °C) on integral LHC (chlorophyll a-chlorophyll c2-peridinin protein complex (acpPC)) gene expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera. Thermal stress leads to a decrease in Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency by day eight, while symbiont density was significantly lower on day sixteen. Over this time period, the gene expression of five Symbiodinium acpPC genes was quantified. Three acpPC genes exhibited up-regulated expression when corals were exposed to temperatures above 31.5 °C (acpPCSym_1:1, day sixteen; acpPCSym_15, day twelve; and acpPCSym_18, day ten and day sixteen). In contrast, the expression of acpPCSym_5:1 and acpPCSym_10:1 was unchanged throughout the experiment. Interestingly, the three acpPC genes with increased expression cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of light-harvesting complexes.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  16. Evaluation of food grade solvents for lipid extraction and impact of storage temperature on fatty acid composition of edible seaweeds Laminaria digitata (Phaeophyceae) and Palmaria palmata (Rhodophyta).

    PubMed

    Schmid, Matthias; Guihéneuf, Freddy; Stengel, Dagmar B

    2016-10-01

    This study evaluated the impact of different food- and non-food grade extraction solvents on yield and fatty acid composition of the lipid extracts of two seaweed species (Palmaria palmata and Laminaria digitata). The application of chloroform/methanol and three different food grade solvents (ethanol, hexane, ethanol/hexane) revealed significant differences in both, extraction yield and fatty acid composition. The extraction efficiency, in terms of yields of total fatty acids (TFA), was in the order: chloroform/methanol>ethanol>hexane>ethanol/hexane for both species. Highest levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were achieved by the extraction with ethanol. Additionally the effect of storage temperature on the stability of PUFA in ground and freeze-dried seaweed biomass was investigated. Seaweed samples were stored for a total duration of 22months at three different temperatures (-20°C, 4°C and 20°C). Levels of TFA and PUFA were only stable after storage at -20°C for the two seaweed species.

  17. Quantification of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in Acropora spp. of reef-building coral using mass spectrometry with deuterated internal standard.

    PubMed

    Swan, Hilton B; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth S M; Jones, Graham B; Eyre, Bradley D

    2017-03-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in scleractinian coral is usually analysed indirectly as dimethylsulfide (DMS) using gas chromatography (GC) with a sulfur-specific detector. We developed a headspace GC method for mass spectral analysis of DMSP in branching coral where hexa-deuterated DMSP (d 6 -DMSP) was added to samples and standards to optimise the analytical precision and quantitative accuracy. Using this indirect HS-GC-MS method, we show that common coral sample handling techniques did not alter DMSP concentrations in Acropora aspera and that endogenous DMS was insignificant compared to the store of DMSP in A. aspera. Field application of the indirect HS-GC-MS method in all seasons over a 5-year period at Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef indicated that healthy colonies of A. aspera ordinarily seasonally conserve their branch tip store of DMSP; however, this store increased to a higher concentration under extended thermal stress conditions driven by a strong El Niño Southern Oscillation event. A liquid chromatography mass spectral method (LC-MS) was subsequently developed for direct analysis of DMSP in branching coral, also utilising the d 6 -DMSP internal standard. The quantitative comparison of DMSP in four species of Acropora coral by indirect HS-GC-MS and direct LC-MS analyses gave equivalent concentrations in A. aspera only; in the other three species, HS-GC-MS gave consistently higher concentrations, indicating that indirect analysis of DMSP may lead to artificially high values for some coral species. Graphical Abstract Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) was quantified in Acropora spp. of branching coral using deuterated stable isotope dilution mass spectrometry.

  18. Gene expression patterns of the coral Acropora millepora in response to contact with macroalgae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shearer, T. L.; Rasher, D. B.; Snell, T. W.; Hay, M. E.

    2012-12-01

    Contact with macroalgae often causes coral mortality, but the roles of abrasion versus shading versus allelopathy in these interactions are rarely clear, and effects on gene expression are unknown. Identification of gene expression changes within corals in response to contact with macroalgae can provide insight into the mode of action of allelochemicals, as well as reveal transcriptional strategies of the coral that mitigate damage from this competitive interaction, enabling the coral to survive. Gene expression responses of the coral Acropora millepora after long-term (20 days) direct contact with macroalgae ( Chlorodesmis fastigiata, Dictyota bartayresiana, Galaxaura filamentosa, and Turbinaria conoides) and short-term (1 and 24 h) exposure to C. fastigiata thalli and their hydrophobic extract were assessed. After 20 days of exposure, T. conoides thalli elicited no significant change in visual bleaching or zooxanthellae PSII quantum yield within A. millepora nubbins, but stimulated the greatest alteration in gene expression of all treatments. Chlorodesmis fastigiata, D. bartayresiana, and G. filamentosa caused significant visual bleaching of coral nubbins and reduced the PSII quantum yield of associated zooxanthellae after 20 days, but elicited fewer changes in gene expression relative to T. conoides at day 20. To evaluate initial molecular processes leading to reduction of zooxanthella PSII quantum yield, visual bleaching, and coral death, short-term exposures to C. fastigiata thalli and hydrophobic extracts were conducted; these interactions revealed protein degradation and significant changes in catalytic and metabolic activity within 24 h of contact. These molecular responses are consistent with the hypothesis that allelopathic interactions lead to alteration of signal transduction and an imbalance between reactive oxidant species production and antioxidant capabilities within the coral holobiont. This oxidative imbalance results in rapid protein degradation

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dirnwoeber, M.; Herler, J.

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. Demography of the threatened coral Acropora cervicornis: implications for its management and conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mercado-Molina, Alex E.; Ruiz-Diaz, Claudia P.; Pérez, María E.; Rodríguez-Barreras, Ruber; Sabat, Alberto M.

    2015-12-01

    Populations of Acropora cervicornis have collapsed throughout the Caribbean. This situation has prompted the initiation of many restoration efforts; yet, there are insufficient demographic data and analyses to effectively guide these initiatives. In this study we assessed the spatiotemporal variability of A. cervicornis vital rates. We also developed a population matrix model to (1) evaluate the risk of population extinction, (2) estimate population growth rates (λ) considering different rates of colony fragmentation and fragment survival, (3) determine the demographic transition(s) that contribute the most to spatiotemporal differences in λs, and (4) analyze the effectiveness of outplanting coral fragments of different sizes. The model was parameterized by following the fate of 300 colonies from 2011 to 2013 at two localities in Puerto Rico. Demographic transitions varied spatiotemporally, with a significant interaction between location and time period on colony fate. Spatiotemporal variations in λ were also observed. During the first year, populations exhibited λs below equilibrium (0.918 and 0.948), followed by a dramatic decline at both sites (0.535 and 0.709) during the second year. The lower λs were caused by a decrease in the probability of stasis of large-sized colonies coupled with lack of sexual recruits and a meager contribution of asexual recruitment. Spatial variations in λs were largely due to differences in the probability of medium-sized colonies advancing to the largest size class. The viability analysis forecasts that the populations will reach quasi-extinction levels of 25 % of the initial population size in ≤16 yrs. Numerical simulations indicate that outplanting fragments ≥250 cm in total linear length (TLL) would result in a higher asymptotic population size than outplanting smaller fragments. We argue, however, that transplanting colonies ≤100 cm TLL will be a better management strategy because they can be produced faster and in

  2. The combined effects of temperature and CO2 lead to altered gene expression in Acropora aspera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ogawa, D.; Bobeszko, T.; Ainsworth, T.; Leggat, W.

    2013-12-01

    This study explored the interactive effects of near-term CO2 increases (40-90 ppm above current ambient) during a simulated bleaching event (34 °C for 5 d) of Acropora aspera by linking physiology to expression patterns of genes involved in carbon metabolism. Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency ( F v / F m ) was significantly depressed by the bleaching event, while elevated pressure of CO2 (pCO2) slightly mitigated the effects of increased temperature on F v / F m during the final 4 d of the recovery period, however, did not affect the loss of symbionts. Elevated pCO2 alone had no effect on F v / F m or symbiont density. Expression of targeted Symbiodinium genes involved in carbon metabolism and heat stress response was not significantly altered by either increased temperature and/or CO2. Of the selected host genes, two carbonic anhydrase isoforms (coCA2 and coCA3) exhibited the largest changes, most notably in crossed bleaching and elevated pCO2 treatments. CA2 was significantly down-regulated on day 14 in all treatments, with the greatest decrease in the crossed treatment (relative expression compared to control = 0.16; p < 0.05); CA3 showed a similar trend, with expression levels 0.20-fold of controls on day 14 ( p < 0.05) in the elevated temperature/pCO2 treatment. The synergistic effects of ocean acidification and bleaching were evident during this study and demonstrate that increased pCO2 in surface waters will impact corals much sooner than many studies utilising end-of-century pCO2 concentrations would indicate.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-29

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

  4. Gene expression patterns of the coral Acropora millepora in response to contact with macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Shearer, Tl; Rasher, Db; Snell, Tw; Hay, Me

    2012-12-01

    Contact with macroalgae often causes coral mortality, but the roles of abrasion versus shading versus allelopathy in these interactions are rarely clear and effects on gene expression are unknown. Identification of gene expression changes within corals in response to contact with macroalgae can provide insight into the mode of action of allelochemicals, as well as reveal transcriptional strategies of the coral that mitigate damage from this competitive interaction, enabling the coral to survive. Gene expression responses of the coral Acropora millepora after long-term (20 d) direct contact with macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata, Dictyota bartayresiana, Galaxaura filamentosa and Turbinaria conoides) and short-term (1 h and 24 h) exposure to C. fastigiata thalli and their hydrophobic extract were assessed. After 20 d of exposure, T. conoides thalli elicited no significant change in visual bleaching or zooxanthellae PSII quantum yield within A. millepora nubbins, but stimulated the greatest alteration in gene expression of all treatments. Chlorodesmis fastigiata, D. bartayresiana and G. filamentosa caused significant visual bleaching of coral nubbins and reduced the PSII quantum yield of associated zooxanthellae after 20 d, but elicited fewer changes in gene expression relative to T. conoides at day 20. To evaluate initial molecular processes leading to reduction of zooxanthella PSII quantum yield, visual bleaching, and coral death, short-term exposures to C. fastigiata thalli and hydrophobic extracts were conducted; these interactions revealed protein degradation and significant changes in catalytic and metabolic activity within 24 h of contact. These molecular responses are consistent with the hypothesis that allelopathic interactions lead to alteration of signal transduction and an imbalance between reactive oxidant species production and antioxidant capabilities within the coral holobiont. This oxidative imbalance results in rapid protein degradation and

  5. Is Echinometra viridis facilitating a phase shift on an Acropora cervicornis patch reef in Belize?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stefanic, C. M.; Greer, L.; Norvell, D.; Benson, W.; Curran, H.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef health is in rapid decline across the Caribbean due to a number of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. A phase shift from coral- to macroalgae-dominant reefs is pervasive and has been well documented. Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral) has been particularly affected by this shift due to mass mortality of this species since the 1980s. In recent years few Caribbean A. cervicornis refugia have been documented. This study characterizes the relationship between coral and grazing urchins on a rare patch reef system dominated by A. cervicornis off the coast of Belize. To assess relative abundance of live A. cervicornis and the urchin Echinometra viridis, photographs and urchin abundance data were collected from 132 meter square quadrats along five transects across the reef. Photographs were digitized and manually segmented using Adobe Illustrator, and percent live coral cover and branch tip densities were calculated using Matlab. Mean percent live coral cover across all transects was 24.4 % with a high of 65% live coral per meter square. Average urchin density was 18.5 per quadrat, with an average density per transect ranging from 22.1 to 0.5 per quadrat. Up to over 400 live A. cervicornis branch tips per quadrat were observed. Data show a positive correlation between E. viridis abundance and live A. cervicornis, suggesting that these urchins are facilitating recovery or persistence of this endangered coral species. These results suggest the relationship between E. viridis and A. cervicornis could be a key element in a future reversal of the coral to macroalgae phase shift on some Caribbean coral reefs.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  7. Mucus Sugar Content Shapes the Bacterial Community Structure in Thermally Stressed Acropora muricata

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Sonny T. M.; Davy, Simon K.; Tang, Sen-Lin; Kench, Paul S.

    2016-01-01

    It has been proposed that the chemical composition of a coral’s mucus can influence the associated bacterial community. However, information on this topic is rare, and non-existent for corals that are under thermal stress. This study therefore compared the carbohydrate composition of mucus in the coral Acropora muricata when subjected to increasing thermal stress from 26 to 31°C, and determined whether this composition correlated with any changes in the bacterial community. Results showed that, at lower temperatures, the main components of mucus were N-acetyl glucosamine and C6 sugars, but these constituted a significantly lower proportion of the mucus in thermally stressed corals. The change in the mucus composition coincided with a shift from a γ-Proteobacteria- to a Verrucomicrobiae- and α-Proteobacteria-dominated community in the coral mucus. Bacteria in the class Cyanobacteria also started to become prominent in the mucus when the coral was thermally stressed. The increase in the relative abundance of the Verrucomicrobiae at higher temperature was strongly associated with a change in the proportion of fucose, glucose, and mannose in the mucus. Increase in the relative abundance of α-Proteobacteria were associated with GalNAc and glucose, while the drop in relative abundance of γ-Proteobacteria at high temperature coincided with changes in fucose and mannose. Cyanobacteria were highly associated with arabinose and xylose. Changes in mucus composition and the bacterial community in the mucus layer occurred at 29°C, which were prior to visual signs of coral bleaching at 31°C. A compositional change in the coral mucus, induced by thermal stress could therefore be a key factor leading to a shift in the associated bacterial community. This, in turn, has the potential to impact the physiological function of the coral holobiont. PMID:27047481

  8. Possible return of Acropora cervicornis at Pulaski Shoal, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lidz, Barbara H.; Zawada, David G.

    2013-01-01

    Seabed classification is essential to assessing environmental associations and physical status in coral reef ecosystems. At Pulaski Shoal in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, nearly continuous underwater-image coverage was acquired in 15.5 hours in 2009 along 70.2 km of transect lines spanning ~0.2 km2. The Along-Track Reef-Imaging System (ATRIS), a boat-based, high-speed, digital imaging system, was used. ATRIS-derived benthic classes were merged with a QuickBird satellite image to create a habitat map that defines areas of senile coral reef, carbonate sand, seagrasses, and coral rubble. This atypical approach of starting with extensive, high-resolution in situ imagery and extrapolating between transect lines using satellite imagery leverages the strengths of each remote-sensing modality. The ATRIS images also captured the spatial distribution of two species once common on now-degraded Florida-Caribbean coral reefs: the stony staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis, a designated threatened species, and the long-spined urchin Diadema antillarum. This article documents the utility of ATRIS imagery for quantifying number and estimating age of A. cervicornis colonies (n = 400, age range, 5–11 y) since the severe hypothermic die-off in the Dry Tortugas in 1976–77. This study is also the first to document the largest number of new colonies of A. cervicornis tabulated in an area of the park where coral-monitoring stations maintained by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute have not been established. The elevated numbers provide an updated baseline for tracking revival of this species at Pulaski Shoal.

  9. Genetic evidence of peripheral isolation and low diversity in marginal populations of the Acropora hyacinthus complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, Go; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Hayashibara, Takeshi; Wallace, Carden C.; Shirayama, Yoshihisa; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Fukami, Hironobu

    2016-12-01

    Zooxanthellate corals are found throughout the tropics, but also extend into subtropical and marginal locations due to the presence of warm ocean currents. The population history of corals in marginal locations is of great interest in relation to changing global climatic conditions, as species edge zones might play an important role in evolutionary innovation. Here, we examine the genetic structure of a widely distributed coral species complex, Acropora hyacinthus, from tropical to high subtropical regions along the Kuroshio Current in Taiwan and Japan. Population genetic analysis of 307 specimens from 18 locations (7 reefal and 11 marginal) identified at least four genetic lineages within the A. hyacinthus complex: HyaA, HyaB, HyaC (dominating reefal locations) and HyaD dominating marginal locations in mainland Japan and Taiwan, except the upper Penghu Islands, which were dominated by HyaC. Crossing experiments suggested semi-incompatibility and hybridization between HyaC and D from reefal locations, implying that the existence of hybridization partners enhances diversification and genetic diversity. An incomplete barrier between the HyaC and HyaD dominations was found along the two straits in the Ryukyu Islands, where Kuroshio Current flows constantly. Despite geographical distance, the genetic composition of populations in mainland Japan was comparable to that in mainland Taiwan, which may reflect a region-specific connectivity around the northern limit of A. hyacinthus in the Pacific. In contrast, populations in the Ryukyu Islands were not significantly different from those of Palau and the Great Barrier Reef. While the precise taxonomic nature of the lineages found around the Kuroshio Current remains to be elucidated, these results indicate that, despite the presence of four lineages in the Kuroshio triangle, low genetic diversity populations of the two main lines might be isolating and differentiating in the marginal region.

  10. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching.

    PubMed

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Agostini, Sylvain; Casareto, Beatriz Estela; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Yuyama, Ikuko

    2015-12-18

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached at 13 °C, but recovered once temperatures were increased. The two other species, A. hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis, which has a more southerly range than A. pruinosa, died rapidly after bleaching at 13 °C. The physiological effects of cold bleaching on the corals included decreased rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification, similar to the physiological effects observed with bleaching due to high temperature stress. Contrasting hot bleaching, no increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed, suggesting that reactive oxygen species play a less important role in bleaching under cold stress. These results confirmed the importance of resilience to cold stress in determining the distribution and northern limits of coral species, as cold events causing coral bleaching and high mortality occur regularly in temperate zones.

  11. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching

    PubMed Central

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Agostini, Sylvain; Casareto, Beatriz Estela; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Yuyama, Ikuko

    2015-01-01

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached at 13 °C, but recovered once temperatures were increased. The two other species, A. hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis, which has a more southerly range than A. pruinosa, died rapidly after bleaching at 13 °C. The physiological effects of cold bleaching on the corals included decreased rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification, similar to the physiological effects observed with bleaching due to high temperature stress. Contrasting hot bleaching, no increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed, suggesting that reactive oxygen species play a less important role in bleaching under cold stress. These results confirmed the importance of resilience to cold stress in determining the distribution and northern limits of coral species, as cold events causing coral bleaching and high mortality occur regularly in temperate zones. PMID:26680690

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Density of Diadema antillarum (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) on live coral patch reefs and dead Acropora cervicornis rubble patches near Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Density of adult Diadema antillarum was assessed on live coral patch reefs and dead Acropora cervicornis rubble patches next to Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA in June 2009. Mean density on live coral patch reefs (0.49 individuals m-2) was not statistical...

  15. Effect of ocean warming and acidification on the early life stages of subtropical Acropora spicifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, T.; Gilmour, J. P.; Chua, C. M.; Falter, J. L.; McCulloch, M. T.

    2015-12-01

    This study investigated the impacts of acidified seawater ( pCO2 ~ 900 μatm) and elevated water temperature (+3 °C) on the early life history stages of Acropora spicifera from the subtropical Houtman Abrolhos Islands (28°S) in Western Australia. Settlement rates were unaffected by high temperature (27 °C, ~250 μatm), high pCO2 (24 °C, ~900 μatm), or a combination of both high temperature and high pCO2 treatments (27 °C, ~900 μatm). There were also no significant differences in rates of post-settlement survival after 4 weeks of exposure between any of the treatments, with survival ranging from 60 to 70 % regardless of treatment. Similarly, calcification, as determined by the skeletal weight of recruits, was unaffected by an increase in water temperature under both ambient and high pCO2 conditions. In contrast, high pCO2 significantly reduced early skeletal development, with mean skeletal weight in the high pCO2 and combined treatments reduced by 60 and 48 %, respectively, compared to control weights. Elevated temperature appeared to have a partially mitigative effect on calcification under high pCO2; however, this effect was not significant. Our results show that rates of settlement, post-settlement survival, and calcification in subtropical corals are relatively resilient to increases in temperature. This is in marked contrast to the sensitivity to temperature reported for the majority of tropical larvae and recruits in the literature. The subtropical corals in this study appear able to withstand an increase in temperature of 3 °C above ambient, indicating that they may have a wider thermal tolerance range and may not be adversely affected by initial increases in water temperature from subtropical 24 to 27 °C. However, the reduction in skeletal weight with high pCO2 indicates that early skeletal formation will be highly vulnerable to the changes in ocean pCO2 expected to occur over the twenty-first century, with implications for their longer-term growth

  16. An ancient and variable mannose-binding lectin from the coral Acropora millepora binds both pathogens and symbionts.

    PubMed

    Kvennefors, E Charlotte E; Leggat, William; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Degnan, Bernard M; Barnes, Andrew C

    2008-01-01

    Corals form the framework of the world's coral reefs and are under threat from increases in disease and bleaching (symbiotic dysfunction), yet the mechanisms of pathogen and symbiont recognition remain largely unknown. Here we describe the isolation and characterisation of an ancient mannose-binding lectin in the coral Acropora millepora, which is likely to be involved in both processes. The lectin ('Millectin') was isolated by affinity chromatography and was shown to bind to bacterial pathogens as well as coral symbionts, dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. cDNA analysis of Millectin indicate extensive sequence variation in the binding region, reflecting its ability to recognise various mannose-like carbohydrate structures on non-self cells, including symbionts and pathogens. This is the first mannose-binding lectin to show extensive sequence variability as observed for pattern recognition proteins in other invertebrate immune systems and, given that invertebrates rely on non-adaptive immunity, is a potential keystone component of coral defence mechanisms.

  17. RNA-seq Profiles of Immune Related Genes in the Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis Infected with White Band Disease

    PubMed Central

    Libro, Silvia; Kaluziak, Stefan T.; Vollmer, Steven V.

    2013-01-01

    Coral diseases are among the most serious threats to coral reefs worldwide, yet most coral diseases remain poorly understood. How the coral host responds to pathogen infection is an area where very little is known. Here we used next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to produce a transcriptome-wide profile of the immune response of the Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis to White Band Disease (WBD) by comparing infected versus healthy (asymptomatic) coral tissues. The transcriptome of A. cervicornis was assembled de novo from A-tail selected Illumina mRNA-seq data from whole coral tissues, and parsed bioinformatically into coral and non-coral transcripts using existing Acropora genomes in order to identify putative coral transcripts. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified in the coral and non-coral datasets to identify genes that were up- and down-regulated due to disease infection. RNA-seq analyses indicate that infected corals exhibited significant changes in gene expression across 4% (1,805 out of 47,748 transcripts) of the coral transcriptome. The primary response to infection included transcripts involved in macrophage-mediated pathogen recognition and ROS production, two hallmarks of phagocytosis, as well as key mediators of apoptosis and calcium homeostasis. The strong up-regulation of the enzyme allene oxide synthase-lipoxygenase suggests a key role of the allene oxide pathway in coral immunity. Interestingly, none of the three primary innate immune pathways - Toll-like receptors (TLR), Complement, and prophenoloxydase pathways, were strongly associated with the response of A. cervicornis to infection. Five-hundred and fifty differentially expressed non-coral transcripts were classified as metazoan (n = 84), algal or plant (n = 52), fungi (n = 24) and protozoans (n = 13). None of the 52 putative Symbiodinium or algal transcript had any clear immune functions indicating that the immune response is driven by the coral host, and not its algal

  18. RNA-seq profiles of immune related genes in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis infected with white band disease.

    PubMed

    Libro, Silvia; Kaluziak, Stefan T; Vollmer, Steven V

    2013-01-01

    Coral diseases are among the most serious threats to coral reefs worldwide, yet most coral diseases remain poorly understood. How the coral host responds to pathogen infection is an area where very little is known. Here we used next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to produce a transcriptome-wide profile of the immune response of the Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis to White Band Disease (WBD) by comparing infected versus healthy (asymptomatic) coral tissues. The transcriptome of A. cervicornis was assembled de novo from A-tail selected Illumina mRNA-seq data from whole coral tissues, and parsed bioinformatically into coral and non-coral transcripts using existing Acropora genomes in order to identify putative coral transcripts. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified in the coral and non-coral datasets to identify genes that were up- and down-regulated due to disease infection. RNA-seq analyses indicate that infected corals exhibited significant changes in gene expression across 4% (1,805 out of 47,748 transcripts) of the coral transcriptome. The primary response to infection included transcripts involved in macrophage-mediated pathogen recognition and ROS production, two hallmarks of phagocytosis, as well as key mediators of apoptosis and calcium homeostasis. The strong up-regulation of the enzyme allene oxide synthase-lipoxygenase suggests a key role of the allene oxide pathway in coral immunity. Interestingly, none of the three primary innate immune pathways--Toll-like receptors (TLR), Complement, and prophenoloxydase pathways, were strongly associated with the response of A. cervicornis to infection. Five-hundred and fifty differentially expressed non-coral transcripts were classified as metazoan (n = 84), algal or plant (n = 52), fungi (n = 24) and protozoans (n = 13). None of the 52 putative Symbiodinium or algal transcript had any clear immune functions indicating that the immune response is driven by the coral host, and not its algal

  19. Onset and establishment of diazotrophs and other bacterial associates in the early life history stages of the coral Acropora millepora.

    PubMed

    Lema, Kimberley A; Bourne, David G; Willis, Bette L

    2014-10-01

    Early establishment of coral-microbial symbioses is fundamental to the fitness of corals, but comparatively little is known about the onset and succession of bacterial communities in their early life history stages. In this study, bacterial associates of the coral Acropora millepora were characterized throughout the first year of life, from larvae and 1-week-old juveniles reared in laboratory conditions in the absence of the dinoflagellate endosymbiont Symbiodinium to field-outplanted juveniles with established Symbiodinium symbioses, and sampled at 2 weeks and at 3, 6 and 12 months. Using an amplicon pyrosequencing approach, the diversity of both nitrogen-fixing bacteria and of bacterial communities overall was assessed through analysis of nifH and 16S rRNA genes, respectively. The consistent presence of sequences affiliated with diazotrophs of the order Rhizobiales (23-58% of retrieved nifH sequences; 2-12% of 16S rRNA sequences), across all samples from larvae to 12-month-old coral juveniles, highlights the likely functional importance of this nitrogen-fixing order to the coral holobiont. Dominance of Roseobacter-affiliated sequences (>55% of retrieved 16S rRNA sequences) in larvae and 1-week-old juveniles, and the consistent presence of sequences related to Oceanospirillales and Altermonadales throughout all early life history stages, signifies their potential importance as coral associates. Increased diversity of bacterial communities once juveniles were transferred to the field, particularly of Cyanobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria, demonstrates horizontal (environmental) uptake of coral-associated bacterial communities. Although overall bacterial communities were dynamic, bacteria with likely important functional roles remain stable throughout early life stages of Acropora millepora.

  20. Differential expression of three galaxin-related genes during settlement and metamorphosis in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora

    PubMed Central

    Reyes-Bermudez, Alejandro; Lin, Zhiyi; Hayward, David C; Miller, David J; Ball, Eldon E

    2009-01-01

    Background The coral skeleton consists of CaCO3 deposited upon an organic matrix primarily as aragonite. Currently galaxin, from Galaxea fascicularis, is the only soluble protein component of the organic matrix that has been characterized from a coral. Three genes related to galaxin were identified in the coral Acropora millepora. Results One of the Acropora genes (Amgalaxin) encodes a clear galaxin ortholog, while the others (Amgalaxin-like 1 and Amgalaxin-like 2) encode larger and more divergent proteins. All three proteins are predicted to be extracellular and share common structural features, most notably the presence of repetitive motifs containing dicysteine residues. In situ hybridization reveals distinct, but partially overlapping, spatial expression of the genes in patterns consistent with distinct roles in calcification. Both of the Amgalaxin-like genes are expressed exclusively in the early stages of calcification, while Amgalaxin continues to be expressed in the adult, consistent with the situation in the coral Galaxea. Conclusion Comparisons with molluscs suggest functional convergence in the two groups; lustrin A/pearlin proteins may be the mollusc counterparts of galaxin, whereas the galaxin-like proteins combine characteristics of two distinct proteins involved in mollusc calcification. Database searches indicate that, although sequences with high similarity to the galaxins are restricted to the Scleractinia, more divergent members of this protein family are present in other cnidarians and some other metazoans. We suggest that ancestral galaxins may have been secondarily recruited to roles in calcification in the Triassic, when the Scleractinia first appeared. Understanding the evolution of the broader galaxin family will require wider sampling and expression analysis in a range of cnidarians and other animals. PMID:19638240

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  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

    Aeby, Greta S; Williams, Gareth J; 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

    2011-02-18

    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.

  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, G.S.; Williams, G.J.; Franklin, E.C.; Haapkyla, J.; Harvell, C.D.; Neale, S.; Page, C.A.; Raymundo, L.; Vargas-Angel, B.; Willis, B.L.; Work, T.M.; Davy, S.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. Coral Reef Genomics: Developing tools for functional genomics ofcoral symbiosis

    SciTech Connect

    Schwarz, Jodi; Brokstein, Peter; Manohar, Chitra; Coffroth, MaryAlice; Szmant, Alina; Medina, Monica

    2005-03-01

    Symbioses between cnidarians and dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are widespread in the marine environment. The importance of this symbiosis to reef-building corals and reef nutrient and carbon cycles is well documented, but little is known about the mechanisms by which the partners establish and regulate the symbiosis. Because the dinoflagellate symbionts live inside the cells of their host coral, the interactions between the partners occur on cellular and molecular levels, as each partner alters the expression of genes and proteins to facilitate the partnership. These interactions can examined using high-throughput techniques that allow thousands of genes to be examined simultaneously. We are developing the groundwork so that we can use DNA microarray profiling to identify genes involved in the Montastraea faveolata and Acropora palmata symbioses. Here we report results from the initial steps in this microarray initiative, that is, the construction of cDNA libraries from 4 of 16 target stages, sequencing of 3450 cDNA clones to generate Expressed Sequenced Tags (ESTs), and annotation of the ESTs to identify candidate genes to include in the microarrays. An understanding of how the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regulated will have implications for atmospheric and ocean sciences, conservation biology, the study and diagnosis of coral bleaching and disease, and comparative studies of animal-protest interactions.

  6. The chemical cue tetrabromopyrrole from a biofilm bacterium induces settlement of multiple Caribbean corals

    PubMed Central

    Sneed, Jennifer M.; Sharp, Koty H.; Ritchie, Kimberly B.; Paul, Valerie J.

    2014-01-01

    Microbial biofilms induce larval settlement for some invertebrates, including corals; however, the chemical cues involved have rarely been identified. Here, we demonstrate the role of microbial biofilms in inducing larval settlement with the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides and report the first instance of a chemical cue isolated from a marine biofilm bacterium that induces complete settlement (attachment and metamorphosis) of Caribbean coral larvae. Larvae settled in response to natural biofilms, and the response was eliminated when biofilms were treated with antibiotics. A similar settlement response was elicited by monospecific biofilms of a single bacterial strain, Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5, isolated from the surface biofilm of a crustose coralline alga. The activity of Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5 was attributed to the production of a single compound, tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), which has been shown previously to induce metamorphosis without attachment in Pacific acroporid corals. In addition to inducing settlement of brooded larvae (P. astreoides), TBP also induced larval settlement for two broadcast-spawning species, Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) franksi and Acropora palmata, indicating that this compound may have widespread importance among Caribbean coral species. PMID:24850918

  7. Bacterial Acquisition in Juveniles of Several Broadcast Spawning Coral Species

    PubMed Central

    Sharp, Koty H.; Ritchie, Kim B.; Schupp, Peter J.; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Paul, Valerie J.

    2010-01-01

    Coral animals harbor diverse microorganisms in their tissues, including archaea, bacteria, viruses, and zooxanthellae. The extent to which coral-bacterial associations are specific and the mechanisms for their maintenance across generations in the environment are unknown. The high diversity of bacteria in adult coral colonies has made it challenging to identify species-specific patterns. Localization of bacteria in gametes and larvae of corals presents an opportunity for determining when bacterial-coral associations are initiated and whether they are dynamic throughout early development. This study focuses on the early onset of bacterial associations in the mass spawning corals Montastraea annularis, M. franksi, M. faveolata, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Diploria strigosa, and A. humilis. The presence of bacteria and timing of bacterial colonization was evaluated in gametes, swimming planulae, and newly settled polyps by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using general eubacterial probes and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. The coral species investigated in this study do not appear to transmit bacteria via their gametes, and bacteria are not detectable in or on the corals until after settlement and metamorphosis. This study suggests that mass-spawning corals do not acquire, or are not colonized by, detectable numbers of bacteria until after larval settlement and development of the juvenile polyp. This timing lays the groundwork for developing and testing new hypotheses regarding general regulatory mechanisms that control bacterial colonization and infection of corals, and how interactions among bacteria and juvenile polyps influence the structure of bacterial assemblages in corals. PMID:20526374

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-06-01

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

  9. 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

    ... 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 elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) corals under the ESA until April 6, 2013,...

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

    PubMed Central

    Drury, Crawford; Manzello, Derek; Lirman, Diego

    2017-01-01

    The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms. PMID:28319134

  11. Cumulative effects of suspended sediments, organic nutrients and temperature stress on early life history stages of the coral Acropora tenuis

    PubMed Central

    Humanes, Adriana; Ricardo, Gerard F.; Willis, Bette L.; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Negri, Andrew P.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reproduction is vulnerable to both declining water quality and warming temperatures, with simultaneous exposures likely compounding the negative impact of each stressor. We investigated how early life processes of the coral Acropora tenuis respond to increasing levels of suspended sediments in combination with temperature or organic nutrients. Fertilization success and embryo development were more sensitive to suspended sediments than to high temperatures or nutrient enrichment, while larval development (after acquisition of cilia) and settlement success were predominantly affected by thermal stress. Fertilization success was reduced 80% by suspended sediments, and up to 24% by temperature, while the addition of nutrients to suspended sediments had no further impact. Larval survivorship was unaffected by any of these treatments. However, settlement success of larvae developing from treatment-exposed embryos was negatively affected by all three stressors (e.g. up to 55% by suspended sediments), while exposure only during later larval stages predominantly responded to temperature stress. Environmentally relevant levels of suspended sediments and temperature had the greatest impacts, affecting more processes than the combined impacts of sediments and nutrients. These results suggest that management strategies to maintain suspended sediments at low concentrations during coral spawning events will benefit coral recruitment, especially with warming climate. PMID:28281658

  12. Gene expression patterns during the early stages of chemically induced larval metamorphosis and settlement of the coral Acropora millepora.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  13. Cumulative effects of suspended sediments, organic nutrients and temperature stress on early life history stages of the coral Acropora tenuis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Humanes, Adriana; Ricardo, Gerard F.; Willis, Bette L.; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Negri, Andrew P.

    2017-03-01

    Coral reproduction is vulnerable to both declining water quality and warming temperatures, with simultaneous exposures likely compounding the negative impact of each stressor. We investigated how early life processes of the coral Acropora tenuis respond to increasing levels of suspended sediments in combination with temperature or organic nutrients. Fertilization success and embryo development were more sensitive to suspended sediments than to high temperatures or nutrient enrichment, while larval development (after acquisition of cilia) and settlement success were predominantly affected by thermal stress. Fertilization success was reduced 80% by suspended sediments, and up to 24% by temperature, while the addition of nutrients to suspended sediments had no further impact. Larval survivorship was unaffected by any of these treatments. However, settlement success of larvae developing from treatment-exposed embryos was negatively affected by all three stressors (e.g. up to 55% by suspended sediments), while exposure only during later larval stages predominantly responded to temperature stress. Environmentally relevant levels of suspended sediments and temperature had the greatest impacts, affecting more processes than the combined impacts of sediments and nutrients. These results suggest that management strategies to maintain suspended sediments at low concentrations during coral spawning events will benefit coral recruitment, especially with warming climate.

  14. Comparison of the effects of thermal stress and CO₂-driven acidified seawater on fertilization in coral Acropora digitifera.

    PubMed

    Iguchi, Akira; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Nojiri, Yukihiro

    2015-08-01

    Global warming (GW) and ocean acidification (OA) have been recognized as severe threats for reef-building corals that support coral reef ecosystems, but these effects on the early life history stage of corals are relatively unknown compared with the effects on calcification of adult corals. In this study, we evaluated the effects of thermal stress and CO2-driven acidified seawater on fertilization in a reef-building coral, Acropora digitifera. The fertilization rates of A. digitifera decreased in response to thermal stress compared with those under normal seawater conditions. In contrast, the changes of fertilization rates were not evident in the acidified seawater. Generalized Linear Mixed Model (GLMM) predicted that sperm/egg crosses and temperature were explanatory variables in the best-fitted model for the fertilization data. In the best model, interactions between thermal stress and acidified seawater on the fertilization rates were not selected. Our results suggested that coral fertilization is more sensitive to future GW than OA. Taking into consideration the previous finding that sperm motility of A. digitifera was decreased by acidified seawater, the decrease in coral cover followed by that of sperm concentration might cause the interacting effects of GW and OA on coral fertilization.

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

    PubMed

    Li, Jie; Chen, Qi; Zhang, Si; Huang, Hui; Yang, Jian; Tian, Xin-Peng; Long, Li-Juan

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Drury, Crawford; Manzello, Derek; Lirman, Diego

    2017-01-01

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

  17. Variation in calcification rate of Acropora downingi relative to seasonal changes in environmental conditions in the northeastern Persian Gulf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vajed Samiei, Jahangir; Saleh, Abolfazl; Shirvani, Arash; Sheijooni Fumani, Neda; Hashtroudi, Mehri; Pratchett, Morgan Stuart

    2016-12-01

    There is a strong interest in understanding how coral calcification varies with changing environmental conditions, especially given the projected changes in temperature and aragonite saturation due to climate change. This study explores in situ variation in calcification rates of Acropora downingi in the northeastern Persian Gulf relative to seasonal changes in temperature, irradiance and aragonite saturation state ( Ω arag). Calcification rates of A. downingi were highest in the spring and lowest in the winter, and intra-annual variation in calcification rate was significantly related to temperature ( r 2 = 0.30) and irradiance ( r 2 = 0.36), but not Ω arag ( r 2 = 0.02). Seasonal differences in temperature are obviously confounded by differences in other environmental conditions and vice versa. Therefore, we used published relationships from experimental studies to establish which environmental parameter(s) (temperature, irradiance, and/or Ω arag) placed greatest constraints on calcification rate (relative to the maximum spring rate) in each season. Variation in calcification rates was largely attributable to seasonal changes in irradiance and temperature (possibly 57.4 and 39.7% respectively). Therefore, we predict that ocean warming may lead to increased rates of calcification during winter, but decelerate calcification during spring, fall and especially summer, resulting in net deceleration of calcification for A. downingi in the Persian Gulf.

  18. Phylogenetic characterization of culturable actinomycetes associated with the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from Gulf of Mannar.

    PubMed

    Nithyanand, Paramasivam; Manju, Sivalingam; Karutha Pandian, Shunmugiah

    2011-01-01

    The marine environment is a virtually untapped source of novel actinomycete diversity and its metabolites. Investigating the diversity of actinomycetes in other marine macroorganisms, like seaweeds and sponges, have resulted in isolation of novel bioactive metabolites. Actinomycetes diversity associated with corals and their produced metabolites have not yet been explored. Hence, in this study we attempted to characterize the culturable actinomycetes population associated with the coral Acropora digitifera. Actinomycetes were isolated from the mucus of the coral wherein the actinomycetes count was much higher when compared with the surrounding seawater and sediment. Actinobacteria-specific 16S rRNA gene primers were used for identifying the isolates at the molecular level in addition to biochemical tests. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis using three restriction enzymes revealed several polymorphic groups within the isolates. Sequencing and blast analysis of the isolates revealed that some isolates had only 96.7% similarity with its nearest match in GenBank indicating that they may be novel isolates at the species level. The isolated actinomycetes exhibited good antibacterial activity against various human pathogens. This study offers for the first time a prelude about the unexplored culturable actinomycetes diversity associated with a scleractinian coral and their bioactive capabilities.

  19. Changes in microbial communities, photosynthesis and calcification of the coral Acropora gemmifera in response to ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Guowei; Yuan, Tao; Cai, Lin; Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Tong, Haoya; Jiang, Lei; Yuan, Xiangcheng; Liu, Sheng; Qian, Peiyuan; Huang, Hui

    2016-10-01

    With the increasing anthropogenic CO2 concentration, ocean acidification (OA) can have dramatic effects on coral reefs. However, the effects of OA on coral physiology and the associated microbes remain largely unknown. In the present study, reef-building coral Acropora gemmifera collected from a reef flat with highly fluctuating environmental condition in the South China Sea were exposed to three levels of partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) (i.e., 421, 923, and 2070 μatm) for four weeks. The microbial community structures associated with A. gemmifera under these treatments were analyzed using 16S rRNA gene barcode sequencing. The results revealed that the microbial community associated with A. gemmifera was highly diverse at the genus level and dominated by Alphaproteobacteria. More importantly, the microbial community structure remained rather stable under different pCO2 treatments. Photosynthesis and calcification in A. gemmifera, as indicated by enrichment of δ18O and increased depletion of δ13C in the coral skeleton, were significantly impaired only at the high pCO2 (2070 μatm). These results suggest that A. gemmifera can maintain a high degree of stable microbial communities despite of significant physiological changes in response to extremely high pCO2.

  20. Maternal effects and Symbiodinium community composition drive differential patterns in juvenile survival in the coral Acropora tenuis

    PubMed Central

    Willis, Bette L.; Bay, Line K.

    2016-01-01

    Coral endosymbionts in the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium are known to impact host physiology and have led to the evolution of reef-building, but less is known about how symbiotic communities in early life-history stages and their interactions with host parental identity shape the structure of coral communities on reefs. Differentiating the roles of environmental and biological factors driving variation in population demographic processes, particularly larval settlement, early juvenile survival and the onset of symbiosis is key to understanding how coral communities are structured and to predicting how they are likely to respond to climate change. We show that maternal effects (that here include genetic and/or effects related to the maternal environment) can explain nearly 24% of variation in larval settlement success and 5–17% of variation in juvenile survival in an experimental study of the reef-building scleractinian coral, Acropora tenuis. After 25 days on the reef, Symbiodinium communities associated with juvenile corals differed significantly between high mortality and low mortality families based on estimates of taxonomic richness, composition and relative abundance of taxa. Our results highlight that maternal and familial effects significantly explain variation in juvenile survival and symbiont communities in a broadcast-spawning coral, with Symbiodinium type A3 possibly a critical symbiotic partner during this early life stage. PMID:27853562

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  2. Changes in microbial communities, photosynthesis and calcification of the coral Acropora gemmifera in response to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Guowei; Yuan, Tao; Cai, Lin; Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Tong, Haoya; Jiang, Lei; Yuan, Xiangcheng; Liu, Sheng; Qian, Peiyuan; Huang, Hui

    2016-10-27

    With the increasing anthropogenic CO2 concentration, ocean acidification (OA) can have dramatic effects on coral reefs. However, the effects of OA on coral physiology and the associated microbes remain largely unknown. In the present study, reef-building coral Acropora gemmifera collected from a reef flat with highly fluctuating environmental condition in the South China Sea were exposed to three levels of partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) (i.e., 421, 923, and 2070 μatm) for four weeks. The microbial community structures associated with A. gemmifera under these treatments were analyzed using 16S rRNA gene barcode sequencing. The results revealed that the microbial community associated with A. gemmifera was highly diverse at the genus level and dominated by Alphaproteobacteria. More importantly, the microbial community structure remained rather stable under different pCO2 treatments. Photosynthesis and calcification in A. gemmifera, as indicated by enrichment of δ(18)O and increased depletion of δ(13)C in the coral skeleton, were significantly impaired only at the high pCO2 (2070 μatm). These results suggest that A. gemmifera can maintain a high degree of stable microbial communities despite of significant physiological changes in response to extremely high pCO2.

  3. Changes in microbial communities, photosynthesis and calcification of the coral Acropora gemmifera in response to ocean acidification

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Guowei; Yuan, Tao; Cai, Lin; Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Tong, Haoya; Jiang, Lei; Yuan, Xiangcheng; Liu, Sheng; Qian, Peiyuan; Huang, Hui

    2016-01-01

    With the increasing anthropogenic CO2 concentration, ocean acidification (OA) can have dramatic effects on coral reefs. However, the effects of OA on coral physiology and the associated microbes remain largely unknown. In the present study, reef-building coral Acropora gemmifera collected from a reef flat with highly fluctuating environmental condition in the South China Sea were exposed to three levels of partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) (i.e., 421, 923, and 2070 μatm) for four weeks. The microbial community structures associated with A. gemmifera under these treatments were analyzed using 16S rRNA gene barcode sequencing. The results revealed that the microbial community associated with A. gemmifera was highly diverse at the genus level and dominated by Alphaproteobacteria. More importantly, the microbial community structure remained rather stable under different pCO2 treatments. Photosynthesis and calcification in A. gemmifera, as indicated by enrichment of δ18O and increased depletion of δ13C in the coral skeleton, were significantly impaired only at the high pCO2 (2070 μatm). These results suggest that A. gemmifera can maintain a high degree of stable microbial communities despite of significant physiological changes in response to extremely high pCO2. PMID:27786309

  4. Algal symbiont type affects gene expression in juveniles of the coral Acropora tenuis exposed to thermal stress.

    PubMed

    Yuyama, Ikuko; Harii, Saki; Hidaka, Michio

    2012-05-01

    Reef-building corals harbor symbiotic dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium spp., which are currently divided into several clades. The responses of corals associated with different Symbiodinium clades to thermal stress are not well understood, especially at a gene expression level. Juveniles of the coral Acropora tenuis inoculated with different algal types (clade A or D) were exposed to thermal stress and the expression levels of four putative stress-responsive genes, including genes coding green and red fluorescent proteins, an oxidative stress-responsive protein, and an ascorbic acid transporter, were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR. The expression levels of the four genes decreased at high temperatures if juveniles were associated with clade A symbionts but increased if the symbionts were in clade D. The intensity of green fluorescence increased with temperature in clade D symbionts harboring juveniles, but not in juveniles associated with clade A symbionts. The present results suggest that genotypes of endosymbiotic algae affect the thermal stress responses of the coral juveniles.

  5. Cumulative effects of suspended sediments, organic nutrients and temperature stress on early life history stages of the coral Acropora tenuis.

    PubMed

    Humanes, Adriana; Ricardo, Gerard F; Willis, Bette L; Fabricius, Katharina E; Negri, Andrew P

    2017-03-10

    Coral reproduction is vulnerable to both declining water quality and warming temperatures, with simultaneous exposures likely compounding the negative impact of each stressor. We investigated how early life processes of the coral Acropora tenuis respond to increasing levels of suspended sediments in combination with temperature or organic nutrients. Fertilization success and embryo development were more sensitive to suspended sediments than to high temperatures or nutrient enrichment, while larval development (after acquisition of cilia) and settlement success were predominantly affected by thermal stress. Fertilization success was reduced 80% by suspended sediments, and up to 24% by temperature, while the addition of nutrients to suspended sediments had no further impact. Larval survivorship was unaffected by any of these treatments. However, settlement success of larvae developing from treatment-exposed embryos was negatively affected by all three stressors (e.g. up to 55% by suspended sediments), while exposure only during later larval stages predominantly responded to temperature stress. Environmentally relevant levels of suspended sediments and temperature had the greatest impacts, affecting more processes than the combined impacts of sediments and nutrients. These results suggest that management strategies to maintain suspended sediments at low concentrations during coral spawning events will benefit coral recruitment, especially with warming climate.

  6. The Skeletal Proteome of the Coral Acropora millepora: The Evolution of Calcification by Co-Option and Domain Shuffling

    PubMed Central

    Ramos-Silva, Paula; Kaandorp, Jaap; Huisman, Lotte; Marie, Benjamin; Zanella-Cléon, Isabelle; Guichard, Nathalie; Miller, David J.; Marin, Frédéric

    2013-01-01

    In corals, biocalcification is a major function that may be drastically affected by ocean acidification (OA). Scleractinian corals grow by building up aragonitic exoskeletons that provide support and protection for soft tissues. Although this process has been extensively studied, the molecular basis of biocalcification is poorly understood. Notably lacking is a comprehensive catalog of the skeleton-occluded proteins—the skeletal organic matrix proteins (SOMPs) that are thought to regulate the mineral deposition. Using a combination of proteomics and transcriptomics, we report the first survey of such proteins in the staghorn coral Acropora millepora. The organic matrix (OM) extracted from the coral skeleton was analyzed by mass spectrometry and bioinformatics, enabling the identification of 36 SOMPs. These results provide novel insights into the molecular basis of coral calcification and the macroevolution of metazoan calcifying systems, whereas establishing a platform for studying the impact of OA at molecular level. Besides secreted proteins, extracellular regions of transmembrane proteins are also present, suggesting a close control of aragonite deposition by the calicoblastic epithelium. In addition to the expected SOMPs (Asp/Glu-rich, galaxins), the skeletal repertoire included several proteins containing known extracellular matrix domains. From an evolutionary perspective, the number of coral-specific proteins is low, many SOMPs having counterparts in the noncalcifying cnidarians. Extending the comparison with the skeletal OM proteomes of other metazoans allowed the identification of a pool of functional domains shared between phyla. These data suggest that co-option and domain shuffling may be general mechanisms by which the trait of calcification has evolved. PMID:23765379

  7. The skeletal proteome of the coral Acropora millepora: the evolution of calcification by co-option and domain shuffling.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Silva, Paula; Kaandorp, Jaap; Huisman, Lotte; Marie, Benjamin; Zanella-Cléon, Isabelle; Guichard, Nathalie; Miller, David J; Marin, Frédéric

    2013-09-01

    In corals, biocalcification is a major function that may be drastically affected by ocean acidification (OA). Scleractinian corals grow by building up aragonitic exoskeletons that provide support and protection for soft tissues. Although this process has been extensively studied, the molecular basis of biocalcification is poorly understood. Notably lacking is a comprehensive catalog of the skeleton-occluded proteins-the skeletal organic matrix proteins (SOMPs) that are thought to regulate the mineral deposition. Using a combination of proteomics and transcriptomics, we report the first survey of such proteins in the staghorn coral Acropora millepora. The organic matrix (OM) extracted from the coral skeleton was analyzed by mass spectrometry and bioinformatics, enabling the identification of 36 SOMPs. These results provide novel insights into the molecular basis of coral calcification and the macroevolution of metazoan calcifying systems, whereas establishing a platform for studying the impact of OA at molecular level. Besides secreted proteins, extracellular regions of transmembrane proteins are also present, suggesting a close control of aragonite deposition by the calicoblastic epithelium. In addition to the expected SOMPs (Asp/Glu-rich, galaxins), the skeletal repertoire included several proteins containing known extracellular matrix domains. From an evolutionary perspective, the number of coral-specific proteins is low, many SOMPs having counterparts in the noncalcifying cnidarians. Extending the comparison with the skeletal OM proteomes of other metazoans allowed the identification of a pool of functional domains shared between phyla. These data suggest that co-option and domain shuffling may be general mechanisms by which the trait of calcification has evolved.

  8. The functional importance of Acropora austera as nursery areas for juvenile reef fish on South African coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Floros, C.; Schleyer, M. H.

    2017-03-01

    Many coral reef fish species use mangrove and seagrass beds as nursery areas. However, in certain regions, the absence or scarcity of such habitats suggests that juvenile coral reef fish may be seeking refuge elsewhere. The underlying biogenic substratum of most coral reefs is structurally complex and provides many types of refuge. However, on young or subtropical coral reefs, species may be more reliant on the living coral layer as nursery areas. Such is the case on the high-latitude coral reefs of South Africa where the coral communities consist of a thin veneer of coral overlaying late Pleistocene bedrock. Thus, the morphology of coral species may be a major determinant in the availability of refuge space. Acropora austera is a branching species that forms large patches with high structural complexity. Associated with these patches is a diverse community of fish species, particularly juveniles. Over the past decade, several large (>100 m2) A. austera patches at Sodwana Bay have been diminishing for unknown reasons and there is little evidence of their replacement or regrowth. Seven patches of A. austera (AP) and non- A. austera (NAP) were selected and monitored for 12 months using visual surveys to investigate the importance of AP as refugia and nursery areas. There were significant differences in fish communities between AP and NAP habitats. In total, 110 species were recorded within the patches compared to 101 species outside the patches. Labrids and pomacentrids were the dominant species in the AP habitats, while juvenile scarids, acanthurids, chaetodons and serranids were also abundant. The diversity and abundance of fish species increased significantly with AP size. As the most structurally complex coral species on the reefs, the loss of APs may have significant implications for the recruitment and survival of certain fish species.

  9. Gene Expression in the Scleractinian Acropora microphthalma Exposed to High Solar Irradiance Reveals Elements of Photoprotection and Coral Bleaching

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Background The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH) from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues. Methodology/Principal Findings A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a ‘shared metabolic adaptation’ between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca2+-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis. Conclusions/Significance Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral bleaching. PMID

  10. Influence of fish grazing and sedimentation on the early post-settlement survival of the tabular coral Acropora cytherea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trapon, M. L.; Pratchett, M. S.; Hoey, A. S.; Baird, A. H.

    2013-12-01

    Processes operating in the early life stages of corals are critical in ultimately establishing patterns of adult abundance. Mortality, in particular, is assumed to be very high during the first few months to years post-settlement, but the sources of this mortality are largely unknown. This study quantified early post-settlement survival for Acropora cytherea, spawned and reared in captivity and settled onto terracotta tiles. Replicate tiles were then deployed in the field at Lizard Island, in northern section of the Great Barrier Reef to examine the effects of grazing and sedimentation on survival of corals in two different habitats, the exposed reef crest and sheltered back reef. Overall, survivorship was broadly comparable between habitats, ranging from 37.7 to 64.5 % per month on the exposed reef crest and 53.1-64.3 % on the sheltered back reef. On the reef crest, the exclusion of herbivores increased survivorship by 22.4 %, from 42.1 to 64.5 % per month. Moreover, survivorship within the reef crest was negatively correlated with the density of parrotfish feeding scars on tiles after 4 weeks. In contrast, the exclusion of herbivores had no detectable effect on survivorship within the back reef, and no feeding scars were observed on tiles in this habitat. Difference in grazing-induced mortality between habitats is most likely related to differences in herbivore size and abundance, with parrotfish biomass being 5.5-fold greater on the reef crest than the back reef. Surprisingly, tile orientation had no effect on survivorship of A. cytherea in either habitat, despite a marked difference in the sediment cover on vertical (0 %) versus horizontal tiles (30 %) in the back reef. This is in marked contrast to previous studies that have reported sedimentation is a major cause of early post-settlement mortality in corals. Clearly, processes that cause mortality of newly settled corals, such as grazing and sedimentation, vary spatially.

  11. In-situ Effects of Eutrophication and Overfishing on Physiology and Bacterial Diversity of the Red Sea Coral Acropora hemprichii

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ 15N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account. PMID:23630625

  12. Cumulative Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Elevated Temperature Compromise the Early Life History Stages of the Coral Acropora tenuis

    PubMed Central

    Noonan, Sam H. C.; Willis, Bette L.; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Negri, Andrew P.

    2016-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs are experiencing the combined pressures of excess nutrient availability associated with coastal activities and warming seawater temperatures. Both pressures are known to have detrimental effects on the early life history stages of hard corals, but studies of their combined effects on early demographic stages are lacking. We conducted a series of experiments to test the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (three levels) and elevated seawater temperature (up to five levels) on early life history stages of the inshore coral Acropora tenuis, a common species in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Gamete fertilization, larval survivorship and larval settlement were all significantly reduced as temperature increased, but only fertilization was further affected by simultaneous nutrient enrichment. Combined high temperatures and nutrient enrichment affected fertilization in an additive manner, whereas embryo abnormalities increased synergistically. Higher than normal temperatures (32°C) increased coral juvenile growth rates 1.6-fold, but mortality also increased by 50%. The co-occurrence of nutrient enrichment with high temperatures reduced juvenile mortality to 36%, ameliorating temperature stress (antagonistic interaction). Overall, the types of effect (additive vs synergistic or antagonistic) and their magnitude varied among life stages. Gamete and embryo stages were more affected by temperature stress and, in some cases, also by nutrient enrichment than juveniles. The data suggest that coastal runoff events might exacerbate the impacts of warming temperatures on fertilization if these events co-occur during corals spawning. The cumulative impacts of simultaneous exposure to nutrient enrichment and elevated temperatures over all early life history stages increases the likelihood for failure of larval supply and recruitment for this coral species. Our results suggest that improving the water quality of river discharges into coastal areas might help to

  13. Using bacterial extract along with differential gene expression in Acropora millepora larvae to decouple the processes of attachment and metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Siboni, Nachshon; Abrego, David; Seneca, Francois; Motti, Cherie A; Andreakis, Nikos; Tebben, Jan; Blackall, Linda L; Harder, Tilmann

    2012-01-01

    Biofilms of the bacterium Pseudoalteromonas induce metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae. The bacterial metabolite tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), isolated from an extract of Pseudoalteromonas sp. associated with the crustose coralline alga (CCA) Neogoniolithon fosliei, induced coral larval metamorphosis (100%) with little or no attachment (0-2%). To better understand the molecular events and mechanisms underpinning the induction of Acropora millepora larval metamorphosis, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration, adhesion and biomineralisation, two novel coral gene expression assays were implemented. These involved the use of reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and employed 47 genes of interest (GOI), selected based on putative roles in the processes of settlement and metamorphosis. Substantial differences in transcriptomic responses of GOI were detected following incubation of A. millepora larvae with a threshold concentration and 10-fold elevated concentration of TBP-containing extracts of Pseudoalteromonas sp. The notable and relatively abrupt changes of the larval body structure during metamorphosis correlated, at the molecular level, with significant differences (p<0.05) in gene expression profiles of 24 GOI, 12 hours post exposure. Fourteen of those GOI also presented differences in expression (p<0.05) following exposure to the threshold concentration of bacterial TBP-containing extract. The specificity of the bacterial TBP-containing extract to induce the metamorphic stage in A. millepora larvae without attachment, using a robust, low cost, accurate, ecologically relevant and highly reproducible RT-qPCR assay, allowed partially decoupling of the transcriptomic processes of attachment and metamorphosis. The bacterial TBP-containing extract provided a unique opportunity to monitor the regulation of genes exclusively involved in the process of metamorphosis, contrasting previous gene expression studies that utilized cues

  14. Using Bacterial Extract along with Differential Gene Expression in Acropora millepora Larvae to Decouple the Processes of Attachment and Metamorphosis

    PubMed Central

    Siboni, Nachshon; Abrego, David; Seneca, Francois; Motti, Cherie A.; Andreakis, Nikos; Tebben, Jan; Blackall, Linda L.; Harder, Tilmann

    2012-01-01

    Biofilms of the bacterium Pseudoalteromonas induce metamorphosis of acroporid coral larvae. The bacterial metabolite tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), isolated from an extract of Pseudoalteromonas sp. associated with the crustose coralline alga (CCA) Neogoniolithon fosliei, induced coral larval metamorphosis (100%) with little or no attachment (0–2%). To better understand the molecular events and mechanisms underpinning the induction of Acropora millepora larval metamorphosis, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration, adhesion and biomineralisation, two novel coral gene expression assays were implemented. These involved the use of reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and employed 47 genes of interest (GOI), selected based on putative roles in the processes of settlement and metamorphosis. Substantial differences in transcriptomic responses of GOI were detected following incubation of A. millepora larvae with a threshold concentration and 10-fold elevated concentration of TBP-containing extracts of Pseudoalteromonas sp. The notable and relatively abrupt changes of the larval body structure during metamorphosis correlated, at the molecular level, with significant differences (p<0.05) in gene expression profiles of 24 GOI, 12 hours post exposure. Fourteen of those GOI also presented differences in expression (p<0.05) following exposure to the threshold concentration of bacterial TBP-containing extract. The specificity of the bacterial TBP-containing extract to induce the metamorphic stage in A. millepora larvae without attachment, using a robust, low cost, accurate, ecologically relevant and highly reproducible RT-qPCR assay, allowed partially decoupling of the transcriptomic processes of attachment and metamorphosis. The bacterial TBP-containing extract provided a unique opportunity to monitor the regulation of genes exclusively involved in the process of metamorphosis, contrasting previous gene expression studies that utilized cues

  15. Environmental Factors Controlling the Distribution of Symbiodinium Harboured by the Coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Cooper, Timothy F.; Berkelmans, Ray; Ulstrup, Karin E.; Weeks, Scarla; Radford, Ben; Jones, Alison M.; Doyle, Jason; Canto, Marites; O'Leary, Rebecca A.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2011-01-01

    Background The Symbiodinium community associated with scleractinian corals is widely considered to be shaped by seawater temperature, as the coral's upper temperature tolerance is largely contingent on the Symbiodinium types harboured. Few studies have challenged this paradigm as knowledge of other environmental drivers on the distribution of Symbiodinium is limited. Here, we examine the influence of a range of environmental variables on the distribution of Symbiodinium associated with Acropora millepora collected from 47 coral reefs spanning 1,400 km on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Methodology/Principal Findings The environmental data included Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data at 1 km spatial resolution from which a number of sea surface temperature (SST) and water quality metrics were derived. In addition, the carbonate and mud composition of sediments were incorporated into the analysis along with in situ water quality samples for a subset of locations. Analyses were conducted at three spatio-temporal scales [GBR (regional-scale), Whitsunday Islands (local-scale) and Keppel Islands/Trunk Reef (temporal)] to examine the effects of scale on the distribution patterns. While SST metrics were important drivers of the distribution of Symbiodinium types at regional and temporal scales, our results demonstrate that spatial variability in water quality correlates significantly with Symbiodinium distribution at local scales. Background levels of Symbiodinium types were greatest at turbid inshore locations of the Whitsunday Islands where SST predictors were not as important. This was not the case at regional scales where combinations of mud and carbonate sediment content coupled with SST anomalies and mean summer SST explained 51.3% of the variation in dominant Symbiodinium communities. Conclusions/Significance Reef corals may respond to global-scale stressors such as climate change through changes in their resident symbiont

  16. Possible natural hybridization of two morphologically distinct species of Acropora (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) in the Pacific: fertilization and larval survival rates.

    PubMed

    Isomura, Naoko; Iwao, Kenji; Fukami, Hironobu

    2013-01-01

    Natural hybridization of corals in the Indo-Pacific has been considered rather rare. However, field studies have observed many corals with intermediate interspecific or unusual morphologies. Given that the existence of F1 hybrids with intermediate interspecific morphologies has been proven in the Caribbean, hybrids may also inhabit the Indo-Pacific and occur more frequently than expected. In this study, we focused on two morphologically different species, Acropora florida and A. intermedia, and performed crossing experiments at Akajima Island, Japan. Results showed that these species could hybridize in both directions via eggs and sperm, but that fertilization rates significantly differed according to which species provided eggs. These results are similar to those reported from the Caribbean. Although all embryos developed normally to the planular larval stage, the developmental processes of some hybrid embryos were delayed by approximately 1 h compared with conspecific embryos, suggesting that fertilization occurred 1 h later in interspecific crosses than in intraspecific crosses. More successful hybridization could occur under conditions with low numbers of conspecific colonies. Additionally, a comparison of survival rates between hybrid and intraspecific larvae revealed that intra- and interspecific larvae produced from eggs of A. florida survived for significantly longer than those produced from eggs of A. intermedia. Considering these data, under specific conditions, hybrids can be expected to be produced and survive in nature in the Pacific. Furthermore, we identified one colony with intermediate morphology between A. florida and A. intermedia in the field. This colony was fertilized only by eggs of A. florida, with high fertilization rates, suggesting that this colony would be a hybrid of these two species and might be backcrossed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-22

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

  20. Microsatellite characterization and marker development from public EST and WGS databases in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia).

    PubMed

    Wang, Shi; Zhang, Lingling; Matz, Mikhail

    2009-01-01

    Mining for microsatellites (also called simple sequence repeats [SSRs]) in public sequence databases of a common Indo-Pacific coral Acropora millepora identified 191 SSRs from 10 258 expressed sequence tag (EST) and 618 SSRs from 14 625 whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequences. In contrast to other animals, trinucleotide repeats, rather than dinucleotide repeats, are dominant in the WGS-SSRs, and AAT is the most frequent trinucleotide motif in EST-SSRs. We successfully developed 40 polymorphic markers from EST-SSRs and WGS-SSRs. Both EST- and WGS-SSRs show high levels of polymorphism within corals from the same reef patch. Interestingly, markers WGS079 and WGS227 revealed SSR duplications in a few individuals, suggesting recent duplication events. Genotypic linkage disequilibrium was identified in 5 pairs of SSR markers, which will be invaluable for high-resolution studies of genetic admixture in natural populations of A. millepora. Transferability analysis showed that 25 of these markers can be successfully amplified in one of the most ubiquitous Indo-Pacific corals Acropora hyacinthus. The marker collection reported here is the largest ever developed for any reef-building coral. It holds great potential for addressing coral reef connectivity across the Indo-Pacific with an unprecedented precision, especially taking into account the cross-species transferability of a substantial number of markers.

  1. Coral diversity and the severity of disease outbreaks: a cross-regional comparison of Acropora white syndrome in a species-rich region (American Samoa) with a species-poor region (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands).

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aeby, G.S.; Bourne, D.G.; Wilson, B.; Work, Thierry M.

    2011-01-01

    The dynamics of the coral disease, Acropora white syndrome (AWS), was directly compared on reefs in the species-poor region of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) and the species-rich region of American Samoa (AS) with results suggesting that biodiversity, which can affect the abundance of susceptible hosts, is important in influencing the impacts of coral disease outbreaks. The diversity-disease hypothesis predicts that decreased host species diversity should result in increased disease severity of specialist pathogens. We found that AWS was more prevalent and had a higher incidence within the NWHI as compared to AS. Individual Acropora colonies affected by AWS showed high mortality in both regions, but case fatality rate and disease severity was higher in the NWHI. The site within the NWHI had a monospecific stand of A. cytherea; a species that is highly susceptible to AWS. Once AWS entered the site, it spread easily amongst the abundant susceptible hosts. The site within AS contained numerous Acropora species, which differed in their apparent susceptibility to infection and disease severity, which in turn reduced disease spread. Manipulative studies showed AWS was transmissible through direct contact in three Acropora species. These results will help managers predict and respond to disease outbreaks.

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

    PubMed Central

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A.; Lirman, Diego

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Schopmeyer, Stephanie A; Lirman, Diego

    2015-01-01

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

  4. A genomewide survey of bHLH transcription factors in the coral Acropora digitifera identifies three novel orthologous families, pearl, amber, and peridot.

    PubMed

    Gyoja, Fuki; Kawashima, Takeshi; Satoh, Nori

    2012-04-01

    Decoding the genome of the coral, Acropora digitifera, enabled us to characterize a nearly full set of 70 basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors in this organism. This number is comparable to 68 bHLH genes in the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, and larger than those in most other invertebrate metazoans. The 70 bHLH genes were assigned to 29 orthologous families previously reported. In addition, we identified three novel HLH orthologous families, which we designated pearl, amber, and peridot, increasing the number of orthologous families to 32. Pearl and amber orthologues were found in genomes and expressed sequenced tags (ESTs) of Mollusca and Annelida in addition to Cnidaria. Peridot orthologues were found in genomes and ESTs of Cephalochordata and Hemichordata in addition to Cnidaria. These three genes were likely lost in the clades of Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Homo sapiens during animal evolution.

  5. Effect of eight outer continental shelf drilling muds on the calcification rate and free amino acid pool of the coral Acropora cervicornis

    SciTech Connect

    Powell, E.N.; Kendall, J.J. Jr.; Connor, S.J.; Zastrow, C.E.; Bright, T.J.

    1984-09-01

    During most offshore drilling operations, drilling muds are routinely discharged into surrounding waters. Because corals are relatively sensitive to many environmental perturbations and can be adversely affected by offshore drilling operations, the effects of drilling muds on corals have received considerable attention. Because drilling muds are discharged intermittently, only periodic exposures of short duration should impact nearby coral reefs. To fully assess the impact of a drilling mud discharge on corals requires an assessment of the capacity for corals to recover from short-term exposure. The purpose of this study was to assess the relative toxicity of a number of muds that were slated for marine disposal for the coral Acropora cervicornis after a 48-hr recovery period. Calcification rate and free amino acid pool were investigated.

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

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Friedrich W.; Vogel, Nikolas; Diele, Karen; Kunzmann, Andreas; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Meyer, Friedrich W; Vogel, Nikolas; Diele, Karen; Kunzmann, Andreas; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2016-01-01

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

  8. Comparisons of the 1995 and 1998 coral bleaching events on the patch reefs of San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

    PubMed

    McGrath, Thomas A; Smith, Garriet W

    2003-06-01

    Coral patch reefs around San Salvador Island, Bahamas have been monitored with the aid of Earthwatch volunteers three times a year since 1992. During that period two significant mass bleaching events occurred: autumn 1995, and late summer 1998. Elsewhere in 1995, bleaching was caused by higher-than-normal summer sea temperatures; in San Salvador, however, temperatures were normal. In 1998 a prolonged period of higher-than-normal sea temperatures preceded bleaching on San Salvador and worldwide. During the 1995 event, one of the monitored reefs had twice the percentage of coral colonies bleached as the other two. Bleaching was more evenly distributed among the reefs during the 1998 event. In 1995 Agaricia agaricites was significantly more affected than other coral species, with almost 50% of all its colonies showing bleaching. Bleaching was more evenly spread among coral species in 1998, with five species showing bleaching on more than 40% of their colonies. Bleaching began on Millepora as early as August during the 1998 event and progressed to other species through the remainder of the autumn. In 1995 bleaching was not seen until late autumn and appeared to impact all affected species at about the same time. Recovery from the 1995 event was complete: no coral death or damage above normal background levels were seen. In the 1998 event, all Acropora cervicornis on the monitored reefs died and A. palmata was severely damaged. Millepora sp. lost almost half of their live tissue, and Montastraea sp. showed significant tissue damage following this event. Phototransect analysis suggests that more than 20% of total live tissue on affected species died during the 1998 event. A. cervicornis has demonstrated no re-growth from 1998 to 2000 on monitored reefs. Monitoring has suggested significant differences in causes and courses in these two events.

  9. Successive shifts in the microbial community of the surface mucus layer and tissues of the coral Acropora muricata under thermal stress.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sonny T M; Davy, Simon K; Tang, Sen-Lin; Fan, Tung-Yung; Kench, Paul S

    2015-12-01

    The coral mucus may harbor commensal bacteria that inhibit growth of pathogens. Therefore, there is a need to understand the dynamics of bacterial communities between the coral mucus and tissues. Nubbins of Acropora muricata were subjected to increasing water temperatures of 26°C-33°C, to simultaneously explore the bacterial diversity in coral mucus and tissues by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Photochemical efficiency of symbiotic dinoflagellates within the corals declined above 31°C. Both the mucus and tissues of healthy A. muricata were dominated by γ-Proteobacteria, but under thermal stress there was a shift towards bacteria from the Verrucomicrobiaceae and α-Proteobacteria. Members of Cyanobacteria, Flavobacteria and Sphingobacteria also become more prominent at higher temperatures. The relative abundance of Vibrio spp. in the coral mucus increased at 29°C, but at 31°C, there was a drop in the relative abundance of Vibrio spp. in the mucus, with a reciprocal increase in the tissues. On the other hand, during bleaching, the relative abundance of Endozoicomonas spp. decreased in the tissues with a reciprocal increase in the mucus. This is the first systematic experiment that shows the potential for a bacterial community shift between the coral surface mucus and tissues in a thermally stressed coral.

  10. Parameterization of the response of calcification to temperature and pCO2 in the coral Acropora pulchra and the alga Lithophyllum kotschyanum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Comeau, S.; Carpenter, R. C.; Lantz, C. A.; Edmunds, P. J.

    2016-09-01

    The response of tropical corals and calcifying algae to ocean acidification (OA) and warming has received much attention in the past decade. However, most studies have evaluated the response of organisms to two or three temperature treatments, which does not allow the functional relationship between calcification and temperature under ambient and future pCO2 to be determined. This study tested the hypothesis that the relationship between calcification and temperature is affected by OA in the coral Acropora pulchra and the calcified alga Lithophyllum kotschyanum. Pieces of each organism were incubated under five (24-30 °C) or six (24-31.5 °C) temperatures crossed with two pCO2 levels (400 and 1000 μatm), and calcification was assessed in trials conducted in the spring and summer. The response of coral calcification to temperature was a positive asymmetric parabola with a maximum at ~28 °C under both pCO2 levels and in both seasons; the effects of pCO2 on calcification were largest at ~28 °C and lowest in both cool and warm temperatures. In contrast, calcification of the alga at both levels of pCO2 was unaffected by temperature in spring, but declined linearly with temperature in summer. This study demonstrates that the calcification response of coral reef organisms to the crossed effect of warming and OA is complex and cannot be fully assessed without using multiple temperature treatments that are ecologically relevant.

  11. Mutational analysis of the Acropora millepora PaxD paired domain highlights the importance of the linker region for DNA binding.

    PubMed

    Nordström, Karin; Scholten, Ingo; Nordström, Johanna; Larhammar, Dan; Miller, David

    2003-11-27

    Pax transcription factors are found in animals, from simple sponges to insects and vertebrates. The defining feature of Pax proteins is the DNA-binding paired domain (PD), which consists of two helix-turn-helix subdomains, joined with a linker region. Despite high specificity in vivo, the paired domains of different Pax proteins bind similar consensus DNA sequences in vitro. Using bandshift techniques, we show here that the paired domain of the Acropora millepora PaxD protein, which unambiguously belongs to the Pax3/7 group, does not bind to three defined paired domain-binding sites. Domain swapping experiments and site-directed mutagenesis identified two amino acid residues in the linker region of the paired domain as critical to DNA binding; G70 and S71 are highly conserved in Pax proteins, but differ in PaxD (L70 and N71). The PaxD data thus highlight the importance of the linker region, and particularly G70 and S71, in DNA binding by Pax proteins.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  13. Species Specificity of Bacteria Associated to the Brown Seaweeds Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) and Their Potential for Induction of Rapid Coral Bleaching in Acropora muricata

    PubMed Central

    Vieira, Christophe; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Guentas, Linda; Aires, Tânia; Houlbreque, Fanny; Gaubert, Julie; Serrão, Ester A.; De Clerck, Olivier; Payri, Claude E.

    2016-01-01

    While reef degradation is occurring worldwide, it is not uncommon to see phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominated reefs. Numerous studies have addressed the mechanisms by which macroalgae may outcompete corals and a few recent studies highlighted the putative role of bacteria at the interface between macroalgae and corals. Some studies suggest that macroalgae may act as vectors and/or foster proliferation of microorganisms pathogenic for corals. Using a combination of high throughput sequencing, bacterial culturing, and in situ bioassays we question if the adversity of macroalgal-associated bacteria to corals is mediated by specific bacterial taxa. Using Illumina sequencing, we characterized and compared the bacterial community from two Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) species. The two species presented distinctive bacterial communities. Both species shared approximately half of their OTUs, mainly the most abundant bacteria. Species-specific OTUs belong to Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. In total, 16 culturable bacterial strain were isolated and identified from the Lobophora surface, consisting of 10 genera (from nine families, four classes, and three phyla), some of which are not known as, but are related to pathogens involved in coral diseases, and others are naturally associated to corals. When patches of marine agar with 24 h cultures of each of these bacteria were placed in direct contact with the branches of the scleractinian coral Acropora muricata, they caused severe bleaching after 24 h exposure. Results suggest that regardless of taxonomic affinities, increase in density of these bacteria can be adverse to corals. Nevertheless, the microbial community associated to macroalgal surface may not represent a threat to corals, because the specific bacterial screening and control exerted by the alga preventing specific bacterial proliferation. PMID:27047453

  14. Species Specificity of Bacteria Associated to the Brown Seaweeds Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) and Their Potential for Induction of Rapid Coral Bleaching in Acropora muricata.

    PubMed

    Vieira, Christophe; Engelen, Aschwin H; Guentas, Linda; Aires, Tânia; Houlbreque, Fanny; Gaubert, Julie; Serrão, Ester A; De Clerck, Olivier; Payri, Claude E

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Estimate of calcification responses to thermal and freshening stresses based on culture experiments with symbiotic and aposymbiotic primary polyps of a coral, Acropora digitifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inoue, Mayuri; Shinmen, Kotaro; Kawahata, Hodaka; Nakamura, Takashi; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Kato, Aki; Shinzato, Chuya; Iguchi, Akira; Kan, Hironobu; Suzuki, Atsushi; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2012-07-01

    Although coral calcification is directly related to coral health, few studies have examined the responses of coral calcification to environmental stresses, with the exception of ocean acidification. In this study, we experimentally exposed aposymbiotic (lacking symbionts) and symbiotic primary polyps of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera to several seawater temperatures (27, 29, 31, and 33 °C) and salinities (26, 28, 30, 32, and 34) to investigate the effects of thermal and freshening stresses on coral calcification from the standpoint of coral-algal symbiosis. Calcification rates were higher for symbiotic versus aposymbiotic polyps in both sets of experiments, except for those reared at 31 °C and 33 °C. Calcification responses of symbiotic polyps were a non-linear function of temperature, and the threshold temperature affecting skeletal growth and bleaching was between 29 °C and 31 °C. Calcification rates of aposymbiotic polyps were also a non-linear function of temperature, with a maximum polyp weight at 31 °C, suggesting that thermal stress also did some damage to the coral host itself. In contrast, skeletal growth of both aposymbiotic and symbiotic polyps decreased linearly with increased salinity. Observations of the microstructure of polyp samples revealed a clearly cyclic feature of skeletal surfaces that was likely related to organo-mineral deposition of calcium carbonate even under lowered-salinity conditions. However, neither type of polyp reared at 33 °C evidenced this characteristic, suggesting that thermal stress had compromised the normal calcification process, which involves secretion of an organic matrix by the coral host. Our results suggest that the effects of future global warming will include a reduction in coral calcification itself and the collapse of coral-algal symbiosis, at least at the primary polyp stage. The present experiments showed that thermal stress would affect the host's physiological functionality, whereas

  16. KEGG orthology-based annotation of the predicted proteome of Acropora digitifera: ZoophyteBase - an open access and searchable database of a coral genome

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Contemporary coral reef research has firmly established that a genomic approach is urgently needed to better understand the effects of anthropogenic environmental stress and global climate change on coral holobiont interactions. Here we present KEGG orthology-based annotation of the complete genome sequence of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera and provide the first comprehensive view of the genome of a reef-building coral by applying advanced bioinformatics. Description Sequences from the KEGG database of protein function were used to construct hidden Markov models. These models were used to search the predicted proteome of A. digitifera to establish complete genomic annotation. The annotated dataset is published in ZoophyteBase, an open access format with different options for searching the data. A particularly useful feature is the ability to use a Google-like search engine that links query words to protein attributes. We present features of the annotation that underpin the molecular structure of key processes of coral physiology that include (1) regulatory proteins of symbiosis, (2) planula and early developmental proteins, (3) neural messengers, receptors and sensory proteins, (4) calcification and Ca2+-signalling proteins, (5) plant-derived proteins, (6) proteins of nitrogen metabolism, (7) DNA repair proteins, (8) stress response proteins, (9) antioxidant and redox-protective proteins, (10) proteins of cellular apoptosis, (11) microbial symbioses and pathogenicity proteins, (12) proteins of viral pathogenicity, (13) toxins and venom, (14) proteins of the chemical defensome and (15) coral epigenetics. Conclusions We advocate that providing annotation in an open-access searchable database available to the public domain will give an unprecedented foundation to interrogate the fundamental molecular structure and interactions of coral symbiosis and allow critical questions to be addressed at the genomic level based on combined aspects of

  17. Historical and contemporary factors shape the population genetic structure of the broadcast spawning coral, Acropora millepora, on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Peplow, Lesa M; Kininmonth, Stuart; Berkelmans, Ray

    2011-12-01

    Effective management of reef corals requires knowledge of the extent to which populations are open or closed and the scales over which genetic exchange occurs, information which is commonly derived from population genetic data. Such data are sparse for Great Barrier Reef (GBR) corals and other organisms, with the studies that are available being mostly based on a small number of sampling locations spanning only part of the GBR. Using 11 microsatellite loci, we genotyped 947 colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora from 20 sites spanning almost the full length of the GBR (∼12° of latitude and ∼1550 km). The results show a major divide between the southernmost central to southern offshore populations and all other sampled populations. We interpret this divide as a signature of allopatric divergence in northern and southern refugia during the Pleistocene glaciations, from which the GBR was subsequently recolonized. Superimposed on this pattern is a cross-shelf genetic division, as well as a separation of inshore populations south of the Cape Clifton Front at ∼21.5-22°S. Most inshore populations north of this, as well as mid-shelf populations in the northern and far northern GBR, are open, exchanging recruits frequently. In contrast, inshore populations south of the Cape Clifton Front and offshore populations in the central and southern GBR are largely self-seeding, at least within the spatial resolution that was achieved given our sampling intensity. Populations that have been impacted by recent disturbance events causing extensive coral mortality show no evidence of reduced genetic diversity.

  18. 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 ...

  19. Patterns of sexual recruitment of acroporid coral populations on the west fore reef at Discovery Bay, Jamaica.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Norman J; Kojis, Barbara L

    2005-05-01

    Coral recruitment was examined on terracotta tiles deployed for four six-month periods between March 2001 and April 2003 on the West Fore Reef at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. During each sampling period, four tiles were deployed on each of two arrays at six depths ranging from 3 m to 33 m. Only three Acropora spat recruited to the tiles over the sampling period. The Acropora spat recruited during only one of the four six-month sampling periods and at only one depth, 3m. That represents a density of 8 spat m(-2) at 3 m depth for one six-month sampling period. Acropora recruitment represented <1 % of the total spat recruiting to the tiles deployed at 3 m during the four sampling periods. Density of acroporids on the West Fore Reef is low. Only one Acropora colony (an A. palmata) was recorded during Point-Quarter surveys of coral cover and density at depths of 3 m, 9 m, 14 m and 19 m. Considering the paucity of acroporid colonies and the infrequent settlement of acroporid spat on the West Fore Reef, it is unlikely that the historic abundance of A. palmata and A. cervicornis will return soon.

  20. Geochemical study of coral skeletons from the Puerto Morelos Reef, southeastern Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kasper-Zubillaga, Juan J.; Armstrong-Altrin, John S.; Rosales-Hoz, Leticia

    2014-12-01

    Geochemical analyses in coral skeletons have been used as a proxy of marine environmental conditions and to understand the mechanisms of adsorption of chemical elements into the coral skeletons and growth forms. However, little attention has been given to show the possible differences in the growth rates of corals based upon major, trace, rare earth element and microprobe analyses to examine the physical-chemical conditions influencing those differences. Our goal is to show how branch and fan corals incorporate elements into their skeletons comparing them with their coral growth rates. We determine the development of the skeletons of two branching (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) and one fan shaped (Gorgonia ventalina) colonies in the Puerto Morelos Reef, southeastern Mexico based upon geochemical data and the influence of terrigenous input into the species. Mg and Sr concentrations were the most statistically significant elements among the species studied suggesting that Mg concentration in Gorgonia ventalina is probably not linked to its growth rate. Mn content in the sea water is adsorbed by the three corals during past growth rates during high rainfall events. Sr concentration may be associated with the growth rate of Acropora palmata. Little differences in the growth rate in Acropora palmata may be associated with low rates of calcitization, negligible changes in the Sr concentration and little influence of temperature and water depth in its growth. Trace elements like Cr, Co, Ni and V adsorbed by the corals are influenced by natural concentration of these elements in the sea-water. Rare earth elements in the corals studied suggests abundant inorganic ions CO32- with variable pH in modern shallow well-oxygenated sea water. Lack of terrigenous input seawards is supported by geochemical, geomorphological and biological evidences. This study is an example of how geochemical data are useful to observe the differences in environmental conditions related to

  1. Revised paleoenvironmental analysis of the Holocene portion of the Barbados sea-level record: Cobbler's Reef revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toscano, Marguerite A.

    2016-06-01

    Sample elevations corrected for tectonic uplift and assessed relative to local modeled sea levels provide a new perspective on paleoenvironmental history at Cobbler's Reef, Barbados. Previously, 14C-dated surface samples of fragmented Acropora palmata plotted above paleo sea level based on their present (uplifted) elevations, suggesting supratidal rubble deposited during a period of extreme storms (4500-3000 cal BP), precipitating reef demise. At several sites, however, A. palmata persisted, existing until ~370 cal BP. Uplift-corrected A. palmata sample elevations lie below the western Atlantic sea-level curve, and ~2 m below ICE-6G-modeled paleo sea level, under slow rates of sea-level rise, negating the possibility that Cobbler's Reef is a supratidal storm ridge. Most sites show limited age ranges from corals likely damaged/killed on the reef crest, not the mixed ages of rubble ridges, strongly suggesting the reef framework died off in stages over 6500 yr. Reef crest death assemblages invoke multiple paleohistoric causes, from ubiquitous hurricanes to anthropogenic impacts. Comparison of death assemblage ages to dated regional paleotempestological sequences, proxy-based paleotemperatures, recorded hurricanes, tsunamis, European settlement, deforestation, and resulting turbidity, reveals many possible factors inimical to the survival of A. palmata along Cobbler's Reef.

  2. Lithifying Microbes Associated to Coral Rubbles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beltran, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial communities taking part in calcium carbonate lithification processes are particularly relevant to coral reef formation in as much as this lithification allows the stabilization of secondary reef structure. This second framework promotes long-term permanence of the reef, favoring the establishment of macro-reef builders, including corals. The reef-bacterial crusts formed by microbial communities are composed of magnesium calcite. Although prokaryotes are not proper calcifiers, carbonate precipitation can be induced by their metabolic activity and EPS production. Coral reefs are rapidly declining due to several variables associated to environmental change. Specifically in the Caribbean, stony coral Acropora palmata have suffered damage due to diseases, bleaching and storms. Some reports show that in highly disturbed areas wide ridges of reef rubbles are formed by biological and physical lithification. In this study we explore microbial diversity associated to lithified rubbles left after the great decline of reef-building A. palmata.

  3. Topographic control and accumulation rate of some Holocene coral reefs: south Florida and Dry Tortugas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shinn, E.A.; Hudson, J.H.; Halley, R.B.; Lidz, B.H.; Taylor, D.L.

    1977-01-01

    Core drilling and examination of underwater excavation on 6 reef sites in south Florida and Dry Tortugas revealed that underlying topography is the major factor controlling reef morphology. Carbon-14 dating on coral recovered from cores enables calculation of accumulation rates. Accumulation rates were found to range from 0.38 m/1000 years in thin Holocene reefs to as much as 4.85 m/1000 years in thicker buildups. Cementation and alteration of corals were found to be more pronounced in areas of low buildup rates than in areas of rapid accumulation rates. Acropora palmata, generally considered the major reef builder in Florida, was found to be absent in most reefs drilled. At Dry Tortugas, the more than 13-meter thick Holocene reef did not contain A. palmata. The principal reef builders in this outer reef are the same as those which built the Pleistocene Key Largo formation, long considered to be fossilized patch reef complex.

  4. Removal of corallivorous snails as a proactive tool for the conservation of acroporid corals

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Margaret W.; Bright, Allan J.; Cameron, Caitlin M.

    2014-01-01

    Corallivorous snail feeding is a common source of tissue loss for the threatened coral, Acropora palmata, accounting for roughly one-quarter of tissue loss in monitored study plots over seven years. In contrast with larger threats such as bleaching, disease, or storms, corallivory by Coralliophila abbreviata is one of the few direct sources of partial mortality that may be locally managed. We conducted a field experiment to explore the effectiveness and feasibility of snail removal. Long-term monitoring plots on six reefs in the upper Florida Keys were assigned to one of three removal treatments: (1) removal from A. palmata only, (2) removal from all host coral species, or (3) no-removal controls. During the initial removal in June 2011, 436 snails were removed from twelve 150 m2 plots. Snails were removed three additional times during a seven month “removal phase”, then counted at five surveys over the next 19 months to track recolonization. At the conclusion, snails were collected, measured and sexed. Before-After-Control-Impact analysis revealed that both snail abundance and feeding scar prevalence were reduced in removal treatments compared to the control, but there was no difference between removal treatments. Recolonization by snails to baseline abundance is estimated to be 3.7 years and did not differ between removal treatments. Recolonization rate was significantly correlated with baseline snail abundance. Maximum snail size decreased from 47.0 mm to 34.6 mm in the removal treatments. The effort required to remove snails from A. palmata was 30 diver minutes per 150 m2 plot, compared with 51 min to remove snails from all host corals. Since there was no additional benefit observed with removing snails from all host species, removals can be more efficiently focused on only A. palmata colonies and in areas where C. abbreviata abundance is high, to effectively conserve A. palmata in targeted areas. PMID:25469321

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, V.; Ward, G.

    2008-01-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. Contemporary white-band disease in Caribbean corals driven by climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Randall, C. J.; van Woesik, R.

    2015-04-01

    Over the past 40 years, two of the dominant reef-building corals in the Caribbean, Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis, have experienced unprecedented declines. That loss has been largely attributed to a syndrome commonly referred to as white-band disease. Climate change-driven increases in sea surface temperature (SST) have been linked to several coral diseases, yet, despite decades of research, the attribution of white-band disease to climate change remains unknown. Here we hindcasted the potential relationship between recent ocean warming and outbreaks of white-band disease on acroporid corals. We quantified eight SST metrics, including rates of change in SST and contemporary thermal anomalies, and compared them with records of white-band disease on A. palmata and A. cervicornis from 473 sites across the Caribbean, surveyed from 1997 to 2004. The results of our models suggest that decades-long climate-driven changes in SST, increases in thermal minima, and the breach of thermal maxima have all played significant roles in the spread of white-band disease. We conclude that white-band disease has been strongly coupled with thermal stresses associated with climate change, which has contributed to the regional decline of these once-dominant reef-building corals.

  8. How old are you? Genet age estimates in a clonal animal.

    PubMed

    Devlin-Durante, M K; Miller, M W; Precht, W F; Baums, I B

    2016-11-01

    Foundation species such as redwoods, seagrasses and corals are often long-lived and clonal. Genets may consist of hundreds of members (ramets) and originated hundreds to thousands of years ago. As climate change and other stressors exert selection pressure on species, the demography of populations changes. Yet, because size does not indicate age in clonal organisms, demographic models are missing data necessary to predict the resilience of many foundation species. Here, we correlate somatic mutations with genet age of corals and provide the first, preliminary estimates of genet age in a colonial animal. We observed somatic mutations at five microsatellite loci in rangewide samples of the endangered coral, Acropora palmata (n = 3352). Colonies harboured 342 unique mutations in 147 genets. Genet age ranged from 30 to 838 years assuming a mutation rate of 1.195(-04) per locus per year based on colony growth rates and 236 to 6500 years assuming a mutation rate of 1.542(-05) per locus per year based on sea level changes to habitat availability. Long-lived A. palmata genets imply a large capacity to tolerate past environmental change, and yet recent mass mortality events in A. palmata suggest that capacity is now being frequently exceeded.

  9. Preserving and Using Germplasm and Dissociated Embryonic Cells for Conserving Caribbean and Pacific Coral

    PubMed Central

    Hagedorn, Mary; Carter, Virginia; Martorana, Kelly; Paresa, Malia K.; Acker, Jason; Baums, Iliana B.; Borneman, Eric; Brittsan, Michael; Byers, Michael; Henley, Michael; Laterveer, Michael; Leong, Jo-Ann; McCarthy, Megan; Meyers, Stuart; Nelson, Brian D.; Petersen, Dirk; Tiersch, Terrence; Uribe, Rafael Cuevas; Woods, Erik; Wildt, David

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented degradation due to human activities, and protecting specific reef habitats may not stop this decline, because the most serious threats are global (i.e., climate change), not local. However, ex situ preservation practices can provide safeguards for coral reef conservation. Specifically, modern advances in cryobiology and genome banking could secure existing species and genetic diversity until genotypes can be introduced into rehabilitated habitats. We assessed the feasibility of recovering viable sperm and embryonic cells post-thaw from two coral species, Acropora palmata and Fungia scutaria that have diffferent evolutionary histories, ecological niches and reproductive strategies. In vitro fertilization (IVF) of conspecific eggs using fresh (control) spermatozoa revealed high levels of fertilization (>90% in A. palmata; >84% in F. scutaria; P>0.05) that were unaffected by tested sperm concentrations. A solution of 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at cooling rates of 20 to 30°C/min most successfully cryopreserved both A. palmata and F. scutaria spermatozoa and allowed producing developing larvae in vitro. IVF success under these conditions was 65% in A. palmata and 53% in F. scutaria on particular nights; however, on subsequent nights, the same process resulted in little or no IVF success. Thus, the window for optimal freezing of high quality spermatozoa was short (∼5 h for one night each spawning cycle). Additionally, cryopreserved F. scutaria embryonic cells had∼50% post-thaw viability as measured by intact membranes. Thus, despite some differences between species, coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells are viable after low temperature (−196°C) storage, preservation and thawing. Based on these results, we have begun systematically banking coral spermatozoa and embryonic cells on a large-scale as a support approach for preserving existing bio- and genetic diversity found in reef systems. PMID:22413020

  10. Transplantation of storm-generated coral fragments to enhance Caribbean coral reefs: A successful method but not a solution

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, V.H.; Ward, G.

    2012-01-01

    In response to dramatic losses of reef-building corals and ongoing lack of recovery, a small-scale coral transplant project was initiated in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands) in 1999 and was followed for 12 years. The primary objectives were to (1) identify a source of coral colonies for transplantation that would not result in damage to reefs, (2) test the feasibility of transplanting storm-generated coral fragments, and (3) develop a simple, inexpensive method for transplanting fragments that could be conducted by the local community. The ultimate goal was to enhance abundance of threatened reef-building species on local reefs. Storm-produced coral fragments of two threatened reef-building species [Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis (Acroporidae)] and another fast-growing species [Porites porites (Poritidae)] were collected from environments hostile to coral fragment survival and transplanted to degraded reefs. Inert nylon cable ties were used to attach transplanted coral fragments to dead coral substrate. Survival of 75 reference colonies and 60 transplants was assessed over 12 years. Only 9% of colonies were alive after 12 years: no A. cervicornis; 3% of A. palmata transplants and 18% of reference colonies; and 13% of P. porites transplants and 7% of reference colonies. Mortality rates for all species were high and were similar for transplant and reference colonies. Physical dislodgement resulted in the loss of 56% of colonies, whereas 35% died in place. Only A. palmata showed a difference between transplant and reference colony survival and that was in the first year only. Location was a factor in survival only for A. palmata reference colonies and after year 10. Even though the tested methods and concepts were proven effective in the field over the 12-year study, they do not present a solution. No coral conservation strategy will be effective until underlying intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors driving high mortality rates are understood and mitigated or

  11. Enzymatic Pre-Treatment Increases the Protein Bioaccessibility and Extractability in Dulse (Palmaria palmata)

    PubMed Central

    Mæhre, Hanne K.; Jensen, Ida-Johanne; Eilertsen, Karl-Erik

    2016-01-01

    Several common protein extraction protocols have been applied on seaweeds, but extraction yields have been limited. The aims of this study were to further develop and optimize existing extraction protocols and to examine the effect of enzymatic pre-treatment on bioaccessibility and extractability of seaweed proteins. Enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweed samples resulted in a three-fold increase in amino acids available for extraction. Combining enzymatic pre-treatment with alkaline extraction resulted in a 1.6-fold increase in the protein extraction yield compared to a standard alkaline extraction protocol. A simulated in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model showed that enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweed increased the amount of amino acids available for intestinal absorption 3.2-fold. In conclusion, enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweeds is effective for increasing the amount of amino acids available for utilization and may thus be an effective means for increasing the utilization potential of seaweed proteins. However, both the enzymatic pre-treatment protocol and the protein extraction protocol need further optimization in order to obtain optimal cost-benefit and results from the in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model need to be confirmed in clinical models. PMID:27792166

  12. Natural Disease Resistance in Threatened Staghorn Corals

    PubMed Central

    Vollmer, Steven V.; Kline, David I.

    2008-01-01

    Disease epidemics have caused extensive damage to tropical coral reefs and to the reef-building corals themselves, yet nothing is known about the abilities of the coral host to resist disease infection. Understanding the potential for natural disease resistance in corals is critically important, especially in the Caribbean where the two ecologically dominant shallow-water corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have suffered an unprecedented mass die-off due to White Band Disease (WBD), and are now listed as threatened under the US Threatened Species Act and as critically endangered under the IUCN Red List criteria. Here we examine the potential for natural resistance to WBD in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis by combining microsatellite genotype information with in situ transmission assays and field monitoring of WBD on tagged genotypes. We show that six percent of staghorn coral genotypes (3 out of 49) are resistant to WBD. This natural resistance to WBD in staghorn corals represents the first evidence of host disease resistance in scleractinian corals and demonstrates that staghorn corals have an innate ability to resist WBD infection. These resistant staghorn coral genotypes may explain why pockets of Acropora have been able to survive the WBD epidemic. Understanding disease resistance in these corals may be the critical link to restoring populations of these once dominant corals throughout their range. PMID:19005565

  13. Relationships between benthic cover, current strength, herbivory, and a fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McClanahan, T.; Karnauskas, M.

    2011-03-01

    Benthic cover, current strengths, and fish abundance and diversity were examined on 150 lagoonal patch reefs and mapped to determine their distribution, inter-relationships, and relationship to the fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll. Current strength was highest at both the northern and southern ends of the atoll and largely controlled by local wind and weakly by tidal forcing. Benthic functional group distributions varied throughout the atoll and had distinct areas of dominance. In contrast, dominance of coral species was weaker, reflecting the lost cover and zonation of Acropora, Porites, and Montastraea that were reported in the 1970s. Hard and soft corals dominated the windward rim, while the central and leeward lagoon had lower current strengths and sea grass and fleshy green algae were relatively more abundant. Brown erect algae were relatively more common in the north and calcifying green and red algae the southern ends of the atoll. Only Montastraea- Agaricia agaricites distributions were similar to reports from the 1970s with high relative dominance in the southern and northeast atoll. The central-northern zone, which was described as an Acropora zone in the 1970s, was not recognizable, and Porites porites, P. astreoides, Millepora alcicornis, and Favia fragum were the most abundant species during this survey . Hard and soft coral cover abundance declined away from the reef rim and tidal channels and was associated with fast seawater turnover and high surgeonfish abundance. Consequently, the windward rim area has retained the most original and persistent hard-soft coral and surgeonfish community and is considered a priority for future management, if the goal is to protect coral from fishing impacts.

  14. Metagenomic and ecophysiological analysis of biofilms colonizing coral substrates: "Life after death of coral"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanchez, A., Sr.; Cerqueda-Garcia, D.; Falcón, L. I.; Iglesias-Prieto, R., Sr.

    2015-12-01

    Coral reefs are the most productive ecosystems on the planet and are the most important carbonated structures of biological origin. However, global warming is affecting the health and functionality of these ecosystems. Specifically, most of the Acropora sp. stony corals have declined their population all over the Mexican Caribbean in more than ~80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. When the coral dies, the skeleton begins to be colonized by algae, sponges, bacteria and others, forming a highly diverse biofilm. We analyzed the metagenomes of the dead A. palmata rubbles from Puerto Morelos, in the Mexican Caribbean. Also, we quantified the elemental composition of biomass and measured nitrogen fixation and emission of greenhouse gases over 24 hrs. This works provides information on how the community is composed and functions after the death of the coral, visualizing a possible picture for a world without coral reefs.

  15. 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

  16. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  17. Modern coral reefs of western Atlantic: new geological perspective

    SciTech Connect

    MacIntyre, I.G.

    1988-11-01

    Contrary to popular belief of the late 1960s, western Atlantic Holocene reefs have a long history and are not feeble novice nearshore veneers that barely survived postglacial temperatures. Rather, the growth of these reefs kept pace with the rising seas of the Holocene transgression and their development was, for the most part, controlled by offshore wave-energy conditions and the relationship between changing sea levels and local shelf topography. Thus, the outer shelves of the eastern Caribbean in areas of high energy have relict reefs consisting predominantly of Acropora palmata, a robust shallow-water coral. The flooding of adjacent shelves during the postglacial transgression introduced stress conditions that terminated the growth of these reefs. When, about 7000 yr ago, shelf-water conditions improved, scattered deeper water coral communities reestablished themselves on these stranded shelf-edge reefs, and fringing and bank-barrier reefs began to flourish in shallow coastal areas. At the same time, the fragile and rapidly growing Acropora cervicornis and other corals flourished at greater depths on the more protected shelves of the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, late Holocene buildups more than 30 m thick developed in those areas. 7 figures.

  18. Caribbean Reef Response to Plio-Pleistocene Climate Change: Results of the Dominican Republic Drilling Project (DRDP)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klaus, J.; McNeill, D. F.; Diaz, V.; Swart, P. K.; Pourmand, A.

    2014-12-01

    Caribbean reefs changed profoundly in taxonomic composition, diversity, and dominance structure during late Pliocene and Pleistocene climatic change. These changes coincide with protracted climatic deterioration and cooling between 2.0 to 0.8 Ma, and the onset of high amplitude sea-level fluctuations ~400 ka. The Dominican Republic Drilling Project (DRDP) was initiated to determine how climate change and global high-amplitude sea level changes influenced depositional patterns in Pliocene to Recent reef systems of the Caribbean. A transect of 7 core borings (~700 m total depth) were collected along the southern coast of the DR. New age constraints based on U/Th geochronometry and radiogenic Sr isotopes, combined with depositional lithofacies, faunal indicators, and stable isotope profiles have allowed us to correlate between wells and define the internal anatomy and stratal geometry of the individual reef sigmoids and sigmoid sets. Faunal records suggest most extinction occurred prior to ~1 Ma. Following this extinction, fringing reef margins of the Caribbean display a characteristic zonation in which Acropora palmata dominates shallow high-energy reef crests and Acropora cervicornis calmer fore-reef slopes and backreef lagoons. The dominance of acroporids across this zonation has been attributed to growth rates 5-100 times faster than other corals.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-03-01

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

  20. Clues to Coral Reef Health: Integrating Radiative Transfer Modeling and Hyperspectral Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Guild, Liane; Ganapol, Barry; Kramer, Philip; Armstrong, Roy; Gleason, Art; Torres, Juan; Johnson, Lee; Garfield, Toby; Peterson, David L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    An important contribution to coral reef research is to improve spectral distinction between various health states of coral species in areas subject to harmful anthropogenic activity and climate change. New insights into radiative transfer properties of corals under healthy and stressed conditions can advance understandings of ecological processes on reefs and allow better assessments of the impacts of large-scale bleaching and disease events, Our objective was to examine the spectral and spatial properties of hyperspectral sensors that may be used to remotely sense changes in reef community health. We compare in situ reef environment spectra (healthy coral, stressed coral, dead coral, algae, and sand) with airborne hyperspectral data to identify important spectral characteristics and indices. Additionally, spectral measurements over a range of water depths, relief, and bottom types are compared to help quantify bottom-water column influences. In situ spectra were collected in July and August 2002 at the Long Rock site in the Andros Island, Bahamas coastal zone coral reef. Our primary emphasis was on Acropora palmata (or elkhorn coral), a major reef building coral, which is prevalent in the study area, but is suffering from white band disease. A. palmata is currently being, proposed as an endangered species because its populations have severely declined in many areas of the Caribbean. In addition to the A. palmata biotope, we have collected spectra of at least seven other coral biotopes that exist within the study area, each with different coral community composition, density of corals, relief, and size of corals. Coral spectral reflectance was then input into a radiative transfer model, CORALMOD (CM1), which is based on a leaf radiative transfer model. In CM1, input coral reflectance measurements produce modeled reflectance through an inversion at each visible wavelength to provide the absorption spectrum. Initially, we imposed a scattering baseline that is the

  1. Brucite microbialites in living coral skeletons: Indicators of extreme microenvironments in shallow-marine settings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nothdurft, Luke D.; Webb, Gregory E.; Buster, Noreen A.; Holmes, Charles W.; Sorauf, James E.; Kloprogge, J. T.

    2005-03-01

    Brucite [Mg(OH)2] microbialites occur in vacated interseptal spaces of living scleractinian coral colonies (Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites) from subtidal and intertidal settings in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and subtidal Montastraea from the Florida Keys, United States. Brucite encrusts microbial filaments of endobionts (i.e., fungi, green algae, cyanobacteria) growing under organic biofilms; the brucite distribution is patchy both within interseptal spaces and within coralla. Although brucite is undersaturated in seawater, its precipitation was apparently induced in the corals by lowered pCO2 and increased pH within microenvironments protected by microbial biofilms. The occurrence of brucite in shallow-marine settings highlights the importance of microenvironments in the formation and early diagenesis of marine carbonates. Significantly, the brucite precipitates discovered in microenvironments in these corals show that early diagenetic products do not necessarily reflect ambient seawater chemistry. Errors in environmental interpretation may arise where unidentified precipitates occur in microenvironments in skeletal carbonates that are subsequently utilized as geochemical seawater proxies.

  2. Brucite microbialites in living coral skeletons: Indicators of extreme microenvironments in shallow-marine settings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nothdurft, L.D.; Webb, G.E.; Buster, N.A.; Holmes, C.W.; Sorauf, J.E.; Kloprogge, J.T.

    2005-01-01

    Brucite [Mg(OH)2] microbialites occur in vacated interseptal spaces of living scleractinian coral colonies (Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites) from subtidal and intertidal settings in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and subtidal Montastraea from the Florida Keys, United States. Brucite encrusts microbial filaments of endobionts (i.e., fungi, green algae, cyanobacteria) growing under organic biofilms; the brucite distribution is patchy both within interseptal spaces and within coralla. Although brucite is undersaturated in seawater, its precipitation was apparently induced in the corals by lowered pCO 2 and increased pH within microenvironments protected by microbial biofilms. The occurrence of brucite in shallow-marine settings highlights the importance of microenvironments in the formation and early diagenesis of marine carbonates. Significantly, the brucite precipitates discovered in microenvironments in these corals show that early diagenetic products do not necessarily reflect ambient seawater chemistry. Errors in environmental interpretation may arise where unidentified precipitates occur in microenvironments in skeletal carbonates that are subsequently utilized as geochemical seawater proxies. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.

  3. Changing Patterns of Microhabitat Utilization by the Threespot Damselfish, Stegastes planifrons, on Caribbean Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Precht, William F.; Aronson, Richard B.; Moody, Ryan M.; Kaufman, Les

    2010-01-01

    Background The threespot damselfish, Stegastes planifrons (Cuvier), is important in mediating interactions among corals, algae, and herbivores on Caribbean coral reefs. The preferred microhabitat of S. planifrons is thickets of the branching staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis. Within the past few decades, mass mortality of A. cervicornis from white-band disease and other factors has rendered this coral a minor ecological component throughout most of its range. Methodology/Principal Findings Survey data from Jamaica (heavily fished), Florida and the Bahamas (moderately fished), the Cayman Islands (lightly to moderately fished), and Belize (lightly fished) indicate that distributional patterns of S. planifrons are positively correlated with live coral cover and topographic complexity. Our results suggest that species-specific microhabitat preferences and the availability of topographically complex microhabitats are more important than the abundance of predatory fish as proximal controls on S. planifrons distribution and abundance. Conclusions/Significance The loss of the primary microhabitat of S. planifrons—A. cervicornis—has forced a shift in the distribution and recruitment of these damselfish onto remaining high-structured corals, especially the Montastraea annularis species complex, affecting coral mortality and algal dynamics throughout the Caribbean. PMID:20520809

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

    SciTech Connect

    Mazzullo, S.J.; Anderson-Underwood, K.E.; Burke, C.D.; Bischoff, W.D. )

    1992-12-01

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

  5. Rapid Evolution of Coral Proteins Responsible for Interaction with the Environment

    SciTech Connect

    Voolstra, Christian R.; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Matz, Mikhail V.; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Buschiazzo, Emmanuel; DeSalvo, Michael K.; Lindquist, Erika; Szmant, Alina M.; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Monica

    2011-01-31

    Background: Corals worldwide are in decline due to climate change effects (e.g., rising seawater temperatures), pollution, and exploitation. The ability of corals to cope with these stressors in the long run depends on the evolvability of the underlying genetic networks and proteins, which remain largely unknown. A genome-wide scan for positively selected genes between related coral species can help to narrow down the search space considerably. Methodology/Principal Findings: We screened a set of 2,604 putative orthologs from EST-based sequence datasets of the coral species Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata to determine the fraction and identity of proteins that may experience adaptive evolution. 7percent of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineagespecific) genes show a positive selection signature more frequently than genes that are found across many animal phyla. The class of proteins that displayed elevated evolutionary rates was significantly enriched for proteins involved in immunity and defense, reproduction, and sensory perception. We also found elevated rates of evolution in several other functional groups such as management of membrane vesicles, transmembrane transport of ions and organic molecules, cell adhesion, and oxidative stress response. Proteins in these processes might be related to the endosymbiotic relationship corals maintain with dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Conclusion/Relevance: This study provides a birds-eye view of the processes potentially underlying coral adaptation, which will serve as a foundation for future work to elucidate the rates, patterns, and mechanisms of corals? evolutionary response to global climate change.

  6. Rapid Evolution of Coral Proteins Responsible for Interaction with the Environment

    PubMed Central

    Matz, Mikhail V.; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Buschiazzo, Emmanuel; DeSalvo, Michael K.; Lindquist, Erika; Szmant, Alina M.; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Medina, Mónica

    2011-01-01

    Background Corals worldwide are in decline due to climate change effects (e.g., rising seawater temperatures), pollution, and exploitation. The ability of corals to cope with these stressors in the long run depends on the evolvability of the underlying genetic networks and proteins, which remain largely unknown. A genome-wide scan for positively selected genes between related coral species can help to narrow down the search space considerably. Methodology/Principal Findings We screened a set of 2,604 putative orthologs from EST-based sequence datasets of the coral species Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata to determine the fraction and identity of proteins that may experience adaptive evolution. 7% of the orthologs show elevated rates of evolution. Taxonomically-restricted (i.e. lineage-specific) genes show a positive selection signature more frequently than genes that are found across many animal phyla. The class of proteins that displayed elevated evolutionary rates was significantly enriched for proteins involved in immunity and defense, reproduction, and sensory perception. We also found elevated rates of evolution in several other functional groups such as management of membrane vesicles, transmembrane transport of ions and organic molecules, cell adhesion, and oxidative stress response. Proteins in these processes might be related to the endosymbiotic relationship corals maintain with dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. Conclusion/Relevance This study provides a birds-eye view of the processes potentially underlying coral adaptation, which will serve as a foundation for future work to elucidate the rates, patterns, and mechanisms of corals' evolutionary response to global climate change. PMID:21633702

  7. Characterization of the gacA-dependent surface and coral mucus colonization by an opportunistic coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100.

    PubMed

    Krediet, Cory J; Carpinone, Emily M; Ritchie, Kim B; Teplitski, Max

    2013-05-01

    Opportunistic pathogens rely on global regulatory systems to assess the environment and to control virulence and metabolism to overcome host defenses and outcompete host-associated microbiota. In Gammaproteobacteria, GacS/GacA is one such regulatory system. GacA orthologs direct the expression of the csr (rsm) small regulatory RNAs, which through their interaction with the RNA-binding protein CsrA (RsmA), control genes with functions in carbon metabolism, motility, biofilm formation, and virulence. The csrB gene was controlled by gacA in Serratia marcescens PDL100. A disruption of the S. marcescens gacA gene resulted in an increased fitness of the mutant on mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata and its high molecular weight fraction, whereas the mutant was as competitive as the wild type on the low molecular weight fraction of the mucus. Swarming motility and biofilm formation were reduced in the gacA mutant. This indicates a critical role for gacA in the efficient utilization of specific components of coral mucus and establishment within the surface mucopolysaccharide layer. While significantly affecting early colonization behaviors (coral mucus utilization, swarming motility, and biofilm formation), gacA was not required for virulence of S. marcescens PDL100 in either a model polyp Aiptasia pallida or in brine shrimp Artemia nauplii.

  8. Coral zonation and diagenesis of an emergent Pleistocene patch reef, Belize, Central America

    SciTech Connect

    Lighty, R.G.; Russell, K.L.

    1985-01-01

    Transect mapping and petrologic studies reveal a new depositional model and limited diagenesis of a well-exposed Pleistocene reef outcrop at Ambergris Cay, northern Belize. This emergent shelf-edge reef forms a rocky wave-washed headland at the northern terminus of the present-day 250 km long flourishing Belize Barrier Reef. Previously, the Belize reef outcrop was thought to extend southward in the subsurface beneath the modern barrier reef as a Pleistocene equivalent. The authors study indicate that this outcrop is a large, coral patch reef and not part of a barrier reef trend. Sixteen transects 12.5 m apart described in continuous cm increments from fore reef to back reef identified: extensive deposits of broken Acropora cervicornis; small thickets of A. palmata with small, oriented branches; and muddy skeletal sediments with few corals or reef rubble. Thin section and SEM studies show three phases of early submarine cementation: syntaxial and rosette aragonite; Mg-calcite rim cement and peloids; and colloidal Mg-calcite geopetal fill. Subaerial exposure in semi-arid northern Belize caused only minor skeletal dissolution, some precipitation of vadose whisker calcite, and no meteoric phreatic diagenesis. Facies geometry, coral assemblages, lack of rubble deposits, coralline algal encrustations and Millepora framework, and recognition of common but discrete submarine cements, all indicate that this Pleistocene reef was an isolated, coral-fringed sediment buildup similar to may large patch reefs existing today in moderate-energy shelf environments behind the modern barrier reef in central and southern Belize.

  9. Short-term ecological consequences of a major oil spill on Panamanian subtidal reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzmán, Héctor M.; Jackson, Jeremy B. C.; Weil, Ernesto

    1991-07-01

    A major oil spill (8,000,000 liters; 50,000 barrels) occurred in Bahía Las Minas on the Caribbean coast of Panama in April 1986, and oil slicks from the refinery landfill and mangroves were still common there after 21/2 years. We studied short-term effects of the spill on common shallow subtidal reef corals, at the individual, population, and community levels. Numbers of corals, total coral cover, and species diversity based on cover decreased significantly with increased amounts of oiling. Cover of the large branching coral Acropora palmata decreased most. Frequency and size of recent injuries on massive corals increased with level of oiling, particularly for Siderastrea siderea. Growth of three massive species ( Porites astreoides, Diploria strigosa, and Montastrea annularis, but not S. siderea) was less at oiled reefs in the year of the spill than during the 9 previous years. Subtidal coral reefs, particularly those along protected coasts, may suffer extensive damage from chronic exposure after major oil spills.

  10. Interactions between the tropical sea anemone Aiptasia pallida and Serratia marcescens, an opportunistic pathogen of corals.

    PubMed

    Krediet, Cory J; Meyer, Julie L; Gimbrone, Nicholas; Yanong, Roy; Berzins, Ilze; Alagely, Ali; Castro, Herman; Ritchie, Kim B; Paul, Valerie J; Teplitski, Max

    2014-06-01

    Coral reefs are under increasing stress caused by global and local environmental changes, which are thought to increase the susceptibility of corals to opportunistic pathogens. In the absence of an easily culturable model animal, the understanding of the mechanisms of disease progression in corals remains fairly limited. In the present study, we tested the susceptibility of the tropical sea anemone Aiptasia pallida to an opportunistic coral pathogen (Serratia marcescens). A. pallida was susceptible to S. marcescens PDL100 and responded to this opportunistic coral pathogen with darkening of the tissues and retraction of tentacles, followed by complete disintegration of polyp tissues. Histological observations revealed loss of zooxanthellae and structural changes in eosinophilic granular cells in response to pathogen infection. A screen of S. marcescens mutants identified a motility and tetrathionate reductase mutants as defective in virulence in the A. pallida infection model. In co-infections with the wild-type strain, the tetrathionate reductase mutant was less fit within the surface mucopolysaccharide layer of the host coral Acropora palmata.

  11. A matter of scale: damage from Hurricane Hugo (1989) to U.S. Virgin Islands reefs at the colony, community and whole reef level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    1993-01-01

    Studies at Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix) and Virgin Islands National Park (St. John) by scientists in the U.S. National Park Service Coral Reef Assessment Program re- vealed the effects of Humcane Hugo on individual coral species, community parameters, and overall reef structure. Effects of the storm varied with depth, coral species, location relative to the storm path, character of the pre-storm communities, and ecological history. Live coral cover, initially less than 30% at all sites, dropped by 40 to 73%. Cover by the dominant species Montastrea annularis de- clined about 35% on the St. John reefs. At Buck Island, Acropora palmata cover, already reduced from 85% to 5% by white band disease and storms, fell to 0.8% after Hugo. Some areas on the south side of Buck Island were reduced to rubble pave- ment while other areas escaped serious damage. Data from cores at Buck Island reveal the influence of wave energy and storm frequency on overall reef character. Patchiness and variation in the responses of different species, zones, and entire reefs to the storm suggest that assessment of long-term trends in reef structure and composition requires analysis of changes at permanent study sites distributed over large areas.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-26

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Comparing the effects of symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium) clades C1 and D on early growth stages of Acropora tenuis.

    PubMed

    Yuyama, Ikuko; Higuchi, Tomihiko

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals switch endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium during their early growth stages and during bleaching events. Clade C Symbiodinium algae are dominant in corals, although other clades - including A and D - have also been commonly detected in juvenile Acroporid corals. Previous studies have been reported that only molecular data of Symbiodinium clade were identified within field corals. In this study, we inoculated aposymbiotic juvenile polyps with cultures of clades C1 and D Symbiodinium algae, and investigated the different effect of these two clades of Symbiodinium on juvenile polyps. Our results showed that clade C1 algae did not grow, while clade D algae grew rapidly during the first 2 months after inoculation. Polyps associated with clade C1 algae exhibited bright green fluorescence across the body and tentacles after inoculation. The growth rate of polyp skeletons was lower in polyps associated with clade C1 algae than those associated with clade D algae. On the other hand, antioxidant activity (catalase) of corals was not significantly different between corals with clade C1 and clade D algae. Our results suggested that clade D Symbiodinium algae easily form symbiotic relationships with corals and that these algae could contribute to coral growth in early symbiosis stages.

  15. Comparing the Effects of Symbiotic Algae (Symbiodinium) Clades C1 and D on Early Growth Stages of Acropora tenuis

    PubMed Central

    Yuyama, Ikuko; Higuchi, Tomihiko

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals switch endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium during their early growth stages and during bleaching events. Clade C Symbiodinium algae are dominant in corals, although other clades — including A and D — have also been commonly detected in juvenile Acroporid corals. Previous studies have been reported that only molecular data of Symbiodinium clade were identified within field corals. In this study, we inoculated aposymbiotic juvenile polyps with cultures of clades C1 and D Symbiodinium algae, and investigated the different effect of these two clades of Symbiodinium on juvenile polyps. Our results showed that clade C1 algae did not grow, while clade D algae grew rapidly during the first 2 months after inoculation. Polyps associated with clade C1 algae exhibited bright green fluorescence across the body and tentacles after inoculation. The growth rate of polyp skeletons was lower in polyps associated with clade C1 algae than those associated with clade D algae. On the other hand, antioxidant activity (catalase) of corals was not significantly different between corals with clade C1 and clade D algae. Our results suggested that clade D Symbiodinium algae easily form symbiotic relationships with corals and that these algae could contribute to coral growth in early symbiosis stages. PMID:24914677

  16. The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Toth, Lauren T.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-07-21

    The Florida Keys reef tract (FKRT) is the largest coral-reef ecosystem in the continental United States. The modern FKRT extends for 362 kilometers along the coast of South Florida from Dry Tortugas National Park in the southwest, through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), to Fowey Rocks reef in Biscayne National Park in the northeast. Most reefs along the FKRT are sheltered by the exposed islands of the Florida Keys; however, large channels are located between the islands of the Middle Keys. These openings allow for tidal transport of water from Florida Bay onto reefs in the area. The characteristics of the water masses coming from Florida Bay, which can experience broad swings in temperature, salinity, nutrients, and turbidity over short periods of time, are generally unfavorable or “inimical” to coral growth and reef development.Although reef habitats are ubiquitous throughout most of the Upper and Lower Keys, relatively few modern reefs exist in the Middle Keys most likely because of the impacts of inimical waters from Florida Bay. The reefs that are present in the Middle Keys generally are poorly developed compared with reefs elsewhere in the region. For example, Acropora palmata has been the dominant coral on shallow-water reefs in the Caribbean over the last 1.5 million years until populations of the coral declined throughout the region in recent decades. Although A. palmata was historically abundant in the Florida Keys, it was conspicuously absent from reefs in the Middle Keys. Instead, contemporary reefs in the Middle Keys have been dominated by occasional massive (that is, boulder or head) corals and, more often, small, non-reef-building corals.Holocene reef cores have been collected from many locations along the FKRT; however, despite the potential importance of the history of reefs in the Middle Florida Keys to our understanding of the environmental controls on reef development throughout the FKRT, there are currently no published

  17. Characterization of a novel allergenic protein from the octocoral Scleronephthya gracillima (Kuekenthal) that corresponds to a new GFP-like family named Akane.

    PubMed

    Kato, Yuko; Jimbo, Mitsuru; Sakakibara, Youichi; Onizuka, Reiko; Takahashi, Tatsuya; Matsuhashi, Sachiko; Mita, Hajime; Amada, Kei; Imahara, Yukimitsu; Tanabe, Kimiko; Toda, Akihisa; Kamiya, Hisao

    2017-04-05

    Certain marine organisms have been known to cause allergic reactions among occupational fishermen. We have previously reported that bronchial asthma among the workers engaged in spiny lobster fishing in Japan was caused by octocorals such as Dendronephthya sp. and Scleronephthya gracillima (previously named Alcyonium gracillimum). Now we have found another octocoral, Scleronephthya gracillima (Kuekenthal), which causes the allergic disease in fishermen. The octocoral was characterized as a new green fluorescent protein (GFP)-like family. The new allergen has a molecular mass of 27 kDa in 1D and 2D SDS-PAGE under reduced conditions. The 27 kDa component was determined to be an allergen by western blotting, ECL immune staining method and absorption of patient sera with the antigen. Furthermore, the combination of analysis with LC-ESI-MS/MS and MASCOT search in the NCBInr database concluded the 27 kDa component had the sequence YPADI/LPDYFK, and that the 22 kDa component had the sequence QSFPEGFSWER, which both matched a GFP-like protein in Acropora aculeus and in Montastraea annularis. Further analysis by MALDI-TOF/MS/MS and MASCOT search in the NCBInr database of all 27 kDa eight spot components from 2D SDS-PAGE indicated that the sequence QSFPEGFSWER also matched as GFP-like protein in Lobophyllia hemprichii and Scleractinia sp. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the new allergenic protein that corresponds to a new GFP-like protein named Akane, and which has fluorescent emissions in the red and green part of the spectra at 628 nm and 508 nm, respectively.

  18. ICE-6G models of postglacial relative sea-level history applied to Holocene coral reef and mangrove records of the western Caribbean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toscano, M. A.; Peltier, W. R.; Drummond, R.; Gonzalez, J.

    2012-12-01

    Fossil coral reefs and mangrove peat accumulations at western Caribbean sites along a latitudinal gradient from the Florida Keys through Belize and Panama provide dated and interpreted 8,000 year Holocene sea-level records for comparison with RSL predictions of the ICE-6G (VM5A, VM5B; L90) models of glacio-hydro-isostatic adjustment, with and without rotational feedback. These presumably passive continental margin sites provide the means to establish a N-S spatial trend in the varying influences of GIA, eustatic components of Holocene sea level, extent of forebulge collapse and influence of rotational feedback over a 20° latitudinal range. Previous ICE6G (VM5A) model-coral data comparisons for St Croix, USVI, Antigua, Martinique and Barbados (Toscano, Peltier and Drummond, 2011, QSR) along the eastern Caribbean plate and island arc illustrated the close model-data compatibility, the influence of rotational feedback acting as a significant factor in reducing misfits, and the need for high quality in situ data to confirm the extension of the proglacial forebulge into tropical latitudes. The gradient of western Caribbean continental shelf sites comprises a much more varied range of model-data relationships based on extensive combined Acropora palmata (reef crest coral) and Rhizophora mangle (microtidal mangrove) peat datasets in all cases. Starting at the northernmost region with the Florida Keys, there exist negative model misfits to the data, suggesting the possibility of a positive tectonic overprint upon expectations related to the glacial isostatic adjustment process acting alone, even though this region is normally believed to be tectonically stable. The largest multi-proxy database from Belize supports the likelihood of increasing rates of subsidence from north to south in the Belize Lagoon, which may account for numerous positive GIA model-data misfits. The southernmost site at Panama is most similar to Belize in the possible nature of tectonic influences on

  19. Impact of Eastern Caribbean Circulation Seasonality on two Reef Organisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cherubin, L. M.; Paris, C. B.; Baums, I. B.; Idrisi, N.

    2008-05-01

    The variability of the Caribbean current is under the influence of the fresh water input from the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. Sea Surface Salinity maps of the eastern Caribbean show the seasonal extension of the riverine fresh water across the Caribbean basin, from August to December (wet season). The plume is divided into two main cores: one flows into the Caribbean Sea mostly through the Grenada Passage where it merges with the Caribbean Current while the other core is formed further north by advection of the river plume by the North Brazil Current rings. Due to the presence of fresh water the Caribbean Sea mesoscale activity is strongly increased during the wet season. Therefore, both coral reef ecosystems and coastal flows are under the scope of the large scale flow seasonality. The impact of the flow mesoscale seasonality on reef organisms is studied through two reef organisms: (1) Reef-building coral: Genetic analyzes show that populations of the Caribbean reef-building coral, Acropora palmata, have experienced little or no recent genetic exchange between the western and eastern Caribbean. Western Puerto Rico is identified as an area of mixing between the two subregions. Using a bio- physical coupled model accounting for larvae life history traits, we verify the plausibility of a present day oceanographic barrier caused by the Caribbean Current seasonal variability in the vicinity of Mona Passage. (2) Grouper: Several grouper species form spawning aggregations at the shelf edge of the US Virgin Islands starting at the end of the wet season in December. Using ADCP current measurements and numerical simulations, unusual large 'dispersion' pulses are shown to be associated with the presence of sub-mesoscale coherent features more likely to be formed during the wet season. Spawning occurring during the dry season (January to April) is mostly tide driven, suggesting a limited dispersal.

  20. Members of native coral microbiota inhibit glycosidases and thwart colonization of coral mucus by an opportunistic pathogen

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    The outcome of the interactions between native commensal microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens is crucial to the health of the coral holobiont. During the establishment within the coral surface mucus layer, opportunistic pathogens, including a white pox pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100, compete with native bacteria for available nutrients. Both commensals and pathogens employ glycosidases and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase to utilize components of coral mucus. This study tested the hypothesis that specific glycosidases were critical for the growth of S. marcescens on mucus and that their inhibition by native coral microbiota reduces fitness of the pathogen. Consistent with this hypothesis, a S. marcescens transposon mutant with reduced glycosidase and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase activities was unable to compete with the wild type on the mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata, although it was at least as competitive as the wild type on a minimal medium with glycerol and casamino acids. Virulence of the mutant was modestly reduced in the Aiptasia model. A survey revealed that ∼8% of culturable coral commensal bacteria have the ability to inhibit glycosidases in the pathogen. A small molecular weight, ethanol-soluble substance(s) produced by the coral commensal Exiguobacterium sp. was capable of the inhibition of the induction of catabolic enzymes in S. marcescens. This inhibition was in part responsible for the 10–100-fold reduction in the ability of the pathogen to grow on coral mucus. These results provide insight into potential mechanisms of commensal interference with early colonization and infection behaviors in opportunistic pathogens and highlight an important function for the native microbiota in coral health. PMID:23254513

  1. Members of native coral microbiota inhibit glycosidases and thwart colonization of coral mucus by an opportunistic pathogen.

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

    The outcome of the interactions between native commensal microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens is crucial to the health of the coral holobiont. During the establishment within the coral surface mucus layer, opportunistic pathogens, including a white pox pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100, compete with native bacteria for available nutrients. Both commensals and pathogens employ glycosidases and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase to utilize components of coral mucus. This study tested the hypothesis that specific glycosidases were critical for the growth of S. marcescens on mucus and that their inhibition by native coral microbiota reduces fitness of the pathogen. Consistent with this hypothesis, a S. marcescens transposon mutant with reduced glycosidase and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase activities was unable to compete with the wild type on the mucus of the host coral Acropora palmata, although it was at least as competitive as the wild type on a minimal medium with glycerol and casamino acids. Virulence of the mutant was modestly reduced in the Aiptasia model. A survey revealed that ∼8% of culturable coral commensal bacteria have the ability to inhibit glycosidases in the pathogen. A small molecular weight, ethanol-soluble substance(s) produced by the coral commensal Exiguobacterium sp. was capable of the inhibition of the induction of catabolic enzymes in S. marcescens. This inhibition was in part responsible for the 10-100-fold reduction in the ability of the pathogen to grow on coral mucus. These results provide insight into potential mechanisms of commensal interference with early colonization and infection behaviors in opportunistic pathogens and highlight an important function for the native microbiota in coral health.

  2. Timing and magnitude of the Caribbean mid-Holocene highstand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashe, E.; Khan, N.; Horton, B.; Brocard, G. Y.; Dutton, A.; Engelhart, S. E.; Kopp, R. E.; Hill, D. F.; Peltier, W. R.; Scatena, F. N.

    2015-12-01

    We present a database of published and new relative sea-level (RSL) data for the past 13 ka, which constrains the Holocene sea-level histories of the Caribbean coast of Central and South America (Florida Keys, USA to Guyana) and the Bahamas and Greater and Lesser Antilles islands. Our evaluation of mangrove peat and Acropora palmata sea-level indicators from geological investigations provides 503 sea-level index points and 242 limiting dates. We subdivide the database into 21 regions based on the availability of data, tectonic setting, and distance from the former Laurentide ice sheet. Most index points (75%) and limiting dates (90%) are <8 ka, although there is an unusual temporal distribution with the greatest amount of the data (~28%) occurring between 6-8 ka. We reassess and screen radiocarbon and U/Th ages of mangrove peat and coral data. We use the stratigraphic position (overburden thickness) of index points account for sediment compaction, and use the paleotidal model of Hill et al. (2011) to account for Holocene changes in paleotidal range. A noisy-input Gaussian process regression model calculates that the rates of RSL change were highest during the early Holocene (3-8 mm/yr) and have decreased over time (< 2 mm/yr), which is related to the reduction of ice equivalent meltwater input and collapse of the proglacial forebulge during the Holocene. The sea-level reconstructions demonstrate that RSL did not exceed the present height (0 m) during the Holocene in the majority of locations, with the exception of a small highstand (<2 m) on the northern coast of South America along the Orinoco Delta and Suriname/Guyana located furthest away from the former Laurentide Ice Sheet. The different sea-level histories are an ongoing isostatic response to deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and suggest subsidence resulting from collapse of the proglacial forebulge reaches further south than previously considered.

  3. De Novo Assembly and Characterization of Four Anthozoan (Phylum Cnidaria) Transcriptomes.

    PubMed

    Kitchen, Sheila A; Crowder, Camerron M; Poole, Angela Z; Weis, Virginia M; Meyer, Eli

    2015-09-17

    Many nonmodel species exemplify important biological questions but lack the sequence resources required to study the genes and genomic regions underlying traits of interest. Reef-building corals are famously sensitive to rising seawater temperatures, motivating ongoing research into their stress responses and long-term prospects in a changing climate. A comprehensive understanding of these processes will require extending beyond the sequenced coral genome (Acropora digitifera) to encompass diverse coral species and related anthozoans. Toward that end, we have assembled and annotated reference transcriptomes to develop catalogs of gene sequences for three scleractinian corals (Fungia scutaria, Montastraea cavernosa, Seriatopora hystrix) and a temperate anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima). High-throughput sequencing of cDNA libraries produced ~20-30 million reads per sample, and de novo assembly of these reads produced ~75,000-110,000 transcripts from each sample with size distributions (mean ~1.4 kb, N50 ~2 kb), comparable to the distribution of gene models from the coral genome (mean ~1.7 kb, N50 ~2.2 kb). Each assembly includes matches for more than half the gene models from A. digitifera (54-67%) and many reasonably complete transcripts (~5300-6700) spanning nearly the entire gene (ortholog hit ratios ≥0.75). The catalogs of gene sequences developed in this study made it possible to identify hundreds to thousands of orthologs across diverse scleractinian species and related taxa. We used these sequences for phylogenetic inference, recovering known relationships and demonstrating superior performance over phylogenetic trees constructed using single mitochondrial loci. The resources developed in this study provide gene sequences and genetic markers for several anthozoan species. To enhance the utility of these resources for the research community, we developed searchable databases enabling researchers to rapidly recover sequences for genes of interest. Our

  4. The Late Quaternary Seismic Stratigraphy of the Southern Shelf of the Strait of Istanbul (Sea of Marmara, Turkey)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deniz Abuş, Eren

    2013-04-01

    The sea level changes in the northern shelf (Istanbul) of the Sea of Marmara and the sources of sedimentary packages at the southern exist of the Strait of Istanbul have been an ongoing debate the past decade. This study aims to enlighten both the sea level oscillations since ~125 ky before present and the structure of aforesaid sedimentary sequence, Unit 2, near Kurbaǧalı River observed in high resolution sparker seismic sections using global sea level change curves. Contary to Hiscott et al. (2002), Gökaşan et al. (2005), and Eriş et al. (2007) preferring the global sea level change curve in Fairbanks (1989) so as to explain the age interval of the sequence, we introduced the curve in Bard et al. (1990) presented the 230Th - 234U ages of Acropora palmata samples collected from the offshore of the island of Barbados, where Fairbanks (1989) submits the first chronology using the limited 14C ages. Therefore, the deposition of the Unit 2 was considered as 10 - 9 ky before present by Hiscott et al. (2002), as 12 - 11±1.1 ky BP by Gökaşan et al. (2005), and as 6.4 - 3.2 ky BP by Eriş et al. (2007). Having applied this calibration to our study, the age interval of the Unit 2 was calculated as 11.5 ky before present. In previous studies, Unit 2 was presented as prograding deltaic deposits of the Kurbaǧalı River yet our studies illustrates that the stream current of Kurbaǧalı River is not capable of supporting adequate sediment input, which is about 1.5 x 8.5 kilometers when the thickness and rate of propagation of Unit 2 are considered. Thanks to high resolution seismic sections and bathymetry, we firstly introduce that the Unit 2 is a point-bar structure forming as a product of the meandering regime at the southern exit of the Bosphorus.

  5. Accretion history and stratigraphy of mid-Holocene coral reefs from Southeast Florida, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stathakopoulos, A.; Riegl, B. M.; Swart, P. K.

    2013-05-01

    suggest the mid-Holocene (~8-5 ka) was punctuated by a transition to a more moist and warm climate and/or a potentially rapid sea-level rise. The color and texture of cements support increased freshwater input as a likely agent of reef demise. We also observed that the once-dominant Caribbean reef builder Acropora palmata was mostly present throughout the early and mid-Holocene but absent thereafter. Reef geomorphology was strongly determined by the length of presence of this species, as the thickness, size, and shape of the three linear reefs clearly reflect its declining importance during the Holocene in Florida.

  6. Detailed Sea Level Record from Barbados Spanning 13,000 to 11,000 Years Before Present

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    Th/U dated reef-crest corals (Acropora palmata) obtained from new Barbados offshore drill cores provide a local sea level reconstruction in unprecedented detail. The time interval, 13,000 to 11,000 years before present (BP), spans the well-studied Younger Dryas pollen zone, a period that has given rise to more than three decades of sensational climate interpretations and popular press. Widely described as a time when Earth's climate reverted to "glacial-like conditions" the various hypotheses that attempt to explain the "cause" of the Younger Dryas climate event have their staunch supporters as well as their critics but there remains little consensus. The Barbados sea level record for this time interval shows that sea level continued to rise during the Younger Dryas, albeit at a slower rate than prior to 13,000 or following 11,000 years BP. The decrease in the rate of sea level rise can simply be explained by the slow expansion of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet beginning 12,800 years BP followed by its faster demise contributing to a period of rapid sea level increase known as Melt Water Pulse 1B. We calculate the ice volume history of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet and it compares favorably to the moraine history and ice models. The Younger Dryas climate event is most often defined by the rapid shifts in atmospheric proxies measured in ice cores from Greenland. The ice core proxies shift into and out of the Younger Dryas climate event in only a few years to a few decades. Abrupt shifts in the climate state associated with the onset and termination of the Younger Dryas as revealed in Greenland Ice cores are not expressed in the smooth Barbados deglacial sea level record. We make the case that these Greenland atmospheric records mark regional atmospheric frontal shifts and changes in air mass sources over an ice sheet that largely did not participate in the deglaciation or sea level change. As proposed decades ago, the warming of the North Atlantic between 14,000 and 13

  7. Holocene Sea-Level Database For The Caribbean Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, N. S.; Horton, B.; Engelhart, S. E.; Peltier, W. R.; Scatena, F. N.; Vane, C. H.; Liu, S.

    2013-12-01

    Holocene relative sea-level (RSL) records from far-field locations are important for understanding the driving mechanisms controlling the nature and timing of the mid-late Holocene reduction in global meltwaters and providing background rates of late Holocene RSL change with which to compare the magnitude of 20th century RSL rise. The Caribbean region has traditionally been considered far-field (i.e., with negligible glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA) influence), although recent investigations indicate otherwise. Here, we consider the spatial variability in glacio-isostatic, tectonic and local contributions on RSL records from the circum-Caribbean region to infer a Holocene eustatic sea-level signal. We have constructed a database of quality-controlled, spatially comprehensive, Holocene RSL observations for the circum-Caribbean region. The database contains over 500 index points, which locate the position of RSL in time and space. The database incorporates sea-level observations from a latitudinal range of 5°N to 25°N and longitudinal range of 55°W to 90°W. We include sea-level observations from 11 ka BP to present, although the majority of the index points in the database are younger than 8 ka BP. The database is sub-divided into 13 regions based on the distance from the former Laurentide Ice Sheet and regional tectonic setting. The index points were primarily derived from mangrove peat deposits, which in the Caribbean form in the upper half of the tidal range, and corals (predominantly Acropora palmata), the growth of which is constrained to the upper 5 m of water depth. The index points are classified on the basis of their susceptibility to compaction (e.g., intercalated, basal). The influence of temporal changes in tidal range on index points is also considered. The sea-level reconstructions demonstrate that RSL did not exceed the present height (0 m) during the Holocene in the majority of locations, except at sites in Suriname/Guayana and possibly Trinidad

  8. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (South Florida). Reef-Building Corals.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-08-01

    Stoddart, D.R. 1969. Ecology and Sammarco, P.W. 1985. The Great morphology of recent coral reefs . Barrier Reef vs. the Caribbean: Biol. Rev. Camb. Philos...Sambo Reef , Florida, involving cervicornis and M. annularis tolerated bleaching and loss of symbiotic oxygen tensions as low as 1.0 ppm for zooxanthellae...Montastraea (1.0-2.0 cm/yr), but both species of Montastraea are also important in reef development due to their massive form and great longevity

  9. 21 CFR 582.40 - Natural extractives (solvent-free) used in conjunction with spices, seasonings, and flavorings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... source Algae, brown Laminaria spp. and Nereocystis spp. Algae, red Porphyra spp. and Rhodymenia palmata... (see algae, brown). Peach kernel (persic oil) Prunus persica Sieb. et Zucc. Peanut stearine...

  10. 21 CFR 582.40 - Natural extractives (solvent-free) used in conjunction with spices, seasonings, and flavorings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... source Algae, brown Laminaria spp. and Nereocystis spp. Algae, red Porphyra spp. and Rhodymenia palmata... (see algae, brown). Peach kernel (persic oil) Prunus persica Sieb. et Zucc. Peanut stearine...

  11. 21 CFR 582.40 - Natural extractives (solvent-free) used in conjunction with spices, seasonings, and flavorings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... source Algae, brown Laminaria spp. and Nereocystis spp. Algae, red Porphyra spp. and Rhodymenia palmata... (see algae, brown). Peach kernel (persic oil) Prunus persica Sieb. et Zucc. Peanut stearine...

  12. 21 CFR 582.40 - Natural extractives (solvent-free) used in conjunction with spices, seasonings, and flavorings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... source Algae, brown Laminaria spp. and Nereocystis spp. Algae, red Porphyra spp. and Rhodymenia palmata... (see algae, brown). Peach kernel (persic oil) Prunus persica Sieb. et Zucc. Peanut stearine...

  13. 21 CFR 582.40 - Natural extractives (solvent-free) used in conjunction with spices, seasonings, and flavorings.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... source Algae, brown Laminaria spp. and Nereocystis spp. Algae, red Porphyra spp. and Rhodymenia palmata... (see algae, brown). Peach kernel (persic oil) Prunus persica Sieb. et Zucc. Peanut stearine...

  14. Predatory luring behavior of odonates.

    PubMed

    Edgehouse, Michael; Brown, Christopher P

    2014-10-15

    Organisms in the order Odonata are highly predatory insects that have a wide distribution globally. To date, there has been zero evidence that odonates employ luring as a means of prey acquisition. However, in this study, we show that Aeshna palmata larvae use abdominal movements to lure larval Argia vivida, subsequently consuming the lured organism. We also present findings of a similar behavior from larval Ar. vivida in an attempt to lure larval A. palmata within striking distance.

  15. Character release following extinction in a Caribbean reef coral species complex.

    PubMed

    Pandolfi, John M; Lovelock, Catherine E; Budd, Ann F

    2002-03-01

    The Pleistocene extinction of the widespread organ-pipe Montastraea coral had measurable morphological and ecological effects on surviving lineages of the Montastraea "annularis" species complex. Extinction of the organ-pipe Montastraea occurred after more than 500,000 years of dominance in the shallow-water reef habitat of Barbados. Extinction resulted in a morphological shift of the columnar Montastraea lineage from thick to thin columns in modern reef environments. Pleistocene colonies of the columnar morphotype sympatric with organ-pipe Montastraea showed greater column widths than those in allopatry. We subjected our data to a number of criteria for interpreting the morphological shift as character release following lifting of competitive pressure after extinction. The morphological differences do not appear to be due either to chance or to physical properties of the marine environment. Differential local extinction and recolonization of four members of the species complex did not occur on Barbados, so that the species coexisted and appear to have coevolved between more than 600,000 and 82,000 years ago. The morphological shift is related to coral growth form and growth rate, and thus reflects the acquisition of a primary resource in corals--light. Character release occurred at the same oceanic Caribbean island (Barbados) where environments have fluctuated with similar variance throughout the period of coexistence. Not only has competition among living members of the Montastraea "annularis" species complex been convincingly demonstrated, but trends in relative abundance among fossil members of the species complex strongly suggest that a competitive hierarchy was operating during their Pleistocene coexistence on Barbados. We also observed an ecological analogue to character release on another Caribbean island. Curaçao. The distribution and abundance of living columnar M. annularis s.s. and massive M. faveolata from the leeward reef crest in Curaçao is greater

  16. A study of the interacting effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on the skeletal growth of two Caribbean coral species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langdon, C.; Baker, A.; Jones, P.

    2011-12-01

    A study was conducted to investigate how corals may be impacted by the combination of rising temperature and declining pH. In a fully crossed experimental design two important Caribbean reef-building coral species Acropora cervicornis and Montastraea faveolata were exposed to combinations of a normal (26°C) and elevated (32°C) temperature and normal (380 ppm) and elevated (800 ppm) CO2 level. Nine colonies of each species were placed in eight tanks. Two tanks were assigned to each of the four temperature and CO2 combinations. The CO2 level was controlled by bubbling with either outside air or outside air enriched with CO2 gas to achieve the desired CO2 concentration in the tank. Corals were pre-conditioned for 39 days under 26°C and 380 ppm. The temperature and CO2 in the experimental tanks was then ramped up at a rate of 0.3°C and 30 ppm per day over a two week period. The skeletal growth of the corals was measured weekly over 62 days using an optical or laser micrometer. At the end of the high temperature and CO2 part the experiment the ability of the corals to recover from these stressful conditions was examined for 56 days. The CO2 in the high CO2 tanks was reduced to 380 ppm and the temperature in the 32°C 380 tanks was reduced to 26°C. This experiment is our second attempt to measure short term changes in skeletal growth as a function of temperature and CO2. In the first year none of the corals grew. We eventually discovered that supplemental feeding was necessary. The results of the second year's experiment are interesting but exhibit a great deal of variability. Forty-four percent of A. cervicornis colonies exhibited a decline in growth of 45% and seventy-seven percent of the M. faveolata colonies experienced a decline of 44% under 800 ppm and recovered quickly when the CO2 was lowered to 380 ppm during the recovery phase. However, the other colonies either failed to grow at all, showed no response to CO2 or seemed to grow more quickly under elevated

  17. Best-fit analysis for future coral reef survivors on Bonaire: A lifeline to the reefs' future in the region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, C. C.; Elswick, E. R.; Beeker, C. D.; Kauffman, E. G.; Budziak, A. T.; Wiegand, N.

    2012-12-01

    Given the decline of Caribbean corals and increases in environmental threats and human stressors to the reef ecosystem, it is imperative to document and establish a biological and environmental baseline inventory of coral recruits and environments in which corals live. Our project investigated the association of corals and water chemistry on the leeward side of Bonaire to test for and assess the hypothesis of ocean acidification affecting one of the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean. A dry island such as Bonaire, with no major river input into the leeward side of the island, provides an ideal location for such an analyses as it yields a relatively pure ocean chemistry signal. A multi-year investigation in Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) focused on corals growing on mooring buoy anchors created from cement blocks and cement filled, discarded petroleum barrels. We evaluate the persistence of corals on anchors placed in BNMP in the 1960's and 1970's, taking advantage of the maximum timeline for coral recruits. Recruits initiated in the zone occupied initially by Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, and persisted through the decline of the once dominant acroporids. Thus, our study can be taken as a natural inoculation experiment under ambient field conditions. We collected 200ml water samples at 25 sites and analyzed samples on the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer Analyst 800 and Dionex IC25 Ion Chromatograph instruments to yield elemental data for water chemistry analyses. Depth pH, temperature, salinity and turbidity were recorded per site in rainy and dry seasons over the 5-year, Nov 2007 - April 2011 study. pH measurements were taken by colorimetric and indicator strips. Biologic data collection focused on coral species identifications per site on mooring anchors but sponges, hydrozoans and algae were also noted. Our research reveals no pH changes in these shallow (12.2m) waters over the duration of the study. pH colorimetric averages were 8.0-8.5 for both April

  18. YELLOW-BLOTCH DISEASE OUTBREAK ON REEFS OF THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS, PANAMA

    EPA Science Inventory

    During the post-8th International Coral Reef Symposium field trip to the eastern Caribbean region of Panama, 3-5 July 1996, we observed an extensive outbreak of a new and significant disease of the scleractinian corals Montastraea faveolata and M. annularis. The first reported si...

  19. Complete 1H and 13C spectral assignment of floridoside.

    PubMed

    Simon-Colin, Christelle; Kervarec, Nelly; Pichon, Roger; Deslandes, Eric

    2002-02-11

    Floridoside (2-O-alpha-D-galactopyranosylglycerol) was extracted from the red marine alga Rhodymenia palmata, and purified by ion-exchange chromatography: 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy experiments were used to unambiguously assign the complete 1H and 13C spectra.

  20. 76 FR 57957 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendment 11 to the Fishery...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-09-19

    ... Acropora corals and lobster trap line-marking requirements. The purpose of this NOI is to solicit public... to protect coral and implementing lobster trap line-marking requirements. A September 2, 2011,...

  1. Assessment of the relative contribution of asexual propagation in a population of the coral-excavating sponge Cliona delitrix from the Bahamas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zilberberg, C.; Maldonado, M.; Solé-Cava, Am

    2006-05-01

    Cliona delitrix is a very destructive coral-excavating sponge in Caribbean coral reef systems, particularly for Montastraea species. Little is known about how these excavating sponges propagate across coral reefs. In this study a hypothesis was tested that coral breakage caused by the bioeroding activity facilitates the asexual propagation of this sponge and in turn favors the spread of the most aggressive sponge genotypes. An allozyme analysis, involving 12 loci systems of 52 sponge individuals from a total of 13 Montastraea heads, found that no two sponges possessed identical multi-locus genotypes. Contrary to the pattern expected for fragmenting species, the incidence of clonality and asexual propagation at the population level was minimal. The lack of correlation between genetic and physical distances for the studied sponges also suggests that population maintenance appears to derive from larval dispersal, with a spatial range of dispersal larger than the average distance between the coral heads (10-102 m).

  2. Growth of Pleistocene massive corals in south Florida: low skeletal extension-rates and possible ENSO, decadal, and multi-decadal cyclicities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gischler, E.; Hudson, J. H.; Storz, D.

    2009-12-01

    Skeletal extension-rates and their variability are significantly lower in Pleistocene massive reef-building corals ( Montastraea annularis group) in south Florida as compared with modern corals of the same taxa in the same study area. We analyzed 1,429 annual increments in 18 cores of Montastraea colonies from Windley Key and the Key Largo Waterway in the late Pleistocene Key Largo Limestone, which was deposited during marine isotope stage 5e (ca. 125 kyrs BP). The average extension-rate is 5.2 mm/year, which is about half the value known for modern Montastraea in shallow water reef environments. With an average standard deviation (SD) of 1.01, the variability of extension-rates is at the lower range limit of modern Montastraea in south Florida (SD = 1-3.6). Due to the higher sea level, the Pleistocene Key Largo patch reef trend was located on a large carbonate platform. Unlike today, the island chain of the Florida Keys, which function as a shelter for the Florida Reef Tract from inimical bank water, was not in existence. Corals probably grew under higher-than-present sea surface temperatures, which resulted in comparably low skeletal extension-rates. The detection of 3-7 year, decadal, and multi-decadal cyclicities in extension-rate time series suggests that the major modes of modern tropical climate variability such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and possibly the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) were in effect during the last interglacial.

  3. Diversities of coral-associated bacteria differ with location, but not species, for three acroporid corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Littman, Raechel A; Willis, Bette L; Pfeffer, Christian; Bourne, David G

    2009-05-01

    Patterns in the diversity of bacterial communities associated with three species of Acropora (Acropora millepora, Acropora tenuis and Acropora valida) were compared at two locations (Magnetic Island and Orpheus Island) on the Great Barrier Reef to better understand the nature and specificity of coral-microbial symbioses. Three culture-independent techniques demonstrated consistent bacterial communities among replicate samples of each coral species, confirming that corals associate with specific microbiota. Profiles were also conserved among all three species of Acropora within each location, suggesting that closely related corals of the same genus harbor similar bacterial types. Bacterial community profiles of A. millepora at Orpheus Island were consistent in samples collected throughout the year, indicating a stable community despite temporal changes. However, DGGE and T-RFLP profiles differed on corals from different reefs. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling of T-RFLP profiles showed that samples grouped according to location rather than coral species. Although similar sequences were retrieved from clone libraries of corals at both Magnetic and Orpheus Island, differences in the relative dominant bacterial ribotypes within the libraries drive bacterial community structure at different geographical locations. These results indicate certain bacterial groups associated specifically with corals, but the dominant bacterial genera differ between geographically-spaced corals.

  4. Plan of Study for the Tidal Power Study, Cobscook Bay, Maine, USA

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1978-09-01

    Mya arenaria), Irish moss (Chondrus crispus), Dulse (Palmaria Palmata), Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum), Common periwinkle (Litturina littorea...northeast storms, the shore is sheltered by the many pen- insulas and islands of the area. e. Climatology Onshore breezes blow several miles inland along...endangered species list. This area constitutes an important feeding and breed- ing area for marine birds. Migrating, resident and shore birds all live here

  5. Abundance and composition of juvenile corals reveals divergent trajectories for coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates.

    PubMed

    Pratchett, Morgan S; Baird, Andrew H; Bauman, Andrew G; Burt, John A

    2017-01-30

    Marked shifts in the composition of coral assemblages are occurring at many locations, but it is unknown whether these are permanent shifts reinforced by patterns of population replenishment. This study examined the composition of juvenile coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Densities of juvenile corals varied significantly among locations, but were highest where coral cover was highest. Juvenile coral assemblages within the Persian Gulf were dominated by Porites, while no Acropora were recorded. We expect therefore, continued declines in Acropora abundance, while observed dominance of Porites is likely to persist. In the Oman Sea, Pocillopora was the dominant juvenile coral, with Acropora and Stylophora also recorded. This study shows that taxonomic differences in replenishment are reinforcing temporal shifts in coral composition within the southern Persian Gulf, but not in the Oman Sea. Differences in environmental conditions and disturbance regimes likely explain the divergent responses between regions.

  6. Some Physical, Chemical, and Biological Parameters of Samples of Scleractinium Coral Aquaculture Skeleton Used for Reconstruction/Engineering of the Bone Tissue.

    PubMed

    Popov, A A; Sergeeva, N S; Britaev, T A; Komlev, V S; Sviridova, I K; Kirsanova, V A; Akhmedova, S A; Dgebuadze, P Yu; Teterina, A Yu; Kuvshinova, E A; Schanskii, Ya D

    2015-08-01

    Physical and chemical (phase and chemical composition, dynamics of resorption, and strength properties), and biological (cytological compatibility and scaffold properties of the surface) properties of samples of scleractinium coral skeletons from aquacultures of three types and corresponding samples of natural coral skeletons (Pocillopora verrucosa, Acropora formosa, and Acropora nobilis) were studied. Samples of scleractinium coral aquaculture skeleton of A. nobilis, A. formosa, and P. verrucosa met the requirements (all study parameters) to materials for osteoplasty and 3D-scaffolds for engineering of bone tissue.

  7. Spatial patterns of parrotfish corallivory in the Caribbean: the importance of coral taxa, density and size.

    PubMed

    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 m(2) 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.

  8. Bioindication potential of carbonic anhydrase activity in anemones and corals.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, A L; Guzmán, H M

    2001-09-01

    Activity levels of carbonic anhydrase (CA) were assessed in anemones Condylactis gigantea and Stichodactyla helianthus with laboratory exposures to copper, nickel, lead, and vanadium, and also in animals collected from polluted vs pristine field sites. CA activity was found to be decreased with increase in metal concentration and also in animals collected from the polluted field site. Preliminary assessments to adapt the CA assay for use in the widespread coral Montastraea cavernosa show decreased CA activity in specimens from the polluted field site and provide an avenue for future research aimed at more thoroughly describing coral CA activity for potential application in bioindication.

  9. CHARACTERIZATION OF THE BACTERIUM SUSPECTED IN THE INCIDENCE OF WHITE BAND DISEASE

    EPA Science Inventory

    The common staghorn coral, Acropora cervicomis, has been critically impacted in the U.S. Virgin Islands by a condition described as white band disease, a malady accompanied by the presence of abundant finely granular ovoid basophilic bodies within degenerating tissues of this sto...

  10. Coral recovery in the central Maldives archipelago since the last major mass-bleaching, in 1998

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pisapia, C.; Burn, D.; Yoosuf, R.; Najeeb, A.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-10-01

    Increasing frequency and severity of disturbances is causing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems. This study examined temporal changes in live coral cover and coral composition in the central Maldives from 1997 to 2016, encompassing two bleaching events, a tsunami, and an outbreak of Acanthaster planci. We also examined the contemporary size structure for five dominant coral taxa (tabular Acropora, Acropora muricata, Acropora humilis, Pocillopora spp, and massive Porites). Total coral cover increased throughout the study period, with marked increases following the 1998 mass-bleaching. The relative abundance of key genera has changed through time, where Acropora and Pocillopora (which are highly susceptible to bleaching) were under-represented following 1998 mass-bleaching but increased until outbreaks of A. planci in 2015. The contemporary size-structure for all coral taxa was dominated by larger colonies with peaked distributions suggesting that recent disturbances had a disproportionate impact on smaller colonies, or that recruitment is currently limited. This may suggest that coral resilience has been compromised by recent disturbances, and further bleaching (expected in 2016) could lead to highly protracted recovery times. We showed that Maldivian reefs recovered following the 1998 mass-bleaching event, but it took up to a decade, and ongoing disturbances may be eroding reef resilience.

  11. Coral recovery in the central Maldives archipelago since the last major mass-bleaching, in 1998.

    PubMed

    Pisapia, C; Burn, D; Yoosuf, R; Najeeb, A; Anderson, K D; Pratchett, M S

    2016-10-03

    Increasing frequency and severity of disturbances is causing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems. This study examined temporal changes in live coral cover and coral composition in the central Maldives from 1997 to 2016, encompassing two bleaching events, a tsunami, and an outbreak of Acanthaster planci. We also examined the contemporary size structure for five dominant coral taxa (tabular Acropora, Acropora muricata, Acropora humilis, Pocillopora spp, and massive Porites). Total coral cover increased throughout the study period, with marked increases following the 1998 mass-bleaching. The relative abundance of key genera has changed through time, where Acropora and Pocillopora (which are highly susceptible to bleaching) were under-represented following 1998 mass-bleaching but increased until outbreaks of A. planci in 2015. The contemporary size-structure for all coral taxa was dominated by larger colonies with peaked distributions suggesting that recent disturbances had a disproportionate impact on smaller colonies, or that recruitment is currently limited. This may suggest that coral resilience has been compromised by recent disturbances, and further bleaching (expected in 2016) could lead to highly protracted recovery times. We showed that Maldivian reefs recovered following the 1998 mass-bleaching event, but it took up to a decade, and ongoing disturbances may be eroding reef resilience.

  12. 77 FR 25116 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Spiny Lobster Fishery of the Gulf...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-27

    ... protect threatened species of corals. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before June 26, 2012... prudent measures (RPMs), including creation of new or expansion of existing closed areas to protect coral... threatened Acropora species of coral and to require markings on lobster trap lines unique to the...

  13. 78 FR 57835 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 6-Month Extension of the Final...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-09-20

    ... Coral as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act and Reclassify Acropora cervicornis... corals (59 in the Pacific and seven in the Caribbean) and to re- classify two species already listed... determinations for all of the 68 proposed corals. Based on comments received during the public comment period,...

  14. Coral recovery in the central Maldives archipelago since the last major mass-bleaching, in 1998

    PubMed Central

    Pisapia, C.; Burn, D.; Yoosuf, R.; Najeeb, A.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-01-01

    Increasing frequency and severity of disturbances is causing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems. This study examined temporal changes in live coral cover and coral composition in the central Maldives from 1997 to 2016, encompassing two bleaching events, a tsunami, and an outbreak of Acanthaster planci. We also examined the contemporary size structure for five dominant coral taxa (tabular Acropora, Acropora muricata, Acropora humilis, Pocillopora spp, and massive Porites). Total coral cover increased throughout the study period, with marked increases following the 1998 mass-bleaching. The relative abundance of key genera has changed through time, where Acropora and Pocillopora (which are highly susceptible to bleaching) were under-represented following 1998 mass-bleaching but increased until outbreaks of A. planci in 2015. The contemporary size-structure for all coral taxa was dominated by larger colonies with peaked distributions suggesting that recent disturbances had a disproportionate impact on smaller colonies, or that recruitment is currently limited. This may suggest that coral resilience has been compromised by recent disturbances, and further bleaching (expected in 2016) could lead to highly protracted recovery times. We showed that Maldivian reefs recovered following the 1998 mass-bleaching event, but it took up to a decade, and ongoing disturbances may be eroding reef resilience. PMID:27694823

  15. 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.

  16. Contrasting evolutionary patterns in two reef-corals and their possible relationship to life history traits

    SciTech Connect

    Foster, A.B.

    1985-01-01

    Multivariate statistical analyses have been used to redefine species within two genera of reef-corals (Porites and Montastraea) and to trace their evolutionary patterns through a continuous sequence from late Miocene to early Pliocene time. The material studied consists of populations sampled at regular intervals through four stratigraphic sections in the northern Dominican Republic. The results show that species in the first genus (Porites) have relatively short durations, morphologic stability, and narrow spatial distributions. Their overall evolutionary history is characterized by short periods of radiation and widespread extinction, separated by longer periods of stasis. In contrast, species in the second genus (Montastraea) exhibit various different durations and distributions and directional morphologic trends. These differences in patterns may be related to the dissimilar life histories of the two genera. Patterns in the first genus appear more common in organisms having high larval recruitment, high mortality, high genetic variation, and less morphologic distance between species. Patterns in the second genus occur more frequently in slower growing, phenotypically plastic organisms experiencing less recruitment and mortality and showing more morphologic distance between species.

  17. 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.

  18. The Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Algae-Derived Lipid Extracts on Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Stimulated Human THP-1 Macrophages.

    PubMed

    Robertson, Ruairi C; Guihéneuf, Freddy; Bahar, Bojlul; Schmid, Matthias; Stengel, Dagmar B; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine

    2015-08-20

    Algae contain a number of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) and chlorophyll a, hence as dietary ingredients, their extracts may be effective in chronic inflammation-linked metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. In this study, anti-inflammatory potential of lipid extracts from three red seaweeds (Porphyra dioica, Palmaria palmata and Chondrus crispus) and one microalga (Pavlova lutheri) were assessed in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human THP-1 macrophages. Extracts contained 34%-42% total fatty acids as n-3 PUFA and 5%-7% crude extract as pigments, including chlorophyll a, β-carotene and fucoxanthin. Pretreatment of the THP-1 cells with lipid extract from P. palmata inhibited production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 (p < 0.05) and IL-8 (p < 0.05) while that of P. lutheri inhibited IL-6 (p < 0.01) production. Quantitative gene expression analysis of a panel of 92 genes linked to inflammatory signaling pathway revealed down-regulation of the expression of 14 pro-inflammatory genes (TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR8, TRAF5, TRAF6, TNFSF18, IL6R, IL23, CCR1, CCR4, CCL17, STAT3, MAP3K1) by the lipid extracts. The lipid extracts effectively inhibited the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory signaling pathways mediated via toll-like receptors, chemokines and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling molecules. These results suggest that lipid extracts from P. lutheri, P. palmata, P. dioica and C. crispus can inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory pathways in human macrophages. Therefore, algal lipid extracts should be further explored as anti-inflammatory ingredients for chronic inflammation-linked metabolic diseases.

  19. Hydrolytic fragmentation of seed gums under microwave irradiation.

    PubMed

    Singh, V; Tiwari, A

    2009-03-01

    The seed gum solutions of Ipomoea purga, Ipomoea palmata, Ipomoea dasysperma, Cyanaposis tetragonolobus (Guar gum) and Crotolaria medicaginea were microwave (MW) irradiated and their degradation to oligo and monosaccharides was investigated. The gum solutions were fragmented into oligosaccharides/constituent monosaccharides depending upon the length of MW exposure in presence of catalytic amount of mineral acid or even when no acid was used. A mechanism for the microwave induced hydrolytic degradation of the seed gums has been proposed. The MW exposure time required for the partial and complete degradation of the gums was found dependent on the types of the linkages and degree of the branching present in the gums.

  20. Estimating Sustainable Live-Coral Harvest at Kamiali Wildlife Management Area, Papua New Guinea

    PubMed Central

    Longenecker, Ken; Bolick, Holly; Langston, Ross

    2015-01-01

    Live coral is harvested throughout the Indo-West Pacific to make lime, used in the consumption of the world’s fourth-most consumed drug, betel nut. Coral harvesting is an environmental concern; however, because lime-making is one of the few sources of income in some areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the practice is unlikely to stop. To better manage coral harvest, we used standard fishery-yield methods to generate sustainable-harvest guidelines for corymbose Acropora species found on the reef flat and crest at Lababia, PNG. We constructed a yield curve (weight-specific net annual-dry-weight production) by: 1) describing the allometric relationship between colony size and dry weight, and using that relationship to estimate the dry weight of Acropora colonies in situ; 2) estimating annual growth of Acropora colonies by estimating in situ, and describing the relationship between, colony dry weight at the beginning and end of one year; and 3) conducting belt-transect surveys to describe weight-frequencies and ultimately to predict annual weight change per square meter for each weight class. Reef habitat covers a total 2,467,550 m2 at Lababia and produces an estimated 248,397 kg/y (dry weight) of corymbose Acropora, of which 203,897 kg is produced on the reef flat/crest. We conservatively estimate that 30,706.6 kg of whole, dry, corymbose, Acropora can be sustainably harvested from the reef flat/crest habitat each year provided each culled colony weighs at least 1805 g when dry (or is at least 46 cm along its major axis). Artisanal lime-makers convert 24.8% of whole-colony weight into marketable lime, thus we estimate 7615.2 g of lime can be sustainably produced annually from corymbose Acropora. This value incorporates several safety margins, and should lead to proper management of live coral harvest. Importantly, the guideline recognizes village rights to exploit its marine resources, is consistent with village needs for income, and balances an equally strong village

  1. Assessment of Air Pollution Tolerance Index of some plants to develop vertical gardens near street canyons of a polluted tropical city.

    PubMed

    Pandey, Ashutosh Kumar; Pandey, Mayank; Tripathi, B D

    2016-12-01

    The aim of the present study was to examine Air Pollution Tolerance Index (APTI) of some climber plant species to develop vertical gardens in Varanasi city which has characteristics of tall building and narrow roads. This condition results in street canyon like structure and hinders the vertical dispersal of air pollutants. We have selected 24 climber plant species which are commonly found in of Varanasi city. Chosen plants can be easily grown either in planter boxes or directly in the ground, with a vertical support they can climb on walls to form green walls or vertical garden. Air Pollution Tolerance Index (APTI) of the selected plant species was calculated and plants with higher APTI are recommended for the development of Vertical garden. Highest APTI was noted for Ipomoea palmata (25.39) followed by Aristolochia elegans (23.28), Thunbergia grandiflora (23.14), Quisqualis indica (22.42), and Clerodendrum splendens (22.36). However, lowest APTI value (8.75) was recorded for the species Hemidesmus indicus. Moreover, the linear regression analysis has revealed a high positive correlation between APTI and ascorbic acid content (R(2)=0.8837) and positive correlation between APTI and Chlorophyll content (R(2)=0.6687). On the basis of higher APTI values (greater than 17), nine species of climber plants viz. I. palmata, T. grandiflora, C. splendens, A. elegans, Q. indica, Petria volubilis, Antigonon leptopus, Cryptolepis buchuanni and Tinospora cordifolia have been recommended to develop vertical greenery systems in a compact tropical city.

  2. Properties of polysaccharides in several seaweeds from Atlantic Canada and their potential anti-influenza viral activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiao, Guangling; Yu, Guangli; Wang, Wei; Zhao, Xiaoliang; Zhang, Junzeng; Ewart, Stephen H.

    2012-06-01

    To explore the polysaccharides from selected seaweeds of Atlantic Canada and to evaluate their potential anti-influenza virus activities, polysaccharides were isolated from several Atlantic Canadian seaweeds, including three red algae ( Polysiphonia lanosa, Furcellaria lumbricalis, and Palmaria palmata), two brown algae ( Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus), and one green alga ( Ulva lactuca) by sequential extraction with cold water, hot water, and alkali solutions. These polysaccharides were analyzed for monosaccharide composition and other general chemical properties, and they were evaluated for anti-influenza virus activities. Total sugar contents in these polysaccharides ranged from 15.4% (in U. lactuca) to 91.4% (in F. lumbricalis); sulfation level was as high as 17.6% in a polysaccharide from U. lactuca, whereas it could not be detected in an alikali-extract from P. palmaria. For polysaccharides from red seaweeds, the main sugar units were sulfated galactans (agar or carrageenan) for P. lanosa, F. lumbricalis, and xylans for P. palmata. In brown seaweeds, the polysaccharides largely contained sulfated fucans, whereas the polysaccharides in green seaweed were mainly composed of heteroglycuronans. Screening for antiviral activity against influenza A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) virus revealed that brown algal polysaccharides were particularly effective. Seaweeds from Atlantic Canada are a good source of marine polysaccharides with potential antiviral properties.

  3. Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans

    SciTech Connect

    Phaneuf, D.; Cote, I.; Dumas, P.; Ferron, L.A.; LeBlanc, A.

    1999-02-01

    The goal of the study was to assess the contamination of marine algae (seaweeds) growing in the St. Lawrence River estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and to evaluate the risks to human health from the consumption of these algae. Algae were collected by hand at low tide. A total of 10 sites on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence as well as in Baie des Chaleurs were sampled. The most frequently collected species of algae were Fucus vesiculosus, Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria Longicruris, Palmaria palmata, Ulva lactuca, and Fucus distichus. Alga samples were analyzed for metals iodine, and organochlorines. A risk assessment was performed using risk factors. In general, concentrations in St. Lawrence algae were not very high. Consequently, health risks associated with these compounds in St. Lawrence algae were very low. Iodine concentration, on the other hand, could be of concern with regard to human health. Regular consumption of algae, especially of Laminaria sp., could result in levels of iodine sufficient to cause thyroid problems. For regular consumers, it would be preferable to choose species with low iodine concentrations, such as U. lactuca and P. palmata, in order to prevent potential problems. Furthermore, it would also be important to assess whether preparation for consumption or cooking affects the iodine content of algae. Algae consumption may also have beneficial health effects. Scientific literature has shown that it is a good source of fiber and vitamins, especially vitamin B{sub 12}.

  4. Does use of tropical beaches by tourists and island residents result in damage to fringing coral reefs? A case study in Moorea French Polynesia.

    PubMed

    Juhasz, Allison; Ho, Ellen; Bender, Erika; Fong, Peggy

    2010-12-01

    Although coral reefs worldwide are subject to increasing global threats, humans also impact coral reefs directly through localized activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. We investigated five sites on the northern shore of Moorea, French Polynesia, and quantified the number of visitors on the beach and in shallow water. In field surveys, we measured total coral cover and colony sizes of two common genera, Porites and Acropora, a massive and branching morphology, respectively. One site, which hosted over an order of magnitude more people than the other four, had significantly less total coral cover and supported very little branching Acropora. In addition, size frequency distributions of both the branching and massive genera were skewed toward smaller colony sizes at the high use site. Our results demonstrated that the use of tropical beaches may result in less coral cover, with branching colonies rare and small.

  5. Coral choreography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

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

  6. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success?

    PubMed Central

    Renema, Willem; Pandolfi, John M.; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Klaus, James S.; Korpanty, Chelsea; Rosen, Brian R.; Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Wallace, Carden C.; Webster, Jody M.; Johnson, Kenneth G.

    2016-01-01

    As one of the most prolific and widespread reef builders, the staghorn coral Acropora holds a disproportionately large role in how coral reefs will respond to accelerating anthropogenic change. We show that although Acropora has a diverse history extended over the past 50 million years, it was not a dominant reef builder until the onset of high-amplitude glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuations 1.8 million years ago. High growth rates and propagation by fragmentation have favored staghorn corals since this time. In contrast, staghorn corals are among the most vulnerable corals to anthropogenic stressors, with marked global loss of abundance worldwide. The continued decline in staghorn coral abundance and the mounting challenges from both local stress and climate change will limit the coral reefs’ ability to provide ecosystem services. PMID:27152330

  7. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success?

    PubMed

    Renema, Willem; Pandolfi, John M; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Bosellini, Francesca R; Klaus, James S; Korpanty, Chelsea; Rosen, Brian R; Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Wallace, Carden C; Webster, Jody M; Johnson, Kenneth G

    2016-04-01

    As one of the most prolific and widespread reef builders, the staghorn coral Acropora holds a disproportionately large role in how coral reefs will respond to accelerating anthropogenic change. We show that although Acropora has a diverse history extended over the past 50 million years, it was not a dominant reef builder until the onset of high-amplitude glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuations 1.8 million years ago. High growth rates and propagation by fragmentation have favored staghorn corals since this time. In contrast, staghorn corals are among the most vulnerable corals to anthropogenic stressors, with marked global loss of abundance worldwide. The continued decline in staghorn coral abundance and the mounting challenges from both local stress and climate change will limit the coral reefs' ability to provide ecosystem services.

  8. High precision u/th dating of first Polynesian settlement.

    PubMed

    Burley, David; Weisler, Marshall I; Zhao, Jian-xin

    2012-01-01

    Previous studies document Nukuleka in the Kingdom of Tonga as a founder colony for first settlement of Polynesia by Lapita peoples. A limited number of radiocarbon dates are one line of evidence supporting this claim, but they cannot precisely establish when this event occurred, nor can they afford a detailed chronology for sequent occupation. High precision U/Th dates of Acropora coral files (abraders) from Nukuleka give unprecedented resolution, identifying the founder event by 2838±8 BP and documenting site development over the ensuing 250 years. The potential for dating error due to post depositional diagenetic alteration of ancient corals at Nukuleka also is addressed through sample preparation protocols and paired dates on spatially separated samples for individual specimens. Acropora coral files are widely distributed in Lapita sites across Oceania. U/Th dating of these artifacts provides unparalleled opportunities for greater precision and insight into the speed and timing of this final chapter in human settlement of the globe.

  9. First frozen repository for the Great Barrier Reef coral created.

    PubMed

    Hagedorn, Mary; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Carter, Virginia; Henley, Mike; Abrego, David; Puill-Stephan, Eneour; Negri, Andrew; Heyward, Andrew; MacFarlane, Doug; Spindler, Rebecca

    2012-10-01

    To build new tools for the continued protection and propagation of coral from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), an international group of coral and cryopreservation scientists known as the Reef Recovery Initiative joined forces during the November 2011 mass-spawning event. The outcome was the creation of the first frozen bank for Australian coral from two important GBR reef-building species, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora. Approximately 190 frozen samples each with billions of cells were placed into long-term storage. Sperm cells were successfully cryopreserved, and after thawing, samples were used to fertilize eggs, resulting in functioning larvae. Additionally, developing larvae were dissociated, and these pluripotent cells were cryopreserved and viable after thawing. Now, we are in a unique position to move our work from the laboratory to the reefs to develop collaborative, practical conservation management tools to help secure Australia's coral biodiversity.

  10. Establishment of coral-algal symbiosis requires attraction and selection.

    PubMed

    Yamashita, Hiroshi; Suzuki, Go; Kai, Sayaka; Hayashibara, Takeshi; Koike, Kazuhiko

    2014-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are based on coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis. During the initiation of symbiosis, majority of corals acquire their own zooxanthellae (specifically from the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium) from surrounding environments. The mechanisms underlying the initial establishment of symbiosis have attracted much interest, and numerous field and laboratory experiments have been conducted to elucidate this establishment. However, it is still unclear whether the host corals selectively or randomly acquire their symbionts from surrounding environments. To address this issue, we initially compared genetic compositions of Symbiodinium within naturally settled about 2-week-old Acropora coral juveniles (recruits) and those in the adjacent seawater as the potential symbiont source. We then performed infection tests using several types of Symbiodinium culture strains and apo-symbiotic (does not have Symbiodinium cells yet) Acropora coral larvae. Our field observations indicated apparent preference toward specific Symbiodinium genotypes (A1 and D1-4) within the recruits, despite a rich abundance of other Symbiodinium in the environmental population pool. Laboratory experiments were in accordance with this field observation: Symbiodinium strains of type A1 and D1-4 showed higher infection rates for Acropora larvae than other genotype strains, even when supplied at lower cell densities. Subsequent attraction tests revealed that three Symbiodinium strains were attracted toward Acropora larvae, and within them, only A1 and D1-4 strains were acquired by the larvae. Another three strains did not intrinsically approach to the larvae. These findings suggest the initial establishment of corals-Symbiodinium symbiosis is not random, and the infection mechanism appeared to comprise two steps: initial attraction step and subsequent selective uptake by the coral.

  11. 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

  12. Species-specific responses of corals to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs on Okinawa Island, Japan, over a 15-year period (1995-2009).

    PubMed

    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.

  13. Genome-wide SNP analysis explains coral diversity and recovery in the Ryukyu Archipelago

    PubMed Central

    Shinzato, Chuya; Mungpakdee, Sutada; Arakaki, Nana; Satoh, Noriyuki

    2015-01-01

    Following a global coral bleaching event in 1998, Acropora corals surrounding most of Okinawa island (OI) were devastated, although they are now gradually recovering. In contrast, the Kerama Islands (KIs) only 30 km west of OI, have continuously hosted a great variety of healthy corals. Taking advantage of the decoded Acropora digitifera genome and using genome-wide SNP analyses, we clarified Acropora population structure in the southern Ryukyu Archipelago (sRA). Despite small genetic distances, we identified distinct clusters corresponding to specific island groups, suggesting infrequent long-distance dispersal within the sRA. Although the KIs were believed to supply coral larvae to OI, admixture analyses showed that such dispersal is much more limited than previously realized, indicating independent recovery of OI coral populations and the necessity of local conservation efforts for each region. We detected strong historical migration from the Yaeyama Islands (YIs) to OI, and suggest that the YIs are the original source of OI corals. In addition, migration edges to the KIs suggest that they are a historical sink population in the sRA, resulting in high diversity. This population genomics study provides the highest resolution data to date regarding coral population structure and history. PMID:26656261

  14. Genome-wide SNP analysis explains coral diversity and recovery in the Ryukyu Archipelago.

    PubMed

    Shinzato, Chuya; Mungpakdee, Sutada; Arakaki, Nana; Satoh, Noriyuki

    2015-12-10

    Following a global coral bleaching event in 1998, Acropora corals surrounding most of Okinawa island (OI) were devastated, although they are now gradually recovering. In contrast, the Kerama Islands (KIs) only 30 km west of OI, have continuously hosted a great variety of healthy corals. Taking advantage of the decoded Acropora digitifera genome and using genome-wide SNP analyses, we clarified Acropora population structure in the southern Ryukyu Archipelago (sRA). Despite small genetic distances, we identified distinct clusters corresponding to specific island groups, suggesting infrequent long-distance dispersal within the sRA. Although the KIs were believed to supply coral larvae to OI, admixture analyses showed that such dispersal is much more limited than previously realized, indicating independent recovery of OI coral populations and the necessity of local conservation efforts for each region. We detected strong historical migration from the Yaeyama Islands (YIs) to OI, and suggest that the YIs are the original source of OI corals. In addition, migration edges to the KIs suggest that they are a historical sink population in the sRA, resulting in high diversity. This population genomics study provides the highest resolution data to date regarding coral population structure and history.

  15. Habitat preferences of a corallivorous reef fish: predation risk versus food quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Mcleod, I. M.; Jones, G. P.

    2013-09-01

    Many animals preferentially select a habitat from a range of those potentially available. However, the consequences of these preferences for distribution and abundance, and the underlying basis of habitat preferences are often unknown. The present study, conducted at Great Keppel Island, Australia, examined how distribution and abundance of an obligate corallivorous filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, relates to coral architecture and diversity. The main drivers of the distribution and abundance of O. longirostris among reefs were coral species richness and availability of branching coral. Feeding territories had a higher percentage of Acropora coral than surrounding habitat. In addition, feeding territories had a higher percentage of the structurally important branching coral, Acropora nobilis, and a primary prey species, Acropora millepora. A series of pair-wise choice experiments in which both structural complexity and coral tissue quality were independently manipulated showed that habitat choice was primarily based on structural complexity and shelter characteristics. In addition, the choice for the preferred coral ( A. nobilis) was stronger in the presence of a piscivorous fish. These results indicate that species-diverse coral habitats, which provide sufficient structural complexity along with nutritionally important prey, are essential for population persistence of this small, corallivorous reef fish.

  16. Phylogenetic evidence for recent diversification of obligate coral-dwelling gobies compared with their host corals☆

    PubMed Central

    Duchene, David; Klanten, Selma O.; Munday, Philip L.; Herler, Jürgen; van Herwerden, Lynne

    2013-01-01

    The rich diversity of coral reef organisms is supported, at least in part, by the diversity of coral reef habitat. Some of the most habitat specialised fishes on coral reefs are obligate coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon that inhabit a range of coral species, mostly of the genus Acropora. However, the role of this specialised pattern of habitat use in the evolution of coral-dwelling gobies is not well understood. Diversification of coral-dwelling gobies may be driven by the diversification of their host corals (cospeciation), or alternatively, diversification of these fishes may have occurred independently of the diversification of host corals. The cospeciation hypothesis assumes similar timing in evolution of the gobies and their host corals. We used four genes for each group and the available fossil records to reconstruct and date phylogenies for 20 species of Gobiodon from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea, and for 28 species of the coral genus Acropora. Our results indicate that Gobiodon diversified mostly in the last ∼5 My, whereas Acropora corals have consistently diversified since the Eocene, making the hypothesis of cospeciation untenable. The fully resolved molecular phylogeny of the genus Gobiodon is in part at odds with previous analyses incorporating morphological data and indicates that some morphological traits form paraphyletic clades within Gobiodon. Our phylogeny supports a hypothesis in which Gobiodon diversified in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and then radiated recently, with multiple new variants found in the Red Sea. PMID:23680856

  17. The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Castro-Sanguino, Carolina; Lovelock, Catherine; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    The calcareous green alga Halimeda is a key contributor to carbonate sediment production on coral reefs. As herbivores have a direct negative effect on the abundance of Halimeda, protection from herbivory is critical for Halimeda growth. Branching corals such as Acropora are likely to provide refugia for Halimeda from grazers, yet studies are scarce. Here, we investigated the vulnerability of two Halimeda species to herbivory using fish exclusion cages and assessed the contribution of coral structural complexity to seasonal changes in Halimeda biomass and morphometrics. While up to 50 % Halimeda abundance was depleted outside cages due to herbivory and the exclusion of large herbivores resulted in an increase in net growth up to threefold, Halimeda recruitment was positively affected by herbivory, more than two times greater outside cages. However, these responses differed between species and seasons; only one species was affected in winter but not summer. Coral structural complexity facilitated an increase of total algal biomass particularly in summer. At the individual level, thalli growing inside the Acropora canopy were always significantly larger (thallus biomass, volume and height) than those growing in exposed areas. We estimated that the carbonate production of Halimeda was nearly three times greater inside refuges provided by Acropora. Because Halimeda species differ in growth rates and susceptibility to grazing, we predict that the ongoing degradation of the habitat complexity provided by branching corals will alter Halimeda community structure and its contribution to local sediment budgets.

  18. Changes in coral assemblages during an outbreak of Acanthaster planci at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef (1995-1999)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pratchett, M. S.

    2010-09-01

    Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci L.) represent one of the most significant biological disturbances on tropical coral reefs and have the potential to devastate coral communities, thereby altering the biological and physical structure of reef habitats. This study reports on changes in area cover, species diversity and taxonomic composition of corals during an outbreak of A. planci at Lizard Island, in the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mean coral cover declined by 28.8% across ten locations studied. However, densities of A. planci, and their effects on local coral assemblages, were very patchy. Declines in coral cover were mostly due to the selective removal of certain coral taxa (mainly Acropora and Pocilloporidae corals); such that the greatest coral loss occurred at locations with highest initial cover of preferred coral prey. Most notably, coral assemblages in back-reef locations were transformed from topographically complex staghorn Acropora-dominated habitats, to relatively depauperate assemblages dominated by alcyonacean soft corals. Although coral loss was greatest among formerly dominant taxa (especially Acropora), effects were sufficiently widespread across different coral taxa, such that overall coral diversity tended to decline. Clearly, moderate outbreaks of A. planci have the potential to greatly alter community structure of coral communities even if they do not devastate live corals. Recovery in this instance is expected to be very rapid given that all coral taxa persisted, and effects were greatest among fast growing corals.

  19. Phylogenetic evidence for recent diversification of obligate coral-dwelling gobies compared with their host corals.

    PubMed

    Duchene, David; Klanten, Selma O; Munday, Philip L; Herler, Jürgen; van Herwerden, Lynne

    2013-10-01

    The rich diversity of coral reef organisms is supported, at least in part, by the diversity of coral reef habitat. Some of the most habitat specialised fishes on coral reefs are obligate coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon that inhabit a range of coral species, mostly of the genus Acropora. However, the role of this specialised pattern of habitat use in the evolution of coral-dwelling gobies is not well understood. Diversification of coral-dwelling gobies may be driven by the diversification of their host corals (cospeciation), or alternatively, diversification of these fishes may have occurred independently of the diversification of host corals. The cospeciation hypothesis assumes similar timing in evolution of the gobies and their host corals. We used four genes for each group and the available fossil records to reconstruct and date phylogenies for 20 species of Gobiodon from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea, and for 28 species of the coral genus Acropora. Our results indicate that Gobiodon diversified mostly in the last ∼5My, whereas Acropora corals have consistently diversified since the Eocene, making the hypothesis of cospeciation untenable. The fully resolved molecular phylogeny of the genus Gobiodon is in part at odds with previous analyses incorporating morphological data and indicates that some morphological traits form paraphyletic clades within Gobiodon. Our phylogeny supports a hypothesis in which Gobiodon diversified in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and then radiated recently, with multiple new variants found in the Red Sea.

  20. Depth-dependent mortality of reef corals following a severe bleaching event: implications for thermal refuges and population recovery.

    PubMed

    Bridge, Tom C L; Hoey, Andrew S; Campbell, Stuart J; Muttaqin, Efin; Rudi, Edi; Fadli, Nur; Baird, Andrew H

    2013-01-01

    Coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperature is a primary cause of coral reef degradation. However, bleaching patterns often show significant spatial variability, therefore identifying locations where local conditions may provide thermal refuges is a high conservation priority. Coral bleaching mortality often diminishes with increasing depth, but clear depth zonation of coral communities and putative limited overlap in species composition between deep and shallow reef habitats has led to the conclusion that deeper reef habitats will provide limited refuge from bleaching for most species. Here, we show that coral mortality following a severe bleaching event diminished sharply with depth. Bleaching-induced mortality of Acropora was approximately 90% at 0-2m, 60% at 3-4 m, yet at 6-8m there was negligible mortality. Importantly, at least two-thirds of the shallow-water (2-3 m) Acropora assemblage had a depth range that straddled the transition from high to low mortality. Cold-water upwelling may have contributed to the lower mortality observed in all but the shallowest depths. Our results demonstrate that, in this instance, depth provided a refuge for individuals from a high proportion of species in this Acropora-dominated assemblage. The persistence of deeper populations may provide a critical source of propagules to assist recovery of adjacent shallow-water reefs.

  1. Local stressors reduce coral resilience to bleaching.

    PubMed

    Carilli, Jessica E; Norris, Richard D; Black, Bryan A; Walsh, Sheila M; McField, Melanie

    2009-07-22

    Coral bleaching, during which corals lose their symbiotic dinoflagellates, typically corresponds with periods of intense heat stress, and appears to be increasing in frequency and geographic extent as the climate warms. A fundamental question in coral reef ecology is whether chronic local stress reduces coral resistance and resilience from episodic stress such as bleaching, or alternatively promotes acclimatization, potentially increasing resistance and resilience. Here we show that following a major bleaching event, Montastraea faveolata coral growth rates at sites with higher local anthropogenic stressors remained suppressed for at least 8 years, while coral growth rates at sites with lower stress recovered in 2-3 years. Instead of promoting acclimatization, our data indicate that background stress reduces coral fitness and resilience to episodic events. We also suggest that reducing chronic stress through local coral reef management efforts may increase coral resilience to global climate change.

  2. Pulley reef: a deep photosynthetic coral reef on the West Florida Shelf, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Culter, J.K.; Ritchie, K.B.; Earle, S.A.; Guggenheim, D.E.; Halley, R.B.; Ciembronowicz, K.T.; Hine, A.C.; Jarrett, B.D.; Locker, S.D.; Jaap, W.C.

    2006-01-01

    Pulley Reef (24°50′N, 83°40′W) lies on a submerged late Pleistocene shoreline feature that formed during a sea-level stillstand from 13.8 to 14.5 ka (Jarrett et al. 2005). The reef is currently 60–75 m deep, exhibits 10–60% coral cover, and extends over approximately 160 km2 of the sea floor. Zooxanthellate corals are primarily Agaricia lamarcki, A. fragilis, Leptoseris cucullata, and less common Madracis formosa, M. pharensis, M. decactis, Montastraea cavernosa, Porites divaricata, Scolymia cubensis and Oculina tenella. Coralline algae are comparable in abundance to stony corals. Other macroalgae include Halimeda tuna, Dictyota divaricata, Lobophora variegata, Ventricatri ventricosa, Verdigelas pelas, and Kallymenia sp. Anadyomene menziesii is abundant. The reef provides a habitat for organisms typically observed at much shallower depths, and is the deepest known photosynthetic coral reef on the North America continental shelf (Fig. 1).

  3. Chronic parrotfish grazing impedes coral recovery after bleaching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rotjan, Randi D.; Dimond, James L.; Thornhill, Daniel J.; Leichter, James J.; Helmuth, Brian; Kemp, Dustin W.; Lewis, Sara M.

    2006-08-01

    Coral bleaching, in which corals become visibly pale and typically lose their endosymbiotic zooxanthellae ( Symbiodinium spp.), increasingly threatens coral reefs worldwide. While the proximal environmental triggers of bleaching are reasonably well understood, considerably less is known concerning physiological and ecological factors that might exacerbate coral bleaching or delay recovery. We report a bleaching event in Belize during September 2004 in which Montastraea spp. corals that had been previously grazed by corallivorous parrotfishes showed a persistent reduction in symbiont density compared to intact colonies. Additionally, grazed corals exhibited greater diversity in the genetic composition of their symbiont communities, changing from uniform ITS2 type C7 Symbiodinium prior to bleaching to mixed assemblages of Symbiodinium types post-bleaching. These results suggest that chronic predation may exacerbate the influence of environmental stressors and, by altering the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis, such abiotic-biotic interactions may contribute to spatial variation in bleaching processes.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1989-01-01

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

  5. Bleaching in reef corals: Physiological and stable isotopic responses

    PubMed Central

    Porter, James W.; Fitt, William K.; Spero, Howard J.; Rogers, Caroline S.; White, Michael W.

    1989-01-01

    During the late summer to fall of 1987, Caribbean reef corals experienced an intense and widespread discoloration event described as bleaching. Contrary to initial predictions, most bleached corals did not die. However, energy input from zooxanthellae decreased, as estimated from: (i) δ13C values, a measure of the discrimination against 13C in 12C/13C assimilation, of skeletal aragonite; (ii) in situ photosynthesis-irradiance measurements; (iii) and tissue biomass parameters of Montastraea annularis and Agaricia lamarcki. The δ18O signal, a measure of the discrimination against 18O in 16O/18O assimilation, from M. annularis skeletons demonstrated that this event coincided with abnormally elevated water temperatures. Images PMID:16594090

  6. Coral spawn timing is a direct response to solar light cycles and is not an entrained circadian response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brady, A. K.; Hilton, J. D.; Vize, P. D.

    2009-09-01

    Broadcast spawning corals release gametes into the oceans with extraordinarily accurate timing. While the date of spawning is set by the lunar cycle, the hour/minute of spawning is set by the solar cycle. In this report, we describe experiments that test whether the time of spawning is regulated by an entrained biological clock or whether it is directly controlled by the solar cycle. Montastraea franksi samples were collected on the morning of the predicted spawning. Fragments from colonies were kept under three different lighting conditions and spawning monitored. The three conditions were sunset times of 0, 1 or 2 h earlier than normal. Fragments from the same colony spawned differently under these three conditions, with an early sunset causing a corresponding early shift in spawning. These results indicate that spawn timing is not controlled by a circadian rhythm and that it is directly controlled by local solar light cycle.

  7. Herbivory versus corallivory: are parrotfish good or bad for Caribbean coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2009-09-01

    With coral cover in decline on many Caribbean reefs, any process of coral mortality is of potential concern. While sparisomid parrotfishes are major grazers of Caribbean reefs and help control algal blooms, the fact that they also undertake corallivory has prompted some to question the rationale for their conservation. Here the weight of evidence for beneficial effects of parrotfishes, in terms of reducing algal cover and facilitating demographic processes in corals, and the deleterious effects of parrotfishes in terms of causing coral mortality and chronic stress, are reviewed. While elevated parrotfish density will likely increase the predation rate upon juvenile corals, the net effect appears to be positive in enhancing coral recruitment through removal of macroalgal competitors. Parrotfish corallivory can cause modest partial colony mortality in the most intensively grazed species of Montastraea but the generation and healing of bite scars appear to be in near equilibrium, even when coral cover is low. Whole colony mortality in adult corals can lead to complete exclusion of some delicate, lagoonal species of Porites from forereef environments but is only reported for one reef species ( Porites astreoides), for one habitat (backreef), and with uncertain incidence (though likely <<10%). No deleterious effects of predation on coral growth or fecundity have been reported, though recovery of zooxanthellae after bleaching events may be retarded. The balance of evidence to date finds strong support for the herbivory role of parrotfishes in facilitating coral recruitment, growth, and fecundity. In contrast, no net deleterious effects of corallivory have been reported for reef corals. Corallivory is unlikely to constrain overall coral cover but contraints upon dwindling populations of the Montastraea annularis species complex are feasible and the role of parrotfishes as a vector of coral disease requires evaluation. However, any assertion that conservation practices

  8. Linear extension rates of massive corals from the Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muslic, Adis; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Reich, Christopher D.; Umberger, Daniel K.; Smoak, Joseph M.; Poore, Richard Z.

    2013-01-01

    Colonies of three coral species, Montastraea faveolata, Diploria strigosa, and Siderastrea siderea, located in the Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), Florida, were sampled and analyzed to evaluate annual linear extension rates. Montastraea faveolata had the highest average linear extension and variability in (DRTO: C2 = 0.67 centimeters/year (cm yr-1) ± 0.04, B3 = 0.85 cm yr-1 ± 0.07), followed by D. strigosa (DRTO: C1 = 0.73 cm yr-1 ± 0.04; MK = 0.59 cm yr-1 ± 0.06) and S. siderea (DRTO: A1 = 0.41 cm yr-1 ± 0.03). Intercolony comparison of M. faveolata from DRTO yielded a significant correlation (r = 0.34, df = 67, P = 0.005) and similar long-term patterns. DRTO S. siderea core A1 showed an overall increasing trend (r = 0.61, df = 119, P < 0.0001) in extension rates that correlated significantly with International Comprehensive Ocean/Atmosphere Data Set annual sea-surface temperature (r = 0.42, df = 115, P < 0.0001) and an air temperature record from Key West (r = 0.37, df = 111, P < 0.0001). In conclusion, annual linear extension rates are species specific and potentially influence by long-term variability in sea-surface temperature.

  9. The Importance of Coral Larval Recruitment for the Recovery of Reefs Impacted by Cyclone Yasi in the Central Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Cross, Peter; Torda, Gergely; Zimmerman, Rachel; Willis, Bette L.

    2013-01-01

    Cyclone Yasi, one of the most severe tropical storms on record, crossed the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in February 2011, bringing wind speeds of up to 285 km hr−1 and wave heights of at least 10 m, and causing massive destruction to exposed reefs in the Palm Island Group. Following the cyclone, mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from just 2.1 (0.2) % to 5.3 (0.4) % on exposed reefs and no reproductively mature colonies of any species of Acropora remained. Although no fragments of Acropora were found at impacted exposed sites following the cyclone, small juvenile colonies of Acropora (<10 cm diameter) were present, suggesting that their small size and compact morphologies enabled them to survive the cyclone. By contrast, sheltered reefs appeared to be unaffected by the cyclone. Mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from 18.2 (2.4) % to 30.0 (1.0) % and a large proportion of colonies of Acropora were reproductively mature. Macroalgae accounted for 8 to 16% of benthic cover at exposed sites impacted by cyclone Yasi but were absent at sheltered sites. Mean (± S.E.) recruitment of acroporids to settlement tiles declined from 25.3 (4.8) recruits tile−1 in the pre-cyclone spawning event (2010) to 15.4 (2.2) recruits tile−1 in the first post-cyclone spawning event (2011). Yet, post-cyclone recruitment did not differ between exposed (15.2±2.1 S.E.) and sheltered sites (15.6±2.2 S.E.), despite the loss of reproductive colonies at the exposed sites, indicating larval input from external sources. Spatial variation in impacts, the survival of small colonies, and larval replenishment to impacted reefs suggest that populations of Acropora have the potential to recover from this severe disturbance, provided that the Palm Islands are not impacted by acute disturbances or suffer additional chronic stressors in the near future. PMID:23755223

  10. The importance of coral larval recruitment for the recovery of reefs impacted by cyclone Yasi in the central Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Cross, Peter; Torda, Gergely; Zimmerman, Rachel; Willis, Bette L

    2013-01-01

    Cyclone Yasi, one of the most severe tropical storms on record, crossed the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in February 2011, bringing wind speeds of up to 285 km hr⁻¹ and wave heights of at least 10 m, and causing massive destruction to exposed reefs in the Palm Island Group. Following the cyclone, mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from just 2.1 (0.2) % to 5.3 (0.4) % on exposed reefs and no reproductively mature colonies of any species of Acropora remained. Although no fragments of Acropora were found at impacted exposed sites following the cyclone, small juvenile colonies of Acropora (<10 cm diameter) were present, suggesting that their small size and compact morphologies enabled them to survive the cyclone. By contrast, sheltered reefs appeared to be unaffected by the cyclone. Mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from 18.2 (2.4) % to 30.0 (1.0) % and a large proportion of colonies of Acropora were reproductively mature. Macroalgae accounted for 8 to 16% of benthic cover at exposed sites impacted by cyclone Yasi but were absent at sheltered sites. Mean (± S.E.) recruitment of acroporids to settlement tiles declined from 25.3 (4.8) recruits tile⁻¹ in the pre-cyclone spawning event (2010) to 15.4 (2.2) recruits tile⁻¹ in the first post-cyclone spawning event (2011). Yet, post-cyclone recruitment did not differ between exposed (15.2±2.1 S.E.) and sheltered sites (15.6±2.2 S.E.), despite the loss of reproductive colonies at the exposed sites, indicating larval input from external sources. Spatial variation in impacts, the survival of small colonies, and larval replenishment to impacted reefs suggest that populations of Acropora have the potential to recover from this severe disturbance, provided that the Palm Islands are not impacted by acute disturbances or suffer additional chronic stressors in the near future.

  11. Poly(acrylonitrile) grafted Ipomoea seed-gums: a renewable reservoir to industrial gums.

    PubMed

    Singh, Vandana; Tiwari, Ashutosh; Tripathi, Devendra Narayan; Sanghi, Rashmi

    2005-01-01

    Plants of Ipomoea genus are widely distributed in India as wild vegetation and are reported source for the seed gums. Seed gums from Ipomoea dasysperma, Ipomoea hederacea, and Ipomoea palmata plants were grafted with polyacrylonitrile (PAN) using potassium persulfate/ascorbic acid redox initiator for modifying their properties for potential industrial applications. Under identical grafting conditions, the extent of the grafting was observed to be dependent on the galactose-to-mannose ratio and the degree of the branching in the galactomannans. Viscosity, gel formation, film formation, and the shelf life of the grafted gum solutions and water and saline retention capacity of the grafted seed gums were determined and compared with the parent gums. Water retention of the alkalie hydrolyzed grafted seed gums were also studied. Grafted gums were characterized using FTIR, NMR, and XRD analysis.

  12. Ctenostomatous Bryozoa from São Paulo, Brazil, with descriptions of twelve new species.

    PubMed

    Vieira, Leandro M; Migotto, Alvaro E; Winston, Judith E

    2014-12-02

    This paper describes 21 ctenostomatous bryozoans from the state of São Paulo, Brazil, based on specimens observed in vivo. A new family, Jebramellidae n. fam., is erected for a newly described genus and species, Jebramella angusta n. gen. et sp. Eleven other species are described as new: Alcyonidium exiguum n. sp., Alcyonidium pulvinatum n. sp., Alcyonidium torquatum n. sp., Alcyonidium vitreum n. sp., Bowerbankia ernsti n. sp., Bowerbankia evelinae n. sp., Bowerbankia mobilis n. sp., Nolella elizae n. sp., Panolicella brasiliensis n. sp., Sundanella rosea n. sp., Victorella araceae n. sp. Taxonomic and ecological notes are also included for nine previously described species: Aeverrillia setigera (Hincks, 1887), Alcyonidium hauffi Marcus, 1939, Alcyonidium polypylum Marcus, 1941, Anguinella palmata van Beneden, 1845, Arachnoidella evelinae (Marcus, 1937), Bantariella firmata (Marcus, 1938) n. comb., Nolella sawayai Marcus, 1938, Nolella stipata Gosse, 1855 and Zoobotryon verticillatum (delle Chiaje, 1822).

  13. Interaction strength between different grazers and macroalgae mediated by ocean acidification over warming gradients.

    PubMed

    Sampaio, E; Rodil, I F; Vaz-Pinto, F; Fernández, A; Arenas, F

    2017-04-01

    Since the past century, rising CO2 levels have led to global changes (ocean warming and acidification) with subsequent effects on marine ecosystems and organisms. Macroalgae-herbivore interactions have a main role in the regulation of marine community structure (top-down control). Gradients of warming prompt complex non-linear effects on organism metabolism, cascading into altered trophic interactions and community dynamics. However, not much is known on how will acidification and grazer assemblage composition shape these effects. Within this context, we aimed to assess the combined effects of warming gradients and acidification on macroalgae-herbivore interactions, using three cosmopolitan species, abundant in the Iberian Peninsula and closely associated in nature: the amphipod Melita palmata, the gastropod Gibbula umbilicalis, and the green macroalga Ulva rigida. Under two CO2 treatments (ΔCO2 ≃ 450 μatm) across a temperature gradient (13.5, 16.6, 19.9 and 22.1 °C), two mesocosm experiments were performed to assess grazer consumption rates and macroalgae-herbivore interaction, respectively. Warming (Experiment I and II) and acidification (Experiment II) prompted negative effects in grazer's survival and species-specific differences in consumption rates. M. palmata was shown to be the stronger grazer per biomass (but not per capita), and also the most affected by climate stressors. Macroalgae-herbivore interaction strength was markedly shaped by the temperature gradient, while simultaneous acidification lowered thermal optimal threshold. In the near future, warming and acidification are likely to strengthen top-down control, but further increases in disturbances may lead to bottom-up regulated communities. Finally, our results suggest that grazer assemblage composition may modulate future macroalgae-herbivore interactions.

  14. Degradation of textile dyes mediated by plant peroxidases.

    PubMed

    Shaffiqu, T S; Roy, J Jegan; Nair, R Aswathi; Abraham, T Emilia

    2002-01-01

    The peroxidase enzyme from the plants Ipomea palmata (1.003 IU/g of leaf) and Saccharum spontaneum (3.6 IU/g of leaf) can be used as an alternative to the commercial source of horseradish and soybean peroxidase enzyme for the decolorization of textile dyes, mainly azo dyes. Eight textiles dyes currently used by the industry and seven other dyes were selected for decolorization studies at 25-200 mg/L levels using these plant enzymes. The enzymes were purified prior to use by ammonium sulfate precipitation, and ion exchange and gel permeation chromatographic techniques. Peroxidase of S. spontaneum leaf (specific activity of 0.23 IU/mg) could completely degrade Supranol Green and Procion Green HE-4BD (100%) dyes within 1 h, whereas Direct Blue, Procion Brilliant Blue H-7G and Chrysoidine were degraded >70% in 1 h. Peroxidase of Ipomea (I. palmata leaf; specific activity of 0.827 U/mg) degraded 50 mg/L of the dyes Methyl Orange (26%), Crystal Violet (36%), and Supranol Green (68%) in 2-4 h and Brilliant Green (54%), Direct Blue (15%), and Chrysoidine (44%) at the 25 mg/L level in 1 to 2 h of treatment. The Saccharum peroxidase was immobilized on a hydrophobic matrix. Four textile dyes, Procion Navy Blue HER, Procion Brilliant Blue H-7G, Procion Green HE-4BD, and Supranol Green, at an initial concentration of 50 mg/L were completely degraded within 8 h by the enzyme immobilized on the modified polyethylene matrix. The immobilized enzyme was used in a batch reactor for the degradation of Procion Green HE-4BD and the reusability was studied for 15 cycles, and the half-life was found to be 60 h.

  15. Novel use of field-portable-XRF for the direct analysis of trace elements in marine macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Bull, Annie; Brown, Murray T; Turner, Andrew

    2017-01-01

    Samples of dried marine macroalgae (Fucus serratus, Palmaria palmata and Ulva lactuca) have been analysed for trace elements by a novel, non-destructive approach involving a Niton field-portable-X-ray fluorescence (FP-XRF) spectrometer configured in a low density plastics mode with thickness correction. Detection limits for a 200-s counting time ranged from <5 μg g(-1) for As and Pb in F. serratus and As in P. palmata to several tens of μg g(-1) for Cd, Sb and Sn in all species tested. Arsenic, Cu, Pb and Zn were detected by the XRF in samples collected from a protected beach (n = 18) and in samples therefrom that had been exposed to additional aqueous elements in combination (n = 72) with concentrations returned (in μg g(-1)) ranging from 3.9 to 39.7 for As, 13.0 to 307 for Cu, 6.1 to 14.7 for Pb and 12.5 to 522 for Zn. Independent measurements of trace elements in the macroalgae by ICP-MS following nitric acid digestion revealed a direct and significant proportionality with concentrations returned by the XRF, with slopes of the XRF-ICP relationships (As = 1.0; Cu = 2.3; Pb = 2.4; Zn = 1.7) that can be used to calibrate the instrument for direct measurements. The approach shows potential for the in situ monitoring of macroalgae in coastal regions that is currently being investigated.

  16. Influence of sperm dilution and gamete contact time on the fertilization rate of scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nozawa, Yoko; Isomura, Naoko; Fukami, Hironobu

    2015-12-01

    This study presents new information on the influence of sperm dilution on the fertilization rates of eight broadcast-spawning scleractinian coral species [three Acropora species and five merulinid species (three genera)]. The presented information nearly doubled the existing information, now totaling 17 species comprising eight acroporid species and nine merulinid species. No obvious differences in the fertilization rates were observed at the family and genus levels; furthermore, the fertilization curve estimated uniquely for Favites pentagona exhibited a strong sigmoid shape, indicating the existence of species-specific variation. In addition, a general fertilization response against sperm dilution was observed for the first time in broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals. The fertilization rate peaked (>75 %) at a sperm concentration of approximately 106 sperm mL-1 (optimal concentration) and rapidly declined to <50 % at a concentration of 104 sperm mL-1. The influence of gamete contact time (10, 30, and 60 min) on fertilization rates was also examined in two Acropora and four merulinid species, at the optimal sperm concentration. No influence of gamete contact time on fertilization rates was observed in two of the examined species ( Acropora papillare and Platygyra ryukyuensis), whereas reduced fertilization rates occurred mostly in the 10-min treatment for the other species. These results suggested that broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals can rapidly fertilize, indicating that these corals have a fair chance of achieving high fertilization success in the field under optimal conditions. The sperm concentration values (e.g., 104 sperm mL-1, indicating <50 % fertilization rates) may be useful in estimating the success of in situ fertilization of broadcast-spawning scleractinian corals, particularly in degraded, low-density populations where the degree of fertilization success is of management concern. Information on the fertilization ecology of scleractinian

  17. 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

  18. Trend in coral-algal phase shift in the Mandapam group of islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machendiranathan, M.; Senthilnathan, L.; Ranith, R.; Saravanakumar, A.; Thangaradjou, T.; Choudhry, S. B.; Sasamal, S. K.

    2016-12-01

    The present study revealed proliferation of macro-algae modifying coral reef ecosystems in a different manner due to diseases and sedimentations in the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Benthic surveys were conducted with major attack of seven coral reefs diseases with high sedimentation rate, nine species of fleshy macro-algae ( Turbinaria ornata, Turbinaria conaides, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Padina gymnosphora, Sargassum wightii, Ulva reticulata and Calurpa lentillifera) proliferation against major corals life forms (Acropora branching, Acropora digitate, Acropora tabulate, coral massive, coral submassive, coral foliose and coral encrusting). The results confirm that diseased corals most favor to macro-algae growth (15.27%) rather than the sedimentation covered corals (8.24 %). In the degradation of coral life forms, massive corals were more highly damaged (7.05%) than any other forms. Within a short period of time (May to September), coral coverage shrank to 17.4% from 21.9%, macro-algae increased 23.51% and the average sedimentation rate attained 77.52 mg cm-2d-1 with persisting coral reef diseases of 17.59%. The Pearson correlation showed that the coral cover decreased with increasing macro-algae growth, which was statistically significant ( r = -0.774, n = 100, P < 0.0005). The proliferation of the various macro-algae C. scalpellifrmis, T. ornata, C. racemosa, T. conaides, U. reticulata, S. wightii, K. alvarezii, P. gymnosphora and C. lentillifera increased with percentages of 6.0, 5.8, 5.7, 4.9, 4.2, 3.7, 2.7 and 1.9, respectively. If this trend continues, the next generation of new recruit corals will undoubtedly lead to a phase shift in Gulf of Mannar corals.

  19. Competitive dominance by tabular corals: an experimental analysis of recruitment and survival of understorey assemblages.

    PubMed

    Baird; Hughes

    2000-08-23

    Tabular and staghorn corals of the genus Acropora often form low-diversity stands on shallow coral reefs, presumably due to their rapid growth rate and ability to outcompete understorey assemblages. Coral cover underneath the abundant Indo-Pacific tabular coral, Acropora hyacinthus, was four times lower than on the adjacent substratum on the reef crest at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. We investigated the effect of A. hyacinthus on patterns of recruitment and mortality by placing experimental panels and coral fragments underneath large colonies of A. hyacinthus. After 8 weeks, recruitment of corals, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae (CCA) underneath A. hyacinthus was 96, 85 and 50% lower, respectively, compared to panels placed in the open. In contrast, recruitment by bivalves and polychaetes was uniform among treatments, while bryozoans recruited four times more abundantly under A. hyacinthus than in the open. Consequently, the low rate of recruitment by corals beneath A. hyacinthus does not appear to be due to a reduction in the delivery of larvae underneath tables. Instead, the disparity between phototrophic and heterotrophic taxa suggests that diminished light levels under A. hyacinthus are partially responsible for the divergence in recruit assemblages. To test the effect of A. hyacinthus on early mortality and growth of established organisms, recruitment panels were placed on the open for 9 weeks then transplanted underneath A. hyacinthus for a further 8 weeks. The survivorship of juvenile corals underneath tables was less than half that of those on control panels on the unshaded reef crest. Furthermore, the abundance of algal turfs and CCA was sharply lower on transplanted panels. In contrast, heterotrophic organisms increased in cover, regardless of treatment. Experimental branch fragments of Acropora intermedia and Pocillopora damicornis also survived poorly following transplantation underneath A. hyacinthus, compared to

  20. Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Riginos, Cynthia; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-07-01

    Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for ten microsatellite loci) to demonstrate highly congruent patterns of connectivity between this common broadcast spawning reef-building coral and its congener Acropora millepora (~950 colonies; 20 reefs, genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci). For both species, there is a genetic divide at around 19°S latitude, most probably reflecting allopatric differentiation during the Pleistocene. GBR reefs north of 19°S are essentially panmictic whereas southern reefs are genetically distinct with higher levels of genetic diversity and population structure, most notably genetic subdivision between inshore and offshore reefs south of 19°S. These broadly congruent patterns of higher genetic diversities found on southern GBR reefs most likely represent the accumulation of alleles via the southward flowing East Australia Current. In addition, signatures of genetic admixture between the Coral Sea and outer-shelf reefs in the northern, central and southern GBR provide evidence of recent gene flow. Our connectivity results are consistent with predictions from recently published larval dispersal models for broadcast spawning corals on the GBR, thereby providing robust connectivity information about the dominant reef-building genus Acropora for coral reef managers.

  1. Abundance, composition and growth rate of coral recruits on dead corals following the 2010 bleaching event at Mu Ko Surin, the Andaman Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yucharoen, Mathinee; Yeemin, Thamasak; Casareto, Beatriz E.; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Samsuvan, Watchara; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sutthacheep, Makamas

    2015-06-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures in the summer months of 2010 were associated with widespread coral mortality in Thailand. A large number of corals at Mu Ko Surin died following the bleaching event. Understanding of the recruitment of corals would improve our ability to predict the potential for coral recovery from the impacts of bleaching events, as well as the interpretation of spatio-temporal variability in coral community structure. This study aims to examine the composition, abundance and growth rate of juvenile corals and the potential of reef recovery at Mu Ko Surin in order to help to understand how reefs react to major disturbances. We found that the densities of coral recruits varied among years and study sites. In the year 2011, coral recruitments ranged between 0.18 ± 0.02 to 1.67 ± 0.07 recruits per m2 for 10 study sites. While in 2012, the monitoring revealed a range between 0.96 ± 0.16 and 2.19 ± 0.21 recruits per m2 from 5 study sites. Fungia, Acropora, Porites and Favites were the dominant groups of coral recruits. In terms substrate forms, they were significant differences between sampling years but the preferential dominant substrate forms did not differ. The Acropora recruits at Ko Torinla showed normal distributions of size class during the two periods. Their ranges in 2011 and 2012 were 4-30 and 13-54 mm, respectively. Six species of Acropora recruits, i.e. Acropora intermedia, A. nasuta, A. cerealis, A. subulata, A. muricata and A. latistella were found. They showed diverse growth rates due to the spatial distribution of 2.11 ± 0.59 to 7.47 ± 1.37 cm per year. This study provides useful data in terms of coral recruitment and recovery from degradation and disturbance, especially from temperature changes induced by coral bleaching. The findings suggest that there is the possibility for coral recovery around Mu Ko Surin following the 2010 bleaching event.

  2. 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.

  3. A first endeavour in restoring denuded, post-bleached reefs in Tanzania

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbije, Nsajigwa E.; Spanier, Ehud; Rinkevich, Baruch

    2013-08-01

    The worldwide decline in coral reefs has prompted a search for effective restoration protocols. We transplanted 6912 and 7110 corals (Acropora muricata, Acropora nasuta, Acropora hemprichi, Pocillopora verrucosa, Porites cylindrica, Millepora sp.) in Changuu, Zanzibar and Kitutia, Mafia, Tanzanian reefs that suffered in 1998 from a massive coral bleaching incident, causing a wide spread coral death. No sign for natural recovery has been recorded thereafter. In each site, we randomly set up 12 plots (36 m2 each), of which three were transplanted with a mix of three Acropora spp. (Treatment 1, T1), three with a mix of all six scleractinian species (T2), and six served as controls. Within one month of transplantation, an outbreak of Acanthaster planci in Changuu caused mortality at 50%. One year survival of transplants in T1 and T2 at Kitutia reached 66.4% and 62.5% respectively, significantly higher than at Changuu; an outcome recorded through species-by-species comparisons on four species only (P. verrucosa, P. cylindrica, A. muricata, A. nasuta). After one year no significant difference was documented in ecological volumes (EV) between T1 and T2 in stark contrast to the among species comparisons in T1, at each site. A within treatment one-way ANOSIM comparison for fish assemblage structures performed between the first and last three months of the transplantation year (Kitutia reef) revealed strong separation (T1, Global R = 0.743, P < 0.001; T2, R = 0.445, P < 0.001 and T3, R = 0.694, P < 0.001) while the same treatment revealed weak separation at Changuu site T1 (R = 0.035, P > 0.262) and T2 plots (R = 0.119, P < 0.043). Similarly, one-way ANOSIM done on the initial and last 3-month periods on invertebrates' community composition (at all sites, except T1 of Changuu reef), showed no significant difference between community composition at both ends of the sampling period. Altogether, transplantation cost (US$0.19/colony) suggested that large scale transplantation is

  4. Microanalyses of O isotopes and elemental ratios of reef building coral (Montastrea annularis) by ion microprobe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gabitov, R. I.; Carricart Ganivet, J. P.; Prieto, R. I.

    2012-12-01

    Our understanding of climate change and oceanographic variability through time is largely derived from knowledge of oxygen isotopes (δ18O) and elemental ratios (X/Ca) signatures in coral reefs. However, the existence of inconsistencies in isotopic composition between different coral specimens suggests that factors other than temperature and seawater composition affect isotopic and chemical records. We conducted in situ Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) analyses on the reef building coral (Montastraea annularis) from Veracuz Reef in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Coral specimen was sliced in perpendicular and parallel directions of its growth. Therefore, one of the sections exposed simultaneously grown skeletal material; another section represents a time series of continuously extended skeleton. The complex microstructure of the coral yields a few morphologically different zones (architectural elements). There are theca-wall (Th), septa (S), costa (C), exothecal (ExD) and endothecal dissepiments (EnD). Dissepiments formation in Montastraea annularis is linked to moon cycles and there are 12 or 13 ExD formed per year; meanwhile, there are 24 or 26 EnD per year (Dávalos-Dehullu et al. 2008). SIMS analyses were performed on Th, S, C, ExD, and EnD at lateral spatial resolution of ~20 μm. SIMS spot profiles with 100 and 500 μm steps were conducted on Th wall in the direction of coral growth. SIMS analyses demontrate that δ18O in Th, S, C, and ExD that grown at the same time are similar to each other within 1 sigma error. However, δ18O in EnD is isotopically heavier by 1 ‰ than those of simultaneously grown T,S, and ExD. The reverse dependence of δ18O on growth rate of corals and inorganically precipitated aragonite was reported by previous works and potentially could explain the δ18O enrichment in EnD, which grow by 35% slower than ExD (McConnaughey 1989; Dávalos-Dehullu et al. 2008; Gabitov 2012). SIMS spot profiles in the coral growth direction yielded

  5. White plague-like coral disease in remote reefs of the Western Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Juan A; Herrera, Santiago; Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Herron, Pilar; Pizarro, Valeria; Acosta, Alison R; Castillo, Paula A; Montoya, Phanor; Orozco, Carlos

    2010-05-01

    The health of coral reef communities has been decreasing over the last 50 years, due the negative effects of human activities combined with other natural processes. We present documentation of a White Plague Disease (WPD) outbreak in the Serrana Bank, an isolated Western Caribbean atoll with presumably inexistent pollutant inputs from local human settlements. In addition, this study summarizes seven years of observations on diseased corals in the nearby island of San Andrés, which in contrast is one of the most populated islands of the Caribbean. There was a massive coral mortality in the atoll lagoon (14 degrees 27'53.24", 80 degrees 14'22.27" W, and 12m depth) due to WPD on May 4 of 2003. Seventeen species were found dead or largely affected by the disease. The information resulting from GPS and manta-tow transects revealed that approximately 5.8 ha of reticulate Montastraea spp. patch reefs were lethally affected by the disease in the atoll. On May 8 of the same year we observed and calculated a mean coral cover of 7.03% (SD +/- 2.44), a mean diseased coral tissue cover of 5.5% (SD +/- 1.1) and a 13.4% (SD +/- 8.05) of recently dead coral covered with a thin filamentous algae layer; approximately 73% of mortalities caused by the disease occurred before the end of the outbreak. A rough estimate of 18.9% in recent coral cover reduction can be attributed to WPD. This represents about 82% of the total coral cover decline since 1995. Semi-enclosed environments such as atoll lagoons and the reticulate patch-reefs of Montastraea spp. seem to be particularly vulnerable to this kind of coral disease, which constitute an alert to increase the monitoring of the same kind of atoll environments. The WPD has been present in the area of the nearby island of San Andrés at a low prevalence level, with sporadic increasing peaks of disease proliferation. The peaks observed during 1999 and 2004 comprised increases of 266% and 355% respectively, suggesting an alarming progression

  6. Tropical coastal habitats as surrogates of fish community structure, grazing, and fisheries value.

    PubMed

    Harborne, Alastair R; Mumby, Peter J; Kappel, Carrie V; Dahlgren, Craig P; Micheli, Fiorenza; Holmes, Katherine E; Brumbaugh, Daniel R

    2008-10-01

    Habitat maps are frequently invoked as surrogates of biodiversity to aid the design of networks of marine reserves. Maps are used to maximize habitat heterogeneity in reserves because this is likely to maximize the number of species protected. However, the technique's efficacy is limited by intra-habitat variability in the species present and their abundances. Although communities are expected to vary among patches of the same habitat, this variability is poorly documented and rarely incorporated into reserve planning. To examine intra-habitat variability in coral-reef fishes, we generated a data set from eight tropical coastal habitats and six islands in the Bahamian archipelago using underwater visual censuses. Firstly, we provide further support for habitat heterogeneity as a surrogate of biodiversity as each predefined habitat type supported a distinct assemblage of fishes. Intra-habitat variability in fish community structure at scales of hundreds of kilometers (among islands) was significant in at least 75% of the habitats studied, depending on whether presence/absence, density, or biomass data were used. Intra-habitat variability was positively correlated with the mean number of species in that habitat when density and biomass data were used. Such relationships provide a proxy for the assessment of intra-habitat variability when detailed quantitative data are scarce. Intra-habitat variability was examined in more detail for one habitat (forereefs visually dominated by Montastraea corals). Variability in community structure among islands was driven by small, demersal families (e.g., territorial pomacentrid and labrid fishes). Finally, we examined the ecological and economic significance of intra-habitat variability in fish assemblages on Montastraea reefs by identifying how this variability affects the composition and abundances of fishes in different functional groups, the key ecosystem process of parrotfish grazing, and the ecosystem service of value of

  7. Cold-water event of January 2010 results in catastrophic benthic mortality on patch reefs in the Florida Keys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colella, M. A.; Ruzicka, R. R.; Kidney, J. A.; Morrison, J. M.; Brinkhuis, V. B.

    2012-06-01

    The Florida Keys are periodically exposed to extreme cold-water events that can have pronounced effects on coral reef community structure. In January 2010, the Florida Keys experienced one of the coldest 12-day periods on record, during which water temperatures decreased below the lethal limit for many tropical reef taxa for several consecutive days. This study provides a quantitative assessment of the scleractinian mortality and acute changes to benthic cover at four patch reefs in the middle and upper Keys that coincided with this cold-water event. Significant decreases in benthic cover of scleractinian corals, gorgonians, sponges, and macroalgae were observed between summer 2009 and February 2010. Gorgonian cover declined from 25.6 ± 4.6% (mean ± SE) to 13.3 ± 2.7%, scleractinian cover from 17.6 ± 1.4% to 10.7 ± 0.9%, macroalgal cover from 8.2 ± 5.2% to 0.7 ± 0.3%, and sponge cover from 3.8 ± 1.4% to 2.3 ± 1.2%. Scleractinian mortality varied across sites depending upon the duration of lethal temperatures and the community composition. Montastraea annularis complex cover was reduced from 4.4 ± 2.4% to 0.6 ± 0.2%, and 93% of all colonies surveyed suffered complete or partial mortality. Complete or partial mortality was also observed in >50% of all Porites astreoides and Montastraea cavernosa colonies and resulted in a significant reduction in cover. When compared with historical accounts of cold-water-induced mortality, our results suggest that the 2010 winter mortality was one of the most severe on record. The level of coral mortality on patch reefs is of particular concern because corals in these habitats had previously demonstrated resistance against stressors (e.g., disease and warm-water bleaching) that had negatively affected corals in other habitats in the Florida Keys during recent decades.

  8. Cleaning up the 'Bigmessidae': Molecular phylogeny of scleractinian corals from Faviidae, Merulinidae, Pectiniidae and Trachyphylliidae

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetic studies on scleractinian corals have shown that most taxa are not reflective of their evolutionary histories. Based principally on gross morphology, traditional taxonomy suffers from the lack of well-defined and homologous characters that can sufficiently describe scleractinian diversity. One of the most challenging clades recovered by recent analyses is 'Bigmessidae', an informal grouping that comprises four conventional coral families, Faviidae, Merulinidae, Pectiniidae and Trachyphylliidae, interspersed among one another with no apparent systematic pattern. There is an urgent need for taxonomic revisions in this clade, but it is vital to first establish phylogenetic relationships within the group. In this study, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of 'Bigmessidae' based on five DNA sequence markers gathered from 76 of the 132 currently recognized species collected from five reef regions in the central Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic. Results We present a robust molecular phylogeny of 'Bigmessidae' based on the combined five-gene data, achieving a higher degree of resolution compared to previous analyses. Two Pacific species presumed to be in 'Bigmessidae' are more closely related to outgroup clades, suggesting that other unsampled taxa have unforeseen affinities. As expected, nested within 'Bigmessidae' are four conventional families as listed above, and relationships among them generally corroborate previous molecular analyses. Our more resolved phylogeny supports a close association of Hydnophora (Merulinidae) with Favites + Montastraea (Faviidae), rather than with the rest of Merulinidae, i.e., Merulina and Scapophyllia. Montastraea annularis, the only Atlantic 'Bigmessidae' is sister to Cyphastrea, a grouping that can be reconciled by their septothecal walls, a microstructural feature of the skeleton determined by recent morphological work. Characters at the subcorallite scale appear to be appropriate synapomorphies for

  9. Metal levels associated with tin dredging and smelting and their effect upon intertidal reef flats at ko phuket, Thailand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, B. E.; Holley, M. C.

    1982-10-01

    Reef flats in the vicinity of tin dredging and smelting activities around the Laem Pan Wah peninsula, Phuket, and been quantitatively surveyed. the diversity of corals on all intertidal reefs was low (≏10 genera), the dominant genera being Porites, Montipora, Acropora and Platygyra. Two basic types of reef can be discerned, one dominated by Porites lutea and faviid species and the other by Montipora ramosa and Acropora aspera, reef type apparently being governed by the degree of exposure to water movement. Other natural factors affecting coral cover included freshwater run off, considerable sedimentation, and aerial exposure for 2 3 h each day. Heavy metal concentrations in invertebrate species such as the oyster Saccostrea, the bivalve Isognomon, and in the alga Padina reflected elevated metal levels at all sites when compared with controls (Figs. 8 and 9). In particular, levels of metals were considerably elevated in molluscs taken from the reef below the tin smelter. Interestingly, dead coral cover on this reef, although high, was not significantly different from values observed on reefs several kilometres away from the smelter, which were not apparently under the influence of such increased metal loads (Fig. 2). No elevation in metal concentrations in coral tissue or skeleton was evident at any site. It would appear, then, that these intertidal coral species are not obviously affected by the levels of metals discharged at the smelter site.

  10. A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change

    PubMed Central

    Stolarski, Jarosław; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Wallace, Carden C.; Gothmann, Anne M.; Mazur, Maciej; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Neuser, Rolf D.; Levy, Oren; Shemesh, Aldo; Meibom, Anders

    2016-01-01

    Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry. PMID:27302371

  11. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoepf, Verena; Stat, Michael; Falter, James L.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2015-12-01

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient nearshore temperatures which varied diurnally by 4-5 °C, while treatment corals were exposed to similar diurnal variations and heat stress corresponding to ~20 degree heating days. All corals hosted Symbiodinium clade C independent of treatment or origin. Detailed physiological measurements showed that these corals were nevertheless highly sensitive to daily average temperatures exceeding their maximum monthly mean of ~31 °C by 1 °C for only a few days. Generally, Acropora was much more susceptible to bleaching than Dipsastraea and experienced up to 75% mortality, whereas all Dipsastraea survived. Furthermore, subtidal corals, which originated from a more thermally stable environment compared to intertidal corals, were more susceptible to bleaching. This demonstrates that while highly fluctuating temperatures enhance coral resilience to thermal stress, they do not provide immunity to extreme heat stress events.

  12. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment

    PubMed Central

    Schoepf, Verena; Stat, Michael; Falter, James L.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2015-01-01

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient nearshore temperatures which varied diurnally by 4-5 °C, while treatment corals were exposed to similar diurnal variations and heat stress corresponding to ~20 degree heating days. All corals hosted Symbiodinium clade C independent of treatment or origin. Detailed physiological measurements showed that these corals were nevertheless highly sensitive to daily average temperatures exceeding their maximum monthly mean of ~31 °C by 1 °C for only a few days. Generally, Acropora was much more susceptible to bleaching than Dipsastraea and experienced up to 75% mortality, whereas all Dipsastraea survived. Furthermore, subtidal corals, which originated from a more thermally stable environment compared to intertidal corals, were more susceptible to bleaching. This demonstrates that while highly fluctuating temperatures enhance coral resilience to thermal stress, they do not provide immunity to extreme heat stress events. PMID:26627576

  13. DMSP in Corals and Benthic Algae from the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broadbent, A. D.; Jones, G. B.; Jones, R. J.

    2002-10-01

    In this study the first measurements of DMSP in six species of corals and ten species of benthic algae collected from four coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are reported, together with DMSP measurements made on cultured zooxanthellae. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 3831 (mean=743) fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 in corals, 0·16 to 2·96 nmol DMSP cm -2 (mean=90) for benthic macroalgae, and 48-285 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 (mean=153) for cultured zooxanthellae. The highest concentrations of DMSP in corals occurred in Acropora formosa (mean=371 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) and Acropora palifera (mean=3341 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) with concentrations in A. palifera the highest DMSP concentrations reported in corals examined to date. As well as inter-specific differences in DMSP, intra-specific variation was also observed. Adjacent colonies of A. formosa that are known to have different thermal bleaching thresholds and morphologically distinct zooxanthellae, were also observed to have different DMSP concentrations, with the zooxanthellae in the colony that bleached containing DMSP at an average concentration of 436 fmol zooxanthellae -1, whilst the non-bleaching colony contained DMSP at an average concentration of 171 fmol zooxanthellae -1. The results of the present study have been used to calculate the area normalized DMSP concentrations in benthic algae (mean=0·015 mmol m -2) and corals (mean=2·22 mmol m -2) from the GBR. This data indicates that benthic algae and corals are a significant reservoir of DMSP in GBR waters.

  14. Doors are closing on early development in corals facing climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Fontana, Silvia; Mezaki, Takuma; González, Laura Del Caño; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-07-01

    Marine invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to climatic anomalies in early life history stages because of the time spent in the water column. Studies have focused on the effect of seawater temperature on fertilization, development, and larval stages in corals; however, none of them show comparative results along an environmental gradient. In this study, we show that temperatures in the range of 15-33°C have strong effects on fertilization rates and embryonic stages of two coral species, Acropora muricata in the subtropical environment and Acropora hyacinthus in subtropical and temperate environments. Deformations after the first cleavage stages were observed at low (15°C) and high (33°C) temperatures. Development was delayed by 6-7 h in the slightly non-optimal temperature of 20°C. We found significant differences in fertilization rates and responses of embryos from different latitudes, with temperate corals being more sensitive to extremely hot temperatures and vice versa. We hypothesize that the coral development is restricted to a narrow temperature range and deviation outside this window could inhibit a species' continuance and ecological success. Thus, it would have significant negative effects on adult populations and communities, playing a role in future of coral reef survival.

  15. Do tabular corals constitute keystone structures for fishes on coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerry, J. T.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2015-03-01

    This study examined the changes in community composition of reef fishes by experimentally manipulating the availability of shelter provided by tabular structures on a mid-shelf reef on the Great Barrier Reef. At locations where access to tabular corals ( Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea) was excluded, a rapid and sustained reduction in the abundance of large reef fishes occurred. At locations where tabular structure was added, the abundance and diversity of large reef fishes increased and the abundance of small reef fishes tended to decrease, although over a longer time frame. Based on their response to changes in the availability of tabular structures, nine families of large reef fishes were separated into three categories; designated as obligate, facultative or non-structure users. This relationship may relate to the particular ecological demands of each family, including avoidance of predation and ultraviolet radiation, access to feeding areas and reef navigation. This study highlights the importance of tabular corals for large reef fishes in shallow reef environments and provides a possible mechanism for local changes in the abundance of reef fishes following loss of structural complexity on coral reefs. Keystone structures have a distinct structure and disproportionate effect on their ecosystem relative to their abundance, as such the result of this study suggests tabular corals may constitute keystone structures on shallow coral reefs.

  16. High Precision U/Th Dating of First Polynesian Settlement

    PubMed Central

    Burley, David; Weisler, Marshall I.; Zhao, Jian-xin

    2012-01-01

    Previous studies document Nukuleka in the Kingdom of Tonga as a founder colony for first settlement of Polynesia by Lapita peoples. A limited number of radiocarbon dates are one line of evidence supporting this claim, but they cannot precisely establish when this event occurred, nor can they afford a detailed chronology for sequent occupation. High precision U/Th dates of Acropora coral files (abraders) from Nukuleka give unprecedented resolution, identifying the founder event by 2838±8 BP and documenting site development over the ensuing 250 years. The potential for dating error due to post depositional diagenetic alteration of ancient corals at Nukuleka also is addressed through sample preparation protocols and paired dates on spatially separated samples for individual specimens. Acropora coral files are widely distributed in Lapita sites across Oceania. U/Th dating of these artifacts provides unparalleled opportunities for greater precision and insight into the speed and timing of this final chapter in human settlement of the globe. PMID:23144962

  17. The promiscuous larvae: flexibility in the establishment of symbiosis in corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cumbo, V. R.; Baird, A. H.; van Oppen, M. J. H.

    2013-03-01

    Coral reefs thrive in part because of the symbiotic partnership between corals and Symbiodinium. While this partnership is one of the keys to the success of coral reef ecosystems, surprisingly little is known about many aspects of coral symbiosis, in particular the establishment and development of symbiosis in host species that acquire symbionts anew in each generation. More specifically, the point at which symbiosis is established (i.e., larva vs. juvenile) remains uncertain, as does the source of free-living Symbiodinium in the environment. In addition, the capacity of host and symbiont to form novel combinations is unknown. To explore patterns of initial association between host and symbiont, larvae of two species of Acropora were exposed to sediment collected from three locations on the Great Barrier Reef. A high proportion of larvae established symbiosis shortly after contact with sediments, and Acropora larvae were promiscuous, taking up multiple types of Symbiodinium. The Symbiodinium types acquired from the sediments reflected the symbiont assemblage within a wide range of cnidarian hosts at each of the three sites, suggesting potential regional differences in the free-living Symbiodinium assemblage. Coral larvae clearly have the capacity to take up Symbiodinium prior to settlement, and sediment is a likely source. Promiscuous larvae allow species to associate with Symbiodinium appropriate for potentially novel environments that may be experienced following dispersal.

  18. A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stolarski, Jarosław; Bosellini, Francesca R.; Wallace, Carden C.; Gothmann, Anne M.; Mazur, Maciej; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Neuser, Rolf D.; Levy, Oren; Shemesh, Aldo; Meibom, Anders

    2016-06-01

    Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry.

  19. Remote coral reefs can sustain high growth potential and may match future sea-level trends

    PubMed Central

    Perry, Chris T.; Murphy, Gary N.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; East, Holly K.

    2015-01-01

    Climate-induced disturbances are contributing to rapid, global-scale changes in coral reef ecology. As a consequence, reef carbonate budgets are declining, threatening reef growth potential and thus capacity to track rising sea-levels. Whether disturbed reefs can recover their growth potential and how rapidly, are thus critical research questions. Here we address these questions by measuring the carbonate budgets of 28 reefs across the Chagos Archipelago (Indian Ocean) which, while geographically remote and largely isolated from compounding human impacts, experienced severe (>90%) coral mortality during the 1998 warming event. Coral communities on most reefs recovered rapidly and we show that carbonate budgets in 2015 average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m−2 yr−1). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, the corals most severely impacted in 1998, averaged +8.4 G by 2015, comparable with estimates under pre-human (Holocene) disturbance conditions. These positive budgets are reflected in high reef growth rates (4.2 mm yr−1) on Acropora-dominated reefs, demonstrating that carbonate budgets on these remote reefs have recovered rapidly from major climate-driven disturbances. Critically, these reefs retain the capacity to grow at rates exceeding measured regional mid-late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise, and close to IPCC sea-level rise projections through to 2100. PMID:26669758

  20. A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change.

    PubMed

    Stolarski, Jarosław; Bosellini, Francesca R; Wallace, Carden C; Gothmann, Anne M; Mazur, Maciej; Domart-Coulon, Isabelle; Gutner-Hoch, Eldad; Neuser, Rolf D; Levy, Oren; Shemesh, Aldo; Meibom, Anders

    2016-06-15

    Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry.

  1. Health status of corals surrounding Kish Island, Persian Gulf.

    PubMed

    Alidoost Salimi, Mahsa; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Fatemi, Seyyed Mohammad; Aeby, Greta S

    2017-03-30

    Corals in the Persian Gulf exist in a harsh environment with extreme temperature and salinity fluctuations. Understanding the health of these hardy corals may prove useful for predicting the survival of other marine organisms facing the impacts of global climate change. In this study, the health state of corals was surveyed along belt transects at 4 sites on the east side of Kish Island, Iran. Corals had a patchy distribution, low colony densities and species diversity, and were dominated by Acropora, Porites, and Dipsastrea. We found chronic sedimentation on corals, a high prevalence of old partial mortality, abundant bioeroders, and overgrowth of corals by sponges and bryozoans. These are all signs indicating suboptimal environmental conditions for coral reefs. Four types of tissue loss lesions consistent with disease were found: Porites multi-focal chronic tissue loss, Porites peeling tissue loss, Porites focal chronic tissue loss, and Dipsastrea focal sub-acute tissue loss. Overall disease prevalence was 3.6% and there were significant differences in prevalence among the 3 most abundant coral genera. Acropora was numerically dominant within transects yet showed no signs of disease, whereas Porites had a 14% disease prevalence, indicating differential susceptibility to disease among genera. Other coral lesions included pigmentation response in Porites associated with algae invasion or boring organisms, sponge overgrowth, and mucus sheathing in Dipsastrea. The Persian Gulf region is understudied, and this represents one of the first quantitative surveys of coral health and disease on these reefs.

  2. Doors are closing on early development in corals facing climate change

    PubMed Central

    Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Fontana, Silvia; Mezaki, Takuma; González, Laura del Caño; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-01-01

    Marine invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to climatic anomalies in early life history stages because of the time spent in the water column. Studies have focused on the effect of seawater temperature on fertilization, development, and larval stages in corals; however, none of them show comparative results along an environmental gradient. In this study, we show that temperatures in the range of 15–33°C have strong effects on fertilization rates and embryonic stages of two coral species, Acropora muricata in the subtropical environment and Acropora hyacinthus in subtropical and temperate environments. Deformations after the first cleavage stages were observed at low (15°C) and high (33°C) temperatures. Development was delayed by 6–7 h in the slightly non-optimal temperature of 20°C. We found significant differences in fertilization rates and responses of embryos from different latitudes, with temperate corals being more sensitive to extremely hot temperatures and vice versa. We hypothesize that the coral development is restricted to a narrow temperature range and deviation outside this window could inhibit a species' continuance and ecological success. Thus, it would have significant negative effects on adult populations and communities, playing a role in future of coral reef survival. PMID:25005591

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  4. Remote coral reefs can sustain high growth potential and may match future sea-level trends.

    PubMed

    Perry, Chris T; Murphy, Gary N; Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; East, Holly K

    2015-12-16

    Climate-induced disturbances are contributing to rapid, global-scale changes in coral reef ecology. As a consequence, reef carbonate budgets are declining, threatening reef growth potential and thus capacity to track rising sea-levels. Whether disturbed reefs can recover their growth potential and how rapidly, are thus critical research questions. Here we address these questions by measuring the carbonate budgets of 28 reefs across the Chagos Archipelago (Indian Ocean) which, while geographically remote and largely isolated from compounding human impacts, experienced severe (>90%) coral mortality during the 1998 warming event. Coral communities on most reefs recovered rapidly and we show that carbonate budgets in 2015 average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m(-2) yr(-1)). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, the corals most severely impacted in 1998, averaged +8.4 G by 2015, comparable with estimates under pre-human (Holocene) disturbance conditions. These positive budgets are reflected in high reef growth rates (4.2 mm yr(-1)) on Acropora-dominated reefs, demonstrating that carbonate budgets on these remote reefs have recovered rapidly from major climate-driven disturbances. Critically, these reefs retain the capacity to grow at rates exceeding measured regional mid-late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise, and close to IPCC sea-level rise projections through to 2100.

  5. Variability in microbial community composition and function between different niches within a coral reef.

    PubMed

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Webster, Nicole S; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2014-04-01

    To explore how microbial community composition and function varies within a coral reef ecosystem, we performed metagenomic sequencing of seawater from four niches across Heron Island Reef, within the Great Barrier Reef. Metagenomes were sequenced from seawater samples associated with (1) the surface of the coral species Acropora palifera, (2) the surface of the coral species Acropora aspera, (3) the sandy substrate within the reef lagoon and (4) open water, outside of the reef crest. Microbial composition and metabolic function differed substantially between the four niches. The taxonomic profile showed a clear shift from an oligotroph-dominated community (e.g. SAR11, Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus) in the open water and sandy substrate niches, to a community characterised by an increased frequency of copiotrophic bacteria (e.g. Vibrio, Pseudoalteromonas, Alteromonas) in the coral seawater niches. The metabolic potential of the four microbial assemblages also displayed significant differences, with the open water and sandy substrate niches dominated by genes associated with core house-keeping processes such as amino acid, carbohydrate and protein metabolism as well as DNA and RNA synthesis and metabolism. In contrast, the coral surface seawater metagenomes had an enhanced frequency of genes associated with dynamic processes including motility and chemotaxis, regulation and cell signalling. These findings demonstrate that the composition and function of microbial communities are highly variable between niches within coral reef ecosystems and that coral reefs host heterogeneous microbial communities that are likely shaped by habitat structure, presence of animal hosts and local biogeochemical conditions.

  6. Biotic Control of Skeletal Growth by Scleractinian Corals in Aragonite–Calcite Seas

    PubMed Central

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Fujimura, Hiroyuki; Yuyama, Ikuko; Harii, Saki; Agostini, Sylvain; Oomori, Tamotsu

    2014-01-01

    Modern scleractinian coral skeletons are commonly composed of aragonite, the orthorhombic form of CaCO3. Under certain conditions, modern corals produce calcite as a secondary precipitate to fill pore space. However, coral construction of primary skeletons from calcite has yet to be demonstrated. We report a calcitic primary skeleton produced by the modern scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. When uncalcified juveniles were incubated from the larval stage in seawater with low mMg/Ca levels, the juveniles constructed calcitic crystals in parts of the primary skeleton such as the septa; the deposits were observable under Raman microscopy. Using scanning electron microscopy, we observed different crystal morphologies of aragonite and calcite in a single juvenile skeleton. Quantitative analysis using X-ray diffraction showed that the majority of the skeleton was composed of aragonite even though we had exposed the juveniles to manipulated seawater before their initial crystal nucleation and growth processes. Our results indicate that the modern scleractinian coral Acropora mainly produces aragonite skeletons in both aragonite and calcite seas, but also has the ability to use calcite for part of its skeletal growth when incubated in calcite seas. PMID:24609012

  7. Seasonal monitoring of coral-algae interactions in fringing reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba, Northern Red Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haas, A.; El-Zibdah, M.; Wild, C.

    2010-03-01

    This paper presents seasonal in situ monitoring data on benthic coverage and coral -algae interactions in high-latitude fringing reefs of the Northern Red Sea over a period of 19 months. More than 30% of all hermatypic corals were involved in interaction with benthic reef algae during winter compared to 17% during summer, but significant correlation between the occurrence of coral -algae interactions and monitored environmental factors such as temperature and inorganic nutrient availability was not detected. Between 5 and 10-m water depth, the macroalgae Caulerpa serrulata, Peyssonnelia capensis and filamentous turf algae represented almost 100% of the benthic algae involved in interaction with corals. Turf algae were most frequently (between 77 and 90% of all interactions) involved in interactions with hermatypic corals and caused most tissue damage to them. Maximum coral tissue loss of 0.75% day-1 was observed for Acropora-turf algae interaction during fall, while an equilibrium between both groups of organisms appeared during summer. Slow-growing massive corals were more resistant against negative algal influence than fast-growing branching corals. Branching corals of the genus Acropora partly exhibited a newly observed phenotypic plasticity mechanism, by development of a bulge towards the competing organism, when in interaction with algae. These findings may contribute to understand the dynamics of phase shifts in coral reefs by providing seasonally resolved in situ monitoring data on the abundance and the competitive dynamic of coral -algae interactions.

  8. Synchronous reproduction of corals in the Red Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanafy, M. H.; Aamer, M. A.; Habib, M.; Rouphael, Anthony B.; Baird, Andrew H.

    2010-03-01

    Multi-species synchronous spawning was first described on reefs off the east and west coast of Australia. In contrast, locally abundant species in the northern Red Sea and the central Pacific have little overlap in the time of reproduction. Consequently, the idea developed that high levels of spawning synchrony both within and among species was largely confined to Australian reefs. Here, we show that gamete maturity in colonies of the genus Acropora was highly synchronous in the Red Sea. In early April 2008, at two locations separated by 300 km, 13 of 24 species sampled had mature colonies, and a further 9 species had immature colonies. In late April-early May 2008, all colonies sampled had no oocytes, indicating colonies had spawned a few days after the full moon of 20 April 2008. Similarly, in 2009, 99% of colonies from 17 species at Hurghada were mature in late April, and all were empty in early May. Spawn slicks suggested many of these colonies had released gametes three night prior to the full moon on 8 May 2009. This level of synchrony in gamete maturity is among the highest ever recorded and similar to that typically recorded in Acropora assemblages on Australian reefs. While further work is required to document the night of gamete release, these data strongly suggest that high levels of spawning synchrony are a regular feature of these Red Sea coral assemblages and that multi-species spawning occurs on or around the full moon in April and/or May.

  9. Highly infectious symbiont dominates initial uptake in coral juveniles.

    PubMed

    Abrego, David; VAN Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2009-08-01

    The majority of reef-building corals acquire their obligate algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) from the environment. However, factors shaping the initial establishment of coral-algal symbioses, including parental effects, local environmental conditions and local availability of symbionts, are not well understood. This study monitored the uptake and maintenance of Symbiodinium in juveniles of two common corals, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora, that were reciprocally explanted between sites where adult colonies host different types of Symbiodinium. We found that coral juveniles were rapidly dominated by type D Symbiodinium, even though this type is not found in adult colonies (including the parental colonies) in four out of the five study populations. Furthermore, type D Symbiodinium was found in less than one-third of a wide range of coral species (n > 50) sampled at the two main study sites, suggesting that its dominance in the acroporid juveniles is not because it is the most abundant local endosymbiotic type. Moreover, dominance by type D was observed irrespective of the light intensity to which juveniles were exposed in a field study. In summary, despite its relatively low abundance in coral assemblages at the study sites and irrespective of the surrounding light environment, type D Symbiodinium is the main symbiont type initially acquired by juveniles of A. millepora and A. tenuis. We conclude that during early ontogeny in these corals, there are few barriers to the uptake of Symbiodinium types which differ from those found in parental colonies, resulting in dominance by a highly infectious and potentially opportunistic symbiont.

  10. 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.

  11. Spatial and temporal variations in coral growth on an inshore turbid reef subjected to multiple disturbances.

    PubMed

    Browne, N K

    2012-06-01

    Coral growth rates (linear extension, density, calcification rates) of three fast-growing corals (Acropora, Montipora, Turbinaria) were studied in situ on Middle Reef, an inshore reef located on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), to assess the influence of changing environmental conditions on coral condition and reef growth. Middle Reef is subjected to both local (e.g. high sediment loads) and global (e.g. coral bleaching) disturbance events, usually associated with reduced coral growth. Results indicated, however, that Acropora growth rates (mean linear extension = 6.3 cm/year) were comparable to those measured at similar depths on offshore reefs on the GBR. Montipora linear extension (2.9 cm/year) was greater than estimates available from both clear-water and turbid reefs, and Turbinaria's dense skeleton (1.3 g/cm(3)) may be more resilient to physical damage as ocean pH falls. Coral growth was found to vary between reef habitats due to spatial differences in water motion and sediment dynamics, and temporally with lower calcification rates during the summer months when SSTs (monthly average 29 °C) and rainfall (monthly total >500 mm) were high. In summary, corals on Middle Reef are robust and resilient to their marginal environmental conditions, but are susceptible to anthropogenic disturbances during the summer months.

  12. Patterns in the distribution of coral communities across the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Done, T. J.

    1982-10-01

    Despite the pre-eminence of the Great Barrier Reef, there has been little systematic description of its biotic communities, and in particular, of the corals themselves. Only recently have the problems of coral taxonomy been sufficiently resolved to allow a beginning to be made in rectifying this deficiency. The present study describes seventeen assemblages of corals which occupy the major habitat types found in and near the central Great Barrier Reef. The habitats studied range from the wave swept reef flats of Coral Sea atolls to the slopes of small reefs occupying sheltered, muddy conditions near the coast. These, and the array of reefs between, have characteristic suites of coral communities which provide the basis for a classification of reefs into non- Acropora reefs and various Acropora reefs. It is speculated that the faunistic differences are maintained because reefs are primarily self-seeded and because the majority of larvae from external sources are of species which are already present. The greatest diversity of both species and community types was found on reefs near the middle of the continental shelf, while the oceanic atolls and nearshore silt-affected reefs are almost equally depauperate.

  13. Evaluation of bioassays to monitor surface microlayer toxicity in tropical marine waters.

    PubMed

    Rumbold, D G; Snedaker, S C

    1997-02-01

    Bioassays were developed, using embryos of: coral,Montastraea faveolata; graysby, Epinephelus cruentatus;grouper, Epinephelus adscensionis x gruttatus (hybrid); queenconch, Strombus gigas; rock-boring urchin, Echinodermatalucunter; spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus; variegatedurchin, Lytechinus variegatus; winged pearl oyster, Pteriacolymbus; and yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus. Relativesensitivities and precison of various species-endpoint combinations wereevaluated using three reference toxicants: copper, sodium dodecyl sulfate,and Dibrom(R). The 24-h P. colymbus embryo test had the best overallsensitivity and exhibited a high degree of precision. However, oyster embryoswere difficult to obtain and did not aggregate at the air-water interface.Therefore, the P. colymbus embryo test was deemed unsuitable for useas a bioassay for monitoring sea-surface microlayer (SSML) toxicity. Testsbased on normal development of L. variegatus to the early pluteus 3stage and percent normal-live C. nebulosus larvae at 48 h wererelatively sensitive and exhibited good replicability and repeatability. TheL. variegatus urchin embryo test was also found to be highlyreproducible. The results of this comparative study indicated that L.variegatus and C. nebulosus were suitable surrogates forcoral-reef species in toxicity assessments of the SSML.

  14. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures) varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching.

  15. Changes in Caribbean coral disease prevalence after the 2005 bleaching event.

    PubMed

    Cróquer, Aldo; Weil, Ernesto

    2009-11-16

    Bleaching events and disease epizootics have increased during the past decades, suggesting a positive link between these 2 causes in producing coral mortality. However, studies to test this hypothesis, integrating a broad range of hierarchical spatial scales from habitats to distant localities, have not been conducted in the Caribbean. In this study, we examined links between bleaching intensity and disease prevalence collected from 6 countries, 2 reef sites for each country, and 3 habitats within each reef site (N = 6 x 2 x 3 = 36 site-habitat combinations) during the peak of bleaching in 2005 and a year after, in 2006. Patterns of disease prevalence and bleaching were significantly correlated (Rho = 0.58, p = 0.04). Higher variability in disease prevalence after bleaching occurred among habitats at each particular reef site, with a significant increase in prevalence recorded in 4 of the 10 site-habitats where bleaching was intense and a non-significant increase in disease prevalence in 18 out of the 26 site-habitats where bleaching was low to moderate. A significant linear correlation was found (r = 0.89, p = 0.008) between bleaching and the prevalence of 2 virulent diseases (yellow band disease and white plague) affecting the Montastraea species complex. Results of this study suggest that if bleaching events become more intense and frequent, disease-related mortality of Caribbean coral reef builders could increase, with uncertain effects on coral reef resilience.

  16. Calibration of stable oxygen isotopes in Siderastrea radians (Cnidaria:Scleractinia): Implications for slow-growing corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moses, Christopher S.; Swart, Peter K.; Dodge, Richard E.

    2006-09-01

    Geochemical proxies in the skeletons of corals used for the purpose of reconstructing environmental records have typically been obtained from relatively fast-growing corals (usually >8 mm yr-1) and from only a few key genera (most commonly Porites and Montastraea). In many areas, however, there are no suitable fast-growing corals available for such reconstructions. Here, we investigate the potential of Siderastrea radians, a slow-growing Atlantic and Caribbean zooxanthellate coral, as an archive of sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity over the period from 1891 to 2002. Sampling the skeleton of three corals from the Cape Verde Islands, we were able to reproduce a clear seasonal signal, but with limited correlation to monthly SST, arising from inadequate chronologic constraint of the individual samples. The SST-δ18O calibration slopes for different sampling scales on several cores can range from about -9°C ‰-1 to +2°C ‰-1 (compared to other published values of around -5 to -4°C ‰-1). Careful treatment produced a δ18O-SST calibration equation where SST(°C) = 12.56(±1.20) - 3.86(±0.39)*(δc-δw). The recognition of the limitations of calibration at such small growth rates due to skeletal complexity and suspicion of environmental interferences suggests the need for careful consideration in the interpretation of climate proxy results from S. radians and other slow-growing corals.

  17. Tropical Archaea: Diversity associated with the surface microlayer of corals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, C.A.

    2004-01-01

    Recent 16S rDNA studies have focused on detecting uncultivated bacteria associated with Caribbean reef corals in an effort to address the ecological roles of coral-associated microbes. Reports of Archaea associated with fishes and marine invertebrates raised the question of whether Archaea might also be part of the coral-associated microbial community. DNA analysis of mucus from 3 reef-building species of Caribbean corals, Montastraea annularis complex, Diploria strigosa and D. labyrinthiformis in the US Virgin Islands yielded 34 groups of archaeal 16S ribotypes (defined at the level of 97% similarity). The majority (75%) was most closely matched by BLAST searches to sequences derived from marine water column samples, whereas the remaining ribotypes were most similar to sequences isolated from anoxic environments (15%) and hydrothermal vents (9%). Unlike previous 16S studies of coral-associated Bacteria, the results do not suggest specific associations between particular archaeal sequences and individual coral species. Marine Archaea (Groups I, II and III) in addition to Thermoplasma-like, methanogen, and marine benthic crenarchaeote phylotypes, were detected in the mucus of tropical corals. The finding of sequences from coral-associated Archaea that are closely related to strict and facultative anaerobes, as well as to uncultivated Archaea from other types of anoxic environments, suggests that anaerobic micro-niches may exist in coral mucus layers. Archaea, with their unique biogeochemical capabilities, broaden the scope of possible interactions between corals and their associated microbial communities.

  18. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Dulvy, Nicholas K; Côte, Isabelle M; Watkinson, Andrew R; Gill, Jennifer A

    2011-09-01

    The architectural complexity of ecosystems can greatly influence their capacity to support biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. Understanding the components underlying this complexity can aid the development of effective strategies for ecosystem conservation. Caribbean coral reefs support and protect millions of livelihoods, but recent anthropogenic change is shifting communities toward reefs dominated by stress-resistant coral species, which are often less architecturally complex. With the regionwide decline in reef fish abundance, it is becoming increasingly important to understand changes in coral reef community structure and function. We quantify the influence of coral composition, diversity, and morpho-functional traits on the architectural complexity of reefs across 91 sites at Cozumel, Mexico. Although reef architectural complexity increases with coral cover and species richness, it is highest on sites that are low in taxonomic evenness and dominated by morpho-functionally important, reef-building coral genera, particularly Montastraea. Sites with similar coral community composition also tend to occur on reefs with very similar architectural complexity, suggesting that reef structure tends to be determined by the same key species across sites. Our findings provide support for prioritizing and protecting particular reef types, especially those dominated by key reef-building corals, in order to enhance reef complexity.

  19. Context-dependent corallivory by parrotfishes in a Caribbean reef ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burkepile, Deron E.

    2012-03-01

    This study assesses the patterns of corallivory by parrotfishes across reefs of the Florida Keys, USA. These reefs represent a relatively unique combination within the wider Caribbean of low coral cover and high parrotfish abundance suggesting that predation pressure could be intense. Surveys across eight shallow forereefs documented the abundance of corals, corallivorous parrotfishes, and predation scars on corals. The corals Porites porites and Porites astreoides were preyed on most frequently with the rates of predation an order of magnitude greater than has been documented for other areas of the Caribbean. In fact, parrotfish bite density on these preferred corals was up to 34 times greater than reported for corals on other reefs worldwide. On reefs where coral cover was low and corals such as Montastraea faveolata, often preferred prey for parrotfishes, were rare, predation rates on P. porites and P. astreoides, and other less common corals, intensified further. The intensity of parrotfish predation increased significantly as coral cover decreased. However, parrotfish abundance showed only a marginal positive relationship with predation pressure on corals, likely because corallivorous parrotfish were abundant across all reefs. Parrotfishes often have significant positive impacts on coral cover by facilitating coral recruitment, survival, and growth via their grazing of algae. However, abundant corallivorous parrotfishes combined with low coral cover may result in higher predation on corals and intensify the negative impact that parrotfishes have on remaining corals.

  20. Patch dynamics of coral reef macroalgae under chronic and acute disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Foster, Nicola L.; Fahy, Elizabeth A. Glynn

    2005-12-01

    The patch dynamics (colonisation rate, growth rate, and extinction rate) are quantified for two dominant species of macroalgae on a Caribbean forereef in Belize: Lobophora variegata (Lamouroux) and Dictyota pulchella (Hörnig and Schnetter). Measurements were taken on time scales of days, weeks, months, and years during which three hurricanes occurred. All patches were followed on naturally occurring ramets of dead Montastraea annularis. The first hurricane (Mitch) caused massive coral mortality and liberated space for algal colonisation. The cover of Lobophora increased throughout the study and herbivores did not appear to limit its cover within a 4 year time frame. In contrast, the cover of D. pulchella fluctuated greatly and showed no net increase, despite an increase in parrotfish biomass and settlement space. Variation in the overall percent cover of an alga is not indicative of the underlying patch dynamics. The steady rise in the cover of Lobophora took place despite a high turnover of patches (12-60% of patches per year). The patch dynamics of Dictyota were slower (7-20%), but a greater patch density and threefold higher lateral growth rate led to greater fluctuations in total cover. The dynamics of algal patches are size-specific such that larger patches are less likely to become extinct during hurricanes.

  1. A theoretical investigation of sympatric evolution of temporal reproductive isolation as illustrated by marine broadcast spawners.

    PubMed

    Tomaiuolo, Maurizio; Hansen, Thomas F; Levitan, Don R

    2007-11-01

    Recent theory suggests that frequency-dependent disruptive selection in combination with assortative mating can lead to the establishment of reproductive isolation in sympatry. Here we explore how temporal variation in reproduction might simultaneously generate both disruptive selection and assortative mating, and result in sympatric speciation. The conceptual framework of the model may be applicable to biological systems with negative frequency-dependent selection, such as marine broadcast spawners or systems with pollinator limitation. We present a model that is motivated by recent findings in marine broadcast spawners and is parameterized with data from the Montastraea annularis species complex. Broadcast spawners reproduce via external fertilization and synchronous spawning is required to increase the probability of successful fertilization, but empirical evidence shows that as density increases, so does the risk of polyspermy. Polyspermy is the fusion of multiple sperm with an egg at fertilization, a process that makes the embryo unviable. Synchrony can therefore also act as a source of negative density-dependent disruptive selection. Model analysis shows that the interaction between polyspermy and spawning synchrony can lead to temporal reproductive isolation in sympatry and that, more generally, increased density promotes maintenance of genetic variation.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  3. Potential role of viruses in white plague coral disease.

    PubMed

    Soffer, Nitzan; Brandt, Marilyn E; Correa, Adrienne M S; Smith, Tyler B; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2014-02-01

    White plague (WP)-like diseases of tropical corals are implicated in reef decline worldwide, although their etiological cause is generally unknown. Studies thus far have focused on bacterial or eukaryotic pathogens as the source of these diseases; no studies have examined the role of viruses. Using a combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and 454 pyrosequencing, we compared 24 viral metagenomes generated from Montastraea annularis corals showing signs of WP-like disease and/or bleaching, control conspecific corals, and adjacent seawater. TEM was used for visual inspection of diseased coral tissue. No bacteria were visually identified within diseased coral tissues, but viral particles and sequence similarities to eukaryotic circular Rep-encoding single-stranded DNA viruses and their associated satellites (SCSDVs) were abundant in WP diseased tissues. In contrast, sequence similarities to SCSDVs were not found in any healthy coral tissues, suggesting SCSDVs might have a role in WP disease. Furthermore, Herpesviridae gene signatures dominated healthy tissues, corroborating reports that herpes-like viruses infect all corals. Nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) sequences, similar to those recently identified in cultures of Symbiodinium (the algal symbionts of corals), were most common in bleached corals. This finding further implicates that these NCLDV viruses may have a role in bleaching, as suggested in previous studies. This study determined that a specific group of viruses is associated with diseased Caribbean corals and highlights the potential for viral disease in regional coral reef decline.

  4. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes.

    PubMed

    DeSalvo, M K; Sunagawa, S; Fisher, P L; Voolstra, C R; Iglesias-Prieto, R; Medina, M

    2010-03-01

    A mutualistic relationship between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) forms the basis for the existence of coral reefs. Genotyping tools for Symbiodinium spp. have added a new level of complexity to studies concerning cnidarian growth, nutrient acquisition, and stress. For example, the response of the coral holobiont to thermal stress is connected to the host-Symbiodinium genotypic combination, as different partnerships can have different bleaching susceptibilities. In this study, we monitored Symbiodinium physiological parameters and profiled the coral host transcriptional responses in acclimated, thermally stressed, and recovered fragments of the coral Montastraea faveolata using a custom cDNA gene expression microarray. Interestingly, gene expression was more similar among samples with the same Symbiodinium content rather than the same experimental condition. In order to discount for host-genotypic effects, we sampled fragments from a single colony of M. faveolata containing different symbiont types, and found that the host transcriptomic states grouped according to Symbiodinium genotype rather than thermal stress. As the first study that links coral host transcriptomic patterns to the clade content of their Symbiodinium community, our results provide a critical step to elucidating the molecular basis of the apparent variability seen among different coral-Symbiodinium partnerships.

  5. Landscape ecology of algal symbionts creates variation in episodes of coral bleaching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowan, Rob; Knowlton, Nancy; Baker, Andrew; Jara, Javier

    1997-07-01

    Reef-building corals are obligate, mutualistic symbioses of heterotrophic animals and phototrophic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.). Contrary to the earlier, widely accepted belief that corals harbour only one symbiont, we found that the ecologically dominant Caribbean corals Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata can act as hosts to dynamic, multi-species communities of Symbiodinium. Composition of these communities follows gradients of environmental irradiance, implying that physiological acclimatization is not the only mechanism by which corals cope with environmental heterogeneity. The importance of this diversity was underlined by analysis of a natural episode of coral bleaching. Patterns of bleaching could be explained by the preferential elimination of a symbiont associated with low irradiance from the brightest parts of its distribution. Comparative analyses of symbionts before and after bleaching from the same corals supported this interpretation, and suggested that some corals were protected from bleaching by hosting an additional symbiont that is more tolerant of high irradiance and temperature. This `natural experiment' suggests that temporal and spatial variability can favour the coexistence of diverse symbionts within a host, despite the potential for destabilizing competition among them,.

  6. Chronology of mercury enrichment factors in reef corals from western Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Ramos, Ruth; Cipriani, Roberto; Guzman, Hector M; García, Elia

    2009-02-01

    Mining and deforestation in the early 20th century, the development of petrochemical industries during the 1950s, and the constant weathering of natural deposits of cinabrium (HgS) have made Golfo Triste, Venezuela, a region impacted by mercury (Hg). We studied the chronology of Hg in coral skeletons of Siderastrea siderea (1 colony, 1900-1996) and Montastraea faveolata (2 colonies, 1930-1999) from Parque Nacional San Esteban. Maximum values of Hg/Ca ratios and standard deviations of Hg enrichment factors occurred in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s, and matched maxima of decadal rainfall. Values from the 1950s and 1970s matched periods of abundant but constantly decreasing rainfall and hence were best explained by the combination of runoff and the sudden bioavailability of Hg in the region. This sudden availability likely was associated with activities of the chlorine-caustic soda and fertilizer plants of Morón petrochemical complex, industries that started producing large amounts of Hg in 1958.

  7. Historical and ecological analysis of coral communities in Castle Harbour (Bermuda) after more than a century of environmental perturbation.

    PubMed

    Flood, Vanese S; Pitt, Joanna M; Smith, Struan R

    2005-01-01

    The coral reefs in Bermuda's Castle Harbour basin have been subjected to varying anthropogenic stressors for over 100 years. These include restriction of water flow through the construction of a causeway in the late 19th century and an extensive dredging and land reclamation operation during World War II. In the 1970s, disposal of bulk waste commenced at a foreshore reclamation site in Castle Harbour. Since 1996 the waste stream has included blocks of cement-stabilized municipal incinerator ash. This study provides a historical and quantitative ecological review of the Castle Habour reef ecosystem as a case study, assessing the responses of the reef to more than a century of anthropogenic disturbance. Measures of the coral community, flow rates, turbidity and sedimentary regimes suggest the present structure of the coral community largely reflects the impacts of the historic dredge and fill operations prior to the establishment of the foreshore dump site. Recent increases in the abundance of some sediment tolerant, massive reef-building coral species (Diploria strigosa and Montastraea cavernosa) suggest adaptation to chronic sediment stress.

  8. Implications of isolation and low genetic diversity in peripheral populations of an amphi-Atlantic coral.

    PubMed

    Nunes, F; Norris, R D; Knowlton, N

    2009-10-01

    Limited dispersal and connectivity in marine organisms can have negative fitness effects in populations that are small and isolated, but reduced genetic exchange may also promote the potential for local adaptation. Here, we compare the levels of genetic diversity and connectivity in the coral Montastraea cavernosa among both central and peripheral populations throughout its range in the Atlantic. Genetic data from one mitochondrial and two nuclear loci in 191 individuals show that M. cavernosa is subdivided into three genetically distinct regions in the Atlantic: Caribbean-North Atlantic, Western South Atlantic (Brazil) and Eastern Tropical Atlantic (West Africa). Within each region, populations have similar allele frequencies and levels of genetic diversity; indeed, no significant differentiation was found between populations separated by as much as 3000 km, suggesting that this coral species has the ability to disperse over large distances. Gene flow within regions does not, however, translate into connectivity across the entire Atlantic. Instead, substantial differences in allele frequencies across regions suggest that genetic exchange is infrequent between the Caribbean, Brazil and West Africa. Furthermore, markedly lower levels of genetic diversity are observed in the Brazilian and West African populations. Genetic diversity and connectivity may contribute to the resilience of a coral population to disturbance. Isolated peripheral populations may be more vulnerable to human impacts, disease or climate change relative to those in the genetically diverse Caribbean-North Atlantic region.

  9. The Ba/Ca record of corals from the Southern Gulf of Mexico: contributions from land-use changes, fluvial discharge and oil-drilling muds.

    PubMed

    Carriquiry, José D; Horta-Puga, Guillermo

    2010-09-01

    The Ba/Ca in the growth bands of Montastraea faveolata from the Veracruz Reef System was used to reconstruct the long-term environmental change associated to anthropogenic activity in the Southern Gulf of Mexico (SGM). The 168-yr coral record shows two periods of distinct Ba concentrations: a pre-industrial period (1835-1965: 7.54 micromol/mol) followed by an industrial one (1966-2000: 8.57 micromol/mol). As human population quadrupoled during the latter, sediment load in the fluvial discharge also increased due to changes in land-use, yielding a 14% increase in the Ba-levels. A remarkable finding is that the periods at which the coral Ba/Ca ratio losses its correlation with fluvial discharge coincide exactly with peak periods of high barite consumption (used for oil drilling) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and the onset of oil drilling in the SGM. This finding suggests that barite may be one of the dominant sources for dissolved-Ba in the SGM.

  10. Reef Endemism, Host Specificity and Temporal Stability in Populations of Symbiotic Dinoflagellates from Two Ecologically Dominant Caribbean Corals

    PubMed Central

    Thornhill, Daniel J.; Xiang, Yu; Fitt, William K.; Santos, Scott R.

    2009-01-01

    Background The dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium forms symbioses with numerous protistan and invertebrate metazoan hosts. However, few data on symbiont genetic structure are available, hindering predictions of how these populations and their host associations will fair in the face of global climate change. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, Symbiodinium population structure from two of the Caribbean's ecologically dominant scleractinian corals, Montastraea faveolata and M. annularis, was examined. Tagged colonies on Florida Keys and Bahamian (i.e., Exuma Cays) reefs were sampled from 2003–2005 and their Symbiodinium diversity assessed via internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) rDNA and three Symbiodinium Clade B-specific microsatellite loci. Generally, the majority of host individuals at a site harbored an identical Symbiodinium ITS2 “type” B1 microsatellite genotype. Notably, symbiont genotypes were largely reef endemic, suggesting a near absence of dispersal between populations. Relative to the Bahamas, sympatric M. faveolata and M. annularis in the Florida Keys harbored unique Symbiodinium populations, implying regional host specificity in these relationships. Furthermore, within-colony Symbiodinium population structure remained stable through time and environmental perturbation, including a prolonged bleaching event in 2005. Conclusions/Significance Taken together, the population-level endemism, specificity and stability exhibited by Symbiodinium raises concerns about the long-term adaptive capacity and persistence of these symbioses in an uncertain future of climate change. PMID:19603078

  11. Effects of commercial harvesting of intertidal macroalgae on ecosystem biodiversity and functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stagnol, Doriane; Renaud, Michel; Davoult, Dominique

    2013-09-01

    In 2009, the European Union has defined an organic label for macroalgae, which implies that the commercial harvest of algae shall not cause a significant impact on ecosystems. The aim of this work was to study the effects of hand harvesting of three algae: Fucus serratus, Palmaria palmata, and Porphyra linearis on the associated biodiversity and metabolism of the ecosystem. We used the BACI (Before-After Control-Impact) design to assess the impact of the disturbance (i) on the recovery of the harvested species, (ii) on the specific and functional diversity of the associated algal and animal communities, and (iii) for F. serratus and P. linearis, on the metabolism of the area, using benthic chambers. Our work is based on a mix of fundamental and applied research to identify the effects of commercial harvesting regarding long-term changes, biological and functional interactions, and system responses (including socio-economic interactions). Results of the 12-month monitoring on F. serratus showed that canopy loss seemed to have a negative impact mainly on the diversity of the animal community and the metabolism of the studied area. No significant effects were observed on the algal community. The harvesting impact on the animal community was amplified by the settlement of an ephemeral canopy of Ulva spp., a seasonal opportunistic green alga. Results of the 12-month monitoring of P. palmata after harvesting did not show any significant impact. This alga was epiphytic on the dominant canopy of F. serratus, which was thus maintained, minimizing the impact of the harvest. Finally, results of the 12-month monitoring of P. linearis were difficult to interpret because of an unexpected but continuous sand burial of the study site, one month after the beginning of the study and still covering the population after eight months. Hence, effects of P. linearis harvesting were overshadowed by the natural variability. So far, our results have shown that commercial harvesting has

  12. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

    Larval production and recruitment underpin the maintenance of coral populations, but these early life history stages are vulnerable to extreme variation in physical conditions. Environmental managers aim to minimise human impacts during significant periods of larval production and recruitment on reefs, but doing so requires knowledge of the modes and timing of coral reproduction. Most corals are hermaphroditic or gonochoric, with a brooding or broadcast spawning mode of reproduction. Brooding corals are a significant component of some reefs and produce larvae over consecutive months. Broadcast spawning corals are more common and display considerable variation in their patterns of spawning among reefs. Highly synchronous spawning can occur on reefs around Australia, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef. On Australia’s remote north-west coast there have been fewer studies of coral reproduction. The recent industrial expansion into these regions has facilitated research, but the associated data are often contained within confidential reports. Here we combine information in this grey-literature with that available publicly to update our knowledge of coral reproduction in WA, for tens of thousands of corals and hundreds of species from over a dozen reefs spanning 20° of latitude. We identified broad patterns in coral reproduction, but more detailed insights were hindered by biased sampling; most studies focused on species of Acropora sampled over a few months at several reefs. Within the existing data, there was a latitudinal gradient in spawning activity among seasons, with mass spawning during autumn occurring on all reefs (but the temperate south-west). Participation in a smaller, multi-specific spawning during spring decreased from approximately one quarter of corals on the Kimberley Oceanic reefs to little participation at Ningaloo. Within these seasons, spawning was concentrated in March and/or April, and October and/or November, depending on the timing of

  13. Coral reproduction in Western Australia.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Larval production and recruitment underpin the maintenance of coral populations, but these early life history stages are vulnerable to extreme variation in physical conditions. Environmental managers aim to minimise human impacts during significant periods of larval production and recruitment on reefs, but doing so requires knowledge of the modes and timing of coral reproduction. Most corals are hermaphroditic or gonochoric, with a brooding or broadcast spawning mode of reproduction. Brooding corals are a significant component of some reefs and produce larvae over consecutive months. Broadcast spawning corals are more common and display considerable variation in their patterns of spawning among reefs. Highly synchronous spawning can occur on reefs around Australia, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef. On Australia's remote north-west coast there have been fewer studies of coral reproduction. The recent industrial expansion into these regions has facilitated research, but the associated data are often contained within confidential reports. Here we combine information in this grey-literature with that available publicly to update our knowledge of coral reproduction in WA, for tens of thousands of corals and hundreds of species from over a dozen reefs spanning 20° of latitude. We identified broad patterns in coral reproduction, but more detailed insights were hindered by biased sampling; most studies focused on species of Acropora sampled over a few months at several reefs. Within the existing data, there was a latitudinal gradient in spawning activity among seasons, with mass spawning during autumn occurring on all reefs (but the temperate south-west). Participation in a smaller, multi-specific spawning during spring decreased from approximately one quarter of corals on the Kimberley Oceanic reefs to little participation at Ningaloo. Within these seasons, spawning was concentrated in March and/or April, and October and/or November, depending on the timing of the

  14. A Record of Environmental Change in Caribbean Coral Reefs: Sclerochronology and Geochemistry of O. faveolata as a Paleoclimate Proxy at Coral Gardens and Rocky Point, Belize

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeCorte, I. A.; Greer, L.; Wirth, K. R.; Flowers Falls, E.; Lescinsky, H.; Doss, W. C.

    2015-12-01

    Over the last several decades, Acropora cervicornis has seen a massive die-off in the Caribbean. (Aronson and Precht 2001; Gardner et al., 2003; Greer et al., 2009). The potential causes of decline in A. cervicornis in the Caribbean include: extremes in sea surface temperatures (SST), ocean acidification, eutrophication, white-band disease, storm disturbances, and other anthropogenic disturbances. Contrary to the regional decline in A. cervicornis, Coral Gardens on the Belize Barrier Reef has an Acropora sp. population that appears to be thriving. Through a combination of sclerochronology, stable isotope analysis, and in situ sensor data, this work capitilizes on the opportunity to study reef conditions in a site where micro-environmental conditions appear to be favorable for healthy A. cervicornis coral growth. We use cores from two Orbicella faveolata colonies located within Acropora stands, as A. cervicornis does not reveal annual banding. We compare two cores from one O. faveolata colony at Coral Gardens, first cored in 2011 and again in 2014, to one O. faveolata core at near-by Rocky Point, where A. cervicornis is much less abundant. These cores were x-radiographed in order to expose the annual banding and sampled for stable oxygen and carbon isotope analysis (10-15 samples/cm). We show that, although there are no significant differences in the range of the δ18O and δ13C signature between Rocky Point and Coral Gardens, there is a clear difference in the stress histories at these locations as inferred from linear extension rates (LER's) and annual banding patterns. Rocky Point averages a LER of 10.5±1.4 mm/year (n = 29) over a 30 year record and Coral Gardens averages 9.1±1.2 mm/year (n = 70) from ~1953 - 2001, and averages 6.2±1.6 mm/year (n = 36) from coral years 2001-2014 after an inferred stress-banding event. This is in contrast to the observed overall health of A. cervicornis at the two locations. The inferred stress-banding event is currently

  15. Selection of yeast strains for bioethanol production from UK seaweeds.

    PubMed

    Kostas, Emily T; White, Daniel A; Du, Chenyu; Cook, David J

    Macroalgae (seaweeds) are a promising feedstock for the production of third generation bioethanol, since they have high carbohydrate contents, contain little or no lignin and are available in abundance. However, seaweeds typically contain a more diverse array of monomeric sugars than are commonly present in feedstocks derived from lignocellulosic material which are currently used for bioethanol production. Hence, identification of a suitable fermentative microorganism that can utilise the principal sugars released from the hydrolysis of macroalgae remains a major objective. The present study used a phenotypic microarray technique to screen 24 different yeast strains for their ability to metabolise individual monosaccharides commonly found in seaweeds, as well as hydrolysates following an acid pre-treatment of five native UK seaweed species (Laminaria digitata, Fucus serratus, Chondrus crispus, Palmaria palmata and Ulva lactuca). Five strains of yeast (three Saccharomyces spp, one Pichia sp and one Candida sp) were selected and subsequently evaluated for bioethanol production during fermentation of the hydrolysates. Four out of the five selected strains converted these monomeric sugars into bioethanol, with the highest ethanol yield (13 g L(-1)) resulting from a fermentation using C. crispus hydrolysate with Saccharomyces cerevisiae YPS128. This study demonstrated the novel application of a phenotypic microarray technique to screen for yeast capable of metabolising sugars present in seaweed hydrolysates; however, metabolic activity did not always imply fermentative production of ethanol.

  16. The Highly Reduced Plastome of Mycoheterotrophic Sciaphila (Triuridaceae) Is Colinear with Its Green Relatives and Is under Strong Purifying Selection

    PubMed Central

    Lam, Vivienne K.Y.; Soto Gomez, Marybel; Graham, Sean W.

    2015-01-01

    The enigmatic monocot family Triuridaceae provides a potentially useful model system for studying the effects of an ancient loss of photosynthesis on the plant plastid genome, as all of its members are mycoheterotrophic and achlorophyllous. However, few studies have placed the family in a comparative context, and its phylogenetic placement is only partly resolved. It was also unclear whether any taxa in this family have retained a plastid genome. Here, we used genome survey sequencing to retrieve plastid genome data for Sciaphila densiflora (Triuridaceae) and ten autotrophic relatives in the orders Dioscoreales and Pandanales. We recovered a highly reduced plastome for Sciaphila that is nearly colinear with Carludovica palmata, a photosynthetic relative that belongs to its sister group in Pandanales, Cyclanthaceae–Pandanaceae. This phylogenetic placement is well supported and robust to a broad range of analytical assumptions in maximum-likelihood inference, and is congruent with recent findings based on nuclear and mitochondrial evidence. The 28 genes retained in the S. densiflora plastid genome are involved in translation and other nonphotosynthetic functions, and we demonstrate that nearly all of the 18 protein-coding genes are under strong purifying selection. Our study confirms the utility of whole plastid genome data in phylogenetic studies of highly modified heterotrophic plants, even when they have substantially elevated rates of substitution. PMID:26170229

  17. Macrobenthic community structure and species composition in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea in jellyfish bloom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Songyao; Li, Xinzheng; Wang, Hongfa; Zhang, Baolin

    2014-05-01

    To understand the characteristics of macrobenthic structures and the relationship between environment and benthic assemblages in jellyfish bloom, we studied the macrobenthos and related environmental factors in the coastal waters of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. Data were collected during two seasonal cruises in April and August of 2011, and analyzed with multivariate statistical methods. Up to 306 macrobenthic species were registered from the research areas, including 115 species of Polychaeta, 78 of Crustacea, 61 of Mollusca, 30 of Echinodermata, and 22 of other groups. Nine polychaete species occurred at frequencies higher than 25% from the sampling stations: Lumbrineris longifolia, Notomastus latericeus, Ninöe palmata, Ophelina acuminata, Nephtys oligobranchia, Onuphis geophiliformis, Glycera chirori, Terebellides stroemii, and Aricidea fragilis. Both the average biomass and abundance of macrobenthos are higher in August (23.8 g/m2 and 237.7 ind./m2) than those in April (11.3 g/m2 and 128 ind./m2); the dissimilarity of macrobenthic structures among stations is as high as 70%. In terms of the dissimilarity values, we divided the stations into four clusters in spring and eight in summer. The ABC curve shows that the macrofauna communities in high jellyfish abundance were not changed. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that depth, temperature, median grain size, total organic carbon of sediment and total nitrogen in sediment were important factors affecting the macrozoobenthic community in the study area.

  18. Macrobenthic communities of saltpans from the Sado estuary (Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amaral, Maria José; Costa, Maria Helena

    1999-07-01

    A 1-year study on the evolution of benthic communities of saltpans from the Sado estuary was carried out in order to evaluate its density, biomass and diversity, and to understand its trophic-dynamic structure under harsh environmental conditions. Physical and chemical parameters of the water column and sediments were also studied. Salinity and redox potential fluctuated sharply. Of eighteen taxa observed, a few occurred in significant numbers Chironomus salinarius (99 %) at crystallisation ponds where Artemia is present in the water column at salinities ranging from 23 to 249 g .L -1, Hydrobia (95 %) at evaporation pond (salinities between 29 and 112 g .L -1), while the reservoir, with salinities from 22 to 45 g .L -1, showed higher diversity nevertheless lower than in the estuary itself. It is colonised all year by Abra ovata, Cerastoderma glaucum, Hedistes diversicolor, Capitella sp., Microspio mecznikowianus, Mellina palmata, Polydora ciliata, Capitellidae and Microdeutopus gryllotalpa. The diversity of macrobenthic communities decreases with increasing salinity. Among trophic dynamic groups, surface detritivores burrowers, which are present at 85 % of the samples, are the dominant group at evaporation and crystallisation ponds and appears as an isolated group linked to organic matter of sediments and nutrients.

  19. French Brittany macroalgae screening: composition and methane potential for potential alternative sources of energy and products.

    PubMed

    Jard, G; Marfaing, H; Carrère, H; Delgenes, J P; Steyer, J P; Dumas, C

    2013-09-01

    Macroalgae are biomass resources that represent a valuable feedstock to be used entirely for human consumption or for food additives after some extractions (mainly colloids) and/or for energy production. In order to better develop the algal sector, it is important to determine the capacity of macroalgae to produce these added-values molecules for food and/or for energy industries on the basis of their biochemical characteristics. In this study, ten macroalgae obtained from French Brittany coasts (France) were selected. The global biochemical composition (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, fibers), the presence and characteristics of added-values molecules (alginates, polyphenols) and the biochemical methane potential of these algae were determined. Regarding its biochemical composition, Palmaria palmata is interesting for food (rich in nutrients) and for anaerobic digestion (0.279 LCH4/gVS). Saccharina latissima could be used for alginate extraction (242 g/kgTS, ratio between mannuronic and guluronic acid M/G=1.4) and Sargassum muticum for polyphenol extraction (19.8 g/kgTS).

  20. Quantitative analysis of mycosporine-like amino acids in marine algae by capillary electrophoresis with diode-array detection.

    PubMed

    Hartmann, Anja; Murauer, Adele; Ganzera, Markus

    2017-05-10

    Marine species have evolved a variety of physical or chemical strategies to diminish damage from elevated environmental ultraviolet radiation. Mycosporine-like amino acids, a group of widely distributed small water soluble compounds, are biologically relevant because of their photo-protective potential. In addition, presumed antioxidant and skin protective strategies raise the interest for possible medicinal and cosmetic applications. In this study the first CE method for the quantification of mycosporine-like amino acids in marine species is presented. A borate buffer system consisting of 30mM sodium tetraborate in water at a pH-value of 10.3 enabled the baseline separation of five MAAs, namely palythine, mycosporine-serinol, asterina-330, shinorine and porphyra-334, in 27min. Separation voltage, temperature and detection wavelength were 25kV, 25°C and 320nm, respectively. The optimized method was fully validated and applied for the quantitative determination of MAAs in the marine macroalgae Palmaria palmata, Porphyra umbilicalis, and Porphyra sp., as well as the lichen Lichina pygmaea.

  1. Aneuraceae (Metzgeriales) and tulasnelloid fungi (Basidiomycota): a model for early steps in fungal symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Krause, Cornelia; Garnica, Sigisfredo; Bauer, Robert; Nebel, Martin

    2011-09-01

    A total of 35 population samples of the liverwort genera Aneura (A. pinguis) and Riccardia (R. latifrons, R. multifida, and R. palmata) were sampled from diverse habitats and geographical provenances in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Light and transmission electron microscopy were used to characterise the morphological features of the associations, and phylogenetic analyses based on internal transcribed spacers (ITS) and the D1/D2 regions of the fungal 28S rDNA were used to address diversity and phylogenetic relationships. By comparing the cellular structures of the plant-fungus interactions, we recognised the following states of fungal colonisation within the thalli: fungus-free, epiphytic, intercellular, and intracellular. Colonising hyphae showed dolipores with imperforate parenthesomes, slime bodies, and multilayered walls. Colonised liverwort cells had pleomorphic nuclei and elongated starch-free chloroplasts with distinctive grana. Our analyses revealed six phylogenetic groups of tulasnelloid fungi associated with liverworts, where major lineages mostly share similar host and/or ecological specialisations. The mode of colonisation of the tulasnelloid mycobionts in Aneura and Riccardia sharing identical fungal sequences is different. Consequently, the mode of colonisation may be host-dependent. Finally, our findings demonstrate that Aneuraceae are model organisms for evolutionary studies of symbiotic associations between liverworts and fungi.

  2. Holocene reef evolution in a macrotidal setting: Buccaneer Archipelago, Kimberley Bioregion, Northwest Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solihuddin, Tubagus; O'Leary, Michael J.; Blakeway, David; Parnum, Iain; Kordi, Moataz; Collins, Lindsay B.

    2016-09-01

    This study uses information derived from cores to describe the Holocene accretion history of coral reefs in the macrotidal (up to 11 m tidal range) Buccaneer Archipelago of the southern Kimberley coast, Western Australia. The internal architecture of all cored reefs is broadly similar, constituting well-preserved detrital coral fragments, predominantly branching Acropora, in a poorly sorted sandy mud matrix. However, once the reefs reach sea level, they diverge into two types: low intertidal reefs that maintain their detrital character and develop relatively narrow, horizontal or gently sloping reef flats at approximately mean low water spring, and high intertidal reefs that develop broad coralline algal-dominated reef flats at elevations between mean low water neap and mean high water neap. The high intertidal reefs develop where strong, ebb-dominated, tidal asymmetry retains seawater over the low tide and allows continued accretion. Both reef types are ultimately constrained by sea level but differ in elevation by 3-4 m.

  3. Evidence for delayed mortality in hurricane-damaged Jamaican staghorn corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knowlton, Nancy; Lang, Judith C.; Christine Rooney, M.; Clifford, Patricia

    1981-11-01

    Severe tropical storms can cause widespread mortality in reef corals1,2. The Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, although dependent on fragmentation for asexual propagation3-5, is particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage6,7. The most important agents of post-hurricane mortality are assumed to be high wave energy6 and change in salinity8, factors which typically soon diminish in intensity. We report here that there was substantial delayed tissue and colony death in A. cervicornis on a Jamaican reef damaged by Hurricane Alien. This previously undocumented degree of secondary mortality, sustained for 5 months and unrelated to emersion9, was over one order of magnitude more severe than that caused by the immediate effects of the storm. The elimination of >98% of the original survivors suggests potentially complex responses to catastrophes, involving disease10,11 and predation, which may explain the widely variable rates of reef recovery previously reported12-15.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  6. Spatial differences and seasonal changes of net carbonate accumulation on some coral reefs of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan.

    PubMed

    Hibino; van Woesik R

    2000-09-05

    This study sought to understand short-term spatial changes in accretion and erosion on (experimental) carbonate blocks on three coral reefs of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. The principal objectives were to differentiate net accretion/erosion according to season, location, depth and substrate-type. At all locations the summer season showed more positive net weight changes and higher coralline algal coverage than the winter season. Windward reefs revealed higher net accretion and higher coralline algal coverage than leeward reefs. Massive (Holocene) Porites blocks showed highest net loss, followed by Pleistocene carbonate and (Holocene) Acropora blocks. High population densities of Echinometra mathaei (de Blainville) were recorded on reefs adjacent to large human populations and overall net carbonate loss significantly correlated to densities of E. mathaei type A.

  7. The size-structure of corals with contrasting life-histories: A multi-scale analysis across environmental conditions.

    PubMed

    Adjeroud, Mehdi; Mauguit, Quentin; Penin, Lucie

    2015-12-01

    We report variation in the size-structure of three coral taxa in the Society Islands (French Polynesia) using a hierarchical sampling design that integrates the regional (among three islands: Moorea, Raiatea, Tahiti), island (among three locations around each island), and local levels (among three depths: 6, 12, 18 m, at each location). All coral taxa exhibited strong heterogeneity in their size-structure, with marked variation among depths, locations, and islands. Porites spp. and Acropora globiceps populations at 6 m depth were dominated by smaller size classes compared to other depths. Regional-scale variation was particularly evident for Pocillopora meandrina and A. globiceps, with a higher proportion of smaller colonies found at Raiatea, probably as a result of recent cyclones followed by higher recruitment rates. Porites spp. populations were characterized by a preponderance of larger colonies, and greater size ranges compared to the other two taxa.

  8. Coral microbial community dynamics in response to anthropogenic impacts near a major city in the central Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Ziegler, Maren; Roik, Anna; Porter, Adam; Zubier, Khalid; Mudarris, Mohammed S; Ormond, Rupert; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-04-30

    Coral-associated bacteria play an increasingly recognized part in coral health. We investigated the effect of local anthropogenic impacts on coral microbial communities on reefs near Jeddah, the largest city on the Saudi Arabian coast of the central Red Sea. We analyzed the bacterial community structure of water and corals (Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hemprichii) at sites that were relatively unimpacted, exposed to sedimentation & local sewage, or in the discharge area of municipal wastewaters. Coral microbial communities were significantly different at impacted sites: in both corals the main symbiotic taxon decreased in abundance. In contrast, opportunistic bacterial families, such as e.g. Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, were more abundant in corals at impacted sites. In conclusion, microbial community response revealed a measurable footprint of anthropogenic impacts to coral ecosystems close to Jeddah, even though the corals appeared visually healthy.

  9. Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals

    PubMed Central

    Roth, Melissa S.; Deheyn, Dimitri D.

    2013-01-01

    Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals. PMID:23478289

  10. The continuing decline of coral reefs in Bahrain.

    PubMed

    Burt, John A; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa; Khalaf, Ebtesam; Alshuwaikh, Bassem; Abdulwahab, Ahmed

    2013-07-30

    Historically coral reefs of Bahrain were among the most extensive in the southern basin of the Arabian Gulf. However, Bahrain's reefs have undergone significant decline in the last four decades as a result of large-scale coastal development and elevated sea surface temperature events. Here we quantitatively surveyed six sites including most major coral reef habitats around Bahrain and a reef located 72 km offshore. Fleshy and turf algae now dominate Bahrain's reefs (mean: 72% cover), and live coral cover is low (mean: 5.1%). Formerly dominant Acropora were not observed at any site. The offshore Bulthama reef had the highest coral cover (16.3%) and species richness (22 of the 23 species observed, 13 of which were exclusive to this site). All reefs for which recent and historical data are available show continued degradation, and it is unlikely that they will recover under continuing coastal development and projected climate change impacts.

  11. Status of Caribbean coral reefs in seven countries in 1986.

    PubMed

    Wilkinson, Clive; Nowak, Madeleine; Miller, Ian; Baker, Valonna

    2013-05-15

    There are few long-term datasets available to make reliable statements about trends in cover and structure in many coral reefs around the world. We present 27year old summary data of the cover of corals and other biota on Caribbean and Western Atlantic coral reefs in 7 countries collected in late 1985 and early 1986. These data were collected to support research on sponge populations and show relatively low coral cover on many of these reefs with particularly low cover of Acropora spp. We present these summaries to encourage other researchers to compare with current conditions or repeat the surveys to show long-term trends; the raw data will be supplied on request.

  12. Defining the tipping point. A complex cellular life/death balance in corals in response to stress

    PubMed Central

    T. D., Ainsworth; K., Wasmund; L., Ukani; F., Seneca; D., Yellowlees; D., Miller; W., Leggat

    2011-01-01

    Apoptotic cell death has been implicated in coral bleaching but the molecules involved and the mechanisms by which apoptosis is regulated are only now being identified. In contrast the mechanisms underlying apoptosis in higher animals are relatively well understood. To better understand the response of corals to thermal stress, the expression of coral homologs of six key regulators of apoptosis was studied in Acropora aspera under conditions simulating those of a mass bleaching event. Significant changes in expression were detected between the daily minimum and maximum temperatures. Maximum daily temperatures from as low as 3°C below the bleaching threshold resulted in significant changes in both pro- and anti-apoptotic gene expression. The results suggest that the control of apoptosis is highly complex in this eukaryote-eukaryote endosymbiosis and that apoptotic cell death cascades potentially play key roles tipping the cellular life/death balance during environmental stress prior to the onset of coral bleaching. PMID:22355675

  13. MarinegenomicsDB: an integrated genome viewer for community-based annotation of genomes.

    PubMed

    Koyanagi, Ryo; Takeuchi, Takeshi; Hisata, Kanako; Gyoja, Fuki; Shoguchi, Eiichi; Satoh, Nori; Kawashima, Takeshi

    2013-10-01

    We constructed a web-based genome annotation platform, MarinegenomicsDB, to integrate genome data from various marine organisms including the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata and the coral Acropora digitifera. This newly developed viewer application provides open access to published data and a user-friendly environment for community-based manual gene annotation. Development on a flexible framework enables easy expansion of the website on demand. To date, more than 2000 genes have been annotated using this system. In the future, the website will be expanded to host a wider variety of data, more species, and different types of genome-wide analyses. The website is available at the following URL: http://marinegenomics.oist.jp.

  14. Impacts of turbidity on corals: The relative importance of light limitation and suspended sediments.

    PubMed

    Bessell-Browne, Pia; Negri, Andrew P; Fisher, Rebecca; Clode, Peta L; Duckworth, Alan; Jones, Ross

    2017-04-15

    As part of an investigation of the effects of water quality from dredging/natural resuspension on reefs, the effects of suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) (0, 30, 100mgL(-1)) and light (~0, 1.1, 8.6molphotonsm(-2)d(-1)) were examined alone and in combination, on the corals Acropora millepora, Montipora capricornis and Porites spp. over an extended (28d) period. No effects were observed at any sediment concentrations when applied alone. All corals in the lowest light treatments lost chlorophyll a and discoloured (bleached) after a week. Coral mortality only occurred in the two lowest light treatments and was higher when simultaneously exposed to elevated SSCs. Compared to water quality data collected during large dredging programs and natural resuspension events (and in the absence of sediment deposition as a cause-effect pathway) these data suggest the light reduction associated with turbidity poses a proportionally greater risk than effects of elevated SSCs alone.

  15. Multiple environmental factors influence the spatial distribution and structure of reef communities in the northeastern Arabian Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Bauman, Andrew G; Feary, David A; Heron, Scott F; Pratchett, Morgan S; Burt, John A

    2013-07-30

    Multivariate analysis revealed distinct sub-regional coral communities among the southern Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman. Differences in community structure among locations were associated with considerable spatial heterogeneity in oceanic conditions, and strong directional environmental gradients. Despite clear community differences, considerable changes to coral community structure have occurred throughout the northeastern Arabian Peninsula as compared with previous studies. The most dramatic of these are the apparent changes from Acropora dominated to poritid and faviid dominated communities, particularly in the southern Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. Although temperature and salinity have previously been cited as the major environmental factors structuring coral communities around the region, additional environmental parameters, including chlorophyll-a, surface currents and winds are shown to be important in structuring reef communities throughout the northeastern Arabian Peninsula.

  16. Bleaching, coral mortality and subsequent survivorship on a West Australian fringing reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Depczynski, M.; Gilmour, J. P.; Ridgway, T.; Barnes, H.; Heyward, A. J.; Holmes, T. H.; Moore, J. A. Y.; Radford, B. T.; Thomson, D. P.; Tinkler, P.; Wilson, S. K.

    2013-03-01

    The spring and summer of 2010/11 saw an exceptionally strong La Niña push warm waters from Indonesia down the Western Australian coastline, resulting in a host of extraordinary biological oddities including significant bleaching of Western Australian corals. Here, we report a 79-92 % decline in coral cover for a location in the Ningaloo Marine Park where sustained high water temperatures over an 8-month period left just 1-6 % of corals alive. The severity of bleaching provided an opportunity to investigate the resilience of different taxonomic groups and colony size classes to an acute but protracted episode of thermal stress. While the sub-dominant community of massive growth forms fared reasonably well, the dominant Acropora and Montipora assemblages all died, with the exception of the <10 cm size class, which seemed immune to bleaching.

  17. Effects of algal turfs and sediment on coral settlement.

    PubMed

    Birrell, Chico L; McCook, Laurence J; Willis, Bette L

    2005-01-01

    Successful settlement and recruitment of corals is critical to the resilience of coral reefs. Given that many degraded reefs are dominated by benthic algae, recovery of coral populations after bleaching and other disturbances requires successful settlement amidst benthic algae. Algal turfs often accumulate sediments, sediments are known to inhibit coral settlement, and reefs with high inputs of terrestrial sediments are often dominated by turfs. We investigated the impacts of two algal turf assemblages, and of sediment deposits, on settlement of the coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg). Adding sediment reduced coral settlement, but the effects of different algal turfs varied. In one case, algal turfs inhibited coral settlement, whereas the other turf only inhibited settlement when combined with sediments. These results provide the first direct, experimental evidence of effects of filamentous algal turfs on coral settlement, the variability in those effects, and the potential combined effects of algal turfs and trapped sediments.

  18. Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals.

    PubMed

    Roth, Melissa S; Deheyn, Dimitri D

    2013-01-01

    Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals.

  19. 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.

  20. First-generation fitness consequences of interpopulational hybridisation in a Great Barrier Reef coral and its implications for assisted migration management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Oppen, M. J. H.; Puill-Stephan, E.; Lundgren, P.; De'ath, G.; Bay, L. K.

    2014-09-01

    The translocation of populations within their natural distribution ranges to instigate crossings between genetic stocks may enhance adaptive potential and resilience. Colonies of the reef-building coral, Acropora millepora, collected in the warmer central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) were experimentally crossed with conspecific colonies from the cooler southern GBR. Fertilisation success was high in all purebred and regional hybrid crosses (>83 %). After 4 months in the field at the southern location, survival rates differed as follows: native purebreds > regional hybrids > central GBR purebreds. The southern GBR purebreds were smaller at settlement compared with the other groups, but this difference disappeared towards the end of the grow-out period. While no benefit of genetic mixing in the F1 generation of this species was evident from our work, it is possible that hybrid vigour exists for other traits, such as thermal tolerance, and over different spatial scales, for different species, or in later generations.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  2. The Construction of a Coral Implantation Base and the Proof Experiment by Electrodeposition Method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoshitake, Masami; Nojima, Satoshi; Tokuyama, Hidekazu; Haraguchi, Satoru; Kadomoto, Yukio; Yoshida, Kazuo

    In recent years, we are facing a decline of coral reefs by bleaching and death of coral colonies, which is casued by rising of ocean temperatures presumably due to global warming and pollution due to human activity. It is our urgent issue to protect and reproduce coral reefs in a global scale. We propose an electrodeposition method using calcium and magnesium contained in natural seawater as a effective and way to revive coral reefs, because a product of electrodeposition characterized by porous texture provides suitable holes for implantation of coral larvae. We expect that the method creates a diverse coral reefs community similar to natural one comparing with other growth method. Since 2008, we have conducted coral growth experiments using electrodeposition in Yoronjima. As a result, Acropora sp., Porites sp. and Pocillopora sp. are observed, such as implantation of several types of coral larvae, and confirmed a growth of coral larvae.

  3. Community change and evidence for variable warm-water temperature adaptation of corals in Northern Male Atoll, Maldives.

    PubMed

    McClanahan, T R; Muthiga, N A

    2014-03-15

    This study provides a descriptive analysis of the North Male, Maldives seven years after the 1998 bleaching disturbance to determine the state of the coral community composition, the recruitment community, evidence for recovery, and adaptation to thermal stress. Overall, hard coral cover recovered at a rate commonly reported in the literature but with high spatial variability and shifts in taxonomic composition. Massive Porites, Pavona, Synarea, and Goniopora were unusually common in both the recruit and adult communities. Coral recruitment was low and some coral taxa, namely Tubipora, Seriatopora, and Stylophora, were rarer than expected. A study of the bleaching response to a thermal anomaly in 2005 indicated that some taxa, including Leptoria, Platygyra, Favites, Fungia, Hydnophora, and Galaxea astreata, bleached as predicted while others, including Acropora, Pocillopora, branching Porites, Montipora, Stylophora, and Alveopora, bleached less than predicted. This indicates variable-adaptation potentials among the taxa and considerable potential for ecological reorganization of the coral community.

  4. Ex situ transportation of coral larvae for research, conservation, and aquaculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petersen, D.; Hatta, M.; Laterveer, M.; Bergen, D. Van.

    2005-11-01

    Due to the lack of appropriate methods to transport high amounts of larvae ex situ over large distances, the availability of coral larvae was so far mainly limited to their place of origin. For a research project at Rotterdam Zoo, The Netherlands, we transported several thousand larvae of three broadcast spawners ( Acropora tenuis, A. digitifera, Diploria strigosa) from the Indo Pacific and the Caribbean to Europe. Beside logistics and packing techniques, post-transport survival rates were mainly influenced by larvae density and transport duration. Our results indicate optimum survival rates of >90% at densities of 4 larvae ml-1 when not exceeding a transportation time of 4 days. The ex situ transport of coral larvae over large distances might offer new possibilities for research, conservation, and aquaculture.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-05

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

  6. Predicting Coral Recruitment in Palau’s Complex Reef Archipelago

    PubMed Central

    Golbuu, Yimnang; Wolanski, Eric; Idechong, Jacques Wasai; Victor, Steven; Isechal, Adelle Lukes; Oldiais, Noelle Wenty; Idip, David; Richmond, Robert H.; van Woesik, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Reproduction and recruitment are key processes that replenish marine populations. Here we use the Palau archipelago, in the western Pacific Ocean, as a case study to examine scales of connectivity and to determine whether an oceanographic model, incorporating the complex reef architecture, is a useful predictor of coral recruitment. We tested the hypothesis that the reefs with the highest retention also had the highest densities of juvenile coral density from 80 field sites. Field comparisons showed a significant correlation between the densities of juvenile Acropora colonies and total larval recruitment derived from the model (i.e., calculated as the sum of the densities of larvae that self-seeded and recruited from the other reefs in the archipelago). Long-distance larval imports may be too infrequent to sustain coral populations, but are critical for recovery in times of extreme local stress. PMID:23209842

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-15

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

  8. Self-generated morphology in lagoon reefs.

    PubMed

    Blakeway, David; Hamblin, Michael G

    2015-01-01

    The three-dimensional form of a coral reef develops through interactions and feedbacks between its constituent organisms and their environment. Reef morphology therefore contains a potential wealth of ecological information, accessible if the relationships between morphology and ecology can be decoded. Traditionally, reef morphology has been attributed to external controls such as substrate topography or hydrodynamic influences. Little is known about inherent reef morphology in the absence of external control. Here we use reef growth simulations, based on observations in the cellular reefs of Western Australia's Houtman Abrolhos Islands, to show that reef morphology is fundamentally determined by the mechanical behaviour of the reef-building organisms themselves-specifically their tendency to either remain in place or to collapse. Reef-building organisms that tend to remain in place, such as massive and encrusting corals or coralline algae, produce nodular reefs, whereas those that tend to collapse, such as branching Acropora, produce cellular reefs. The purest reef growth forms arise in sheltered lagoons dominated by a single type of reef builder, as in the branching Acropora-dominated lagoons of the Abrolhos. In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism. The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images. More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef.

  9. Self-generated morphology in lagoon reefs

    PubMed Central

    Hamblin, Michael G.

    2015-01-01

    The three-dimensional form of a coral reef develops through interactions and feedbacks between its constituent organisms and their environment. Reef morphology therefore contains a potential wealth of ecological information, accessible if the relationships between morphology and ecology can be decoded. Traditionally, reef morphology has been attributed to external controls such as substrate topography or hydrodynamic influences. Little is known about inherent reef morphology in the absence of external control. Here we use reef growth simulations, based on observations in the cellular reefs of Western Australia’s Houtman Abrolhos Islands, to show that reef morphology is fundamentally determined by the mechanical behaviour of the reef-building organisms themselves—specifically their tendency to either remain in place or to collapse. Reef-building organisms that tend to remain in place, such as massive and encrusting corals or coralline algae, produce nodular reefs, whereas those that tend to collapse, such as branching Acropora, produce cellular reefs. The purest reef growth forms arise in sheltered lagoons dominated by a single type of reef builder, as in the branching Acropora-dominated lagoons of the Abrolhos. In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism. The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images. More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef. PMID:26175962

  10. Differential responses of coral larvae to the colour of ambient light guide them to suitable settlement microhabitat

    PubMed Central

    Strader, Marie E.; Davies, Sarah W.; Matz, Mikhail V.

    2015-01-01

    Reef-building corals produce planktonic planula larvae that must select an appropriate habitat to settle and spend the rest of their life, a behaviour that plays a critical role in survival. Here, we report that larvae obtained from a deep-water population of Pseudodiploria strigosa settled more readily under blue light and in the dark, which aligns well with the light field characteristics of their natal habitat. By contrast, larvae of the shallow-water coral Acropora millepora settled in high proportions under blue and green light while settlement was less in the dark. Acropora millepora larvae also showed reduced settlement under red light, which should be abundant at shallow depth. Hypothesizing that this might be a mechanism preventing the larvae from settling on the exposed upwards-facing surfaces, we quantified A. millepora settlement in manipulated light chambers in situ on the reef. While A. millepora larvae naturally preferred settling on vertical rather than exposed horizontal surfaces, swapping the colours of upwards-facing and sideways-facing light fields was sufficient to invert this preference. We also tested if the variation in intrinsic red fluorescence in A. millepora larvae correlates with settlement rates, as has been suggested previously. We observed this correlation only in the absence of light, indicating that larval red fluorescent protein is probably not directly involved in light sensing. Our study reveals previously under-appreciated light-sensory capabilities in coral larvae, which could be an important axis of ecological differentiation between coral species and/or populations. PMID:26587247

  11. Mitogenomic analysis of Montipora cactus and Anacropora matthai (cnidaria; scleractinia; acroporidae) indicates an unequal rate of mitochondrial evolution among Acroporidae corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tseng, Ching-Chih; Wallace, Carden C.; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2005-11-01

    The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) genome was determined for specimens of the coral species Montipora cactus (Bernard 1897) and Anacropora matthai (Pillai 1973), representing two morphologically distinct genera of the family Acroporidae. These sequences were compared with the published mt genome sequence for the confamilial species, Acropora tenuis (Dana 1846). The size of the mt genome was 17,887 bp and 17,888 bp for M. cactus and A. matthai. Gene content and organization was found to be very similar among the three Acroporidae mt genomes with a group I intron occurring in the NADH dehyrogenase 5 ( nad5) gene. The intergenic regions were also similar in length among the three corals. The control region located between the small ribosomal RNA ( ms) and the cytochrome oxidase 3 ( cox3) gene was significantly smaller in M. cactus and A. matthai (both 627 bp) than in A. tenuis (1086 bp). Only one set of repeated sequences was identified at the 3'-end of the control regions in M. cactus and A. matthai. A lack of the abundant repetitive elements which have been reported for A. tenuis, accounts for the relatively short control regions in M. cactus and A. matthai. Pairwise distances and relative rate analyses of 13 protein coding genes, the group I intron and the largest intergenic region, igr3, revealed significant differences in the rate of molecular evolution of the mt genome among the three species, with an extremely slow rate being seen between Montipora and Anacropora. It is concluded that rapid mt genome evolution is taking place in genus Acropora relative to the confamilial genera Montipora and Anacropora although all are within the relatively slow range thought to be typical of Anthozoa.

  12. Prey selectivity affects reproductive success of a corallivorous reef fish.

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    Most animals consume a narrower range of food resources than is potentially available in the environment, but the underlying basis for these preferences is often poorly understood. Foraging theory predicts that prey selection should represent a trade-off between prey preferences based on nutritional value and prey availability. That is, species should consume preferred prey when available, but select less preferred prey when preferred prey is rare. We employed both field observation and laboratory experiments to examine the relationship between prey selection and preferences in the obligate coral-feeding filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris. To determine the drivers of prey selection, we experimentally established prey preferences in choice arenas and tested the consequences of prey preferences for key fitness-related parameters. Field studies showed that individuals fed almost exclusively on live corals from the genus Acropora. While diet was dominated by the most abundant species, Acropora nobilis, fish appeared to preferentially select rarer acroporids, such as A. millepora and A. hyacinthus. Prey choice experiments confirmed strong preferences for these corals, suggesting that field consumption is constrained by availability. In a longer-term feeding experiment, reproductive pairs fed on non-preferred corals exhibited dramatic reductions to body weight, and in hepatic and gonad condition, compared with those fed preferred corals. The majority of pairs fed preferred corals spawned frequently, while no spawning was observed for any pairs fed a non-preferred species of coral. These experiments suggest that fish distinguish between available corals based on their intrinsic value as prey, that reproductive success is dependent on the presence of particular coral species, and that differential loss of preferred corals could have serious consequences for the population success of these dietary specialists.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  14. Elevated reefs and related Pleistocene stratigraphy of the southern Exuma Islands, Bahamas

    SciTech Connect

    Dill, R.F. Caribbean Marine Research Center, San Diego, CA ); Halley, R.B.; Shinn, E.A.; Kindinger, J.L. ); Muhs, D.R. )

    1991-03-01

    At least seven elevated coral reefs are exposed on the lee side of an inner chain of low islands on the eastern margin of Great Bahama Bank in the Southern Exumas. Starting at Fowl Cay in the north, they extend at least to Pigeon Cay in the south, a distance of about 44 nautical mi (81 km). These reefs formed around preexisting Pleistocene core-islands and hardgrounds during a transgressive higher than present stand of sea level, prior to the Holocene. As sea level dropped, the reefs were karstedand capped by caliche crusts, a unique paleosol breccia containing land snails (Cerithidea. sp.) and a now lithified dune system with well-developed rhizomorphs. Shallow sea caves eroded into steep, clifflike notches are often located on ridges shoreward of the reef, with roof heights of up to 5 m above the top of the elevated reefs. The reefs form a 5- to 10-m wide terrace, approximately 1 m above present sea level. Shoreline exposures often exceed 300 m (1,000 ft). Most exposures have a base thicket of interwoven branches of Acropora cervicornus approximately 70-cm thick. The badly corroded branches are surrounded by a cemented matrix of ooid sands, marine cement, and coralline debris. The upper 30 cm is formed by a much more diverse reef community of broken shells and corals (Montastrea, Diploria Agaricia, Porites, and Acropora). Crustose coralline algae and colonial foraminifera (Homotrema) form a cementing crust around many corals. These reefs and their relationship to paleosols within subaerial dune deposits provide stratigraphic markers that play an important role in interpreting the development of Pleistocene deposits of the Great Bahama Bank.

  15. Regional-scale dominance of non-framework building corals on Caribbean reefs affects carbonate production and future reef growth.

    PubMed

    Perry, Chris T; Steneck, Robert S; Murphy, Gary N; Kench, Paul S; Edinger, Evan N; Smithers, Scott G; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-03-01

    Coral cover on Caribbean reefs has declined rapidly since the early 1980's. Diseases have been a major driver, decimating communities of framework building Acropora and Orbicella coral species, and reportedly leading to the emergence of novel coral assemblages often dominated by domed and plating species of the genera Agaricia, Porites and Siderastrea. These corals were not historically important Caribbean framework builders, and typically have much smaller stature and lower calcification rates, fuelling concerns over reef carbonate production and growth potential. Using data from 75 reefs from across the Caribbean we quantify: (i) the magnitude of non-framework building coral dominance throughout the region and (ii) the contribution of these corals to contemporary carbonate production. Our data show that live coral cover averages 18.2% across our sites and coral carbonate production 4.1 kg CaCO3  m(-2)  yr(-1) . However, non-framework building coral species dominate and are major carbonate producers at a high proportion of sites; they are more abundant than Acropora and Orbicella at 73% of sites; contribute an average 68% of the carbonate produced; and produce more than half the carbonate at 79% of sites. Coral cover and carbonate production rate are strongly correlated but, as relative abundance of non-framework building corals increases, average carbonate production rates decline. Consequently, the use of coral cover as a predictor of carbonate budget status, without species level production rate data, needs to be treated with caution. Our findings provide compelling evidence for the Caribbean-wide dominance of non-framework building coral taxa, and that these species are now major regional carbonate producers. However, because these species typically have lower calcification rates, continued transitions to states dominated by non-framework building coral species will further reduce carbonate production rates below 'predecline' levels, resulting in shifts

  16. Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders.

    PubMed

    Anthony, K R N; Kline, D I; Diaz-Pulido, G; Dove, S; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2008-11-11

    Ocean acidification represents a key threat to coral reefs by reducing the calcification rate of framework builders. In addition, acidification is likely to affect the relationship between corals and their symbiotic dinoflagellates and the productivity of this association. However, little is known about how acidification impacts on the physiology of reef builders and how acidification interacts with warming. Here, we report on an 8-week study that compared bleaching, productivity, and calcification responses of crustose coralline algae (CCA) and branching (Acropora) and massive (Porites) coral species in response to acidification and warming. Using a 30-tank experimental system, we manipulated CO(2) levels to simulate doubling and three- to fourfold increases [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection categories IV and VI] relative to present-day levels under cool and warm scenarios. Results indicated that high CO(2) is a bleaching agent for corals and CCA under high irradiance, acting synergistically with warming to lower thermal bleaching thresholds. We propose that CO(2) induces bleaching via its impact on photoprotective mechanisms of the photosystems. Overall, acidification impacted more strongly on bleaching and productivity than on calcification. Interestingly, the intermediate, warm CO(2) scenario led to a 30% increase in productivity in Acropora, whereas high CO(2) lead to zero productivity in both corals. CCA were most sensitive to acidification, with high CO(2) leading to negative productivity and high rates of net dissolution. Our findings suggest that sensitive reef-building species such as CCA may be pushed beyond their thresholds for growth and survival within the next few decades whereas corals will show delayed and mixed responses.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-09-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Viral Outbreak in Corals Associated with an In Situ Bleaching Event: Atypical Herpes-Like Viruses and a New Megavirus Infecting Symbiodinium

    PubMed Central

    Correa, Adrienne M. S.; Ainsworth, Tracy D.; Rosales, Stephanie M.; Thurber, Andrew R.; Butler, Christopher R.; Vega Thurber, Rebecca L.

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies of coral viruses have employed either microscopy or metagenomics, but few have attempted to comprehensively link the presence of a virus-like particle (VLP) to a genomic sequence. We conducted transmission electron microscopy imaging and virome analysis in tandem to characterize the most conspicuous viral types found within the dominant Pacific reef-building coral genus Acropora. Collections for this study inadvertently captured what we interpret as a natural outbreak of viral infection driven by aerial exposure of the reef flat coincident with heavy rainfall and concomitant mass bleaching. All experimental corals in this study had high titers of viral particles. Three of the dominant VLPs identified were observed in all tissue layers and budding out from the epidermis, including viruses that were ∼70, ∼120, and ∼150 nm in diameter; these VLPs all contained electron dense cores. These morphological traits are reminiscent of retroviruses, herpesviruses, and nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs), respectively. Some 300–500 nm megavirus-like VLPs also were observed within and associated with dinoflagellate algal endosymbiont (Symbiodinium) cells. Abundant sequence similarities to a gammaretrovirus, herpesviruses, and members of the NCLDVs, based on a virome generated from five Acropora aspera colonies, corroborated these morphology-based identifications. Additionally sequence similarities to two diagnostic genes, a MutS and (based on re-annotation of sequences from another study) a DNA polymerase B gene, most closely resembled Pyramimonas orientalis virus, demonstrating the association of a cosmopolitan megavirus with Symbiodinium. We also identified several other virus-like particles in host tissues, along with sequences phylogenetically similar to circoviruses, phages, and filamentous viruses. This study suggests that viral outbreaks may be a common but previously undocumented component of natural bleaching events, particularly

  20. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians

    PubMed Central

    Marsh, Adam G.; Hoadley, Kenneth D.; Warner, Mark E.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG) motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera) and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis). Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS) are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to environmental stress in

  1. Distribution and evolution of the serine/aspartate racemase family in invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Uda, Kouji; Abe, Keita; Dehara, Yoko; Mizobata, Kiriko; Sogawa, Natsumi; Akagi, Yuki; Saigan, Mai; Radkov, Atanas D; Moe, Luke A

    2016-02-01

    Free D-amino acids have been found in various invertebrate phyla, while amino acid racemase genes have been identified in few species. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the distribution, function, and evolution of amino acid racemases in invertebrate animals. We searched the GenBank databases, and found 11 homologous serine racemase genes from eight species in eight different invertebrate phyla. The cloned genes were identified based on their maximum activity as Acropora millepora (Cnidaria) serine racemase (SerR) and aspartate racemase (AspR), Caenorhabditis elegans (Nematoda) SerR, Capitella teleta (Annelida) SerR, Crassostrea gigas (Mollusca) SerR and AspR, Dugesia japonica (Platyhelminthes) SerR, Milnesium tardigradum (Tardigrada) SerR, Penaeus monodon (Arthropoda) SerR and AspR and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Echinodermata) AspR. We found that Acropora, Aplysia, Capitella, Crassostrea and Penaeus had two amino acid racemase paralogous genes and these paralogous genes have evolved independently by gene duplication at their recent ancestral species. The transcriptome analyses using available SRA data and enzyme kinetic data suggested that these paralogous genes are expressed in different tissues and have different functions in vivo. Phylogenetic analyses clearly indicated that animal SerR and AspR are not separated by their particular racemase functions and form a serine/aspartate racemase family cluster. Our results revealed that SerR and AspR are more widely distributed among invertebrates than previously known. Moreover, we propose that the triple serine loop motif at amino acid positions 150-152 may be responsible for the large aspartate racemase activity and the AspR evolution from SerR.

  2. Corals form characteristic associations with symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

    PubMed

    Lema, Kimberley A; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2012-05-01

    The complex symbiotic relationship between corals and their dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is believed to be sustained through close associations with mutualistic bacterial communities, though little is known about coral associations with bacterial groups able to fix nitrogen (diazotrophs). In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with three common coral species (Acropora millepora, Acropora muricata, and Pocillopora damicormis) from three midshelf locations of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by profiling the conserved subunit of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase iron protein. Comparisons of diazotrophic community diversity among coral tissue and mucus microenvironments and the surrounding seawater revealed that corals harbor diverse nifH phylotypes that differ between tissue and mucus microhabitats. Coral mucus nifH sequences displayed high heterogeneity, and many bacterial groups overlapped with those found in seawater. Moreover, coral mucus diazotrophs were specific neither to coral species nor to reef location, reflecting the ephemeral nature of coral mucus. In contrast, the dominant diazotrophic bacteria in tissue samples differed among coral species, with differences remaining consistent at all three reefs, indicating that coral-diazotroph associations are species specific. Notably, dominant diazotrophs for all coral species were closely related to the bacterial group rhizobia, which represented 71% of the total sequences retrieved from tissue samples. The species specificity of coral-diazotroph associations further supports the coral holobiont model that bacterial groups associated with corals are conserved. Our results suggest that, as in terrestrial plants, rhizobia have developed a mutualistic relationship with corals and may contribute fixed nitrogen to Symbiodinium.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roik, Anna; Roder, Cornelia; Röthig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-06-01

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

  5. Effects of predation on diel activity and habitat use of the coral-reef shrimp Cinetorhynchus hendersoni (Rhynchocinetidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ory, Nicolas C.; Dudgeon, David; Duprey, Nicolas; Thiel, Martin

    2014-09-01

    Nonlethal effects of predators on prey behaviour are still poorly understood, although they may have cascading effects through food webs. Underwater observations and experiments were conducted on a shallow fringing coral reef in Malaysia to examine whether predation risks affect diel activity, habitat use, and survival of the rhynchocinetid shrimp Cinetorhynchus hendersoni. The study site was within a protected area where predatory fish were abundant. Visual surveys and tethering experiments were conducted in April-May 2010 to compare the abundance of shrimps and predatory fishes and the relative predation intensity on shrimps during day and night. Shrimps were not seen during the day but came out of refuges at night, when the risk of being eaten was reduced. Shrimp preferences for substrata of different complexities and types were examined at night when they could be seen on the reef; complex substrata were preferred, while simple substrata were avoided. Shrimps were abundant on high-complexity columnar-foliate Porites rus, but tended to make little use of branching Acropora spp. Subsequent tethering experiments, conducted during daytime in June 2013, compared the relative mortality of shrimps on simple (sand-rubble, massive Porites spp.) and complex ( P. rus, branching Acropora spp.) substrata under different predation risk scenarios (i.e., different tether lengths and exposure durations). The mortality of shrimps with short tethers (high risk) was high on all substrata while, under low and intermediate predation risks (long tethers), shrimp mortality was reduced on complex corals relative to that on sand-rubble or massive Porites spp. Overall, mortality was lowest on P. rus. Our study indicates that predation risks constrain shrimp activity and habitat choice, forcing them to hide deep inside complex substrata during the day. Such behavioural responses to predation risks and their consequences for the trophic role of invertebrate mesoconsumers warrant further

  6. Distribution of CpG Motifs in Upstream Gene Domains in a Reef Coral and Sea Anemone: Implications for Epigenetics in Cnidarians.

    PubMed

    Marsh, Adam G; Hoadley, Kenneth D; Warner, Mark E

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are under assault from stressors including global warming, ocean acidification, and urbanization. Knowing how these factors impact the future fate of reefs requires delineating stress responses across ecological, organismal and cellular scales. Recent advances in coral reef biology have integrated molecular processes with ecological fitness and have identified putative suites of temperature acclimation genes in a Scleractinian coral Acropora hyacinthus. We wondered what unique characteristics of these genes determined their coordinate expression in response to temperature acclimation, and whether or not other corals and cnidarians would likewise possess these features. Here, we focus on cytosine methylation as an epigenetic DNA modification that is responsive to environmental stressors. We identify common conserved patterns of cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide (CpG) motif frequencies in upstream promoter domains of different functional gene groups in two cnidarian genomes: a coral (Acropora digitifera) and an anemone (Nematostella vectensis). Our analyses show that CpG motif frequencies are prominent in the promoter domains of functional genes associated with environmental adaptation, particularly those identified in A. hyacinthus. Densities of CpG sites in upstream promoter domains near the transcriptional start site (TSS) are 1.38x higher than genomic background levels upstream of -2000 bp from the TSS. The increase in CpG usage suggests selection to allow for DNA methylation events to occur more frequently within 1 kb of the TSS. In addition, observed shifts in CpG densities among functional groups of genes suggests a potential role for epigenetic DNA methylation within promoter domains to impact functional gene expression responses in A. digitifera and N. vectensis. Identifying promoter epigenetic sequence motifs among genes within specific functional groups establishes an approach to describe integrated cellular responses to environmental stress in

  7. Light availability determines susceptibility of reef building corals to ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suggett, D. J.; Dong, L. F.; Lawson, T.; Lawrenz, E.; Torres, L.; Smith, D. J.

    2013-06-01

    Elevated seawater pCO2, and in turn ocean acidification (OA), is now widely acknowledged to reduce calcification and growth of reef building corals. As with other environmental factors (e.g., temperature and nutrients), light availability fundamentally regulates calcification and is predicted to change for future reef environments alongside elevated pCO2 via altered physical processes (e.g., sea level rise and turbidity); however, any potential role of light in regulating the OA-induced reduction of calcification is still unknown. We employed a multifactorial growth experiment to determine how light intensity and pCO2 together modify calcification for model coral species from two key genera, Acropora horrida and Porites cylindrica, occupying similar ecological niches but with different physiologies. We show that elevated pCO2 (OA)-induced losses of calcification in the light ( G L) but not darkness ( G D) were greatest under low-light growth conditions, in particular for A. horrida. High-light growth conditions therefore dampened the impact of OA upon G L but not G D. Gross photosynthesis ( P G) responded in a reciprocal manner to G L suggesting OA-relieved pCO2 limitation of P G under high-light growth conditions to effectively enhance G L. A multivariate analysis of past OA experiments was used to evaluate whether our test species responses were more widely applicable across their respective genera. Indeed, the light intensity for growth was identified as a significant factor influencing the OA-induced decline of calcification for species of Acropora but not Porites. Whereas low-light conditions can provide a refuge for hard corals from thermal and light stress, our study suggests that lower light availability will potentially increase the susceptibility of key coral species to OA.

  8. Temporal clustering of tropical cyclones on the Great Barrier Reef and its ecological importance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolff, Nicholas H.; Wong, Aaron; Vitolo, Renato; Stolberg, Kristin; Anthony, Kenneth R. N.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Tropical cyclones have been a major cause of reef coral decline during recent decades, including on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). While cyclones are a natural element of the disturbance regime of coral reefs, the role of temporal clustering has previously been overlooked. Here, we examine the consequences of different types of cyclone temporal distributions (clustered, stochastic or regular) on reef ecosystems. We subdivided the GBR into 14 adjoining regions, each spanning roughly 300 km, and quantified both the rate and clustering of cyclones using dispersion statistics. To interpret the consequences of such cyclone variability for coral reef health, we used a model of observed coral population dynamics. Results showed that clustering occurs on the margins of the cyclone belt, being strongest in the southern reefs and the far northern GBR, which also has the lowest cyclone rate. In the central GBR, where rates were greatest, cyclones had a relatively regular temporal pattern. Modelled dynamics of the dominant coral genus, Acropora, suggest that the long-term average cover might be more than 13 % greater (in absolute cover units) under a clustered cyclone regime compared to stochastic or regular regimes. Thus, not only does cyclone clustering vary significantly along the GBR but such clustering is predicted to have a marked, and management-relevant, impact on the status of coral populations. Additionally, we use our regional clustering and rate results to sample from a library of over 7000 synthetic cyclone tracks for the GBR. This allowed us to provide robust reef-scale maps of annual cyclone frequency and cyclone impacts on Acropora. We conclude that assessments of coral reef vulnerability need to account for both spatial and temporal cyclone distributions.

  9. Identification of Scleractinian Coral Recruits Using Fluorescent Censusing and DNA Barcoding Techniques

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC]) could be useful for increasing the resolution of coral spat identification in ecological studies. One hundred and fifty settlement plates were emplaced at nine sites on the fringing reefs of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan between April 2011 and September 2012. A total of 248 living coral spats and juveniles (with basal areas ranging from 0.21 to 134.57 mm2) were detected on the plates with the aid of fluorescent light and collected for molecular analyses. Using the COI DNA barcoding technique, 90.3% (224/248) of coral spats were successfully identified into six genera, including Acropora, Isopora, Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Pavona. PaxC further separated I. cuneata and I. palifera of Isopora from Acropora, and ORF successfully identified the species of Pocillopora (except P. meandrina and P. eydouxi). Moreover, other cnidarian species such as actinarians, zoanthids, and Millepora species were visually found using fluorescence and identified by COI DNA barcoding. This combination of existing approaches greatly improved the taxonomic resolution of early coral life stages, which to date has been mainly limited to the family level based on skeletal identification. Overall, this study suggests important improvements for the identification of coral recruits in ecological studies. PMID:25211345

  10. 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.

  11. Sub-seasonally resolved coral records of Caribbean sea surface conditions during the demise of the Maya civilization (~AD 800-1000)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, H. C.; Felis, T.; Scholz, D.; Kölling, M.; Giry, C.; Scheffers, S.

    2012-12-01

    We present a unique collection of annually banded fossil Montastraea coral colonies from Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) in the southern Caribbean Sea that reveals growth between ~AD 800-1000. Coincidentally, this time interval was known for the demise of the classic Maya civilization in the lowlands of the Yucatán Peninsula termed the Terminal Classic Period (TCP; ~AD 750-1050). Explanations for the downfall ranged from foreign invasion to social turmoil, but recent paleoclimatic evidence suggests climate change such as prolonged dry cycles and decrease in precipitation as the primary influence. The Bonaire corals provide the first sub-seasonally resolved proxy records of surface ocean conditions in the Caribbean region during the TCP, and are completely different than the terrestrial-driven and summer-influenced precipitation proxy records from locations in the Yucatán and the Cariaco Basin. One modern and six fossil Montastraea colonies were analyzed for Sr/Ca and δ18O at sub-seasonal resolution as proxies of sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface salinity (SSS), and hydrological changes. The corals display uninterrupted growth patterns ranging ~30-70 years and overlap each other at various time periods during the TCP with age verification by precision 230Th/U dating. Evaluation of the modern coral record provides a modern baseline condition as basis of comparison to track the changing SST and SSS in the southern Caribbean during the TCP. The modern colony recorded in-phase and tightly coupled variability between the two proxies indicating a similar source of influence that is predominantly driven by SST over seasonal to interannual timescales. However, the fossil coral records display distinct interannual variability and longer-term decadal variability (~11-14 years) in both Sr/Ca and δ18O that are decoupled from each other indicating deviations in SSS and differences in primary drivers of proxy variability between past and modern conditions. In addition

  12. Sub-seasonally resolved coral records of Caribbean sea surface conditions during the demise of the Maya civilization (~AD 800-1050)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, H.; Felis, T.; Kölling, M.; Giry, C.; Scholz, D.; Scheffers, S.

    2012-04-01

    We present a unique collection of annually banded fossil Montastraea coral colonies from Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) in the southern Caribbean Sea that reveals growth between ~AD 800-1050. Coincidentally, this time interval was known for the demise of the classic Maya civilization in the lowlands of the Yucatán Peninsula termed the Terminal Classic Period (roughly AD 750-1050). Explanations for the downfall ranged from foreign invasion to social turmoil, but paleoclimatic evidence suggests severe climate change such as prolonged dry cycles as the primary influence. The Bonaire corals provide the first sub-seasonally resolved proxy records of surface ocean conditions in the Caribbean region during the Terminal Classic Period, and are completely different than the terrestrial-driven and summer-influenced precipitation proxy records from locations in the Yucatán and the Cariaco Basin. The corals display uninterrupted growth patterns ranging ~30-60 years and overlap each other at various time periods during the Terminal Classic Period. Our preliminary coral radiocarbon ages will be refined by precise U-series dating. The aragonitic skeletons of modern and fossil Montastraea colonies have been analyzed for Sr/Ca and δ18O at sub-seasonal resolution as proxies of sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface salinity (SSS), and hydrological changes. Evaluation of the modern coral record provides a modern baseline condition as basis of comparison to track the changing SST and SSS in the southern Caribbean during the Terminal Classic Period. The modern record indicates that seasonal to interannual variability in southern Caribbean Sea coral δ18O is predominantly driven by SST where Sr/Ca and δ18O records are tightly coupled and in-phase reflecting a similar source of influence. However, the fossil coral records display distinct interannual variability and longer-term decadal variability (8-15 years) in both Sr/Ca and δ18O that are decoupled from each other indicating

  13. Allelopathy in the tropical alga Lobophora variegata (Phaeophyceae): mechanistic basis for a phase shift on mesophotic coral reefs?

    PubMed

    S